October 22 – National Nut Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-cover

Today we celebrate cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, and all the other nuts that flavor dishes and provide healthy snacks. Nuts are nutritious, providing a good source of vitamins, protein, fiber, and important minerals. Eating nuts on a regular basis can also help keep your heart healthy. So, crack open some nuts today and have a feast!

I received a copy of The Squirrels Who Squabbled from Scholastic, Inc. for review consideration. All opinions are my own. I’m happy to be teaming with Scholastic, Inc. in a giveaway of the book. See details below.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled

Written by Rachel Bright | Illustrated by Jim Field

 

In the middle of autumn, “a flighty young squirrel, / Who everyone knew as / ‘Spontaneous Cyril’” discovered he hadn’t prepared for the winter. In fact, “he hadn’t a mouthful of food ANYWHERE.” Then he spied a closed pinecone in a tree across the way. But as Cyril planned how to nab this very last treat, “‘Plan-Ahead Bruce’ had his sights on the prize.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-swinging

Image copyright Jim Field, 2019, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2019. Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

Although Bruce had amassed a tower of nuts, seeds, berries, and mushrooms to get him through the winter, he decided he must have that last pinecone too. So while Cyril took off running up the tree trunk on one side, Bruce scrambled up around the other side. Their scrabbling shook the tree and dislodged the pinecone from its nook. “Both squirrels gave chase at a lightning pace. / This was the start of a wild, nutty race.” They called out: “it’s mine!”. . . “No, it’s not!” . . . “Yes, it is!” and other such talk as they rushed after the pinecone.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-pinecone

Image copyright Jim Field, 2019, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2019. Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

“It BOINGED over bushes. . . and flew through the air. / It BINGED on the nose of a slumbering bear! / It BOUNCED over boulders then came to a . . . / STOP.” There, high on a cliff, it balanced a moment then fell into the rushing river below. Bruce and Cyril dived in after it. Each were thiiiis close to grabbing it when a bird nab it instead and flew far away. Meanwhile, the logs they were rafting on drifted over a waterfall. As they plunged did they think: “They’d squandered their chances / to team up and share. / Would their nutty young homes / simply end in despair?”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-cliff

Image copyright Jim Field, 2019, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2019. Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

As they passed by a tree, Cyril clung to a branch and reached out his hand to rescue Bruce. Soaked and exhausted they crawled to dry land. “Then Bruce looked at Cyril and… exploded in giggles!” He thought they’d been silly and that he was greedy to boot. He vowed that he’d change and that their skirmish would cease. He said, “‘We should celebrate—seeing / we’re both in one piece!’” And Bruce kept his word. From then on he shared his bounty with Cyril and all the animals of the forest because he’d learned that sharing with friends was the best thing of all.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-waterfall

Image copyright Jim Field, 2019, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2019. Courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

Kids will eat up Rachel Bright’s funny friendship story that bounces along at the pace of a flick of a squirrel’s tail. Her set-up to the action of the story is nifty with humorous and telling nicknames for the two squirrels and spreads that deftly depict their opposing lifestyle philosophies. Cyril and Bruce’s race through the forest, plunge over the waterfall, and daring rescue provide plenty of material for dramatic readings of Bright’s spectacular rhymes and rhythm. Her delectable vocabulary serves up comical squabbles, gripping suspense, and a heartwarming ending. Readers will eagerly join in on the rousing onomatopoeic rhymes. Bright’s message of camaraderie and what’s most important in life is always welcome and is well delivered. The story offers many opportunities for creative extension ideas.

Jim Field’s striking images of the forest in autumn—rendered in gold, red, orange and green with touches of rose—are fresh and peaceful. The sun-dappled vistas soon become an ironic counterbalance for the hilarious antics of Cyril and Bruce. The two rakish squirrels leap and bound through the forest, their speed portrayed with blurred backgrounds and their wrangling for the last pinecone pictured in tangled and grasping arms and legs. Cyril and Bruce’s  plummet over the waterfall is a vertical showstopper as is an illustration of the black bear among the birch trees. Get ready for repeat readings of the page where the pinecone ricochets from tree to rocks to the bear’s nose and lots of giggles when Bruce and Cyril make up. The final two-page spread of Bruce and Cyril’s feast shows friendship at its best.

Without a doubt, The Squirrels Who Squabbled is a book to add to home, classroom, and school libraries. It will be an often-asked-for favorite for story times all year ‘round.

Ages 3 – 7

Scholastic Inc., 2019 | ISBN 978-1338538038

Discover more about Rachel Bright and her books on her website.

To learn more about Jim Field, his books, and his art, visit his website.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled Giveaway

I’m happy to be partnering with Scholastic, Inc. in a giveaway of:

  • One (1) copy of The Squirrels Who Squabbled, written by Rachel Bright | illustrated by Jim Field

There are two ways to be entered to win!

  • Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet one of my giveaway tweets.
  • Leave a comment on this post below 
  • Bonus: Reply with your favorite forest animal for extra entry!

This giveaway is open from October 22 through October 26 and ends at 8:00 p.m. EST.

A winner will be chosen on October 27.

Giveaways open to US and Canadian addresses only | Prizing provided by Scholastic, Inc.

National Nut Day Activity

CPB - Bird Feeder I (2)

Pinecone Bird feeder

 

Making a pinecone bird feeder is a quick, fun way to nourish your backyard friends! Here are some simple directions for making your own!

Supplies

  • Large pinecone
  • Vegetable shortening
  • Birdseed
  • String
  • Knife or popsicle stick
  • Spoon
  • 2 Bowls

Directions

  1. Tie a length of string around one of the top layers of pinecone leaves and knot it to make a loop for hanging.
  2. Spoon about 1/3 cup of vegetable shorting into a bowl
  3. With the knife spread the shortening over the leaves of the pinecone, covering it completely.
  4. Pour birdseed into a bowl
  5. Roll the pinecone in the bowl of birdseed, patting seed into the crevices and around the sides.
  6. Hang your pinecone bird feeder on a branch or pole and watch the birds enjoy it!

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-squirrels-who-squabbled-cover

You can find The Squirrels Who Squabbled at these booksellers

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

Picture Book Review

 

August 10 – World Lion Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-lion-inside-lion-cover-blue

About the Holiday

Today’s holiday was established by Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest sanctuary dedicated to Big Cats, to raise awareness of the dwindling number of lions and promote action to save them. Because of hunting, habitat destruction, and other environmental and manmade dangers, the lion has been placed on the endangered species list. To observe World Lion Day, visit a preserve or sanctuary if you live near one or read up on lions and consider donating to their protection.

The Lion Inside

Written by Rachel Bright | Illustrated by Jim Field

 

“In a dry, dusty place where / the sand sparkled gold, / Stood a mighty flat rock / all craggy and old.” Way down below in a chink in the rock a little brown mouse lived in the tiniest house. He was so small and meek that no one noticed him—Ever. The other animals stepped on him and sat on him and forgot all about him when they got together.

On top of the rock sat a fierce lion. He had very sharp teeth and a very loud roar that made sure everyone knew how important he was. “Yes, ALL were impressed / by this mighty King Cat. / ‘If only,’ thought mouse, / ‘I could be more like that.’” Then one night it hit him—he should have his own roar. “With a little more Grrrr / and a little less meek” he’d make lots of friends, the mouse thought.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-lion-inside-lion-mouse-house

Image copyright Jim Field, 2015, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2015. Courtesy of Scholastic.

The mouse determined right then to learn how to roar, but he knew that the only one who could teach him might gobble him up. He decided it was time to be brave. As he began his long climb to the top of the rock, he was nervous and scared, but he knew that “if you want things to change, / you first have to change you.” When he got to the top. he found the lion sleeping. Standing nose-to-nose with the big cat, he squeaked out his request. The lion woke up, took a long look, and then “opened his mouth and let out an Eeeeak!” The lion shook with fear and begged the mouse not to hurt him.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-lion-inside-lion-mouse-changes

Image copyright Jim Field, 2015, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2015. Courtesy of Scholastic.

The mouse told the lion he didn’t need to be scared. They could work together and have some fun. In that moment the mouse found his true voice. He discovered he didn’t need to roar or shout to be heard. And the lion learned that it was okay to be friends with the other animals. Now the mouse and the lion share the big rock, and when the lion roars it’s “with laughter instead.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-the-lion-inside-lion-nose-to-nose

Image copyright Jim Field, 2105, text copyright Rachel Bright, 2015. Courtesy of Scholastic.

Rachel Bright’s jaunty rhyming story about embracing your true nature is sure to enchant kids who are learning to find their place within various groups. As the mouse and the lion discover, size and volumn don’t define importance or influence. Kindness, friendship, and self-confidence are what matter most. Sprinkled with squeaks, grrrrs, gulps, and roars, the story will have little ones giggling and reading along.

Jim Field’s tiny mouse with elephantine ears is adorable and sweetly determined as he decides to bravely confront the lion. Young readers will laugh as the once strutting and roaring lion is left quivering at the sight of the mouse. Kids will also enjoy pointing out that the rock the mouse and lion share is itself shaped like a lion. Field’s palette of golds and browns reflects the sun-drenched savannah while the mouse’s house, painted in vibrant red and yellow, hints at the individualistic creature who lives inside.

The Lion Inside is a great book to share within a classroom at the beginning of the year or anytime. It also makes a fine addition to home bookshelves to remind kids to celebrate what they’re made of.

Ages 3 – 6

Scholastic, 2016 | ISBN 978-0545873505

View a gallery of books and artwork by Rachel Bright on her website!

World Lion Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-spoon-lion-craft

Spoon Lion Puppet 

 

With a round, wooden spoon, you can make a ROARingly cute lion puppet or decoration!

Supplies

  • Wooden mixing spoon
  • Yellow Fleece
  • Brown felt
  • Colorful Fleece or felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Light brown marker
  • Dark brown marker
  • Hot glue gun or super glue

CPB - Spoon Lion with stuff

Directions

To make the lion’s face

  1. Draw a nose, mouth, and eyes on the front/bowl of the spoon

To make the mane

  1. Measure the rim of the spoon from one side of the handle to the other
  2. Cut a strip of yellow fleece as long as rim measurement and 4 inches wide
  3. Fold the piece of fleece in half long-ways
  4. Glue the open edges of the fleece together
  5. Along the folded side cut a fringe, leaving the loops intact

To make the ears

  1. Cut round ears from the brown felt.

Assembling the lion

  1. Glue the ears to the back of the spoon
  2. Glue the mane to the back of the spoon

To make the bow

  1. Cut a 3-inch x 1 ½-inch piece of colorful fleece or felt
  2. Cut a long thin strip of fleece or felt
  3. Pinch the bow in the middle and tie with the longer piece of cloth. Trim as necessary
  4. Glue the bow to the handle

To make the tail

  1. Cut three thin 4-inch-long strips of yellow fleece
  2. With fabric glue, glue the tops of the strips together
  3. Braid the strips
  4. At the bottom, glue the strips together, leaving the ends free
  5. Fold the top of the tail and push it into the hole in the handle of the spoon

Picture Book Review

September 13 – Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-there's-a-lion-in-my-cornflakes-cover

About the Holiday

Today’s holiday gives kids an opportunity to get into the kitchen and help prepare meals—or perhaps create the whole meal themselves. By being involved, kids learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits. Planning menus, shopping for ingredients, preparing the food, and presenting it can be a fun family activity and may inspire some kids to be regular participants in the kitchen. Today, invite your child or children to take some time out from their schedule to bake up some terrific treats!

There’s a Lion in my Cornflakes

Written by Michelle Robinson | Illustrated by Jim Field

 

Who could resist clipping coupons to receive a free lion? Nobody, that’s who! I mean, it would be so cool, right? A lion to take on walks, ride to school, and open tin cans—awesome! So a little boy and his brother Dan take a year’s worth of their allowance, make “a million” trips to the grocery store, and start cutting.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-there's-a-lion-in-my-cornflakes-contest

Image copyright Jim Field, courtesy of jimfield.co.uk

But all those boxes of cereal squeeze out the other food on the pantry shelves, so Mom says the boys have to eat cornflakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it’s gone—and, oh yeah, they don’t get an allowance until then either. It’s all worth it, though, because they’re going to get a real live lion.

There’s just one hitch—every other kid in town has the same idea, and while the brothers wait for their lion to arrive, everyone else is out playing with their new pet. Finally, the delivery truck pulls up in front of the house, and out walks…a grizzly bear?! That’s not right, and it’s even delivered to the wrong house. Well, the bear’s not too crazy about the situation either, and shows it. The kids and the bear have to clean up the neighbor’s yard and apologize.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-there's-a-lion-in-my-cornflakes-pantry

Image copyright Jim Field, courtesy of jimfield.co.uk

A letter of complaint to the cereal company brings resolution in the form of…a crocodile?! The crocodile spends all its time in the bathroom, and the grizzly bear is still causing havoc. Dad calls the cereal company and to make up their mistake they send…a gorilla?! The gorilla stomps on Dad’s car and rips the door off, but the whole crew piles in so Dad can “give those cereal people a piece of my mind.”

The cereal people sure are sorry for the mix-up. They make amends by letting the family keep the grizzly bear, the crocodile, and the gorilla, AND the company gives them…a lifetime’s supply of cornflakes! But really, what good are they? The boys can’t walk them or ride them or even open cans with them.

You know what, though? Mom’s discovered the crocodile has some pretty sharp, can-opening chompers. The grizzly bear can walk forever and even wear a fanny pack. And the gorilla makes a very cool chauffeur. Why bother having a lion when everyone else has one?

But what are those cereal people offering now—a free tiger?! Hmmm….

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-there's-a-lion-in-my-cornflakes-cutting-coupons

Image copyright Jim Field, courtesy of jimfield.co.uk

Michelle Robinson has taken the lure of free stuff to its ridiculous best.With comical flair she aptly portrays the consternation on all sides, from the earnest kids to the flummoxed parents, that grounds this story in the recognizable while also providing hilarious suspense. The silly, over-the-top scenario of There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes serves up the benefits of individuality and drawbacks of consumerism that will have kids laughing at every page and escalation of the brothers’ problem.

Jim Field’s bold, vibrant illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this boisterous tale. The boxes of cornflakes and clipped coupons are piled high, the boys are excited, nonplussed, shocked, and finally accepting as day after day brings new and unexpected results of their actions, and the parents are perfectly perplexed. Kids will love the funny details on every page that highlight the story.

Ages 3 – 7

Bloomsbury Children’s, 2015 | ISBN 978-0802738363

There are books, games, and coloring pages galore on Michelle Robinson‘s website! 

Discover the vast array of work by Jim Field on his website!

While I take some personal days over the next couple of weeks, I am re-blogging some earlier posts with updated interior art and links.

There’s a Book Trailer in this Review!

Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-wooden-spoon-lion-craft

Spoon Lion Puppet

 

Spoons are just the thing for eating cereal! But with this craft you can make a ROARingly cute lion puppet!

Supplies

  • Wooden mixing spoon
  • Yellow Fleece
  • Brown felt
  • Colorful Fleece or felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Light brown marker
  • Dark brown marker
  • Hot glue gun or super glue

CPB - Spoon Lion with stuff

Directions

To make the lion’s face

  1. Draw a nose, mouth, and eyes on the front/bowl of the spoon

To make the mane

  1. Measure the rim of the spoon from one side of the handle to the other
  2. Cut a strip of yellow fleece as long as rim measurement and 4 inches wide
  3. Fold the piece of fleece in half long-ways
  4. Glue the open edges of the fleece together
  5. Along the folded side cut a fringe, leaving the loops intact

To make the ears

  1. Cut round ears from the brown felt.

Assembling the lion

  1. Glue the ears to the back of the spoon
  2. Glue the mane to the back of the spoon

To make the bow

  1. Cut a 3-inch x 1 ½-inch piece of colorful fleece or felt
  2. Cut a long thin strip of fleece or felt
  3. Pinch the bow in the middle and tie with the longer piece of cloth. Trim as necessary
  4. Glue the bow to the handle

To make the tail

  1. Cut three thin 4-inch-long strips of yellow fleece
  2. With fabric glue, glue the tops of the strips together
  3. Braid the strips
  4. At the bottom, glue the strips together, leaving the ends free
  5. Fold the top of the tail and push it into the hole in the handle of the spoon

Picture Book Review

March 7 – National Cereal Day

There's a Lion in My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson and Jim Field picture book review

About the Holiday

While grabbing a quick bowl of cereal before heading out to school or work is the way most of us eat breakfast, heartier fare like eggs, bacon, or sausage was the choice of our grandparents and great-grandparents. Breakfast in a bowl actually began with an experiment that went wrong…or was it right?

John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will Keith were experimenting with boiled wheat in 1877 when they left some out overnight. In the morning the wheat was stale. The brothers decided to roll it out instead of throwing it away, and they found that each wheat berry created a flake. Boiled corn worked the same way, and from this process the Kellogg brothers invented Corn Flakes, the first dry cereal!

Today we celebrate all the varieties of your favorite cereal—whether it’s made of corn, wheat, bran, rice, or a mixture of flakes, fruit, and nuts. So pour yourself a big bowlful and enjoy!

There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes

Written by Michelle Robinson | Illustrated by Jim Field

 

Who could resist clipping cereal box coupons to receive a free lion? Nobody, that’s who! I mean, it would be so cool, right? A lion to take on walks, ride to school, and open tin cans—awesome! So a boy and his brother, Dan, take a year’s worth of their allowance, make “a million” trips to the grocery store, and start cutting.

But all those boxes of cereal squeeze out the other food on the pantry shelves, so Mom says the boys have to eat cornflakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until it’s gone—and, oh yeah, they don’t get an allowance until then either. It’s all worth it, though, because they’re going to get a real live lion.

There’s just one hitch—every other kid in town has the same idea, and while the brothers wait for their lion to arrive, everyone else is out playing with their new pet. Finally, the delivery truck pulls up in front of the house, and out walks…a grizzly bear?! That’s not right, and it’s even delivered to the wrong house. Well, the bear’s not too crazy about the situation either, and shows it. The kids and the bear have to clean up the neighbor’s yard and apologize.

A letter of complaint to the cereal company brings resolution in the form of…a crocodile?! The crocodile spends all its time in the bathroom, and the grizzly bear is still causing havoc. Dad calls the cereal company and to make up their mistake they send…a gorilla?! The gorilla stomps on Dad’s car and rips the door off. Well Dad’s had enough!  The whole crew piles into the car so Dad can “give those cereal people a piece of my mind.”

The cereal people sure are sorry for the mix-up. They make amends by letting the family keep the grizzly bear, the crocodile, and the gorilla, AND the company gives them…a lifetime’s supply of cornflakes! But really, what good are all those boxes? The boys can’t walk them or ride them or even open cans with them.

You know what, though? Mom’s discovered the crocodile has some pretty sharp, can-opening chompers. The grizzly bear can walk forever and even wear a fanny pack. And the gorilla makes a very cool chauffeur. Why bother having a lion when everyone else has one?

Besides, what are the cereal people offering now—a free tiger?! Hmmm….

Michelle Robinson has taken the lure of free stuff to its ridiculous best. There’s a Lion in My Cornflakes serves up the benefits of individuality and drawbacks of consumerism in a silly, over-the-top scenario that will have kids laughing at every page and escalation of the brother’s problem.

Jim Field’s bold, vibrant illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to this boisterous tale. As the boxes of cornflakes and clipped coupons pile higher and higher and the free animals cause more mayhem, the boys’ expressions go from excited to nonplussed to shocked and finally  to acceptance as day after day brings new and unexpected results of their actions. Kids will love the funny details on every page that highlight the story.

Ages 3 – 7

Bloomsbury Children’s, 2015 | ISBN 978-0802738363

National Cereal Day Activity

CPB - Spoon Lion

Spoon Lion Puppet

 

Spoons are just the thing for eating cereal! But with this craft you can make a ROARingly cute lion puppet!

Supplies

  • Wooden mixing spoon
  • Yellow Fleece
  • Brown felt
  • Colorful Fleece or felt
  • Fabric glue
  • Light brown marker
  • Dark brown marker
  • Hot glue gun or super glue
  • Scissors

CPB - Spoon Lion with stuff

Directions

To make the lion’s face

  1. Draw a nose, mouth, and eyes on the front/bowl of the spoon

To make the mane

  1. Measure the rim of the spoon from one side of the handle to the other
  2. Cut a strip of yellow fleece as long as rim measurement and 4 inches wide
  3. Fold the piece of fleece in half long-ways
  4. Glue the open edges of the fleece together
  5. Along the folded side cut a fringe, leaving the loops intact

To make the ears

  1. Cut round ears from the brown felt

To make the bow

  1. Cut a 3-inch x 1 ½-inch piece of colorful fleece or felt
  2. Cut a long thin strip of fleece or felt
  3. Pinch the bow in the middle and tie with the longer piece of cloth. Trim as necessary

To make the tail

  1. Cut three thin 4-inch-long strips of yellow fleece
  2. With fabric glue, glue the tops of the strips together
  3. Braid the strips
  4. At the bottom, glue the strips together, leaving the ends free

To assemble the lion

  1. Glue the ears to the back of the spoon
  2. Glue the mane to the back of the spoon
  3. Glue the bow to the handle
  4. Fold the top of the tail and push it into the hole in the handle of the spoon