Fresh Picked Poetry – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Fresh-Picked Poetry, A Day at the Farmer’s Market

Author: Michelle Schaub

Illustrator: Amy Huntington

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2017

Ages: 5-8

Themes: farmer’s market, friendship, healthy eating, fresh produce

Genre: poetry, slice-0f-life

Opening:

Market Day Today

Its market day
Hooray. Hooray!
Spy the wonders
on display:
rainbow carrots,
herb bouquets,
heaps of berries,
sample trays.

Synopsis:

This collection of poems takes young readers on a day’s visit with two new friends and their dogs to an urban farmers’ market. Who to see, what to eat, and how produce is grown–it’s all so exciting, fresh, and delicious. Readers are invited to peruse the stands and inspect vendors’ wares with poems like -Farmer Greg’s Free-Range Eggs, – -Summer Checklist, – and -Necessary Mess.-

Why I like this book:

Amy is from Vermont and on my huge east coast road trip last summer I stopped off in Burlington, VT and visited their most wonderful farmer’s market. I have to wonder if Amy used this in part as inspiration for her delightful illustrations. She adds her own story and humor to the text with families of all shapes and sizes celebrating yummy fresh produce and all the sounds and smells of market day!

In every country I have lived I have frequented my local farmer’s market. I have just moved to Mamaroneck and their farmer’s market meets in the local Lutheran church hall through the winter months. I love them and am so happy to see them celebrated with such sweet poetic voice and warmhearted exploration in this picture book. 

 Michelle Schaub’s poetry is light-footed and the imagery catches all the senses and excitement of childish exploration. I wanted to dig my hands in the curly greens and found myself checking my fingers for tell tale blackberry juice.  She incorporates clever word play, onomatopoeia, and all the extra’s like face painting and knife-grinding that can accompany a day at the market.

“the pavement is so hot it could roast a shish-kebab.” sure makes me feel summer is here!

This book is a perfect pick for family, libraries and classrooms. A great addition to units of farming and healthy eating. 

Activities/Resources:

Don’t miss the interview I did with Amy here. 

If possible a trip to your local farmer’s market is in order. If not, bring some produce into class and have kids choose an item to write a poem!

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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Tell Me About Sex, Grandma – Perfect picture Book Friday

Title: Tell me About Sex, Grandma

Author & Illustrator: Anastasia Higginbotham

Publisher: The feminist Press at Cuny, 2017

Ages: 7+

Themes: sex, growing up, natural curiosity, feelings, the spectrum, safety, sex ed for all ages, choice

Opening:

Sex is everywhere.

Synopsis:

A book about a conversation between a young child (gender never specified) and their grandma about sex. The conversation is open and trusting and above all respectful of the child’s curiosity. It isn’t a book about the mechanics of having sex so much as the feelings, the choices, the rights and the wonder of sex; its power and its privacy.

Why I like this book:

Wow, just wow. I have never seen a book quite like this on the topic of sex for young children. It’s honesty and integrity blows me away. Grandma acknowledges the child’s natural curiosity and right to ask questions. She validates her grandchild’s curiosity and emerging sexuality (yes, I agree, some feelings start young).

Grandma waits until her grandchild is ready for the conversation. The child readies themselves by making a rainbow paper airoplane!

Sex is an energy, an action,                                                                                                                  a conversation,                                                                                                                                      a revelation.*”

*Sudden burst of understanding or discovery

It’s about how you feel and who you like. Grandma lays down only two rules: Sex is only when both people say yes and it is NEVER with kids. Otherwise, it is only your business. In child-friendly language, Grandma discusses how we feel when something is a NO or YES moment, even when you can’t quite put these feelings into words.

These deep discussion are interspersed with conversations about dolphins and growing up.

Choice and respect, and a complete embracing of diversity: these are values I can fly with. While I can see that some adults will not feel comfortable with this approach, I urge you to read the book for yourself and see if you wouldn’t be thrilled to share this with curious kids in your life? I know I will.

The artwork is the most fabulous set of collages. This book is breathtaking. I am going to buy it for my middle school library!

Resources:

I truly don’t want to add any other resources as this is such a unique stand-alone approach that I am confident great conversations will flow if the adult reading with the child(ren) shares the same values as the author.

 I will leave you with the author’s final words:

Be safe.                                                                                                                                                     Be you.                                                                                                                                                         Be loved.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

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Cat Tales & 125 Pet Rescues – Two Book Recommendations and a Giveaway

Title: 125 Rescues, From Pound to Palace: Homeless Pets made Happy

Publisher: National Geographic Kids 2017

Ages: 6-11

Nonfiction, 112 pages

Themes: animals, pet rescues, pets, pet sanctuaries

Opening:

In many ways, they’re just like pets in your own life. They have quirks, they’re adorable, , each one is different, and yet they all just want to be loved. These animals didn’t start of with happy families who cared for them, though. They had to go on long and sometimes harrowing journeys to find happily-ever-afters.

Synopsis:

Meet 125 colorful cute and heartwarming pet rescue stories from across the USA and as far away as Australia. This is a collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs—all types of pets given a second chance, and the human animal lovers who rescued them.

From the dog who saved her owner from a fire, to the cat that plays the piano, to the cow that thinks it’s a dog, discover incredible stories of animals in need who went on to become beloved pets.

Why I like this book:

All these stories are paired with adorable photos and loads of animal facts. Kids learn all about how to be kind to our animals friends and the importance of being a responsible pet owner. 

There’s tons of furry, fluffy, feathery fun on every page, including tips on how to help save animals in need!

Some of these animals you may recognize from their Facebook pages or instagram accounts like, Lil Bub or the four Canadian rabbits Taffy, Moo, Olie and Bowie.. Others have reached from anonymity to appear on these Nat geo pages. All of the animals on these pages were abandoned at some point. Some adult or child stepped in to rescue each one, wanting to give them the chance of a life of love in a forever home. 

I guess I wasn’t surprised to see that Pit Bulls feature strongly among these 125 rescue stories. I have a soft spot for pitties, which can be as sweet tempered and faithful as any other breed when given the right environment. But I was happy to see that the stories definitely go beyond the typical cat and dog rescues to include cows and pigs, and even Moe, a bearded dragon. Many of the animals, like Moe, have injuries, amputations, disfigurements etc, which require a special kind of adopter that can see beyond the physical to their hearts. There’s even a double spread of three hounds from history! Some animals have come from pretty sad situations so make sure you have some kleenex handy.

 National Geographic has included a foreword from Best Friends’ Co-Founder and CEO, Gregory Castle, and concluding thoughts from Debbie Duel from the Humane Rescue Alliance. They underline the hope that this book will encourage young readers to be kind and considerate towards all animals and to consider asking their families to open their homes and hearts abandoned pets or those in shelters. They encourage kids to spread the message of adopt-d0n’t-shop as well as the importance of spaying, neutering and financially supporting animal rescue projects.

Title: Cat Tales, True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties

Author: Aline Alexander Newman

 

Publisher: National Geographic Kids, 2017

Nonfiction, 160 pages

Ages: 6+

Themes: cats, rescues, behavior

Opening:

If you’re looking for mystery, look no further than a cat. Cute and cuddly one minute fierce and playful the next, cat behavior can seem harder to crack than the toughest code, Sadly, this lack of understanding between humans and cats can often lead to cats being left in shelters or given away from their homes due to “problem behaviors”. But beneath their puzzling exteriors and sometimes frustrating antics, cats are wonderful creatures whose friendship is well worth the extra effort.

Synopsis:

We humans love our cats and these surprising true stories will prove our cats love us back! This collection of tales of playfulness, friendship, heroism, and inspiration is sure to touch the soul, tickle the funny bone, and inspire animal lovers everywhere to be the best kitty caretakers and companions they can be. There’s Bambi, whose owners taught her to respond to commands in American Sign Language; Millie, who loves exploring the outdoors and goes rock climbing with her owner; Leo, a rescued lion who changed the life of one South African family forever, and more. (jacket flap)

Why I like this book:

These 23 cat stories show that cats have as much individuality as any human mammals! From Humphrey the who is the mouser at N0 10 Downing Street to Bubba an adopted Ginger Tom in California who insisted on going to Middle and High School with his new hoomans!

Lots of cat breeds are represented here—Maine Coone, manx and Minuet, among others. While the stories themselves reveal many facts about cats, there are also some informative double-spreads with more information, such as: welcoming a cat into your home, training them to walk on a leash, body language, cat camps… 

The book is vibrantly colorful, with stunning photos on every page and stories to charm even the feline-skeptics! This truly has an audience of all ages and would make a great gift!

Activities/Resources:

I am giving away a copy of whichever of these you would like, to a randomly picked commentor (by May 23rd). Please share a favorite pet moment with us.

 

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