Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes

Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes

Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:


Title: Secret Agent Man Goes Shopping for Shoes
Author: Tim Wynne-Jones
Illustrator: Brian Won
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2016
Suitable for ages: 4-8


Theme/Topic:  Action, Adventure, Humor, Imagination, How to Tie Your Shoes


Opening Spread: S.A.M. is digging for the Lost City of Raisins … He is tracking down the treacherous green spitting bug, balancing on high places, and stealing home.


Brief Synopsis: (from Candlewick)
Secret Agent Man (S.A.M.) needs new shoes. His mom — er, sidekick, “K” (short for Kay) — takes him shopping. But the operation will be dangerous: to start with, Shoe Store Man looks shifty. “Frisk him,” says S.A.M. With the help of a Team of Expert Spies and keen observation skills, will Sam find that his brand-new tiger-striped shoes convey a new superpower . . . and that he can now tie his own shoelaces? Imaginative play is the mission in this witty picture book with retro illustrations that cleverly merge S.A.M.’s escapades with the ordinary world. Roar!

Resources: Here’s a whole website on Top Spy Secrets. We may need to go around and rename parts of our house based on the spread I mention below.


Why I Like This Book: The first spread sets up agent Secret Agent Man or S.A.M.’s imagination as he plays and the second spread immediately lets us know the reality of his world. It’s a fun story from the first page to the last. My favorite spread is near the end as S.A.M. tries to find K (his mom). He looks int he Secret Chamber of Silence, the Holding Cell of Despair, Torture Chamber, Rocket Silo, and the Darkest Valley of Doom. Most parents will laugh at this. I was going to be secretive about what each item represents, but Illustrator Brian Won has this spread on his website. Take a look. I hope it makes you smile like I did. I discovered this one while searching the library’s online collection for shoe tying books.


For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

Halloweensie Contest 2016

Halloweensie Contest 2016

Happy Halloweensie! It’s that time of year again when children’s writers gather ’round the cauldron to craft a story in 100 words or less. Author Susanna Hill is the gracious founder of the contest. She and her assistants deserve tons of treats for reading all the contest entries.
This year, each 100-word or less entry must contain the words spider, ghost and moon. Variations of the words are allowed. Stories should be kid-friendly and contain no illustration notes. Here are the rules, if you want to participate. You have until the strike of 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Here’s my 2016 entry:

Halloween Tracks 

By Stacy S. Jensen

Oliver saw the tracks every Halloween.
They were colorful with a sweet aroma and looked like scat. Oliver never ate it, but other owls did.
“Who?” he wondered made them. He flew over the streets in the moonlight searching
High,
Low,
And, in circles for the critter.
He saw bunnies, coyotes, and spiders and almost gave up.
Until, he heard …
SCRITCH.
SCRATCH.
SPLAT.
Oliver followed the noises to a little ghost.
“Your tracks!” Oliver screeched.
“My candy,” Ghost cried.
Oliver helped Ghost collect his spilled loot.
“Here’s a treat!” Ghost tossed a candy to Oliver. “Happy Halloween!”

Word tells me I’m at 98 words!

There will be plenty of entries at Susanna’s blog. I am always impressed by the very talented work created in this contest and also how similar our thought process can be. I’ve been a happy Halloweensie participant since 2011 — 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.
I hope you all have a spooky, fun-filled Halloween!

P.S. I’ve been re-working my website in recent weeks between other projects. It’s not “done,” but decided Halloweensie is more important than “done.”

Douglas, You Need Glasses!

Douglas, You Need Glasses!

Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: Douglas, You Need Glasses!
Author and Illustrator: Ged Adamson
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016
Suitable for ages: 3-7


Theme/Topic:  Glasses, Being Unaware, Humor


Opening Spread: Nancy and Douglas were chasing squirrels.


Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) Meet Douglas, a dog with a big problem: he needs eyeglasses but doesn’t know it, and his bad eyesight tends to land him in some pretty hairy situations.


Readers will laugh along with the new picture book character Douglas as he chases a leaf that he mistakes for a squirrel, walks through wet cement because he can’t see the warning sign, and annoys the neighbor’s dog by mistakenly eating out of his bowl. And when Douglas’s owner Nancy finally takes him to what is clearly an eyeglass store and Douglas asks, “Why are you taking me to a shoe store?” everyone will be giggling.


After an eye exam confirms that Douglas needs glasses, and Nancy helps him find the perfect pair, readers will rejoice with Douglas as he sees all the amazing things he’s been missing!


Both kids and parents will laugh out loud—and may even recognize themselves!—while reading this utterly irresistible, hilarious picture book.


Resources: Articles on children wearing glasses. Encouraging your child to wear glasses.


Why I Like This Book: Douglas was a random find at the library. We spend much of May and June reading picture books about children with glasses after Enzo began wearing his own. It’s fun to laugh along as Douglas makes his discovery of how glasses can make a difference.


For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because …

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because …

Here’s my selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: I Didn’t Do My Homework Because … 
Author: Davide Cali
Illustrator: Benjamin Chaud
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC, 2014
Suitable for ages: 6-9
Theme/Topic:  Homework, Fantasy
Opening Spread: “So, wh

y didn’t you do your homework?” [Teacher character asks]
[Boy] “I didn’t do my homework because … An airplane full of monkeys landed in our yard.”


Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) How many excuses are there for not doing homework? Let us count the ways: Giant lizards invaded the neighborhood. Elves hid all the pencils. And then there was that problem with carnivorous plants…. The excuses go on and on, each more absurd than the next and escalating to hilarious heights. Featuring detail-rich illustrations by Benjamin Chaud, this book is guaranteed to amuse kids and their parents, not to mention anyone who has experienced a slacker student moment—and isn’t that everyone?


Resources: There is a companion book called I Didn’t Do My Homework Because … Doodle Book of Excuses. Homework tips from Scholastic.


Why I Like This Book: Homework can be a struggle. This book offers a number of fantasies on why one’s homework isn’t finished. We’ve had fun reading this book and thinking about all the fun ways to explain why homework is not completed. Of course, at the end of the week, the reality is that homework is complete.


For more PPBF books, visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

Roly Poly Pangolin

Roly Poly Pangolin

For the picture book world, it’s been a very sad week with the deaths of Anna Dewdney and of Deirdre Sheridan Englehart.


Enzo wondered how Ms. Dewdney’s books will be finished. I told him we need to read all of her books again and again!


I thought I had already posted about this book. Apparently, not. So, here’s an official post for PPBF.


Title: Roly Poly Pangolin
Author and Illustrator: Anna Dewdney
Viking, 2010


Themes/Topics: Pangolins, Fear, Friendship


Opening: Roly Poly, very small,
doesn’t like new things at all.


Brief Synopsis: (from author and illustrator’s website) —
Roly Poly, very small, doesn’t like new things at all.
Meet Roly Poly Pangolin’s little pangolin who’d rather stick close to his mama instead of facing anything unfamiliar. Whether it’s a line of ants, a friendly monkey, or a loud noise, Roly Poly runs the other way. Then he hears something that really scares him. So he does what all pangolins do when they’re frightened: he rolls up into a tiny ball. But Roly Poly is surprised when he finally peeks out, because another ball is peeking back…it’s a small pangolin just like him!


Resources: In obituaries that circulated after her death, Ms. Dewdney asked people to read a book to a child. As a tribute to her, I believe that’s a great activity.


Why I Like this Book: Enzo and I were introduced to this book at a neighborhood story time. Everyone brought a book to share. I can’t recall the book we dropped off. Enzo picked up Roly Poly Pangolin. I loved it from the first spread.


Don’t wait! Go read a book to a child. Do it for the writers who have left us, for the writers still sharing stories with us, and for the children, who enjoy a stories. Have a wonderful weekend!


For more PPBF books, check out the list over at the incredible Susanna Hill’s website.
 
 

This Is Not a Picture Book

This Is Not a Picture Book

This week, I’m sharing a Perfect Picture Book that claims to not be one — well a picture book anyway.

Title: This is not a picture book!
Author and Illustrator: Sergio Ruzzier
Chronicle Books, 2016
Themes/Topics: Reading, Books


Opening: A book!


Brief Synopsis: (from Amazon) In this quirky yet sweet picture book about the joy and power of reading, Duck learns that even books without pictures can be fun. While he and his friend Bug may struggle at first to decipher their book, they stick with it, and before long they discover that not only can they read it, but it deserves a place on the shelf with all their favorite picture books. Author-artist Sergio Ruzzier has created a fanciful tribute to books of all kinds. It includes both words AND pictures.


Resources: Here’s a variety of kindergarten writing activities. Children could also try to illustrate a phrase from one of the spreads in the book like “Some are funny!” or “There are wild words … and peaceful words.”


Why I Like This Book: It’s clearly a picture book despite the title. :) The words create a variety of mood evoking images. My favorite spread may be “Some are very sad.” This may be my favorite image, because I just finished reading Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Indeed, some words are sad. Duck and Bug make a unique pair to take a child through the words of a book. Sergio masterfully takes the reader on an adventure with his words and images. This is so different than The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak.


For more PPBF books, check out the list over at the incredible Susanna Hill’s website.

A Winner:

I’ve promoted a giveaway for  Monday is Wash Day for a few weeks.
Rosi Hollinbeck won! I have sent you an email Rosi to arrange delivery of your book.


The book is available on Sept. 27, so consider taking a look at it or request it from your library.