Sharing and Celebrating Picture Books Since 2009

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For more than 7 years, I’ve been singing the praises of picture books here on Frog on a Blog. They are works of art, generators of joy, gateways to literacy and understanding, and so much more. I love this article by author Janice Milusich! She offers further insight into the significance of picture books, for people of all ages.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF PICTURE BOOKS, NO MATTER YOUR AGE

by Janice Milusich

Like a magnifier you hold in your hand when you want to view something up close, picture books provide a focus onto a specific moment, a particular happening, or emotion, or imagining. In picture books, things that often go unnoticed are given their due. And together, the reader and the listener travel a path made of words and pictures. The words in picture books are chosen carefully and placed precisely so as to pull at heartstrings, make minds curious, create a sense of tension, or of triumph, let minds wonder or imaginations soar. The illustrations of picture books enrich the audience’s understanding and sensibility. Their poignant immediacy, lets the reader and audience fully appreciate the marvel of the world or worlds they will visit via the book they’ve chosen.

Why are picture books important for young readers/listeners?

Picture books are important for the young, for a myriad of reasons. As a child’s first guide into the worlds of art and literature they’re what encourages children to develop and grow. Picture books are an important first step in learning to read, and explore new ideas. They portray language, they evoke emotions, and the imagery found within them provides a conduit to the world of imagination.

Picture books frame childhood. They contain characters and situations that are recognizable to children. Through hearing or reading picture books, children can figure out a way to cope, to comprehend, to behave and to relate to the world around them.

Why are picture books important for older readers?

For siblings, parents and grandparents, picture books are moments of shared experience. The words and images within a picture book allow age boundaries to be crossed with comfortable ease. In the sharing of a picture book, the reader and the audience often take something different away from what would seem the same experience. But it is in the sharing, that both reader and audience have something in common.

Through picture books, older readers can discuss difficult concepts, topics, and emotions with their younger counterparts and, vice versa, younger readers/listeners can express their understanding of those concepts, topics or emotions. It’s the togetherness of the journey that matters and is most important.

No matter how many birthdays the reader or listener has had, picture books offer a window with shutters thrown open for us to view close up, and to share, the many wonders of our world.

Janice Milusich is the author of the early chapter book Cleo’s Big Ideas: One Thing Leads to Another and the picture book Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights. She’s presently enrolled in Stony Brook University’s Children’s Literature Fellowship, with a focus on writing picture books and early chapter books. She’s a member of SCBWI, Author’s Guild, and LICWI.

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PB at the library 2

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.)

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A boy and his dog learn about each other, go to school to learn more, then explore the world around them as they study science, geography and even foreign languages together.

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Wanting to be more like his father, a young boy spends all of his money on a product that will supposedly let him grow a beard almost instantly.

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Learn to count from one to ten with the help of vegetables turned animals that practically jump into your salad bowl.

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In 1847 St. Louis, Missouri, when a new law against educating African Americans forces Reverend John to close his school, he finds an ingenious solution to the law by moving his school to a steamboat in the Mississippi River.

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It’s bath time for Bruno, but there’s a whale in the bathtub–a huge, tub-hogging, bubble-bath-squirting, flipper-scrubbing, barnacle-rinsing whale.

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Follow an assortment of creatures as they make their way to a nest, the shore, or a porch while the day comes to an end, and the moon begins to rise.

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Discover what goes on beneath the surface at a puppy pool party.

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Imagine Louise’s delight when a new neighbor moves in and she loves art too. But liking the same thing doesn’t always mean you agree on it.

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Maxwell is a strong, courageous, silent ninja who wants somebody to play with, but it seems Mama, Papa, and little sister Cassy are all too busy.

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Soon after Porcupine and Moose arrive at Rabbit’s birthday party, the cake goes missing.

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This guidebook will show you how to become a superhero in seven easy steps.

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What do you do when you’re so tiny that the big ocean creatures think you’d taste adorable?

A rhinoceros tours Europe in the mid-18th century and becomes a sensation. 

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Title: Meh

Author: Deborah Malcolm

Illustrator: Deborah Malcolm

Publisher/Year: ThunderStone Books/2015

Back Cover Blurb: Sadness is an emotion that everyone feels at some time or another. But sometimes you might feel a sadness so long and so deep and dark that it seems impossible to find happiness. That kind of sadness is called depression. 


One day, an ordinary boy went outside to play. The boy loved to imagine, to draw, to run, and to read. But on this particular day, something crept slowly up behind him. It was gray and gloomy, and it grew bigger until it enveloped him. Then he fell down into a deep, dark hole, so deep and so dark that he couldn’t find his way out. He felt alone. He felt hopeless. But what’s that? Is it a glimmer of hope?

Most people think of depression as something that just affects adults. But kids can experience it to. They learn to hide it, just like adults do, not wanting anyone to know how they feel, not believing that anyone can help them. Just like the boy in the story, they feel alone and hopeless. Could it also be that kids don’t have the words to express how they’re feeling? Adults should pay special attention to kids who are having trouble concentrating, or are keeping to themselves, or are otherwise acting differently than they normally do. These kids may be experiencing depression.

Meh is completely wordless. The illustrations do a fantastic job taking us, the readers, along on the journey with the boy. When the “gloom” arrives, we can feel the mood change. We share the boy’s emotions as he moves through the black and gray pages of depression. We experience hope when we see a glowing light. We rejoice with the boy when we emerge from the hole into the sunrise of a brand new day. 

I’m no expert on how to help kids who are suffering from depression, or how to help other kids to understand depression. But author/illustrator Deborah Malcolm’s book Meh is a good place to start.

PB at the library 2

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.)

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Bear wakes up hungry but can’t remember what he’s supposed to eat other than it starts with the letter “B”.

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Did you know that the deepest parts of the ocean are over one mile deep? That’s where Blobfish lives.

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Lyrical rhyming text sweetly explains that each animal belongs where it belongs and that you belong with me.

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Monty the frog has a big secret…he can’t swim!

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A girl tries to pick the perfect dog, but in the end, the right dog picks her.

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Tim and Tim are best friends forever until Tom comes along.

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When three friends gather on a rainy day, one wants to play princess, one wants to play fairy, and one wants to play ballerina. Which one will win?

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Hare is the fastest on the farm. Tortoise is as slow as they go. So when they decide to have a race, Hare is certain to win…isn’t he?

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Each year, bar-tailed godwits undertake the longest unbroken migration of any animal, flying from Australia and New Zealand to their breeding grounds in the Arctic and back again.

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Benny the woodpecker devises an elaborate plan to get a taste of sweet-smelling waffles.

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Rory the dinosaur searches everywhere for a pet, but just as he’s about to give up, a pet finds him.

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A boy wants a beard just like his dad but he does not want to wait until he’s old to grow one.

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Ian, who always follows the rules, must save his sister Jenny, who always breaks the rules, from three hungry monsters.

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A little boy has a grand time pretending to drive every big vehicle he can imagine.

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A cast of animal characters builds a brand new playground from Sunday to Saturday, opening day.

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A boy and his dog embark upon a very unusual fishing trip in this nearly wordless story. SUPER CLEVER!

I’m super excited to be featured on J Lenni Dorner’s blog Operation Awesome today in the Debut Author Spotlight!!! CLICK HERE!

Operation Awesome

Great post about “sound” words in picture books!

Norah Colvin

Charli's picture

This week at the Carrot Ranch,Charli Mills is talking about sound, and has challenged writers to

In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the sense of sound. It can be an onomatopoeia, a swearing session with sound alike substitutes, lyrical prose or a description of a sound. Go where you hear the prompt calling.

I thought it was quite timely for me as I had just written a piece about audiobooks. However, I have decided to keep that for posting another day and have instead decided to look at picture books. Regular readers may not be surprised.

Picture books are often a child’s first introduction to stories, poems, fantasy and other worlds. The language of picture books is immensely important and must captivate the ear as the illustrations engage the eye. Through picture books children are learning the sounds of the language:…

View original post 948 more words

PB at the library 2

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.)

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Baby Leo loves the water, so his father takes him to swim class with the other toddlers.

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This is the story of the horse chestnut tree that stood outside the window of the factory where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during WWII.

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When Chuck brings his woodchuck to school,  his woodchuck helps him make friends with a girl named Caroline.

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A happy monster goes for a walk in the rain with his bunny friends.

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When disaster strikes, Samanthasaurus Rex uses her own unique skills to save her family from a fiery volcano.

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From the animals in the woods to neighbors in their homes, we all share our feelings.

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Climb aboard the spaceship with Zoey the chicken and her best pig, Sam, as they set off on an out-of-this-world adventure.

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What might be on the other side of the ocean–tall buildings, funny animals, pink houses, or someone just like you?

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When the other ladybugs make fun of Lucy because she has no spots, she sets off to find some very special spots of her own.

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Everybody tells her how dogs should be, but this girl knows better.

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Hector the bear just wants a bit of peace and quiet, but Hummingbird won’t stop talking.

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An interpretation of the lyrics to Bob Dylan’s 1970 song of the same name, reimagined to portray the love between parent and child.

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Fairies are all around us, and if you want to have one come to you, build a fairy house.

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After visiting the eye doctor, a near-sighted dog gets glasses.

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Join a rascally band of pirates as they swash buckle their way through the neighborhood.

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Title: Sloth the Lazy Dragon

Author: Regan W.H. Macaulay

Illustrator: Alex Zgud

Publisher/Year: Guardian Angel Publishing/2016

Back Cover Blurb: Sloth is a lazy and overweight dragon taking up space atop a hoard of gold and jewels within a mountain inhabited by dwarves. One dwarf helps Sloth lose weight through diet and exercise. The grateful dragon, now able to fly, leaves the dwarf and his people a special gift.


Radish the dwarf bravely and cautiously enters the cave where Sloth the fire-breathing dragon resides, surrounded by mounds of gold and precious gems. Radish is hopeful that Sloth won’t eat him and offers to help the portly dragon lose weight. Sloth is skeptical at first, wondering why the little fellow, so small he’s “hardly a mouthful”, would want to help him. But he’s keen to get in shape, so he accepts Radish’s offer. After three years of exercising and eating healthy, Sloth is ready to fly again.

Being a dragon fan, I was immediately drawn to this book. When I was much younger, I collected dragon figurines, along with other mythical creatures, such as winged horses and unicorns. Lore that features these fantastical beings continues to fascinate me. 

What I like most about Sloth the Lazy Dragon is that it’s not your typical “knight defeats evil dragon and rescues the princess and all the townsfolk” kind of story. Instead, we meet a chunky, overweight, can-barely-move dragon and a little dwarf who is willing to put his fear aside and help him. There’s no damsel in distress, but rather, a suffering dragon. There’s no weapon-wielding, white-horse-riding hero, but rather, a tiny man with a beard and a pointy cap…and oh yah, some free weights.

Through a clever story told with a captivating voice and filled with interesting words, like diminutive, atrophied, and dirigible, as well as enchanting and fun illustrations, this book, oh so subtly, relays the message that being active and eating nutritious foods is important for your health. Kids will eat this story up, no pun intended, because it will capture their imaginations. 

Favorite lines:

“Why do you not fly outside the mountain?” the dwarf asked anxiously.

“Use your eyes, little man,” the dragon snorted. “Can you not see my girth?”

I’m happy to share a DCL Actor’s Table Reading of The Peddler’s Bed, which was organized, recorded, and edited by Mr. Scott Mosher, Paralibrarian at the DeWitt Community Library. Thank you, Scott and the talented script readers!

Have 5 minutes? Have a Listen!

You will also find a link to this recording of The Peddler’s Bed on my Teacher’s Resources page along with a Reader’s Theater children’s recording of the book, and other fun stuff.

Also check out the DeWitt Community Library’s SoundCloud page for more Actor’s Table Readings and Reader’s Theater recordings.

PB at the library 2

I catalog hundreds of new picture books each year, and I read as many of them as I can. Unfortunately, I can’t review them all, but I can share them. Below are a few recent titles. (Summaries have been taken directly from the books whenever possible.)

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Big Duck thinks she is wiser than the others, but it’s Little Duck who proves he’s the wisest.

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When Maia’s best friend Nico moves away, a big hole is left in her life and in her heart.

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When Tokyo plants three seeds under the bricks in the city where he lives, magic blooms.

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After a young boy’s beloved dog dies, the boy makes friends with a stray he meets on the beach.

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Scruff the dog makes a remarkable discovery while digging for bones one day.

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A giant squid decides that he has all the right “qualifications” to be President Squid.

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Babysaurus has lost his mamasaurus and turns to his prehistoric friends to help find her.

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Ruby has red blocks and Benji has blue blocks. Will they learn to share and have twice as many blocks to play with?

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When Doris the gorilla is called a baby for having a blankie, she tries to disguise Frankie the Blankie rather than give him up.

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Pip the panda is reassured by his mother that no matter how big he grows, her love for him will continue to grow too.

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Everyone in the Ellis family is excellent, except Ed the dog, who is determined to find something at which he, too, can excel.

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Billy, a grumpy boy, finds the perfect pet in the grumpy section of the animal shelter.

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A little girl is worried that her friend, who has a perfect store bought doll house, will not like the one she made herself out of a cardboard box.

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Flora dances with her two new peacock friends.

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This is a field guide to the fierce but adorable grumpasaurus, found in every home where there are small children.

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Two young chicks train in the art of ninjutsu in order to rescue their parents from a hungry fox.

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Sophie doesn’t want to be friends with the kids at school, especially Steven, but over time she realizes that people who like the same things as you can be the very best of friends.

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Long ago, as the kingdom of Morocco grew, all the people forgot the dangers of the desert, and they forgot about the storytellers, too.

 

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