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Parts and Even More Parts – Perfect Picture Book Friday

22 Apr

So you’re looking for a couple of books from a brilliant author/illustrator? Ones that will make kids say “ewwww” page after page, all while laughing uproariously? Ones that kids will want to read again and again and again because each little twist is ingenious?

Tedd Arnold’s will do the trick:

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For the most part, his rhyme is spot on,

“I just don’t know what’s going on

or why it has to be.

But every day it’s something worse.

What’s happening to me?”


but purists will note that the rhyme on the second spread is—inverted! **!!Gasp!!**

“I think it was three days ago

I first became aware—

That in my comb were caught a couple

pieces of my hair.”


Now, one could argue that this book was published in 1997 and the rhyme police have gotten much more strict in recent years. But I will tell you that if you’re an author-illustrator and you come up with something as original as:


“Then later on (I don’t recall

exactly when it was)

I lifted up my shirt and found

this little piece of fuzz.”


“I stared at it, amazed, and wondered,

What’s this all about?

But then I understood. It was

my stuffing coming out!”

Editors may give you a “Get Out of Rhyme Jail Free” pass. Page after page of inspired body part distress.

Not content with one body part book, Arnold published a second called “More Parts” (not reviewed here), and a third called “Even More Parts” in 2004. Originally published under the “Dial Books for Young Readers Imprint,” they are now published by Puffin.

“Even More Parts” takes a literal look at body part idioms and their horrifying consequences.


Tongue-tied, anyone?

Although each page includes small comics of several idioms for each body part, Arnold selects the funniest to fill the spreads. The end papers include mini illustrations of many more. Bonus: All of these books should engage even the most reluctant readers AND PARENTS.  

“Even More Parts” could also be used to support Common Core Curriculum in kindergarten through second grade.

Check them out!

Titles: “Parts” & “And Even More Parts”

Author/Illustrator: Tedd Arnold

Publisher: Puffin

Ages: preschool-second grade

This post is in conjunction with Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Dirty Gert – Perfect Picture Book Friday

20 Mar

It’s time once again to feature a book, for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, that rocks my picture book world. To my friends who are not picture book lovers, please be patient with me. I promise I’ll post something else soon—something to do with Burger King Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (BK PTSD), an illness that both I and Mike Allegra (HeyLookAWriterFellow) suffer from. Stay tuned for that one…

As part of ReFoReMo (reading for research month), I’ve been reading more than five picture books a day. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve read some doozies. This one is just plain fun while introducing kids to new words. So here we go: it’s all about Dirty Gert!

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You know you’re in for a wild ride when three worms on the title page say:

“When is she coming out to play?”

“I don’t know.”

“Soon, I hope.”

The first page sets the scene:

“Little Gert loved eating dirt.

The worms all idolized her.”

What’s that you say? Did the author use the word “idolized”? Why yes, he did. He also uses  forms of the words internalize, tantalize, energize, supervise, civilize, moisturize, appetize, reorganize, photosynthesize, recognize, sanitize, deodorize, televise, legalize, analyze, immortalize, traumatize, jeopardize, and fertilize. AND as you might suspect from this list, the story  is written in rhyme. Kudos!

I love it when an author takes such a bold stance and uses so many $3 words in a picture book. The illustrations suit the text perfectly, providing lots of help for understanding the full meaning of those crazy words.

We follow the adventures of Little Gert who happily eats so much dirt, she becomes  rooted in the soil and begins to sprout. The worms provide a running commentary while Little Gert goes from an anonymous dirt-eating toddler to an overnight sensation.

And the ending? I can’t give it away. It, too, is perfect.

The jacket copy says: “Dirty Gert celebrates individuality and unconditional love.” I’d also say that it celebrates playful language, ridiculous situations, and dirt-eating toddlers around the world.

The author, Tedd Arnold, has won an Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel and has two Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Books. I’m going to take a look at his other work. Enjoy!

Title: Dirty Gert

Author/Illustrator: Tedd Arnold

Publisher: Holiday House

Pub date: 2013

Ages: 3-6yrs

Domestic Tranquility

11 Jan

Marriage Day

You said you’d:

  • Like to know my name.
  • Like to see more of me, all of me.
  • Love me forever.
  • Stop hitting me if I stopped eyeing other men.
  • Like to have kids.
  • Need time to think—or did you say drink? with your buddies.
  • Like me to wear something new.
  • Be sweet if I wasn’t always yelling at you or the kids.
  • Like to take time off—from work and our marriage.
  • Found somebody who reminded you of me.
  • Love me forever, if

I’d just put down the—

Response to the 100-Word Challenge for Grown-ups

Dark Fruit

22 Jun

In response to the 100 Word Challenge for Grown-ups:

In the dark recess of my mind, I wonder who’s not eating while I gorge on strawberries, nectarines, and peaches. Summer lovelies. Women raped in fields by their foremen or co-workers. Never tell. Mothers, fathers, children all evicted while picking fruits I swallow with delight. They work twelve-hour days for paltry pay, often shorted. Too tired and scared to argue, wanting respite from the sun, they trudge home to find their sole possessions thrown out upon the street, a red-tagged door: “No Trespassing. Violators will be prosecuted.” Exposed wiring. Holes in walls. Rodent infestation. Nowhere else to go. Juice courses down my chin. 

Mad Love at Midnight

12 Apr

A few minutes ago, while reading the imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, I came upon this sentence: “After a little searching, he finds a gate within the pleached fence and enters.” Hmmm…could this be a typo? Continue reading

An Arresting Sentence

1 Apr

I was just buzzing along and suddenly sideswiped by this sentence:

“The silence in the room seemed to be full of holes.” from Monsieur Pain” by Roberto Bolano, translation by Chris Andrews

I sat back in my chair and listened for holes. Lovely.

Semi-bousy, anyone?

15 Feb

So I accidentally tripped over this word today. The OED was lying on my office floor. 

semi-bousy, a. OBS. Halfdrunk. c1400 Som vnlusty persone, pat wer not wele aswakid, or semybousy ouyr eve.

This juicy word must shed the dust of obsolescence. Go forth and speak of being semi-boused with your friends. 

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