Friday, May 29, 2009

Ira Sleeps Over: A Great Read-Aloud Book

Sleeping over at a friend's house for the first time is a major milestone in childhood that is often marked by a little anxiety. In Ira Sleeps Over, Bernard Waber manages to capture that anxiety with a lot of humor and very real family interactions (supportive mom and dad, not so supportive older sister).

The book opens when Ira is invited to his best friend Reggie's house for a sleepover. It's the first time he's slept away from his parents, and he's thrilled. That is until his sister asks him if he will be bringing his teddy bear with him. At first he says no, of course not. Then his sister reminds him that he's never slept without him. That's when the worrying begins. Ira goes back and forth as to whether or not he should bring his teddy bear. Then just when he decides he should, his sister asks him if he's going to let Reggie know that his teddy bear's name is Tah Tah. That does it. No way will he bring his teddy bear to Reggie's house.

So off he goes to Reggie's for his first sleepover. The boys have a great time in the beginning, complete with wrestling matches and pillow fights. Finally, it's bedtime, and as they are lying down in the dark, Reggie starts to tell a ghost story. Just as it begins to get scary, Reggie stops the story in mid sentence, walks over to his dresser and pulls out...his teddy bear. Ira prods him about the bear and finds out that the bear's name is Foo Foo. With that, he gets out of bed and tells Reggie he has to get something (they live next door to each other), and goes to retrieve his beloved Tah Tah.

Kids will identify with Ira and his confusing array of emotions. They will understand his desire to show his sister he doesn't need his teddy bear, while at the same time understand that he still needs to have his teddy bear when he goes to sleep.

Bernard Waber has managed to capture each and every character's voice perfectly, which makes for a fun read aloud. It's actually hard NOT to sound like an unsure seven-year-old kid or his somewhat bratty older sister. Waber's ear for spoken language is that good.

If you like Ira Sleeps Over, then you are sure to like Ira Says Goodbye. This time it deals with what happens when your best friend (Reggie) moves away. Once again, Waber captures the voice and emotions of an elementary school aged child.

BookNosher Activities: There are a surprising number of school related activities on the web for Ira Sleeps Over. Here's a link to one that is geared more towards parents. They have some good discussion questions, as well as some fun activities to do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mr. Gumpy's Outing

One of the best things about writing a blog about children's books is revisiting old favorites. Today I bring you one of my family's favorite picture books: Mr. Gumpy's Outing, written and illustrated by John Burningham.

Mr. Gumpy (a very English Englishman) decides to go for a boat ride down the river. Two children ask him if they can come along. Mr. Gumpy says yes, although they mustn't squabble. When a pig asks to come along. Mr. Gumpy again says yes, although no "mucking about." More animals ask for a ride, and each one is told they can come, but they are not to misbehave. Soon he has a boatload of kids and animals, and you guessed it, they start misbehaving. The boat tips over and into the water they go. Afterwards, they all go back to Mr. Gumpy's for tea.

I remember my children being lulled by Mr. Gumpy's Outing and requesting it often. There's a gentleness to the story, with Mr. Gumpy remaining the calm center amidst the surrounding chaos. The ending scene with the animals, the children and Mr. Gumpy having tea together is both tender and cheering.

I highly recommend adding Mr. Gumpy's Outing to your list of "must reads" for your 2 to 6 year old. If you decide you want a little more Mr. Gumpy in your life (and who wouldn't?) there's a sequel: Mr. Gumpy's Motorcar

BookNosher Tidbits:
Mr. Gumpy's Outing was originally published in 1971 and won the Kate Greenaway Award, which is the United Kingdom's award for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children. It also won an ALA Notable Children's Book Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.
I recently learned from our local children's librarian that John Burningham is married to the children's book author Helen Oxenbury. Somehow that seems just right.

BookNosher Activities: This is just the type of book that kids will want to act out. Whether it's with stuffed animals or homemade puppets, Mr. Gumpy's Outing will live on in their imaginations long after you've read the book.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Brenda Guiberson-Nonfiction writer

Some kids are naturally drawn to non-fiction picture books. When my oldest son was in pre-school, he would always head to the non-fiction section of the library to pick out a book about his latest fascination. Whether it was heavy equipment, dinosaurs or sea turtles, he just wanted to know more about the world we live in.

There are children's book authors who specialize in writing only non-fiction, and Brenda Guiberson falls into this category. Guiberson has authored 20 non-fiction picture books for young children. She is also an illustrator. Last spring, I had the privilege of taking a course on writing children's literature from her. She was an inspiring teacher, and her overall curiosity about the world is evident in her books.

Many of Guiberson's books focus on the natural world. Her newest book, Ice Bears, depicts a year in the life of a female polar bear and her two cubs in the Arctic. The text is readable and very informative. Interesting facts abound. For instance, did you know that cubs are "born deaf, blind and almost hairless?" They are utterly dependent upon their mothers for their survival. The book ends with a warning about the effects of global warming on polar bears, which arouse the reader's sympathies.

In Rain, Rain, Rain Forest, you are whisked to a tropical rain forest to meet the different creatures that live there. Clever word use immerses the reader into the rain forest atmosphere. Kids will enjoy learning about the capuchin monkey, the sloth, and even the scissor-jawed ant. Guiberson shows how they search for food, protect their young and fend off enemies. The collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins enhance the lush, green habitats of the animals.

Here's a complete list of Brenda Guiberson's books:

Ice Bears
Mud City: A Flamingo Story
Rain, Rain, Rain Forest

Ocean Life

The Emperor Lays an Egg

Tales of the Haunted Deep
Exotic Species: Invaders in Paradise
Mummy Mysteries: Tales from North America

Teddy Roosevelt's Elk

Into the Sea
Lighthouses: Watchers at Sea
Winter Wheat

Spotted Owl: Bird of the Ancient Forest

Salmon Story

Lobster Boat

Spoonbill Swamp
Cactus Hotel

Instant Soup

Turtle People

BookNosher Activities
: On Brenda Guiberson's website, there is a page that features activities for some of her books. These activities enhance the book and offer the child a more hand's on learning experience. Both parents and teachers will find much to offer here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Alvin Ho

In the early chapter book genre, there appears to be a dearth of boys at center stage, since so many books feature a girl as the protagonist. Now along comes Alvin Ho, one of the most memorable characters to show up in a long time.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things is sure to be a hit with the 6 to 9 year old crowd. Written by Lenore Look and illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Alvin tells his story in a frank, funny and appealing way. While third and fourth graders will be able to read the book on their own, I think that many younger kids will need it to be read to them. Luckily, the breezy writing makes it a perfect read-aloud book.

Second grader Alvin has some idiosyncrasies that kids will relate to, or at the very least laugh about. First of all, he is afraid of pretty much everything (trains, bridges, substitute teachers, girls, school, heights, the dark, the list goes on and on). So he arms himself with a PDK-a Personal Disaster Kit, which as he explains, is absolutely necessary when you're afraid of everything. His PDK includes things like a whistle, garlic and a bandana, and has to be updated each year because you never know what you'll need when you're in the next grade.

One of the consequences of being afraid of school is that Alvin won't talk at school. Ever. He'll talk on the bus going to school, on the bus leaving school, but not at school. As he explains to his older brother Calvin, he has "so-so performance anxiety disorder." (He's in therapy for this, which is one of many amusing scenes). He sits next to a girl at school named Flea who happens to have an eye patch and one leg longer than the other. Since she's a girl, he's naturally afraid of her, but also somewhat drawn to her because she reminds him of a pirate. Flea prides herself on being the only one at school who understands Alvin by watching his eye movements.

Alvin is the quintessential middle child. Squeezed between his perfect (in his mind) older brother Calvin, and his annoying little sister Anibelly, he has definitely forged his own identity within the family. He's also Chinese-American. The book offers wonderful glimpses into Chinese-American family life, and is filled with references to Chinese culture (he calls his grandfather GungGung, he loves dragon's beard candy, he's afraid of kimchi and wasabi, and he talks about being descended from "a long line of farmer-warriors who haven't a scaredy bone in their bodies since 714 AD").

Pham's black ink illustrations are the perfect complement to the book. There's a drawing on every page, which helps move the story along, especially for the more reluctant reader. Each character's face and body language is filled with individuality.

I like Alvin Ho and look forward to more installments about this idiosyncratic and totally original little boy. The next Alvin Ho book is due out in June 2009.

BookNosher Tidbit: I found myself quite intrigued by LeUyan Pham's illustrations and discovered her website: It's worth checking out. You'll see that she's illustrated many children's books (around 30). She also has very different drawing styles, which are showcased on the website.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Toys in the Fish Tank!

First of all, isn't this an eye-catching cover? It really makes you stop in your tracks and stifle a little giggle. I love it.

Rules by Cynthia Lord is a middle grade novel that deals with autism in a very real way. Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a life that doesn't totally revolve around her little brother David's autism. Told in her voice, you immediately become sympathetic to her role in the family. One of the strengths of Rules is that you sense Catherine's conflicting emotions. You never doubt that she loves her little brother, but because so much of the family dynamics are taken up with his disability, she sometimes just wishes he were "normal."

In order to help David cope better in the world, Catherine comes up with a set of rules. In fact each chapter starts off with a rule: "Sometimes people laugh when they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you," and "If it's too loud, cover your ears or ask the other person to be quiet," and "If the bathroom door is closed, knock (especially if Catherine has a friend over)!" and "No toys in the fish tank." These rules are Catherine's way of keeping the situation under control.

There are two other influences in her life. The first is Kristi, her new neighbor that she desperately wants as a friend, but is unsure how she will react to David. The second is a boy in a wheelchair she meets at one of her brother's therapy appointments. Jason can't talk, so he has a book of cards with pictures and words that he points to in order to communicate. The evolution of their friendship is interesting to watch, and it is not without some painful moments.

Finally, one of my favorite touches in the book is how David quotes from Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad books when he can't come up with his own words.

Rules is an important book. With the rate of autism skyrocketing, children are more exposed to autistic kids. Whether it is a sibling, a classmate or just someone in the grocery store, Rules can help open up the conversation about autism. It's also funny and touching, with many heart-warming moments throughout. It's a relatively quick read and would make a good read aloud book.

BookNosher Tidbits: Rules has won a lot of awards, including:
Newbery Honor Medal
Schneider Family Book Award
Mitten Award (Michigan Library Association)
Great Lakes Great Books Award (Michigan)
Maine Student Book Award
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award (Vermont)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Great Stone Face Award (New Hampshire)
Buckeye Children's Book Award (Ohio)

BookNosher Activities: If you go to Cynthia Lord's website, she has lots of links to websites dealing with autism, as well as materials for teachers and librarians (discussion guides, interviews etc.).

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Lady Edison"-Nonfiction Monday

You probably haven't given much thought to brown paper bags, but I promise you'll never look at them the same way after reading Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully. Margaret Knight was the first woman to be issued a U.S. patent for her invention of the flat-bottomed paper bag machine. And it was issued in 1871, a period when women's roles were narrow and prescribed.

Born into a poor family, Mattie was always curious as to how things worked. Sketching away in her notebook, she designed and built kites that flew higher and sleds that slid faster. She even made her mother a foot warmer. At the age of twelve, Mattie went to work in a mill. After a young girl was practically killed in front of her eyes, she realized how dangerous it was and invented a safety device that saved workers from injury and death.

Later, she went to work in a paper bag factory. She saw that the quality of the bags was poor (they didn't stand upright so the grocer had to use one hand to hold them open and they often split when filled with bulky items). So Mattie went to work on a design for a better bag. For two years she worked on her idea, sketching away and making paper bag cut-outs of her machine. She finally built a prototype out of wood. Just as she was getting ready to apply for a patent she heard that someone had stolen her idea. She went to court to prove it was her design, and she eventually won.

Marvelous Mattie
is a good read aloud book for a first, second or third grader. The watercolor-and-ink drawings are a nice fit with the Industrial Age time period. Plus, an added bonus is that the book features some of her actual drawings from the paper bag patent.

A book like this will open up kids' eyes to all the inventions surrounding them on a day to day basis. Have them examine a paper bag closely so they can see everything that went into the design. Mattie's invention is still used today in making paper bags.

BookNosher Tidbits: Mattie was issued twenty-two patents in her lifetime and had over ninety original inventions. When she died, her obituary referred to her as "Lady Edison."

BookNosher Activities: Here's a fun website that features young inventors. Some examples include the earmuffs (invented by a 17 year old in 1873), the trampoline (invented by a 16 year old in 1930) and a quicker, healthier way to make bacon (invented by an 8 year old in 1993).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Monster Picture Books

If your kids like monsters (or even if they are afraid of them), here's a book that should make them laugh. Jumpy Jack & Googily by Meg Rosoff and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, has a fresh take on the whole monster thing.

Jumpy Jack is a timid snail with a big fear of monsters. He thinks they're everywhere, and turns to his best friend Googily to check out various situations. He asks Googily to check behind the door, under the table, in the pool. The thing that neither of them seems to realize is that Googily is a monster. Kids will quickly see what the joke is, and will love being in the know as they're laughing at the pair's antics.

Googily is an endearing monster with his pointed fangs, wispy eyebrows and bug eyes. He's also quite dapper in his bowler hat, yellow plaid pants and pointy red shoes, which makes him not very scary. I think one of the best messages in the book comes at the end, when Googily (the monster) admits what he's really afraid of... socks. It just goes to show that everybody has some fears, and what's scary to one person seems downright silly to another.

Here are a couple of other fun monster books to check out: Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberly and The Monster at the End of this Book (Starring Lovable, Furry, Old Grover) by Jon Stone.

BookNosher Activity: How about making monster cookies for a special treat? Here's an easy way to go about it:
  1. First make some sugar cookies, cutting them into fairly large circles.
  2. Then put out a plastic knife, a small cup of white frosting, a popsicle stick, a cup of M&Ms, red licorice (cut in short strips), candy corn, gum drops and food coloring.
  3. Have the child choose the color to put in the frosting-this will be the monster's skin.
  4. Drop a few drops of food coloring into the frosting.
  5. Have the child mix the frosting and coloring up with a popsicle stick.
  6. Spread the frosting onto the cookie.
  7. Decorate with the rest of the ingredients; soon you'll have a scary monster to eat!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Hilarious Early Chapter Book

I remember when my kids were at that in-between stage of learning to read. They had more or less mastered the early reader books and were ready to try chapter books. But so many chapter books were just too difficult (and too long). It was hard to find fun and interesting books at their reading level. If only Bad Kitty Gets a Bath had been around 14 years ago.

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath, by Nick Bruel, is a hilarious early chapter book. The language is fairly simple, it has terrific black and white graphics, and did I mention it's laugh out loud funny? The story shows the trials and tribulations of giving Bad Kitty a bath, which is no easy feat. For example, it lists the items you will need before getting Kitty to the bath such as: washcloth, soap, dry towel, a suit of armor, and lots and lots of bandages. Anyone who has a cat will relate.

There are interesting facts from "Uncle Murray" sprinkled throughout the book, so you end up learning a fair amount about cats (especially their bathing habits). Readers who are transitioning from picture books to chapter books will be thrilled to discover Bad Kitty. Plus, since the book is 125 pages long, kids will feel a real sense of accomplishment when they get to the end.

Bad Kitty Gets a Bath
is also a good book for the reluctant, slightly older reader. Its humor will appeal to even the most jaded 5th grader. In fact, in Kirkus Starred reviews they put the age range for the book from 5-12. I highly recommend it!

Booknosher Tidbit: Bad Kitty Gets a Bath has been awarded a 2009 Gryphon Honor for transitional reading by The Center for Children's Books at the University of Illinois.

If you want to read other Bad Kitty books, check out the picture books: Bad Kitty and Bad Kitty Cat-Nipped Edition. Perfect for younger kids (equally as funny).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nonfiction Monday: Planting the Trees of Kenya

The Book Nosher is pleased to join bloggers across the kidlitosphere who celebrate Nonfiction Monday. Some kids prefer to read books about real things, people and places. So once a week, I'll introduce a new (or old) nonfiction book that I find particularly interesting. After all, we can't let fiction have their way every day.

If you're looking for a book that shows how even the simplest act can change the world, then look no further. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai is a beautifully illustrated book that does just that. It tells the story of Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.

The book begins with Maathai remembering the Kenya of her childhood, a verdant land filled with olive, fig and flame trees.

As a young adult, Wangari left Kenya to study biology in the United States for five years. Upon her return, she was dismayed to find that people had adapted new farming techniques and cut down the trees she remembered and loved from her childhood. The deforestation of the land caused the soil to erode and streams to dry up. She noticed that the Kenyans no longer grew their own food in family gardens. Instead they bought food in supermarkets, which was more expensive and less nutritious.

Wangari realized that the problems she saw all around her stemmed from the trees they were cutting down. Her solution was simple: Plant more trees. She went to the women in the villages and showed them how to collect the seeds from the remaining trees and prepare the soil. She taught them how to tend to the seedlings until they grew strong. As the idea caught on, the women saw the difference in the landscape. The woods were growing again, small farms were flourishing and their families were healthier. Wangari continued to spread the word throughout Kenya by going to schools, and even prisons, with the seedlings.

Planting the Trees of Kenya will make children feel like they can make a difference in the world. The watercolor illustrations are brilliant and invite you to linger a while on each page. The seemingly simple idea of planting trees grew into a national movement, resulting in thirty million trees planted in the last thirty years. Wangari's story will inspire you and your children. They will see how taking small steps towards resolving something that is wrong, can lead to big changes.

BookNosher Tidbits: Planting The Trees of Kenya just won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award. The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards are given "annually to the children's books published the preceding year that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence."

BookNosher Activities: Kids love the idea of planting trees. Here are a couple of organizations that have tree-related activities:
Plant-It 2010 is a non-profit organization dedicated to planting, maintaining and protecting as many indigenous trees as possible. For every $1, you can have a tree planted in different locations around the world.
The Arbor Day Foundation has lots of different resources and activities for preschool children on up.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What's So Great About a Box?

Do you remember the lure of a big box as a child? Are your kids thrilled when you buy something that comes in a box bigger than they are? If so, then this book is for you.

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis, is a tribute to the age-old tradition of a child turning a box into something else, something deep within their imagination. Not a Box stars a rabbit and a box. Written in a question and answer format, an off the pages voice asks the rabbit:

"What are you doing with that box?"

Turn the page and the rabbit answers:

"It's not a box."

There on the page you see red lines drawn over the black box and the box is transformed into a pirate ship, a hot air balloon, a space ship (you get the idea).

The illustrations are spare and simple. And humorous. Somehow, Portis manages to make a stick figure bunny have lots of personality. In addition, the outside cover of the book is made to look and feel like a cardboard box, complete with a "This Side Up" on the back.

One of the beauties of this book is that it will appeal to very young children, as well as beginning readers (4, 5, and 6 year olds). Published in 2006, it's a classic in the works.

BookNosher Tidbit: Not A Box was selected as a Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book in 2007. The Theodore Seuss Geisel annual award was established in 2006 for the author and illustrator who make the most distinguished beginning reader books.

BookNosher Activities: This is easy. Get a box and watch your child soar off to places far away.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Meet Ida B.

I love nothing more than a strong girl character, and Ida B. Applegate does not disappoint. Written in the first person, Ida B.'s voice rings out loud and clear from the start. Ida B: . . . and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World is a middle grade book (grades 4-6) that manages to be laugh out loud funny and touching at the same time.

When we first meet Ida B., she lives with her mom, dad and dog Rufus, on a farm in Wisconsin where she is homeschooled. The farmland is her classroom and her best friends are the trees in the orchard. It's an idyllic, predictable life, which is exactly how she likes it. Ida is independent and feisty, and you are immediately drawn to her and her opinionated views of the world. Unfortunately, when her mother gets sick, that world is turned upside down. The family has to sell part of the orchard, and Ida B. is sent to the local elementary school. (A bad experience in kindergarten had her swearing off regular school forever.) This unfortunate change of events makes Ida B. change too. She hardens her heart and enters a black period, determined not to let anyone in.

Katherine Hannigan does a wonderful job portraying the internal struggles Ida B. goes through and the anger she feels. She really lets us get into her head. Ida B. is mad. She's mad that her mother got sick, she's mad at her parents for making her go to school and she's mad because she feels like she doesn't she fit in. Elementary aged kids will identify with Ida's fluctuating emotions.

This wonderful middle grade novel will surely please your fourth to sixth grader. Girls and boys will both appreciate Ida B's unique outlook on life, as well as the way she deals with it when it turns upside down on her.

BookNosher Tidbits: Published in 2005, Ida B...And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World was a Book Sense Book of the Year Book. School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and Child Magazine selected it as a Best Book of the Year. It received the Parents' Choice Gold Award also.

BookNosher Activities:
To me, Ida B. is a book that screams to be read aloud. Her voice is pitch perfect, humorous and unique. Kids will love listening to it. I am a big believer in reading books to kids even after they can read for themselves. There are many reasons why, not the least of which is that reading aloud awakens children's imaginations.

If you're interested in learning more about reading aloud to children, the guru of the read-aloud movement is Jim Trelease. Check out his website. It's filled with activities and suggestions of good read-aloud books, as well as a free brochure that highlights facts from his seminars, books and films.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bill Peet: Master Storyteller

I have a soft spot in my heart for Bill Peet. I think his books are perfect examples of children’s storytelling. They are packed with humor, fun twists and memorable personalities, and teach positive values without being didactic.

Animals, trains and circuses are at the heart of many of Peet's books. His beautifully drawn illustrations are original and whimsical. His quirky characters have distinctive personalities and real problems that kids can relate to. Peet does a great job having his characters solve their own problems and there's often a surprise ending.

While I’m fond of all of his books (he’s written 34, and yes I've read them all!), here are a few you might want to start with:

Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent
is mild mannered as far as sea serpents go, and a little bored. After being called a sissy by a shark, he is determined to prove himself. Setting out to sea, Cyrus soon finds himself following the ship Primrose which is filled with poor people setting out for a new land. The tenderhearted sea serpent takes on menacing storms and dastardly pirates as he escorts the ship to a better place. In the end, he realizes that it was his friendly, helpful attitude that made him perform heroic acts.

Chester the Worldly Pig longs to do something with his life before he ends up as "sausage and ham." Disgruntled with farm life, he runs away to the circus. While things don't turn out exactly as planned, Chester has a few adventures along the way. Once his circus gig is up, Chester resigns himself to going back to the farm to fatten up. Then someone discovers something quite amazing about him (I won't spoil it here) and his life is turned around.

A great story about pursuing your dreams, even when it appears that all is lost.

The Wump World was written in 1970 and was one of the first "pro-environment" children's books. (It was written a year before Dr. Seuss's The Lorax.) The Wumps are adorable creatures who live peacefully in their idyllic world until the Pollutions come racing down in their spaceships. The Wumps retreat to a cave as their planet gets taken over by the evil, smoke-spewing Pollutians. Eventually, the Pollutians leave to try and find a cleaner place to live. You'll find yourselves rooting for the Wumps and their planet. Luckily, the last page leaves you with a sense of hope for their future.

Below is a complete list of Mr. Peet’s books.
(I believe that most of them are still in print.)
The Ant and the Elephant
Big Bad Bruce
Bill Peet: An Autobiography
Buford the Little Bighorn
The Caboose Who Got Loose
Chester the Worldly Pig
Cock-a-Doodle Dudley
Cowardly Clyde
Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent
Encore for Eleanor
Farewell to Shady Glade
Fly Homer Fly
The Gnats of Knotty Pine
How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head
Hubert's Hair Raising Adventure
Huge Harold
Jennifer and Josephine
Jethro and Joel Were a Troll
Kermit the Hermit
The Kweeks of Kookatumdee
The Luckiest One of All
Merle the High Flying Squirrel
No Such Things
Pamela Camel
The Pinkish, Purplish, Bluish Egg
Randy's Dandy Lions
The Spooky Tail of Prewitt Peacock
The Whingdingdilly
The Wump World
Zella, Zack and Zodiac

BookNosher Tidbits

Bill Peet worked for Disney Studios for twenty seven years. He was the only storyman in the history of Disney to do all the storyboards for two entire animated feature films (The Sword and the Stone and 101 Dalmations). Other films he worked on included The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Dumbo, as well as many others.

There's an exhibit of Bill Peet's drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago until May 24, 2009.

BookNosher Activity

I want to tell you about an activity I did with each of my kids when they were in first grade. I approached their teachers at the beginning of the year (this would work with second or third graders too) and asked if I could come in weekly and read the class a Bill Peet story. Each teacher agreed, and I came in once a week for the entire school year and read to the class. By week six, the minute I stepped into the classroom, the kids would start chanting “Bill Peet, Bill Peet, Bill Peet.” He was a rock star in their minds. It was gratifying to see that a children’s author/illustrator could have that kind of appeal for elementary school kids!