Perfect Picture Book Fridays: Julius…The Baby of the World

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources.  Before I do the review, I have a few things I need to share with you.

My little poem, Fears of the Inner Child, took second place in Marylin Warner’s February Poetry Contest.  You can see all of the awesome entries on her blog: Things I Want to Tell My Mother.  

 It’s also the beginning of a new month…so we will be choosing the February winner of the Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge and sending a picture book out in the next few days.  I know parents are so very busy…but I hope you are reading with your children every day, even if you are not able to post a comment.


Since February has come to an end, it’s also time to check-in with the 12 x 12 group…yes…my February picture book draft is completed.

Last, but not least, today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday!!!  For more information, resources and events, you can go to the official Dr. Seuss website

Oh…sorry…one more thing!  Don’t forget that March 7th is World Read Aloud Day…go to the LitWorld website to find out about planned events…or celebrate by reading aloud to kids.  I just got back from reading Spaghetti Eddie to 15 Pre-K children…they LOVED it!  Fifteen hands shot up when I asked “Who likes to eat spaghetti?”   Next week, to join in celebrating World Read Aloud Day, I’ll be reading Julius – The Baby of the World, to 20 Pre-K kids at Keller School. 

You can also visit Ella Johnson’s wonderful website to get more information about the NEA’s Read Across America program and to enter to win several books and hop from there to over 100 other blog sites that are hosting book giveaways.

And now…(drumroll please)…Perfect Picture Book Friday.

My picture book selection today is one of the hundred picture books I recommend in my book for parents and teachers, Show Me HowJulius: The Baby of the World is a veritable “baby” compared to some of the others I have picked…only twenty-two years old…but again, as relevant today as when it was published in 1990.


Julius: The Baby of the World

Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Publishers: Greenwillow Press

Ages: 3 – 8


Sibling rivalry, bullying, celebrating an individual’s unique strengths and talents


“Before Julius was born, Lilly was the best big sister in the world.  She gave him things.  She told him secrets.  And she sang lullabies to him every night.”


Lilly eagerly awaits the birth of her baby brother, but when Julius finally arrives, Lilly wishes that he would go away.  Her jealousy causes her to resent the attention her mother and father shower on Julius, even though they continue to treat her with love and affection as well.  She sings mean songs to him, tweaks his tail and draws a family portrait leaving Julius out of the picture.  Her parents call Julius, the baby of the world, but Lilly wishes he would go away so that things would go back to the way they were before he was born.  At a family party for the baby, her cousin begins insulting Julius.  What will Lilly do…join her cousin in making fun of Julius…or defend her baby brother? 

Why I like this book

Sibling rivalry is a common occurrence.  Many children resent the arrival of a new baby…and why shouldn’t they?  Now they have to share the time and attention of their parents…and sharing is a difficult skill to learn.  Reading this book to a young child who is in that situation would provide parents with a great opportunity to engage with their child and discuss how their child is feeling about the situation..allowing the child to express his or her feelings.  The author/illustrator, Kevin Henkes, uses his amazing talent for knowing just what little ones are thinking and feeling.  Lilly leans over and whispers to her baby brother, “If you were a number, you would be zero.”  The book is funny and heartwarming.  If I could change anything about the book, I would wish that Lilly was not such a bully as she insists that her cousin praise Julius.  Perhaps this is Lilly’s persona…but I would rather end with her learning a “kinder, gentler” way to encourage others to see things her way.

Related Activities:

When I read picture books to kindergarten and Pre-K classes, I always follow-up the story with a simple arts and crafts project.  Not only does this extend the learning experience, it also gives the kids a chance to talk about the story and how it relates to their own situation.

For this story, I love to make Popsicle stick puppets.  The kids love this activity…and then can do role-playing with the puppets they have made…another opportunity for them to express their feelings.  Parents can encourage  their children to put on a puppet show with the family of puppets they have made and then join in, perhaps taking the role of the child while the child becomes the mother or father. 

Popsicle Stick Puppets

You will need: Several Popsicle sticks, construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors and glue.

1.      Let your child decide how many puppets to make and who they will be.

2.      Draw the people (you can also use people cut out from magazines).

3.      Cut out the people and paste them onto the top half of each Popsicle stick.

4.      Put on a play!

The above image is from the blog of Muffin Tin Mom.

Read/Write/Think has a lesson plan for Julius the Baby of the World.

You can find lots of quick and easy instructions for Popsicle stick puppets at here also has great puppet-making instructions here.

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.

65 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Fridays: Julius…The Baby of the World

  1. Love the craft of expressing feelings through puppets and their families. perfect for this perfect picture book friday idea.

    I also think read alloud day should be celebrated with kids and the people who read to them.

    Do you link up in the am to her story link up ?


  2. Great selection. I’m not familiar with this Kevin Henkes book. He is such a wonderful writer. Great activities as usual. The puppets are a great way to talk about feelings. Loved your review and choice.


    • Thank you so much, Pat! I agree…puppets are one of the best ways to encourage children to open up and talk about how they feel…after all…it is the puppet talking, right? 🙂
      Glad you liked the choice!


  3. Congrats on your poem and the reading to kids sounds great too. Kevin Henkes is super, this sounds great. And what a cute craft too.


    • Thank you, Catherine. I love reading picture books to young children…maybe as much or more than they like hearing them. 🙂 Making puppets is quick, easy and so much fun…perfect for storytelling and roleplaying.


  4. First, congratulations on your second place poem! That’s fantastic. Next, you have chosen one of my hands-down favorite books for this week! It comes at the new sibling issue from an entirely different angle than my own Not Yet, Rose, and is just such a great story for new big siblings because, let’s face it, it’s hard when a new baby arrives! I love your activities as always! Thanks so much for adding this wonderful book to our list (even if you snatched it out from under me again like The Kissing Hand – we have the same taste in great books :))


    • Thanks for the congrats, Susanna…no one was more surprised than me. 🙂 The first two lines just wrote themselves…and I realized they had been inside me all of my life.
      Glad you love Julius and Lilly as much as I do…Lilly openly expresses what so many children are feeling…in the introduction of my book, I relay my oldest son’s reactions (he was 3 at the time) when I returned home from the hospital with his new baby brother. He took one look at us, turned his back on me, and ran into the house screaming, “If you loved me, why do you need him?” Why indeed! Unfortunately, this book hadn’t been written yet, but I did read him Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats.


    • Thanks, Julie! At the risk of repeating myself and boring you…again I thank you so very much for issuing the 12 x 12 challenge and organizing it in such an amazing way…the guest posters you have add immense value to the entire exercise. Will this wonderful energized walking-on-air feeling go away at the end of the 12 x 12 Challenge? I don’t think so…now that I’ve begun writing again, I know I will never stop…it’s too much fun!


  5. Great choice, Vivian. I did a Kevin Henkes book this week, too! This book is a perfect conversation starter. My kids gasp in horror when Lilly says, “And I hate Julius,” because “hate” is not a word that is allowed in our house. But it represents such real feelings and I love that we can talk about how Lilly feels and how we should deal with those feelings. Learning to be kind even when we don’t feel like it is such a hard skill to master.

    Thanks, Vivian!


    • So true about learning the “skill” of kindness, Amy. 🙂
      Glad you liked my PPBF pick. When Lilly says, “If you were a number, you would be zero!”, I knew this was a book every older sibling would appreciate. I often think it is amazing when siblings do get along…there are so many reasons for them not to. 🙂


  6. Congrats on your poem, Vivian. I too love your puppet craft activity. This is such a good, unthreatening way for children maybe struggling with similar sibling jealousy to express their feelings. This is a Kevin Henkes book I hadn’t heard of, so many thanks for the choice.


    • Joanna…thank you so much…I really enjoyed writing the poem…it helped me to examine some feelings I’d had for a long time, but had never expressed verbally. 🙂
      Glad you liked the PPBF pick! Yes, I love puppets for kids…so many ways we can use them…just storytelling is great for their literacy skills…and then role-playing for expressing emotions and addressing concerns.

      So poems and puppets…both great ways to express how we are feeling. 🙂


  7. Ooo, I had forgotten about this fabulous book! I have to recommend it to a friend who recently had a baby boy and has a daughter turning 4. Perfect for them!


    • Thanks Marcy!
      And the Popsicle stick people can also be Popsicle stick animals or storybook characters…very versatile activity…I’ll be making some with my grandson in April when I stay with him in April.


      • My grandkids love that sort of thing… you know, scissors, glue, construction paper, so thanks for the share. 😉 Enjoy your visit with you little grandcritter… they grow up so fast.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Kirsten. I especially love picture books that have messages that help young children deal with various issues. Glad you liked this one…I agree, it would be a great book for a family that is expecting a new baby…big brother or big sister often think this new person will be a great playmate…and when that doesn’t happen, they are disappointed and frustrated. 🙂


  8. When I was pregnant with my second child, I was worried about sibling rivalry and everyone around me told me my son would be jealous of his brother for the rest of his life.
    The best book I ever read on the issue (for parents) is Nurture Shock ( where it demistifies sibling rivalry. Yes, a sibling will get less attention when a baby is born but they happen to be very flexible. After that, the #1 reason kids fight is about possessions (read toys), not their parents’ affection. My kids have NEVER told me I prefer one over the other, or spend more time with one than the other. But they fight about toys every day! I need more books about this issue! 😉


    • Milka,
      Thank you for addressing the issue of sibling rivalry and providing the link to the book that helped you. We all need all the resources we can get. Also, your point about the children fighting over toys is a good one. Maybe we can talk about it in a post and provide some books that would help…I will do some research, ok?


      • Sounds good. I know there are many children’s books on sibling rivalry but a lot of them just deal with the arrival of a new baby, not the everyday life of sharing everything with siblings (and not just parents!).


  9. BTW, is this the page for the March books? My son read this book in school and asked me to get it at the library. It’s called I Need My Monster and it’s hilarious. I borrowed a lot of books about Monsters so I’ll have to share the best ones here and on my blog. Santa Claws is a good one too (monsters do get presents when they’re good and scary).

    Oh, and I’d like to mention the book Extra Yarn. Great story about a girl finding a box with neverending yarn and knitting sweaters for everyone until a pirate steals the box from her after she refuses to sell it.


    • Yup…this page will do just fine for the March comments…I linked it up to the PPP Reading Challenge logo on the sidebar. 🙂
      Milka…you are amazing…I love your enthusiasm for books and reading to your kids…you are a very special lady! Love the books you are reading, by the way.


  10. Haven’t read a book by Kevin Henkes in a while, and I haven’t heard of this one before. My kids are definitely going through sibling rivalry right now. Great choice. Thanks!


    • Glad the book will come in handy for your kids, Nessa.:)
      I think sibling rivalry is a pretty common situation…more so than to find brothers and sisters all getting along together all of the time. 🙂
      I love this book because Lilly is so over-the-top with her jealously…and even kids who don’t get along will observe that…and hopefully will pick up on the turn-around that Lilly does at the end of the book.


    • Thank you, Stacy…I was really happy about it!
      You are so right about the book being a great choice, even for kids that don’t have brothers and sisters…it’s also about getting along with others and accepting each person as they are.


  11. Congratulations on winning the contest!! Very well deserved 🙂

    you’ve mentioned a classic issue between siblings – rivalry! From a family of 6 children, I know very well about siblings rivalry but good thing that it was well controled and just passing. Now, talking about siblings, made me miss them even more! It’s really hard to leave oceans away from the family.

    Spanish Pinay


    • Thanks so much for your kind words about the poem. 🙂
      I don’t get to visit with my sister very often…sometimes a couple of years can go by…but we do talk on the phone several times a week…and of course, there is email. 🙂


  12. Vivian

    Thanks for visiting my blog and putting a link to my latest post “Seeing a new picture in picture books” in your Perfect Picture Book Friday post above.

    I was delighted to visit your site and find it’s exactly what I was looking for so I’ve signed up to follow your blog!

    And your book is great – being a picture book author, I am naturally thinking of finding some resources where I can use picture books for teaching and doing fun stuff with Caleb. How do I get your book here in Singapore?


    • Hi Emily,
      I’m thrilled you came to visit my blog!!! I’ve loved picture books my entire life. When I saw your post, I knew I had to share it with my readers.
      If you would like to buy a copy of my book 🙂 I can definitely get one to you. Let me find out the cost of mailing a book to Singapore. I’ll email you the info.
      Thank you so much for signing up to follow…hope you enjoy my posts. 🙂


    • Hi Barbara,
      And thank you for visiting mine. 😉 This is such a great book, especially for families where sibling rivalry is a problem (are there any families where it isn’t?) 🙂
      I LOVE your website! Have an awesome week!


  13. thankyou for sharing such a great book. Kevin is a great author. Loved your craft ideas to get kids involved in discussion about a new arrival, or competing for attention….( happens in most families). Lastly congrats on your 2nd place listing…. well done you!


    • Thank you so much, Diane.
      Yes, perhaps parents would not stress out so much if they realized that sibling rivalry is quite common…and happens even in the best of families. 😉 🙂
      Books like this one give parents and kids an opportunity to engage and talk about the problem and their feelings.


  14. As promised, here are some monster books we’ve been enjoying recently, besides the ones I hightlighted in my weekly update.
    – Creepy monsters, sleepy monsters (a monster bedtime story)
    – Mrs Muffly’s monster
    – Bye-bye bad bullybug
    – The ravenous beast (very funny book)

    My youngest also got this book at the pediatrician’s office for his annual check-up, Boom Chicka Rock. It’s a fun book about counting and reading time.


  15. Congratulations Vivian!!! You deserve it!!

    Here are the books we’ve been reading this week and a link to my blog about them.

    We’ve been reading Disney Classics:

    “The Princess Who Never Laughed”
    “Mickey and the Magic Cloak”
    “The Magic Grinder”
    “Donald and the Magic Stick”
    “The Ugly Stepsisters”
    “The Mystery of the Missing Peanuts”
    “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
    “The Brave Little Taylor”

    And with my oldest daughter, we just finished reading a Disney Princess chapter book – “Tiana: The Grand Opening”. She’s so excited that she was able to read 2 chapter “in her head”!


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  17. We just read “Little Bunny Foo Foo, the REAL story” and it’s absolutely hilarious, especially when kids know the original story.

    Another great twist on well known fairy tales is called The Princess and the Pig. We loved it! Especially the recurring line, “because that’s what happen in fairy tales.” It really makes kids think about fighting paradigms. A great concept and a very funny story.

    We’re reading the many Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold, which are always hilarious (and easy to read for early readers). And the original Johnny Boo, who meets the ice cream monster…


    • Milka…I’m so very happy that you are taking part in the reading challenge…the books you read with your children are usually ones I have not heard of before…it’s a great resource for me!
      Hope your weekend went well…how is your husband doing?


      • He’s done with rehab and going back to work tomorrow.

        I try to order many books at the library but author, illustrator, category or theme. We get a whole bunch, read and re-read those we like, return those we don’t. I usually have at least 100 books checked out at any time so we have the luxury to choose almost any book every night.

        Feel free to read the books we’ve enjoyed. I hope we’re not the only ones to appreciate them!


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