Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ category

First Lines in Picture Books

June 27, 2019

First lines in books are extremely important. They provide a hint of what is to come in the pages that follow. They can tell readers who the main character is, what the problem or conflict is, or where the story is taking place. First lines are a golden ticket to a journey through a book.

Let’s take a look at some first lines in picture books.

 

sophieFrom Sophie’s Squash written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

One bright fall day, Sophie choose a squash at the farmer’s market.

Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.

Here the first lines reveal the time of year, the main character, and the fact that the squash would not be served at supper. What will Sophie do with the squash? Turn the page and read.

 

hedgehogFrom Hedgehog Needs a Hug written and illustrated by Jen Betton

When Hedgehog awoke in his cozy nest, he felt down in the snout and droopy in the prickles. I’ll feel better if I get a hug, he thought.

These first lines introduce us to the main character and his wants and needs. Included in these lines are playful descriptions that will surely delight readers.

 

hatFrom This Is Not My Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen

This hat is not mine. I just stole it. 

These are definitely not typical first lines in a story. They elicit surprise and reveal a problem which makes readers want to know what’s going to happen next.

 

house onceFrom A House That Once Was written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith

Deep in the woods

is a house

just a house

that once was

but now isn’t a home.

Here the first lines introduce readers to the setting deep in the woods. In this case, the main character happens to be a house that now “isn’t a home.” These lines create a sense of curiosity. Why isn’t the house a home anymore? What happened? Readers will want to turn the pages to find out more.

 

lighthouseFrom Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

On the highest rock of a tiny island

at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse.

It is built to last forever.

Sending its light out to sea,

guiding the ships on their way.

The first line captures the attention of readers, revealing where this story takes place —”the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world…”  Imagine that! The line, “It is built to last forever,” suggests many keepers of the lighthouse have tended the light, keeping ships safe. As the weather and seasons change, “Hello! …Hello! …Hello!” is repeated throughout the story, inviting readers to learn more about the lighthouse and its inhabitants.

 

When creating your masterpiece, hook readers immediately with your first lines and keep them turning the pages!

 

 

 

 

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A Perfect Animal Book for Young Readers

March 7, 2019

If your kids love animals and animal books, then Jennifer Ward’s, Mama Dug a Little Den is a perfect book for them.

Mama dug

Open to the first page of the book and you’ll find three red fox kits staring at you. You can’t help but smile. Each page turn reveals a double spread of an animal in his/her habitat. Steve Jenkins has created fascinating paper collages that will immediately capture the attention of young readers. Combined with Jenkin’s art there is a fun, four-line rhyming text from Jennifer Ward that gives the reader information about the animal. Each rhyming text begins with “Mama dug a little den.” As an extra, Ward has included scientific information about the animal and the den on each page. This book lends itself to endless discussions about animals, where they live, and where you can find them.  Extended activities can include checking your own backyard for animal dens or making a paper collage of your favorite animal. I highly recommend this book.

 

Are You a Dreamer?

February 7, 2019

If you’re a dreamer, then you will love Dreamers written and illustrated by Yuri Morales. It’s a beautiful book. It received the 2019 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award, seven starred reviews, a New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2018, and more.

dreamers

As a lover of books and libraries, this book grabbed my heart. It’s based on Yuri Morales’ life story of coming to America with her young son. It’s simply told in beautiful language. Coming to the United States and unable to understand and speak the language, mother and son have much to learn. It’s a library that makes all the difference in their quest to fit in and find a safe haven to learn. They immerse themselves in books, and they slowly learn to read, to speak, and to write in English. Yuri Morales‘ illustrations are drawn in ink, painted with acrylics, and include scanned photographs of personal items. The combination of the vibrantly colored and imaginative illustrations along with the sparse text capture readers’ attention. It’s a book that celebrates the difficult and emotional journey of coming to a new country, and a book of hope and dreams for all to enjoy.

Winter Arrives

November 29, 2018

I’ve found the perfect picture book for the season.

Winter

Winter Is Here is written by award-winning author/illustrator Kevin Henkes and illustrated by his talented wife Laura Dronzek. Each page turn of Henkes’ lyrical text walks readers through a gentle snowfall, using delightful words like “falling, sitting, dripping, sticking, reaching, crouching, and settling.” Laura Dronzek’s illustrations, done in soft colors, depict a gorgeous winter wonderland that makes the reader want to jump into each scene and join in the winter fun. The lighthearted tone of Henkes’ text at the beginning of the book changes to reveal the blustery part of Winter. Dronzek’s illustrations follow the mood of the text by creating white and gray scenes, deep blue night skies, and tree branches and chimney smoke bending and swirling in the howling wind. And then, when it seems Winter will stay forever, Henkes gives the reader hope as Winter slowly “shrinks away” and “slows down” to reveal Spring!

Grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this feel-good book. The endpapers of the book show mittens at the beginning and flowers and butterflies at the end – a very clever way to demonstrate the passage of a season.

 

Time

November 8, 2018

“…it can come and go and you never even notice it was there.”

forever

In Forever or a Day, Sarah Jacoby’s poetic text refers to something that is elusive. The first two pages depict a young child staring out a window as the sun rises. In the almost deserted street with skyscrapers in the background, there is a newspaper truck with Times written on the side. This is the first hint of what that elusive something is. Throughout the book, readers see a family as they move through the day. They pack suitcases, ride on a train, visit family and spend a day with them at the beach followed by an evening campfire. All too soon, their visit is over, and they retrace their steps back to their city home. Sarah Jacoby‘s illustrations are rendered in watercolors, color sticks, and mixed media. Page turns reveal bright and colorful daytime scenes and dark and sparkly nighttime scenes. Within the beautiful illustrations and text, there are layers to this story. It’s about family, love, mindfulness, and the passage of time –  time that can be elusive. This is a book you need to read slowly. Enjoy it. Appreciate it – especially with someone you love.

Hello! Hello! Hello!

November 1, 2018

Lighthouses stand tall and shine their guiding lights warning ships at sea of danger and help them navigate safely.

lighthouse

Hello Lighthouse written and illustrated by Sophie Blackall invites readers to enter the world of a lighthouse keeper from days gone by. The shape of the book is tall like a lighthouse, and Sophie Blackall’s illustrations repeat the circular features of the lighthouse throughout the book. In the first few pages, the reader sees a cutaway showing the many different levels and living spaces. Sophie Blackall’s charming illustrations done in ink and watercolor depict the warmth of the inside in contrast to the sometimes raging weather on the outside. Readers learn of the day-to-day tasks that must be done. The keeper is in charge of polishing lenses, refilling oil, trimming wicks, and winding clockwork that keeps the lamp in motion. When there is fog, a bell must be rung to warn those at sea to stay away. When snow and ice build up on the lantern room windows, it must be chipped away. And everything that happens is kept in a logbook, including the birth of the keeper’s daughter. Sophie Blackall’s rhythmic text suggests the rolling sound of waves, and she cleverly weaves the repetitive “Hello! Hello! Hello!” throughout the story showing the changing seasons and passage of time. Her beautiful words and illustrations make this unique lighthouse book shine.

Make sure to check out the back matter for more information on lighthouses.

 

 

When a House Is No Longer a Home

October 11, 2018

As someone who has always been curious about interesting houses and the people who live in them, I found A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS to be fascinating.

a house

Julie Fogliano masterfully tells the story of two children who discover a house deep in the woods. A house that is abandoned. “A house that once was but now isn’t a home.” A house that is slowly falling apart and being taken over by the forest vegetation and animals. A house that invites the curious children inside. They respectfully explore the interior, taking note of objects left behind wondering and imagining what the people and animals were like who once inhabited the house. Who were they? What did they do? Where did they go? Where are they now?  So many questions! So many things to think about! As the children leave to return to their cozy and warm home, they wonder if the house is waiting for the owners to return … waiting to become a home again.

Julie Fogliano’s lyrical language and rhyme whisper to the reader to come and explore with the children. Her text combined with Lane Smith‘s whimsical and enchanting illustrations will encourage readers to examine every detail and enjoy their adventure.

This book sparks the imagination and begs to be read over and over.

 

 

 

 


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