Project 365 Challenge: Perfect Picture Book Fridays

Yes We Can

Written by Sam McBratney and Illustrated by Charles Fuge

Publishers: HarperCollinsPublishers

Ages 2 – 7


Valuing one’s own (and others) strengths and qualities, bullying and teasing, getting along, diversity.


“Little Roo was chasing leaves one windy day.  Roo’s friends, Country Mouse and Quacker Duck were waiting to play with him.”


The beautiful autumn day begins with high hopes on the part of the three friends.  They want to make the biggest mountain of leaves ever seen.  Unfortunately, they begin to make fun of each other and everyone is feeling sad and mad until Roo’s mother comes out and suggests that instead of making fun of what each of them cannot do well, they should appreciate what each of them can do well.

Why do I like this book:

This book appeals to young children…the clear, colorful engaging illustrations support the text that relays a common problem that parents and teachers see all the time.  Children can be very cruel to each other and this is a story that helps them see a positive alternative to teasing and bullying.  In Show Me How, I pinpoint the six major components of self-esteem…one of them is to be able to value one’s own strengths and qualities while respecting those of others.  This is what the three animal friends learn to do. The book also provides a lesson in diversity…the leaves are different colors and shapes and sizes…and they are all beautiful leaves.  In the same way, people are all different colors and shapes and sizes…and they are all beautiful people, valuable in their own unique ways.

Related Activities: Project 1: Leaf Collage


I’ve read this book with kindergarten and Pre-K classes, as well as at library programs with children ages 2 – 7.  After the story, we talk about leaves and I show them a collage with leaves of different sizes, shapes and colors.  A nature walk can be taken before this project and the children can collect some leaves and then make their own leaf collage by gluing the leaves on a piece of construction paper.

Project 2: Mad and glad leaf doorknob hanger


We talk about how it feels when someone teases us.  Every child can relate to that…hands go up to tell me about a time when someone was mean to them.  I ask them how their face looks when someone makes them feel sad.  I look at a sea of frowning faces.  Then I ask them how they feel when someone tells them they did a great job.  Every frown becomes a beaming smile.  I show them the leaf pattern frowning face and ask how the leaf person is feeling.  Then I flip it over and ask the same question.  Each child get a blank piece of heavyweight construction paper in the shape of a leaf, and using markers or crayons, they make one side happy or glad and the other side sad or mad.  We punch a hole in the top and put a piece of yarn through it so they can hang it on their bedroom doorknob…turning to the happy or sad face depending on how they are feeling.


This is a great opportunity for parents or an older sibling to talk to a young child about how they are feeling…if they see the sad/mad face hanging on the door, this is a signal that there may be a problem.

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.

Have you joined the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge to read every day to your child?

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

For me, the greatest joy in the world is to be with those I love doing what I love.

So you can imagine how joyful I was this past week, spending time in New Hampshire with my daughter and her family…and visiting Toll House Preschool in Merrimack, NH where I read a picture book story and did a simple craft with my grandson’s class of three and four-year olds.

The children were seated on the floor in their story circle and as soon as Jeremy caught sight of me, he jumped up and cried, “You came to my school…you really came!”  The teacher welcomed me and ushered me to her story chair.  “What’s your name?” asked one of the children.  “I’m Miss Vivian” I answered, smiling down at their eager faces.  “I traveled here on an airplane so that I could read you a special story.”

The children sat, listening attentively, as I read Yes I Can by Sam McBratney.  They loved hearing about the three animal friends who are having fun in the autumn leaves.  When the three friends begin to argue and make fun of each other, Little Roo’s mother comes over and encourages each one to show what they do best.  Little Roo jumps VERY high, Country Mouse catches his tail and Quacker Duck floats on a puddle.  The friends compliment each other…they are learning to give respect and value their own and others qualities and strengths.

When the story was over, we talked about the different talents that each animal had and we all got up and jumped like Little Roo, turned round and round chasing our “tails” like Country Mouse and pretended we were swimming in a puddle like Quaker Duck.  This activity helped the children get a little exercise after sitting so quietly for the story.  It’s important to provide a good balance of activities for young children…if we try to keep them sitting too long, they will get restless.

The next activity for this preschool class was “centers” where the children can choose painting, clay, etc.  This was the perfect time for some of the children to work on the simple leaf family craft project I had planned.  Using leaves of different sizes and shapes, each child picked a few leaves to trace on the page.  Each shape became a member of their family as they added hair and features and colored them in.

As the children worked on their project, they told me about their families and their pets.  I’m always amazed at how verbal young children are…especially when they are relaxed and at ease…which seems to happen all the time when children are engaged in arts and crafts activities.  Parents can use this time as they participate with their children to listen and learn what is on their children’s minds. 


I’m sure the next time I return to New Hampshire, I’ll have the opportunity to visit with the children at Toll House Preschool again.  The teacher told me she had never seen them sit so attentively for a story before.  Although I believe in the policy of “No Rules…Just Read”, I also know that there are certain things we can do when we read a picture book to young children that will help make the experience more enjoyable and rewarding for both parent and child. 

1.    Find a comfortable place to read…child on your lap in a comfy chair or sitting side-by-side on the couch.

2.    Make sure your child can see the pictures as you read the story.

3.    Allow your child to point out things on each page and talk about them.

4.    When the story is finished, encourage your child to retell the story as you turn the pages again.

These are some of the tips I give in my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  In addition to lots of story suggestions, you’ll find a matching craft and also a cooking activity for each recommended picture book.


PLEASE DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY THE SIZE OF THE BOOK!  Don’t think of it as a BIG BOOK…IT’S A BOOK WITH BIG IDEAS!  Every parent and teacher who uses it says it makes planning and doing activities QUICK AND EASY!

“Kirkfield lays out a brilliant and simple program with activities that will inspire parents and teachers.”  – Diana Loomans, best-selling author of The Lovables in the Kingdom of Self-Esteem and many other books

It’s available in the original print version with lots of lined spaces on every other page for recording your child’s memorable moments.

It’s also available on Amazon’s Kindle for those of you who don’t like a bunch of books taking up space in your home.

The gift-giving holidays are quickly approaching…there’s an online special on my website that can’t be beat…it would make the perfect present for any parent, grandparent, daycare provider, nanny, babysitter, nursery or preschool or kindergarten teacher.

To see the latest review of Show Me How by Lea, a homeschooling mom, please click here.

Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian Travels to New Hampshire

What an awesome time to be traveling to New England.

I’ll be flying to New Hampshire tomorrow and I can’t wait to gaze out the window of the plane, down at the magnificient fall folliage…scarlets, magentas, golds…the tree-tops will look like a bejewled crown of a Russian tsarina. 

My grandson will be celebrating his third birthday and I am looking forward to taking long walks with him down to the pond where we love to select the perfect pebbles and toss them in.  Of course, there will be plenty of opportunity to use the Show-Me-How program…I know Jeremy will be thrilled to read lots of picture books, do simple craft projects and work together in the kitchen, preparing easy healthful recipes.

I’m also excited about this trip because I will be bringing the Show-Me-How Story-time with Miss Vivian program to the Tollhouse Preschool in Merrimack, NH.  I’ll be reading Yes We Can by Sam McBratney to the three year old preschool group and doing a leaf tracing craft project with them.  I’m coming prepared with a bag full of leaves…but I’m sure there will be plenty available on the school grounds.

Why is it so important to read to young children?  Reading to young children:

  • Builds self-esteem
  • Develops pre-literacy skills
  • Stengthens the parent-child connection
  • Allows them to relate their experiences to those in the story
  • Provides wonderful opportunities for parent-child discussions

The craft and cooking activities included in my book help extend this learning experience.  What a wonderful gift to give any parent or teacher of young children!  Please visit my website for online specials.

“Looking for a book that creates childhood magic?  This is it!

 – Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD: Clinical Director and Family Therapist

“This is a timely and timeless book that every parent and teacher will love.  It encourages children in an engaging, creative and fun format.”

Sheila Glazov: Author of What Color is Your Brain? and Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift