Egg

  • Title: Egg
  • Author: Kevin Henkes
  • Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Children’s Books
  • Publication year: 2017
  • Brief Summary: From HarperCollins-“This masterful and stylistically original picture book introduces young children to four eggs. One is blue, one is pink, one is yellow, and one is green. Three of the eggs hatch, revealing three baby birds who fly away. But the green egg does not hatch. Why not? When the three birds return to investigate, they’re in for a big surprise! What will happen next? With a compelling mix of comic-like panels, wordless pages and spreads, and a short text featuring word repetition, surprise, and suspense, Egg is an ideal book for emergent readers, as well as for sharing in a group.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I found this lesson plan on HarperCollins website that discusses how children can locate and assimilate synonyms, and how to evaluate feelings.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – Much like in Waiting, I found Henkes’s pastel colored illustrations perfect for young children. He only uses pale yellow, pink, blue and green. I think my favorite set of illustrations are a full page of the spring-colored birds hoping onto the back of the alligator and settling in, and we see the alligator begin to smile.

The Lazy Bear

  • Title: The Lazy Bear
  • Author: Brian Wildsmith
  • Illustrator: Brian Wildsmith
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace
  • Publication year: 1973
  • Brief Summary: From Amazon-“A normally thoughtful bear becomes lazy and downright unkind after he discovers a wagon to play with.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I think much like some of the other books I have covered, this would have merit as a teaching lesson. This books shows consequences of one’s actions, which is important for children to learn. However, again, the year of publication on this makes me wonder if it would be circulating in a school library.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I really loved the bright illustrations by Wildsmith. I liked the flowers and foliage that acts as a constant background.

The Lion & The Mouse

  • Title: The Lion & The Mouse
  • Author: Jerry Pinkney
  • Illustrator: Jerry Pinkney
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication year: 2009
  • Brief Summary: From Little, Brown and Company-“In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney’s wordless adaptation of one of Aesop’s most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he’d planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher’s trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I liked this version of an old Aesop fable and I think this version could be used in the classroom as children learn the “traditional” folk tales. I found this great discussion guide from Hachette Book Group to use with children after they have read this.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I was intrigued about reading this book when it was mentioned in class. I loved Pinkney’s choice of using onomatopoeia instead of words for this book. I think it allows children the opportunity to think about the story they are seeing and to make their own assumptions.

The Story of Ferdinand

  • Title: The Story of Ferdinand
  • Author: Munro Leaf
  • Illustrator: Robert Lawson
  • Publisher: Viking Press. New edition published in 2011 by Viking, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication year: 1936
  • Brief Summary: From Penguin Random House-“All the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights. Ferdinand, on the other hand, would rather sit and smell the flowers. So what will happen when Ferdinand is picked for the bullfights in Madrid?”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – As with so many of these “classic” picture books, the older publication date of 1936 would probably eliminate this in a school library. However, I could see this still be being in a public library, as I did see Millions of Cats still in circulation in the children’s section at one of my local libraries. If this book were still being used in a school library, I think one of the most interesting facets is that this book was banned and burned in Nazi Germany because of it’s “subversive” message of nonviolence and pacifism. Indeed, M That alone could tie this book into a historical discussion of Nazism, WWII and the many facets of that terrible time in history. Or on the other side, this book could be looked at in English classes for the difference of author’s intentions to audiences interpretations. Take this The New Yorker article on how Munro thought he had simply wrote a book that “I thought was for children, but now I don’t know.” For these reasons, this book could be used for older readers.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – I was initially intrigued to read this when I had saw it on some other picture book sites and under “classic” picture books. I do think the humor in this book is the irony that a big, strong bull is uninterested in fighting like his friends, and instead only wants to stop and smell the flowers. Many of Lawson’s illustrations bring into existence the humor inherent in the book and ultimately bring more to Leaf’s story. My favorite illustration is of Ferdinand, hesitantly peeking around the corner of the entrance to the arena. However, like many books written before the 20th or 21st century, there is the problem that two white men wrote a book with elements of a culture that neither was privy to.

Pokko and the Drum

  • Title: Pokko and the Drum
  • Author: Matthew Forsythe
  • Illustrator: Matthew Forsythe
  • Publisher: A Paula Wiseman Book, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
  • Publication year: 2019
  • Brief Summary: From Simon & Schuster-“The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I don’t know if this could be used for any sort of curriculum, but I do think this book has humor (much like Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back) that children could appreciate and learn from. In this School Library Journal article from Elizabeth Bird, she mentions that this book can be looked at as a “female leader” book, and I think this is a refreshing take on this book.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I really like Forsythe’s subtly colored illustrations. I like the use of building tension when turning the page, as when Pokko has to go to into the quiet forest, and realizes it’s far too quiet to not play her drums. I think the humor in this book makes this a standout from other animal picture books. I also wanted to include this short video from The Horn Book where our professor is presenting Forsythe with the 2020 Boston-Horn Book Honor Award for Picture Book.

Bear Came Along

  • Title: Bear Came Along
  • Author: Richard T. Morris
  • Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication year: 2019
  • Brief Summary: From Little, Brown and Company– “Once there was a river flowing through a forest. The river didn’t know it was capable of adventures until a big bear came along. But adventures aren’t any fun by yourself, and so enters Froggy, Turtles, Beaver, Racoons, and Duck. These very different animals take off downstream, but they didn’t know they needed one another until thankfully, the river came along.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – I think this book could be used to teach children about teamwork, working through our differences and finding a common mission. I think this book would be great for young children.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – I thought the layout of this book was interesting, as it helped the pace of this book when reading aloud. Many of the illustrations are broken with text on top and in between. Each “until” in the book is bolded and in a slightly different font which puts more emphasis on the word. I really thought the author and illustrator’s notes in the back of the book, adds to the overall theme and message the book is trying to achieve. Out of many of the animal picture books I’ve read, I think this one (while simple) may be the favorite.

Antoinette

  • Title: Antoinette
  • Author: Kelly DiPucchio
  • Illustrator: Christian Robinson
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
  • Publication year: 2017
  • Brief Summary: From Simon & Schuster-“Meet Gaston’s friend Antoinette! Antoinette—a very special poodle—learns to follow her heart and be herself in this charming companion to Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson’s beloved Gaston. Antoinette’s three burly brothers each have a special talent. Rocky is clever. Ricky is fast! And Bruno is STRONG. Mrs. Bulldog reassures Antoinette that there is something extra special about her—but Antoinette is not so sure. Then one day, while Antoinette plays in the park with her friend Gaston, Gaston’s sister Ooh-La-La goes missing. Antoinette feels a tug in her heart and a twitch in her nose. She must find Ooh-La-La. She will not give up! Can Antoinette rescue the puppy in peril—and discover what makes her extra special along the way?”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I found this article from Jodi Durgan’s blog about how to use this in the classroom, including identifying the message of the story, thinking about word choice, and understanding character analysis.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –Much like in Gaston, I enjoyed Robinson’s line drawings that are full of action, and pair well with the text. Both Gaston and Antoinette would make great reads for kindergarteners.

Who Is the Beast?

  • Title: Who Is the Beast?
  • Author: Keith Baker
  • Illustrator: Keith Baker
  • Publisher: Voyager, Harcourt Brace & Company
  • Publication year: 1990
  • Brief Summary: From Houghton Mifflin-“A friendly tiger is confused by jungle animals fleeing from a beast, until he discovers he is the beast!”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –I found another great discussion guide from The Prindle Institute for the Ethics concerning the nature of fear, and what we call a beast. I do believe this would be great for younger children.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I think the two-page layouts of very colorful illustrations grab the reader’s attention. I enjoyed the twist in the book, that the tiger was afraid of all of these other, smaller animals, but of course, all of the other animals were afraid of him.

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse

  • Title: Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse
  • Author: Leo Lionni
  • Illustrator: Leo Lioni
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
  • Publication year: 1969
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic Inc.-“Everyone loves Willy the wind-up mouse, while Alexander the real mouse is chased away with brooms and mousetraps. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be loved and cuddled, thinks Alexander, and he wishes he could be a wind-up mouse too. In this gentle fable about a real mouse and a mechanical mouse, Leo Lionni explores the magic of friendship.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library –One idea from Scholastic was to bring up wind-up toys to demonstrate Willy the wind-up mouse. Another idea was to have the children make their own art after reading the book (this could be done in conjunction with the art teacher). I think this book would work better for young children.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it –I enjoyed the bright, almost collage like art of Lioni. Probably my favorite illustration is of the gray Alexander meeting the colorful lizard, with a bright background of green leaves behind him. I think the message of Alexander using his one pebble to not turn himself into a wind-up toy but to turn Willy into a real mouse is something children can use.

May I Bring A Friend?

  • Title: May I Bring A Friend?
  • Author: Beatrice Schenk De Regniers
  • Illustrator: Beni Montresor
  • Publisher: The Trumpet Club, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.
  • Publication year: 1964
  • Brief Summary: From Scholastic-“An imaginative boy graciously accepts an invitation from the King and Queen and then invites them to the zoo.”
  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library – This book could definitely be used to discuss situational irony in a literature class.
  • Whatever additional notes you’d like to add about this book and why you liked or didn’t like it – I loved that Montresor took some liberties, especially in the beginning of the text with which “friends” would be making an appearance. I think it adds to the absurdity of this ironic situation.