Tag Archives: picture books for older kids

eerie dearies + giveaway

18167208Eerie Dearies: 26 Ways to Miss School by Rebecca Chaperon (2014).


Curious why an ABC book is one for the older set? Because it’s dark. It’s creepy in the best way (think Edward Gorey). And it’s filled with wild excuses to miss school! All topics for a slightly older someone (or much older someone!).


It requires a brave reader such as yourself.


And even if one knows her ABCs, this book has lots of advanced concepts and words. You’ll see.




Take A for example. It’s for Astral Projection. Of course it is! Sorry teachers, but I’m having an out of body experience today.


(click image(s) to enlarge.)


B is for a broken heart. (See, this book is perfect for teenagers.)

There’s Dumbstruck, Ennui (my personal favorite), Gremlins, and Juvenile delinquent. And it ends with Z for zombie apocalypse. Not your average ABC, right? In fact, it’s inventive and strange and will appeal to any creative spirit.


Rebecca Chaperon‘s artistic style is sure to please as well: painterly and delicate and exquisite in every way. I love how she incorporated vintage books as backgrounds into the illustrations of quite vintage looking girls.


“While creating the images for the book I collected a great deal of old book covers looking for colours, textures and in some cases, titles, that would inspire the illustrations for Eerie Dearies. I scavenged second-hand shops examining the outer and inner covers of the books to find the right amount of ratty-ness, out-dated design and the general patina of age!”

                                                                   — RebeccaChaperon




Perhaps my favourite reason for missing school was ‘Snow Day.’ As anyone who grew up with cold snowy winters will tell you: there are days when things just shut down. Buses, schools, teachers. In the morning, If the weather seemed bad, my parents would turn on the radio. My brother and I would sit at the kitchen table, silently eating cereal and listening with such concentration to the radio list of each school that would be closed for the day. And of course if we heard them say our school we would absolutely freak out with happiness and then spend the day playing in the snow!”

                                                — RebeccaChaperon



EerieDearies_M_Chaperon1 copy


Thanks to Rebecca Chaperon for images!  



See more of her artwork from the book in her shop. And her other original art. Another bonus: she’s got special edition versions of the book that come signed and with stickers on her website!!




Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 6.17.02 PM


Simply Read Books generously provided one copy of Eerie Dearies for one lucky reader! And Rebecca Chaperon, because she’s so great, threw in some artwork as well. And she’s packaged it up with all the class and artistry you’d expect!


The grand prize winner will receive the book, Eerie Drearies and two prints 


two winners will receive two prints by Rebecca Chaperon!

Three winners in all!


Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

1.) Sign up for Rebecca Chaperon’s newsletter here.

2.) Sign up for This Picture Book Life‘s new and improved newsletter here.

3.) Leave a comment on this post with a way you once missed a day of school.


 I’ll contact the randomly chosen winners by email for your mailing addresses!

(Enter until Wednesday, June 25 at midnight; open to North American residents only—sorry about that, far flung international readers!)

Can We Save the Tiger?

Screen Shot 2014-03-26 at 8.01.00 PM


9780763649098Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White.


This is a beautiful book.  But a sad book too.

It introduces the reader to the concept of extinction. That some animals are in danger of going away and never coming back, that some animals already have. But also that there’s still hope.






“There are so many endangered species all over the world that it’s hard to pick out some special ones. 

Still, I’m sure you’ll agree that tigers are

pretty special.”


I like how the text gets into the complexities of why tigers and other animals are disappearing. Though told with clarity, this is not a simple book. It introduces the concept of invasive species. Of connectivity. It gives page time to Partula snails too. And introduces the Kakapo birds of Australia.




“…if we stop trying, the chances are that pretty soon we’ll end up with a world where there are no tigers or elephants, or sawfishes or whooping cranes, or albatrosses or ground iguanas.

And I think that would be a shame, don’t you?”



I also appreciate the way the artwork plays with scale as well as going back and forth between line drawings and painted ones. It brings the animals up close, then far away, from a sketchbook to right in front of you.




A perfect book for any budding animal-lover/conservationist.


And check out WWF’s list of endangered species and learn more about each one.

jane, the fox, & me


9781554983605I want to give Jane, the Fox, and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault to all the preteen and teen girls. Especially the bookish ones.

To break down the characters in the title:

We have Jane, as in Jane Eyre.

We have the fox, the animal the main character encounters at her school’s nature camp.

And we have Me, Helene, our protagonist.








The art!  (Remember Isabelle Arsenault‘s illustrations from Virginia Wolf?)

The story!

The interweaving of the two! This book is original, sensitive, and a deeply relevant stunner.

Helene feels all alone, and bullied. Her world is black and white and cold. The other girls invent insults that make her heart hammer and open up holes in her rib cage.

Pages from JaneTheFoxAndMe_FP


But Helene has a “creeping vine of an imagination.”  In the book she reads, Jane Eyre, in her mind when she thinks of it, there’s color. Sweeping, lush color so unlike her world.




The way Helene holds her head—down, ashamed—is heartbreaking. As are the little hints of how she sees herself in the mirror. How she relates to sweets and candy.  How she feels when trying on a bathing suit for nature camp. But I love the way her tired, but loving mother is a bright spot. As well as the true to life specific details Britt includes in every spread.





Helene is in despair. But she’s able to compare herself to plain Jane Eyre and, I think, see hope.

Pages from JaneTheFoxAndMe_FP-2


Then, the fox.

“With the fox out front,

the outcasts’ tent is transformed

into a tent of miracles.” 



Then, the friend. Geraldine.


“We spend an hour together looking for strawberries,

finding strawberries,

eating strawberries.

I tell the story of the fox.

I tell jokes.

I haven’t had a conversation this long in months.”

Then, the facts. That Helene is not as she’s feared: unlovable, disgusting, or a sausage. She’s a growing girl. The kind of girl a fox in the woods might approach. The kind of girl who can have a friend. The kind of girl who, like Jane Eyre, might be capable of giving and receiving love.


Please read this book and pass it along.


Thanks to Groundwood Books for the images!


And see my first installment in PICTURE BOOKS FOR THE OLDER SET HERE.