Picture Books

All posts tagged Picture Books

Marilyn’s Monster, by Michelle Knudsen

Published November 29, 2015 by Dagmar

Marilyn's MonsterI wrote about a wonderful book called Going Places a few weeks. ago.  It’s about a young girl who takes a go cart kit and builds something completely different.  I love creative thinkers, kids and characters who have the courage to follow their hearts, even if it means doing something completely different from what others are doing.

In this same spirit, I would like to introduce you to Marilyn, a young girl who is waiting and waiting for her monster to arrive.  All the other children have already met their monsters…at the library, or the playground, on the way home from school or while riding their bikes. Monsters are fun.  They become playmates and protectors. Monsters are great.  Marilyn starts to become upset, even a little angry that her monster hasn’t arrived.

Finally, Marilyn decides to break the rules.  Instead of continuing to wait for her monster, as she is told she must, Marilyn strikes out to find her monster. Like any worthy adventurer, she brings peanut butter and banana sandwiches and juice.  Marilyn looks everywhere.  She calls out to her monster.  Finally, she hears a faint sound.  It’s her monster.  He got lost and then stuck on his way to her.  He was waiting for her to find him.

Michelle Knudsen’s story makes you cheer for Marilyn and Matt Phelan’s illustrations will make you want a monster of your very own.

This is a wonderful story, perfect for younger students.  My students loved it.

Humphrey the Lost Whale, by Wendy Tokuda

Published November 3, 2015 by Dagmar

humphrey whaleI love to take my first graders on journeys around the world on library planes, boats and rocket ships.

Each year, I teach them about whales, and we read the fabulous book, The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. I promised them last week that we would get on our boat again and visit Humphrey, the humpback whale.

This is the true story of Humphrey the Lost Whale, a humpback whale that swam under the Golden Gate Bridge one day in 1985, right into San Francisco Bay. As wonderful a sight as it was, having a humpback whale as big as a city bus right there in the Bay, there was trouble ahead. Instead of swimming back to the ocean, Humphrey went the wrong way, through the Delta and up the Sacramento River.  The Sacramento River is fresh water. Whales need salt water to live.  Even more troubling, Humphrey squeezed himself under a very small bridge to a place in the river where the water was shallow and narrow.

Everyone banded together, scientists, the Coast guard and citizens. They made loud noises underwater to scare Humphrey back down the river to the Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Humphrey, tired, lonely and hungry headed back down the river, only to stop in front of the small bridge.  He couldn’t get through it. So, once again, his rescuers worked to help him, digging a bigger space for him under the bridge. Humphrey saw the hole and started to swim through, only to get suck in the pilings under the bridge. With a twist of his body, he got through the bridge and moved back toward San Francisco Bay and finally the ocean.

Humphrey came back to the San Francisco Bay several times after his dramatic rescue, one time requiring another rescue. This book combines just the right amount of suspense for young students. My students were waiting with baited breath to see if Humphrey could be saved and all cheered when he made it to the ocean again.

 

Going Places, by Peter and Paul Reynolds

Published September 17, 2015 by Dagmar

I’m a rule follower, excellent at following directions and getting things done on time, but I’ve always admired people that take a different path – who have minds so creative, ingenious and unafraid that they feel comfortable completely departing from the norm to create something new.  I think the best projects take a combination of rule followers and dreamers to be successful.
going places

In Going Places, Rafael is just like me. He is so excited when his class receives go-cart kits.  All the students are to build the kit and then have a race.  Rafael goes home and builds the kit, following the directions to the letter.  His go-cart looks exactly like the picture.  He decides to check on his friend and next door neighbor, Maya to see how she is progressing.  He sees her sitting in her yard staring at a bird on a tree and then at a bird flying.  When she builds her go cart, it doesn’t look at all like the picture on the kit.  It looks more like an awkward flying machine. When Rafael asks Maya why she didn’t building a go-cart, she says that no one said she had to build a go-cart. Rafael sees where Maya is going with her project and asks if they can team up. Nothing in the rules says that they can’t team up.

The result?  A plane!  As they roll up to the start line, other kids laugh.   It’s clear that everyone else in the class has followed the directions exactly, just as Rafael had. When the race starts, the go-carts take off.  The plane doesn’t move; but, then it does move…past all those go-carts.  Rafael and Maya fly to the finish line well ahead of their competitors.  As they roll to a stop, Maya sees a frog jumping off a rock in the lake. She turns to Rafael and smiles. He smiles back. Guess what they build next? 🙂

This is a wonderful book that makes you cheer for all your dreamers and the rule followers can spot a great idea and help bring it to reality.

The Monster’s Monster, by Patrick McDonnell

Published August 26, 2014 by Dagmar

Grouch, Grump and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom are monsters.  They each think they are biggest, Monster's Monsterbaddest monster.  They spend their time arguing and trying to best each other.  Then, they decide to settle their argument with tape, gunk, glue and a lightning bolt.  The monster they create will be truly horrible and will scare everyone in the monster-fearing village just down the hill from their castle.

What a surprise when their terrible, giant monster doesn’t realize that he’s a monster.  His first words are “Dank you!” He then proceeds to greet all the bats, snakes and other creatures in the room – much to Grouch, Grump and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom’s chagrin.

They are hopeful when their monster goes down the hill to town, sure that he’ll wreak havoc there.  They are disappointed again as their monster goes inside the bakery and then leaves it with a “Dank you!” and a white paper bag.  The monster goes to the beach and sits.  The three little monsters sit next to him.  When their monster hands them each a powdery jelly donut, they do something they don’t do often.  They say, “Thank you.”

This is a funny, sweet book that my students loved.  Enjoy.

 

 

Journey, by Aaron Becker

Published March 4, 2014 by Dagmar

Journey Journey is beautifully illustrated wordless book and uses color very effectively to tell a story of a good deed and its reward.

As I paged through the book for my classes, I could hear my students whispering the story to themselves.  Their spontaneous applause when I finished the book matched my feelings exactly.  I love this book so much that I’ve shown it to countless adults since first reading it.

A lonely girl takes her red crayon and draws a door in her bedroom wall.  The door leads her into a beautiful forest filled with lanterns and lights.  There she finds a small stream.  She draws herself a boat and follows the stream to a beautiful city.  The city could be from medieval times with its stone walls and golden domes.  She floats through a city canal.  When she comes to the end of the canal, the girl draws herself a hot air balloon.  She flies away and sees a purple bird flying away from city soldiers.  When the soldiers catch the bird and place it in a cage, the girl steals the bird’s cage and frees the bird.  Caught by the soldiers herself, the girl is suspended in her own cage.  The grateful bird brings her a crayon so that she can draw herself a magic carpet.  The girl follows the bird until she finds a door.  When she opens the door…well, you’ll have to read Journey and find out what happens.

This is a book you won’t want to miss and that you and the children you read to are bound to read over and over again.

Snowmen at Night, by Caralyn Buehner

Published February 1, 2014 by Dagmar

snowmen at nightWhen I moved from New York State to California 30 years ago, I knew that I would give up the seasons and wouldn’t see snow day to day in winter.  Honestly, the latter didn’t bother so much after years of slipping on ice and digging out driveways.

Many of my students rarely, if ever, have the chance to see and play in the snow.  They know that it’s cold in winter, that some trees lose their leaves, that bears hibernate and that children make snowmen and snow angels in the snow.  I love to share winter memories from my childhood in upstate New York, building snow forts with my big brother, making snowmen and throwing snowballs.

Whether your children or students live in a climate where they know winter well, or whether they only can wonder what it’s like, Snowmen at Night is a great book for a winter read aloud.  The rhyming text is easy to read and the pictures by Mark Buehner are so engaging.

What do snowmen do at night? Apparently quite a lot.  “One wintry day I made a snowman, very round and tall.  The next day when I saw him, he was not the same at all!  His hat had slipped, his arms drooped down, he really looked a fright  — it made me start to wonder: What do snowmen do at night?”

This is a fun book about the secret life of snowmen that delighted my kindergartners.  I hope you have fun with it, too.

The Mountain that Loved a Bird, by Alice McLerran

Published January 24, 2014 by Dagmar

themountainthatlovedI was drawn to this book because of Eric Carle’s illustrations.  As I read The Mountain that Loved a Bird, I really fell in love with it, as did my students.  It’s a book filled with longing, friendship and dedication.

Joy is a bird that lands on the side of a mountain.  The mountain is lonely.  When it hears Joy’s beautiful singing it asks her to stay.  Joy says that she can not stay, because there is no food or water for her on the mountain.  She says that she’ll return every year to visit and sing to the mountain.  She also says that she’ll name her daughter Joy and her daughter will name her daughter Joy so that every year bird named Joy will visit the mountain to sing to it.  Each year, Joy returns and each year, the mountain begs Joy to leave and is sad when it’s time for Joy to leave.  One year, the mountain is so sad that it cries, and a stream of tears starts running down the mountain.  The next year, Joy brings a seed with her and drops it near the stream.  Over the course of years, the seed grows roots and draws water from the cracks deep within the mountain.  Soon, more plants grow, and the mountain’s tears of sadness grow into tears of happiness at everything growing around the mountain.  The book closes with Joy bringing a twig to begin her nest on the mountain. She tells the mountain, finally, that she is there to stay.

This is such a beautiful book.  I hope you enjoy it.