Snail Crossing by Corey R. Tabor

You never know when an act of kindness will be returned.

The Picture Book of the Week is Snail Crossing, written and illustrated by Corey R. Tabor.

About the Book:

Snail Crossing is about a snail Swho is trying to cross a road to get to some yummy cabbage. He begins with all the determination of someone who doesn’t know the perils in his way. He feels unstoppable. A car speeds over him, but he feels no fear, he keeps going. Then come the ants who could stand to be a little more polite. Snail helps them anyway and they go on their way. Snail gets a little turned around and it looks like he will never get to the cabbages, then fate intervenes.

Writing Exercise:

Snail makes his dream come true in an unexpected way, as a sort of reward for doing a good deed. Write a story about a character (it can be yourself) that has an act of kindness returned to him/her.

Happy Writing!

Rocket Shoes by Sharon Skinner and Ward Jenkins

Sometimes breaking the rules is the right thing to do.

The Picture Book of the Week is Rocket Shoes, written by Sharon Skinner and illustrated by Ward Jenkins.

About the Book:

Rocket Shoes is a fun rhyming book about a boy named Jose Felix who dreams of owning rocket shoes. Rocket shoes are exactly what they sound like — shoes that help the owner zoom around the sky. Jose’s parents won’t buy the shoes for him, but he finds a way. When he finally gets his pair, he and the other kids in the neighborhood take full advantage of their new pastime, but not everyone is happy. Soon rocket shoes are banned and Jose is faced with a tough decision.

Writing Exercise:

Write about a time when you had to break the rules in order to help someone else.

Happy Writing!

Except Antarctica! by Todd Sturgell

Are you or your child the type of person that can’t resist picking up a gauntlet someone throws down? Apparently, turtles can’t resist a challenge either.

The Picture Book of the Week is Except Antarctica!, written an illustrated by Todd Sturgell.

About the Book:

The main character of Except Antarctica! is a turtle who can’t resist a challenge. When the narrator states that “turtles are found on every continent except Antarctica”, the turtle fixes his sights on the coldest continent on Earth. Along the way, he gains companions as a befuddled narrator tries to set things right. Will the turtle prove the narrator wrong? Or will there be unexpected complications?

Writing Exercise:

The narrator in this story is a character that advances the plot. Write a story in which the narrator is a character in the story.

Happy Writing!

Oliver’s Lollipop by Allison Wortche and Andrés Landazábal

Are you here now? Are you really?

The Picture Book of the Week is Oliver’s Lollipop, written by Allison Wortche and illustrated by Andrés Landazábal.

About the Book:

Oliver’s Lollipop is about a boy who is so busy taking care of his lollipop and wondering what it will taste like, that he doesn’t appreciate the wondrous sights and sounds going on around him. Oliver goes to the zoo, but he doesn’t see anything. He doesn’t experience the carousel or enjoy any of the animals. He is completely focused on his lollipop. When he loses his lollipop, Oliver has to re-focus his attention. The result shows the reader how to be in the moment.

Writing Exercise:

In this story, Oliver is completely focused on his lollipop. Have your child think of a time they were so focused on one thing, that they ignored everything else? What happened when they expanded their focus? How did they feel?

Happy Writing!

The Suitcase by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

Strangers can be scary — a big question mark. Who are they? Where did they come from? Will they hurt me? Should I be afraid of them? These are some of the questions that might cross our minds when we meet a stranger. How would you treat a stranger?

The Picture Book of the Week is The Suitcase, written and illustrated by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros.

About the Book:

The Suitcase begins with the arrival of a strange, tired animal whose only possession is a suitcase. The local animals are curious about what he has in his suitcase. They question him. He answers them, but they don’t quite believe him. They take matters into their own hands. When they realize that the stranger was telling the truth, from an unexpected point-of-view, their suspicions fade and they see the stranger in a different light.

Writing Exercise:

The writing challenge for the week is to right about a time you met a stranger. How did you see them at first? Did your impression change? Why? What happened to change how you saw the stranger.

Happy Writing!

Turtle in a Tree by Neesha Hudson

Sometimes there is more to things than meets the eye. And sometimes different eyes see different things. Perspective is the key.

The Picture Book of the Week is Turtle in a Tree, written and illustrated by Neesha Hudson.

About the Book:

In this book, two dogs argue about what each sees among the leaves of a tree. One says he sees a turtle. One says he sees a squirrel. They both have evidence. Once sees a bushy tail. One sees a hard, round shell. One says that turtles don’t climb trees. The other one is sure he saw one. Something finally jumps out and the two learn to appreciate difference in perspectives and the beauty of an apology.

Writing Exercise:

The writing challenge for the week is to write a story from two different perspectives. Pick two different characters or two different ways of looking at a problem, and write a how different things look from each different way of looking at it.

Happy writing!

just in case you want to fly by Julie Fogliano and Christian Robinson

All children eventually leave the nest. They try and fail. And try and fail. And eventually. Hopefully, succeed.

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Just In Case You Want To Fly, written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Christian Robinson.

About the Book:

Just In Case You Want to Fly is the story of every child from the minute they learn to walk to college graduation and beyond. It is also the story of every parent, who is there to offer support, empowerment, and a safe place to come home to. This story is an emblem of every parent’s love for their child and of their wish to see their child succeed.

Writing Exercise:

Just In Case You Want To Fly epitomizes a healthy relationship between a parent and a child by showing how a parent supports their child’s empowerment. The writing challenge for your child is to have them write a story that illustrates how they support someone they love — a parent, a sibling, a friend.

Happy Writing!

The Rock From the Sky by Jon Klassen

There is an element of chance in everything we do. We have to decide if we proceed with trust or with fear.

The Picture Book of the Week is The Rock From The Sky, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

About the Book:

With muted, deadpan humor, The Rock From the Sky tells the story of a turtle, an armadillo, and a snake, their relationship with each other, and with a rock that falls from the sky. The story is told in four acts in which chance is a major character. Turtle leaves his spot by chance and narrowly avoids death. And it isn’t the last time. Turtle’s relationship with Armadillo and Snake is awkward at times, but saves him repeatedly and by chance. There are social dilemmas and monsters, but the characters very matter-of-factly continue along their path. This book is a meditation on life as it is.

Writing Exercise:

The characters in this book express the humor in everyday events in a way that makes the reader smile at things that are uncomfortable. The writing challenge for the week is for your child to think of something uncomfortable that happened to them — something embarrassing or awkward — and write about it in a way that makes it funny.

Happy Writing!

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann

School will be out in a couple of weeks and academics will give way to new experiences like swimming, fishing, and hiking. If you live in a city or suburb, those new experiences might include a camping trip like the one in this week’s book.

The Picture Book of the Week is The Camping Trip, written an illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann.

About the Book:

The Camping Trip is about a girl named Ernestine who is invited on a camping trip with her Aunt Jackie. It’s a fun read for anyone who went on a camping trip as a child because you can almost smell the scents and taste the flavors that live in your memory. For a child who has never been on a camping trip, the book is almost as good as being there. Ernestine describes the car trip, swimming in a natural body of water for the first time, making s’mores, going hiking, and more. Best of all, she describes going home and getting to share it with someone she loves.

Writing Exercise:

In The Camping Trip, Ernestine has never been on a camping trip before. The Writing Challenge for this week is for your child to think of something new they experienced this year and try to share their experience with a reader by writing about it. Describe the sights, smells, tastes, emotions, anything that formed part of the experience.

Happy Writing!

Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry and Juana Martinez-Neal

It’s almost summer and some of you might be feeling the call of the sea and sand. After reading this week’s book, you might start making plans to play on the beach — maybe even make a new friend.

The Picture Book of the Week is Swashby and the Sea, written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.

About the Book:

Captain Swashby is a weathered old sailor who just wants to retire to some peace and quiet near his old friend, the sea. Fortunately for him, his old friend and his new friend have other plans. A little girl and her granny move in next door and they don’t come alone, they bring beach balls, and sandcastles, and songs. Of course, they disturb Captain Swashby’s peace and quiet, but who know, maybe that’s for the best.

Writing Exercise:

In this story, the sea is one of the main characters. It is a wise old friend and helping hand. The writing challenge for the week is to write a story in which one of the elements — earth, water, wind, or fire — are a main character. They can be anything, friend, villain, or somewhere in between. Let your imagination run wild.

Happy Writing!