Perfect Picture Book Friday: PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I’m so happy to be back doing picture book reviews. The #50PreciousWords Contest kept me pretty busy – congratulations to ALL who participated…the generous industry pros who donated critiques, seats in writing classes, and books…my amazing judges, Maria Marshall, Julie Abery and Diane Tulloch…plus the 390 brave souls who shared their wonderful stories and the many people who took their time to leave 5734 positive, encouraging, and supportive comments. WOW!

We are in a new era – it almost feels like we are existing in a science fiction novel – and the author hasn’t finished the final chapters so we can’t skip ahead to find out how it ends. My heart goes out to those whose health has been impacted…to families struggling to keep things together as parents and children adjust to remote working/learning…to businesses trying to find new ways to create revenue.

I am, however, a very optimistic person…my sister used to call me Pollyanna because I could always find something to be glad about. We will get through this. I’m heartened to see how many people are reaching out to see how they can help others. And I’m impressed with how quickly people have found new ways of conducting meetings and events…with how many school districts stepped up to provide remote lessons. Employees who had previously begged to work from home, only to be told it was impossible…are doing it now…and making it work.

For the creatives in the kidlit world, working in isolation is not a new thing. But books that are launching are missing out on bookstore events, book festivals, school visits, and other venues that might help get the word out and sell books. With libraries and bookstores shutting their doors, social media becomes even more important as a vehicle to tell the world about these new books. And that’s why I’m especially thrilled to bring you a brand-new (comes out on April 7) picture book by one of my very favorite authors, Maria Gianferrari. And guess what? Maria and her publisher are going to send a copy of the book to one lucky winner of our giveaway!

play like an animal


Written by Maria Gianferrari

Illustrated by Mia Powell

Published by Millbrook Press (2020)



Synopsis: From Amazon:

Dash! Hide! Splash! Ride! Exuberant text celebrates all the different ways animals play, from rhinos taking mud baths and parrots somersaulting through the air to kangaroos boxing and dolphins diving through the surf. Additional text explains how playing benefits animals. Fascinating back matter gives more information about the featured animals in the book and encourages readers to make time to play every day!

Review from Booklist:

“This colorful nature book considers how and why various animals play. In most cases, a particular type of animal appears on a double-page spread with one or more illustrations and a few phrases of text. Nearby, a small red square carries a sentence or two explaining how those playful activities (tug-of-war, tag, etc.) can strengthen the animals, sharpen their wits, or improve their survival skills. For instance, in four illustrations on a double-page spread, a mother kangaroo boxes with her joey: ‘PUNCH, / KICK, / SMACK-SLAP!’ Within an adjacent red square, the text explains that play fighting prepares kangaroos for defending themselves against predators and mentions that mother kangaroos let their joeys win. The back matter includes information about the animals mentioned as well as a further reading list. Fun for sharing one-on-one, the book often shows animals engaged in activities that children enjoy. The lively artwork, created with ‘paints, handmade textures, and digital media,’ offers energetic scenes of animals in motion. The last double-page spread shows kids playing, too. An inviting choice for animal-lovers.

Why I love this book:

  • Fabulous illustrations that will keep kids engaged
  • Fun and informative text helps kids relate actions of animals to their own activities
  • Rich back matter makes this a must-have for schools and home-schoolers (which right now all kids are)



Super-Fun-Animal-Crafts-for-Kids.-A-lot-of-animal-paper-crafts-nature-materials-crafts-and-a-lot-more.-A-perfect-activity-for-kids-to-make-them-busy-and-entertained.Photo courtesy:

For details on these incredible crafts (I want to make those butterfly rings at the top!):

Here’a a bit about the author:

Maria Gianferrari’s childhood playground was nature: climbing trees, playing hide and seek in the cornfield and slapping cow patties for fun! Nowadays she tries to keep the spirit of play alive in her writing. She enjoys playing Dominion with her family sans the curse cards, and her late dog, Becca, was always ready for a game of “catch the flying biscuit.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

To find out more about Maria and her books:

Her book is available for pre-order on Amazon

Please remember, dear friends…with bookstores and libraries closing their doors, we need to support our favorite authors even more. What can we do?

  • Buy their book – many indie bookstores are shipping for free or are doing curbsite pickup.
  • Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or B&N.
  • Ask our library to purchase the book…some libraries have online patron request portals.
  • Tell our friends about the book.
  • Take a photo of a child reading the book and post on social media.


Please come back on Tuesday for a BOOK BIRTHDAY post for another dear friend, Darlene Jacobson. And we’ll have more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews later this month. Plus, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway of a copy of PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL (mailed to US addresses only, please).

Also, to find more fabulous picture book reviews and activities, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s website.

Let us know how you are doing? And please message me directly if you are struggling with this situation…sometimes it can help to have a pair of listening ears and a remote shoulder to lean on.

Stay safe, dear friends.

41 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: PLAY LIKE AN ANIMAL Plus Giveaway

    • You are such a sweetheart! I did grow up in NYC, but I live in Amherst, NH, a little New England town where social distancing is not a problem. And my home is on 3 acres of woods, so I can go out and walk without running into anyone.
      How are you doing? It’s a difficult time for most people…and we are lucky to have this incredible kidlit community where everyone is supportive and encouraging.


  1. This book looks like a winner for kids–and their parents!! Thank you, Vivian, for featuring so many different kinds of picture books. The variety out there is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We could all use some play time to cope with this uncertainty and stress, that’s for sure. I hope my book can help in some small way!


  2. As a BIG animal lover, I’m a big fan of Maria’s and can’t wait to add this book to my collection…and read to my rescued doggos, buns, and chin:-) Congrats, Maria, and from NY–stay safe and optimistic!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good luck, Zachary!! There will be other blog posts where you can try to win coming up this month too–stay tuned on Facebook & Instagram 🙂


  3. I adore Maria and love her books. We are doing well here and I finally found a daily routine that has helped me tremendously and has stopped the huge mood swings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m loving the number of animal books being shared today for Perfect Picture Book Friday! I think kids will love knowing that animals play, too! I’m, of course, looking forward to getting a green light to venture back into the world so I can check out books again at the library, including this marvelous gem you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this heartfelt post, Vivian. I too have always been a Pollyanna! Helps me get through no matter the situation. Congrats, Maria on your new picture book! Looks adorable and animals are always a hit. I would like to see more of the fun text. Thank you all for this generous giveaway opportunity! Stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fun picture book, Maria! The nonfiction content is a wonderful way to get children up and moving while they learn about the ways animals play. I can’t wait to share it with my grandchildren. Thank you for sharing, Vivian. I love reading posts on Perfect Picture Book Friday! It gives me something fun to do while continuing to “shelter in place”. I’m glad you have a lovely place for staying safe as you enjoy the outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for your support, Vivian! You have such a joyous, vivacious spirit, and it is contagious! Sending huge virtual hugs your way OOOOO! ❤ ❤ ❤


    • Hooray for hippos!! If you don’t already know of these hippo books, they’re great:

      Saving Fiona by Thane Maynard & Jonathan London’s Hippos Are Huge!


    • Thanks, Jen!! As of today there is a new STEM game craft at Curious City for download. I’ll be putting it on my website soon. Stay safe!


  8. What a fun book! Love the words! Thank you Vivian for keeping us all interested in new books, now activities. I’m just now starting to catch up with posts. Thanks for your encouraging words.

    Liked by 1 person

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