Thursday, November 10, 2011

Picture Book Month Mini-Challenge: Week 1

As part of our Picture Book Month celebration, Jen challenged me to read 15 of her favorite picture books and then review them for you all.  Today I am posting the first 5 of the picture books. 

Scaredy Squirrel (Scaredy Squirrel)Title: Scaredy Squirrel
Author & Illustrator: Melanie Watt
Publisher: Kids Can Press, Ltd.
Publication Date: January, 2006
Summary: Scaredy Squirrel is scared of the unknown.  He never leaves his tree and is prepared for any emergency that could come his way.  But an unexpected surprise changes Scaredy Squirrel's life. 
What I Think: This book deals with a serious theme, but does so in a humorous way.  It made me laugh out loud at moments and cheer for the squirrel.  Would be a great conversation started for children when it comes to trying something new and scary.  It also has text features and time telling which would make it a great way to introduce them in the classroom. 

A Story for Bear Title: A Story for Bear
Author: Dennis Haseley
Illustrator: Jim LaMarche
Publisher: Silver Whistle
Publication Date: April, 2002
Summary: Bear finds a letter in the forest and becomes fascinated with the idea of writing.  One afternoon in the summer, he finds a young woman reading and is enchanted by her and her books. He continues coming back and she shares stories with him all summer. 
What I Think: First, I have to tell you that at the moment when the bear and woman meet, my first reaction was RUN! Now, I am happy she didn't, but this would not be a book to teach bear safety :).
This book was magical and beautiful.  The illustrations are so soft and fit the tone of the book perfectly.  It truly touches on the magical effect that books have. This book celebrates the joy of reading.

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool ButterflyTitle: Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
Author: Alan Madison
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Publication Date: October, 2007
Summary: Everyone remembers Velma's older two sisters, so Velma is trying to find a way to stand out herself now that she is in 1st grade.
What I Think: Velma is such a fun girl! I truly enjoyed her as a character.  As a reader, I found her journey endearing and believable.  Now, I liked this book even more as a teacher! First, it deals with choices and how standing out in a negative way is not a positive thing.  Also, it is educational while still being entertaining.  The vocabulary and scientific information in the book are intertwined perfectly with the story so that students will remember the new information while not realizing they are being taught. I'll be honest: I do not like butterflies.  I have a thing against sporadic insects (butterflies, dragonflies, etc.), but this book made me think about them in a different, beautiful way.

The Lion and the MouseTitle: The Lion and the Mouse
Author & Illustrator: Jerry Pickney
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd.
Publication Date: October, 2011
Summary: Jerry Pickney shares his favorite Aesop fable, "The Lion and the Mouse" through a wordless picture book.
What I Think: This book obviously has beautiful illustrations- they are mini pieces of art on every page.  I also truly enjoyed how Pickney decided to give some back story to the characters by adding a setting we all know (African savanna), antagonists we all despise (poachers), and giving each character a family so that the situation for both characters is even dire.  This picture book, just like the fable, shows why compassion is so important and one choice can change your life.

The Kissing HandTitle: The Kissing Hand
Author: Audrey Penn
Illustrators: Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Publication Date: January, 1993
Summary: Chester is afraid to go to school, but his mother knows how to help him not be afraid: the kissing hand.
What I Think: AWWWWWW! This book warmed my heart! Such a sweet story and the kissing hand is something that I will definitely do with my children.  It shows that love is more powerful than even fear.

As reading, I noticed that coincidentally many of these books overlapped in theme.  Velma Gratch, Scaredy Squirrel and The Kissing Hand all have to do with doing something new.  Velma Gratch and The Lion and the Mouse had to do with choices. The Kissing Hand and Story for Bear had to do with love. These 5 books worked quite well together. 

Jen sure does have fabulous taste in picture books! I'm loving my adventure so far- join me next week when I review the next 5.


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