The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt

The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt

The Most Perfect Snowman by Chris Britt; illustrated by Chris Britt. 2016. Watercolor, acrylic, Tombow pencils H, HB, and 4H.

Brief summary: Drift was one of the first snowmen built at the beginning of winter and only has coal and sticks while all the other snowmen have mittens, hats, scarves, and carrot noses. One morning, a bunch of kids playing nearby see how plain Drift is and decide to dress him up by giving him some of their clothing making the snowman very happy.  The snowman decides to play with the children all day until the weather changes. After saying good-bye, a blizzard comes blowing off some of Drift’s new clothing.  In the middle of all of the windy snowfall, Drift comes across a small rabbit that is cold and hungry. The snowman kindly gives his few remaining  gifts to the rabbit–the scarf to keep it warm and his carrot nose to feed it. The snowman looks like he did at the beginning of the story, but has changed inside.

Comments: This is a sweet story about sharing. Children give some of their winter clothing to a stranger and make a new friend. The snowman pays it forward by giving his new gifts to a cold, hungry rabbit.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

The Cat from Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

The Cat From Hunger Mountain by Ed Young

The Cat From Hunger Mountain by Ed Young; illustrated by Ed Young. 2016 Mixed Media Collage.

Brief summary: There is wealthy Lord Cat who is never satisfied or appreciative of what he has. He always wants more, more, more. He wants to live in the highest pagoda. His clothes are of silk and gold. He has the best food including his delicious rice from his paddies in the valley below. Lord Cat has so much extra rice that he tells his servants to throw the extra grains in the river. A drought comes causing famine. The villagers  and servants leave the mountain and move to the city where life will be easier for them to exist. The Lord Cat is left alone with all of his possessions. He must also now search for food. He comes across two beggars who tell him of a simple temple where a monk will feed the hungry. The Lord Cat, now a humble beggar too, goes to be fed and learns what it means to be truly blessed.  The rice he once had thrown in the river as a wasteful lord is the same that is in his bowl as a appreciative beggar. The cat goes from riches to rags and finally learns what is precious and meaningful.

Comments: Ed Young’s books are always a plus to any library collection with his rich tales and collage illustrations. This is a great tale to share now in the holiday season to remind us to be thankful and appreciative of what we have and what we can lose.

You can buy the book here.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Hotel Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins; illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins. 2016

Brief Summary: Bruce became a bear mother of four geese earlier in the first book Mother Bruce after four eggs hatched on his stove. The geese imprinted upon the bear and followed him around everywhere he went. In the winter, Bruce migrates South with them although he really would like to have hibernated in his cave. That makes him very grumpy. When they all return home in the spring, he is even grumpier finding three mice have made his home into a hotel. He clears out the rodents but still has guests sleeping in his bed and eating in his kitchen. The mice return trying to take over. When a van of elephant guests arrive, Bruce loses his temper and throws everyone out of his house. Mother Bruce likes sitting back and enjoying the peace until his geese children convince him to let the three mice in out of the rain.

Comments: One hilarious situation after another. Readers can relate to bear’s grumpiness.

motherbruce

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2016. Watercolor.

Brief summary: Alta is a fast runner despite the many holes in her shoes who worships Wilma Rudolph and can’t wait to see her idol in a parade through the streets of Clarksville, Tennesse. Charmaine, a new girl with new tennis shoes, figures out a way all four girls could carry the large banner by mimicking the Olympic relay and “can do” attitude with teamwork.  They are thrilled to see the fastest woman in the world who won the summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.

Comments: The author’s notes in back include a photo of Wilma Rudolph. This story is an inspiration to those who are reaching a goal and need grit. The athlete had polio as a child and kept pushing herself until she became the fastest.

(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman

Before Morning by Joyce Sidman; illustrated by Beth Krommes. 2016. Scratchboard and watercolors.

Brief summary: A young girl makes a wish hoping that snow comes that night to slow down the fast paced city.  Her mother returns home from work after arriving to the airport to see the snow covered runway. The next morning her family enjoys the snow day by going out sledding and returning home to eat bakery delights while their wet clothes dry from the snow.

Comments: The illustrations make the  short poem come alive in this snow day wish story.

This is the House That Monsters Built by Steve Metzger

This is the House That Monsters Built by Steve Metzger

This is the House That Monsters Built by Steve Metzger; illustrate by Jared Lee. 2016.

Brief summary: Various spooky Halloween monsters build a house in the accumulate style of storytelling.

Comments: This is a version of This is the House That Jack Built. There is rhyming and rhythm.

 

Duck on a Tractor by David Shannon

Duck on a Tractor by David Shannon

Duck on a Tractor by David Shannon; illustrated by David Shannon. 2016.

Brief summary: Duck’s curiosity gets him into another adventure as he climbs on top of a red tractor. He invites all the farm animals to climb aboard as they head into downtown past the diner where some of the customers look out wondering if they are seeing things. Farmer O’Dell notices that the tractor looks like his own and decides to go after it along with the other diner customers. The tractor turns the corner and runs out of gas causing all of the creatures to quickly run away realizing they may get in trouble with the farmer. When the crowd turns the corner, they see an empty red tractor sitting in the middle of the street. After believing they all must be seeing things, they go back to the diner to continue eating.

Comments: Done in the same whimsical style as Duck on a Bike(2002). Hilarious and exaggerated facial expressions and body language will have students giggling throughout the book.

duckonabike

I Am the Mountain Mouse by Gianna Marino

I Am the Mountain Mouse by Gianna Marino

I Am the Mountain Mouse by Gianna Marino; illustrated by Gianna Marino. 2016. Gouache and pencil.

Brief summary: Four short tales about a very determined, carefree white mouse who believes he is a brave and mighty mountain mouse and tries to dominate each situation resulting in many of his own misunderstandings. He ignores his three mouse friends’ advice in every silly adventure.

Comments: Primary readers will relate to his misinterpretations and try to predict what will happen next in each mini story.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers; illustrated by Sam Winston. 2016. Watercolor, pencils, digital collage, hand lettered.

Brief summary: A young girl floats over a sea of words to the home of a boy to ask if he would like to play. They go on an adventure using their creativity and imagination with words. Several excerpts from children’s books appear throughout the book shaped in landscapes, creatures, and backgrounds to the two children in contrast to the words of the story which are done in a hand-written style.

Comments:  The first line is the best, “I am a child of books. I come from a world of stories.” I had to stop and realize that I was a child of books too.

Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson

Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson

Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson; illustrated by Ron Husband. 2016. Illustrations are black, brown, and yellow. Mechanical pen and India ink with Photoshop of an aged paper background.

Brief summary: Reverend John Berry Meachum was an educator in St. Louis, Missouri who advocated for African-Americans’ rights. He secretly taught African-American children in the basement of his church by candlelight, as there were no windows.  His teaching immediately stopped with the new 1847 law stating that “No person shall keep any school for the instruction of Negroes or mulattoes, reading or writing in this state.” He acquired a beat-up steam boat, and with the help of some of his students, was able to renovate the boat as the new school where his students could have a place to learn how to read and write. He cleverly  gets around the 1847 law, because the Missouri state laws do not apply on the river.

Comments: This was inspired by a true story, and a historical fiction picture book.  I think this could pair with how some countries today do not allow girls to go to school.  This could be used to talk about the importance of having an education for all people.