Spencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima; illustrated by Jessie Sima

Spencer's New PetSpencer’s New Pet by Jessie Sima; illustrated by Jessie Sima. 2019. Illustrations rendered in Adobe Photoshop. Published Simon and Schuster.

Brief summary: A boy and his pet balloon dog do everything together being very careful to avoid  any sharp objects. The inevitable does happen, but it’s afterwards that is surprising.

Comments: The colors used for this book are black, gray, white, and red. The beginning end pages are the 3-2-1- movie countdown. The book is divided into thirds and done in the silent movie frame style. This is a story without words.

Wordless stories are one of my favorite genres. I would share the book with the students in total silence explaining that the words are happening in our minds as I turn the pages. When the book ends,  we then would go page-by-page taking turns of how the story unraveled.

For older students, I would show the book again using an ELMO this time up on the screen while they wrote the story.  We would share with a neighbor.

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer

Caring For Your Lion

Caring for Your Lion by Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Troy Cummings. 2017. Artworks was created digitally.  Published by Sterling Children’s Books.

Brief summary: A boy has been waiting for almost a month for his new kitty to arrive. He has all of the pet supplies ready. The pet delivery truck arrives with a giant wooden crate with a note on it. “Congratulations on your new lion! We know you ordered a kitten, but we ran out of those.” There is an instruction sheet of ludicrous fourteen steps to follow.

Comments: Be sure to look the front end pages where the story begins. Troy Cummings’ hilarious 50s/60s cartoon style brings the story alive with one humorous step to the next. I would use this book as a writing exercise. Students could think of a wild animal that they would receive in the mail and what steps they would need to take to care for it. Drawings could be included.

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Barkus by Patricia Maclachlan

Barkus

Barkus by Patricia Maclachlan; illustrated by Marc Boutavant. 2017. Published by Chronicle Books.

Brief summary: Uncle Everton comes to visit Nicky before traveling around the world. He leaves Barkus, a large brown dog, to Nicky and her family. Barkus follows Nikky to school becoming her class’s dog. Barkus is loved by everyone and has several little adventures including finding a kitten.

Comments: This is a beginner reader with short chapters to help prepare young readers for chapter book reading. Each chapter is a story within itself.  The energy and excitement of having a new pet is shared with the reader. It looks like this may be the first of a series.  The title page and spine did say Book 1. The online description says 56 pages.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library)

The Lost Kitten by Lee Sakai

The Lost Kitten

The Lost Kitten by Lee Sakai; illustrated by  Komako Sakai. 2017(translation).  Arylic colors and oil pencils. Published by Gecko Press.

Brief summary: Hina and her mother open the front door to find a sickly kitten with a mama cat and her other kittens standing aside. The mother cat meows and nods her head as to ask for them to take care of her baby before leaving. Hina’s mother agrees to keep the kitten and brings it inside. She gently wipes the goo from the kitten’s eyes explaining to her daughter that they will take it to the vet tomorrow to make sure the little feline is okay. Hina learns how to take care of the tiny kitten as it explores the house. Her mother must go to buy cat food leaving Hina with her sleeping Grandmother. Hina tries to come up with a name for the new family addition and realizes the kitten is no longer in her sight. She  searches all over the house becoming very upset recalling the time she was lost in a store and wanted her mother. She felt the little kitten must have felt the same way and must be found immediately. Not seeing it anywhere inside, Hina concludes the kitten must have slipped outside when her mother left to go for food. The girl opens the closet door and starts to put on her coat when she looks down finding the kitten on the bottom of the closet floor safe and sleeping. The little girl begins to cry relieved to have found her new lost baby. Her mother comes home learning Hina has come up with the name for the newest member of the family.

Comments: This book was originally printed in Japan in 2015. The unique illustrations of  Komako Sakai stand out with this book through her soft and muted brushstrokes and black pencil. I could not find a lot of information about this author and illustrator but hope to have more books translated in the future.

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(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program.  Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but  instead, are checked out from a public library.)

 

Three New Cat Picture Books in 2017 by Angela Ferraris

Three New Cat Picture Books 2017

One of my students asked if I liked dogs. “I love dogs. Well, I really like many animals.” I then realized why she asked me that. I had photos of my four felines on my desk. I dressed up as a cat for Halloween. I then noticed that many of the picture books I read to the students were about cats.  I knew I had unintentionally been focusing on cats.  What can I say? I was guilty of a bias for cats.   I found three more cat picture books that I adore.

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Edward Hemingway. Pencil, ink, and digital media. 2017. Published by Two Lions.

Brief summary: Mr. Fuzzbuster and Lily have been together since they were both tots sharing life events throughout the years. Mr. Fuzzbuster is concerned with the additional pets (Fish, Frog, Bird, and Dog) and that he may no longer be Lily’s favorite. He writes her a note asking what pet is the favorite. Lily walks through the house telling how each of her pets are her favorite in a certain category. Mr. Fuzzbuster gets the favoritism he seeks but then wonders…

Comments: Mr. Fuzzbuster is a true cat–always wanting to be the center of attention.

Buy here.*Big Cat, Little Cat

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; illustrated by Elisha Cooper. 2017. Black and white illustrations. Published by Roaring Brook Press.

Brief summary: There is a white cat living alone in a house until a black kitten arrives learning all about how to live the house through the white cat’s teachings. The black cat grows to be the same size as his new friend. They spend many years together until the white cat gets older and does not come back. Then one day, a white kitten joins the black cat who shows the new kitten how to live in the house.

Comments: This cat picture book continues in the mind of the reader. The life cycle. This would be a good story for the school counselor to read when a student’s pet dies. One could share this book to help explain death and dying and how we go on.

Buy here.*

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz, and Amy Shrodes; illustrated by Sue Cornelison. 2017. Published by Crown Books for Young Readers.

Brief summary: Kunkush, a beautiful white cat, and his family must leave Iraq to find a safe place to live. Sura and her four daughters and son  pay smugglers to get them out of the country only being permitted to take food and water. Kunkush is concealed in a basket. The cat stays hidden as they go to one country to another. They arrive in Greece and must all get on a small rubber boat. Once they land though the frightened cat flees into the woods. After searching for hours, the family has to leave. Two volunteers, Amy and Ashley, notice a white cat living with a colony of cats on the island and take it to the vet to get help and cleaned up. They rename him Dias. Amy keeps the cat in her apartment. The two volunteers are determined to find the owner and put up a Facebook page. Amy’s time in Lesbos has ended. She takes Dias back to Germany where some of the refugees traveled. A British couple keep him. Soon Dias is found by his family who are living in Norway. Doug, a photographer, take Dias to Norway to reunite the cat with his family.

Comments: This is a story that can be shared with students by showing the cat’s journey on Google maps and learning about countries the family traveled through on their journey.  Refugees and immigrants can be discussed. What causes someone to flee their country? How would you feel only being able to take food and water with you? This story could be used to discuss feelings. How do you think Sura felt when her husband was killed and she had to flee? What did she think was going to happen to her and her family? How did the family feel while being smuggled? What about when they could not find Kunkush? How did they feel when they were reunited in Norway? There are  photos  of the cat and map of his journey. This is a  picture book that could have several discussions and lessons not only with elementary schoolers but for older students as well. Warning: Kunkush dies in 2016 from a feline virus.

Buy 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).

The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon

The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon

The Best Days Are Dog Days by Aaron Meshon; illustrated by Aaron Meshon. 2016. Pen & ink, scanner, colored and layered into the final art digitally.

Brief summary: A French bulldog and his sis(human girl) have a fun day together with the help of Mom and Dad. Sis’s life is on the left side of the book with the dog’s on the right.  The story parallels one another in a humorous way.

Comments: A cute story of a dog and his family in which children can see and read the two viewpoints of a canine and human going on an outdoor adventure together.

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If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle

If I Had a Gryphon by Vikki Vansickle

If I Had a Gryphon by Vickki Vansickle; illustrated by Cale Atkinson. 2016. Photoshop.

Brief summary: Sam gets a hamster, her first pet, but wonders if it is exciting enough as she explores a range of mythological creatures and what their upkeep would be. She concludes that her hamster is the best fit for her.

Comments: Rhyming text. This is a good introduction to mythical creatures. I plan to show the students where the mythology books are in the nonfiction section of the library after reading this to them.