Monday, July 25, 2011

Cloudette by Lichtenheld

by Tom Lichtenheld

What it's about in one sentence: 
Cloudette is a little cloud that wants to do big and important cloud things.

What I love:
There could not possibly be a cuter little cloud than Cloudette.  The illustrations are darling and the story sweet. Cloudette spends her days watching fireworks, and playing hide and seek with her friends before she gets blown very far from all she has known in a storm. Then she must make her way for herself and learn how to "let it pour."

My favorite part:
The clever wordplay (a squirrel who says "that's nutty" or  a bear who has "barely" gotten to know Cloudette), the vocabulary and the alliteration ("prodigious precipitation, pipsqueak!") make me love reading this one out loud again and again - and I have!

Other Connections:
Cloudette would be a fun connection for a kindergarten or first grade weather unit. See what connections can be made between Cloudette and real clouds, perhaps pairing it with something like Clouds by Marion Dane Bauer.

Cloudette is firmly placed in my top 10 list of picture books for 2011!

Cloudette Book Trailer:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It Gets Better -- Authors and Illustrators Unite

I love the personal and honest feel of the "It Gets Better" campaign.

Thank you to all the authors and illustrators who participated in this video!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Princess and Her Panther by Orr

The Princess and Her Panther
by Wendy Orr
Illustrated by Lauren Stringer

What it's about in one sentence:
Two imaginative sisters try to be brave when they hear scary sounds while camping outside in their backyard, finally deciding "Enough is Enough!"

What I love:
I love the creative play of the two sisters, one dressed as a princess and the other as a cat. Right away a loaded down wagon turns into a camel caring their belongings, and the sandbox turns into a desert to cross. The illustrations capture the imaginative world of the sisters in a wonderfully fanciful way.

Once evening comes and it gets dark, the leaves overhead and nearby animals sound increasingly scarier to the two sisters.
"The Princess is brave, and the panther tried to be," but with more and more noises, "The Princess tried to be brave, and the panther tried to try."

 Eventually they both summon the courage to shout together, "Enough is enough!" scaring away all of the animals making frightening sounds.

My favorite part:
Stringer's illustrations are so absolutely luscious I want to dive in and swim around in them. The facial expressions on the sisters as they try to be brave perfectly reveal the changes in their emotions as the story develops.

Other Connections:
This book is a perfect read aloud for talking about realistic fiction.
The story of the sisters takes the reader on a fantastical journey with leaf-snakes and frog-monsters that is totally grounded in reality.
  • Is it realistic for children to pretend when they play? Absolutely.
  • Is it realistic for rustling leaves or hooting owls to make noises that might sound scary in the night? Yes. 

Excerpt from Princess and Her Panther read by author Wendy Orr:

I must also mention that Lauren Stringer along with being an amazing illustrator, is also a fabulous person and a fellow Minnesotan!
Find out more about her at her website:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cat Secrets by Jef Czekaj

"Read it again!" -my 5 year old every time we finished...

Cat Secrets
by Jef Czekaj

What it's About (in one sentence):
Cats have a book of secrets from which they read aloud when only cats are present, and you don't look like a cat.

What I love:
Kids will laugh. 
They will meow and stretch and interact with this book. 
And then they will want you to read it again.
The three cats in this book are about to start reading from the book of cat secrets when they see you, the reader. You don't look like a cat, but they give you the benefit of the doubt and decide to test your catworthiness through meowing, stretching, purring and napping.

The cat dialogue in this book is pure fun and begs for
voices and expression from the reader.

My Favorite Part:
The entire time the three cats are concerned about you and whether or not you really are a cat, a mouse in the background is doing everything it can think of to steal the book of cat secrets. 
I love this added story layer. Kids will love watching for what the mouse is doing next.
The cats are totally oblivious, and when the final test of napping comes around, the mouse finally gets it's paws on the book of Cat Secrets.

Other Connections:
This picture book is written entirely in dialogue bubbles. Cat Secrets is a good early example to use for explaining what order to read dialogue bubbles in a frame. Certain pages are not read strictly left to right - the reader must also be sure to start with the bubble closest to the top of the page - even if it not the farthest left.