January 10 – Houseplant Appreciation Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-nobody-hugs-a-cactus-cover

About the Holiday

Missing the green leaves and colorful flowers of spring and summer? Maybe it’s time to recreate the sights of warmer days inside with houseplants! Placed in a sunny window, some plants will continue blooming all winter long, making you feel happier. Houseplants also provide health benefits as they produce oxygen, release moisture into that dry winter air, and improve air quality. Add a few herb plants and even cooking will take on new life. Whether you add just one plant or create an indoor garden, today’s the perfect day to get started.

Nobody Hugs a Cactus

By Carter Goodrich

 

Hank, a little cactus, sat in his window and looked out with pleasure on the “empty…hot, dry, peaceful, and quiet” desert. Sometimes, though, visitors came by—like Rosie the Tumbleweed, who cheerfully greeted Hank and commented on the beautiful day. “Hank ignored her. He just wanted to be left alone.” Hank was happy when Rosie passed by without stopping.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-nobody-hugs-a-cactus-window

Copyright Carter Goodrich, 2019, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

But then a tortoise ambled by to say hello. Hank shouted for him to get off his property. As he was yelling a jackrabbit bounded by. “‘Hiya, Prickles,’ she shouted,” and Hank turned his fury on her. It wasn’t long before a coyote appeared. Hank shooed him away, but not before the coyote commented, “‘You are as prickly on the inside as you are on the outside.’”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-nobody-hugs-a-cactus-rosie

Copyright Carter Goodrich, 2019, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

When a passing cowboy was told to get off the grass, he countered that there was no grass and added that it seemed “‘somebody needed a hug. Too bad nobody hugs a cactus,’” he added. A lizard on the wall was quickly dispatched with a warning that Hank did not want a hug. That was just fine with the lizard, who didn’t want to give him one anyway.

By now, nighttime had fallen, and an owl landed on the roof of Hank’s house. Hank gazed at the owl, and the owl gazed back. Begrudgingly, Hank offered to give the owl a hug. But the owl flew off, and “for the first time, Hank began feeling a little lonely.” The next morning, Hank felt a little sad and had begun reconsidering that hug.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-nobody-hugs-a-cactus-jackrabbit

Copyright Carter Goodrich, 2019, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Just then the wind picked up, and a Styrofoam cup flying by stuck to Hank’s face. Rosie tumbled by and knocked it off before rolling on. Hank thought about Rosie’s kindness and felt bad about all the times he’d been mean to her. He decided he wanted to make amends. Over several days he grew a beautiful flower, and when Rosie passed by again, he called out and offered it to her with a big smile. “Rosie was so surprised, she jumped up and gave Hank a big hug. It felt so nice Hank didn’t want to let go.” Which was a good thing, because they were stuck together. But they don’t mind; they like being stuck together better than being alone.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-nobody-hugs-a-cactus-owl

Copyright Carter Goodrich, 2019, courtesy of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Well-known for his talent for creating charming characters who steal your heart, Carter Goodrich takes on the cantankerous among us—or those cranky days—and shows that kindness does soften even the prickliest of shields. Carter’s diminutive grouch may be discourteous but he’s also adorable, hinting at the softie that lies below the prickles and turning those dissuasive phrases hurled at his neighbors into lines that will elicit giggles from kids and adults. Carter’s thin-limbed and elongated jackrabbit and cowboy are also stylishly humorous. The tortoise that sits in front of Hank’s house hiding in his shell throughout the story serves dual purposes, showing how rejection makes others feel while also demonstrating what it looks like to be truly isolated and alone. Hank’s slow change of heart rings true and the act of selflessness that brings him and Rosie together makes for another funny scene and a satisfying ending.

A story that is sure to be embraced for crabby days and cheerful days, Nobody Hugs a Cactus would be a favorite on home, classroom, and public library bookshelves.

Ages 4 – 8

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | ISBN 978-1534400900

To learn more about Carter Goodrich and his books, film work, and art, visit his website.

Houseplant Appreciation Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-flip-flop-craft

Flip-Flop Plant Holder

 

Flip-flops aren’t only for your feet—or for summer! With this easy craft you can make a whimsical way to hang succulents and other light plants on walls or even windows!

Supplies

  • Child’s flip-flops with elastic heel straps
  • Buttons or charms
  • Small plastic solid-bottom pot
  • Small plant
  • Dirt
  • Hot glue gun
  • Heavy duty mounting strips
  • Small shovel or spoon

Directions

  1. Place the flip-flop toe down on your work surface. With the hot glue gun, attach the buttons to the plastic toe straps of the flip-flops.
  2. Add dirt to the pot
  3. Add plant to the pot
  4. Slip the pot into the elastic strap and gently push down so it is also supported by the plastic toe straps
  5. To hang, use appropriate-weight mountable strips.
  6. To make an interesting and attractive arrangement, use various sizes of flip-flops

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

September 6 – Read a Book Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-we-forgot-brock

About the Holiday

No, I didn’t forget what holiday it is today—the day is I Forgot Day! Today is the day to make up for all those missed opportunities and make amends for forgetting special events. Of course it may also be the perfect day to trot out that most-used excuse for not doing something—and get away with it! One thing you should not forget is to read today’s book!

We Forgot Brock!

By Carter Goodrich

 

Phillip and Brock are best friends. They have a wonderful time goofing around together, but other people just can’t understand. They call Brock Phillip’s “imaginary friend.” As if!… For example, at dinner when Phillip says Brock wants seconds, Phillip’s mom only pretends to put food on Brock’s plate, and often Phillip’s dad almost backs over Brock’s motorcycle in the driveway. Philip’s parents also just don’t see how funny Brock can be.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-interior-art-dinner

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, 2015, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

One evening the whole family goes to the Big Fair. “‘Brock wants us to ride the Brain Shaker!’” says Phillip. But his parents won’t listen. “‘Tell Brock the Brain Shaker is a big kids’ ride,’” his dad says. At the fair Phillip and Brock ride the merry-go-round, the bumper cars, and the Tilt-A-Whirl. Phillip has cotton candy, but there are no beans and spaghetti snacks for Brock. Finally, Phillip begins to feel sleepy. But Brock? He’s riding the Brain Shaker!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-we-forgot-brock-merry-go-round

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, 2015, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

As the car pulls into the driveway, Phillip wakes up. “‘Where’s Brock?!’” he yells. Phillip runs into the house. No Brock. “‘We forgot Brock!’” Phillip sobs. “‘We Forgot Brock!’” Back at the fair Brock searches for Phillip from atop the Ferris wheel. Suddenly, a little girl asks him if he is okay. When Brock tells her he’s lost, she invites him to come home with her and her friend Princess Sparkle Dust.

Being at home with Anne and Princess Sparkle Dust is okay, but Brock misses Phillip. To cheer him up Anne and the Princess do magic tricks, and they all play games and tell each other stories. Meanwhile, Phillip is looking all over the neighborhood for Brock, but he’s nowhere to be found.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-interior-art-car

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, 2015, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Both Brock and Phillip have almost given up hope of reuniting when… “‘BROCK!!!’” Phillip bumps into his friend on the street. Brock introduces Phillip to Anne and Princess Sparkle Dust and they all become fast friends. From then on “they spent all their time goofing around together. And everything was even better than before.”

Carter Goodrich’s story of friendship and imagination bursts with charm and heart and will enchant both kids and adults. Written in a conversational manner, Goodrich immediately engages with a child’s perspective while offering plenty for adults to appreciate in his adorable and hilarious illustrations. Brock, depicted as a black-and-white crayon drawing, is Phillip’s foil—tall, muscular, a little mysterious, a little fierce—while incorporating a child’s sweetness and silliness. Princess Sparkle Dust is similarly drawn in purple and white, complete with a heart-shaped face and a crown.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-we-forgot-brock-princess

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, 2015, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

 

Phillip, sporting a Superman costume and red cowboy boots, and Anne, wearing an angel dress complete with wings, everywhere they go are the embodiments of unselfconscious fantasy. Phillip’s parents share amused-but-loving glances even as they accept their son’s imaginary friend. Adults may laugh out loud at the illustration of Phillip rolling on the floor laughing at Brock’s funny antics while his parents watch the television news with a Keith Morrison look-alike anchorman. The softly lit and welcoming home environments as well as the vibrant, glowing Big Fair are everything a kid would dream them to be.

We Forgot Brock! is a book that will be remembered and asked for again and again, and is a must addition to any child’s library.

Ages 4 – 8

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015 | ISBN 978-1442480902

Visit Carter Goodrich’s Website to view a gallery of his work for other picture books and movies, such as Ratatouille, Despicable Me, and Brave, as well as cover art for “The New Yorker” and other publications.

Read a Book Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-dog-bookmark

 

Cute Puppy Bookmark

 

When you want to save your place or remember a favorite picture, it’s fun to have a friend to come back to. With this printable Cute Puppy Bookmark you’ll always have a 

July 2 – I Forgot Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-we-forgot-brock

About the Holiday

No, I didn’t forget what holiday it is today—the day is I Forgot Day! Today is the day to make up for all those missed opportunities and make amends for forgetting special events. Of course it may also be the perfect day to trot out that most-used excuse for not doing something—and get away with it! One thing you should not forget is to read today’s book!

We Forgot Brock!

By Carter Goodrich

 

Phillip and Brock are best friends. They have a wonderful time goofing around together, but other people just can’t understand. They call Brock Phillip’s “imaginary friend.” As if!… For example, at dinner when Phillip says Brock wants seconds, Phillip’s mom only pretends to put food on Brock’s plate, and often Phillip’s dad almost backs over Brock’s motorcycle in the driveway. Philip’s parents also just don’t see how funny Brock can be.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-interior-art-dinner

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

One evening the whole family goes to the Big Fair. “‘Brock wants us to ride the Brain Shaker!’” says Phillip. But his parents won’t listen. “‘Tell Brock the Brain Shaker is a big kids’ ride,’” his dad says. At the fair Phillip and Brock ride the merry-go-round, the bumper cars, and the Tilt-A-Whirl. Phillip has cotton candy, but there are no beans and spaghetti snacks for Brock. Finally, Phillip begins to feel sleepy. But Brock? He’s riding the Brain Shaker!

As the car pulls into the driveway, Phillip wakes up. “‘Where’s Brock?!’” he yells. Phillip runs into the house. No Brock. “‘We forgot Brock!’” Phillip sobs. “‘We Forgot Brock!’” Back at the fair Brock searches for Phillip from atop the Ferris wheel. Suddenly, a little girl asks him if he is okay. When Brock tells her he’s lost, she invites him to come home with her and her friend Princess Sparkle Dust.

Being at home with Anne and Princess Sparkle Dust is okay, but Brock misses Phillip. To cheer him up Anne and the Princess do magic tricks, and they all play games and tell each other stories. Meanwhile, Phillip is looking all over the neighborhood for Brock, but he’s nowhere to be found.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-interior-art-car

Image copyright Carter Goodrich, courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Both Brock and Phillip have almost given up hope of reuniting when… “‘BROCK!!!’” Phillip bumps into his friend on the street. Brock introduces Phillip to Anne and Princess Sparkle Dust and they all become fast friends. From then on “they spent all their time goofing around together. And everything was even better than before.”

Carter Goodrich’s story of friendship and imagination bursts with charm and heart and will enchant both kids and adults. Written in a conversational manner, Goodrich immediately engages with a child’s perspective while offering plenty for adults to appreciate in his adorable and hilarious illustrations. Brock, depicted as a black-and-white crayon drawing, is Phillip’s foil—tall, muscular, a little mysterious, a little fierce—while incorporating a child’s sweetness and silliness. Princess Sparkle Dust is similarly drawn in purple and white, complete with a heart-shaped face and a crown.

Phillip, sporting a Superman costume and red cowboy boots, and Anne, wearing an angel dress complete with wings, everywhere they go are the embodiments of unselfconscious fantasy. Phillip’s parents share amused-but-loving glances even as they accept their son’s imaginary friend. Adults may laugh out loud at the illustration of Phillip rolling on the floor laughing at Brock’s funny antics while his parents watch the television news with a Keith Morrison look-alike anchorman. The softly lit and welcoming home environments as well as the vibrant, glowing Big Fair are everything a kid would dream them to be.

We Forgot Brock! is a book that will be remembered and asked for again and again, and is a must addition to any child’s library.

Ages 4 – 8

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015 | ISBN 978-1442480902

Visit Carter Goodrich’s Website to view a gallery of his work for other picture books and movies, such as Ratatouille, Despicable Me, and Brave, as well as cover art for “The New Yorker” and other publications.

I Forgot Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-great-idea-drawing-page

Great Idea! Drawing Page

 

Great ideas can come and go in an instant! Use this drawing page to sketch out your creative brain blasts—whether they are imaginative friends, ingenious inventions, or cool scenes—before you forget them! Here’s your printable Great Idea! Drawing Page.