June 5 – Sausage Roll Day

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About the Holiday

Today we celebrate that party-platter and food-on-the-go favorite—the sausage roll, aka Pigs in a Blanket. Whether you make these with homemade sausage, full-size hot dogs, or tiny hot dogs, the flaky, buttery “blanket” makes it a little culinary luxury.  Why not bake up a batch for lunch or dinner tonight and serve them with your favorite sides? 

Pigs and a Blanket

By James Burks

 

A cute piglet loves her blanket sooo much; her brother loves his blanket sooooo much more! Henrietta loves the way her blanket smells. Henry loves the way his blanket feels. Henrietta reads with her blanket, while Henry draws under his.

Henry also creates hills in his blanket to zoom his monster trucks over while his sister uses hers as a backdrop for the fierce dinosaur movie she’s filming. The movie-making gives way to dancing because Henrietta loves to pirouette with her blanket. But wait a minute! The trucks have just gone off-blanket!! What’s happening?

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Copyright James Burks, 2016, courtesy of jamesburks.com

And—“Hey!”—mid-twirl, that familiar green cloth suddenly becomes a cape catching the wind behind Henry’s superhero personae. One blanket between two kids? Henrietta tugs on one end: “Stop pulling on my blanket!” Henry yanks on the other end: “Stop pulling on MY blanket!!” The tug-of-war rages until “RRRIIIPPPPP!”

Henry retreats to one corner and half-heartedly pushes around his monster trucks on his part of the blanket while glancing over to the other corner where Henrietta has unenthusiastically resumed her movie making on her half. Maybe drawing and reading will be better. But no, not really. That separated blanket isn’t nearly as cozy.

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Copyright James Burks, 2016, courtesy of jamesburks.com

The siblings move a little closer and shyly smile at each other. Maybe they can make up. “I missed you,” Henrietta confesses. “I missed you more,” Henry answers, placing a red checker on the board she’s brought over. The day is brightening in their playroom scattered with toys and art supplies. And as night falls, the two have cleverly reunited just in time for sleeping.

James Burks’ charming Pigs and a Blanket captures perfectly the vacillating relationship of siblings. Kids will recognize and appreciate the sentiments in this simple, honest story. While this sister and brother have separate interests and quarrel over a shared blanket, the truth is they love being together, and when the blanket no longer binds them, they soon realize life is much less rich.

Burks’ illustrations of the piglet siblings are adorable and expressive, registering the fortunes and misfortunes of an afternoon of play with joy, consternation, regret, sadness, and reconciliation. The book’s design makes excellent use of the two-page spreads. The sister plays with her blanket on the left-hand page, while her brother plays with his on the right. The blanket ingeniously disappears into the center of the pages, creating a smart, Ah-ha moment when Henrietta twirls it away from Henry. Likewise, after the blanket is torn apart, the once full-page illustrations are replaced with mostly white space as the two kids play alone and disconnected. As they move to restore their friendship, the white space lessens until it is again filled with love.

Pigs and a Blanket would be a wonderful addition to any child’s bookshelf to be reread at those times when getting along with siblings—or friends—seems hard.

Ages 2 – 6

Disney-Hyperion, 2016 | ISBN 978-1484725238

Discover more about James Burks, his books, and his art on his website!

Sausage Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-crescent-rolls-recipe-pillsbury

Crescent Dogs Recipe courtesy of pillsbury.com

Pigs-in-a-Blanket Recipe

These snack, lunch, or dinner goodies are easy-peasy—and tasty too! They’re also great for getting kids involved in the kitchen. The simple steps are just right for little hands. This recipe from Pillsbury can be used with full-sized hot dogs or with mini hot dogs.  

Remember: always supervise young children when eating hot dogs. Babies and toddlers without their back molars should avoid hot dogs. For children under 4 years old, hot dogs should be sliced into quarters lengthwise and then cut into small pieces. For Guidelines on serving hot dogs to young children visit Our Everyday Life.

Ingredients

  • 8 hot dogs
  • 4 slices (3/4 oz each) American cheese, each cut into 6 strips
  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Slit hot dogs to within 1/2 inch of ends; insert 3 strips of cheese into each slit.
  2. Separate dough into triangles. Wrap dough triangle around each hot dog. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, cheese side up.
  3. Bake at 375°F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Picture Book Review

May 24 – National Brother’s Day

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About the Holiday

Today we honor the brothers in our lives who spend time with us, share our memories, lend a helping hand, and are best lifelong friends. To celebrate, spend time with your brother or brothers. If you don’t live close, give your brother a call and reminisce!

I Am a Big Brother!

By Caroline Jayne Church

 

A little boy gazes at the new tiny bundle that’s come home today. He smiles at the sparkling eyes and itty-bitty fingers. “I’m a big brother now, hooray!” he says. He remembers when he was as small as the new baby, but now he’s big enough to help push the stroller and give the baby a bottle. And he can “always find what baby needs”–even a clean diaper when the old one is dirty.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-i-am-a-big-brother-new-baby

Copyright Caroline Jayne Church, courtesy of Cartwheel Books

His mom and dad tell him he’s so clever when he entertains the baby with his teddy bear and toys. He knows that he’s “the best big brother ever!” He cuddles with his new baby and gives tickles until the air is filled with giggles. When it’s bath time, the little boy holds the sponge and splashes in the bubbles.

He helps put the baby to bed for naptime and then plays quietly with his toys nearby, watching over his little charge. “But if baby wakes with cranky cries,” he says, “I softly sing sweet lullabies.” He’s looking forward to his baby getting bigger and a time when they can play together because he knows that he is “a big brother forever” and that he, the baby, Mommy, and Daddy are a family who love each other.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-i-am-a-big-brother-toys

Copyright Caroline Jayne Church, courtesy of Cartwheel Books

Caroline Jayne Church’s new big brother is a cutie full of joy and the excitement of responsibility when a baby joins the family. The bubbly and cozy rhymes and fun vocabulary will engage little ones as they make this life-changing transition. Young readers will see that they can help with the new baby and will be reassured that they are always an important and loved part of the family.

Church’s adorable brother and baby will charm little ones who already are or are about to become a brother. Their sweet expressions, cuddly toys, and comfy, colorful jammies will make any child smile.

Ages 1 – 4

Cartwheel Books, 2015

Discover more about Caroline Jayne Church, her books, and her artwork on her website!

National Brother’s Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-big-brother-certificate

Best Big Brother Certificate

 

Being a great big brother is something to be celebrated! Here’s a printable Best Big Brother Certificate for the brothers in your life!

Picture Book Review

May 7 – Lemonade Day

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About the Holiday

Lemonade Day was established in 2007 in Houston, Texas by Lisa and Michael Holthouse to encourage kids to discover their inner entrepreneur and set up their own businesses. Lisa was inspired by her own experience of setting up a lemonade stand as a child to buy a pet turtle that her father refused to pay for. The main character in today’s book has similar motivations with an altruistic bent.

Caterina and the Lemonade Stand

By Erin Eitter Kono

 

Summertime has finally arrived, and Caterina is ready for fun. As she passes a store window, she is captivated by the shiny new scooter in the window. A quick check of her kitty bank, however, reminds her that “buying new things isn’t always so easy.” Caterina knows that money doesn’t grow on trees, but is also happily aware that lemons do. Caterina has a brainstorm: “a lemonade stand would be the perfect way to earn money for the scooter!”

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Copyright Erin Eitter Kono, courtesy of Dial Books for Young Readers.

So Caterina, “a little brown bird with great big colorful thoughts,” puts her mind to the task. As she loves to do, she makes a list of what she’ll need—“lots of lemons, sweet sugar, icy-cold water, and of course…a super stand!” But Caterina looks around her. It seems that everyone has a lemonade stand, including her friends Patrick the bear, Paul Peacock, and even Dig Dig the hampster, her little brother Leo’s best friend.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-caterina-and-the-lemonade-stand-brown-bird

Copyright Erin Eitter Kono, courtesy of Dial Books for Young Readers.

Caterina realizes that if she “is going to earn enough money to buy the scooter, her stand must stand out.” She begins to think creatively. To make her stand the most attractive and inviting, she decorates it with handmade crafts that are cozy and colorful, studs the lemons with cloves to make them aromatic, fills her booth with the music of Leo’s violin playing, and experiments with flavors.

Soon, she has a stand that is unique. A rainbow mobile fluttering with multicolored ribbons hangs next to a banner that reads: “Color your own lemonade.” Nearby sits a basketful of delicious fruit that thirsty customers can add to their glass to create an individual taste sensation. In no time, her stand has earned her “an entire bank full of coins. Just enough to buy a shiny new scooter…for Leo!”

Following the story, Caterina gives some good advice for ways to stand out that include being creative, planning well, working hard, and finding the best assistant.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-caterina-and-the-lemonade-stand-finished-stand

Copyright Erin Eitter Kono, courtesy of Dial Books for Young Readers.

Erin Eitter Kono’s Caterina is a cutie of a role model for young readers who think differently or who want to stand out in other ways. She shows kids that by using their talents they too can reveal their own unique abilities and personalities. Adults and children will appreciate her loving relationship with her little brother, who is Caterina’s helpful assistant and the beneficiary of the money they earn.  Caterina’s clever solution to her dilemma is hinted at throughout the cheery illustrations, and readers will enjoy watching Caterina’s lemonade stand come together with her handiwork.

For kids full of ideas, Caterina and the Lemonade Stand would make an adorable addition to their home home bookshelves.

Ages 3 – 5

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014 | ISBN 978-0803739031

Learn more about Erin Eitter Kono and her books and view a portfolio of her illustration and design work on her website!

Spend more time with Caterina, Leo, and their friends on Caterina’s Corner!

Lemonade Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-lemonade-stand-coloring-page

Yummy Lemonade Stand Coloring Page

 

There’s nothing more refreshing than a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day! Enjoy coloring this printable Yummy Lemonade Stand Coloring Page—and drink a cold lemonade while you work.

Picture Book Review

April 19 – Banana Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-bananas-in-my-ears

About the Holiday

It seems people are somewhat split on this most appealing holiday—is it a day for enjoying the tasty tropical fruit or a day for goofing off? Why not do both?! Bananas offer plenty of nutrition and flavor in their own tidy, take-along package, and they’ve been the subject of humorous skits as long as people have been tossing the peels to the ground. Today, grab a bunch and head out to have some fun at a park, playground, shoreline, or even back deck near you!  

Bananas in My Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles, and Rhymes

Written by Michael Rosen | Illustrated by Quentin Blake

 

Things may go from the ridiculous to the sublime or from the sublime to the ridiculous, but the rhymes, stories, poems, and jokes in this collection are both ridiculous and sublime. Divided into four sections—The Breakfast Book, The Seaside Book, The Doctor Book, and The Bedtime Book—these bite-sized tales will nibble at your funny bone.

Each book includes six to seven short pieces that humorously reveal the inner workings of familial and community relationships. Recurring titles “What if…,” “Things We Say,” and “Nat and Anna” sibling stories tie the books together. The tone for Bananas in My Ears is set with aplomb in the very first offering, “Breakfast Time,” which reveals the chaos of early morning with its spilled milk, banging trash cans, pets on the table, school clothes ruined, and “I think I’m going crazy!” shenanigans. 

“What If…” (Breakfast Book) combines kids’ natural penchant for rhyming with their unbounded imagination and a bit of stream-of-consciousness to boot. Just as a little boy is to bite into a piece of toast, he has this thought: “What if / a piece of toast turned into a piece of ghost / just as you were eating it / and you thought you were going to sink your / teeth into a lovely crunchy piece of hot toast / and butter and instead this cold wet feeling / jumps into your mouth / going, / ‘Whoooooooooooooooooooo!’ / right down into your stomach…”

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Image copyright Quentin Blake, text copyright Michael Rosen, 2012. Courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Adding speech bubbles and expressive art to commonly used phrases in “Things We Say” transforms throw-off lines like “My hair’s a mess,” “Look what I found,” “You can’t lie there all morning,” and “Now what seems to be the trouble?” into self-deprecating humor all can relate to.

Four stories of Nat and his older sister Anna zero in on particular moments that illuminate the sibling relationship, At once opposed and in sync, Nat and Anna negotiate moments in which Anna is put in charge of watching Nat at breakfast with topsy-turvy results; a frightening story that Anna tells Nat about jellyfish somehow backfires; a trip to the doctor turns into a competition about future professions; and a “who’s-on-first” type banter allows Anna to enjoy some alone time.

“Three Girls” is a clever take on outwitting-an-ogre tales. Three girls walking on the beach come across a cave. One girl goes in and “sees a pile of gold sitting on the rocks, so she thinks, ‘Yippee, gold, all for me!’ And she steps forward to pick it up and a great big voice booms out ‘I’m the ghost of Captain Cox. All that gold stays on the rocks.’” Afraid, she runs out of the cave. The second girl is braver. She enters the cave, sees the gold, hears the same booming voice and is also chased away. Undeterred, the third girl walks into the cave, sees the gold, and hears the booming voice of Captain Cox. Instead of running away, however, she says, “‘I don’t care. I’m the ghost of Davy Crocket, and all that gold goes in my pocket.’” With her treasure secured she hightails it out to join her friends.

Among other fun stories in this volume are: “These Two Children,” with a lively recitation of familiar bedtime routines; “Fooling Around,” that offers light rhymes on children’s names; and another “What If” (the Breakfast Book) that will have kids cracking up —“What if / hard-boiled eggs turned into hard-boiled legs / just when your dad was eating his egg / and he says, / ‘Hey, what’s this?’…”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-bananas-in-my-ears-breakfast

Image copyright Quentin Blake, text copyright Michael Rosen, 2012. Courtesy of Candlewick Press.

Michael Rosen understands, as kids do, that sometimes nonsense makes perfect sense and that even the commonplace is quite absurd when you think about it. This collection of witticisms is sure to resonate with children. Just hand a child this book and get ready for giggles—and, oh yes, adults will chuckle too.

In his colorful pen and ink drawings the inimitable Quentin Blake enlivens each piece with rakish kids, wide-eyed parents, sloppy messes, bouncing, jumping joy, and all the silliness that contributes to having a great day. “An accident waiting to happen” doesn’t begin to describe the bedlam ensuing in “What Happens Next?” as each character and object is set up to play their part in an oh-so-human game of dominoes. Kids will love seeing themselves and the world around them so candidly drawn, and adults will appreciate the whimsical sophistication of the same.

Ages 5 and up

Candlewick Press, 2012 | ISBN 978-0763662486

Banana Day Activity

celebrate-picture=books-picture-book-review-allrecipes.com-banana-banana-bread-recipe

Banana Banana Bread recipe, courtesy of allrecipes.com.

Banana Banana Bread

 

How can you go wrong with a recipe that includes so many bananas they have to be listed twice in the name? You can’t! This simple, yet delicious banana bread from Allrecipes satisfies the munchies at breakfast or snack time! Try it toasted—you’ll be sure to cheer B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Click here to begin enjoying Allrecipes Banana Banana Bread.

Picture Book Review

April 16 – Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day

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About the Holiday

Forget about Casual Friday, Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day offers much more in the way of comfort and coziness—as those who work from home well know! A little research on pajamas finds that the word derives from a Persian term for “leg garment.” Draw string pants were popular in Southwest Asia and were brought to the attention of other areas of the world by British colonials. The Western world adopted these comfy pants in the 1800s, and since then bed wear has become softer, more flexible, and more colorful. To celebrate today, wear your favorite jammies to work—and don’t forget your teddy bear!

Piggies in Pajamas

Written by Michelle Meadows | Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

It’s bedtime for the little piggies, but Papa isn’t home yet and Mama’s on the phone. So the five rambunctious kids find ways to spend the time. A peek into their room finds “Piggies in pajamas / jumping in the air / tossing up the pillows / popcorn in their hair.” The quadruple bunk beds make tall mountains to climb and perfect platforms for jumping into the ocean, but as the piggies dive onto the soft, pillow “water,” they hear Mama’s footsteps in the hall.

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Image copyright Ard Hoyt, text copyright Michelle Meadows, 2013. Courtesy of simonandschuster.com

The piggies “hurry to the tunnel. / Everybody, hide. / Underneath the covers, snuggle deep inside.” Soon all seems quiet, so they tiptoe from their beds to spy on Mama. They’re happy to see that she’s still occupied, leaving the tracks clear for the piggie train to toot, toot across the floor. But Mama, in her curlers, hears a suspicious sound and stomp, stomp, stomps upstairs.

Once more the five siblings rush to their beds and pull up the covers, their ears trained on any sound from downstairs. A familiar “crick, creak” tells them that Mama is now sitting down and chatting with Mrs. Cat. “Piggies in pajamas, / whirl around the room. / Cartwheels and somersaults— / Boom, Boom, Boom!” All that noise brings Mama stomp, stomp, stomping, but when she opens the piggies’ door, they’re all snuggled in and quiet as mice.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-piggies-in-pajamas-parade

Image copyright Ard Hoyt, text copyright Michelle Meadows, 2013. Courtesy of simonandschuster.com

One sneaky eye watches Mama as she descends the stairs on her way to the kitchen for an evening snack. In moments, the little ones are up again and searching through the trunk for toys and cars and dress-up clothes. Just then at the window they hear a “scratch, scratch, tap, tap” and although it’s only a tree branch waving in the wind, the imagined wolf or fox or bear has left them shivering.

One by one, all in a line they grab their blankets and crawl down the hall to a new cozy bed. While Mama’s washing up her face, they cuddle in and start to snooze. Soon, “Mama sees their pink ears. / Tails are sticking out. / Mama climbs into bed and / kisses every snout. / ‘Good night, piggies!’”

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Image copyright Ard Hoyt, text copyright Michelle Meadows, 2013. Courtesy of simonandschuster.com

The little piggies in Michelle Meadow’s sweet story want to do the right thing, but it’s just so exciting to stay up late! Readers know how they feel and will giggle along as the piggies romp when Mama’s gone but fly into bed when they hear her stomps. Meadow’s jouncy rhyme captures the freewheeling antics of unsupervised kids, the delicious suspense of getting caught, and the endearing appeal for comfort when kids are scared or truly ready to drift into dreams.

Ard Hoyt’s energetic piggies know how to make the most of Mama’s inattention! Bouncing on the bed with their popcorn snack, climbing a rope made of sheets to the top of the bedpost “mountain,” and strutting down the hall in a piggie train, these five siblings are as cute as can be. Hoyt’s split pages show both the expressive siblings and Mama as they go about their nightly routines, acting and interacting on the sounds they hear. The soft colors, humorous details, and final spreads of the piglets in Mama’s bed, tell readers that despite all the shenanigans, this is a house full of love.

Piggies in Pajamas would quickly become a bedtime favorite and a welcome addition to home bookshelves.

Ages 2 – 5

Simon & Schuster, 2013 | ISBN 978-1416949824

Discover more about Michelle Meadows and her books as well as teachers activities on her website!

You can learn more about Ard Hoyt and view a gallery of his books on his website!

Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day Activity

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Design Your Own Pajamas

Are pajama sleepers or tops and pants your favorites for bedtime? With this printable Design Your Own Pajamas coloring sheet, you can create jammies just the way you like them!

Picture Book Review

April 10 – National Siblings Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-harry-and-clare's-amazing-staycation-coverAbout the Holiday

National Siblings Day gives people a chance to honor the special bond they have with their brothers and/or sisters. Whether you come from a big family or small, are the oldest, youngest, or somewhere in between, your siblings have had a big influence on your life. Today, take a little time to text or call if you live far apart or get together if the miles aren’t so many.

Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation

Written by Ted Staunton | Illustrated by Mika Song

 

Vacation began on Monday. So did the rain. Harry and Clare decided to go to Mars. After all it was only as far away as the family room and looked quite the same—“except for the volcanoes” that spouted lava all over the rug. Harry found traversing the alien landscape harder than Clare. He had to carry all the luggage while she carried the snacks; and while Clare ate the snacks, Harry was busy drowning in quicksand.

Tuesday dawned gray and rainy. Fortunately, Harry and Clare “could ride a Pasta Linguini racer around an indoor course in the supermarket.” The field was fierce, and Harry told Clare to turn left, but Clare didn’t listen. “‘I’m driving,’” she said. “Following a dizzying skid through the frozen food, Clare let Harry park them in the checkout line.” And while Harry was hanging on tight with both hands as Clare directed, she ate both of their granola bars.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-harry-and-clare's-amazing-staycation-lava

Excerpted from Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation by Ted Staunton. Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Mika Song. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

The downpour continued on Wednesday. The pool seemed the perfect respite, but just as Harry was about to transform into a dolphin doing spectacular dives, “he was captured by a pirate queen who made him walk the plank instead.” Harry’s fortunes only turned bleaker when later that day Teacher Clare caught Harry eating his snack during lessons and sent him to the principal’s office.

Unfortunately, the principal looked a lot like Clare, and she passed a stiff sentence: “‘People who eat during arithmetic are not allowed to eat at all.’” Suddenly, Harry had an idea, but the principal—who mumbled through a mouthful—told him not to speak. Harry was not to be so easily dismissed, however.

As soon as the principal released him, he grabbed a snack and headed up High Staircase Mountain. When he heard the Abdominal Snowman close at his heels, he quickly hid the cookies in his pocket. At dinner, Harry was able to sneak more provisions into his pocket and keep them safe as he performed a high-wire trapeze trampoline act on the couch and jumped through hoops for Clare the Lion Tamer.  

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-harry-and-clare's-amazing-staycation-hippo

Excerpted from Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation by Ted Staunton. Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Mika Song. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

 On Thursday the sun finally came out, and Harry and Clare took a jungle tour. The jungle “looked a lot like the park, except for the vines and wild animals.” As they ran through the thick vegetation, Clare and Harry avoided umpire bats and leaped over sandbox hippos on their search for a “‘sunken ship guarded by a monster octopus.’” All this time Harry held on to the idea he’d had.

Then, just as they were being threatened by elephant hummingbirds, Clare realized they’d forgotten to bring snacks and said they’d have to turn their dragons around and go back. Harry, however, simply climbed off his bike dragon and pulled a baby carrot from his pocket. Clare was nonplussed. “‘Where did you get that?’” she wanted to know, but Harry just took a something else from his stash and continued munching.

“‘Is that a cookie?’ Clare asked. Harry swallowed. ‘Asteroid burger,’ he said….‘I have asteroid burgers and volcano sticks.’” Clare listened to her grumbling stomach and accepted some of both. She even accepted Harry’s idea that the treasure was in a cave under a mountain as long as an octopus monster still guarded it.

Harry and Clare played for hours. Harry discovered “prehistoric park-bench dinosaur skeletons,” and Clare dispersed a group of squirrel sharks. On the way home Harry and Clare split the “last of the volcano sticks and asteroid burgers. They made a nice combination.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-harry-and-clare's-amazing-staycation-playground

Excerpted from Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation by Ted Staunton. Illustrations Copyright © 2017 Mika Song. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

In his imaginative tale of a rainy school staycation, Ted Staunton captures the sibling power structure with wit and wisdom. Readers will appreciate Harry and Clare’s daily—almost moment-to-moment—inventiveness that mirrors children’s supple imaginations. As a younger brother, Harry bears the brunt of Clare’s bossiness, but in the process begins to grasp where the real clout lies. By biding his time, he quietly advocates for himself and changes the dynamics to both of the children’s benefit. Staunton’s funny dialogue and situations ring true, as do the clever uses of everyday items and places to spur the siblings’ creativity. The final line offers a sweet future for this loveable brother and sister.

Mika Song ingeniously transcribes Harry and Clare’s imaginings into action-packed illustrations full of personality. The sibling relationship unfolds through humorous scenes and animated facial expressions. Harry sinks in bubbling lava while Clare eats snacks at a safe distance; Harry and Clare get caught behind an elderly “racecar” driver in the grocery store: Harry is pulled up short by his changing fortunes on the diving board; and Teacher Clare teeters in her mother’s shoes. Song’s fresh color palette lends an open, airy feeling to the story, and her adorable siblings make for exciting companions for readers any day.

Harry and Clare’s Amazing Staycation would be a cute addition to any child’s bookshelf for story times and to spur imaginative play. The book could also be a great jumping off point for discussions of empathy and understanding between siblings and/or friends.

Ages 4 – 8

Tundra Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1770498273

Discover more about Ted Staunton and his books on his website!

You’ll find a portfolio of artwork, comics, and books by Mika Song on her website!

National Siblings Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-printable-snakes-and-ladders-game

Snakes and Ladders Game

 

It can be fun to play a board game with your sibling! Here’s a printable Snakes and Ladders game for you to enjoy! Just watch out for that green snake!

Supplies

Directions

  1. Print the board game template
  2. Determine which player goes first by rolling the die. The player with the highest roll goes first.
  3. The first player rolls the die and moves along the game board, starting at square 1, the number of spaces indicated on the die.
  4. Other players take turns rolling the die and moving along the board.
  5. The first player to reach square 100 is the winner

Ladders: When a player lands on a space with the bottom of a ladder in it, the player moves up to the space at the top of the ladder and continues to play from there.

Snakes: When a player lands on a space with the head of a snake in it, the player slides down to the space with the snake’s tail in it and continues to play from there.

Picture Book Review

January 28 – Blueberry Pancake Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-blueberries-cover About the Holiday

If you love pancakes dotted with luscious blueberries then today is for you! Do you have blueberries in your freezer, frozen fresh from the summer harvest? Then this is the perfect reason to bring them out for a delicious breakfast! If not stop by a store and get a pint—pancakes are great for dinner too!

More Blueberries!

Written by Susan Musgrave | Illustrated by Esperança Melo

 

When the blueberries are ripe, the siblings in this adorable picture book live in a blueberry world. The brother and sister are all smiles with their bowl full of berries, and soon they have “Blueberry cheeks, blueberry chin. / Blueberry teeth, blueberry grin. / Blueberry fingers, blueberry nose. / Blueberry lips, blueberry toes.” Oops! After all that yummy, tasty blueberry gobbling, the bowl is empty, eliciting a call for “More Blueberries!”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-blueberries

Image copyright Esperança Melo, text copyright Susan Musgrave. Courtesy esperancamelo.blogspot.ca

The scrumptious berries find their way into pancakes, muffins, mush, and slush, ice cream, cake—and even cause a bit of an ache. But with a small burp, the cry goes out for MORE BLUEBERRIES! The kids aren’t the only ones who love the season’s fruit—a cat chases them as they roll away, and a cawing crow carries one in its beak like the finest of pearls.

Frogs hop on blueberries with a pop and a splat while teddy bears gulp them down in no time flat. “Meow,” says the cat. “Caw,” says the crow. “Ribbit,” says the frog, and “Grrrrrrr,” says the bear as they all shout for MORE BLUEBERRIES!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-blueberries-cake

Image copyright Esperança Melo, text copyright Susan Musgrove. Courtesy of Orca Book Publishers

But the day is waning and while bath time beckons there’s still more time to turn bathwater blue, sail berries in a tug, wash with blueberry soap and blueberry shampoo. Finally it’s nightime with “Blueberry jammies, / blueberry yawn. / Blueberry bedtime, / blueberries gone.” As the little girl and boy drift off to sleep to dream about blueberries, they snuggle with their teddy bear and froggy toys, leave their crow book until tomorrow, and sleep peacefully under the watchful eye of their cat.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-more-blueberries-crow-and-cat

Image copyright Esperança Melo, text copyright Susan Musgrave. Courtesy of esperancamelo.blogspot.ca

Susan Musgrave’s irresistibly catchy rhymes burst with flavor and will make More Blueberries a favorite story time read for young children. The repeated “blueberry” (such a wonderfully alliterative word!) will capture kids’ imagination and give them the pleasure of reading along even at very early ages. Beyond the fun of the blueberry theme, this book makes an entertaining concept book to teach parts of the body, food, and clothing.

Esperança Melo’s endearing illustrations perfectly depict the messy, delicious, enthusiasm small children develop for certain foods or objects. The sister with her curly mass of brown hair and her brother with spiky blond hair are human canvases of blueberry-painted faces, hands, and feet while their infectious grins display stained teeth and tongues. Their household surroundings are appropriately blue, and even their pets and toys get in on the action.

More Blueberries would be a sweet addition to any child’s book shelf, one that is sure to be asked for again and again!

Ages Birth – 4

Orca Book Publishers, Board book, 2015  ISBN 978-1459807075 | Paperback, 2017 ISBN 9781459815056

Visit Esperança Melo’s website to view her illustrations and paintings portfolio!

To learn more about Susan Musgrave’s books for children and adults visit her website!

Blueberry Pancake Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-pancakes-word-search

Flip for Pancakes Word Search Puzzle

 

Flipping pancakes is the best part of making this delicious breakfast—except for eating it! Can you find 20 pancake-related words in this printable Flip for Pancakes Word Search Puzzle? Here’s the Solution.

Picture Book Review