Hello, Jimmy! by Anna Walker

Unconditional love is a rare and beautiful thing. Sometimes it takes something unexpected to reveal it.

The Picture Book of the Week is Hello, Jimmy!, written and illustrated by Anna Walker.

About the Book:

Jack loves going to his dad’s house. They make tacos milkshakes, tell jokes and have quiet time. Jack wonders if his dad feels lonely when he is not around. Then one day, Jack’s dad finds Jimmy on his doorstep. Jimmy is a parrot that calls Jack Jimmy. Jack’s dad loves Jimmy. He thinks Jimmy is fun and clever. Jack feels like his dad finally has some company. Then, Jimmy flies away. Jack doesn’t want his dad to be lonely, so he goes out looking for Jimmy. Will Jack find Jimmy? Will Jack’s dad be lonely? Does Jack’s dad love Jimmy more than Jack?

Writing Exercise:

In this story, Jimmy shows up for a season. That means he shows up for a little while and helps Jimmy and his dad in some way. Write about a time that you or a main character in a fictional story, had someone or something show up in your lives for a short time that helped you in some way.

Happy Writing!

Dude! by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat

Can you think of one word that expresses a multitude a emotions?

The Picture Book of the Week is Dude!, word by Aaron Reynolds and illustrations by Dan Santat.

About the Book:

A platypus and a beaver go surfing.

They encounter wonder, fear, and an unexpected friend.

Things go wrong.

They find new ways to do old things.

And express it all with one word: Dude!

Writing Exercise:

Think of a child appropriate word that expresses a multitude of emotions/situations and draw each emotion/situation. It can be like a comic book with frames or just pages in a book.

Happy Writing!

Truman by Jean Reidy and Lucy Ruth Cummins

What would motivate you to leave your comfort zone?

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Truman, written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins.

About the Book:

Truman the turtle is small in a big world. A big part of that world is his Sarah, a girl who is his constant companion. One day Sarah begins to behave differently. She eats a big breakfast, wears new clothes, and leaves more green beans than usual in Truman’s plate, then she leaves. He waits, but she doesn’t come back. He waits as long as he can stand it, then goes after her. How far will he get? Will he find his Sarah? Will he be brave?

Writing Exercise:

In this story, Truman is forced to leave everything he knows and loves because he loves and misses Sarah so much more. Write a story or an essay about something that would make you leave your comfort zone. It can be a goal, a person, or an animal that you love or that your main character loves.

Happy Writing!

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Are you afraid of the big bad wolf?

This week’s Picture Book of the Week is Little Red, written and illustrated by Bethan Woollvin.

About the Book:

Little Red is a fractured fairytale, that is, a fairytale retold with a new or different spin. In this version the Little Red Riding Hood story, the main character is asked to go to grandma’s house to deliver cake, she meets a wolf and tells him where she is going. But in this version, Little Red is not one bit afraid of the big bad wolf. She anticipates his plan and forms a plan of her own. Her plan does not include getting eaten by a wolf and it does include a cozy, warm winter wrapped in a wolf coat.

Writing Exercise:

Write a fractured fairytale of your own by reading your favorite traditional fairytale and rewriting it with your own special twist.

Happy Writing!

Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark by Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck

Do you know how to find the light when things get dark?

The Picture Book of the Week is Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark, written by Jonathan Stutzman and illustrated by Jay Fleck.

About the Book:

Tiny T. Rex and friends are on a campout in their backyard. They are ready for adventure. There’s only one catch–there are no night lights outside, none that they are used to, that is. They close their eyes, they build a tent, they hide their snacks, nothing works. They hatch a plan to bring their inside night lights outside, but that fails, too. Will Tiny T. Rex and friends every find a light in the very dark dark?

Writing Exercise:

Tiny T. Rex and friends were searching for a light that was right in front of them, but they didn’t see it until they really looked. Write a story or an essay about not noticing something that was right in front of you.

Happy Writing!

Sweep by Louise Greig and Júlia Sardà

Have you ever gotten swept away by a bad mood?

The Picture Book of the Week is Sweep, written by Louise Greig and illustrated by Júlia Sardà.

About the Book:

Ed isn’t always in a bad mood, but on this day he is in a big one. At first only small things get swept up in his bad mood, but the more he ruminates, the bigger his bad mood gets. Bigger and bigger things get swept up until it seems like the entire world has been swept up in Ed’s big, bad mood. If he would just look up at what is beautiful. Can anything make Ed look up?

Writing Exercise:

This book uses the metaphor of sweeping up leaves and cars and buses and bicycles to represent Ed’s bad mood as it gets bigger and bigger. Write or draw a metaphor for your bad mood. Is it a freight train running everything over or is it a tornado ripping everything in its path. Let your imagination run wild.

Happy Writing!

Louis by Tom Lichtenheld and Julie Rowan-Zoch

Have you ever felt overlooked, mistreated, like you wanted to find a place where you were appreciated?

The Picture Book of the Week is Louis, written by Tom Lichtenheld and illustrated by Julie Rowan-Zoch.

About the Book:

Louis is about a teddy bear named Louis who isn’t quite happy with his job. When he isn’t being used as a hankie, he is being fed to dinosaurs or sprayed with milk. The only solution, he thinks, is to get away–go somewhere where he is appreciated. He just has to find the right moment–just not when it’s raining and not during a tea party. Will Louis ever find the right time?

Writing Exercise:

Louis isn’t happy with his job. He feels under appreciated. Write a story or an essay about a character or you wanting to get out of a similar situation. Include details like being sprayed with milk or being eaten by a dinosaur.

Happy Writing!

The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers

Congratulations to Village Books, an indie bookstore in the Woodlands, TX that opened it’s door this past Friday, September 10, giving me a new place to browse the lastest picture books.

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Have you ever felt like a misfit? Have you ever yearned to be understood?

The Picture Book of the Week is The Barnabus Project, written and illustrated by brothers Terry, Eric, and Devin Fan.

About the Book:

Barnabus had the misfortune of being born imperfect in a world that demanded perfection. He was kept deep underground where no one would see him except the other misfits and the Green Rubber Suits. He accepted his existence, enjoyed his favorite foods, until…he learned he was scheduled for recycling. Barnabus had to do something. He planned an escape. It would be hard, but he and his imperfect friends had no other choice. They took a chance.

Writing Exercise:

Have you ever had to escape a difficult situation? Write a story or an essay about a time or a character who had to escape a difficult situation. It can be about getting out of homework or getting out of a family function, anything you had to escape.

Happy Writing!

Are We Pears Yet? by Miranda Paul and Carin Berger

It’s hard to wait for what we want, but waiting is just part of the process.

The Picture Book of the Week is Are We Pears Yet?, written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Carin Berger.

About the Book:

Are We Pears Yet? is about two seeds who are waiting to become pears. They have never done this before and don’t really know what is coming — well, one of them seems to. They only know that eventually they will become pears. It is their destiny. They make sure they have everything they need to grow, they nap when they have to, but they just can’t wait. Although, one of them is more patient than the other.

Writing Exercise:

Are We Pears Yet? explains the process a seed goes through to become a pear in the form of a play, that is, using dialogue to move the story along. Try to write a story explaining a scientific process using only dialogue. If you can make them cute like pear seeds, that’s a bonus.

Happy Writing!

Child of the Flower Song People by Gloria Amescua and Duncan Tonatiuh

Luz Jimenez survived hardships during early 1900’s Mexico and became a model and a teacher who was for many “the soul of Mexico”.

The Picture Book of the Week is a biography called Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jimenez, Daughter of the Nahua, written by Gloria Amescua and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.

About the Book:

Luz grew up in a village called Milpa Alta, listening to the stories her elders told, learning to grind corn, twist yarn, and weave. She spoke Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs and kept all the stories she heard in her heart. Luz wanted more than anything to be a teacher, but life interrupted. When the Revolution came to her village, she and her family fled to Mexico City, where they sold food and handicrafts to make a living. Luz grew up and, against all odds, fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher, but not in the way she had expected. She taught the world about the beauty and strength of the flower-song people.

Writing Exercise:

Do you know of an inspiring person who accomplished something close to your heart? Do some research and write a biography of this person like the writer of this book did. It can be an ancestor or someone you know right now, like a grandparent. Write about their life and how they accomplished what they did and why it is important to you.

Happy Writing!