Posts Tagged ‘award winners’

Enemy Pie – Anti Bullying Picture Book for a Group Setting

Posted on February 24th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at an anti bullying picture book, Enemy PieEnemy Pie written by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King
Published by Chronicle Books, LLG

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

When Jeremy Ross moves into the neighbourhood, it spoils an otherwise perfect summer. He joins the baseball team and laughs when another baseball player strikes out. He has a party but doesn’t invite everyone to enjoy his trampoline. Perhaps without realizing what he has done, Jeremy creates an enemy.

Fortunately, Dad knows exactly how to deal with enemies. He has special recipe for Enemy Pie. The recipe is secret “Enemy Pie is the fastest known way to get rid of enemies.”

Listening to Dad prepare the recipe is almost thrilling… “Enemy Pie was going to be awful. I tried to imagine how horrible it must smell, or worse yet, what it would look like.”

While the pie cools and anticipation mounts, it is time to take the next step: the enemies must spend a day together. They ride bikes, jump on a trampoline, eat lunch and play basketball together. As time passes, something rather unexpected happens: Jeremy Ross undergoes a transformation. Spending time with him is not really a bad experience! As their day together comes to an end, the two boys enjoy a macaroni and cheese dinner and then it is time to serve up Enemy Pie.

It was at this point that I panicked. I didn’t want Jeremy to eat Enemy Pie! He was my friend! I couldn’t let him eat it!

Enemy Pie is very well suited to a group setting. It invites extension activities (possibly including baking or cooking) and encourages discussion about ways people become friends and how first impressions may not be accurate. Enemy Pie also shows a very positive father/son relationship. The cheery illustrations enhance the story nicely.

Best suited to children aged four and up.

The Enemy Pie website includes anti-bullying lesson plans and writing activities.

Enemy Pie (Reading Rainbow book) at

Enemy Pie at

If you love picture books, you’ll want to visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

Christmas Picture Books – Carolyn’s List of Favourites

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I can’t imagine the Christmas holidays without our special collection of Christmas picture books. Earlier this month, Jody shared her favourites. I have finally put together my own post. Jody and I both love The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham and read it on Christmas Eve. I decided to write about a different version of the poem and mention that reading the same text with different illustrations is great for youngsters. It encourages taking a thoughtful look at the illustrations and making comparisons.

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.

Jan Brett's The Night Before Christmas is one christmas picture book recommended by Storytime StandoutsThe Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
Christmas picture book published by Putnam Juvenile

This version of the classic Christmas poem is filled to the brim with wonderful extras. Each beautiful two-page spread is framed with details that might otherwise never be seen. As reindeer are prancing and pawing on the roof, we get a glimpse of some special tree ornaments, Santa Claus appears in the fireplace and anxious Pa quickly descends the stairs.

Fans of Jan Brett’s work will want to visit her website and discover an abundance of printables including coloring sheets and cards.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at

The Polar Express is one christmas picture book recommended by Storytime StandoutsThe Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Christmas picture book published by Houghton Mifflin

Long before The Polar Express was made into a movie, it was a Caldecott Award winning Christmas picture book. When a friend says, “There is no Santa,” a young boy hopes desperately that his friend is incorrect. On Christmas Eve, he goes to bed and listens intently for the sound of sleigh bells. He does not hear sleigh bells but rather hissing and clanging. He looks out his bedroom window and is amazed to see an enormous train, waiting outside his house.

A magical story, The Polar Express will encourage children and adults to believe in the magic of Christmas.

The Polar Express at

The Polar Express at

Timmerman Was Here, 2010 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Winner

Posted on November 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

2010 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award Winner Timmerman Was HereTimmerman Was Here written by Colleen Sydor and illustrated by Nicolas Debon
Picture book highlighting social responsibility published by Tundra Books

Tuesday evening, November 9th, 2010, the winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award was announced at The Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s gala. Jury members’ comments about Timmerman Was Here were as follows, “This is a sublimely humanistic and memorable story about the way we discover the difference between truth and appearances… Dramatic pictures equally involve the reader, while the artistic use of dark and light further affect our emotional response… This intriguing tale with a twist delves exceptionally well into values and perceptions, the rational and the irrational, achieving a conclusion that is profoundly self-affirming for the child… This emotionally rich and suspenseful story is capped by an uplifting ending that will stir hearts from 8 to 80… A perfect pairing of text and illustration.”

Timmerman Was Here is written from the perspective of a young girl. We share her nervousness as a stranger arrives at her home. The stranger moves into a bedroom, recently vacated by the girl’s grandfather who has gone to live in a residence for seniors. The young girl is not happy about the stranger’s arrival but as she watches and interacts with him, she discovers a gentle heart. When the stranger is discovered walking the neighbourhood at night (with a spade and a burlap sack), gossip abounds. The neighbours speculate that he could be a bank robber or responsible for the death of a cat.

Timmerman Was Here is a lovely, thought-provoking picture book that encourages the reader to rethink assumptions and stereotypes. Highly recommended.

Suggested for children 4 – 8

Timmerman Was Here at

Timmerman Was Here at

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares three magical picture books – each one is an outstanding book to read aloud to children

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including Owl Moon
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

Owl Moon at

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including The Blue Hippo
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

Blue Hippopotamus at

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including The Magic Rabbit
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

The Magic Rabbit at

Grade Three Reading – What if You’ve Made it to Grade 3 and Can’t Read?

Posted on September 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Whether your child struggles with grade three reading or not, this is an enjoyable, generously illustrated chapter book

I Hate Books a great chapter book for grade threeI Hate Books! written by Kate Walker
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Cricket Books

Hamish is blessed with a Grandpa who reads aloud “with lots of expression”. When Hamish was little, he loved books but the love affair ends when he begins grade three reading and his teacher asks him to read aloud. Before long, Hamish is referred to a reading specialist and it is confirmed that he has been making up stories rather than reading the words on the page.

After struggling with flash cards and remedial reading, Hamish decides that life will be fine – whether he learns to read or not. It takes a disastrous family road trip, an embarrassing birthday party and a persuasive older brother to change Hamish’s mind.

Happily, Hamish overcomes his struggles and eventially earns a prize for “most improved reader.”

Shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book of the Year and the Young Australian’s Best Book Awards, I Hate Books! features relatively short chapters and very appealing illustrations. At about a grade three reading level, it is recommended for children aged seven to nine.

I Hate Books! at

I Hate Books! at

The Higher Power of Lucky and Talking Openly About the Science of Sex

Posted on September 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Higher Power of Lucky and Talking Openly About the Science of SexIn our household, it is not at all unusual for us to talk about sex at the dinner table. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I don’t share intimate details of our relationship, but we do talk about the science of sex with our two sons. We use anatomically correct vocabulary. We answer questions, we share facts and our values. We have always operated this way and can’t understand why more people don’t.

Talking openly about the science of sex is one way to protect children from abuse, disease and unwanted pregnancies. When we talk with our children, we pave the way for our children to talk openly with us.

The Higher Power of Lucky written by Susan Patron
Juvenile fiction / chapter book published by Simon & Schuster Richard Jackson

There has been an uproar over Newbery Medal award winning chapter book, The Higher Power of Lucky because of a reference to a dog’s scrotum. (New York Times Column: With One Word, Children’s Book Sets Off Uproar )
I have had the pleasure to read the entire book and would have no hesitation in sharing it with either of my children.

On the first page of the book, Lucky secretly overhears Sammy relate his “rock-bottom” story… “he saw a rattlesnake on the passenger sear biting his dog, Roy, on the scrotum…”

Ten-year-old Lucky has no idea what a scrotum is and, sadly, trusts no one enough to ask. The significance of this is made more poignent when we learn more about Lucky’s circumstances: her mother died in an accident and her father has abandoned her. Lucky fears that her guardian is about to leave her and force her into an orphanage many miles from where she now lives. She fervently hopes she can find her Higher Power before hitting her own personal “rock-bottom.”

For those who understand that giving children scientific names for body parts is not sexy or sexual – award winning chapter book, The Higher Power of Lucky presents no threat. Read it and enjoy the wonderful characters, the dangerous desert setting and Lucky’s joy in finding her Higher Power.

The Higher Power of Lucky won the 2007 Newbery Medal

– See more at:

Susan Patron’s Website

The Higher Power of Lucky at

The Higher Power of Lucky at

A Wonderful Read Aloud Chapter Book: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Posted on August 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Shares a Wonderful Read Aloud Chapter Book: The Tale of DespereauxThe Tale of Despereaux written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Chapter book for middle grades published by Candlewick Press

I first discovered Kate DiCamillo when I read (and thoroughly enjoyed) Because of Winn-Dixie. Very late last night, I closed the cover on The Tale of Despereaux, a great read aloud chapter book. Winner of the John Newbery Medal, this is a wonderful tale. Throughout we are reminded that, ‘nothing is sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.‘ A delight from cover to cover, read it yourself or share it with children eight years and older. There are some decidedly dark scenes that could disturb younger children.

Candlewick Press Teaching Guide (in PDF form)

National Education Association – “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children”
School Library Journal “Top 100 Chapter Books” of all time

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread at

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread at

Watch for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s 2011 Best Books for Kids and Teens

Posted on July 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Canadian Children's Book Centre's 2011 Best Books for KidsThe Canadian Children’s Book Centre has just published their 35th annual guide to the best books for children and young adults. Best Books for Kids & Teens 2011 will be a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, librarians and caregivers. The guide highlights more than 325 titles for young readers (toddler to teen).

All of the titles in Best Books for Kids & Teens have been handpicked by expert committees of educators, booksellers, school and public librarians from across Canada. The reviewed materials include picture books, audio books, graphic novels, and teen fiction.

I was privileged to chair a CCBC Best Books committee in 2010 and know that committee members show great care in selecting the best new titles. I can recommend this publication without hesitation.

Best Books for Kids and Teens can be purchased at select bookstores and online.

Saluting a Canadian Picture Book Favourite: Under a Prairie Sky

Posted on June 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Canadian picture book Under a Prairie SkyUnder a Prairie Sky written by Anne Laurel Carter and illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
Canadian Picture Book published by Orca Book Publishers

It is nearly Canada Day (July 1) and my thoughts have turned to picture books with a decidedly “Canadian look.” This afternoon, I pulled Under a Prairie Sky off my bookshelf and spent some time enjoying the detailed, striking watercolour illustrations and the equally dramatic text. A terrific Canadian picture book read aloud for four and five year olds, Under a Prairie Sky is the story of a farm boy who aspires to be a RCMP Officer when he grows up. While harvesting wheat with his father, he is sent to find his younger brother before a storm arrives at the farm. Knowing that this is a job that will demand the detective skills of a Mounted Police Officer, he quickly changes his clothes, dons a Stetson and mounts his trusty black horse. He follows young Will’s trail through the fields and into the wild, taking in flora and fauna native to the Canadian prairies.

Under a Prairie Sky at

Under a Prairie Sky at

Canadian Children’s Book Centre Announces 2011 Finalists

Posted on June 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre has announced the finalists for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, Prix TD de littérature canadienne pour l’enfance et la jeunesse, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People and the John Spray Mystery Award.


Written by Alma Fullerton (Midland, ON)
Dancing Cat Books

Canadian Railroad Trilogy
Written by Gordon Lightfoot (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Ian Wallace (Brookline, MA)

The Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

I Know Here
Written by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books

Plain Kate
Written by Erin Bow (Kitchener, ON)
Scholastic Canada


Le chasseur de loups-marins
Written by Claire Vigneau (Sherbrooke, QC)
Illustrated by Bruce Roberts (Westmount, QC)
Éditions Les 400 coups

Devant ma maison
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Éditions La courte échelle

La fille d’en face
Written by Linda Amyot (St-Charles-Boromée, QC)
Éditions Leméac

Oh ! la vache !
Written by Alain M. Bergeron (Victoriaville, QC), Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, NB),Colombe Labonté (Saint-Lambert, QC) and Guy Marchamps (Trois-Rivières, QC)
Illustrated by Caroline Merola (Montreal, QC)
Soulières éditeur

Written by Martine Audet (Montreal, QC)
Illustrated by Luc Melanson (Laval, QC)
Éditions Dominique et compagnie

MARILYN BAILLIE PICTURE BOOK AWARD ($20,000) – Sponsored by A. Charles Baillie

I Know HereWritten by Laurel Croza (Markham, ON)
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto, ON)
Groundwood Books

In Front of My House
Written and illustrated by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal, QC)
Translated by Yvette Ghione (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press

Singing Away the Dark
Written by Caroline Woodward (Victoria, BC)
Illustrated by Julie Morstad (Vancouver, BC)
Simply Read Books

Written by Kyo Maclear (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal, QC)
Kids Can Press

Stanley’s Little Sister
Written by Linda Bailey (Vancouver, BC)
Illustrated by Bill Slavin (Millbrook, ON)
Kids Can Press

NORMA FLECK AWARD FOR CANADIAN CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION ($10,000) – Sponsored by the Fleck Family Foundation

Case Closed! Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science
Written by Susan Hughes (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Michael Wandelmaier (Toronto, ON)
Kids Can Press

Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be
Written and illustrated by Daniel Loxton (Victoria, BC)
Kids Can Press

Not Your Typical Book About the Environment
Written by Elin Kelsey (Pacific Grove, CA)
Illustrated by Clayton Hanmer (Toronto, ON)

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged
Written by Jody Nyasha Warner (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Richard Rudnicki (Halifax, NS)
Groundwood Books

Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces
Written by Hadley Dyer (Toronto, ON)
Illustrated by Marc Ngui (Cambridge, ON)
Kids Can Press

GEOFFREY BILSON AWARD FOR HISTORICAL FICTION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ($5,000) – Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund

Exiles from the War: The War Guests Diary of Charlotte Mary Twiss(Dear Canada)
Written by Jean Little (Guelph, ON)
Scholastic Canada

Written by Marthe Jocelyn (Stratford, ON)
Tundra Books

The Glory Wind
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Queen of Hearts
Written by Martha Brooks (Winnipeg, MB)
Groundwood Books

Wild Geese
Written by Caroline Pignat (Kanata, ON)
Red Deer Press

JOHN SPRAY MYSTERY AWARD ($5,000) – Sponsored by John Spray

Written by Allan Stratton (Toronto, ON)

Dead Bird Through the Cat Door(Megabyte Mystery)
Written by Jan Markley (Calgary, AB)
Gumboot Books

The Mystery of the Cyber Bully(Marty Chan Mystery)
Written by Marty Chan (Edmonton, AB)
Thistledown Press

A Spy in the House(The Agency)
Written by Y.S. Lee (Kingston, ON)
Candlewick Press

Victim Rights(Ryan Dooley Mystery)
Written by Norah McClintock (Toronto, ON)
Red Deer Press

Chocolate Lily Award Winners Announced for 2011

Posted on June 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Chocolate Lily Award Winners Announced for 2011

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Chocolate Lily Awards


Picture Book Category –

Winner – Fred and Pete at the Beach by Cynthia Nugent
2nd Place – Stanley’s Beauty Pageant by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin

Chapter Book Category –

Winner – Zach and Zoe — Bully and the Beagle by Kristin Butcher
2nd Place – Goldfish Don’t Take Bubble Baths by Trina Wiebe

Novel Category

Winner – The Giant Slayer by Iain Lawrence
2nd Place – Bank Job by James Heneghan and Norma Charles

Revisiting a Wordless Picture book Classic: Time Flies by Eric Rohmann

Posted on May 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I love to let parents and teachers know about wordless and almost wordless picture books. This little-known and under-utilized genre can play an important role in nurturing young readers. Children who spend time with wordless picture books learn to “read” the illustrations and are encouraged to “figure out” the storyline for themselves. Wordless picture books are also great for multilingual families – they can be “read” and discussed in any language.

Storytime Standouts reviews a Wordless Picture book Classic: Time Flies by Eric RohmannTime FliesWordless picture book created by Eric Rohmann

Time Flies is a gorgeous Caldecott Honor Book. One evening, in the midst of a thunderous storm, a lone bird enters an empty museum through an open window. The shadowy museum is home to a collection of dinosaur skeletons. The daring bird swoops through the displays and they transition from bare bones dinosaur skeletons to much more realistic renditions. When the saucy bird becomes a tease, two very lethal jaws snap shut.

Wonderful for children four years and older, Time Flies is a wordless picture book that will have special appeal for dinosaur fans.

Time Flies at

Time Flies at

Our page about Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books

Red Cedar and Stellar Book Award Winners Announced

Posted on May 22nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The winners of the 2010/2011 Red Cedar Book Awards are:

Red Cedar and Stellar Book Award Winners including LibertadFiction Award Winner:

Libertad by Alma Fullerton

Libertad at

Libertad at

Red Cedar and Stellar Book Award Winners including Everything But the Kitchen SinkInformation Book Award Winner: Everything but the Kitchen Sink by Frieda Wishinsky and Elizabeth MacLeod

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Weird Stuff You Didn’t Know About Food at

Everything But the Kitchen Sink at

Red Cedar and Stellar Book Award Winners including The SummoningThe winner of the 2010/2011 Stellar Book Award is: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) at

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) at

A Ball for Daisy is a Wordless Picturebook Delight by Chris Raschka

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 multilingual 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

Woolly Foursome Finds Friends: The Baabaasheep Quartet

Posted on March 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at a picture book about friendship: The Baabaasheep QuartetThe Baabaasheep Quartet – written and illustrated by Leslie Elizabeth Watts
Picture book published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside;

When four sheep retire and move to the city, they adopt a rather cosmopolitan life style – decorating a high rise apartment, attending the opera and dining out. But, they can’t seem to find a way to find new friends. Sadly, they just don’t seem to fit in with city dwellers. Part time gardening jobs are fine until the flower bed looks altogether too delicious. Even their hoof-made baby sweaters have two extra legs! One day, to their delight, they learn of an upcoming Baabaasheep Quartet contest. They feel certain that entering the contest will help them to find friends. The Baabaasheep Quartet practices every day and every where in preparation for the big event. Sure enough, their fine singing voices allow this fun tale to end on a happy note.

From that day on, the Baabaasheep Quartet was a great success…They never encountered any other singing sheep. But wherever they went, whenever they sang, they never again worried about fitting in.

Ages 4-8

Winner of the 2006 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for Illustration
2006 Saskatchewan Young Readers’ Choice Shining Willow Award Nominee
Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award Honorable Mention in the Children’s Picture Book Category
Shining Willow nominee 2006
Canadian Children’s Book Centre Our Choice, 2006

The Baabaasheep Quartet at

The Baabaasheep Quartet at

Highlighting Young Adult Fiction: Paper Towns by John Green

Posted on March 18th, 2011 by Teen contributor

Storytime Standouts' teen contributor writes about Paper Towns by John GreenPaper Towns by John Green
Young Adult Fiction published by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Quentin Jacobsen has spent his life loving the adventurous Margo Roth Spieglman from afar. So when she cracks open his window and summons him for an all night campaign of revenge- he follows. The next day, at school Q discovers that Margo, always an enigma, has become a mystery. But there are clues, and they’re for him. urged down the disconnected path, the closer he gets the less he sees the girl he thought he knew…

This was the first of John Green‘s books that I have read and I am very impressed. The story is intriguing and well crafted, the characters interesting. Paper Towns involves the reader, you will find yourself puzzling at night as you try to unravel the mystery for yourself. And you will be laughing frequently for John Green writes with brilliant wit.

Paper Towns is Young Adult fiction that can be enjoyed by almost everyone. I defiantly recommend it as one of my favourites.

Anthony Award Nominee for Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel (2009)
Corine – International Book Prize for Young Adult Novel (2010)
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2008)
Edgar Award for Best Young Adult (2009)
YALSA Teens’ Top Ten (Young Adult Library Services, American Library Association) (2009)

Paper Towns at

Paper Towns at

A Screaming Kind of Day, Listen as Scully Shares Her Story

Posted on March 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

A Screaming Kind of Day by Rachna Gilmore is much more than just a story about a deaf childA Screaming Kind of Day – written by Rachna Gilmore and illustrated by Gordon Sauve
Winner of the 1999 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, Text

A Screaming Kind Of Day introduces Scully, a young, hearing-impaired girl. She awakens and opens her eyes to her brother’s face, teasing and taunting. A noisy chase begins and is only stopped when mom intervenes. She is studying for a test and has little patience for her children and their screams. The grey weather outside matches Scully’s mood and, when the rain eventually comes, she wants to go outside to experience the rhythm and intensity of the storm. Careful to avoid her mom, Scully sneaks outside to dance, touch, smell and feel the wild weather. Before long, Mom is at her side and is angry. Once inside the house again, Scully resists going to her room and shouts, “I hate you.” Before long, restorative sleep calls and Scully rests. When she awakens, the Screaming Kind of Day has been washed away and harmony has returned to the family.

After dinner I sit by the open window.
No rain.
The sky is silky pink with licks of lavender.
The green smells full and glad.
I sigh and look at Mom. “Can we go outside, Mom? You know, wait for the stars?”

Much more than a story about a deaf child, A Screaming Kind of Day explores family dynamics and provides reassurance at the end of a challenging day. As well, it encourages the reader to appreciate the sensory impact of a rainstorm and to consider conflict from several perspectives. A lovely story to enjoy with children aged four and up.

Rachna Gilmore’s Teacher’s Guide for A Screaming Kind of Day

A Screaming Kind Of Day at

A Screaming Kind of Day at

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us 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.

The Subway Mouse – The Journey to Tunnel’s End is Not Without Danger

Posted on February 27th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid reviewed by Storytime StandoutsThe Subway Mouse -written and illustrated by Barbara Reid
Barbara Reid is an award winning author/illustrator who is well known for her amazing Plasticine illustrations. In 2004 she received the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz award for The Subway Mouse. This is an endearing tale of love and adventure.

Nib is a young mouse who lives in a busy subway station. At nighttime, when the station is quiet, Nib loves to listen to stories about Tunnel’s End. “Tunnel’s End was also beautiful. The air was sweet. A brave mouse could find the tastiest foods, the softest nests.” One day, after having his nest destroyed by his cousins and tired of living in the noise and dust of the station, Nib sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. Before long, he meets Lola and soon the two friends are on a quest for fresh air, clear skies and freedom. The journey to Tunnel’s End is not without danger; gangs of mice resent the young intruders and there is a considerable distance to travel. Breath-taking Plasticine illustrations include many found objects and make this a book that is sure to inspire young artists. Highly recommended for young readers aged four to nine years – especially those who will be riding on a subway train sometime soon.

Link to a Subway Mouse lesson plan from Scholastic

The Subway Mouse at

The Subway Mouse at

The Boy Who Loved Bananas – Monkeying Around and Inspiring Writers

Posted on February 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Boy Who Loved Bananas is a great classroom picture book. Use it to inspire storytelling and young writers
The Boy Who Loved Bananas – written by George Elliott and illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski

This is pure fun for storytime. When Matthew visits the Metro Zoo, he loves to watch the monkeys. He wonders why they eat so many bananas. As an experiment, Matthew decides that he will eat only bananas – morning, noon and night. He persists for days and days until, ‘Kablooey!’ Matthew changes into a playful monkey. Wanting their little boy back, Matthew’s parents try everything. Alas, Matthew likes things the way they are and soon has his classmates and principal chomping bananas. At last, after admiring an African elephant at the zoo, Matthew decides he would like to change his menu – to peanuts! The Boy Who Loved Bananas won Ontario’s 2006 Blue Spruce Award. It is boisterous fun for children aged three to seven years.

I love the idea of making this story an inspiration for young writers. If they had the chance, what would they choose to eat and what might happen if they did?

Ages 3 to 7

Storytime Suggestions for The Boy Who Loved Bananas

The Boy Who Loved Bananas at

The Boy Who Loved Bananas at

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth Offers So Many Beautiful Ways to Pray

Posted on February 7th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Grandad's Prayers of the Earth Offers So Many Beautiful Ways to Pray
Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth – written by Douglas Wood, illustrated by P.J. Lynch
Picture Book published by Candlewick Press

This lovely, award-winning book is a tribute to the natural world, the special relationship between a boy and his grandfather and the comfort of prayer.

While on a forest walk together, a young boy asks his grandfather about prayer. His grandfather pauses and then encourages the boy to look at the natural beauty around him and observe carefully, “These are all ways to pray, ” said Grandad, “but there are more…The tall grass prays as it waves its arms beneath the sky,and flowers pray as they breathe their sweetness into the air.”

A moving tribute to the love between a child and his grandparent, Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth is a book that can be enjoyed on many levels. Best suited to children five and up.

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth at

Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth at

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