Tag Archives: picture books

All Through My Town by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Leo Timmers

Today Biblio Links welcomes prolific picture book author Jean Reidy! Jean’s picture books are full of rhythm, rhyme, and fun–perfect for sharing with young and emerging readers. Her latest–and sixth!–picture book, All Through My Town, was released earlier this year to rave reviews.

Here’s the summary from the publisher’s website:

Town_cover

Rising, waking
Bread is baking

School bus honks its horn

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Perfect for the pre-K set, this adorable rhyming text takes a walking tour of your community. The fresh modern art of Leo Timmers features hidden details and a perennial theme reminiscent of Richard Scarry. Little ones will beg to re-read again as they discover the characters who repeat throughout the art in this sweet and vibrant story.

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All Through the Town is a fun, rollicking romp through a fictitious town from a toddler’s point of view. The take-away here is that everyone counts–we all play a role in making our communities hum like a well-oiled machine. The text rolls off the tongue–perfect for reading aloud. Publishers Weekly calls the illustrations “…an undeniable feast for the eyes,” and a feast it is from cover to cover.
Here’s what Jean had to say about using All Through My Town in the classroom.
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-2-3Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of All Through My Town. Who is this child?

Jean Reidy:  It’s a kid who is insanely curious, who loves to explore, fully engage and interact with a book, and who will spend gobs of time studying the illustrations. That kid might be one who demands rereads during which new details, discoveries and self-referential moments are revealed and reveled in. It may be a kid who is just on the brink of reading. He’s ready to proudly recite the text, aided by the rhythm and rhyme pattern. Finally, it’s a kid who devours all thing busy (think fans of Richard Scarry) – sites, sounds, vehicles – a kid who is possibly even wearing a beloved fire chief hat.
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Biblio Links: I love that there’s so much to discover in this book! The illustrations invite us to take a second look (and third, and fourth…) and the text is so catchy that even pre-readers will be reciting the text after a few read-alouds.
If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using All Through My Town in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
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Jean Reidy:  You might find kids dressed as community helpers and performing jobs in a classroom make-believe town, complete with a post office, library and grocery story. The class could be playing community helper Bingo or make-a-match with rhyming words or acting out the many action verbs used in the story. Students might be performing an oral reading – with the honking, beeping, shrieking, ringing, city sounds – as well as rapping with the rhyme, rhythm and repetition in the book. Or you might find a fireman or policeman visiting as a special guest speaking to the kids about safety. The class may even be “out” of the classroom, touring a local bakery or library or touring their own neighborhood and then drawing neighborhood maps. Many, many more ideas for use in the classroom can be found in my free downloadable teacher’s guide here

Biblio Links: The teacher’s guide really is amazing–so many activities to choose from! It also includes author and illustrator interviews, which are great for classrooms who do author/illustrator studies.  
Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
 

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Jean!

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The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication Date: March 2013

ISBN: 978-1619630291

Interest Level: 3-6 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

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The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck by Laura Murray, illustrated by Mike Lowery

Today Biblio Links welcomes picture book author Laura Murray! 

Full disclosure: I had the pleasure of creating curriculum guides for each of these delightful books. Both stories are twists on the traditional gingerbread tale.

Here are the summaries from the publisher’s website:

gbm-coverThe Gingerbread Man Loose in the School:   When a class leaves for recess, their just-baked Gingerbread Man is left behind. But he’s a smart cookie and heads out to find them. He’ll run, slide, skip, and (after a mishap with a soccer ball) limp as fast as he can because: “I can catch them! I’m their Gingerbread Man!”

With help from the gym teacher, the nurse, the art teacher and even the principal, the Gingerbread Man does find his class, and he’s assured they’ll never leave him behind again.

Teachers often use the Gingerbread Man story to introduce new students to the geography and staff of schools, and this fresh, funny twist on the original can be used all year long. Includes a poster with fun activities!

GB cover 10.1.12The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck:   Guess who gets to go along on a field trip to the firehouse? The Gingerbread Man! But when he falls out of his classmate’s pocket, Spot the Dalmatian comes sniffing around. Luckily, this Gingerbread Man is one smart cookie, and he races into the fire truck, up the pole, and all through the station, staying one step ahead of the hungry dog the whole time.

Then an emergency call comes in and the Gingerbread Man knows just what to do:
“I’ll ride to the rescue, as fast as I can.
I want to help, too! I’m the Gingerbread Man!”
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With snappy rhymes and fresh illustrations, the Gingerbread Man makes a sweet return in his second school adventure. Includes a poster with fire safety tips and activities.
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I adore both of these books, and so do kids. Laura Murray’s rhyme is spot-on, making it a flowing, fun read-aloud. In both books, the gingerbread man isn’t running away from anyone (well, except for a brief sprint from the fire house Dalmatian)–he’s running to  his friends, the kids who made  him in their classroom, befriended him, and then lost track of him.  Mike Lowery’s illustrations are just as appealing as the text–bright, cheery and comic-book-like with speech bubbles galore.
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Here’s what Laura had to say about using these fun titles in the classroom.

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Biblio Links: A student or teacher walks into my library and I think: That person needs a copy of one of Laura Murray’s Gingerbread Man books. Who is this person?

Laura Murray:  This kid loves adventure and a good giggle, or field trips, fire trucks, and fire fighters. These books are for every kid who ever felt nervous on the first day of school, or who longed to be accepted; who wants to be a helper and a hero, or who likes comic-book/ graphic novel-like pictures.Or possibly a teacher who is looking for a fun way to  introduce his/her students to the school and staff – by chasing the Gingerbread man through the school, or who simply wants a fresh, funny take on the traditional story to highlight his/her Holiday unit. Maybe this teacher or librarian wants to complement  a fire safety or community helpers unit by giving his/her students an adventurous tour of the fire station (via the GB Man) during October Fire Prevention Week. 
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Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using one of your books in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
 

Laura Murray:  Being a former teacher myself, I wanted to incorporate lots of fun curriculum tie-ins within these books. Teachers can find printables and standards- based activities here.  These are just a few of the lessons that you might see:* Math – Gingerbread-related measuring and estimation* Science – A five senses lessons while making gingerbread; Properties of the ingredients and batter  (and kids who are very excited that they might get to taste a cookie!)* Language Arts – Comparing/contrasting the many versions of the GB Man story; Identifying story elements, structure, story event sequencing; Identifying (and chiming in on) rhyming words

* Life Skills – Fire Prevention and Safety Rules; How to navigate your school

* Social Studies –  Community helpers; Map skills in the school and community

 
Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
 
Laura Murray:  Please feel free to visit my website at www.LauraMurrayBooks.com for loads of activities, printouts, and standards /common core-linked teacher’s guides, as well as information about school author presentations.Here’s  The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School’s book trailer. Fun just to watch or to practice skills like story prediction, sequencing, compare/contrast, and retelling. Enjoy!  

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Laura!

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The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here and here.

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Publication Dates: The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School (July 2011);   The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck (July 2013)

ISBN-13: 978-0399250521 (The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School)

ISBN-13: 978-0399257797 (The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck)

Interest Level: 5-8 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Monkey Ono, written and illustrated by J.C. Phillipps

Today Biblio Links welcomes back the funny and talented author/illustrator J.C. Phillips

Photograph by Phyllis Meredith Photography
Photograph by Phyllis Meredith Photography

 I interviewed J.C. last year about her Wink the Ninja picture books, both favorites in my school library.

Her latest book, Monkey Ono,  came out this summer, just in time for beach day, and it’s officially my 7-year-old son’s favorite book. His first grade class had a Beach Day at their school, and he slipped Monkey Ono into his backpack. His teacher read it to an enthusiastic audience of newly-minted Monkey Ono fans.

Here’s the summary from J.C. Phillipps’ website:

Monkey Ono is not exactly a real monkey, but he really, really wants to go to the beach! So when Beach Day arrives, and the children who own him forget the bag he’s in, Monkey Ono does not take this lying down, like most stuffed animals would. Oh no, he’s got a plan. In fact he’s got many, many plans. From riding the family dog to ricocheting through the sky to diving down the water pipes. All end with hilarious results, but not exactly according to plan. Will Monkey Ono ever get to the beach?? Only if the beach comes to him…

Monkey Ono

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of MONKEY ONO. Who is this kid?

 
J.C. Phillipps: The ideal Monkey Ono reader is a child who is determined, tenacious, and thinks out of the box.  He or she loves to laugh and thinks toilets and underwear are hilarious.  A love of silly stuffed monkeys and catch-phrases is a bonus.
 
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?
 
J.C. Phillipps: Monkey Ono is a great story for teaching students how to write simple plot-lines.  The character Monkey Ono is introduced along with a clear goal: Monkey Ono wants a beach day.  Monkey Ono makes a choice to reach his goal and meets an obstacle.  Monkey Ono makes another choice and meets another obstacle.   This keeps going until Monkey Ono achieves his goal.  He is always focused on a singular goal – so it’s very stream-lined.   It’s a  straight-forward, linear story with a clear external character objective.
 
Biblio Links: I’ll also add that Monkey Ono uses both pictures and words to make his plans; a perfect springboard for pre-writers to draw up their own sequenced plans for fun.  
 
Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  
 
J.C. Phillipps: Oh my goodness.  There are sooo many social media outlets now.  I think the best places to find out more about me and my books are my website (www.jcphillipps.com) and my blog (www.ninjawoman.blogspot.com).

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Julie!

Teachers and librarians, go to this link for a virtual tour  of J.C.’s studio, here for extra activities for your students, and here to check out J.C.’s art on Teacher Pay Teachers.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Publication Date: March 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0670785056

Interest Level: 3-8 years

Number of Pages: 40

The Tiptoe Guide series, written by Ammi-Joan Paquette

Today Biblio Links welcomes prolific author Ammi-Joan Paquette!

Joan’s first book The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, was published last year. She followed that picture book with a lovely middle grade novel, Nowhere Girl  and now she celebrates the release of her second Tiptoe book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids.

And that’s not all…Joan has several more picture books under contract as well as a young adult novel. Needless to say, this isn’t the last we’ll see of Joan here on BiblioLinks!

My own children and students love the whimsical Tiptoe books. These books are beautifully illustrated, poetic invitations to explore the world around us, whether it be our own backyards or our imaginations. They are meant to be shared with a child.

I asked Joan to tell us how her books fit into the classroom.

BiblioLinks:  A student walks into my library and I think, That kid needs a copy of THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING MERMAIDS or THE TIPTOE GUIDE TO TRACKING FAIRIES. Who is this kid?

Joan: This kid is one who loves nature, enjoys spending time in the outdoors, and would go barefoot every day if allowed. This child might have a leaf collection in his or her room, might press wildflowers between the pages of the big dictionary, and comes back from walks with pockets full of interestingly-shaped rocks. These books are also for the child who loves magic, who is open to seeing the possibilities in the mundane everyday; the child who still believes, who keeps her sense of wonder. It’s for any child who has ever strapped on wings and wished she could fly.

BiblioLinks: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using the Tiptoe  books in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

 Joan: I see the TIPTOE GUIDES as a springboard into the natural world. In these days of overabundant electronics, when everything around is beeping and buzzing and whirring, I see these books as a window into the magical world that lies just outside the front door. Not only for use at recess and free play, however, there are many classroom applications—from plant life studies, to animal habitats, to planning a nature collection, and more.

 BiblioLinks: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

 Joan: You can visit me at my website, ammijoanpaquette.com, and  you can also stop by the publisher’s website atwww.tanglewoodbooks.com

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Joan!

Teachers and librarians, click here for glowing reviews. For a peek inside Mermaids, click here, and these links give you a peek into Fairies. Click here for a curriculum guide to using Fairies with students.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Tanglewood Press

Publication Dates: September, 2011 and February 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1933718507–The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies

ISBN-13: 978-1933718590–The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Mermaids

Interest Level: 3-8 years

Number of Pages: 32

Wink the Ninja series, written and illustrated by J.C. Phillipps

Today Biblio Links welcomes the amazingly talented author and illustrator 

J.C. Phillips!

 Julie’s picture books Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed and Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to Nap, are two books that my students beeline for in the library and that my own kids ask me to read night after night.

I asked Julie, writer and artist extraordinaire, how her books fit into the classroom.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, That kid needs a WINK book . Who is this kid?

J.C. Phillipps: That kid is the one who you may need to ask to be quiet during your library presentation.  That kid always raises their hands when a question comes up, because he/she always has something to say.  That kid loves to make people laugh, and really enjoys a good joke.  Also, that kid may be in karate class.  (Karate kids love ninja books.)

Biblio Links: I know just the kids you’re talking about! I’d also add that it’s for the kid who marches to the beat of a different drum, just as Wink does.

If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

J.C. Phillipps: Because the book is set in Japan, the teacher might be doing a cutural unit about that country.  Although there are no real ninja schools in Japan – to my knowledge – I did do a lot of research about Japanese culture, architecture, and landscapes.  In the very first two-page spread of the book, I littered the stone wall with Japanese posters.  That could be a starting point to learn about Kabuki theater or the raging popularity of Sumo wrestling.  Students could look at Master Zutus and learn about a traditional Japanese kimono.  I did research to design Grandmother’s sitting room.  Perhaps the teacher is asking the students to look at Grandmother’s room and compare and contrast it to the things they find in their own homes.

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

J.C. Phillipps: I have a webpage, www.jcphillipps.com, where people can learn a little about me, see some of my other art in my gallery, see a stop-motion animation book trailer for Wink, The Ninja who Wanted to Nap, or see a short video on my studio.

I also keep a regular blog at www.ninajwoman.blogspot.com.  My blog is a very casual place where I discuss projects that I’m working on, school visits, knitting, paintings, or things my kid is up to.  If you want to get a sense of who I am and what I spend my time doing, my blog is a great place to go.

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Julie!

Teachers and librarians, go to this link to see how Julie turns kids into ninja masters with some paper, scissors and glue, and click here for the curriculum guide.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Viking

Publication Dates: March, 2009 and March 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0670010929–Wink the Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed

ISBN-13: 978-0670011926–Wink the Ninja Who Wanted to Nap

Interest Level: 3-8 years

Number of Pages: 40

Brothers At Bat by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Steven Salerno

Today Biblio Links welcomes back author Audrey Vernick!

Her latest picture book, Brothers At Bat, releases into the world today. Here’s the blurb from Houghton Mifflin:

The Acerra family had sixteen children, including twelve ball-playing boys. It was the 1930s, and many families had lots of kids. But only one had enough to field a baseball team . . . with three on the bench! The Acerras were the longest-playing all-brother team in baseball history. They loved the game, but more important, they cared for
and supported each other and stayed together as a team. Nothing life threw their way could stop them. Full of action, drama, and excitement, this never-before-told true story is vividly brought to life by Audrey Vernick’s expert storytelling and Steven Salerno’s stunning vintage-style art.

I can’t help opening my review of Brothers At Bat with these words from Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr.:

“I was lucky to play in the big leagues with my brother as a teammate and my dad as our manager. It was a very special time. The story of the Acerra brothers brought those memories back. It is a wonderful illustration of what a great game baseball is and how it brings families together on many different levels. BROTHERS AT BAT is a story any baseball fan will enjoy and one that we all should know.”

I love, love, love picture books that have layers that allow me to differentiate for kids of different ages. On the surface, this is a baseball book, a book about teamwork and family and making it through tough times with the support of people who love you–which would be more than enough for one lesson plan. But I can also branch off and discuss some of the deeper issues with older kids, like World War II (six Acerra brothers went off to fight and all came home), roles of women (the four Acerra sisters didn’t play baseball) and the age of modern technology (When the family is honored at the 1939 World Fair for being the largest family in New Jersey, they flew on an airplane for the very first time).

Like any picture book worth its salt, the illustrations add another layer to the story, and Steven Salerno’s art does this spectacularly. The retro-style art gives readers a feel for the setting–both time and place. Primary students everywhere learn about “Then and Now” in Social Studies, and this book is stuffed full of things that kids could reference when comparing the first half of the 20th century with how we live now–including cars, clothing, and, yes, even  outhouses.

I asked Audrey about how kids might connect with Brothers At Bat.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, That kid needs a copy of Brothers At Bat. Who is this kid?

Audrey Vernick: This kid might think he doesn’t like to read, because he’s really into sports. Or maybe it’s a kid who thinks history is boring. It might also be a child from a big family or an only child who wonders what it would be like to have more than a dozen siblings.

Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Audrey Vernick: If you happened to walk in at the time all the characters are introduced, you might see some chins on the ground from the jaw-dropping fact that this family had sixteen children.

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?

Audrey Vernick: There’s more information on my website,

www.audreyvernick.com and blog
http://literaryfriendships.wordpress.com/

Coming soon to the website: Discussion guide AND video clip of the Acerra brothers playing baseball!!

My BROTHERS AT BAT appearances include these big-ticket stops:

3/31 Books of Wonder, NYC,  with illustrator Steven Salerno (part of panel discussion on baseball books)
4/12 Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY, 1 PM talk followed by book-signing
6/9 Eric Carle Museum, Amherst, MA, Children’s Book Festival: Baseball Bonanza

Thanks for stopping by, Audrey!

Thanks so much, Natalie!!

 Check out Audrey’s other picture books, Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? and Teach Your Buffalo To Play The Drums, picture book biography She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story and middle grade novel Water Balloon.

Click here for home run  reviews (including THREE starred reviews!) of Brothers At Bat.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Clarion Book (Houghton Mifflin)

Publication Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN-10: 0547385579

ISBN-13: 978-0547385579

Interest Level: Ages 4 and up

Number of Pages: 40

My Very (Un) Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

Today Biblio Links welcomes author Anna Staniszewski!

Jacket Summary: Is your magical kingdom falling apart? Twelve-year-old Jenny is on the case, whether she likes it or not. Saving the world might sound exciting, but for Jenny it’s starting to get old — even staying in the real world long enough to take a math test would be a dream come true! And when you throw in bloodthirsty unicorns, psychotic clowns, and the most useless gnome sidekick ever, Jenny decides that enough is enough. She’s leaving the adventuring business and not looking back. Or…is she?

As I read this book, I immediately thought of a dozen kids I wanted to hand it to. The Upper Elementary/Middle School years are rife with friendship drama, and Jenny, the book’s main character, handles her BFF mass exodus in a way that made me both want to hug and cheer for her. Missing her parents, Jenny has to figure out how to get along with her kooky but lovable Aunt Evie, which will resonate with many of my students who live with extended family members. And last but not least, I have a group of 5th grade girls who come into my library asking (in a whisper, of course) for books with some romance. Jenny is the daring damsel and Prince Lamb is the monarch-in-distress, and there are moments when a few cupid-shaped sparks fly–not enough to scare away boy readers, mind you, but just enough to put stars in the eyes of the girl readers who whisper their way into my library. A delightful read!

I asked Anna how her book fits into the classroom.

Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think, “That kid needs a copy of MY VERY (UN)FAIRY TALE LIFE.” Who is this kid?
Anna Staniszewski: This student is a girl (or a boy–yes, my book is also okay for boys!) who loves to laugh, enjoys magical adventures, has an interest in fairy tales, and is an avid mini-golf player.
Biblio Links: If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using your book in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see?

Anna Staniszewski: I imagine a lesson on how fairy tales keep changing and evolving. A tale that inspired me as I was writing MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE was “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” which is one of the very few traditional tales that features a heroine who must rescue her prince. I used that idea and ran with it in my story. It would be interesting to have students think about the trends we see in traditional fairy tales and how those trends have changed (or not changed) as writers continue to re-imagine familiar tales.

Biblio Links: Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?
Anna Staniszewski: Swing by my website! (www.annastan.com) You can read the first chapter of my book, watch the book trailer, and download a free teacher’s guide (created by the fabulous Natalie Lorenzi herself). You’ll also get info on the UNFAIRY TALE sequels!

Thanks for stopping by, Anna!

Click Anna’s link above to read the magical reviews of My Very (Un) Fairy Tale Life.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Publication Date: November 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 9781402259463 (paperback)

Interest Level: Ages 9-12

Reading Level: 4.5

Number of Pages: 198