January 10 – It’s Book Blitz Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-cover

About the Holiday

Do you love to binge watch your favorite TV shows? Then why not binge on favorite books too?! It’s easy during Book Blitz Month! Just make a pile of new titles or old favorites and dig in! This month is also a great time to create a library for your child so that they have a shelf, a crate, or even a whole bookcase of stories they can enjoy again and again. If you’re looking to to get you started, today’s  book lets you blitz through a bunch of stories all at once!

Short Stories for Little Monsters

By Marie-Louise Gay

 

Open the cover of Short Stories for Little Monsters and you immediately enter the mind of a child with all of its imagination, dreams, fears, questions, and quirky philosophies. Nineteen two-page stories told in comics-style panels populated with rakish kids, pointy-nosed snails, talking trees, and lots and lots of color will have readers giggling from beginning to end.

The first story—When I Close My Eyes—gives a glimpse of the antics to come as a little girl walking with her older brother asks him to “guess what I see when I close my eyes?” Her brother just wants to move on faster and tells her she can’t see anything with her eyes shut. Finally given the “Ok! Ok! Sigh,” the little girl closes her eyes and with a wide grin reveals a bear thinking about a fish, pink polka dot and plaid elephants, kites, eyes, balloons, a stopwatch tree, and flowers to swing from. Her brother’s reaction? “That’s impossible.” Perhaps he’s just too old….

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-worms

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

In The Incredible Invisible Boy, a pillowcase-covered boy joins a soccer game in progress, moving from position to position while exclaiming “I have superpowers!…I can become invisible!” But the other kids never take notice as they pass the ball over his head, scramble to kick it first, move the ball up field, and finally run off the page, leaving the covered figure to sigh, “The incredible invisible boy strikes again.”

Kids aren’t the only ones who have weird dreams. In Snail Nightmares, thee little shelled guys suffer night terrors too. One dreams of slithering too fast to stop at the end of the panel without hitting its head, another conjurs the embarrassments of losing its pants, and the third has its tail stretched waaaay out by a tricky bird.

Nobody Nose catches a girl tightrope waking on the clothesline, only to be told by a passing boy, “You’re going to fall. You’ll break your nose into a thousand pieces.” He wanders off but not before he instills a deep doubt in her mind: “I wonder what you’ll look like without a nose…or with a new nose?” She then imagines herself gazing in the mirror at her noseless face and trying on a series of fake noses, including a carrot, a pig snout, and an elephant trunk. She finally resorts to covering her head with a cardboard box. The little boy peeks around the last panel to say he likes the carrot nose the best because it goes with her shoes. And indeed it does.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-what-do-trees-talk-about

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Remember when you could find dangerous adventure anywhere? The two girls in Monster! run shrieking from “a monster from outer space” who drools “poisonous slime,” sports “enormous fangs…and sharp pointy horns,” and is set on devouring the girls alive. As the two cower in safety behind a thick tree trunk, the object of this horror slides by with a sly nod to “snail power.”

Other stories introduce lowly worms that “rule the world,” a zombie mom who can see through walls and ceilings, the “secret life of snails,” mispronounced words, artistic renderings, and faces ungainly stuck in place during a bad wind.  And as these stories wind down, readers will want to follow the bunny down its rabbit hole to uncover not only The Secret Life of Rabbits, but another world of whimsy, eccentricities, and fantasy that enhances life no matter how old you are.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-zombie-mom

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Both kids and adults will love Marie-Louise Gay’s funny tribute to childhood. Her vivid pencil-and-watercolor drawings perfectly expose the moments of a day that bring joy, triumph, and, yes, maybe even a touch of consternation to life. Short Stories for Little Monsters would make a delightful gift and a book that would be opened again and again for home libraries.

Ages 5 – 8

Groundwood Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1554988969

Check out more great books from Groundwood Books on their website.

Discover more about Marie-Louise Gay, her books, her art, and her TV show as well as printable materials on her website!

Book Blitz Month Activitycelebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-book-bag-craft

Books to Love, Books to Read Book Bag

 

This is the perfect week to fill up a bag with books you’d like to read! Here’s an easy craft for making your own unique bag!

Supplies

  • Printable Templates: Books to Read Template | Books to Love Template
  • Small cloth bag, available from craft or sewing stores—Recyclable Idea: I used the bag that sheet sets now come in
  • Cloth trim or strong ribbon, available from craft or sewing stores—Recyclable Idea: I used the cloth handles from shopping bags provided from some clothing stores
  • Scraps of different colored and patterned cloth. Or use quilting squares, available at craft and sewing stores
  • Pen or pencil for tracing letters onto cloth
  • Scissors
  • Small sharp scissors (or cuticle scissors) for cutting out the center of the letters
  • Fabric glue
  • Thread (optional)
  • Needle (optional)

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-books-bag-craft

Directions

  1. Print the sayings and cut out the letters
  2. Trace letters onto different kinds of cloth
  3. Cut out cloth letters
  4. Iron cloth bag if necessary
  5. Attach words “Books to Read” to one side of bag with fabric glue
  6. Attach words “Books to Love” to other side of bag with fabric glue
  7. Cut cloth trim or ribbon to desired length to create handles
  8. Glue (or sew) handles onto the inside edge of bag

Picture Book Review

June 22 – It’s World Oceans Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt

About the Holiday

This month we celebrate the wondrously diverse life in the sea. A majority of the earth’s surface is covered in water and yet we know only a fraction of what the oceans have to show us. With new technology scientists are diving deeper and deeper, where some of the most unique creatures in the world are waiting to be discovered. To join in on this month’s holiday, visit a beach or aquarium, learn more about the animals and resources of the sea, and consider donating to the preservation of the world’s oceans.

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt

By Ben Clanton

 

In A Super Start, Narwhal and Jelly are hanging out. Narwhal’s excited because after a swim and a waffle he’s “going to become a superhero!” Jelly is surprised that Narwhal thinks it would be so easy, after all there are the “super outfits” (Narwhal’s got that covered with a snazzy yellow cape); the “super names” (“Super Narwhal” sounds pretty super to Narwhal): and the secret identities (let me introduce you to the dapper mustachioed and bespectacled Clark Parker Wayne, wealthy and eccentric trillionaire).

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt-cape

Excerpted from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton. Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Ben Clanton. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Super Narwhal is also going to need a sidekick. Jelly kicks around a few names—Shark, Octopus, and Turtle—but Narwhal has someone else in mind. Jelly, of course! Jelly’s eyes widen with the possibilities. Sting or Blue Lightening might be cool monikers, but no!— “Jelly Jolt the Super Sidekick” has an electrifying ring to it. Suddenly, Jelly remembers they’ll need superpowers. Narwhal has trouble being invisible or strong, flying or breathing fire, but there’s something even more important than powers—lunch! Yum, yum! Jelly says, “I think waffles are my super weakness.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt-super-sidekick

Excerpted from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton. Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Ben Clanton. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

In Narwhal, You’re a Superstar, Super Narwhal has come to the rescue of Star. While Star likes the ocean she thinks that maybe she belongs in the sky. “Maybe I am a real star, but I fell to earth and hit my head or something and now I don’t remember!” she says. Narwhal’s up for helping out, but without super strength he can only toss Star back into the sea. Even with Octopus’s cannon, Narwhal is no more successful. They think about building a rocket ship, but neither is exactly a rocket scientist. Then Narwhal has a super idea. Star wishes on…herself…and “Poof!” Star is back where she belongs.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt-eat-lunch

Excerpted from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton. Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Ben Clanton. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Super Narwhal vs Blue Jelly a.k.a. the Super Superpower finds Clark Parker Wayne, wealthy and eccentric trillionaire discovering a very blue (as in sad) Jelly. In a jiff Super Narwhal appears to save the day! He asks Jelly “What’s wrong? Did someone steal your mustache?” But Jelly’s too blue to join in the repartee. Then Super Narwhal wonders if Jelly’s upset because he set his hair on fire. Jelly seems a bit perturbed at that suggestion—they are underwater, after all. But maybe Super Narwhal is onto something.

Maybe, just maybe, Jelly’s down because a bubble called him “a blue-footed booby,” or because a pirate pig poked him, or because he “got stuck in a tuba!” With a “hee” and a “heehee!” and a “heeheehee!” Jelly is beginning to smile. And when Super Narwhal puts them all together, Jelly can’t help but jiggle with a laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing is. But Super Narwhal is there to help—right? So he somberly asks “what is wrong?” By now, though, Jelly can’t remember.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt-kapow

Excerpted from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton. Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Ben Clanton. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Jelly gives his Super Friend a super hug. But then he does recall the problem. It seems crab was dissing his superhero outfit and calling him “Jelly Dolt.” “This is a job for Jelly Jolt and Super Narwhal!”, exclaims Narwhal. Jelly’s intrigued, but thinks they ought to leave crab alone. Guided by advice from his “great, great, great, great grandpa Nautilus,” which went something like “Do unto otters,” however, Narwhal reveals that they are off to make crab a superhero.

When they get their, though, Crab isn’t feeling it and lets off some steam, but Super Narwhal is undeterred. “Ahoy Crab! Prepare to be super-fied!” he announces. And with a KAPOW! Crab has become “The Claw! a.k.a. Super Snap!” At last, Super Narwhal has discovered his superpower—the ability to “bring out the super in others.” And with that, Super Narwhal, Jelly Jolt, and Super Snap swim off to Superfy the ocean.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-super-narwhal-and-jelly-jolt-superfy

Excerpted from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton. Text and Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Ben Clanton. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Two more short and funny stories make an appearance between the continuing saga of Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt. Super Sea Creatures is loaded with facts on several types of ocean creatures, and Super Waffle and Strawberry Sidekick is a delectable comic written by Narwhal and Jelly that’s full danger, heroics, and puns.

Ben Clanton’s adorable Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, the second in the Narwhal and Jelly series, is a sweet, laugh-inducing romp that is a marvelous take-off on the superhero genre and a perfect way to spend free time with two worthy ocean friends. Clanton fills his comics-style story with plenty of suspense, witty repartee, good advice, and even a bit of science to satisfy any young reader. Narwhal and Jelly, with their eager, inviting smiles, enthusiasm to tackle whatever obstacles get in their way and their ready inclusiveness, are truly superheroes to applauded

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt would make a sunny addition to summer reading and a splash on any child’s home bookshelf.

Ages 6 – 9

Tundra Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1101918296

Discover more about Ben Clanton, his books, and his artwork on his website!

Play along with Narwhal and Jelly on their own website!

National Oceans Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-painted-pails

Playful Plastic Pail

 

With a colorful plastic pail, some paint, and a little sealant, you can make a pail for the beach or sandbox that is as unique as you are!

Supplies

  • Plastic Pail
  • Paint that will adhere to plastic
  • Sealant for plastics
  • Paint brushes

Directions

  1. Create your design
  2. Paint your pail, let dry
  3. When the paint is dry, spray with sealant. Apply sealant in a well-ventilated place
  4. Let sealant dry
  5. Enjoy your pail!

Picture Book Review

May 1 – It’s Children’s Book Week

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-coverAbout the Holiday

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Running from May 1 – 7 under the theme of One World, Many Stories, this year’s Children’s Book Week offers events nationwide at libraries, bookstores, schools, and other venues. Kids and young readers are also invited to vote in the Children’s and Teen’s Choice Book Awards. To find plenty of downloadable activities, bookmarks, and other fun stuff as well as to discover events in your area, visit Every Child a Reader!

Short Stories for Little Monsters

By Marie-Louise Gay

 

Open the cover of Short Stories for Little Monsters and you immediately enter the mind of a child with all of its imagination, dreams, fears, questions, and quirky philosophies. Nineteen two-page stories told in comics-style panels populated with rakish kids, pointy-nosed snails, talking trees, and lots and lots of color will have readers giggling from beginning to end.

The first story—When I Close My Eyes—gives a glimpse of the antics to come as a little girl walking with her older brother asks him to “guess what I see when I close my eyes?” Her brother just wants to move on faster and tells her she can’t see anything with her eyes shut. Finally given the “Ok! Ok! Sigh,” the little girl closes her eyes and with a wide grin reveals a bear thinking about a fish, pink polka dot and plaid elephants, kites, eyes, balloons, a stopwatch tree, and flowers to swing from. Her brother’s reaction? “That’s impossible.” Perhaps he’s just too old….

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-worms

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

In The Incredible Invisible Boy, a pillowcase encased boy joins a soccer game in progress, moving from position to position while exclaiming “I have superpowers!…I can become invisible!” But the other kids never take notice as they pass the ball over his head, scramble to kick it first, move the ball up field, and finally run off the page, leaving the covered figure to sigh, “The incredible invisible boy strikes again.”

Kids aren’t the only ones who have weird dreams. In Snail Nightmares, thee little shelled guys suffer night terrors too. One dreams of slithering too fast to stop at the end of the panel without hitting its head, another conjurs the embarrassments of losing its pants, and the third has its tail stretched waaaay out by a tricky bird.

Nobody Nose catches a girl tightrope waking on the clothesline, only to be told by a passing boy, “You’re going to fall. You’ll break your nose into a thousand pieces.” He wanders off but not before he instills a deep doubt in her mind: “I wonder what you’ll look like without a nose…or with a new nose?” She then imagines herself gazing in the mirror at her noseless face and trying on a series of fake noses, including a carrot, a pig snout, and an elephant trunk. She finally resorts to covering her head with a cardboard box. The little boy peeks around the last panel to say he likes the carrot nose the best because it goes with her shoes. And indeed it does.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-what-do-trees-talk-about

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Remember when you could find dangerous adventure anywhere? The two girls in Monster! run shrieking from “a monster from outer space” who drools “poisonous slime,” sports “enormous fangs…and sharp pointy horns,” and is set on devouring the girls alive. As the two cower in safety behind a thick tree trunk, the object of this horror slides by with a sly nod to “snail power.”

Other stories introduce lowly worms that “rule the world,” a zombie mom who can see through walls and ceilings, the “secret life of snails,” mispronounced words, artistic renderings, and faces ungainly stuck in place during a bad wind.  And as these stories wind down, readers will want to follow the bunny down its rabbit hole to uncover not only The Secret Life of Rabbits, but another world of whimsy, eccentricities, and fantasy that enhances life no matter how old you are.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-short-stories-for-little-monsters-zombie-mom

Copyright Marie-Louise Gay, 2017. Courtesy of Groundwood Books

Both kids and adults will love Marie-Louise Gay’s funny tribute to childhood. Her vivid pencil-and-watercolor drawings perfectly expose the moments of a day that bring joy, triumph, and, yes, maybe even a touch of consternation to life. Short Stories for Little Monsters would make a delightful gift and a book that would be opened again and again for home libraries.

Ages 5 – 8

Groundwood Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1554988969

Discover more about Marie-Louise Gay, her books, her art, and her TV show as well as printable materials on her website!

Children’s Book Week Activitycelebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-book-bag-craft

Books to Love, Books to Read Book Bag

 

This is the perfect week to fill up a bag with books you’d like to read! Here’s an easy craft for making your own unique bag!

Supplies

  • Printable Templates: Books to Read Template | Books to Love Template
  • Small cloth bag, available from craft or sewing stores—Recyclable Idea: I used the bag that sheet sets now come in
  • Cloth trim or strong ribbon, available from craft or sewing stores—Recyclable Idea: I used the cloth handles from shopping bags provided from some clothing stores
  • Scraps of different colored and patterned cloth. Or use quilting squares, available at craft and sewing stores
  • Pen or pencil for tracing letters onto cloth
  • Scissors
  • Small sharp scissors (or cuticle scissors) for cutting out the center of the letters
  • Fabric glue
  • Thread (optional)
  • Needle (optional)

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-books-bag-craft

Directions

  1. Print the sayings and cut out the letters
  2. Trace letters onto different kinds of cloth
  3. Cut out cloth letters
  4. Iron cloth bag if necessary
  5. Attach words “Books to Read” to one side of bag with fabric glue
  6. Attach words “Books to Love” to other side of bag with fabric glue
  7. Cut cloth trim or ribbon to desired length to create handles
  8. Glue (or sew) handles onto the inside edge of bag

Picture Book Review