Posts Tagged ‘nighttime’

In the Tree House – Andrew Larsen and Dušan Petričić

Posted on January 1st, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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In the Tree HouseIn the Tree House written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Dušan Petričić
Picture Book published by Kids Can Press



One of my favorite parenting memories involves snuggling with my sons and watching the Perseid Meteor Showers. When they were young, we scheduled an annual camping trip with friends so that we would be away from city lights and able to watch for shooting stars. I will never forget the experience of sitting beachside in a folding chair with one of my sons on my lap. We would wrap a blanket around us and wait. Most years there were eight of us searching for the dramatic streaks of light across the night sky. Each time a meteor appeared, there would be squeals of delight, “Oh, did you see THAT one?”

Andrew Larsen’s In the Tree House tells of a young boy who is feeling the changes that time brings. He and his family move into a new house and, instead of sharing with an older brother, he has his own room. He misses having his brother in his room and he has trouble falling asleep. He uses his wakefulness to plan treehouses. He’s excited when his brother starts drawing treehouses and he’s thrilled when his dad agrees to make his dream a reality. It is not long before Dad and sons are perched up high, gazing at the night sky.Storytime Standouts looks at In the Tree House

“Why arent there any stars?” I asked between gulps of lemonade.

“They’re up there,” Dad said. “We just can’t see them,”

He explained how the lights from the city make the sky too bright for us to see the stars shine.

They boys love spending their summer in the tree house. They play cards and read comics and watch their neighborhood.

The following year, circumstances have changed. The older brother has new friends and they keep him busy. The tree house that was once magical now seems empty until a chance power outage transforms the neighborhood. In the darkness, the older brother returns to the tree house and the boys’ special relationship is revealed once again – just as the utter darkness reveals a sparkling night sky.

In the Tree House is a shining tribute to the special relationship between siblings and the small, meaningful moments that make a world of difference.

Nominated for a (Ontario Library Association) 2014 Blue Spruce Forest of Reading Award

In the Tree House has also been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

In the Tree House at Amazon.com

In the Tree House at Amazon.ca

Andrew Larsen on Reading and Writing Picture Book Dads from 49th Shelf

Night Light – A Picture Book That Shines

Posted on December 17th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Night Light picture bookNight Light written and illustrated by Nicholas Blechman
Picture book with die cuts published by Orchard Books an imprint of Scholastic


When my sons were young, they loved picture books about vehicles. Whether reading Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go or Diane Siebert and Byron Barton’s Truck Song, my boys loved stories about emergency vehicles, trains, construction trucks and farm equipment. We would admire the interesting vehicles we saw while out on the road and check them out more closely when they were parked. On more than one occasion, I recall walking around big rigs – cement trucks and fire engines were especially appealing.

Night Light is a picture book my boys would have loved! Bright, colorful computer-generated illustrations include a zooming train, a hovering helicopter, a shiny taxi, a chugging tugboat, a hard-working loader and a gleaming firetruck. All have lights that shine in the dark. Youngsters will enjoy counting the lights, hearing clues and then speculating on what vehicle’s lights are glowing through the die cuts. As well, they will enjoy looking at the flip side of the die cuts and how Blechman incorporates the black circles they create into the left side of each spread.
Night Light picture book Nicholas Blechman

Do you know which vehicle has three lights shining late at night or what sort visits many sites?

Whether enjoyed as a counting book or as a part of a transportation theme, Night Lights is best-suited to preschool or kindergarten age children. It could also be used as inspiration for older children, prompting an exploration of art techniques that incorporate the magic of die cuts.

Some reviewers have commented about the final illustration of the book. It is printed on the end papers and, when the book jacket is in place, it is partially obscured. Similarly, at the front of the book, the book jacket covers the publishing details enhancing the look of the first pages. While perhaps not ideal, this does not detract from the appeal this story will have for transportation enthusiasts.

Night Light has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

Night Light at Amazon.com

Night Light at Amazon.ca

Fabulous Fall Picture Books

Posted on September 21st, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts shares Fabulous Fall Picture BooksIsn’t it wonderful to feel the subtle changes in the weather and once again welcome the gorgeous colours of autumn?


Today’s post highlights picture books that beautifully celebrate Fall and the changes it brings to the world around us. Lush green trees and fields gradually change to yellow, gold, orange and red. Pumpkins, squash and corn ripen while cooler breezes blow and the days shorten.

We hope you will enjoy these fabulous Fall picture books with young readers and inspire them to create their own beautiful autumn artwork.



Fall Picture Books By the Light of the Harvest MoonBy the Light of the Harvest Moon written by Harriet Ziefert and illustrated by Mark Jones
Fall picture book, set on a farm published by Blue Apple Books

Highlighted by luminous illustrations of a beautiful moonlit autumn night, By the Light of the Harvest Moon begins as the farmers wearily carry their last loads of the day. The full moon illuminates the animals grazing nearby and the quiet farmyard. Suddenly, a breeze blows through the farm, picking up the colourful dry leaves and swirling them about.
A cloud of leaves settles in the pumpkin patch. When the gusts subside, leaf people emerge from the pile. First come grown-ups. Then come children… and then pets.
All through the night, the leaf people celebrate the beauty of Fall; bobbing for applies, stringing popcorn necklaces, stacking pumpkins and making wreaths. After play, it is time to savor delicious pies ~ pumpkin, apple, pear and pecan ~ before the wind blows the leaf people into the sky.

By the Light of the Harvest Moon lesson plan from Empowering Writers

By the Light of the Harvest Moon at Amazon.com

By the Light Of the Harvest Moon at Amazon.ca

Fall Picture Books Fletcher and the Falling LeavesFletcher and the Falling Leaves written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Fall picture book, set in a forest published by Harper Trophy

When the world around him changes from lush green to gold, Fletcher worries that something is terribly wrong. His mother explains that it is autumn but Fletcher continues to watch with alarm as the leaves on his favorite tree change color and then start to fall.
“Don’t worry, tree. “I’ve got your leaf. I’ll fix you.” Fletcher looked around, picked a piece of grass, and carefully tied the leaf to a branch.
As the tree’s transformation continues, Fletcher does his best to collect the leaves, despite reassurances from Squirrel and Porcupine. They want to use the leaves to stay warm and cozy.

Young readers, familiar with the changes that autumn brings, will enjoy watching Fletcher discover the wonders of the seasons. The gorgeous ice laden tree is certain to inspire artists to read for their pastels and some glitter.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves lesson plan from Teacher Think Tank

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves at Amazon.com

Fletcher And The Falling Leaves at Amazon.ca

Kitten's Autumn written and illustrated by Eugenie FernandesKitten’s Autumn written and illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
Fall theme picture book for toddlers or preschoolers published by Kids Can Press

Beautifully vibrant and intriguing mixed media illustrations highlight this picture book for very young children. Written in rhyming couplets, the book is second in a series about Kitten. As the young cat explores the out-of-doors, young children will delight in the many animals that are encountered. Each is eating and preparing for winter.

Kitten’s Autumn at Amazon.com

Kitten’s Autumn at Amazon.ca

Fall Picture Books Leaf ManLeaf Man written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Fall picture book published by HMH Books for Young Readers

For Leaf Man, author illustrator Lois Ehlert used color copies of beautiful Fall leaves from many different trees (including maple, ash, oak, birch, elm, poplar, hawthorn, beach, fig, cottonwoood, sweet gum). She crafted the beautiful rich colours, textures and shapes into an inspired story that will encourage young readers to discover the possibilities in a pile of autumn leaves. Die cut pages show us a fascinating world of chickens, ducks, geese, mics, vegetables, orchards, cows grazing, turtles and fish, butterflies, birds, and forestland, all created using leaves, acorns, maple seeds and sweet gum fruit .

Leaf Man lesson plan from Harcourt Trade Publishers

Leaf Man at Amazon.com

Leaf Man at Amazon.ca

Fall Picture Books Mouse's First FallMouse’s First Fall written by Lauren Thompson and illustrated by Buket Erdogan
Fall picture book published by Simon and Schuster

Mouse and Minka spend a joyous day celebrating the gorgeous rich colours of Fall.
Mouse saw round leaves and skinny leaves and pointy leaves and smooth leaves.
The two friends celebrate the many colors and shapes while happily playing together in an enormous pile of orange, brown and red leaves. Best suited to preschool-age children, extension activities could include classifying leaves by shape or color.

Mouse’s First Fall at Amazon.com

Mouse’s First Fall at Amazon.ca

Be sure to visit our Fall Printables Page

for Fall-theme writing paper, picture dictionaries, fingerplays, poems and songs.

Storytime Standouts Free Fall Theme Printables



Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Fall and Halloween for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest.

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Owl Moon – written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

In 1988 the Caldecott Medal was awarded to Owl Moon. A special 20th anniversary edition is now available and provides an opportunity to discover the picture book’s wonderful, timeless magic.

It is very late at night when a father and his young daughter venture into the cold. They are seeking a glimpse of a great horned owl. The companions walk together silently and eagerly under an Owl Moon.

Beautifully illustrated, this is a remarkable book that will be enjoyed by the entire family. The depiction of the young girl’s excitement will no doubt inspire parents to bend their bedtime rules and enjoy a moonlit, late night walk.

Owl Moon at Amazon.com

Owl Moon at Amazon.ca


The Blue Hippopotamus – written by Phoebe Gilman, illustrated by Joanne Fitgerald

A finalist for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards, The Blue Hippopotamus is the story of a little hippo who falls in love with the Pharoah’s daughter. When he comes to the sad realization that the young girl will not love a hippo, he seeks the help of a magician and is changed into a clay toy. His love for the girl endures for many years and, when he observes her loneliness as a young woman, he unselfishly wishes for her happiness. His generosity is magically rewarded and he is once again transformed.

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.com

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.ca


The Magic Rabbit – written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Ray and Bunny have a very special relationship: they live together, work together and are best friends. One day, while performing their magic show, Ray and Bunny are accidentally separated. The magician doesn’t see a yappy dog chase Bunny down the street and away from him. Both Ray and his friend are devastated. Tired and hungry, the lonely bunny wanders in the dark until the distinctive aroma of popcorn catches his attention.

Truly enchanting, I hope Ms. Cate will continue to conjure charming picture books for youngsters.

The Magic Rabbit at Amazon.com

The Magic Rabbit at Amazon.ca


Long Night Moon – A Graceful Picture Book Look at the Full Moon

Posted on February 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks at Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant and Mark Siegel
Long Night Moon written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Mark Siegel
Picture book about the moon published by Simon and Schuster

Simply told and beautifully illustrated, Long Night Moon encourages us to carefully consider the beauty of the moon when it is full and how the world around it changes during a calendar year. Did you know, ‘In June the Strawberry Moon shimmers on succulent buds, on crisp new shoots, on quiet, grateful rabbits’? Both evocative and magical, once read, the full moon will never seem quite the same.

A lovely bedtime story, it would be great to connect this picture book with a nighttime walk out of doors.

Recommended for children aged 3 – 6.

Note: for older children, Rylant’s use of personification could be examined.

Scholastic’s lesson plan for this picture book

Home School Share for this picture book

Long Night Moon at Amazon.com

Long Night Moon at Amazon.ca

And the winner is…Cat’s Night Out

Posted on November 16th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

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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



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