Perfect Picture Book Friday: 5 LITTLE DUCKS Plus Giveaway

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday. I’m honored to feature the newest book (which is PERFECT for this Father’s Day weekend) from multipublished Caldecott Honor winning author/illustrator Denise Fleming. And guess what? Denise will be here TOMORROW for Will Write for Cookies.

But before I share this very special review with you (special because I’m going to point out how the author updated this old classic to make it more relevant for today’s market), I need to announce the winner of the picture book manuscript critique that author Ellen Leventhal is giving away.

And the winner is…

DIANE TULLOCH

Congratulations, Diane! Ellen gives super feedback…so you are in for a treat.

And now, we are all in for a treat.

cover

5 LITTLE DUCKS

Written and illustrated by Denise Fleming

Publisher: Beach Lane Books (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 1

Themes:

Independence, counting, family relationships

inner page day of week

Synopsis:

From Kirkus:

A traditional rhyme serves as the basis for an adaptation with an expanded worldview. As in the original, the story begins with five ducklings and a parent. But this time it’s Papa Duck doing the calling. The little ducks’ adventures take place over a week, with one fewer returning home each day. Rather than always going “over the hills and far away,” however, these five little ducks enjoy exploring new places and meeting new friends. They have fun playing in the woods with a winsome flying squirrel, frolicking with wild turkey chicks, imitating a turtle, wallowing in the mud, and splashing in a kiddie pool. On Saturday, however, all five respond to their father’s call, and the family is reunited just in time to share a day of rest on Sunday (mandated by Mama Duck). Two pages of information follow, offering close-up portraits and basic facts about some of the animals featured. As always, Fleming’s artwork, created by pulp painting with pastel pencil accents, is lively and appealing. Her clever tweaks to the familiar text allow her to showcase a variety of natural environments. Whether it’s a panorama of farmland or a shadowy woodland glade, each double-page spread offers plenty of intriguing details limned in bright colors. Packed with personality and charm, these five ducklings will waddle their ways into the hearts of readers and listeners.

inner page papa duck

Why I like this book:

  • Denise has taken a simple classic rhyme and updated it to be more relevant for today’s children.
  • Her art is amazing. AMAZING!
  • Great read-aloud.
  • Here’s another wonderful book that celebrates fathers, just in time for this Father’s Day weekend.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

MAKE PAPER

how-to-make-paper-with-kids1Photo courtesy: http://tinkerlab.com

Denise Fleming is well-known for her amazing paper-making which she uses in her illustrations.

Making paper is a fun-filled activity for kids. For simple instructions, go here: http://tinkerlab.com/how-to-make-paper/

For Denise’s very own instructions on papermaking, go here.

For more awesome activities, visit the 5 Little Ducks activity page.

If you are looking for more picture book reviews, hop on over to Susanna Hill’s blog. After today, she’ll be taking a summer hiatus, but I invite everyone who writes picture book reviews to leave their post links along with their comments every Friday so that readers can hop around and visit other blogs.

Please remember to leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway of one of Denise’s fabulous books, BEETLE BOP! And come back tomorrow to chat with her on Will Write for Cookies.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend! Happy Father’s Day!!!

Father’s Day Tribute 2014

Should You Write to Your Kids?

 To my own father: We both loved Saturday mornings when we watched TV together…Tarzan and Ramar of the Jungle.  Walking to the little grocery store on Sunday to buy Thomas’ English muffins to have with breakfast…you always bought me a Charlotte Russe…if I close my eyes now, I can see the mound of whipped cream topped with a cherry.  Going to the park across the street with you and my best friend, Jane, and her father…eagerly running ahead to grab swings next to each other so both proud papas could push us so high, we were almost parallel with the top bar.   And bowling together as a father/daughter team when I was in college…winning the little trophy that was awarded to the highest scorers…we were both so proud!

To my husband: You were always there for all three of our children, especially when they were troubled…or in trouble.  You never scolded at those times…you supported them 100% and let them know that you loved them.  You encouraged them to follow their dreams and worked hard to provide for them.   When our oldest son was a toddler, you took a second job to supplement your teacher’s income…after working all day­; you had a hurried dinner and then worked at a convenience store till midnight.  When you had your first heart attack at age 36, our three children were all under 10 years old and I know you thought you would never live to see them grow up.  But you persevered and, even though you had your third heart attack a month before our daughter’s wedding, you flew half-way across the country so you could walk her down the aisle and give her away.   I know how proud you were then…that was in 2002…and now we live with her and her amazing 5-year old son…what a special bond you are forging with him.

DSCN7061

To my oldest son: As a SAHD, you constantly impress me with your loving yet firm approach to parenting.  Your twins are almost 10-years old already and you’ve supported them in their varied interests in every stage of their development.  They are bright, loving, caring and funny and a joy to be with and I am proud of the father that you are to them.

To my younger son: You’ve been a father for one year now – and I know that your beautiful daughter is more precious to you than diamonds and gold. I see the way you interact with her – gently, lovingly…cherishing her and teaching her and nurturing her. I look forward to seeing the joy in your eyes time after time as she reaches each milestone and accomplishes new goals.

I always encourage moms to get a copy of my book – but there are so many hands-on dads around these days (hurray for them!!!!), I hope they will take a look at it as well.

  • It’s an activity book – 100 simple crafts projects and much more!
  • It’s a memory book – every other page has a lined area where parents can record important highlights
  • It’s a parenting guide – 100 tips on building self-esteem

Give it a try – money-back guarantee: click on the book cover on the right side bar of my blog…$2.99 for the Kindle version and $23.50 for the signed print edition (when you get to Amazon, go to new copies and click on the copies from MoneyPennyPress…this is the only distributor with new copies.

You can’t get much of real value these days for $23.50…that’s a saving of 50% off the cover price.  Start your summer off with a plan of activities…the school bells will be ringing before you know it – help your child have fun this summer while improving reading readiness  and other important school skills.

To Write Or Not To Write: Letters To My Kids

Should You Write to Your Kids?

In honor of Father’s Day (which is next Sunday, June 16), I was asked to contribute to Bob Brody’s Letters to My Kids blog.

Bob is passionate about encouraging parents to write letters to their kids to share family stories…this helps kids gain a sense of self-worth and a stronger parent-child bond.

Here is the link for the Father’s Day post: http://letterstomykidsdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/fathers-day-guest-columnist-vivian-kirkfield-never-enough-but-always-plenty/

I also participated on Bob’s blog for Mother’s Day and wrote a letter to my children about my own mother: http://letterstomykidsdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/guest-columnist-vivian-kirkfield-the-grandmother-you-hardly-knew/

When and what should parents write letters to their kids?

  • On holidays or special occasions
  • Anytime
  • To share your own childhood experiences
  • To share things that happened when they were very young
  • To relate interesting family stories
  • To say I’m sorry
  • To congratulate them on an accomplishment or goal reached

Many years ago, when my children were very young and they wanted to give me a gift for a birthday or other special time, I would tell them, “Write me a love letter!” Those letters and cards that they made themselves are still tucked away carefully and treasured by me. When your children give you a gift like that, it will outlast any box of candy, bouquet of flowers or trinket they might find at the store.

Helping Kids with Loss: After Charlotte’s Mom Died Review

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah 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 first:

1.      Remember that tomorrow is June 16th – Save The Bookstores Day.  Did you read Tara Lazar’s great post about this: http://taralazar.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/support-save-the-bookstores-day-on-june-16th/Unfortunately, I have to work on Saturday, but on Sunday, I’ll be at one of the Indie bookstores here in Colorado Springs, Poor Richards.  They are one of the local bookstores that has copies of Show Me How for sale…if you haven’t seen the amazing review Kirsten did, please click over to her blog, Creating Curious Kids.  Keeping children occupied with fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities is a wonderful way to spend the summer!  Do you know some parents who would appreciate a book that provides hundreds of quick and easy activities that use stuff they probably have around the house?  Please keep Show Me How in mind.

2.      Sunday is a very special day as well…June 17th is Father’s Day!  There are so many wonderful fathers and father figures out there…this day is for all of you!  I have to make a special shout-out to my son-in-law who is an amazing hands-on dad…not only does he play ball and take walks with his son, he also never misses being part of the daily bedtime routine, reading stories and overseeing the brushing of teeth.  When my daughter has to travel for business, Erik never falters and is mom and dad at those times.  I’m also very proud of my son who has twins who are almost seven.  From the time they were born, he has shared in EVERY moment…feeding, changing diapers, singing them to sleep…now they all ice-skate and play chess together.

My pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday is in honor of those dads who really step up to the plate.

 

 After Charlotte’s Mom Died

Written by Cornelia Spelman

Illustrated by Judith Friedman

Publisher: Albert Whitman Co (1996)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Grief/loss, family, emotions

Synopsis:  

When five-year old Charlotte’s mother dies in a car accident, the little girl has many feelings she is not comfortable expressing to her dad, even though she loves him very much.  She worries about going to sleep because an aunt told her that dying was like going to sleep.  She is angry and sad and scared, although on the outside, she still looks the same.  After an incident at school alerts her father to the fact that Charlotte is not dealing well with the death of her mother, he decides to go with Charlotte to see a therapist.  The therapist helps them to talk about how they feel and they realize that although they will continue to feel sad about the death of Charlotte’s mother, they can find happiness in life.

Why do I like this book

The death of a close loved one is always difficult…to lose one’s mother at a very young age is earthshattering!  This book tenderly addresses this issue…the illustrations are soft, the message of the text is comforting and empowering.  I especially love the caring and practical advice the author gives to parents and other child caregivers in the book’s foreward:

  • listen carefully to the child
  • acknowledge his fears and feelings without judging
  • offer assurances that there will always be people to love him and care for him
  • offer hope for future happiness

Related Activities:

Memories of special people, places and experiences are extremely important for all of us.  Help your child start a box of treasured mementos now!  The boxes in the pictures below were actually made as Valentine’s Day mailboxes by the people I work with, so each of these boxes has a slit for Valentine’s Day cards to be inserted into…your child’s treasure box won’t have the slit.  I was so impressed with the effort and creativity of these adults, I wanted to share some of the boxes with all of you.

 

Treasure Box Shoe Box

You will need: One shoe box with lid, paper to cover the box (construction paper, gift wrap, shelf paper), scissors, and glue or tape.

1.      Cut the paper your child has selected to cover the box.  You will need two pieces, one for the box and one for the lid.  Important tip: if you use painting paper, your child can decorate it with vegetable prints, sponge painting or pictures cut from magazines or greeting cards.

2.      Carefully fit the paper around the outside of the shoebox and glue or tape in place.  Do the same with the lid.

3.      Make a label to put on the box, for example: EMILY’S TREASURED MEMENTOS or JOSH’S BOX OF MEMORIES.

My box had pictures of my family, all around the sides.  That might be a nice idea for a child using pictures of family and friends.

A great  pirate treasure chest here at FreeKidsCrafts.com

Some more treasure chest ideas here.

Great website to help kids dealing with death at kidshealth.org.

Some helpful tips for talking with children about the death of a parent at FamilyHealth.com.

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.