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

Themes:

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

Opening:

“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.”

Synopsis:    

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 ehow.com here

Education.com 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.

Sunday Post: Landscapes and a February Poetry Contest

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is LANDSCAPES. 

In addition, Marylin Warner over at Things I Want to Tell My Mother is having a February Poetry Contest 

The Rules:

“Be a rebel with a writing cause; break away from the expected February verses and write a poem about a date or an activity or adventure that WASN’T what you (or your mother) wanted to do…and how it ended.

You choose: rhymed, free verse, a sonnet or a series of Haikus or even non-bawdy limericks, etc.   Just keep your poem to a maximum of 50 words (not counting the words of the title–and please have a title).  JOIN THE FUN!”

I began to wonder how I could combine these two seemingly unrelated ideas into one post.

And then I had an idea!

According to the dictionary, a landscape is a picture representing a view or expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view.

My poem, Fears of the Inner Child, is really a landscape of my life.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

FEARS OF THE INNER CHILD

Childhood often invades adult life.

Fears laid down early create later strife.

Afraid of adventure and trying new things,

Mom constantly cautioned: Be careful! Life stings!

To conquer that panic is my fervent wish.

I’ve parasailed, skydived and swum with the fish.

 

If you have the time and want to see the sky-dive I did with my son in the summer of 2010, you can go here.

It was an amazing adventure…and a wonderful bonding experience to have with an adult son.   With my book, Show Me How! and my school programs and workshops, I encourage parents to spend time with their young children…reading, crafting and cooking or doing anything positive.   “Raising the Next Steve Jobs”, the cover story in the February issue of Parenting Magazine, offered parents some simple advice: read with your children, talk with your children, participate with your children.  I was quoted in that article…and my book was mentioned.   You know that if want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  The fantastic skydive I did with my son only strengthened the connection we forged over thirty years ago when he was a little boy…believe me, those early years are so very important!

If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are a few of the posts from other participants in Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://truthaboveallreligions.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/sunday-photo-challenge-landscapes/

http://thismansjourney.net/2012/03/04/sunday-post-landscape/#comments