Little Pig Joins the Band – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner – I’m thankful to be closer to family and those I love. This year, my daughter and I will share the joy of cooking the family meal together.

My picture book choice echoes that theme.



Written and illustrated by David Hyde Costello

Publisher: Charlesbridge (2011)

Ages: 4 and up


Self-esteem, family togetherness

Opening Lines:

“Sometimes Little Pig did not like being little, or even being called Little Pig.”


From Amazon: “Little pig has trouble keeping up with his older–and bigger –brothers and sisters. When they get out Grandpa’s old marching-band instruments, Little Pig is too little to play any of them. But when the disorganized band has a pig-pile mishap Continue reading

Sunday Post: Simplicity…Children Need Less Stuff

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


The media would have us believe that our children NEED more stuff…electronic gadgets and expensive toys for example…to make them smarter and happier people.

I disagree!

Our children need more of our time, love and positive participation.

Do you want to help your young children succeed in school?

readingareelcoolsummer2 Read with them.

Do you want to develop their literacy skills?

img_8540 Talk with them.

Do you want to build their self-esteem?

Cooking with kids builds self-esteem, develops literacy skills and is just plain fun!

Cooking with kids builds self-esteem, develops literacy skills and is just plain fun!

Spend time with them doing SIMPLE activities like crafting or cooking.

Do you remember the ‘6 items or less’ craze that was popular about two years ago? The theory of ‘less is more’ is not a new one. It can be a wonderful way to start this New Year. Applying an attitude of simplicity to one’s life does help because it:

  • Cuts down on stress
  • Saves money
  • Encourages an appreciation for what one has
  • Strengthens the bond between parent and child
  • Alleviates the disconnect that often takes place in families today

Do you want to have a great time with your young child?

Grab some construction paper (plain white copy paper works just fine) and a couple of markers or crayons.

Sit down with your child at the kitchen table or on the floor.

Each of you can draw a picture or a design.


If you want to turn it into a simple arts and crafts project, add a pair of scissors (safety ones with blunted tips if you want a young child to be doing some of the cutting) and a glue stick.

Cut shapes out of one paper and glue them onto another paper.

Talk with your child about what you are both creating.

Hang up the completed art work.

WOW! Less than 15 minutes of your time equals a happy young child.

If you’d like a great resource book chock-filled with simple craft activities AND lots of picture book suggestions, please check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. Most of the activities (picture book reading, easy craft project, child-friendly recipe) take less than 15 minutes to do. There are several wonderful new reviews on Amazon…I hope you will check them out.

book pic from wordpress blog

Bring simplicity into your life for the New Year…the reward will be priceless.


Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

Related articles

Whistle for Willie…Building Self-Esteem

Perfect Picture Book Friday…I missed a couple of weeks while I was out of town…I’m happy to be back joining Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

whistle for

Whistle for Willie

Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats

Publisher: The Viking Press (1964) Puffin Press has a newer 1977 edition

Ages: 4 and up


Self-esteem, parental support, growing up, coping with failure


Little Peter wants to learn how to whistle so he can call his dog, Willie. He keeps trying until, one day, he can do it. His parents support him and encourage him throughout it all.

Why do I like this book:

Classic Ezra Jack Keats…need I say more?

The bold illustrations captivate…the simple text brings home the message of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’. Every child needs to hear this story at least once…and I guarantee every child will want to hear it again and again.


Related Activities:

Kids love making music, whether they are whistling, beating on a drum or shaking maracas. There are many instruments that you can help your child craft…and try these water glass chimes…the tones created by the different glasses will amaze everyone.

Water Chimes

Illustration and instructions courtesy

You will need:

8 glasses


  • Line up eight glasses of about the same size and shape.
  • Fill the first glass about 1/8th full of water for the high note, the second glass should be 1/4 full, the third glass should be 3/8ths full for the next note, and so on.
  • Each glass should sound like a note on the music scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do). You may need to tune your music scale (add or remove water with teaspoon) until each note rings true.
  • Have the children use a metal teaspoon to gently tap out the scale and any other melodies they know (Mary had a Little lamb, Twinkle Twinkle).

Hints for Water Chimes

  • Don’t use expensive crystal glasses to make water chimes.
  • Add a bit a food coloring to help children identify which glass is which sound.
  • Changing the amount of water will change the musical note. The amount of water in the glass changes the pitch of the sound wave.

Here are a few more sites that provide music craft-making instructions.


Lesson plans for Whistle for Willie and other sites with additional activities:

Show Me How Build Your Child's Self-Esteem, Positive Parental Participation

If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100’s of picture book summaries, easy matching crafts (even a couple of musical instrument projects) and healthful child-friendly cooking activities, purchase a copy on Amazon of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $24.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today and start the year with educational self-esteem building activities that are quick and easy and lots of fun.

Sunday Post: Follow Your Dreams…Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift

Every week, Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post theme…today the theme is FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.,Princess Shayna,sheila glazov

Look at this illustration. A child, sitting under a tree, dreaming of……?

Many of us have dreams of what we would like to become…of what we would like to do.

My advice? Follow your dreams…set goals and pursue them.

Hold onto your hats my friends…you are in for a treat!  Today’s post is a holiday gift to all of you.

I would like to introduce you to one of my author friends, Sheila Glazov, who is an internationally known and award winning author, passionate educator, personality type expert, and professional speaker. I have asked Sheila to be a Holiday Guest Blogger and tell you about her captivating beautifully illustrated children’s book, Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift.

self-esteem,positive parental participation, sheila glazov

“Have you ever wondered if there is a fairy tale about a princess who is not poisoned by a villain, abandoned by her parents, or rescued by Prince Charming’s kiss? You will wonder no longer, when you learn more about my chapter book. The heroine of this a timely and timeless story is a princess whose loving parents teach her to be a strong, independent, and self-confident young woman, who girls and boys alike, can emulate and respect.

There are many meaningful, messages throughout the story. The three most significant are: 1) Appreciating and accepting individual’s differences, 2) Dealing with bully behavior, and 3) Handling personal tragedies and triumphs. Teachers have used my book as part of their school’s anti-bullying and/or diversity programs with remarkable results.


The “Invisible Visible Gift” that is referenced in the book’s title is self-esteem, which is a gift that is invisible, but can clearly be seen and felt by others by an individual’s confident behavior. Princess Shayna earns and shares her gift with the villagers in the Kingdom of Kindness, while attempting to complete a daunting Vision Quest to unite the four villages that have been separated by an evil force – the same evil force that inflicted her life-threatening disease for which the princess must take a magic elixir every day in order to live.

During her Vision Quest, the princess lives and attends school in each of the four villages in the Kingdom of Kindness. She learns to appreciate the adults’ and children’s unique personal strengths and diverse lifestyles. Princess Shayna enjoys visiting with the Yellow Sunflower villagers who are organized, responsible, and respectful; the Blue Forget-Me-Not villagers who are creative, intuitive, and compassionate; the Green Healing Herb villagers who are logical, precise, and methodical; and the Orange Tiger Lily villagers who are fun-loving, courageous, and resourceful. Her accepting perspective of the Kingdom and her own special gifts allows the princess to harmoniously unite all the villagers.

Sarah Spundah the Silver Spider, Sigmund the Royal Wizard, and White Falcon are enchanting characters who love and help Princess Shayna. But, the frightening sorceress, Meevillian, plots with her treacherous trolls, Mennis and Meene, to prevent the princess from completing her Vision Quest and schemes to gain control of the Kingdom of Kindness.

The story also teaches children they do not have to be perfect to be loved. No one is perfect, not even Princess Shayna! The princess has diabetes. My use of bibliotherapy helps children feel their problems are less threatening. They learn how to solve problems and handle difficulties when they encounter similar problems that are challenges for the story’s characters

Children generally establish their self-image and feel validation by what is said about them or how others behave toward them. Reading Princess Shayna offers children the opportunity to immediately discover their personality type and their “Praiseworthy Gifts”. The Gift Givers Guide at the back of the book is designed to help adults start a conversation with children at home or in the classroom to share their feelings and thoughts about their exciting journey with Princess Shayna.


Princess Shayna is the fairy tale version of my, What Color Is Your Brain?® book.The Brain Color personality types described in that book correspond to the attributes and abilities of the four villages in Princess Shayna’s Kingdom of Kindness. Children immediately pick up the concepts and naturally begin speaking “Brain Color”.

With this easy-to-understand, fun and non-judgmental language of color the children feel comfortable expressing their feelings and thoughts, which positively enrich their relationships with friends, family and teachers.

If you believe, as Vivian and I do, that every child deserves to feel loved, safe, and confident within a trustworthy home, school, and community environment, you will enjoy sharing Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift with the children in your life as Holiday, Birthday or Love Gift!
Please, note that 10% of the royalties from the sale of my books is allocated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) . Our eldest son has had Type 1 diabetes (T1D) for 27 years. My most fervent wish is to find a cure for Joshua and the other 3 million people in the United States who have Type 1 diabetes (T1D)!

I am most grateful to Vivian for giving me this generous opportunity to tell you about my books and programs. Thank you, Vivian!

Best wishes to everyone for a Joyful Holiday Season!”

The following links will help you:

Contact Sheila:

Learn more about Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift

Learn more about What Color Is Your Brain?®

Take a fun Brain Quiz

Learn more about Sheila’s Programs

Subscribe to Sheila’s Blog

“Like” the What Color Is Your Brain? book Facebook Page for weekly updates

Follow Sheila on Twitter

Follow Sheila on Pinterest

Did you hold onto your hats?  If you didn’t, I hope you will find them before Christmas.

I also hope all of you click on Sheila’s links to find out more about this amazing woman who generously shared her expertise and knowledge with me before my book was published.  To purchase a copy of the wonderful chapter book that helps children learn about self-esteem and believe in themselves, click on this link: Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift.  What a great companion book it would make to Show Me How!

Have fun with Sheila’s Brain Quiz…children love to discover the ‘color’ of their brain…and adults will find that it enhances your work and personal relationships because you can understand why you get along so well with some people and not with others.

I join with Sheila in wishing all of you a Happy Holiday and successful and healthy New Year.

Don’t forget to check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s 2nd Annual Holiday Contest…there will be amazing children’s stories to read!  Winners will be announced on her blog on Wednesday, December 26th and there will be LOTS of fabulous prizes.

For more information about the Sunday Posts:

time after time, positive parental participation

Thanksgiving Day: Thankful Thoughts and Thoughtless Tragedies

Spending time with each helps keep the spark alive…relationships are strengthened when you take on challenges together.


Today, November 22, 2012, is Thanksgiving.

It is also the 49th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

They say every cloud has a silver lining.

And I have found that to be true.

Last Valentine’s Day, I did a guest post on Bob Brody’s Letters to My Kids blog, sharing with my children how I met their dad.   Mr. Brody encourages parents to write letters to their kids…here’s an excerpt from that post.

Dear Jason, Peter and Caroline,

 Your future dad and I met as freshmen in college. I sat in front of him in English 1.1 and he sat in front of me in Social Science. Both of us were dating other people pretty seriously. And so for the first two months of the fall semester, we were just classmates who spoke with each other as we walked into or out of the room.

Then came November 22, 1963. The intercom crackled. “The President is dead!”

For several moments no one reacted. And then everyone did. Screaming! Crying! Young men pounding their fists on their desks!

As we all exited the classroom, your future dad was right behind me.

“I’m going to walk home!” I exclaimed to no one in particular. “I can’t face sitting on the bus squashed between hordes of people!”

“I’ll walk with you,” the voice behind me said. “Where do you live?”

As it happened, we lived only four streets away from each other.

By the way, there are some girls who look fantastic even when they cry. If only I were one of those. Whatever eye makeup I was wearing was smudged and probably dripping onto my cheeks and chin. Plus, my nose was red and my skin blotchy.

No matter. Your future dad and I walked and talked for over an hour, until we reached my house. And when we looked at each other, I know we saw into each other’s souls and we wanted to walk and talk together forever.

Our relationship grew stronger and closer during that next semester. By the summer, we were dating each other exclusively. We got married as soon as we graduated from college. And our relationship has flourished ever since. To this day, we remain the most loyal of soul-mates.

Out of tragedy, then, came an unexpected opportunity for love. In a sense, sad to say, it took a death to bring you all to life. We’ve never forgotten that, and we never will.




1993…The Year of the Graduations (Junior High, High School and College)

Children love to hear about how their parents met.  They want to know about their parents’ childhoods…did dad get into trouble for misbehaving in school…did mom play with dolls or tag after an older brother.   Kids enjoy hearing about when they were babies.  Writing letters to your children helps give them the knowledge of experiences and strengthens their feeling of belonging…a very important component of self-esteem!

Have you ever written a letter to your child?

What would you say?

I wish everyone a most Happy Thanksgiving Day!   Will you be rushing out tomorrow for the Black Friday specials?  If you are looking for gifts for parents or teachers of young children, I encourage you to save yourself time and money…Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingis the perfect present…and you can quickly and easily buy it online.  If you are looking for gifts for young children…check out my Top Ten Gifts List.  You will not have to worry about buying batteries or finding an unused electrical outlet for ANY of these items!

International Dot Day…Self-Esteem Through Artistic Expression

 Raise your hand if you think you can draw.

If you didn’t raise your hand, you are like most of us…our inner artist has been discouraged and hammered down.

How does this happen?  A parent says, “No, the grass should be green!”  The teacher says, “That’s not how a dog looks!”  A fellow classmate says, “You can’t draw!”

In 2003, Peter Reynolds wrote and illustrated a book that encouraged children of all ages to be to imagine, dream and create.   His premise was that there is no right or wrong way.  

This week over 500,000 children in all 50 states and around the world will be participating in International Dot Day, in their classrooms or at home. 

Visit to learn more about International Dot Day.  You will find activity suggestions, resources, a global map showing participants…you can even take a look at the dots being created by celebrities.

As parents and as teachers, we can

  • Encourage our children to enjoy all types of art mediums…paint, clay, paper cutting, drawing and sculpting.  
  • Provide the materials and participate with our kids.
  • Make thoughtful, but non-judgmental comments about our children’s art.
  • Proudly display the art our children produce.

Creative expression is art in its purest form. 

If you allow yourself to have fun with art, so will your children.

During my time in New Hampshire, my almost four-year old grandson became fascinated with Cheerios.  We had a Cheerios Halloween Board Book that called for using Cheerios on different pages to fill in missing buttons, eyeglasses, etc.  Jeremy had a ball…placing Cheerios in the “proper” places…and then eating each one!  Here’s his International Dot Day dot picture.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Take a Kiss to School


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children.

A couple of quick notes:

1.      The Show-Me-How School Initiative is still looking for A FEW GOOD SCHOOLS.  Please leave a comment on this post, telling which school or other child-care facility you would like to nominate to receive a free copy of Show Me How!

2.      Heather Newman, fellow 12x12er and PPBF participant, did a lovely review of my book on her blog.  If you haven’t read it yet, just click on this link.  My sincere thanks to her for the wonderful things she said…and also for posting the review on Amazon.  I’m really grateful to her for adding the review to the Show Me How Amazon site because I’ve recently read that getting reviews on Amazon is very good for a book that is being sold there.  I believe I read that 25 or more reviews really help book sales.  Over the last two years, several dozen people have reviewed the book…but I never thought to ask them to post the review on Amazon…if anyone did review the book and would like to add that review to Amazon, I would be most appreciative.  If anyone would like to review the book, let me know and I will be happy to send you a copy.

3.      Fall is definitely in the air and I’m so very excited because I’ve joined, not one, but TWO critique groups…one with local SCBWI members (we will meet once a month in person to exchange picture book manuscripts and chat about our progress on the road to publication)…and one with four other members of Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 group (the first manuscript exchange will be September 17…but NOT in person…as we are spread out all over the world…which is, in itself, a miracle).  I’m looking forward to living my dream:

Picture books to read and write

Morning, noon and through the night.


And now, since you’ve been incredibly patient…and since it IS Perfect Picture Book Friday…I present:



Written by Angela McAllister

Illustrated by Sue Hellard

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (2006)

Ages: 4 and up


Separation anxiety, overcoming fears, helping others


Although Digby, a little otter, has fun during his first day of school, he is reluctant to go again.  He tells his mother that there are so many things to remember (where to hang his coat, how to line up, etc.) and he is afraid he will forget some of them and be embarrassed.  Digby’s mother solves the problem by filling her hands with kisses and putting the kisses in her son’s jacket pocket.  During the day, whenever Digby feels uncomfortable or scared, he takes out one of the kisses and presses it to his cheek.  Helping another student who is even more hesitant than he is enables Digby to forget his own fears…and Digby finds he is looking forward to the next school day.

Why do I like this book

Many of us are anxious about having new experiences, going to new places and meeting new people.  This is a lovely story that will comfort many young children who are anxious about school.  Coping with and overcoming separation anxiety is a big step in a child’s emotional development and parents need to be sensitive and non-judgmental about a child’s fears.  The illustrations convey little Digby’s feelings and will help young listeners relate their real life experiences to his…creating a perfect opportunity for the young listener to voice his own fears.

Related Activities:

For many children, the first weeks of school may be difficult because they don’t like eating “different” foods.  Here is a fun craft activity that might help.


Illustration from Enchanted Learning

You will need: Construction paper, markers or crayons, old magazines with pictures of food, scissors, glue, string or yarn and a wire hanger.

1.      Talk about the different food groups and why we need to eat some from each group every day.

2.      Look through the magazine and cut out pictures of foods.

3.      Paste each picture onto construction paper and cut out.

4.      Punch a hole at the top of each picture and tie a piece of string through the hole.

5.      Attach the end of the string to the wire hanger.

6.      Repeat for several pictures.

7.      Hang up and watch the foods wave in the breeze.


In the story, Digby’s mom puts kisses in his jacket pocket.  You and your child can make a lovely picnic lunch using Pita Pockets.  Fill with your choice of chicken or tuna salad…or perhaps the always popular peanut butter and jelly.  Inviting your child to help prepare meals in the kitchen is a wonderful way to encourage a fussy eater to try new items.

Great lesson plans, games and activities from Kinderplans:

Crafts with and about food from eHow:

Lots of different mobiles from Enchanted Learning:


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.   This is an unbelievable resource for any parent, teacher or children’s librarian.