June 28 – It’s Great Outdoors Month

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About the Holiday

Great Outdoors Month may be winding to a close, but the season for enjoying outside adventures is just beginning! Make this a great summer by planning to spend more time in and with nature—whether you do that in a majestic national park, at a local playground, on a patch of green in the city, at the seashore, or in your own backyard! The fresh air and sunshine will make you happy!

The Fog

Written by Kyo Maclear | Illustrated by Kenard Pak

 

“Far north, on a wild sea, was an island covered with ice.” The island was a favorite tourist destination, and while the people explored their home, most birds took no notice. “But there was one bird, a small yellow warbler, who did pay attention.” In fact, “Warble was a devoted human watcher.” With so many visitors, Warble always had new specimens to investigate. He kept a journal of his sightings. #671 was a “Behatted Bibliophilic Female.” Warbler remembered her well, reading a book in her wide-brimmed hat. A man bedecked in gold jewelry was entry “#672 Bald-Headed Glitzy Male.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-fog-tourists

Excerpted from The Fog by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2017 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Kenard Pak. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

One day, though, a dense fog seeped across the valley, hiding everything in its gauze-like swirls. Warbler’s hobby came to a complete stop. After several days, he tried to blow the fog away with a fan and with a particularly blaring horn of his own invention. Nothing dispelled the fog. When Warbler consulted the other birds, they were nonchalant. It didn’t take long before the sign welcoming guests to the island was changed from “Welcome to Icy Land” to “Welcome to Fog Land.” And it took even less time for the other birds to forget there was ever clear air before.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-fog-chasing-fog

Excerpted from The Fog by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2017 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Kenard Pak. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Warbler could not forget, and the creeping dark sea was worrying also. He tried to alert others to the danger, but they had already taken up other pursuits and were too busy to care. Finally, after spotting no more humans, Warbler put away his binoculars, books, and journal, and tried move on. “But then, one foggy morning, Warble spotted a colorful speck in the distance.”

Upon closer inspection, Warble saw that it was a “rare female species and she was singing a song.” He jotted it down in his journal: “#673 Red-hooded Spectacled Female (Juvenile).” She consulted a map and then put her binoculars to her eyes. She found herself staring into the binoculars of Warble. Warble was so happy to see her that he made her a picnic lunch, complete with insects. The girl gave Warble gifts from her pack and taught him origami.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-fog-girl

Excerpted from The Fog by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2017 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Kenard Pak. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

It turned out that she also understood “Chirp.” Warble asked her about the fog and whether others knew about it. They decided to find out. They made a paper boat and wrote “Do you see the fog?” on it. Then they launched in from shore. No reply came. They launched more and more boats until they got an answer. A walrus in Canada sent back a “Yes, I see the fog.” So did a musk ox from Norway and some cats from England. Notes came from every part of the globe. “With each one, the fog began to lift a little. And the wind began to blow again until the world grew a little less ghostly and it became easier to notice things.”

Warble and the human explored the island together, finding big things and little things. As the island brightened, they relaxed together and sang their songs to “each other and to the moon” which shone down through the clear night air on the happy pair.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-fog-fog-clears

Excerpted from The Fog by Kyo Maclear. Text copyright © 2017 by Kyo Maclear. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Kenard Pak. Published by Tundra Books, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

From her clever turn-about plot Kyo Maclear has crafted a story that has a multitude of applications for the natural world as well as for the realm of personal relationships. The fog that descends on the island can clearly be read as a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring threats to the environment. While the tangible fog surrounds the island, the residents are in fogs of their own—preferring indifference to solving the problem. Only when others—who are brave enough or caring enough—acknowledge that they too recognize the trouble and want to fix it, does the fog begin to lift.

Maclear’s The Fog also gives readers an opportunity to talk with children about other examples of clouded issues. Misunderstandings, confusion, miscommunication, and loneliness can also create personal fogs for children and adults that negatively affect relationships and quality of life. Telling a family member or friend and reaching out to others can be the first step in “clearing the air” and living a happier life.

In his gauzy watercolor and pencil illustrations in frosted sages and yellows, Kenard Pak creates an island paradise that attracts attention from around the world. As the fog thickens, Pak’s colors darken and become denser. As the fog lingers smudges of gray surround the characters, but Pak resists the temptation to fill the pages with darkness. The Fog is, at its core, a story of hope and resolution and while the problem may be worsening, it is not yet insurmountable. The illustrations are sprinkled with puns and visual humor, and both kids and adults will love lingering over the endpapers, which offer a gallery of the humans Warbler has recorded on his life list.

Ages 4 – 8

Tundra Books, 2017 | ISBN 978-1770494923

To discover the unique world of books for children by Kyo Maclear, visit her website! You can learn about Kyo Maclear’s books for adults here.

Learn more about Kenard Pak and his books, as well as about his illustration and animation work on his website!

Great Outdoors Month Activity

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Fog in a Jar

 

A foggy day or night can be mysterious and pretty cool! It’s also a fascinating part of nature and the science of weather! With this experiment you can make fog at home.

**Because a candle lighter is used in this experiment, adult supervision is required for children

Supplies

  • Wide-mouth glass jar, like a spaghetti sauce jar, cleaned and dry
  • Plastic baggie with a zip closure
  • Candle lighter
  • Ice
  • Dark paper
  • Tape

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Directions

  1. Wrap one side of the jar with the black paper and tape in place
  2. Fill the baggie ½ full of ice
  3. Fill the jar 1/3 full of hot to boiling water
  4. Hold the lighted lighter inside the jar above the water for 3 or 4 seconds and remove
  5. Put the baggie with ice over the opening of the jar
  6. Watch the fog form!
  7. Remove the ice and watch the fog curl out of the jar!

Picture Book Review

March 22 – World Water Day

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About the Holiday

March 22 was designated as World Water Day by the United Nations to bring awareness to the important issue of fresh water for the world’s citizens. Today, 1.8 billion people use sources of water that are contaminated, posing a constant risk of deadly diseases. The Sustainable Development Goals, instituted in 2015, have targeted a deadline of 2030 to provide access to clean water for everyone. This year’s theme is “Wastewater,” and revolves around the development of science and engineering solutions that would allow wastewater to be recycled and used in gardens, green spaces, cooling systems, and irrigation. Now more than ever, we all have a responsibility to keep the environment clean and safe. To celebrate today’s holiday find out how you can help!

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Written by Miranda Paul | Illustrated by Jason Chin

 

On a soaking rainy day a sister and brother run up to the house with a turtle they’ve caught in the pond out back. They drink glasses of water and offer a bowlful for the turtle too. “Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup.” Out on the porch Dad is ready with warm mugs of hot chocolate. The ghostly steam tickles their noses. “Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless…it cools high.” As the kids return the turtle to the pond they watch a dragon and an eagle play across the sky. “Clouds are clouds unless…they form low.”

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Image copyright Jason Chin, text copyright Miranda Paul. Courtesy of us.macmillan.com

Through the misty fog the school bus rumbles up the hill as a little garter snake wriggles in the fallen leaves at the end of the children’s driveway. By the time the bus drops the kids off at school the fog has turned to rain. It plinks on the sidewalks and pounds the earth, creating puddles just in time for recess. “Slosh in galoshes. Splash to your knees! Puddles are puddles unless…puddles freeze.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-water-is-water-snowman

Image copyright Jason Chin, text copyright Miranda Paul. Courtesy of us.macmillan.com

The turtle is hiding now that winter’s come, and a group of friends slip and speed across the pond, some playing hockey, some figure skating, and a couple just learning the ropes. Then suddenly it’s snowing! A brilliant red cardinal watches from the birdfeeder as three sneaky kids with snowballs spy on their friends who are building a snowman. With a “smack!” the snowball fight begins. Soon, however, spring is back with rushing streams and “Creep. Seep. Squish in your boots” mud. And that “mud is mud unless…there are roots.”

The apple trees in the backyard soak up the spring rains that feed the red, plump apples that are apples “unless…they get pressed. Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Cider is cider…until we drink it up!”

More information about water, including illustrated definitions of water-related terms, percentages of water in a variety of plants and creatures, and its importance to the world as well as suggestions for further reading, follow the text.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-water-is-water-making cider

Image copyright Jason Chin, courtesy of us.macmillan.com

Miranda Paul’s lyrical journey through a year of our interactions with water is a beautiful reminder of all the forms water takes. From life-filled ponds to pouring rains to glasses of refreshment, water sustains every creature and plant on earth. Paul’s transitional “unless…” elegantly introduces each transformation in the natural water cycle in a way that children recognize and appreciate. Her rich rhyming and rhythmical language is a joy to read and makes Water an active character in the story.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-water-is-water-drinking-cider

Image copyright Jason Chin, courtesy of us.macmillan.com

Jason Chin’s superb artwork is as lush and dynamic as the world around us. Each two-page spread is a masterpiece of atmosphere and details that bring not only water’s cycle to life but also that of the children, growing and playing in and around water throughout the year. As the children shelter from the rain at the beginning of the book, a bushel of apples sits snug against the cider press in the corner of the porch foreshadowing the final pages where fresh cider fuels summer fun. Chin’s children are real kids—joyful and playful, enthusiastically and humorously interacting with nature and each other with the kind of abandon that makes hearts sing. Young readers and adults will love lingering over each page.

Water is Water: A Story of the Water Cycle is the kind of book that can get kids excited about one of the quieter aspects of science—but one that is so important to our daily lives. It would make a wonderful accompaniment to elementary school lesson plans and a gorgeous addition to library and home bookshelves.

Ages 5 – 10

Roaring Brook Press, 2015 | ISBN 978-1596439849

Discover more about Miranda Paul and her books plus resources for teachers and writers on her website!

View a portfolio of artwork by Jason Chin and learn more about him and his books on his website!

World Water Day Activity

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A Sprinkling of Water Words Word Search

 

This tree grew tall and strong by soaking up water through its roots. Can you find the 20 water-related words that are hidden inside this printable tree-shaped A Sprinkling of Water Word Word Search Puzzle? Here’s the Solution.

Picture Book Review

February 5 – National Weatherperson’s Day

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About the Holiday

When you flip on the weather report in the morning, do you ever wonder who the first weather reporter was? Well, In America that honor may well go to native Bostonian John Jeffries, who was born on this date in 1745 and who in 1774 began measuring the weather and making others aware of its importance. In 1784 he became the first to gather weather information during a hot-air balloon flight over London. If meteorological science is your thing, enjoy this day—and this poem by an anonymous British poet:

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

When the Wind Blows

Written by Linda Booth Sweeney | Illustrated by Jana Christy

 

A little boy peeks out of his rattling window as the wind sends chimes ringing and doors creeaaaking. Jumbled into their jackets the boy’s mom, baby sister, and grandmother go out to enjoy the day. They fly a kite while nearby bells clang and walkers stroll hand in hand. In the sweeping wind “Trees dance. / Spiders curl. / Mice shiver. / Leaves swirl.”

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Image copyright Jana Christy, text copyright Linda Booth Sweeney. Courtesy of G. P. Putnam Sons

When the wind snatches the kite, the boy and his grandma chase after it amid clouds racing across the sky and seeds scattering to and fro. Running after the kite through waving beach grass, the family sees “Sails puff. / Boats wobble. / Gulls float. / buoys bobble.” Their pursuit takes them into town where they track down their kite lying on a sidewalk. When the wind blows on these narrow seaside village lanes, “Signs shake. / Lights jiggle. / Puddles splosh. / We giggle.”

With the kite safely in hand the foursome ventures to the park for some rolling, swaying, whirling play. But the day is graying—“Skies darken. / Thunder BOOMS. / Rain falls. / We zoom!” Back at home all is cozy as the family dries off and the little boy takes a bath. Tucked into bed the little boy and his mom cuddle while their pets curl up on the blankets. As they sleep, “Skies clear. / Stars gleam. / Earth sleeps. / We dream.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-when-the-wind-blows-city

Image copyright Jana Christy, courtesy of G. P. Putnam Sons

Linda Booth Sweeney’s charming tale of a day spent in the midst of a windy day perfectly captures the sights and sounds of such a gusty natural event. Sweeney’s eye for detail and talent for evocative verbs elevate the two-word lines in these short verses, letting readers fully experience the effects of a wild squall. Kids will appreciate the original imagery and love repeating the lyrical lines.

The blustery wind is evident in Jana Christy’s vibrant pastel illustrations, where clouds swirl in scribbles, flowers bow, and buffeted grasses protect small creatures. Everywhere, the wind flutters head scarves and clothing, bends signs, and tears hats and kites from unsuspecting hands. As rain approaches Christy’s skies acquire a gray, gauzy texture, and when the family again reaches home, the colors turn warm and bright, as comforting as a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Readers will be rewarded for lingering over the beautiful pages by seeing details and people carried over from page to page, uniting the story.

Ages 3 – 6

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group, 2015 | ISBN 978-0399160158

Meet Linda Booth Sweeney and find fun activities to extend the fun of When the Wind Blows on her Children’s Books website. You can find detailed information as well as videos, podcasts, and activities about her Systems work on lindaboothsweeney.net.

Learn more about Jana Christy and view galleries of her children’s books and illustration and sculpture work on her website.

Watch this windblown book trailer by animator Xin Xin and Linda Booth Sweeney.

National Weatherperson’s Day Activity

CPB - Windsock

Catch the Wind! Windsock Craft

 

You can feel the wind in your hair and see it blowing through the trees, but can you actually catch it? You can with this easy-to-make windsock!

Supplies

  • 1 large yogurt container (32 oz) or 1-pound deli salad container
  • 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Strong glue
  • Dowel, 5/8 diameter x 48-inches long or longer
  • String
  • Rubber band
  • sewing seam ripper or cuticle scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Remove the sleeve from a long-sleeve t-shirt with the seam ripper or cuticle scissors
  2. Cut the shoulder off the sleeve by cutting straight across from the underarm seam
  3. Cut 2 inches from the bottom of the yogurt container OR cut the bottom out of the deli container with the x-acto knife or scissors
  4. With the x-acto knife or scissors, make a hole a little smaller than the diameter of the dowel about 1 inch from the rim of the container
  5. Slide the container into the large opening of the sleeve
  6. Fold about a ¾ -inch edge over the rim of the container and attach all along the rim with strong glue
  7. Put the rubber band around the outside edge of the opening
  8. Tie the bottom of the sleeve’s cuff together with the string
  9. To attach the dowel: Option 1: leaving the t-shirt in place, push the dowel and material through the hole in the container. The t-shirt material will hold the dowel in place (I used this option).  Option 2: cut a small hole in the t-shirt at the location of the hole in the container. Push the dowel through this hole and the hole in the container. Secure with strong glue
  10. Stick your windsock in the ground in an open area where it can catch the wind. As the wind changes direction, you can turn your windsock so the opening faces the wind.

Picture Book Review

January 14 – International Kite Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-kite-day-a-bear-and-mole-story-cover

About the Holiday

International Kite Day originated in India in the state of Gujarat to commemorate the last day of winter and the first day of summer as well as the coming harvest season. The kites represent the spirits of the gods who are awakened from their winter sleep. The people of Gujarat begin making kites months in advance to accommodate the numerous festivals and the millions of people from around the world who attend them.

Kite Day: a Bear and Mole Story

By Will Hillenbrand

 

Bear sensed a familiar aroma in the air. He pointed his nose toward the sky and took a big whiff. “He smiled and then shouted, ‘Kite day!’” He dashed home and announced the news to Mole, who was digging in his garden. While Mole researched in a stack of books, Bear gathered supplies. While “Bear measured and cut, Mole drew.” Then “they both constructed.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-kite-day-a-bear-and-mole-story-mole-digging

Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

With their beautiful yellow creation in hand, “they raced outside into the meadow.” Mole ran with the string while Bear threw the kite high above him. The breeze picked up the kite and sent it’s rainbow bowtie tail fluttering “Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.” The kite soared higher and higher—into a graying sky. “Then dark, heavy clouds rolled in. Rumble. Rumble. Rumble.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-kite-day-a-bear-and-mole-story-flying-kite

Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

Suddenly, a gust of wind snapped the kite string, and it spun “Away, away, away.” “‘Oh no!” screamed Mole and Bear” as the kite dove downward. The two ran as fast as they could to catch up with it. They came to a stop under a huge tree. Caught in the branches was their kite. “Splat. Splat, Splat. Rain pelted the broken kite.” Then Mole and Bear saw something amazing. “‘Look!’ cried Bear. ‘Oh,’ sighed Mole.” The kite was sheltering a nest of chicks! “‘Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup’” they cheaped. “‘Thank you!’ sang the mother bird.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-kite-day-a-bear-and-mole-story-kite-in-tree

Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

Will Hillenbrand’s sweet friends Bear and Mole never fail to bring a smile to young reader’s faces as they share both joyful and scary experiences together. Little ones will love the repeated words that invite them to read along, and active verbs—such as snatched, plunged, and pelted—provide lyrical and advanced vocabulary. Kite Day offers gentle suspense and a cheerful resolution that will enchant young readers. Hillenbrand’s adorable, expressive characters, vibrant colors, and lovely pastel backgrounds will fully engage kids during any story time.

Children would love to add Kite Day, along with the Hillenbrand’s three other Bear and Mole Stories, to their home bookshelf.

Ages 3 – 6

Holiday House, 2013 | ISBN 978-0823427581

Discover more about Will Hillenbrand and his books as well as book-related activities and a gallery of illustations on his website!

Fly with this Kite Day book trailer!

International Kite Day Activity

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Cool Kite Decorating Page

 

Part of the fun of making your own kite is decorating it! Use this printable Cool Kite Page to create the perfect flier! Try colored pencils, markers, glitter, tissue paper, stickers, or other decorations to make it uniquely yours!

Picture Book Review

December 21 – Winter Solstice

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About the Holiday

At exactly 5:44 a.m. today winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. This also means that today offers those living there the least amount of sunshine—only 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 6 seconds. While the earth’s tilt in relation to the sun at this time of year brings cold and snowy weather to the World’s northern half, the Southern Hemisphere is basking in longer days and warm temperatures. For those of us just beginning to enjoy another winter’s chill, the onset of snow brings special beauty, outdoor adventure, and the fun explored in today’s book!

If Snowflakes Tasted Like Fruitcake

By Stacey Previn

 

Snowflakes gently fluttering down from a gray winter sky seem to tease “catch me if you can!” Perhaps it’s their similarity to coconut shavings or confectioners’ sugar sifted over a delicious cake that inspires us to stick our tongues out to taste those little white flakes. But what do they really taste like? And what if they tasted like other yummy foods? Stacey Previn explores that idea, starting with a winter favorite—“If snowflakes tasted like sugar plums…they’d be dancing in my head.” Or perhaps they are better for breakfast—“If snowflakes tasted like oatmeal…they would get me out of bed.”

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Image and text copyright Stacey Previn, courtesy of simonandschuster.com

Maybe snowflakes would be better in a mug—“If snowflakes tasted like cocoa…they would warm me to my toes” Or if they came in whipped cream dollops, “they would tickle me on my nose.” Imagine “if snowflakes tasted like apples…” you could “bake them in a pie.” And “if snowflakes tasted like peppermint…” we’d “wish more fell from the sky.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-if-snowflakes-tasted-like-fruitcake-oatmeal

Image and text copyright Stacey Previn, courtesy of simonandschuster.com

Sometimes snowflakes twinkle like diamonds, but what if they were as shiny as gumdrops? Or imagine if they were as warm and soothing as noodle soup. Still, there is that title question: what “if snowflakes tasted like fruitcake?” Well, then, I’m afraid we “would give them all away.” So what is that special flavor that makes us stick out our tongues? “Winter,” of course!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-if-snowflakes-tasted-like-fruitcake-winter

Image and text copyright Stacey Previn, courtesy of simonandschuster.com

Stacey Previn offers up a whimsical, culinary menu of various taste sensations that might entice readers to eat up winter’s delicate, white morsels, including those above as well as honey, figs, chestnuts, gingerbread, popcorn, and marshmallows. Accompanying each verse are richly colored and wood-grain-textured folk-art illustrations that enhance the homey nature of the book. From verse to verse, a red-snowsuited child, joyful to wake to falling snow, imagines shaking snowflakes from tree branches, building a snowman and a snow choir, roasting snowflakes in a pan, catching snowflakes in a spoon, a net, a ladle, and more.

Kids who love playing in the snow—and for whom snowflakes are a delicacy—will delight in curling up with cup of hot chocolate and enjoying the sweet ideas and fanciful humor in this cozy wintertime book. Its sure to inspire kids to think up their own taste comparisons.

Ages 3 – 8

little bee books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1499801804

Discover more about Stacey Previn and her books on her website!

Winter Solstice Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-mind-jar

Snowy Day Mind Jar

 

You can capture the beauty of a glittering snowfall in this easy craft—that also makes a special gift for a friend!

Supplies

Small to medium mason jar or other decorative jar with a tight lid

White glitter glue,

Light blue glitter glue,

Fine white and/or blue glitter

Large white and/or blue glitter

Warm water

Directions

1.For every 1/2 cup of warm water add:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white glitter glue
  • 1/2 teaspoon blue glitter glue
  • 2 teaspoons fine glitter glue
  • 1/2 teaspoon large glitter

2. Close lid tight

3. Shake

4. As glue dissolves, the liquid will become clearer and the glitter will remain suspended in it

Picture Book Review

 

 

August 2 – It’s Water Quality Month

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About the Holiday

Water Quality is a crucial world-wide issue. In fact, 2015 closed out a decade-long United Nations initiative “Water for Life” to promote awareness of the importance of water quality as it relates to sanitation, geography, human rights, urbanization, and sustainability. The Audobon Society emphasizes the interconnectedness of all water systems and urges people to be mindful of the dangers that can lurk in runoff from construction, forestry, factories, agriculture, and personal yards as it combines in rivers, lakes, or the ocean. To observe this month be conscious of what is in your water. Limit the use of anti-bacterial soaps that contain a certain pesticide harmful to marine life, don’t flush unused medications, choose nontoxic household cleaners, avoid using fertilizers and pesticides, and clean up leaks from cars and other machinery. Protecting our water sources protects us.

Water Can Be…

Written by Laura Purdie Salas | Illustrated by Violeta Dabija

 

“Water is water— / it’s puddle, pond, sea. / When springtime comes splashing, / the water flows free.” So begins an inventive journey through the ways that water enriches our lives. With four-word rhyming couplets Laura Purdie Salas illuminates specific moments or circumstances to reveal water’s important role from season to season. From filling ponds, lakes, oceans, and even puddles to roaring down hillsides to floating in misty fogs and forming snowflakes, water sustains us and makes the world a more beautiful place.

During spring and summer when ponds nurture new life and rain puddles reflect, “Water can be…a tadpole hatcher / Picture catcher.” In hot weather water refreshes as a “Thirst quencher / Kid drencher.” And the seas, at times calm and at others roiling, can be both “Home maker / Ship breaker.”

As the air cools in autumn, water can be found in alternate forms. It squirts from fountains for the “school drink-er” and hardens to ice for a “Bruise shrinker.” A river’s winding trail becomes a “Salmon highway / Eagle flyway.” Winter brings water in a more solid form. Whipped by wind snow swirls as a “Storm creator” or gently sticks to surfaces as a “Decorator.” Outside, both animals and people enjoy the frozen precipitation. Snow serves as a “Woodchuck warmer / Snowman former.”

On the final pages as ice sculptors carve castles and dragons, moon beams and rabbits, Laura Purdie Salas encourages readers: “Water is water— / it’s ice, snow, and sea. / Now go and discover / what else it can be.”

Fascinating facts concerning the subject of each rhyme, a glossary, and a bibliography for further reading follow the text. Laura Purdie Salas donates a portion of the royalties from Water Can Be… to WaterAid, an international non-profit organization that transforms lives by improving and providing access to safe water, hygiene, and sanitation.

Laura Purdie Salas always surprises with her selection of examples and clever rhymes leading readers to more fully appreciate the world around them. Water doesn’t just flow, it feeds, speeds, cloaks and soaks, it decorates and bejewels, fluffs and snuffs. After reading Sala’s poetic tribute, readers will never experience water the same way and will be on the lookout for how they can interpret water’s gifts.

Violeta Dabija has created gorgeous, ethereal interpretations of each two-word rhyme. The nourishing blues and aquas of the sea, gauzy whites of fog and clouds, and brilliant whites of snow and ice are subtly crosshatched giving each illustration depth and movement. While the words on each page are short, kids will want to spend a long time taking in the beauty of Dabija’s paintings.

Ages 3 – 8

Millbrook Press, Lerner Books, 2014 | ISBN 978-1467705912

Check out the book trailer for Water Can Be…. It really makes a splash!

There’s so much to see and do on Laura Purdie Salas’s website!

View more beautiful art by Violeta Dabija on her website!

Water Quality Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-angel-fish-coloring-page

Angel Fish Coloring Page

 

Clean water is important for all fish to survive! You can make the ocean sparkling clear by adding a bit of glitter to your printable Angel Fish Coloring Page!

April 12 – National Big Wind Day

When the Wind Blows by Linda Booth Sweeney and Jana Christy picture book review

About the Holiday

Hold onto your hats—maybe even your hair! On April 12, 1934 three weather surveyors at the Mount Washington Observatory registered the highest wind gusts ever recorded—231 miles per hour! Mount Washington is located in New Hampshire and at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the Northeast United States and east of the Mississippi River. Since that blustery event, big wind day has been celebrated on this day.

When the Wind Blows

Written by Linda Booth Sweeney | Illustrated by Jana Christy

 

A little boy peeks out his rattling window as the wind sends chimes ringing and doors creeaaaking. Jumbled into their jackets the boy’s mom, baby sister, and grandmother go out to enjoy the day. They fly a kite while nearby bells clang and walkers stroll hand in hand. In the sweeping wind “Trees dance. / Spiders curl. / Mice shiver. / Leaves swirl.”

When the wind snatches the kite, the boy and his grandma chase after it amid clouds racing across the sky and seeds scattering to and fro. Running after the kite through waving beach grass, the family sees “Sails puff. / Boats wobble. / Gulls float. / buoys bobble.” Their pursuit takes them into town where they track down their kite lying on a sidewalk. When the wind blows on these narrow seaside village lanes, “Signs shake. / Lights jiggle. / Puddles splosh. / We giggle.”

With the kite safely in hand the foursome ventures to the park for some rolling, swaying, whirling play. But the day is graying—“Skies darken. / Thunder BOOMS. / Rain falls. / We zoom!” Back at home all is cozy as the family dries off and the little boy takes a bath. Tucked into bed the little boy and his mom cuddle while their pets curl up on the blankets. As they sleep, “Skies clear. / Stars gleam. / Earth sleeps. / We dream.”

Linda Booth Sweeney’s charming tale of a day spent in the midst of a windy day perfectly captures the sights and sounds of such a gusty natural event. Sweeney’s eye for detail and talent for evocative verbs elevate the two-word lines in these short verses, letting readers fully experience the effects of a wild squall. Kids will appreciate the original imagery and love repeating the lyrical lines.

The blustery wind is evident in Jana Christy’s vibrant pastel illustrations, where clouds swirl in scribbles, flowers bow, and buffeted grasses protect small creatures. Everywhere, the wind flutters head scarves and clothing, bends signs, and tears hats and kites from unsuspecting hands. As rain approaches Christy’s skies acquire a gray, gauzy texture, and when the family again reaches home, the colors turn warm and bright, as comforting as a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Readers will be rewarded for lingering over the beautiful pages by seeing details and people carried over from page to page, uniting the story.

Ages 3 – 6

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Penguin Group, 2015 | ISBN 978-0399160158

National Big Wind Day Activity

CPB - Windsock

Catch the Wind! Windsock

 

You can feel the wind in your hair and see it blowing through the trees, but can you actually catch it? You can with this easy-to-make windsock!

Supplies

  • 1 large yogurt container (32 oz) or 1-pound deli salad container
  • 1 long-sleeve T-shirt
  • Strong glue
  • Dowel, 5/8 diameter x 48-inches long or longer
  • String
  • Rubber band
  • sewing seam ripper or cuticle scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors

Directions

  1. Remove the sleeve from a long-sleeve t-shirt with the seam ripper or cuticle scissors
  2. Cut the shoulder off the sleeve by cutting straight across from the underarm seam
  3. Cut 2 inches from the bottom of the yogurt container OR cut the bottom out of the deli container with the x-acto knife or scissors
  4. With the x-acto knife or scissors, make a hole a little smaller than the diameter of the dowel about 1 inch from the rim of the container
  5. Slide the container into the large opening of the sleeve
  6. Fold about a ¾ -inch edge over the rim of the container and attach all along the rim with strong glue
  7. Put the rubber band around the outside edge of the opening
  8. Tie the bottom of the sleeve’s cuff together with the string
  9. To attach the dowel: Option 1: leaving the t-shirt in place, push the dowel and material through the hole in the container. The t-shirt material will hold the dowel in place (I used this option).  Option 2: cut a small hole in the t-shirt at the location of the hole in the container. Push the dowel through this hole and the hole in the container. Secure with strong glue
  10. Stick your windsock in the ground in an open area where it can catch the wind. As the wind changes direction, you can turn your windsock so the opening faces the wind.