June 17 – It’s Great Outdoors Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-cover

About the Holiday

This month-long holiday encourages people to get outside and explore. There’s so much to see, from the delicate details of a flower to the wonders of the big open sky. If time permits, take a walk alone, with your kids, or with friends and really look at what you are passing. If you’re walking with children, stop to examine and talk about the marvels you see. Sometimes the most familiar sights turn out to be the most surprising!

Owl Sees Owl

Written by Laura Godwin | Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

 

An adorable baby owl, wide awake in the full moonlight while its family sleeps, gazes out from its nest in a tree at the surrounding forest. The night is filled with “Home / Mama / Brother / Sister.” The little owl ventures out onto a sturdy limb. It knows “Tree / Nest / Hop / Look.” From its perch with a “Jump / Flutter / Flap / Fly,” the owlet soars through the deep blue sky, its white face shining like the stars. It floats over autumn leaves while in the “Moon / Beam / Eyes / Gleam.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-meets-owl-in-the-nest-with-words

Image copyright Rob Dunlavey, 2016. Courtesy of robd.com

Down below other nocturnal animals have come out to play. On the farm the barn is quiet and dark, but someone is stirring in the house. The baby owl passes them by with a “Soar / Glide / Swoop / Swoosh.” Something glistens in the midst of the forest, and the owl descends to investigate. “Owl… / Sees / Owl” in the rippled rings of the small pond.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-flying-over-farm

Image copyright Rob Dunlavey, 2016. Courtesy of robd.com

After a moment the owlet takes off with a quick “Swoosh / Swoop / Glide / Soar,” reversing its nighttime flight. Once more the curious baby passes over the star- and moonlit field, feeling bolder: “Scamper / Mice / Twinkle / Stars.” Deer perk up their ears and stare alert to the nearly silent woosh of the owl’s wings above. “Yellow / Red / Leaves / Fall as the owl zooms with a “Fly / Flap / Flutter / Jump toward “Sister / Brother / Mama / Home,” where Mama waits wide awake for her little one’s return.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-little-owl

Image copyright Rob Dunlavey, 2016. Courtesy of robd.com

Inspired by reverso poetry, Laura Godwin’s lovely Owl Sees Owl is a language- and emotionally rich story to share with young children. With only four words per two-page spread, Godwin tells the detailed adventure of an inquisitive baby owl who leaves home for a nighttime caper through woods and over farmland to a pond where it sees itself reflected in the mirror-like surface. In a minute the owl is back in the air for the trip home, reversing its path and also the order of the words. Godwin’s dynamic, lyrical words are joyful to read and allow for readers to linger over each page and talk about what they see, what the little owl is doing, and even whether a sentence such as “Fall / Leaves / Red / Yellow” is active or descriptive. The reverse nature of the story brings the baby owl’s adventure to a sweet, satisfying conclusion that children will love.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-fall-leaves

Image copyright Rob Dunlavey, 2016. Courtesy of robd.com

Rob Dunlavey’s illustrations transfer the most beautiful clear, moonlit night to the page, creating a perfect quiet time or bedtime book for young children. The lush, dark woods rendered in deep olives, rusts, browns, grays, and blacks as well as the indigo sky highlight the gleaming moon, twinkling stars, and white feathers of the owl. In one spread deer appear in silhouette in the background as mice scamper over pumpkins in the foreground; in another fiery red, yellow, and orange autumn leaves make a spectacular backdrop to the owl’s outstretched wings. The central spread in which the owl sees its own reflection offers readers much to talk about. Is the owl startled? Wondering? Happy? Is the owlet going home for comfort or to tell of its amazing discovery? Kids will love lingering over each page to think and talk about all that is there.

Owl Sees Owl makes a wonderful gift for young children or children who love poetry and art. The book would be a welcome and often read addition to home libraries.

Ages 2 – 7

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-0553497823

To see a gallery of illustration work for picture books, nature sketches, and other artwork by Rob Dunlavey, visit his website!

Great Outdoors Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-cattails

Creative Cattails

 

Cattails are one of nature’s wonders! They’re sleek and sophisticated, soft and fuzzy! Here’s a simple craft for making cattails that can help you bring the look of the great outdoors inside!

Supplies

  • 6-inch by 5/8-inch craft stick
  • 3/16–inch by 12-inch dowel
  • Chunky brown yarn,  
  • Green origami paper, 8-inch square
  • Green craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Glue gun

Directions

To make the cattail:

  1. Paint the dowel green, let dry
  2. With the glue gun, attach the craft stick to the dowel, overlapping 1 inch, let dry
  3. Glue an end of the brown yarn to the bottom of craft stick where it overlaps the dowel
  4. Wind the yarn upward around the entire craft stick to the top. You will leave the 1/2 –inch curved part of the craft stick open.  Then reverse.
  5. Wind the yarn downward, going past the end of the craft stick about ½ inch to make the tapered end of the cattail
  6. Wind the yarn upward once more to the top
  7. When you reach the top, put glue on either side of the curved top of the craft stick and pull a little of the existing yarn onto the glued area, pinching it closed.
  8. Cut the end of the yarn from the skein and tuck the end into the glued top.

To add the leaf:

  1. Cut a thin triangle from one side of the origami paper, starting with a 1-inch base and angling to the top of the paper
  2. Glue the base of the triangle to the dowel about 1 ½ inches from the bottom
  3. Wind the paper upward around the dowel, leaving 5 inches unwound
  4. Glue the paper to the dowel, letting the 5-inch section stick up

Picture Book Review

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November 30 – It’s Picture Book Month

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-cover

About the Holiday

During the month of November we’ve celebrated picture books—those wonderful stories and works of art that open the world to children and adults in surprising and amazing ways. Creating home libraries for children as well as reading together every day is an important part of improving language development and literacy. The close bond formed between parents and other caregivers and children during quiet or boisterous reading times last a lifetime. If you have young children or even older kids who love the beauty of picture books, make every month Picture Book Month!

Owl Sees Owl

Written by Laura Godwin | Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

 

An adorable baby owl, wide awake in the full moonlight while its family sleeps, gazes out from its nest in a tree at the surrounding forest. The night is filled with “Home / Mama / Brother / Sister.” The little owl ventures out onto a sturdy limb. It knows “Tree / Nest / Hop / Look.” From its perch with a “Jump / Flutter / Flap / Fly” the owlet soars through the deep blue sky, its white face shining like the stars. It floats over autumn leaves while in the “Moon / Beam / Eyes / Gleam.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-flying-home-mama

Down below other nocturnal animals have come out to play. On the farm the barn is quiet and dark while someone is stirring in the house. The baby owl passes them by with a “Soar / Glide / Swoop / Swoosh.” Something glistens in the midst of the forest, and the owl descends to investigate. “Owl… / Sees / Owl” in the rippled rings of the small pond.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-flying-over-farm

Image copyright Laura Godwin, courtesy of Rob Dunlavey, robd.com

After a moment the owlet takes off with a quick “Swoosh / Swoop / Glide / Soar,” reversing its nighttime flight. Once more the curious baby passes over the star- and moonlit field, feeling bolder: “Scamper / Mice / Twinkle / Stars.” Deer perk up their ears and stare alert to the nearly silent woosh of the owl’s wings above. “Yellow / Red / Leaves / Fall as the owl zooms with a “Fly / Flap / Flutter / Jump toward “Sister / Brother / Mama / Home,” where Mama waits wide awake.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-eyes-gleam

Image copyright Laura Godwin, courtesy of Rob Dunlavey, robd.com

Inspired by reverso poetry, Laura Godwin’s lovely Owl Sees Owl is a language- and emotionally rich story to share with young children. With only four words per two-page spread, Godwin tells the detailed adventure of an inquisitive baby owl who leaves home for a nighttime caper through woods and over farmland to a pond where it sees itself reflected in the mirror-like surface. In a minute the owl is back in the air for the trip home, reversing its path and also the order of the words. Godwin’s dynamic, lyrical words are joyful to read and allow for readers to linger over each page and talk about what they see, what the little owl is doing, and even whether a sentence such as “Fall / Leaves / Red / Yellow” is active or descriptive. The reverse nature of the story brings the baby owl’s adventure to a sweet, satisfying conclusion that children will love.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-sees-owl-fall-leaves

Image copyright Laura Godwin, courtesy of Rob Dunlavey, robd.com

Rob Dunlavey’s illustrations transfer the most beautiful clear, moonlit night to the page, creating a perfect quiet time or bedtime book for young children. The lush, dark woods rendered in deep olives, rusts, browns, grays, and blacks as well as the indigo sky highlight the gleaming moon, twinkling stars, and white feathers of the owl. In one spread deer appear in silhouette in the background as mice scamper over pumpkins in the foreground; in another fiery red, yellow, and orange autumn leaves make a spectacular backdrop to the owl’s outstretched wings. The central spread in which the owl sees its own reflection offers readers much to talk about. Is the owl startled? Wondering? Happy? Is the owlet going home for comfort or to tell of its amazing discovery? Kids will love lingering over each page to think and talk about all that is there.

Owl Sees Owl makes a wonderful gift for young children or children who love poetry and art. The book would be a welcome and often read addition to home libraries.

Ages 2 – 7

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2016 | ISBN 978-0553497823

To see a gallery of illustration work for picture books, nature sketches, and other artwork by Rob Dunlavey, visit his website!

Picture Book Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-owl-coloring-page

Barn Owl Coloring Page

 

This little guy looks ready for an adventure! Grab your pencils or crayons, color this printable cute Barn Owl Coloring Page, and give him a background to start his journey!

Picture Book Review

May 4 – International Firefighters Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-this-is-the-firefighter

About the Holiday

International Firefighters’ Day was established to commemorate the dedication of firefighters to their communities and the sacrifices they make in dangerous situations to protect and rescue those they have pledged to help. It’s also a day in which current and past firefighters can be thanked for their contributions. If you know a professional or volunteer firefighter, let them know how much you appreciate their service. Today is also a good day to check your smoke detectors.

This is the Firefighter

Written by Laura Godwin | Illustrated by Julian Hector

 

“This is the firefighter. / These are his clothes. / This is his truck / And this is its hose.” With a lilting, catchy rhyme This Is the Firefighter takes children along as firefighters answer the bell at the station and rush to the scene of a fire. When the firefighters reach the burning building, flames are shooting from the fourth and fifth floor windows, and a crowd has assembled across the street.

The firefighters hurry up the stairs, knock down an apartment door with their ax, and rescue the people inside. With the building fully engulfed in flames, a worried couple appear at a window. But they needn’t be afraid; the firefighters know just what to do: “This is the ladder, / attached to the truck, / that reaches the lady / and man who are stuck.”

But there is one more rescue to be made. As the crowd and the news media watch nervously from below, a firefighter “climbs through the heat.” In a moment: “This is the rescue. / This is the cheer / that roars through the crowd / when the signal’s ‘All clear.’”

Out of the crush of people a little girl runs to hug her kitten, which is being carefully carried in the hands of the firefighter. Now that the fire is out and everyone is safe, a new light glimmers in the sky: “This is the smoke / as it drifts far away. / This is the glow / at the end of the day.”

Newly available as a board book, Laura Godwin’s look at a busy day in the life of firefighters will delight small children who are fascinated by the work of the men and women who protect and save lives under the most dangerous conditions. Godwin’s rhyming story contains just the right mix of reality and surprise to represent these heroes well for young children.

Julian Hector’s bright, detailed illustrations will satisfy children with a thirst for knowledge about everything connected to fire fighting. The fire station is clearly depicted. As the crew maintains the fire truck, kids can see the hoses, dials, and connectors that power the rig. When the alarm rings, the crew slides down the pole and rushes to put on their safety gear as their Dalmatian runs ahead. The scenes of the city and the burning building, along with worried faces of its residents and the onlookers on the street are particularly effective. Kids will also be alert to the secondary story of the little girl and her kitten that progresses from page to page and will cheer at its conclusion.

Young children will want to linger over these pages and hear the story again and again!

Ages 2 – 5

Disney-Hyperion, 2015 | ISBN 978-1484707333

International Firefighters Day Activity

 

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-fire-truck

Create a Soft Book, Page 4 – Fire Truck

 

Fire trucks are always fascinating with their hoses, ladders, and loud siren. Add a red rig to your book with this printable Fire Truck Template. See Sunday’s Post for how to make the book, the cover, and Page 1. Page 2 can be found here, and here’s Page 3!

Supplies

  • Printable Fire Truck Template
  • Red, yellow, black, white, and blue felt, fleece or foam
  • Adhesive felt or foam letters
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-firetruck

Directions

  1. Cut out the sections of the firetruck and doors from the red felt, fleece, or foam
  2. Cut out the windows and wheel centers from the white felt, fleece, or foam
  3. Cut out the sections of the ladder and the door handles from the yellow felt, fleece, or foam. Also cut out a background from the yellow felt, fleece, or foam, leaving a small rim around the edge
  4. Cut out the siren from the blue felt, fleece, or foam
  5. Cut out the tires from the black felt,  fleece, or foam
  6. Assemble the truck on the yellow background and glue it in place.
  7. Glue the fire truck to the page
  8. Attach the letters, making sure they are firmly stuck. If they are not, use fabric glue

Join me again tomorrow!