Posts Tagged ‘Canadian illustrator’

Small Creatures Can Solve Big Problems – Good to Be Small

Posted on January 31st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts writes about picture book, Good to Be Small
Good to Be Small – Written and illustrated by Sean Cassidy
Picture book published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside Limited





Storytime Standouts writes about picture book, Good to Be SmallThis delightfully illustrated picture book reminds us that even very small creatures can help to solve big problems. A young lamb is missing from the barnyard and her mama is frantic. A small and very determined mouse offers to help find Lamb. She travels far and wide while using her ingenuity and size to reunite a very grateful Mama Sheep with her lamb.

This is a favourite read aloud in my Getting Ready to Read program. Young children enjoy carefully examining the illustrations to help find Lamb. They cheer for Mouse as she enlists the help of other creatures in her quest. Very well suited to a farm theme or an examination of social responsibility.

Suitable for children aged three and up.

Good to be Small at Amazon.com

Good to Be Small at Amazon.ca

Note, visit Sean Cassidy’s website for “One Point Perspective” drawing lessons.

Did you know Storytime Standouts offers more than two hundred early childhood literacy downloads? You may be interested in our farm downloads to go along with Good to Be Small.

image of PDF icon  Five Little Farmers

Use as a fingerplay or a felt board story (or both)

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Farm

Farm theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Farm Picture Dictionary

Free printable farm picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.



What a beautiful seaside counting book: A Pod of Orcas

Posted on January 29th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

A Pod of Orcas: A Seaside Counting Book written by Sheryl McFarlane and illustrated by Kirsti Anne Wakelin
Counting, Rhyming Picture book published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside

Preschoolers will love counting the sailboats, harbour seals, sandcastles and magnificent orca whales. Written and illustrated by residents of British Columbia, the gentle rhymes and striking illustrations encourage closer examination of a beautiful day at the seaside.

Highly recommended

24 pages and suitable for children 2 to 5

A Pod of Orcas at Amazon.com

A Pod of Orcas at Amazon.ca


Spork Provides a Shining Celebration of Diversity and Individuality

Posted on January 7th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares Spork, a picture book about diversity and individualityStorytime Standouts shares Spork, a picture book about diversity and individuality written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Picture book about family diversity published by Kids Can Press





“Spork was neither spoon nor fork…but a bit of both.” Offering a refreshing and original celebration of individuality, Spork is a thoughtful yet fun look at a youngster who doesn’t look quite like mum or dad. In Spork’s kitchen abode, there are forks, knives and spoons – they each know their places and ‘mixing’ is quite rare. Sparkling illustrations and clever writing encourage the reader to feel empathy for a different sort of kitchen utensil who aspires to be spoonish or forkish but can’t quite manage either.

When The Messy One is plunked in a nearby highchair one day, needing something a little different, there is no better tool for the task at hand.

Very good fun, will be enjoyed by utensils of every colour, size and shape, aged four and up.

Spork is one of Kirkus Reviews’ 2010 Best Children’s Books

Spork at Amazon.com

Spork at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform readers about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.




Squirrel Theme Circle Time For Preschool and Kindergarten

Posted on January 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Squirrel Theme Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Use these squirrel theme circle time materials to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day January 21st!




A number of years ago, my father-in-law was frustrated by some pesky critters in his beautiful garden. Stellar jays were not the only visitors who liked the peanuts he offered, not surprisingly the neighbourhood squirrels were also attracted by the treats. Unfortunately, the squirrels were much less appreciated as guests than the jays – the squirrels dared to dig up his daffodil bulbs! We were sympathetic about the destruction of his flower beds, but we couldn’t resist celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day with him once we heard about it.

Since January 21st is fast-approaching, I put together some squirrel theme preschool materials for anyone who’d like to join in the fun. These resources will be useful when planning a squirrel theme circle time for preschool or kindergarten.

Let’s begin with some squirrel theme picture books for preschool and kindergarten:

image of cover art for Will and SquillWill and Squill written and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Will and Squillis the story of two very unlikely friends. Will and Squill meet as infants and, although discouraged by their parents, they persist in playing, swimming and swinging together. All is well until Will’s family aquires a kitten and Squill reacts badly to the intrusion into their friendship. Thankfully, it is not long before, Will discovers that a kitten is not nearly as good a companion as Squill and the two mismatched friends are reunited. Well-suited for read aloud, will be enjoyed by children aged four and up.


Will And Squill at Amazon.com

Will And Squill at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for Matthew and the Midnight HospitalMatthew and the Midnight Hospital written by Allen Morgan and illustrated by Michael Martchenko

The Flying Flingallees are the stars of the show in Matthew and the Midnight Hospital. When Matthew decides to put together a circus act, he hopes to enlist the help of some neighbourhood creatures. At the end of a performance for his mom, he scrapes his knee and needs some first aid. Just as the bandaid is applied to his knee, a young squirrel in a tree above misses his branch and falls to the ground. Matthew and his mom are both concerned for the animal. They make the injured squirrel comfortable for the night. Matthew worries about the squirrel’s well-being and is thinking about him as he drifts off to sleep. Shortly after midnight, he discovers that the injured squirrel is to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. Unlike any hospital I’ve ever visited, the midnight hospital offers the perfect antidote and soon Danny and Matthew are flying high. Also well-suited for read aloud, this is part of Matthew’s Midnight Adventure Series and will be enjoyed by boys and girls aged five and up.

Matthew and the Midnight Hospital at Amazon.com

Matthew and the Midnight Hospital at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for Scaredy Squirrel at the BeachScaredy Squirrel at the Beach written and illustrated by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Orville Squirrel whose initials are S.O.S. is an immensely popular character in an equally popular series of picture books. In Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach Scaredy the worrywart is very careful to avoid any sort of real or imagined danger. Rather than encounter pirates, jellyfish, seagulls and sea monsters, he decides to create his very own private backyard beach paradise. After carefully constructing his safe haven, Scaredy realizes that, although his beach “look” is great – his backyard just doesn’t sound like the real thing. The only solution is “Operation Seashell” – a carefully planned and executed mission in search of a seashell that will provide crystal clear ocean sound. Featuring detailed descriptions of Scaredy’s beachware and plans for his mission, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach will be enjoyed best independently or in a small group or one-on-one read-aloud setting. Best-suited to children five and up.

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.com

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.ca

image of squirrel writing paper for kids

To enhance a squirrel theme circle time for preschool or kindergarten, we hope you will enjoy our free early learning printables

All of our early learning printables, including these Squirrel theme printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the files.

image of Adobe Reader


Brown Squirrel Chant for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Brown Squirrel

An action rhyme celebrating squirrels

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Squirrel with nuts

Squirrel theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Five Little Squirrels Flannel Board Activity for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Five Little Squirrels

Use as a fingerplay or a felt board story (or both)

image of PDF icon  I'm A Little Acorn Brown

A fun addition to a squirrel circle time


If you appreciate our free early childhood printables, including these Squirrel theme circle time materials for preschool and kindergarten, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


A Favourite Wintertime Picture Book – The Hockey Tree

Posted on December 14th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

These days we are racing to meet all of my youngest son’s sports commitments. He is playing on the high school basketball team and he also plays “rep” hockey. This year the regular season and his hockey team’s Christmas tournament “collide.” He has ten different hockey commitments between now and next Tuesday – and has turned down the opportunity to ref this week (thank goodness).

Storytime Standouts looks at a favourite wintertime picture book about ice hockey, The Hockey Tree by David Ward and Brian DeinesHockey is definitely his first love and, over the years, we have enjoyed several picture books about hockey together. He’s well past picture books now but I’m not.

The Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines



In light of the busy week ahead, I thought I would take a moment to write about David Ward’s The Hockey Tree. This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and into an ice fishing hole.

The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

And the winner is…Cat’s Night Out

Posted on November 16th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Cat’s Night Out – Winner of the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature Illustration


Storytime Standouts looks at picture book Cat's Night OutCat’s Night Out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen
Picture book published by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books





The jury’s comments were as follows: “In Cat’s Night Out, Jon Klassen’s highly imaginative and clever illustrations, with their subdued, delicate colours and their minimal movement, mysteriously transform a smoky New York night into a grooving and pulsating background for his cool dancing cats.”

My thoughts about Cat’s Night Out”… It’s Saturday night and, as Easy Street grows dark, it is time for the neighborhood felines to kick up their heels. Featuring evocative illustrations that include hidden numbers, this rhyming counting book also includes a wide variety of dance steps, costumes and vocabulary. Highly recommended.

Cats’ Night Out at Amazon.com

Cats’ Night Out at Amazon.ca



Free Printable Nursery Rhymes to Share With Young Children

Posted on March 28th, 2007 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Has Free, Printable Nursery Rhymes

Discover the benefits of sharing nursery rhymes with children and take advantage of our free printable nursery rhymes.

A substantial part of my work is with young children. I have found printable nursery rhymes very beneficial. If they have enjoyed wordplay and stories at home, children are often somewhat familiar with the rhymes, they enjoy the rhyming and repetition and they welcome the opportunity to create a “book” of nursery rhmyes and “read” text. “Reading” along while repeating a familiar rhyme, is an opportunity to practice directional tracking by sliding a finger along the familiar words (from left to right, top to bottom).

For children who are new to English, learning nursery rhymes also introduces characters that they will encounter again and again and the rhythm of English.

Nursery rhymes introduce many literary devices: repetition (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Polly, Put the Kettle On), onomatopoeia (Baa Baa Black sheep; This Little Pig; Old King Cole; Ding, Dong, Bell), alliteration (Little Boy Blue; Sing a Song O’Sixpence; Goosie, Goosie, Gander; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater; Wee Willie Winkie) and imagery (Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet).How Nursery Rhymes Help Children Learn Language

Nursery rhymes also introduce rich vocabulary. Jack and Jill introduces fetch, pail, crown and tumbling. These are probably not words that are used in everyday conversation so, just by sharing and talking about nursery rhymes, a child’s vocabulary is expanded.

Another key benefit of enjoying nursery rhymes with young children is the boost it will give to their phonemic awareness. We want young children to notice that words are made up of sounds. Hearing rhyming (diddle/fiddle, star/far, horn/corn) and alliteration (Boy blue, Grey Geese, Simple Simon, Tommy Tucker)

Prior to creating my own printable nursery rhymes, I often visited Webbing Into Literacy and used A Rhyme a Week.

The Storytime Standouts printable nursery rhymes can used to create a nursery rhyme booklet and/or as learning activities.


You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here, rhymes, songs, fingerplays and chants here and all of our early learning printables for children here.


Step 1 – Make sure you have Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it, please click on the ‘Get Adobe Reader’ button to install it for free.image for Adobe Reader


Step 2 – Pin this page, share this page or “Like” us on Facebook.


Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free printable nursery rhymes.


Storytime Standouts offers free, printable nursery rhymes for children including Jack and Jill

image of PDF icon  Hey Diddle Diddle

Traditional English nursery rhyme that includes repetition, rhyming and imagery.

image of PDF icon  Humpty Dumpty

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Usually includes an anthropomorphic (possessing human traits, emotions) egg.

image of PDF icon  Jack and Jill

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Includes alliteration and rhyming.

image of PDF icon  Little Boy Blue

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme featuring alliteration and rhyming.

image of PDF icon  Old Mother Hubbard

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme.

image of PDF icon  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor

Sing a Song of Mother Goose illustrated by Barbara Reid
Nursery Rhyme Picture Book published by Scholastic Trade

If you are interested in nursery rhyme books, I can personally recommend Barbara Reid’s Sing a Song of Mother Goose. Ms. Reid is renowned for her marvelous plasticine artwork. Sing a Song of Mother Goose features beautiful, bold illustrations of fourteen well-known nursery rhymes. A lovely gift for a new baby, it is available as a board book, paperback and in a hardcover gift edition.

Sing a Song of Mother Goose at Amazon.com

Sing a Song of Mother Goose at Amazon.ca


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