Posts Tagged ‘inspiring illustrations’

The Quiltmaker’s Gift – a picture book about generosity and giving

Posted on November 26th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts reviews a picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers GiftThe Quiltmaker’s Gift written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail de Marcken
Picture book about generosity and giving to those less fortunate published by Scholastic Inc.

“I give my quilts to those who are poor or homeless,” she told all who knocked on her door. “They are not for the rich.”

The quiltmaker lives high in the mountains and spends each day stitching beautiful quilts. Gorgeous richly coloured fabrics are carefully pieced and stitched into traditional designs. When the weather is cold, the woman visits a nearby town and searches for poor, homeless people. She wraps the beautiful quilts around those who are cold, sharing her love and compassion with those who are most needy.spread from a picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers Gift

Not far away lives an unhappy, greedy king. He is never satisfied with the gifts he receives. Despite all of his riches, he always wants more. When the king hears about the quiltmaker and her beautiful quilts, he decides that he must have one of her marvelous creations. He is convinced that one of her quilts may be a key to happiness.

The quiltmaker is unwilling to give the king a quilt. She knows that he is very wealthy. She instructs him to give away all of his possessions and tells him that, once this is done, she will have a beautiful quilt for him. He is angered by her response and decides to punish her. He sends her away and later regrets the punishment only to discover that the quiltmaker’s compassion has kept her safe.

Beautiful, detailed watercolor illustrations highlight this thoughtful picture book about generosity and giving. Best-suited to children aged five years and up, The Quiltmaker’s Gift offers tremendous opportunities for quilting-related extension activities and discussions about social responsibility.

Link to The Quiltmaker’s Gift Website

image of PDF icon  Quilt Interlined Paper

Quilt theme interlined paper for children, could be used alongside The Quiltmaker's Gift

The Quiltmaker’s Gift at

The Quiltmaker’s Gift at

Book Sense Children’s Book of the Year (2000)
Publishers Weekly “Cuffy” Award Favorite Picture Book of the Year (1999)

Subsequently published prequel –
picture book about generosity and giving The Quiltmakers Journey

The Quiltmaker’s Journey at

The Quiltmaker’s Journey at

Paul Thurlby’s Stylish Alphabet

Posted on April 16th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at a stylish picture book, Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet

Storytime Standouts looks at inspiring picture book, Paul Thurlby's Alphabet.Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet
created by Paul Thurlby
Alphabet book published by Templar Books an imprint of Candlewick Press

Featuring bright, bold retro illustrations, Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet is a stylish tribute to graphic design and each of the letters of the alphabet. Young children will enjoy the dramatic and distinctive artwork while learning about letter shapes and sounds.Storytime Standouts recommend's Paul Thurlby's alphabet book

On the left side of each spread, we see a single letter in uppercase and lowercase form. The corresponding right side of each spread features an illustration that incorporates the shape of the uppercase letter and minimal text.

Older children and adults will particularly appreciate the aesthetics of Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet, possibly using his ideas as inspiration for their own graphic artwork. Removing the book jacket and opening it reveals a gorgeous poster that highlights each of the illustrations from the book. Lovely.

Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet at

Paul Thurlby’s Alphabet at

Paul Thurlby’s PhotoStream on Flickr

Note: When selecting illustrations for the vowels, Thurlby uses a mix of short and long vowel sounds: A = awesome, I = island

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

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World, Ways for Kids to Make a Difference

Posted on April 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at an eco friendly picture book that promotes environmental awareness

Storytime Standouts looks at ways for kids to make a difference including with picture book, 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World10 Things I Can Do to Help My World written and illustrated by Melanie Walsh
Eco Friendly Picture Book published by Candlewick Press

Striking die-cuts and a fun format enhance to this delightful read-aloud. Big, bold illustrations – perfect for a group setting – show readers ten ways young children can help our world. With reminders to turn off the light when leaving a room, turn off the tap off when brushing teeth, put out a birdfeeder in the winter, draw on both sides of the paper and walk to school rather than drive, youngsters will feel empowered to make a difference by this eco friendly picture book.

Additional notes such as Every time you do this, you save eighteen glasses of water. and Turning off lights and using more efficient lightbulbs saves valuable energy. will engage and inspire older readers.

Made from 100% recycled material 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World’s eco-friendly tips are great for preschool and kindergarten. For older children, 10 Things I Can Do demonstrates creative ways to deliver important messages using eye-catching illustrations, factual information and word art.

Possible extension activities could include identifying and illustrating five or ten more ways to “help” (at school or on the playground) using like techniques.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World at

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World at

Be sure to visit our page highlighting
picture books about caring for our environment,
ecosystems, recycling,
reducing our environmental footprint and more
Terrific resources for Earth Day and Arbor Day.

A Honey of a Story: Jack the Bear created by Christina Leist

Posted on March 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Jack the Bear created by Christina Leist reviewed by Storytime StandoutsJack the Bear – written and illustrated by Christina Leist
Picture book that explores social responsibility published by Simply Read Books

When an unfamiliar bear appears in his forest, Nosy Fox is immediately curious. Nosy asks Brainy Owl about the stranger and is unimpressed when Nosy says that Jack the Bear is making the world a better place.

“I thought,” said Nosy Fox, twitching his tail, “that making the world a better place was a job for kings and queens and presidents and prime ministers.”

As Nosy and Brainy observe the stranger from a distance, Brainy answers the fox’s questions and encourages him to reconsider his assumptions about who can make a difference. The world is awfully big, after all, and there are many ways to make it better – some even involve honey!

“Exactly.” Brainy Owl beamed. “Little good deeds that everyone can do, like making somebody smile, turn the world into a better place.”

Nominated for a 2011 Blue Spruce Award, Jack the Bear is a very good starting point for discussions about social responsibility.

It is also worthwhile to note the inventive illustrations were created on recycled brown paper bags using chalk, watercolours, crayon, felt pen, and pencil.

KC Dyer’s photos of the Jack the Bear booklaunch

Jack the Bear at

Jack the Bear at

Cheerful illustrations and fun wordplay: Splish Splash Spring

Posted on March 19th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts writes about picture book Splish, Splash Spring
Splish, Splash Spring written by Jan Carr and illustrated by Dorothy Donohue
Spring theme picture book published by Holiday House

Bright, cheerful illustrations made from felt highlight this happy tribute to a blowy and showery spring. Splish, Splash, Spring includes all sorts of great details for young children to discover and explore: mother robin feeding her peeping babies, frogs swimming in a stream, spiders and ladybugs near the bright yellow crocuses. Would be a great tie-in to making and flying kites.

Best for preschool children

Kites are swooping
Snapping, flapping
Look at me!

Be sure to visit the illustrator’s website (link above) for details on how she creates the eye-catching illustrations from felt.

Kite Making For Child Flyers from My Best Kite

Scholastic’s lesson plan for Splish Splash Spring

Splish, Splash, Spring at

Splish, Splash, Spring at

Follow this link to our Spring and Easter theme printables for preschool and kindergarten

Free Spring and Easter Theme Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten

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

Kathryn Otashi’s One is an Enlightened Look at Bullying. Don’t Miss It!

Posted on February 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

One is an Enlightened Look at BullyingOne written and illustrated by Kathryn Otashi
Anti bullying picturebook published by KO Kids Books

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

“Red was a hot head. He liked to pick on Blue, “Red is a great color,” he’d say. “Red is hot. Blue is not.” Then Blue would feel bad about being Blue.”

Red is a loud, brash bully while Blue is a quiet, introspective color. When Red relentlessly picks on him, Yellow, Green, Purple and Orange witness the unkind words and are sympathetic to Blue but they fail to act. The don’t tell Red to stop the abuse. When none of the colors speak up for their friend, Red is emboldened. He grows larger and larger until all of the colors are afraid of him. Thankfully, a newcomer appears, “with bold strokes and squared corners…One stood up straight like an arrow and said, “No.”

Featuring bold, dramatic illustrations and a deceptively simple storyline, One delivers a terrific anti-bullying message. A great read aloud, One offers many opportunities for discussion and the inspiring illustrations will encourage artists young and old.

One at

One at

Hands by Lois Ehlert will cultivate creativity in children and adults

Posted on February 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Hands by Lois Ehlert is an inspiring picture book about creativity and being artistic

Hands – Growing Up to Be an Artist written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Picture book about creativity published by Harcourt, Inc.

You are likely familiar with Ms. Ehlert’s creativity and her many wonderful books for children. She is a consistently inspiring and innovative illustrator In Hands: Growing up to Be an Artist she has an important message for children and adults. She hopes we will all have opportunities to be creative and she strives to inspire us.

Hands shows us the tools mom and dad use in the workshop, the sewing room, and the garden. With these tools and imagination a birdhouse, cat toys and a vegetable garden are created. The youngster in this vibrant story is inspired and encouraged when presented with a special place to work – a folding table next to the sewing machine. Children and adults will enjoy exploring this book and will be inspired by the cheery collage illustrations that are use to lead to more creativity.
Best for children aged four and up.
Hands: Growing up to Be an Artist at

Hands: Growing Up to Be an Artist at

The Imaginary Garden – Poppa and Theo Create a Beautiful Garden

Posted on June 8th, 2009 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at The Imaginary GardenThe Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Irene Luxbacher
Picture book published by Kids Can Press

Theo is blessed to have a very special relationship with her grandfather, Poppa. When Poppa moves into an apartment, they decide to create an imaginary garden on his balcony. The first Saturday of spring is marked by the arrival of a giant, blank canvas. Before long, Poppa and Theo have created a long stone wall and beautiful blue sky. Soon they have added beautiful spring flowers to their masterpiece. When Poppa leaves for a holiday, Theo worries about tending their special garden by herself. With gentleness and love, Poppa assures her that she will know how to nurture their imaginary garden. This lovely picture book would be a great gift for a special Grandpa.

The Imaginary Garden at

The Imaginary Garden at

Nursery Rhymes

Posted on March 28th, 2007 by Carolyn Hart

6 Free Printable Nursery Rhymes to Share With Young Children

Free, Printable Nursery Rhymes

Enjoy these nursery rhymes with babies and children. Help them discover rhyming words and gain phonemic awareness. Our free printable nursery rhymes are perfect for home and school.

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 rhymes 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).
How Nursery Rhymes Help Children Learn Language

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).

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 be used to create a nursery rhyme booklet and/or as learning activities.

Be sure to check out our selection of free printable alphabets here, rhymes, songs, fingerplays and chants here and all of our early learning printables for children here

To Download our Free Nursery Rhyme Printables –

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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.
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.

Jack and Jill and other printable nursery rhymes for children

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

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is a classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor

Sing a Song of Mother Goose created by Barbara Reid and reviewed by Storytime Standouts

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 marvellous 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

Sing a Song of Mother Goose at

Do you have a favorite nursery rhyme to share with children?

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