Perfect Picture Book Friday-Boris and the Snoozebox

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

My book today is:

Boris and the Snoozebox

Written and Illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson

Ages 3 and up

Tiger Tales 2008

Themes: Pets, Animals, Mail

Synopsis: All Boris wants is a long catnap in his new cardboard box with no trouble whatsoever. But suddenly–STAMP, STAMP, scribble, scribble–the box is taped up and zoomed off to doorsteps all over the earth and beyond. . . . Every time Boris drifts off to sleep, someone opens the box and wakes him up. Beady eyes peek inside and loud voices shout, “This is NOT what I ordered! I DON’T want this cat!” (They want a prickly plant . . . giant teapot . . . or remote-controlled space butterfly.) This quirky cat tale proves there’s no place like a loving home–especially if that home happens to have a plumpish pillow perfect for snooooooozing.

Opening: “Boris doesn’t have a bed. Actually, Boris doesn’t have a home. This is A-OK most of the time because he is busy scampering, licking, balancing, and looking cute. However…it is not  OK when he is tired, grouchy, and in desperate need of a long catnap.”

Resources: I didn’t find any resources on the Internet, but I have a few ideas of my own.

1. The illustrations in this book are wonderful. They are mixed media collages, so there is a lot of texture. Since Boris spends a good part of the story in the cardboard box, I think children would like making their own version of the box that Boris travels in. They would each need a box and packing materials. A variety of packing materials would make it interesting. Bubble wrap, newspaper, cloth, corrugated cardboard, etc. Along with this, students would need to make Boris. Personally, I think it would be great to just have them draw him and add the textured look with crayons or colored pencils.

2. After reading the book, have students brainstorm other places and people that Boris could have been mailed to. Map them out and and choose what each person would’ve been expecting instead of a cat.

3. Have students make a map of the classroom or school. Give the desks or rooms an address-complete with the name of the town, state, and zip code. Make a box with a paper Boris in it. Address and send to one of the desk or school classroom addresses that they have created. The receiver of the box would write a note saying what they expected instead of Boris…and why they had particularly wanted the other item in the mail. Then they would send the box on to a different address, which could be easily changed using sticky notes. By the time the box had made the rounds of the classroom or the school, it would contain all of the notes. Students could map the progress of the box. If the box was sent from desk to desk, the notes stating what they had wanted in the mail and why could be a really fun creative writing project. The teacher could have the criteria set forth…such as give three reasons you wanted the item. Also, it would be good practice for formatting mailing addresses and for mapping.

4. Creative writing: If you were to receive a pet in a box, what would it be and why.

Why I Like This Book: As each recipient turned Boris away, I wanted to turn the pages to see where he would go next, and to see where he would ultimately end up. I believe children will have the same reaction. Even though Boris is getting turned away, there is a fun, humorous element to every scenario. So while I did want Boris to find someone to love him…I got quite a few chuckles as he went along his box-in-the-mail journey. I loved the mixture of fonts and the placement of the text on the page. It added a fun element to the story. The illustrations were an extra treat for me. Leigh Hodgkinson’s mixed media collages were unique and appealing. I did go back through just to take in the detail of her artwork.

Mouse Du Jour

Susanna Leonard Hill’s Birthday Story Contest is going on over at her blog. For the contest, we had to write a birthday story in 300 words or less. Mine is 298 words…whew…just slid in under the limit. Be sure to keep reading after my story, as I have information about the contest and Susanna’s wonderful blog.

Mouse Du Jour

Mercer trembled. Mercer shook…
trapped beside The Cat’s Cookbook.
He’d been caught and stowed away
as the birthday gift this day.

He stole a glance…page twenty-four
featured Yummy Mouse Du Jour.
Carl the Cat devoured each word,
marked the page, and loudly purred.

Oh! I am toast,” Mercer thought,
“if I don’t improve my lot.”
So, he cleared his throat and spoke—
less a squeak, and more a croak.

“Mr. Cat, I’m rather small
to feed the Cats—one and all.
Just think how nice the feast would be
to have a dish or two—plus me.

See, I’m a chef and I can cook
up every entree in that book.
Then the Cats can all eat hearty
at your special birthday party.”

Carl blinked. His cat eyes bright,
and then meowed, “You may be right.
But, mousey, if you try to bail…
I’ll eat you…starting with your tail. ”

So Carl and Mercer, side by side,
minced and mixed and flaked and fried.

Carl chopped while Mercer topped.
Mercer dipped while Carl whipped.
Carl tossed while Mercer sauced.
Mercer stirred while Carl whirred.

Then they both glazed and basted;
scraped the bowls; licked and tasted.

Right before page twenty-four
the Cats were knocking at the door.
Mercer thought, “Hey, look at me!
It looks as if I might go free!”

But then he lost his cheery mood
when he was placed among the food.
He figured, “I’m good as dead!”
with candles blazing on his head.

Flames were swatted—swish, swish, swish!
And Carl purred, “My birthday wish….
…was for Yummy Mouse Du Jour.
But that has changed—I am sure.

So, now my little cooking friend
we’ll be chefs until the end.
And I’m asking you to stay
to celebrate my special day.”

The End and Bon Appétit 🙂

I discovered Susanna’s contests when she hosted a Thanksgiving contest this past November. I have entered every contest since. There are reasons why I enter the contests:

  • It’s a great writing exercise.
  • Susanna has prizes…great prizes!
  • Reading all the entries is just so much fun!!!
  • I have gotten to know awesome people in the writing community.
  • I have discovered other writer’s wonderful blogs while reading their entries.

When I found Susanna’s blog by entering the Thanksgiving contest, I became a faithful follower. I have to say that she has one of the most useful blogs out in kidlitosphere. I participate in each one of her features, because I learn from them. Check out her schedule blog HERE.

If you haven’t entered a contest before, now is the time. Even if you don’t enter, you will be doing yourself a favor to read the entries…really…it is so much fun!!! The deadline is Tuesday May 22 at 11:59 PM EDT. For all the details, click HERE.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Baby Bear Sees Blue

While at the library this week, I saw this book displayed on a shelf. I was immediately drawn to the title and the cover. I was not disappointed when I read it. I just had to add it to the Perfect Picture Book Friday list.

Baby Bear Sees Blue

Written and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Beach Lane Books  2012

Ages 2 and up

Themes: Colors, Nature, Animals

Synopsis: (from book jacket) With blue jays, brown trout, and yummy red strawberries, Baby Bear’s forest is a very colorful home. Join him as he explores the wonders of his lively, leafy world—with big Mama Bear always at his side.

Opening: In the den’s dark wall, an opening slowly fills with light. A glow creeps in. “Who is warming me, Mama?”asks Baby Bear. “That is the sun,” Mama says. Baby Bear sees yellow.

Resources: Make a Color Wheel, Seeing Colors in Nature

Why I Like This Book: Even though Baby Bear See Blue is a concept book, it has a sweet story. It is perfect for teaching colors to toddlers as baby bear explores nature with Mama Bear. Young children will be drawn to the vibrant illustrations as Baby Bear heads out of the den and spends his day discovering the colors of the forest. The relationship between baby and mama is adorable. This is a quiet book and makes for a wonderful bedtime read with the perfect ending for a deep sleep.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-The Snail and the Whale

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

Yes, I’m doing two Julia Donaldson books in a row. This one just had to be on the list.

The Snail and the Whale

Written by: Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by: Alex Scheffler

Penguin Group 2006

Ages 3-8

Themes: Friendship, animals, ocean, helping one another

Synopsis: When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

Opening Lines: This is the tale of a tiny snail

And a great big, gray-blue humpback whale.

This is a rock as black as soot,

And this is a snail with an itcy foot.

The sea snail slithered all over the rock 

And gazed at the sea and the ships in the dock.

And as she gazed, she sniffed and sighed.

“The sea is deep and the world is wide!

How I long to sail!”

Said the tiny snail.

Resources: Whale Theme Activities, Maze, Ocean Activities

Why I Like This Book: The Snail and the Whale is a tale of an unlikely friendship. This book is cleverly written. I absolutely love that the snail leaves important silvery trail messages as he crawls. The messages are key to the story and are just the cutest thing ever! The rhyming text flows smoothly as a story unfolds and proves even the smallest of creatures can help a friend.The fact that it is written in flawless rhyme  is always a bonus for me. The illustrations by Alex Scheffler are rich and vibrant. He catches the expressions of the characters perfectly. Warning: If you read this book, you will have to buy it for your personal library!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday-What the Ladybug Heard

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

The book I’m reviewing today is What the Ladybug Heard by Julia Donaldson.

What the Ladybug Heard

Written by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Lydia Monks

Henry Holt and Co. 2010

Ages: 2-7

Themes: Animals

Synopsis: (From Booklist) The ladybug in this rhyming story lives on a farm with the usual assortment of animals, each with his or her own special sound (“And the cow said, ‘Moo!’ and the hen said, ‘Cluck!’” etc.), but “the ladybug never said a word” until she overhears “two bad men” plotting to steal the prize cow. The ladybug alerts the others and develops a plan to avert the heist involving each animal taking on the sound of one of the other farm animals. The men are caught, and the animals return to making their trademark sounds while the ladybug goes back to being silent. Filled with drama, lively action, and a large supporting cast of characters, this is a mini play more than a fully fleshed story. The appealing and brightly colored collage illustrations, rhyming text, and assorted animal sounds make it a natural for individual or group read-alouds.

ResourcesNorth Carolina Children’s Picture Book Award Classroom Or Library Activities (page 9), Activities from Teaching Ideas

Beginning Lines: “Once upon a farm there lived a fat red hen,

A duck in a pond and a goose in a pen,

A woolly sheep , a hairy hog,

A handsome horse and a dainty dog,

A fine prize cow, two cats that purred,

And a ladybug who never said a word.

And the cow said, “MOO!”

and the hen said, “CLUCK!”

“HISS!” said the goose

and “QUACK!” said the duck.

“NEIGH!” said the horse.

“OINK!” said the hog.

“BAA!” said the sheep.

“WOOF!” SAID THE DOG.

And one cat meowed while the other one purred…

…and the ladybug never said a word.”

Why I Like This Book:  This is a playful, fast-paced rhyming story that flows seamlessly. The repetition of the animals sounds throughout the story will be an invitation for children to join in. I love the how the ladybug (who never says a word) comes up with the plan to outsmart the robbers. Monk’s colorful collage illustrations are full of detail that will invite a second look. If you read my reviews, you know that I read a lot of rhyming picture books. This has to be one of my favorites. There are times when I finish a book and I think, “Oh, how I wish every child could hear this book!” This is one of those books. It is a delightful treat!