Artist Spotlight: Holly Meade, Artist of Hush! A Thai Lullaby

Artist Spotlight: Holly Meade, Artist of Hush! A Thai Lullaby

“I wish I had a Caldecott.” — Me, Everyday.

Artist to Know: Holly Meade, Artist of Hush! A Thai Lullaby written by Minfong Ho

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

Don’t cha just LOVE art?! Well, ME TOO! It’s one of the big reasons why I became a picture book author.
This month I’m highlighting a GORGEOUS book, “Hush! A Thai Lullaby.”

This beauty won a coveted Caldecott Award, which is the award given to a children’s book with the best art. It totally deserves it because, even though it was awarded to this book in 1996, I bet it could still win today.

Not only is the artwork beautiful, this is a perfect bedtime book. And it’s so refreshing because it is a Thai lullaby, which teaches your child about different cultures (and animals) while getting them to SleepyTown, USA. (What all parents want after a long, hard day!)

Just look at some of these pages:

Just gorgeous! *Le Sigh

Activity Guide for Hush! A Thai Lullaby
I know this is an Artist Spotlight, but who would I be if I didn’t throw in a little activity guide for wake up time?! Time to get our learnin’ on, ya’ll! 

Animals and their babies:
Match the mommy animal with the baby animal. Just like in Hush! Mommy tries to tell all the animals that her baby is sleeping.
Download activity here.

For Older Children:
Find and color! Hush! is set in Thailand. Can you find and color these exotic animals?
Download activity here.

Je t’aime!
Birdy

June Fiction Review: “Bright & Early Thursday Evening”

June Fiction Review: “Bright & Early Thursday Evening”

Hi-Ho Book Buddy!

I’m SO EXCITED for the fiction book I have in store for you this month!
It’s wild, it’s backward, the art is just *gasp! and if you like weird, zany, and imaginative, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU:
Fiction Review & Guide: BRIGHT & EARLY THURSDAY EVENING by Audrey & Don Wood
Yep, you read that right. This book is completely Opposites Day!
I think I had more fun reading this book than my kid did listening (mainly because I kept laughing and breaking my rhythm….sorry, son). But that happens when you see the magic of text and art blended so perfectly together on a zany story!

It’s one of our bedtime favorites and I hope you’ll get on this book for your own satisfaction. Because, let’s face it adults, it’s nice to have something WE like to read, too! Especially if you’re going to be reading it like, A ZILLION TIMES! AmIright?!

Bright & Early Thursday Evening makes you feel like you’ve just gotten off of a fancy backwards cruise that sill had a raging party you couldn’t hang with. This book is like if Terry Gilliam (Monty Python) wrote a kid’s book during a production break. The art is out there. It’s mixed media and full of fantasy-fancy! Anything by Don Wood (artist) is so breathtaking and this book is no exception. He has the coveted Caldecott Award for “King Bidgood in the Bathtub” and so you know these visuals BE FLYIN’!

Publisher’s Weekly said this book was: “Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton [in this] potent combination of technology and creativity.” This is definitely for those who like a bit of the theater of the absurd!

So what are you waiting for! Grab a seat and just have fun with this one. It’ll have your brain twisted and turned around, but it’s the best tea cup ride ever!

Activity Guide for Bright & Early Thursday Evening by Audrey & Don Wood
Time to get our learnin’ on, ya’ll! Let’s explore opposites.

Opposites Crossword Puzzle! Download HERE
This fun and interactive crossword puzzle will have your littles solving clues and grasping a better understanding of opposites. If your kid has a good handle on what an opposite is, this crossword puzzle takes it a step further and makes them think logically about how to solve the puzzle using opposites as clues and answers. Enjoy!

Opposites for Toddlers: 
Teaching Opposites with Movement.

Here are a few simple activities that you can do with your toddler indoors or out. Once familiar with the game, ask your child to do the opposite. For example, if you reach up, your toddler will reach down.

  • Reach high to the sky and low to the ground
  • Take a big step and a little step
  • Clap your hands loudly and quietly
  • Run fast, then slow (toddler’s pace)
  • Happy face, sad face
  • Fill a cup with water, empty cup
  • Open lid, shut lid
  • Sit down, stand up
  • Turn to the right and then left
  • Jump up and crouch down.

If you want more ideas to do with your toddler, check out this helpful site. 
Much love & Reading,

Birdy Jones

P.S. Remember, THREE times a month on TUESDAYS you’ll get more delicious book reviews and activity guides. AND, I just got something really fun in my online store that will totally go with all your Mister Cool stuff (and that awesome top you’re wearing)!
I can’t hold it in anymore…it’s a Mister Cool Plushie! Your kids will lurrrvveee him!

Picture Books As Motion Pictures – Curious George

Picture Books As Motion Pictures – Curious George

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

I was having such a wonderful conversation with a fellow picture book author about the impact picture books have on kids, artists, and culture (in general) and we somehow got onto the subject of PBs as movies. You know the conversation: Which ones were done really well? Which ones should be burned in a fire? That type of convo.

Stretching a picture book less than 100 pages into a feature-length film is a real challenge. Still, many filmmakers have tackled classic children’s books with varying degrees of success. I’m going to highlight some of these movies, whether the reviews are good OR bad and let you guys decide whether it’s a movie to watch with your kids!

It’s a fun way to incorporate the wonderful stories of PB lit and see how one artistic genre floats into another artistic genre.

First up: Curious George – The 2006 animated adaptation of Curious George kept its story simple and sweet, and the lack of pop culture references made critics and fans of the books very happy.

Running Time: 88 minutes
Number of Pages: 46
Critical Response: “In this film version of ‘Curious George,’ directed by Matthew O’Callaghan, George is all monkey — a quality that will not only appeal to children, but will also come as a great relief to parents who grew up with the classic stories by Margret and H. A. Rey and are not eager to see them turned into the slangy, ironic metacartoons now in fashion.” Dana Stevens, New York Times

Pop this one onto your TV screen for a fun movie night with your littles and do this activity afterward to engage them with one of history’s iconic characters!

Activity Guide for Curious George: 

Just like George, kids are naturally very curious! And in the movie-version, George gets distracted by bubbles. Let’s uncover the mystery of BUBBLES with your cool kids!

Materials

  • Bubble solution and wand (available inexpensively at the market or craft store)

Directions

Use these simple activities to get beyond the bubble and into some cool science.

1. Blow Bubbles: Take your bubble stuff outside or into the tub. Play around and notice what catches your child’s interest. Watch, wonder, and experiment together.

2. Observe Bubbles: Look carefully at a bubble on your child’s wand. Ask: How does the shape change as you blow? What shape is the bubble when it floats into the air? What happens when the bubble lands?

3. Chase and Catch Bubbles: Notice how bubbles move in the air. Are they all moving in the same direction? Invite your child to blow at a bubble or fan it. What happens? Let your child try to catch a bubble on a bubble wand. Ask: Can you catch a bubble on top of another bubble? What happens when two bubbles touch each other?

Take It Further

Gather items with holes to use as bubble wands: slotted spoons, funnels, fly swatters, plastic soda can six-pack holders, etc. Wave or blow through the “wands” and look at the bubbles. Ask: How are the bubbles from each wand the same? How are they different? Are the bubbles connected or single? Does the size of the openings in the wand make a difference in the size of the bubbles?

Most importanly, HAVE FUN watching your curious ones learn all about science through fun bubble-action!

You may also find more Curious George Activities HERE. 

Je t’aime!
Birdy

Artist Spotlight – Ed Young!

Artist Spotlight – Ed Young!

Let’s talk about ART baby!

Artist Spotlight: Ed Young

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

I wanted to try something a little different this month. Usually, I do an “Author Spotlight” and I realized I’m leaving something VERY important out…THE ART!

The illustrations in a picture book is 50% of the story. Without the pictures, you don’t have a picture book. Without the pictures, you don’t have a story in this genre. It’s so important. This is why I’ll be shifting your attention to some of the AH-MAZING artwork that you can find in children’s lit. If you’re like me, the visuals are what make you check out (or buy) the book most of the time!

We’re going to showcase Ed Young this month. Not only did he write “The Cat From Hunger Mountain,” he illustrated it as well.
It’s so visually stunning that is was named one of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2016, and deservedly so!

I hope you enjoy this unique, edgy, and beautiful artwork. And I hope it inspires you to buy the book HERE, because the story is just as gorgeous as the art.

Enjoy this eye candy today:

May Fiction Review/Activity – BEAR HUNT!

May Fiction Review/Activity – BEAR HUNT!

Was That a b-b-b-BEAR?!

Fiction Review & Guide: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Illo: Helen Oxenbury

Hi-ho Book Buddy!

Today, I’m reviewing a classic oldie-but-goodie “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” about a seemingly naive family headed in search for a bear. Now, you may be thinking, “What the?! Why are they looking for a bear?”
To that I would say, “I’m not so sure they thought they’d actually find one until…THEY DO!”
They go through all kinds of gorgeous environments, all the while the sing-songy theme of the book keeps drawing you in…

WE’RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT!
WE’RE GOING TO CATCH A BIG ONE!
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!
WE’RE NOT SCARED!

Half-way through this book I was thinking, “Oh! They’re not really going to find a bear. It’s a book about enjoying Earth and all its beautiful scenery.” And in essence it still is. The thing that put hearts in my pupils is that when they finally get to the cave, they realize that finding a bear wasn’t that hard. Then, it’s the ending that gave me a hilarious flashback to “The Great Outdoors” with John Candy (remember that one?!) If you don’t…pick it up immediate. You won’t be sorry.

It’s charming, cute, sensitive, and beautiful. Definitely for the outdoor adventurer in your life. Even the animal lover. You can sing it, read it, and do all of your “action movie” voices — all with this one story!

This is a fun one, peeps! Get your copy HERE.

Activity Guide for “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen
Download the PDF for printing HERE.

Ask the children to recall the different experiences that the family encountered while on their bear hunt. List their responses on chart paper.

  1. Encourage the children to imagine that they are going on a bear hunt. Ask them to think of different places they could go — like outer space, an island, a jungle, a zoo, etc. What types of experiences might they encounter in these environments? Record the children’s ideas.
  2. Review the list with the children. Ask them to think of a special sound and movement to accompany each idea.
  3. Substitute the new bear-hunt ideas as you reread the book. Encourage them to recite the repetitive phrases and to dramatize their new adventures.
  4. Provide students with drawing materials to illustrate their new bear-hunt ideas. Attach a sheet of paper to the bottom of the drawings to include the repetitive story text and new adventure. Bind the pages together to create a fun classroom read-a-loud.

The activity below is perfect for homeschoolers or parents with fewer kids: 

Activity – Go on a bear hunt!

  1. Place the suggested bear items around the classroom before the children arrive or while they are resting.
  2. Begin the activity by rereading the book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
  3. Explain that they will go on a classroom “bear hunt” to find bears or objects with bears that have been placed throughout the classroom. Provide children with a plastic bag to collect their items.
  4. Tell the children that they will begin their bear hunt when you turn on music. The bear hunt will end when the music is turned off and everyone will meet on the carpet.
  5. Ask them to show their classmates the different bear items they found. Children can count and compare their items.