Tag Archives: children’s book

Dragon Was Terrible – Perfect Picture Book Friday

23 Sep

It’s Fall!! It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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We all know those little dragons who just can’t behave. They’re busy coloring on the walls. Playing pranks. Throwing sand.

This story is about an incorrigible dragon, just like the ones you may have at home—only worse. The dragon terrorizes villagers, spitting on cupcakes, stomping on flowers, stealing candy from baby unicorns. Then the KING makes a proclamation that sounds quite authoritarian, rewarding any knight who can tame the dragon. Everyone has high hopes. But the knights fail miserably.

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That pesky, tagging dragon…..Another proclamation, this time offering a reward to the villagers if they can tame the dragon.

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That pesky, tagging dragon. But the villagers fail, too.

Enter a boy with a feathered cap who takes a different, mysterious approach to taming that terrible dragon. An approach that focuses on telling a story. Yes, folks. This book shows us how the power of story can tame the most terrible of dragons, our children. And it’s done without moralizing, pointing fingers, or otherwise hitting the reader on the head with anything resembling a plank. Well done!

 

TITLE: Dragon Was Terrible

Ages: preschool – first grade

Author: Kelly DiPucchio 

Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli

Publisher and pub date: FSG 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-30049-4

 

Cheese Belongs to You! — Perfect Picture Book Friday

30 Jan

Instead of chocolate, I’m nibbling a piece of cheese for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. But it’s not my cheese because “RAT LAW says that if you’re a rat, cheese belongs to you.”

Unless—

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Rat cannot believe his luck!

 

“a BIG rat wants it. Then cheese belongs to him.

Unless a BIGGER rate wants it. Then cheese belongs to her.”

And so the story goes, adding “quicker rat,” “stronger rat,” followed  by “scary rat,”  “hairy rat,” and “dirty rat,” then “dirty, hairy rat” and “dirty, hairy, scary rat…”

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You get the point. The biggest, baddest rat and then mob of rats get the cheese. (Oh, Mike [HeyLookAWriterFellow], how can you adore these winner-take-all creatures? Well, I suppose Lucy was a special case.)

The illustrations in red and black pencil serve as a hilarious backdrop for a luscious wedge of golden cheese, the spoils of rat war.

How does rat war end? Let’s just say there’s a bit of sharing involved, if rat knows what’s good for him.

This playful reminder about sharing is bound to be popular with the preschool and young elementary school set.

I even love the end papers, white polka dots on yellow background.

Title: Cheese Belongs to You!

Author: Alexis Deacon

Illustrator: Viviane Schwarz

Publisher: Candlewick

Pub date: 2013

 

I’ll be saying a few words in the not-too-distant-future about  Brown Girl Dreaming, the National Book Award Winner by Jacqueline Woodson. Stay tuned….

Nurse, Soldier, Spy – Perfect Picture Book Friday

12 Sep

Returning from my long absence with a brief splash of a review for:

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I just read Nurse, Solder, Spy for a nonfiction picture book course and was fascinated by the story of a young Sarah Edmonds who impersonates a boy so she can enlist in the Union Army. Moss writes with the urgency of a war reporter, and Hendrix’s pen and ink illustrations with their blue and gold/orange/yellow acrylic washes suit the era well.

The varied and sometimes hand-drawn typography can be startling—in a good way. For example, when a Confederate soldier hollers:

“YOU THERE, BOY!

WHO DO YOU BELONG TO?

the question fills half the spread, bringing home to the reader the awful nature of slavery. In his artist’s note, Hendrix explains that he took some of the typefaces from posters of that era.

My son and husband sat spellbound as I read them the story. After impersonating a young man and joining the Union Army, Sarah fought alongside Union soldiers and then disguised herself as a male slave so she could cross enemy lines as a spy. She discovered a Union traitor and made notes about Confederate fortifications and weapons to inform Union leaders once she returned.

From the back matter: During the war, she wore different disguises during each of her spying missions, suffered from malaria and was wounded twice but refused treatment so no one would discover she was a woman. In an additional twist to her story, we find out that she left the army briefly so she could get medical treatment for recurrent malaria, and when she decided to return to the army, she discovered she (her male counterpart) was wanted for desertion and was to be shot on sight!

So it wasn’t until two years later when her autobiography was published that anyone knew the truth. This young lady was unbelievably brave and finally recognized, through an act of Congress, as a veteran of the Civil War in 1889. Although other women served in various capacities during the Civil War, Sarah Edmonds was the only one ever recognized as a veteran. When her autobiography sold 175,000 copies in its first year (1865), she donated all proceeds from the sales to an organization dedicated to helping Civil War veterans. 

The author includes additional information in the back matter that adds more depth and complexity to the story. I think this book would be a great read for 3rd graders on up. Older readers could use this text as a springboard for more in depth research. The back matter includes author and illustrator notes and bibliographies as well as a glossary and index. Well done all around!

Nurse, Soldier, Spy: The Story of Sarah Edmonds
By Marissa Moss, Illustrated by John Hendrix
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2011
ISBN 9780810997356

 

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