Project 365 Challenge: Perfect Picture Book Fridays

Yes We Can

Written by Sam McBratney and Illustrated by Charles Fuge

Publishers: HarperCollinsPublishers

Ages 2 – 7


Valuing one’s own (and others) strengths and qualities, bullying and teasing, getting along, diversity.


“Little Roo was chasing leaves one windy day.  Roo’s friends, Country Mouse and Quacker Duck were waiting to play with him.”


The beautiful autumn day begins with high hopes on the part of the three friends.  They want to make the biggest mountain of leaves ever seen.  Unfortunately, they begin to make fun of each other and everyone is feeling sad and mad until Roo’s mother comes out and suggests that instead of making fun of what each of them cannot do well, they should appreciate what each of them can do well.

Why do I like this book:

This book appeals to young children…the clear, colorful engaging illustrations support the text that relays a common problem that parents and teachers see all the time.  Children can be very cruel to each other and this is a story that helps them see a positive alternative to teasing and bullying.  In Show Me How, I pinpoint the six major components of self-esteem…one of them is to be able to value one’s own strengths and qualities while respecting those of others.  This is what the three animal friends learn to do. The book also provides a lesson in diversity…the leaves are different colors and shapes and sizes…and they are all beautiful leaves.  In the same way, people are all different colors and shapes and sizes…and they are all beautiful people, valuable in their own unique ways.

Related Activities: Project 1: Leaf Collage


I’ve read this book with kindergarten and Pre-K classes, as well as at library programs with children ages 2 – 7.  After the story, we talk about leaves and I show them a collage with leaves of different sizes, shapes and colors.  A nature walk can be taken before this project and the children can collect some leaves and then make their own leaf collage by gluing the leaves on a piece of construction paper.

Project 2: Mad and glad leaf doorknob hanger


We talk about how it feels when someone teases us.  Every child can relate to that…hands go up to tell me about a time when someone was mean to them.  I ask them how their face looks when someone makes them feel sad.  I look at a sea of frowning faces.  Then I ask them how they feel when someone tells them they did a great job.  Every frown becomes a beaming smile.  I show them the leaf pattern frowning face and ask how the leaf person is feeling.  Then I flip it over and ask the same question.  Each child get a blank piece of heavyweight construction paper in the shape of a leaf, and using markers or crayons, they make one side happy or glad and the other side sad or mad.  We punch a hole in the top and put a piece of yarn through it so they can hang it on their bedroom doorknob…turning to the happy or sad face depending on how they are feeling.


This is a great opportunity for parents or an older sibling to talk to a young child about how they are feeling…if they see the sad/mad face hanging on the door, this is a signal that there may be a problem.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Have you joined the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge to read every day to your child?

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD'S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING. freelance writer, picture book junkie, love to travel, hike, cook, play Monopoly with my 5-year old grandson and go fly-fishing with my husband.

Posted on January 13, 2012, in 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge, children's picture books, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Project 365 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. A very thoughtful story. I look forward to reading it. I might need to make myself one of those door hangers. Don’t worry. It would be on glad most days, but sounds like a good warning sysme — if I need to utilize the mad side.


    • I know, Stacy…I keep mine handy…just in case. :) The kids really loved making it…I think they enjoyed being able to express those mad and sad feelings that they often keep hidden. Thanks again for being the vehicle for my meeting Susannah and taking part in PPBF.


  2. What a wonderful choice, Vivian! I haven’t read this one myself, but I love Guess How Much I Love You by the same author. I’m so glad you chose a book with a bullying theme – someone else did too! – and I was thinking while I was updating the list yesterday that I wished we had a few more – and here they are :) Love the activity, too! Thanks for sharing!


    • I thank you, Susannah…I’m enjoying your PPBF…what an amazing resource you are building for parents and teachers!
      I do love extending the story experience with other activities…and the kids really enjoy it. As they work on the craft project, they are utilizing what they remember from the story reading…and adding their own spin on it…I’m always amazed at the creativity they express!


  3. Love the message in that book . . . and it ties in well with my last post.

    Thanks, Vivian!


    • Appreciate the link to my post, Nancy!
      I agree…it did tie in with The Tarnished Golden Rule post…What is so sad is that at a very young age, kids are already teasing, bullying and pointing fingers at others…is this an innate behavior…or are they leaning it from someone/somewhere? Parents need to be so sensitve to the fact that kids will mimic them and model themselves after their parents.


  4. When I first saw the title, I thought it was going to be an election story – LOL.

    Sounds wonderful. I hadn’t heard of it although like many others, we’re big fans of Guess How Much I Love You. So I’m sure this story is just as good.


  5. I have no children in my life right now but really enjoy reading your posts and so appreciate what you’re doing. Great book choice!


    • Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. I really appreciate what you said. Children are so important..and the time we have to steer them in the right direction is so limited. I truly love what I do. :)


  6. This is a beautiful addition to our PPB Fridays. It is a wonderful story about teasing and diversity — and actually teaches kids tolerance. I am very impressed with your suggested activities and how you have used it at school. This certainly is a winner all the way around. Thank you for sharing!


    • Hi Patricia,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you like the activities…it’s what my book is all about…providing parents and teachers with simple craft (and cooking) activities that extend the story book learning experience and allow more opportunity for discussion between adult and child. :) I think Susannah’s PPBF is a wonderful resource for those with children.


  7. I can’t remember if you follow Julie’s blog, or she yours. Or whether I’ve already given you a link to her. If I’m being redudant, sorry:

    I expect that you would both enjoy each other’s blog.


    • Nancy…you are the best!
      I went to Julie’s blog and joined her 12×12 challenge to write a picture book draft each month. I’ve needed to have an incentive to get back to writing…and this is it!


  8. Great book and story to recommend. Excellent projects too and a lot of effort involved. Love the photos. :-)


  9. Your activities for this lovely book are just wonderful. i can tell the gifted teacher coming out in all of these :) I like focussing o the diversity in the leaves as well as all the animals!


    • Joanna…I appreciate your kind words. :) I’ve always loved working with little ones…reading, crafting, cooking, whatever…and with the school programs I do now, I have a chance to connect with the next generation.


  10. I like the idea for the crafts! I wonder why they hurt each others feelings in the book? Don’t tell me! I’ll read the answer (in the book)! ;)


    • And I wonder why kids hurt each other’s feelings in real life. :(
      Seriously, the story does encourage kids to think before they say things that might hurt others…it also encourages them to look for the good in each other…and in themselves. After I read the story, the kids fall all over themselves to share with each other and be kind…it’s amazing!


  1. Pingback: The Golden Rule Is Tarnished « Spirit Lights The Way

  2. Pingback: Animal A to Z Picture Book Recommendations for Great Summer Reading « Positive Parental Participation

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