Tag Archives: kidlit
The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna (September 2015).
First, the neon pink in this book! You’ll see it on the opening endpapers and it is bright bright bright! Then you can watch for it throughout the story. On little Eddie’s jacket. And then, in the conclusion, on the wonderful fluffy little squishy for which the book is a quest. That neon pink connects these two characters. It tells us they were meant to be united.
(click image(s) to enlarge)
We immediately love and know Eddie because she thinks she can’t do anything (who can’t relate?). And that she has a big heart. When she hears “birthday—Mommy—fuzzy—little—squishy” from her sister’s mouth, she wants to give her mother something very special. She sets off to look for that very fuzzy little squishy thing that she believes must exist.
“The whole book stems from the character of Fluffy. One day, out of nowhere, I drew this kind of electrified dog and I instantly felt the need to tell its story.”
Eddie searches her town, going to store owners who might have just the thing. I love Eddie’s independence and her relationship with the shopkeepers, each of whom gives her something for her journey (a clover, a rare stamp). (Oh, and look out for tiny spots of hot pink on some spreads—I’m looking at you especially, antique shop.) But of course, as in real life, there’s one adult Eddie is not friendly with. Because he’s a meanie! (And kind of scary!)
“I always want to tell the same story: a fragile being that finds great strength within himself.”
And just like those magical times in real life, it is in the moment of wanting to give up that Eddie finds what she’s been looking for. The exact embodiment of those words she heard. Fuzzy and little and squishy (and neon pink!).
Eddie still has obstacles to overcome after that, but with the help her shopkeeper friends’ tokens, she does overcome them. Eddie discovers that she is good at something: finding an awesome gift for her mom.
That Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy and Eddie. They are the heart of this book. And this book has a lot of electric pink heart!
Big thanks to Enchanted Lion Books for those first three images!
This is a book that cries out for a craft. A wonderful fluffy little squishy for your very own! And it turns out hot pink tulle is the perfect material for making one. (If I can make one, that means it’s easy to do too.)
What you need:
A roll of tulle (I found mine at a Joann craft store). Pink!
Two pipe cleaners. Pink!
Construction paper. Pink!
A small pom pom. Pink!
Two googly eyes.
Plus, scissors, fabric glue, tape, and a book. That’s it.
Wrap your tulle around a book (I used the very book!) 20 times. (You can make a smaller fluffball by using a smaller book.)
Slide the oval of tulle off and tie a length of tulle around its middle to make a kind of bow. (Don’t knot it too tightly—you’ll need to be able to stick a pipe cleaner under there later.)
Cut through the rounded parts on each side so the tulle sprays out in all directions, then trim it all around to be a bit more uniform. (You can be messy, which is great. Just be careful as well.) Here’s a tulle pom pom tutorial that may help.
Insert one pipe cleaner into the knotted tulle in the middle of the pom pom. Hook it around and secure it. (Be careful as those pipe cleaner ends are sharp!)
Make the face by cutting a square of pink construction paper and rolling it into a cone; then flatten it. Glue on googly eyes and a pom pom nose. Tape or glue a halved pipe cleaner to the inside of the cone. Insert the other end of the pipe cleaner into the knot of tulle length and secure it carefully so it sticks.
Voila! Wonderful fluffball!
Speaking of pink picture book crafts, you may be interested in my Rude Cakes post.
Picture books often address a particular emotion, explicitly or not, and it’s one of my favorite things about them. They give you a certain reaction, they help you cope with a feeling, or they help you usher one in. So, I give you 30 picture book titles to help assuage, validate, or cultivate what a little one (or you) is going through.
The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes is essentially a hope manisfesto! If you’ve ever had a dream, this one’s for you.
Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley. Hank shows us what it means to have the impulse to do something kind and then to do everything it takes to actually make it happen.
Happy Birthday Madame Chapeau by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Madame Chapeau may be a fabulous hat maker, but she always eats dinner alone. I love how this book shows us that companionship can come not only from a romantic relationship, but from an unexpected friend.
Grandfather Ghandi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedu, illustrated by Evan Turk. This is the book that sparked the idea for this post. In it Gandhi’s grandson discovers that even the most peaceful people still experience anger.
You’re Finally Here! by Mélanie Watt. This is a classic story of impatience, something any reader who’s ever waited for something can relate to.
Peace is an Offering by Annette Lebox and Stephanie Graegin. This is the kind of book that will make you cry, in a good way. It’s like a little manual for the peaceful life.
Little Elliot Big City by Mike Curato. Besides being an immensely sweet and satisfying book, at its heart is Elliot, who is very small. And when you read it, you find out that an antidote for smallness is to find someone else to share with, regardless of size or being seen.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson and E.B. Lewis. Who can’t relate to this one? Even the main character, an elementary school child, already has something she remembers and wishes she could change.
Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo. Felipe the cactus is different from his spiny relatives all right. We as readers know he truly deserves that hug he wants, even though his family doesn’t see it that way. This one celebrates being different even in its difficulty.
Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison. I love this one because it tells us that being ordinary is pretty super if you’re being yourself.
Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bidner and John Parra. This picture book is for anyone feeling powerless to realize they’re not. Cornelius shows us what a giant difference one person can make, especially when they inspire others to pitch in.
Stephen and the Beetle by Jorge Luján and Chiara Carrer. This is such a great example of imagining another’s perspective, even if that other is an insect.
Red by Jan De Kinder. At its heart, this book shows the kind of compassion that rouses us to stand up for someone else, no matter how hard it is to do so.
I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt. A perfect primer on wanting to be something you’re not and then recognizing the upside of your own state.
Jane, the Fox, & Me by Isabelle Arsenault and Fanny Brit. Aside from being one of the most gorgeous books ever, this story is for anyone who hangs her head because of what someone else has said or because of the thoughts swimming in her own mind. Fear not, it is not as it seems in the moment!
The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts and Christian Robinson. An admonition to notice things, to log them away, and to stand tall no matter how small you are.
Hooray For Hat! by Brian Won. This is a book to turn that frown upside down for sure. Just the design and color do that for me, but it’s the sweet story of friends helping friends that seals the deal.
Tía Isa Wants a Car by Meg Medina and Claudio Muñoz. The niece who is the narrator in this story has so much devotion to her aunt and to their dreams—devotion she’s willing to work very hard for.
Night Driving by John Coy and Peter McCarty. A slow and quiet father/son nighttime drive with all the details of remembering.
Beautiful Griselda by ISOL. A cautionary fairy tale for anyone too concerned with their own beauty.
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea. This is an archetypal jealousy book and has big-time humor to boot! Goat’s jealousy, as all jealousy, comes from only valuing what that shiny unicorn has instead of valuing your own good stuff.
Beegu by Alexis Deacon. One of my favorite picture books ever and perfect for times when you feel super out of place. But don’t worry, there are small people on earth who will accept you—children.
One by Kathryn Otoshi. A book that inspires on many levels—in the ingenuity of its execution as well as its message.
Nasreddine by Odile Weulersse and Rebecca Dautremer. A beautifully illustrated parable about not caring what others think of you.
How To by Julie Morstad. Like a how to manual for joy, Morstad’s admonitions, if followed, would lead to the best day ever. A book you’ll want to live in.
Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith and Marla Frazee. I love this character with a terrible case of the doldrums until she whips them into cake! Cake to cure any foul mood!
Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon. Ralph shows us what it’s like to think we don’t have a story and then discover we do. (He also has great writing advice like eating lots of chocolate.)
Crankenstein by Samantha Berger and Dan Santat. This will give you the giggles to cure that crankiness right up.
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. This is the most special picture book ever to me. It will go there with you into hopelessness, but then right at the very last moment, it will show you possibility.
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc. This tender, true book! One helps the other and in turn the other has something to offer the first. Isn’t that what companionship is?
I hope this list comes in handy for you now or in the future. And if you have any other picture book titles that you associate strongly with an emotion, do let me know in the comments!
I’m so excited to have Jane Tanner, co-founder of the kids’ book subscription service, Bookroo as guest post-er on This Picture Book Life today! She’s going to give us seven of her favorite and completely awesome board books for the littlest readers. Over to Jane!
1. Moustache Up! A Playful Game of Opposites by Kimberly Ainsworth, illustrated by Daniel Roode.
Mustaches are definitely in right now, and this book pays playful homage to the trend, while at the same time being chic and interactive. The text of the book is all in delightful rhymes, which are catchy and keep you moving on, and the drawings are minimalist and high contrast. Possibly the best part is the packet of sturdy moustaches at the beginning of the book that kids can match and stick into the pages of the book, or play dress up with.
2. You Are My Baby series by Lorena Siminovich.
The first time I came across one of these books (the Ocean edition!), I was in absolute raptures. We live in a world of square books, which is great and all, but the You Are My Baby series’ unique shapes make them that much more special right out of the gate. And, it’s like two books in one–the baby book, and the parent book. The illustrations are modern, clean, and adorable, and it teaches children some less-well known names for baby animals, which is a plus!
3. Pride and Prejudice: A Baby Lit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams, Illustrated by Alison Oliver.
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book of all time, and so my mom bought this board book for me on principle. It’s an adorable counting primer with modern and spunky illustrations that give little ones something to look at and count while we get reminders of all our favorite parts of the original. As a side note, all of Baby Lit’s books are great introductions to classics, displayed in a beautiful, child-friendly way.
4. A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na.
A Book of Sleep is an absolutely delightful bedtime choice, with illustrations so unique and beautiful that I found myself fascinated by them instantly. Children and adults will enjoy the mix of textures, colors, and patterns interwoven throughout the illustrations as the story follows an owl as he watches over all the other animals falling asleep. The book teaches about sleeping habits of various animals, and also gives children an opportunity to play “I spy” as they watch for the owl on every page.
5. Hopper and Wilson by Maria van Lieshout.
The watercolor illustrations in Hopper and Wilson are absolutely whimsical and delightful. It tells a story of two friends, a mouse and an elephant, who go on an adventure to find the edge of the world where they hope there will be endless lemonade and the opportunity to touch the moon. While they get separated along the way, (spoiler alert!) they find each other again, and the book creates openings for discussion about the importance of friendship, not giving up, and the earth being round and not flat!
6. Owl and Friends by Joyce Wan.
You’ll probably be as impressed as I was when I discovered that Joyce Wan can even make worms look cute! All of the illustrations are clean and simple, yet utterly delightful! Owl and Friends introduces young children to a variety of animals and what they do, and features a fun foldout at the end.
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, pictures by Dan Hanna.
7. Pout Pout Fish is a New York Times Bestseller and teaches the classic and ever important lesson that happiness a choice. The text is fun and rhyming and I’ve even heard people turn it into a song as they read, although I’m not that accomplished! The illustrations are fun, expressive and detailed, giving opportunity for parents to point out things other than the main story in the sea surroundings.
Thanks, Jane, for the awesome list!
Bookroo empowers parents to build their children’s book collections in an affordable and exciting way that inspires a love of reading in children by creating a delightfully whimsical experience. Each month Bookroo delivers 2-3 adorably wrapped, curated board or picture books to your door for you to keep! Retail value of the books always exceeds subscription price.
Bookroo is generously offering a deal for This Picture Book Life readers! Get $4 off your subscription if you sign up though the link.
And there’s one more special thing Bookroo is doing right now. If you purchase a subscription, you’ll get a coupon for a Bookroo box to pass along to a friend. Yup, buy one, give one!
The premise is simple and the words are few. The characters are all black and white animals and the only color in the palette is from that bright, poppy box of doughnuts.
This is a manners book, but done funny with a dose of edge. Come see!
Just look at Mr. Panda! His gloomy eyes. The slight smudge of his shape. His “Doughnuts” cap! He looks like an apprehensive offerer. It’s like he already knows what’s going to happen.
And what happens is every animal he approaches doesn’t say please. They’re kind of an entitled (to doughnuts) bunch. And that’s the pattern of the book, with slight variation. Mr. Panda asks an animal if they’d like a doughnut and they respond with “I want the blue one and the yellow one” or “No, go away” or “I want them all! Then bring me some more.” No doughnuts for those guys.
Then, brilliantly, a new animal shows up. A lemur, who turns the pattern and even the orientation of the illustrations upside down! A lemur who says please and thank you and gets all the doughnuts. That last spread with the polite lemur in the box of doughnuts, bright pastry rings on his tail tells us that if you’re a nice lemur, you get doughnuts. Which is a pretty good deal.
One exuberant treat and one straight-faced panda. And the need for PLEASE.
Please Mr. Panda images from Steve Antony’s website.
My talented friend Bonnie at Thirsty for Tea is a seriously creative cook and tea connoisseur in addition to being one of my favorite people. Her blog recipes are always gorgeous and full of fun!
No artificial colorings found in these poppy pastries. Bonnie whipped up icing that’s colored and flavored using pea flower, hibiscus, matcha, Earl Gray, and rooibos tea! (I told you she was amazing.)
These are also on the healthier side—baked not fried and with a couple ingredients like coconut oil and flax seeds. But mostly, they’re fun and delicious and would make most creatures say, yes, PLEASE!
For the recipe, more photos, and Bonnie’s take on the book, visit her blog!
You may be interested in my first collaboration with Bonnie too. Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love + Apple Cake Recipe by Thirsty for Tea.