Posts Tagged ‘dogs’

One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray

Posted on January 17th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart


One Two That's My Shoe by Alison Murray, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsOne Two That’s My Shoe written and illustrated by Alison Murray
Counting Picture Book published by Disney Hyperion Books

A delightful, cheery picture book, One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray will have tremendous appeal for toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Beautiful illustrations feature a lovely palette and direct readers to notice numbers and what is to be counted in each two-page spread. Very well-suited to a classroom or a library read aloud session, the illustrations are bold and large enough for a group to enjoy.

One Two That's My Shoe spread

Georgie Dog picks up one of Grace’s shoes and within minutes a chase ensues. Georgie jumps over three teddy bears and races past four wooden blocks. Soon after, he rushes outside and into the garden. Grace chases after him. This is a playful pup with a winning personality. He is clearly having fun until he encounters ten upset chickens.

One Two That’s My Shoe is a special delight and highly recommended.

Young readers may recognize Georgie Dog and Grace from Apple Pie ABC

Cut and Colour Georgie Dog from Ms. Murray’s website

One Two That’s My Shoe! at

One, Two, That’s My Shoe! at

Introducing Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge a picture book written by Victoria Martin and illustrated by Caitlyn Knepka

Posted on November 22nd, 2015 by Carolyn Hart


Itty Bitty Wouldn't Budge a picture book written by Victoria Martin and illustrated by Caitlyn KnepkaItty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge written by Victoria Martin and illustrated by Caitlyn Knepka
Picture book published by Mascot Books

At the front of my suburban house, I have a Little Free Library. With an emphasis on children’s books, at any given time, the library has three or four board books, a dozen or so easy readers, twenty chapter books for middle grade readers and twenty five picture books. This is our second year in existence and the library has been a wonderful way to meet neighbors and celebrate community. Many people speak to my husband and me about the library and we have received many generous donations. Throughout the week, I rotate books in and out of the library as I try to keep the selection fresh.

This week, while my husband was working in our garden, someone stopped by to donate a new picture book to the library. She explained that her friend, who is an author, had sent it along and asked her to drop it off. This is a “first” for the library – an author-autographed picture book!

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge

is a perfect match to the community spirit of a Little Free Library. Nana is a well-known and very popular elementary school teacher. She and her Newfoundland dog often walk through Maplewood Village. They pass local landmarks including a church, a park and the railroad station. Along the route, they see familiar faces and speak to friends.

One day, Itty Bitty decides stop partway along the route. She simply does not want to move. Nana does her best to persuade Itty Bitty to finish their walk but she’s a very large dog and quite stubborn. Passersby and community helpers ask Nana if she needs help but Nana knows her best and eventually solves the challenge.

I want to thank Victoria Martin and her friend (who lives not far from me) for this donation to our neighborhood library. I know it will be appreciated and enjoyed by many children.

Read about the author and the inspiration for this picture book here.

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge at

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge at

A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts Shares Wonderful Choices for Beginning Readers

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 2014  Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award WinnerThe Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Picture book for beginning readers published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group

When a charming and exuberant crocodile explains that he loves watermelon, we are utterly convinced,

Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby cocodile, it’s been my favorite.

While enthusiastically devouring his favorite fruit, the crocodile accidentally ingests a seed, his imagination runs wild and he assumes a variety of terrible outcomes.

Repetitive text, limited use of long vowel words and very good supporting illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers.

The Watermelon Seed at

The Watermelon Seed at

Ball by Mary Sullivan a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookBall written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Picture book for beginning readers published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

There is little doubt that this dog loves his small, red ball. From the moment he wakes up, he is focused on only one thing: playing with the ball. He especially loves when the ball is thrown by a young girl but when she leaves for school there is no one available to throw it.

This is a terrific picture book that relies heavily on the illustrations for the narrative. Apart from one repeated word (ball) it could be classified as a wordless picture book.

It will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young children – especially those who are eager for an opportunity to read independently.

Ball at

Ball at

A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookA Big Guy Took My Ball written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Series for beginning readers published by Hyperion Books for Children

This charming story will remind readers that appearances can be deceiving and perspective is everything! Gerald and Piggie’s friendship is solid and Gerald is more than willing to stand up for Piggie when her ball is taken by a big guy.

Delightful illustrations will appeal to young readers as they effectively portray a range of emotions. The text is perfect for children who are beginning to read – lots of repetition and very few long vowel words.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) at

A Big Guy Took My Ball! at

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookPenny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Generously illustrated chapter book series for beginning readers published by Greenwillow Books An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

It truly is a treat to read such a beautifully-written chapter book for beginning readers. Kevin Henkes has created a new character: Penny. She is a young mouse with a sense of right and wrong. In this book, she is out with her sister when she “finds” a beautiful blue marble. She excitedly puts it into her pocket and later wonders if she did the right thing.

Lovely, full color illustrations and a thought-provoking dilemma make this a great choice for newly independent readers.

Penny and Her Marble at

Penny And Her Marble at

Meet Author Lisa Manzione

Posted on September 18th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts interviews author Lisa Manzione

Author Website

Author Twitter account @BellaAndHarryGo

Author Facebook page

Book Series Website

The Adventures of Bella and Harry Lets Visit Maui by Lisa ManzioneTell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

The latest book published is Let’s Visit Maui!. The book series is perfectly suited for ages 5-10. I am most proud of the fact the series has been very well received by parents, librarians, teachers, but most of all, children!

Let’s Visit Maui!: Adventures of Bella & Harry (The Adventures of Bella & Harry) at

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

It was extremely difficult to get the first book in the series published. As a matter of fact, I had one publisher tell me the books were “too educational” for US children. Once I heard that comment, I was even more determined! I found a small publisher in South Florida and the first book was published. After attending Book Expo America, I realized I could publish the books on my own. I created my own company, hired a staff, and 14 books later, we are very pleased with our success.

As far as words of encouragement…Don’t give up! If you truly believe in our product, the right opportunity will come along. It just takes time and persistence.Bella and Harry Lets Visit Athens by Lisa Manzione

What are the joys of being an author / illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

I think the greatest joy is seeing how much children enjoy reading and learning about the world. I am just thrilled every time I speak to a youngster and they can tell me what Bella & Harry have taught them. I really love it when the child tells me they know even MORE about the cities/countries than Bella and Harry because they have done research on their own or with their classroom.

What are the biggest challenges of being an author / illustrator?

I believe the biggest challenge is keeping a child’s interest in a story. In the Bella and Harry series, the stories are educational. I think it is necessary to keep the story fun (which holds their attention), but to also have a significant amount of educational content which can be a huge challenge because I don’t want the book to feel like a history book.

Have any of your books been published electronically? If so, what was that process like? What sort of feedback have you had from readers?

Yes, the books have been published electronically through Reading Rainbow Kidz. There is an option with RRKidz…the book can be read aloud to you or you can turn that option off and read the book yourself.

The process with RR Kidz was a lot of fun! We have received tremendous feedback from readers, especially early readers who enjoy the narration option initially.

We plan to have additional e-books available in the fall, 2014.

If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

If I could dine with anyone it would be James Patterson. I love his “women’s murder club”series!

Additionally, James Patterson lives in South FL and is very active in children’s literacy programs, which I just LOVE!

Do you do school or library presentations? If so, please briefly describe topics/ geographical limitations.

I love to do library and school presentations! Generally, I read one book during the presentation, followed by a question and answer session. Those that answer the questions correctly are given a prize…sometimes another book, a Bella plush stuffed animal, back pack, etc. At the end of the presentation I give each child a book from the series that we did not read. Depending on the age of the children, sometimes I autograph the books individually as well.

As far as limitations, if I have advanced notice, there really are no limitations. If advance notice is limited, I can always Skype. In this instance, I would send the book ahead, so we can still do most of the above.

Harry the Dirty Dog – A Classic Picture Book You Won’t Want to Miss

Posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart


Harry the Dirty Dog - A Classic Picture Book Recommended by Storytime StandoutsHarry the Dirty Dog written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham

Harry the Dirty Dog was first published in 1956. It is the story of a strong-willed, adventurous dog who does not want to be bathed. He is so determined to avoid the bath that he takes the scrubbing brush and buries it in his backyard. Once the brush is hidden, he hits the road. Harry the Dirty Dog bathtub spread

Not one to shy away from dirt, this charming white dog with black spots is soon visiting a construction site, playing near a rail yard, romping through water pipes and climbing onto piles of dirt. Everywhere Harry goes, there are opportunities for him to get dirty and, when he arrives home, he is so dirty that his family does not recognize him. He has become a black dog with white spots. Fortunately, while roaming, Harry has had a change of heart. He is keen to jump into the bath and to be back home, surrounded by his loving family.

A classic picture book for preschool-age children, Harry the Dirty Dog is the first of four stories about this endearing pup. Children will also be happy to read Harry by the Sea, No Roses for Harry and Harry and the Lady Next Door.

The National Education Association named the book one of its “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children.”

Harry the Dirty Dog at

Harry The Dirty Dog at

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Harry the Dirty Dog on Pinterest.

Bad Astrid – Antibullying Picture Book

Posted on December 10th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


Bad Astrid antibullying picture bookBad Astrid written by Eileen Brennan and illustrated by Regan Dunnick
Antibullying picture book published by Random House

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

She came into town like five tons of bad luck.
She came into town in a big moving truck.

From the moment Astrid and her family move into a new neighborhood, she is unpleasant. She chases, teases and is destructive. Ignoring her and keeping busy seems to be the best solution until one day Astrid has a bad accident while riding her bike. She needs help. Her victim hesitates to step forward. She asks, “Why are you mean to me?”. Astrid’s explanation surprises her remarkably forgiving neighbor and the two girls discover a way to be friends.

When reviewing antibullying picture books, we prefer stories that resolve the bullying problem realistically. Although Astrid’s bike crash and her victim’s willingness to forgive her past deeds provide a somewhat’magical’ solution to a serious bullying problem, we think there is lots to appreciate about Bad Astrid. Fun cartoon-like illustrations, playful word art and rhyming text will have special appeal for older readers and may make this an excellent discussion-starter about bullying for primary-grade classrooms.

Bad Astrid at

Bad Astrid at

Pet-loving friends highlight generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog Disaster

Posted on June 24th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart


image of cover art for generously illustrated chapter book, The Great Dog DisasterThe Great Dog Disaster written by Katie Davies and illustrated by Hannah Shaw
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Simon and Schuster

Suzanne and Anna are great friends who live next door to each other. The wall between their two homes is so thin that, if they try, they can hear each other’s family discussions. When Suzanne’s mom inherits Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog, the two girls are thrilled until they actually meet Beatrice. It seems Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog is old and slow and smelly. Undaunted, the girls are determined to make Beatrice behave like they believe a proper dog should before medical bills and incontinence cause Suzanne’s dad to do something drastic.image of a spread from The Great Dog Disaster, a generously illustrated chapter book

This generously illustrated chapter book will appeal to both boys and girls (aged 8-12), especially those with a fondness for dogs. At times, poignent, The Great Dog Disaster will encourage readers to consider the relationship between Great-Aunt Deidra and Beatrice, how neighbours and community can be important and how the girls’ determination to make a difference has far-reaching implications. Ms. Shaw’s charming illustrations and amply-spaced text will appeal to reluctant readers.

Note: Throughout the book, Anna refers to “Me and Suzanne.” If grammar mistakes are a problem for you, The Great Dog Disaster will not be a good choice.

Website for the Great Critter Capers series of generously illustrated chapter books.

The Great Dog Disaster at

The Great Dog Disaster at

Good Dog, Carl – Checking Out a Classic Wordless Picture Book

Posted on June 18th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at wordless picture book Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

Storytime Standouts looks at Alexandra Day's first wordless picture book about Carl:  Good Dog, CarlGood Dog, Carl created by Alexandra Day
Almost wordless picture book published by Simon and Schuster

This immensely popular almost wordless picture book will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young mischief makers. When mother goes out for awhile, she asks her pet rottweiler, named Carl, to look after the sleeping baby.

Carl watches at the window as Mother leaves and then lowers the crib rail and waits patiently while Baby Madeline climbs onto his back. Carl provides loving care for the infant, bouncing her on Mother’s bed, playing dress up and meeting her at the bottom of the laundy shute. When the baby goes for a dip in the family fish tank, Carl is nearby, ensuring that she is swimming safely. Eventually Carl makes lunch for Madeline, returns her to her crib and tidies the house thoroughly before her unsuspecting mother returns home.

Once readers get over their shock at the idea of leaving an infant at home alone with a dog, they will enjoy the silliness alongside Carl’s gentle and devoted caregiving. Carl is utterly loveable and Baby Madeline is clearly having a grand time.

Good Dog, Carl is the first of seventeen wordless picture books about Carl and Madeline. Available in a variety of formats including board book and paperback, the hardcover measures 7.6 x 8.5 inches and is designed appropriately for small hands to grasp. Suitable for toddlers and preschool-age children.

Good Dog, Carl at

Good Dog, Carl at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Other Wordless Picture Books About Carl at

Other Wordless Picture Books About Carl at

Meet, Jack He’s a Wordless Picture Book Star

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at a wordless picture book series about a terrier named Jack

Storytime Standouts looks at a wordless picture book series about a terrier named Jack Breakfast for JackBreakfast For Jack created by Pat Schories
Wordless picture book (first in a series) published by Front Street, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press

Jack is an adorable orange and white terrier, brimming with personality. One busy morning, his family gets up, feeds the cat, eats breakfast and rushes off to school and work. Sadly, no one remembers to feed Jack. He is completely bewildered by the situation and he does his best to remind them that he is hungry. It is not until they are all out the door that his best pal remembers to feed him.

The Jack series is a great introduction to the wordless picture book genre. Relatively simple storylines will be easy for youngsters to understand. As well, the size of the books (7″ wide X 8 1/2″ high) makes them well-suited to small hands. Best for children aged three years and up.

Breakfast for Jack at

Breakfast for Jack at

Jack and the Night Visitors at
Jack and the Night Visitors at

Jack Wants a Snack at
Jack Wants A Snack at

Jack and the Missing Piece at
Jack and the Missing Piece at

When Jack Goes Out at
When Jack Goes Out at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Wordless Picture Book Fun – Hocus Pocus

Posted on November 21st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Regular readers of Storytime Standouts will know that I am a fan of wordless and almost wordless picture books. When an adult shares a wordless picture book with a child, the adult loses the “reading advantage.” In a wordless picture book, there are almost no words to read. The story is told through the illustrations so both adult and child can partner to “read” the story and decide what it is all about.

Wordless picture books are great for vocabulary development because they encourage co-readers to discuss the illustrations as they move through the story. Wordless picture books are terrific for multi-lingual families because they can be enjoyed in any language. Additionally, wordless picture books provide a non-reading child the opportunity to “read” the illustrations and retell a story. Learning to “read” illustrations and retell stories are valuable skills for pre-readers and beginning readers to develop.

Hocus Pocus - story by Sylvie Desrosiers, illustrations by Rémy Simard
Wordless picture book published by Kids Can Press

When Mister Magic arrives home with his top hat, Dog and a bag full of groceries, he is ready to relax. He puts on headphones, sits in a comfortable chair and listens to music. Before long, Mister Magic and Dog are both fast asleep and Hocus Pocus, a mischievous rabbit is scrambling out of Mister Magic’s top hat. Hocus Pocus sees Mister Magic’s carrots peeking out of the grocery bag and wants one. He worries about awakening Dog and is soon plotting ways to avoid the canine and his sharp teeth.

Retro illustrations (created with Adobe Illustrator) and the messy, farcical battle between Dog and Hocus Pocus give the story a cartoon-like feel. Hocus Pocus is great fun and will be enjoyed by children aged four and up.

Hocus Pocus Printables from Kids Can Press

Hocus Pocus at

Hocus Pocus at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

I’ll Always Love You – Helping Kids Cope With the Death of a Pet

Posted on November 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


I'll Always Love You by Hans WilhelmI’ll Always Love You written and illustrated by Hans Wilhelm
Picture book about the death of a pet published by Dragonfly Books, an imprint of Random House

Books can be enormously helpful for both parents and children when they face difficult and emotional situations. In I’ll Always Love You we meet a young boy and his much loved dog, Elfie. Elfie and the boy share many experiences but as the boy grows up, Elfie grows old. This sweet tribute to a family pet explains the dog’s death respectfully and lovingly. In addition, I’ll Always Love You serves as a reminder that expressing our love to those around us can be of some comfort when we must deal with loss.

32 pages, suitable for children aged four years and up

I’ll Always Love You at

I’ll Always Love You at

No Pets Allowed – Matthew and Fred Will Win You Over

Posted on November 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


.Storytime Standouts write about No Pets AllowedNo Pets Allowed
Written by Irene N. Watts and illustrated by Kathryn E. Shoemaker
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Tradewind Books

When eight-year-old Matthew and his mom move from their rural home to the West End neighborhood of Vancouver, Matthew is forced to leave his beloved dog behind. Matthew’s grandparents will care for Lucky as he and his mom establish themselves in a downtown apartment building that does not allow pets. Matthew begins school and tries to adjust to city life but he misses his pet terribly. He is hopeful that, before long, they will move again and be reunited with Lucky.

One night, after settling for sleep, Matthew hears a familiar sound; he is sure there is something under his bed. Moments later, he feels a rough tongue, licking his cheek. Some refer to ‘Fred’ as an imaginary dog but, for Matthew, he is very real indeed. It is not long before the apartment landlord is convinced that Matthew is hiding a pet in the apartment.

This generously illustrated, eleven chapter book will be thoroughly enjoyed by boys and girls aged seven to nine. I particularly appreciated the realistic portrayal of the relationship between Matthew and his mother; Matthew wanting Lucky to live with the family, his mother unable to find an apartment that will allow the dog. Her nervousness in dealing with an wary apartment manager and the compassion of neighbors all contribute to making No Pets Allowed a good choice for young readers.

No Pets Allowed at

No Pets Allowed at

Lois Ehlert’s Inspiring Illustrations – Wag a Tail is Doggone Great!

Posted on September 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


 Lois Ehlert’s Inspiring Illustrations - Wag a Tail is Doggone GreatWag A Tail written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Picture book published by Harcourt, Inc.

A first glance, one might assume that Lois Ehlert’s picture book, Wag A Tail is best suited for preschool-aged children. The brief rhyming text tells a tale of sixteen mostly well-behaved dogs. The graduates of the Bow Wow School meet at a farmers’ market and subsequently move on to a dog park for playtime.

Ms Ehlert’s bold, inspiring illustrations are constructed from handmade paper, scraps of fabric and buttons. They are truly fascinating for children (and adults) who are interested in creating art from odds and ends. This book would be a great jumping off point for teachers who are interested in inspiring primary-aged children to create art from paper, scissors and found objects.

At our house, we had a laugh when we read the descriptions of the Bow Wow School graduates. My nine-year old decided he is much like “Bebe… an Affenpinscher, Loyal, but difficult to train. Determined and fearless, sometimes snappy. This dog was born to run.”

I think I’m more like “Queenie” – especially since she’s “smart, loves children… and doesn’t need much exercise.” If only it were true!

Wag a Tail at

Wag a Tail at

Grade One Chapter Book: Being friends is better than being famous

Posted on August 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


When my boys first ventured into reading grade one chapter books, they were delighted to discover Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. Featuring a wonderful friendship and many happy adventures, the Frog and Toad series has been a favourite with young readers for decades.

James Howe’s latest book, Houndlsey and Catina is very reminiscent of the Frog and Toad series. Howe is famous for Bunnicula (Today Vegetables… Tomorrow the World). Houndlsey and Catina will appeal to younger readers who prefer shorter, generously illustrated chapters and less text. It will likely suit a child reading at a mid to late grade one level.

Grade One Chapter Book: Being friends is better than being famous Houndsley and CatinaHoundlsey and Catina written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Chapter book series for kindergarten – grade three published by Candlewick Press

Illustrated beautifully by Marie-Louis Gay, Houndlsey and Catina tells of Catina’s desire to write a prize-winning book and Houndleys’ wish to win a cooking contest. Together, they help us see that being friends “is better than being famous..” This is a lovely tribute to friendship.

Houndsley and Catina at

Houndsley and Catina at

The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set (I Can Read Book 2) at

The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set at

Picture Books To Tickle Your Funny Bone

Posted on August 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Yesterday was tough around here and by bedtime my youngest son was very ready to enjoy some snuggle time and some new picture books. Because it had been a rough day, we wanted something fun. I reached for Duck’s Tale by Harmen van Straaten, Smelly Bill by Daniel Postgate and Grill Pan Eddy by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. All three picture books had very appealing cover art and looked as though they would fit the bill.

Duck’s Tale is a lovely story about the friendship between Toad and Duck. Duck finds a pen and takes it to Toad’s house. Toad is busy when Duck arrives. He is reading the newspaper while wearing his reading glasses. Duck concludes that Toad reads because he has glasses. Duck subsequently decides that possessing a pen should enable him to write.

He writes for an entire day and then invites Toad to ‘read’ his ‘story.’ Not one to disappoint his good friend, Toad ‘reads’ Duck’s Tale beautifully.

Recommended for children 3 and up. Older boys and girls will appreciate the subtleties and perhaps wonder whether Duck actually writes a story and if Toad is able read.

Duck’s Tale at

Duck’s Tale at

Oh yuk, Smelly Bill is one mucky dog. He loves to roll in mud and rubbish. He steadfastly resists his family’s attempts to de-reek him! When Great Aunt Bleach arrives, she brings her disinfectant and scrub brush. Before long the house is sparkling from top to uh-oh – what is that smell? After a merry chase, Bill endures his bathie-wathie, and makes a mess of poor Great Aunt Bleach. With wonderful rhyming text and fun illustrations, Smelly Bill will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Smelly Bill at

Smelly Bill at

Grill Pan Eddy is one smart and daring mouse. Apparently fearless, he taunts his host family and their cat:

“No matter what we tried to do
No matter what we saidy.
There was no way of getting rid
Of that darn Grill Pan Eddy

Eddy has a field day with the exterminator and makes regular appearances throughout the house. Finally beaten, the family grudgingly decides to let him stay.

Tony Ross’ great illustrations are perfect for this irreverent romp. Enjoy it with children 5 and up.

Grill Pan Eddy at

Grill Pan Eddy at

Grade Two Chapter Book – Why Nate is Really Great

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


When looking for a special grade two chapter book, you can’t go wrong with Nate the Great

Grade Two Chapter Book – Why Nate is Really GreatNate the Great written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by Marc Simont
Published by Yearling

Nate likes pancakes and syrup almost as much as he enjoys solving a perplexing mystery. Nate and his canine sidekick, Sludge, are called upon to solve all sorts of cases; locating lost paintings, disappearing dogs and, in one case, a missing key.

With an appearance that is often reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, Nate is all business – except if pancakes are on the menu. Along with with Annie and Rosamond, our hero cracks each case with solid detective work.

Nate the Great is a series that has been delighting young readers for more than thirty years. Suitable for children who are reading at about a grade two level, some of the stories are divided into chapters. Generously illustrated, the text is perfect for young readers who are ready to take on a meatier story (than typically found in easy readers).

Series like these are great because beginning readers often decide they want to read every single one of the Nate the Great books. This is just what we want, a child who is motivated to read by fun stories and a delightful cast of characters.

Nate the Great at Random House includes printable activities plus author information.

TeacherVision Nate the Great summarizing activity

Nate the Great at

Nate the Great at

Special Picture Books to Watch For

Posted on August 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Today we’ll look at three special picture books to enjoy with young children

image of cover art for A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers
Written by Debby Waldman and illustrated by Cindy Revell
Picture book that explores social responsibility published by Orca Book Publishers

Young Yankel is a storyteller. He overhears bits of news at his father’s store and excitedly shares the gossip throughout the village.

One day a wise rabbi gives Yankel a job; he is to put one feather on each doorstep in the village. Puzzled, Yankel willingly distributes the feathers even as gusts of wind send some flying.

When the rabbi subsequently asks Yankel to collect all the feathers and return them to the sack, Yankel comes to understand the danger of gossip.

A delightful folktale is retold in A Sack Full of Feathers with engaging illustrations and warmth.

A Sack Full of Feathers at

Sack Full of Feathers at

Heave Ho!
Written by Heinz Janisch and illustrated by Carola Holland
Imagine, a refreshing and surprising story told in just twelve sentences! Engaging illustrations introduce a cat, a dog and a trio of mice. Together, they take on a tricky job and discover they are ‘up’ to the challenge. Good fun.

Heave Ho! at

Heave Ho! at

Dooby Dooby Moo
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

I hope you have discovered the not-to-be missed Caldecott Honor book, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type. In Dooby Dooby Moo we once again encounter Farmer Brown and his irrepressible animals. With good cause, Farmer Brown is suspicious that something is going on behind the barn door. In fact, Duck is determined to win a trampoline in the upcoming Talent Show. He is busy organizing rehearsals of “Home on the Range” and “Born to be Wild.” This book’s a sure ‘winner.’

Dooby Dooby Moo at

Dooby Dooby Moo at

Latest Chris Raschka Treat is a Wordless Picturebook Delight: A Ball for Daisy

Posted on May 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Those of us who “know” picture books are very familiar with the wordless and almost wordless variety. I’m not convinced, however, that “non bookies” are aware of the genre or that they understand the important role a wordless picture book can play in early literacy.

Wordless picture books “tell” a story using illustrations only. They encourage active participation and, as a result, are super for stimulating language development. Wordless picture books also move children and adults to a level playing field; a young child is equally able to “read” a well designed story because there are no words to be decoded. A wordless picture book is great for multiligual families because stories can be discussed in any language. Perhaps most importantly, wordless picture books provide a great platform for story retelling. A youngster who enjoys a wordless picture book with an adult, should be encouraged to retell the story, using his own words, to another adult – a great way to improve the child’s ability to retell a story and thus helping to prepare the child for formal reading instruction.

Every kindergarten and early primary classroom ought to be stocked with some wordless picture books. Here is a brand new title you will want to consider:
Latest Chris Raschka Treat is a Wordless Picturebook Delight:  A Ball for Daisy A Ball for Daisy – created by Chris Raschka
Wordless picture book published by Schwartz and Wade Books, an imprint of Random House

Have you ever suffered the loss of favorite toy? Perhaps it was broken beyond repair? Daisy is an adorable little dog, oozing with personality. She loves her beautiful red ball. Daisy kicks it and bounces it and snuggles with it on the sofa. One day, while enjoying a walk, Daisy encounters a doggy friend who is too exuberant and accidentally punctures the red ball. Daisy is inconsolable; she can’t believe what she sees and she tries everything to make her red ball whole again. Unfortunately, the ball has been destroyed.

Thankfully, Daisy’s friend understands her distress and, when she next visits the park, a lovely new blue ball is waiting. Breezy, bright illustrations, perfect for sharing with a group, guide readers (and non “readers”) through A Ball for Daisy.

Updated January 2012A Ball for Daisy – created by Chris Raschka is the winner of the 2012 Randolph Caldecott Medal

A Ball for Daisy at

A Ball for Daisy at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

The King’s Taster Serves Up a Banquet of Delicious Language and Illustrations

Posted on March 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts looks at picture book, The King's Taster by Kenneth Oppel and Steve Johnson, Lou FancherThe King’s Taster – written by Kenneth Oppel, paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Picture book published by Harper Collins

Max is the king’s tester and the cook’s dog. Life is mighty fine until a new and very young king refuses the cook’s gourmet fare. “The cook went straight to work on the coronation feast. He chopped, he topped, and he tailed; he sliced, he stirred and he whisked.” Despite the cook’s valiant efforts, the obstinate young king refuses to eat. The cook is desperate – he must find new recipes to satisfy an extremely picky and powerful sovereign. After travelling the world and experimenting with all sorts of exotic culinary treats, the cook finally uncovers the truth: the New King is devouring candy, cookies and other sweet treats rather than the delicious and nutritious food prepared by the cook. To avoid having his mother hear the truth, the young king decides to make better choices. He soon rediscovers his appetite and relishes meals that are truly ‘fit for a king.’ The King’s Taster serves up a banquet of delicious language and fascinating collage illustrations.

The King’s Taster at

The King’s Taster at

Henry has a Big Problem – Dealing with Bullying in the Schoolyard

Posted on February 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Meet Nancy Carlson, author and illustrator of Henry and the Bully

Henry and the Bully written by Nancy Carlson
A picture book about bullying in the schoolyard

Henry is in grade one and loves to play soccer during recess break. Unfortunately, Sam, who is older and considerably bigger spoils the game by teasing and stealing the soccer ball. In Henry and the Bully, Henry seeks help from Mr. McCarthy but his teacher is busy with other playground problems and does not help the grade one children. Soon, Henry feels terrible and thinks he is too sick to go to school.

A chance meeting at a department store provides Henry with an opportunity to surprise the bully and recruit a new soccer player.

Read the entire story online and give a book to a child who doesn’t have one by visiting We Give Books

Henry and the Bully at

Henry And The Bully at

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

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