PB 14:14 Day Fourteen/Joone


Title: Joone

Author/Illustrator: Emily Kate Moon

Publisher: Dial Books

Year: 2013

Word Count: Approx. 325

Summary: Five-year-old Joone, who likes ice cream sandwiches and the colors orange and purple, lives in a yurt with her grandfather and pet turtle, Dr. Chin.

The book Joone is all about Character. So that’s the picture book element I’m going to discuss on the fourteenth and final day of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 blog challenge. It’s been a lot of fun reading, studying, and sharing fourteen picture books in fourteen days, and I sincerely hope Christie offers the challenge to us again next year.

Now on to the analysis of Joone. Right away, we get to know our title character Joone, who is telling us her story. Look at page one above. It reads, “My name is Joone. Some people spell it with a U. I spell it with a smiley face.” Through the text, we can already tell that Joone has a “happy”, and perhaps precocious, personality. Also, look at the turtle on her head. It’s another clue to her personality. This proves that Character can be shown through illustrations.

Throughout the story, Joone tells us about her life with her grandfather and her pet turtle, Dr. Chin. Her personality is constantly shown through her words and actions.

“Grandpa says it’s important to do things for other people. So, today, I’m organizing his books in rainbow order…”

I love that line and this one:

“Dr. Chin is my turtle. I got him last year when I was little.”

The interaction between Joone and her grandfather is both sweet and humorous:

She taught him how to make a daisy crown to wear on his head.

Sometimes she helps him fix the house. Sometimes she doesn’t.

She’s always busy doing something, to which Grandpa says, “Joone, I don’t know where you find the energy.”

To which Joone replies, “Grandpa, I don’t know either!”

Joone says that if she is good, she gets dessert. And if Grandpa is good, she reads him two bedtime stories.

Character really shines through in this story about a happy little girl and her loving grandfather.

PB 14:14 Day Thirteen/Big Bad Bunny and Day Twelve/Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit


Title: Big Bad Bunny

Author: Franny Billingsley

Illustrator: G. Brian Karas

Publisher: Atheneum Books

Year: 2008

Word Count: Approx. 400

Summary: When Baby Boo-Boo, a mouse dressed in a bunny suit, becomes lost in the forest, her mother follows the sound of her cries to locate her.

First, let me apologize for not getting a PB 14:14 blog challenge post completed for yesterday, day twelve. I was suffering from a migraine and needed to rest. I’m going to try to make up for it today, day thirteen, by posting two picture book analyses.

I’m going to start with Big Bad Bunny and the picture book element Pacing. I like how this book goes back and forth between Big Bad Bunny (aka Baby Boo-Boo) and Mama Mouse.

The story begins, “Big Bad Bunny has long sharp claws.” (page turn)

Scritch! Scritch! Scritch! (some onomatopoeia, then a page turn)

Then the focus shifts from Big Bad Bunny to Mama Mouse.

“But over in the Mouse House, everything is quiet. It’s naptime, and Mama Mouse tucks her babies into bed.” (page turn)

Then we shift back to Big Bad Bunny. On the left side of the two-page spread:

“Big Bad Bunny has pointy yellow teeth.”

Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! (more onomatopoeia)

On the right side of the spread, back to Mama Mouse:

“Mama Mouse kisses Little Tippy.”

We turn the page and it’s back to Big Bad Bunny on the left side of the spread, and then back to Mama Mouse on the right side of the spread. And so it continues through two more page turns, until Mama Mouse realizes that Baby Boo-Boo is missing and sets off to find her.

Then, Mama Mouse appears on the left side of the spread and Big Bad Bunny appears on the right. That pace continues through three page turns until Mama Mouse finds her Baby Boo-Boo who just happens to be Big Bad Bunny. Then the two characters appear together through the ten remaining pages as they retrace their steps back to the Mouse House.

It is difficult to explain Pacing through a blog post, so I hope what I wrote makes sense. Big Bad Bunny is a very good example of Pacing in a picture book, so I definitely recommend picking up a copy to study. The book is also filled with onomatopoeia:







And several more.


Title: Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit

Author/Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Year: 2012

Word Count: Approx. 700

Summary: Randy Riley, a science genius who loves baseball but is not very good at it, needs to use both his interests to save his town from a giant fireball that is heading their way.

Is there room for another example of spectacular Rhyme? I hope so because Chris Van Dusen is a master rhymer. He was able to write a 700-word picture book entirely in Rhyme. And it’s so good! It’s a real pleasure to read. Check out these stanzas from the beginning, middle, and end of the book:

(Near the beginning)

He studied all the planets.

He memorized their tilt.

He researched how the thrusters

on the rocket ships were built.

He knew the constellations

and the light-years to the stars.

And wouldn’t it be great, he thought,

to ride a bike on Mars?

(In the middle)

The robot needed power,

and Randy knew precisely

that ninety-seven batteries

would energize it nicely.

(Near the end)

Randy’s eye was on the ball.

No room for error now.

Three-two-one and FLIP THE SWITCH!

A SWOOSH and then…


Here are some of the rhyming pairs:































I’d love to give you more stanzas, but I really want you to read this book for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!

PB 14:14 Day Eleven/I Hate Picture Books


Title: I Hate Picture Books!

Author/Illustrator: Timothy Young

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing

Year: 2013

Word Count: Approx. 420

This is day eleven out of fourteen in Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 blog challenge. I’m having a ball reading, studying, and sharing all of these wonderful picture books with PB 14:14 participants and Frog on a Blog followers.

When I first came across this book online, I knew I had to read it. I  mean, come on, look at that title: I Hate Picture Books! As a picture book lover, I needed to satisfy my curiosity about a book with such a, well, with such an extreme title. I couldn’t fathom how anyone could hate picture books. Well, my library didn’t own a copy, so I asked Miss Jenny, the children’s librarian, if she would please purchase a copy, and she did. Now that I’ve read it (and love it, by the way), I want to share it.

I’ve chosen the picture book element Conflict to share today.

Right away, one page one, the story opens with Conflict. Max, the young star of the book says, “I hate picture books!” He goes on to say that he is throwing them all away because, “All they do is get me in trouble.”

After his mother read him a book about a kid with a purple crayon, he got in trouble for drawing on the wall.

When he was sent to his room without dinner, he wished a forest would grow and a boat would come take him away, but he was disappointed when NOTHING happened.

Things got worse when he found some green ham in the refrigerator and he ate it, and then he threw up. “I’d like to see them put that in a picture book!” (I love that line!)

Then he tells us about a book that has a baby bird in it that can’t find its mother. It made him cry so, “It was the first one I threw away.”

Here we come to the turning point in the story where Max hesitates, “Wait…I do love that book.”

Then he rushes to find it in the box full of picture books that he was going to throw away. And of course, he pulls out one book after another. He can’t throw any of them away. He loves them all.

The story ends with Max lying on the floor reading, and he’s surrounded by all of his glorious picture books.

I love, love, love, this book! It has humor. It has tons of references to beloved picture books. It has illustrations of many, many well-known picture book covers. And best of all, it has Picture Book Love. Yay!

You’ve gotta read this book!

PB 14:14 Day Ten/Cub’s Big World


Title: Cub’s Big World

Author: Sarah Thomson

Illustrator: Joe Cepeda

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

Year: 2013

Word Count: Approx. 330

For day ten of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 blog challenge, I will examine the element Theme. The themes presented in Cub’s Big World are curiosity, courage, and the comfort of home.

The story starts out telling us that Cub knew all about the world.

It was smooth and white and cool. Inside the world were Mom and Cub. And that was all.

Cub was happy inside this world that she knew. She felt safe and comfortable in the den with her mother, but things were about to get interesting.

Mom left the den and Cub “scrambled outside after her”. Cub had never seen the blue sky before or felt the cold wind. She was very curious, so she set off to explore.

Cub found a hill. Step by step by step, she went up and up and up. At the top she stopped and stared. The world was big, big, big!

Cub played in the snow for a while until she realized that Mom was nowhere to be seen. So after startling a raven, an ermine (short-tailed weasel), and a seal, because she thought they were Mom, she mustered up some courage and climbed another hill.

Cub was brave. She found another hill. Step by step by step, she went up and up and up. From here, she thought, I will see Mom.

Finally, Cub does find Mom. Or did Mom find Cub?

“Dear Cub,” said Mom. “The world is big. I’ll be close by till you’re big, too.”

And finally, on the last page, we come around full-circle to the comfort of home.

Mom’s fur was soft. Her voice was sweet. Her heart beat thump, thump, thump. “Home,” whispered Cub.

The illustrations in Cub’s Big World (done in oils and acrylics), are superb and complement the text perfectly. I especially like the picture of Cub rolling down the hill. This book is worth a look!

PB 14:14 Day Nine/Moonlight


Title: Moonlight

Author: Helen Griffith

Illustrator: Laura Dronzek

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Year: 2012

Word Count: Approx. 100

Summary: One cloudy night, after Rabbit goes into his burrow to sleep, the moon comes out, covering the countryside like butter and awakening Rabbit to come out and dance.

Moonlight is a beautiful rhyming picture book, but today I want to focus on the element of Word Play for my PB 14:14 blog challenge post. Moonlight is the perfect bedtime book with its dreamy illustrations and sweet, lyrical text. Here’s the opening line:

Rabbit hides in shadow

under cloudy skies

waiting for the moonlight

blinking sleepy eyes…

Isn’t that lovely?

Word Play is incorporated into the book through the use of Simile and Personification. Check out this exquisite line (my favorite in the whole book), in which the moonlight is compared to butter (Simile):

Moonlight slides like butter

skims through outer space

skids past stars and comets

leaves a butter trace…

We also get descriptive words that describe the moonlight’s actions as it makes its way to Rabbits burrow. These words make it seem like the moonlight is another character in the story (Personification):

slides (like butter)

skims (through outer space)

skids (past star and comets)

skips (along the mountainside)

sucks (at twigs and branches)







Moonlight is a stunning book and I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself. Maybe you will find other elements of Word Play that I missed.

PB 14:14 Day Eight/Love Monster


Title: Love Monster

Author/Illustrator: Rachel Bright

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux

Year: 2012

Word Count: 235

All this talk of monster stories has motivated me to choose a monster book for day eight of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 blog challenge, in which participants read, study, and share 14 picture books in 14 days.

The focus of this post will be on the important picture book element Plot. I wasn’t sure how to break down the plot of Love Monster, so I mozied on over to Christie’s blog, Write Wild, to see how she does it. Christie reminds us that there are five main parts to Plot: exposition, rising action (and conflict), climax, falling action, and resolution. And that Plot, Character, and Conflict all work together. So here’s my Plot analysis of Love Monster.

Exposition: Monster is funny-looking. He lives in a world of cute, fluffy things that everyone loves. No one loves Monster. Monster sets off to look for love.

Rising Action (and Conflict): Monster wanted to be loved, but no one loved him because he wasn’t cute and fluffy, so he set off to find someone who would love him just the way he is. “He looked high. He looked low. He looked middle-ish.” (I love that last line!) Then he thought he found what he was looking for, but he was wrong.

Climax: Things get worse. Monster gets caught in the rain. Then it gets dark outside, and scary.

Falling Action: Monster has lost all of his “oomph” and decides to give up and go home. So he waits at the bus stop for the bus.

Resolution: Monster meets a monster who is just like him. It’s the bus driver. And it’s love at first sight. “You see, sometimes, when you least expect it…love finds you.”

Even though Monster is described as “funny-looking” and “a-bit-googly-eyed”, I think he is absolutely adorable and definitely lovable. He has personality that shows, not only in the fantastic illustrations, but also through his actions. The reader might feel sorry for him because nobody loves him, but Monster is not the “moping-around sort”. Therefore, he set off in search of love.

Here are a few more interesting bits about Love Monster:

1. The author uses “direct address”, that is, the author speaks directly to the reader. On at least three separate occasions, the author used some form of the word “you” to address the reader:

  • “I think you’ll agree,…”
  • “You know, cute, fluffy things.”
  • “You see,…”

2. There are hearts scattered throughout the book, even inside letters. Nice touch!

3. The illustrations were created in a very unique way. Here’s what it says on the back jacket flap: “Love Monster was illustrated with a technique called solar etching, which uses ultraviolet light to create printing plates. So the monster in this book is , quite literally, made of sunshine.” Love it!


PB 14:14 Day Seven/Maya Was Grumpy


Title: Maya Was Grumpy

Author/Illustrator: Courtney Pippin-Mathur

Publisher: Flashlight Press

Year: 2013

Word Count: Approx. 300

Character is the picture book element of the day for Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 blog challenge. Maya, the star of Maya Was Grumpy, radiates character! The author, Courtney Pippin-Mathur, did an excellent  job bringing this little girl to life through text and illustrations.

The first line simply reads, “Maya was grumpy.” The accompanying illustration shows a young girl with big, wild hair and a scowl on her face. So already, on page one, we get a strong sense of Character.

The text on page two strengthens Character even more through the use of descriptive words:

She didn’t know why she was grumpy.

She was just in a crispy, cranky, grumpy, grouchy mood.

The words I put in bold type above were printed in bold in the book, along with several other descriptive words used in the story, such as:


bad mood











rolled (her eyes)

When her very patient grandmother manages to change Maya’s mood and begins to literally turn her frown upside-down about 2/3 of the way through the book, we see a change also in the descriptive words:






The story is awesome! I would tell you more details, but I really want you to read it. One thing I will tell you about though, because it is my absolute favorite part of the book, and probably what I would consider the strongest aspect of the book to show Character, is Maya’s hair. Her hair gives her character because her hair changes with her mood. It almost has a life of its own. It starts off big and wild, but as her mood gets worse, it gets even bigger and wilder.  Then later, as her mood improves, it begins to shrink and by the end of the story, we see a sweet, happy little girl with two curly ponytails.

We definitely get to know Maya and her personality through the wonderful text and super-colorful, super-amazing, full-page illustrations in Maya Was Grumpy!

PB 14:14 Day Six/Tadpole Rex


Title: Tadpole Rex

Author/Illustrator: Kurt Cyrus

Publisher: Harcourt

Year: 2008

Word Count: Approx. 400

Summary: A tiny primordial tadpole grows into a frog, feeling just as strong and powerful as the huge tyrannosaurus rex that stomps through the mud.

Rhyme is the picture book element I’m featuring today for the PB 14:14 blog challenge. I love rhyming picture books and wish I could write one too. My grandmother was a poet, so you’d think it would be in my genes, but although I love writing children’s stories (and feel I got my writing skills from my gram), the ability to write poetry and rhyme has continued to elude me.

Thankfully, there are authors like Kurt Cyrus who are masters at rhyming and show us how it’s done through their amazing picture books. Tadpole Rex is one such book. It is a rhyming story with nonfiction elements. Not only does the story flow beautifully and rhyme flawlessly as it follows the life of the tiny tadpole, it also introduces children to dinosaurs.

Check out this first line:

Deep in the goop of a long-ago swamp,

a whopping big dinosaur went for a stomp.

Now if that line doesn’t capture a child’s interest, I don’t know what will.

There’s also Word Play throughout the story, as the author uses onomatopoeia in conjunction with the rhyme. Check out this next line:

Stomp! went the dinosaur. Squish! went the goop.

Up came the bubbles-




Here are more fun onomatopoeic words used in the story:






Tadpole Rex is a lot of fun to read aloud. Here’s more of the glorious rhyme:

Gone are the dinosaurs. Gone are the stompers,

the rippers, the roarers, the bone-crunching chompers.

Gone are the dinosaurs, swept away…

But hoppers and croakers are here to stay.

PB 14:14 Day Five/Baby Penguins Everywhere!


Title: Baby Penguins Everywhere!

Author/Illustrator: Melissa Guion

Publisher: Philomel Books

Year: 2012

Word Count: Approx. 115

Summary: When a penguin finds a hat floating by, she discovers something inside…baby penguins!

The focus of today’s PB 14:14 blog challenge post is Pacing. Baby Penguins Everywhere! is an excellent example of a picture book that employs “page-turn” pacing. The author and designers of this book know how to split up a sentence so that it starts on one page and ends on the next, creating that magical “suspense” moment that urges the reader to turn the page. Here are the first two pages, a double-page spread, with text on one side and an illustration on the other:

The text reads, “Once there was a penguin…”

Now of course the reader will want to turn the page to find out more. Here’s the next double-page spread:

The sentence from the preceding page is finished in the text on the left side:

“…who was all alone.”

Then the text on the right side of the spread reads, “She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the sea and ice. Yet some days…”

As you can see, the sentence is split once again, causing the reader to turn the page. So on the next page (after the page turn) the sentence is completed: “…she felt lonely.”

This type of pacing is used quite effectively throughout the book. In some instances, half the sentence is on one side and half is on the other side of a double-page spread. And in one instance, a sentence is split and spread over three pages (four pages, if you count a page in between that has only a picture). The text on each page is very short and, in some instances, made even shorter by splitting the sentences. I could go on and on about it, so if you want to study pacing in a picture book, Baby Penguins Everywhere! is a super example.

PB 14:14 Day Four/Never Too Little to Love


Title: Never Too Little to Love

Author: Jeanne Willis

Illustrator: Jan Fearnley

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Year: 2005

Word Count: 290

Patterns is the picture book element I chose to focus on for day four of Christie Wright Wild’s PB 14:14 challenge. I could have posted about Never Too Little to Love back on day one, since that was Valentine’s Day and this book would be perfect for the occasion, but I figured love is a topic that can be discussed any day of the year.

Let’s start with a short summary of the story: Tiny Too-Little happens to love Topsy Too-Tall. He tries every thing he can think of to reach up and give her a kiss, but he’s just not tall enough. Topsy Too-Tall loves him too, so she figures out what to do.

This book is sweet and simple and uses a lot of repetition that very young children will enjoy. The back cover states that it is for ages 1 and up. The repetition is what creates the pattern, but it’s created in a unique way. The book has over-lapping pages that get smaller as the story progresses. It’s hard to explain, so I took a couple of photos to illustrate the point.


You can see (hopefully) from the photos that the pages overlap and move up the left side of the book. This allows the text from the previous page to fall under the new text and be re-read in a specific order. It also allows the tower on the right side of the book to get taller and taller.

So, we know that Tiny Too-Little wants to reach up and give Topsy Too-Tall a kiss, but he can’t reach. Here’s what happens next as it appears in the story:

But he’s far too little, even on tiptoes…

on a thimble.

He’s too little, even on tiptoes

on a matchbox,

on a thimble.

He’s too little, even on tiptoes

on a watermelon,

on a matchbox,

on a thimble.

He’s too little, even on tiptoes

on a teacup,

on a watermelon,

on a matchbox,

on a thimble.

And so it continues with a cabbage, a candle, a clock, a cupcake, and stilts, until everything comes crashing down. Then Topsy Too-Tall decides she will bend down and give him a kiss instead.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the giraffe is a pop-up. So when you open to that page, she literally bends down to give the little mouse a kiss. It’s super sweet.

PB 14:14 Day Three/Small, Medium, & Large


Title: Small, Medium & Large

Author/Illustrator: Jane Monroe Donovan

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Year: 2010

Word Count: 68

It’s day three of PB 14:14 and today I’ve chosen another book from my personal collection. This one is called Small, Medium & Large, and it is virtually wordless. The only words in the story are the words in a young girl’s letters to Santa Clause. Even though it is technically a Christmas book, it is so much more.

For the purposes of the PB 14:14 challenge, I want to discuss Beginnings and Endings first. The story begins with a letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

How are you? How are the reindeer? I hope you can find our new house. I don’t need any new toys this year but…

We don’t get to see the rest of the letter, but through the illustrations we follow the girl as she mails the letter, decorates the house for Christmas, and comes downstairs on Christmas morning to find three presents waiting for her under the tree. As she opens the small box, out pops a cat. In the medium box, she discovers a dog. And in the large box, she finds a pony.

I want to stop here for a moment to mention how absolutely gorgeous the illustrations are throughout the book, which was the main reason I purchased the book in the first place.

Now, back to the story. The book continues to follow the little girl as she spends the rest of the day with her three new friends. They eat breakfast, play in the snow, make cookies, and hang out in front of the fireplace together.

The story ends with another letter to Santa:

Dear Santa,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for my new best friends. Happy New Year!

Love, Sammy

P.S. Next Christmas, could you please bring a new bone, some carrots, and a toy mouse?

Thus the story begins and ends with a letter, which gives us a sense of closure.

I also want to mention the themes of loneliness and friendship. The little girl, Sammy, is clearly an only child and as her first letter tells us, she just moved to a new house, so we get the sense that she has no friends yet. Even though the letter doesn’t state what she asks Santa for, it is obvious that she wants a friend. It is interesting to note that her parents do not appear at all in the book, which just adds to the feeling of loneliness and quietness at the beginning.

That brings me to another point about Beginnings and Endings. The book starts off very quiet before her new friends arrive, but it also ends very quiet with the last illustration: Sammy and her three animal friends all snug together in her bed asleep, even the pony.

PB 14:14 Day Two/Oh! What a Surprise!

Title: Oh! What a Surprise!

Author/Illustrator: Suzanne Bloom

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press

Year: 2012

Word Count: Approx. 160        

Author Suzanne Bloom is amazing. She managed to pack so much fun into her book Oh! What a Surprise! and it’s just 160 words long! Of course, I think it helps to also be the illustrator because you will know exactly how much of the story you want to convey through the pictures. I own this book and I love all of Suzanne Bloom’s “Goose and Bear” books. I highly recommend them all. You may have heard of A Splendid Friend Indeed (2005), which I believe was the first in the series, and is a Theodor Seuss Geisel honor book.

I could have chosen Character as the top picture book element in today’s PB 14:14 challenge post about Oh! What a Surprise!, as the little fox character easily steals the show and is just so darn adorable. But I decided to go with Dialogue because the entire story is told through dialogue. That’s right, the entire story is told through the dialogue of our three sweet friends, Goose, Bear, and Fox, although, Fox does most of the talking.

In a lot of stories, I don’t think this would work, but in Oh! What a Surprise! it does. The interaction between the characters is flawless. Bear and Goose have the patience of saints when it comes to dealing with their rambunctious friend Fox. Here’s some of the wonderful dialogue:

Fox: I love surprises! Can I see? Can I help? Is it for me? If it’s for me, it’s too long!

Bear: It’s not for you.

Fox: Oh. That’s OK.


Fox: Is it for Goose? Goose doesn’t like surprises. Besides, Goose is busy.


Fox: Goose is making something. Maybe that’s for me. I’ll go see.

The dialogue and illustrations truly go hand in hand as you can see the wonderful expressions on Fox’s face: dismay, sadness, joy, and even matter-of-factness (is that a word?) when he informs Bear that Goose doesn’t like surprises and is busy.

Oh! What a Surprise! is a great example for studying dialogue use in picture books.  


PB 14:14 Day One/Bears on Chairs

Title: Bears on Chairs

Author: Shirley Parenteau

Illustrator: David Walker

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Year: 2009

Word Count: Approx. 275

Christie Wright Wild’s Picture Books 14:14 starts today, in which participants read, study, and share one picture book a day for 14 days. Click the PB 14:14 logo above for more information.

Though I have reviewed many picture books, this is my first attempt at actually analyzing one. (Christie, feel free to grade me on this.) Bears on Chairs contains many of the Top Ten Story Elements for Picture Books, including rhyme, pattern, word play, and theme. But this post’s focus will be on Conflict.

The story starts off just fine. There are four chairs and four bears. All is well for about 1/3 of the story. “Four happy bears on four small chairs. Not a bear has to share.” The conflict begins when a fifth bear shows up. And guess what, he wants a chair too. “What a stare from Big Brown Bear. That big bear wants a chair.”

Now our four original bears have to decide what to do. Do they care? Will they share? Yes. Three attempts are made to accommodate Big Brown Bear so that he can sit down too. Sharing one chair doesn’t work. It’s not big enough for two bears. Sharing two chairs doesn’t work either. It’s not big enough for three bears. But, of course, the last try works and all five bears share one long chair, thus ending the conflict and the story.

I must mention that you can clearly see the theme in this story: sharing.

Bears on Chairs is deceptively simple. I think that’s what makes it such a good example of a picture book.