Perfect Picture Book Friday-Boris and the Wrong Shadow

Over the last year, I have been reviewing picture books for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. That means that I read an incredible number of picture books to find ones that I love. If I am going to spend my time reviewing a book, I want to think it is special enough to share with others. Today, I am reviewing a very special book by Leigh Hodgkinson. This is the third book of hers that I have reviewed for Perfect Picture Book Friday. I think it’s safe to say that I adore her style. If you would like to read the reviews for her other books, you will find Boris and the Snoozebox HERE, and Goldilocks and Just the One Bear HERE.

Boris and the Wrong Shadow

Boris and the Wrong Shadow

Written and Illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson

Tiger Tales 2009

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Friendship, Honesty, Self-Esteem/Appearance

Synopsis: (from Tiger Tales) Boris wakes up from his catnap to find that he has the wrong shadow. Someone has switch-swapped it and left him with a small (and embarrassing) mouse shadow. Boris sets out to solve the mystery and show a small friend that you don’t have to be BIG to feel like a superstar! Witty humor and clever collage illustrations combine in Leigh Hodgkinson’s dazzling follow-up to Boris and the Snoozebox. Without a shadow of a doubt, readers will want more of this quirky cat hero!

Opening: Boris had just woken up from his catnap. He smiles as he remembers his dream…swimming in a gigantic bow of creamy milk. Now that he is wide awake, Boris is feeling funny. Not ha ha but funny strange. Boris has a feeling that things aren’t quite as they should be. For some reason, Boris appears to have the wrong shadow. He has no idea why, but Boris decides not to let a silly thing like this…spoil an otherwise pleasant afternoon.

Resources: HERE is an excellent Reading and Teaching Guide by the author, Leigh Hodgkinson. Activities include shadow tracing, shadow puppets,  and shadow art collages. (An interesting note: If you look up Boris and the Wrong Shadow or Boris and the Snoozebox, you may notice that in the UK, Boris is called Colin. So, the crafty activities on Leigh Hodgkinson’s website say Colin…but Colin and Boris are one in the same.) HERE are crafty activities from Leigh Hodgkinson’s website. Click on the button. That will open a new window. Click on the button again, and then click on Crafty Bits. There are several fun crafts to do with Boris (Colin).

Why I Like This Book: I really connect with Leigh Hodgkinson’s sense of humor. I chuckled numerous times as Boris realized a mouse shadow could present some problems. Then I continued laughing when he goes in search of a solution and meets up with Vernon (the mouse who swip-swapped shadows), and realized there will have to be some compromising. The creative mixed media illustrations are very appealing. I found myself lingering on every page wanting to take in every detail. As in her other books, she uses different font sizes and styles to emphasize words and it is very effective. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire book.

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, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Mr. Zinger’s Hat

Mr. Zinger

Mr. Zinger’s Hat

Written by Cary Fagan

Illustrated by  Dusan Petricic

Tundra Books 2012

Ages 5-8

Themes: Writing, imagination, multigenerational

Synopsis: (from Booklist) Every child needs a Mr. Zinger—and his hat!—in his or her life. A contemplative, self-contained writer who wears a big black hat on his thought-gathering walks, Mr. Zinger nevertheless has time for Leo when the child’s ball misfires and sends the hat sailing. Recovering from the encounter, the kind man engages the child by asking what kind of story the retrieved hat holds. Collaborating on the tale, Mr. Zinger helps Leo use his imagination to create the story-within-a-story about a prince and a ball—both of which seem awfully familiar. Petricic’s illustrations change from loose, soft watercolors to sharply defined cartoon drawings when the two enter the realm of their shared fiction. When the dreamy washes resume, Mr. Zinger continues along his walk, while Leo pays forward the storytelling hat trick to a new playmate, this time with his own baseball cap. This book oh-so-softly brings across a sweet, multigenerational message about sharing the power of imagination.

Resources: I didn’t find resources for this book, but since this book is about a hat, imagination, and creating a story, I thought of an activity that I believe will be all kinds of fun for the classroom. Then, I am going to refer you over to Susanna’s blog for another great activity created by Susanna with a hat element suggested by me in my second activity below.

Activity1: Have the students bring a hat to school. Read Mr. Zinger’s hat. Then have students don their hats and give them a “Once upon a time” start. Have them write for five minutes, and then prepare to pass their paper to the next student. Have them remove their hats and hold them out upside down to receive the paper of their neighbor. The next student will continue the story started by the previous student. (It would be fun to have them pass hats, as well as papers, …but probably wouldn’t be too sanitary!) Continue writing and passing until the paper has been to six students. I just picked the number six randomly. You could do more or less depending on the age. Then return the paper to the original student and (1) Let them use the contributions from other students for ideas for their story or (2) Have them read the story aloud as is.

Activity 2: For this activity, you will need four hats. Over at Susanna’s blog at this exact link , she has a ready-made writing activity that we did this summer in her Short and Sweets Series. I’m just adding the hats! In her activity, Susanna had us pick four numbers for character, time, setting, and situation… but in honor of Mr. Zinger and his hat, you would use Susanna’s lists given on her website to put characters, etc. on strips of paper to go in the four hats. One for character, one for time, one for setting, and one for situation. Then the kids would chose one strip from each hat and use it to write their story. This will all make sense if you click HERE and read Susanna’s explanation and see her example. There are more examples in the comments.

Why I Like This Book: This book is all about imagination and stories…and that is why I write these reviews, and read reviews by the wonderful bloggers who contribute to Perfect Picture Book Friday. I love the multigenerational aspect in Mr. Zinger’s Hat. The interaction between the two generations is endearing and fun. This is a great book to encourage and inspire kiddos to write. The two styles of illustrations complement the text, making the story AND the story-within-the-story unique.

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, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-One Frog Sang

I judged this book by its cover. I saw it displayed at the library, and brought it home. Delightful!

one frog san

One Frog Sang

Written by Shirley Parenteau

Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar

Candlewick 2007

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Animals, frogs, counting

Synopsis: (from Random House) On a wet spring night, one big frog sings KA-BLU-URP! Two tiny frogs sing PREEP, PREEP, three young frogs sing RIBBIT, RIBBIT, all the way up to ten frogs who trill PEEP, PEEP as a frog chorus fills the air with grunts and croaks and chirps. The night is resonant until . . . a car splashes down the street and all the frogs, from ten down to one, are hushed! Shirley Parenteau offers a joyfully cacophonous counting-up and counting-down story, vibrantly illustrated by Cynthia Jabar.

Opening: All the frogs hunkered low while spring rains stormed by. Then when the night became still…
One big frog leaped onto a high garden wall, sucked in air, and blew out a song: Ka-blu-urp.
Two tiny frogs joined in from a windowpane, shrieking, Preep, preep, in voices as loud as a crowd.

Resources: Click HERE for an online coloring page. Click HERE for a literacy guide. Scroll down a little to find all sorts of extension  and literacy activities. It is an excellent guide.

Why I Like This Book: The first thing that struck me is how much kids will love this book. It’s an awesome read-aloud. It has great onomatopoeia in the form of the MOST fun frog sounds EVER! And it teaches counting. The story is so cute. I could see the whole thing…the frogs making their various sounds and then a car comes by…silence…then the frogs start up again. That’s how it happens when you hear a frog and get close…the frog gets quiet until he thinks it’s okay to sing again. And the illustrations? Let’s just put it this way…I wanted to kiss every frog in the book from cover to cover. That would’ve been over 140 frog kisses. I restrained myself and only kissed the frog on the last spread! (No he didn’t turn into a charming prince, but remained a very charming frog.)

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, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Snip Snap! What’s That?

Today is Friday and time to review another book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Snip SnapSnip Snap! What’s That?

Written by Mara Bergman

Illustrated by Nick Maland

Greenwillow Books 2005

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Overcoming fear, alligators

Synopsis: (from Booklist) In this offbeat fantasy, an alligator makes his way down the street, through the front door, up the stairs, and into an apartment where three children flee from his gaping jaws. Finally, when they have endured the threat–or perhaps enjoyed the thrill–long enough, they turn the tables by yelling at the beast, who runs away.

Opening: When the alligator came creepingcreeping… creeping up the stairs…were the children scared? YOU BET THEY WERE!

Resources: Click HERE and scroll down to see an easy-to-make alligator. HERE are instructions to make an alligator refrigerator magnet. Click HERE for fun facts about alligators.

Why I Like This Book: The rhythm and rhyme and repetition are irresistible and make for a really fun read aloud. It’s scary…but not too scary. And it’s scary in a funny, suspenseful way that will appeal to children. Mara Bergman uses onomatopoeia perfectly. Just read this line: It swishhhhhhed and swoooooshed  its tremendous tail, which was shiny and spiked and full of scales. The illustrations lend to the suspense. They make the alligator look very large and the children look very small. The ending is humorous and satisfying.

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, or just looking for a great book to read. Here is a list of books by category. Each book listed has a link to a review, information about that book, and resources for activities. There is also an alphabetical list.