Thursday, June 30, 2016

Picture Books for Growing Attention Spans

It is no secret that word counts for picture books are getting smaller and smaller. A lot of people have theories as to why, ranging from parents having less time to spend reading aloud, to the push to make children readers earlier than ever before (thereby requiring picture books to have a smaller, easier-to-swallow word count for independent reading).

Even though the now-common shorter (under 700 word) picture books have a very important place in the market and on our bookshelves, longer picture books do as well. They often offer a more "quiet" read - giving readers a chance to immerse themselves in the plot, characters, illustrations; to slow down, calm down and breathe. They help transition young readers into listening to chapter books read aloud (and independently) and encourage longer attention spans. Longer picture books have more space and time to develop and solve problems integral to the story line - allowing young readers more time to solve the problems on their own before they are solved on the page, thereby instilling confidence.

Yet despite these truths, good, longer picture books can be challenging to find. To that end, I've put together a list of fantastic picture books ranging from 700 to 1800 words for your reading, and reading-aloud, pleasure (with a couple of "cheats" thrown in, as described below). Happy Reading!


Slugs in Love (704 words)
Susan Pearson, Kevin O'Malley
Amazon| IndieBound

Ladybug Girl (721 words)
David Soman, Jacky Davis
Amazon| IndieBound

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (728 words)
William Joyce, Joe Bluhm
Amazon| IndieBound

Owl Moon (751 words)
Jane Yolen, John Schoenherr
Amazon| IndieBound

Kiss the Cow (752 words)
Phyllis Root, Will Hillenbrand
Amazon| IndieBound


Nightsong (815 words)
Ari Berk, Loren Long
Amazon| IndieBound

Room on the Broom (834 words)
Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler
Amazon| IndieBound

Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator! (technically divided into "chapters," 838 words)
Mo Willems
Amazon| IndieBound

Leo: A Ghost Story (867 words)
Mac Barnett, Christian Robinson
Amazon| IndieBound

The Hello, Goodbye Window (873 words)
Norton Juster, Chris Raschka
Amazon| IndieBound


Blueberries for Sal (1042 words)
Robert McCloskey
Amazon| IndieBound

Duck, Duck, Goose (1056 words)
Tad Hills
Amazon| IndieBound

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus* (1227 words)
Jen Bryant, Melissa Sweet
Amazon| IndieBound

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1231 words)
Judi Barrett, Ronald Barrett
Amazon| IndieBound

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas* (1231 words)
Lynne Cox, Brian Floca
Amazon| IndieBound


Bloom (1359 words)
Doreen Cronin, David Small
Amazon| IndieBound

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade* (1363 words)
Melissa Sweet 
Amazon| IndieBound

Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton* (1414 words)
Don Tate
Amazon| IndieBound

Imogene's Last Stand (1502 words)
Candace Fleming, Nancy Carpenter
Amazon| IndieBound

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt* (1697 words)
Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal
Amazon| IndieBound

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel* (1776 words)
Kathryn Gibbs Davis, Gilbert Ford
Amazon| IndieBound

*Non-fiction word counts commonly exceed the current industry standards for fiction. Starred books are either non-fiction picture books and/or include back matter/author's notes within word count numbers.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Well Read Review: The Hole Story of the Doughnut

The Hole Story of the Doughnut
Pat Miller (Author), Vincent X. Kirsch (Illustrator)
HMH Books for Young Readers
Amazon| IndieBound


Picture book biographies are a tricky, tricky thing.

Pack too much information into them, and they are reminiscent of the earliest doughnuts: "When the cakes were fried, Hanson dumped them on the dining table. They were sweet and crisp - at least around the edges. Their raw centers, heavy with grease, made them drop like cannonballs in the stomach. Sailors called them SINKERS."

Give too little information, and readers are left feeling...empty.

Fortunately for us, The Hole Story of the Doughnut is the picture book equivalent of a modern-day doughnut rather than its predecessor the Sinker. Miller has given us a sweet treat, just filling enough to satiate our appetites, with both factual information and fun, fictional accounts of the doughnut's history.

While the story centers on the doughnut, it truly is a biography of master mariner Hanson Crockett Gregory, who actually lived quite an incredible life, deftly described by Miller.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Turtle's Twist (3 Word Challenge)

3 Word Challenge: Hippie, Disco, Turtle
Challenge words selected by H. K.


A hippie turtle, at the disco,
in dusty, sleepy downtown Frisco
boogied hard as night wore on,
nearly ‘til the break of dawn.
He did the Penguin, and the Boogaloo,
He did the Robot and the Hustle, too.
He caught the eye of a contest judge,
who gave her helper a little nudge.
“I MUST know who that turtle is!
He’s a sensation! A star! A whiz!”
Off she went to find out more,
stepping out onto the floor.
“I’ll bring you money! Fortune! Fame!
Tell me turtle – what IS your name?”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Kindness, Compassion and Neighborly Love


It seems awfully important right now to remember kindness, compassion and neighborly love. With any luck, books like these will help teach future generations, and perhaps remind our own generations of a thing or two.

For even more reminders of kindness, and to get more inspiration for how to make 2016 a year of kindness, check out these amazing Kindness Ideas from Random Acts of Kindness...please and thank you.


Monday, June 20, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 14)

Each week I post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and an older/classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote (by the following Thursday), and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries.

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email on the sidebar (subscribers are automatically entered into EVERY monthly contest)!

Quote #1: THE HOLE STORY OF THE DOUGHNUT by Pat Miller, Vincent X. Kirsch
"But sailors like their stories bold. Not satisfied with the pastry's humble origin, they spun legends worthy of such a delicious treat."

Quote #2:  IF YOU GIVE A DOG A DONUT by Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond

"When you give him the juice, he'll drink it all up. Then he'll ask for more. There won't be any left, so he'll want to make his own."


(Week 14 Guesses end Thursday, June 23, 2016 at midnight Central time are closed!)

Monthly Giveaway: An OCTOPUS Prize Pack! (thru 6/30/2016)

The winner of this month's giveaway will receive an OCTOPUS Prize Pack, including an adorable Octopus plush (Wild Republic 8"), Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan, Be Glad Your Dad (is Not an Octopus) by Matt Logelin and Sara Jensen, and Thank you, Octopus by Darren Farrell!
 
Stumped? Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes




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Monday, June 13, 2016

The Well Read Guess (Week 13)

Each week I post quotes from 2 picture books - a new(er) picture book and an older/classic picture book. Be the first to identify a quote (by the following Thursday), and earn an entry into the current monthly giveaway! Identify both the book and the author for a quote, and you'll get two entries. Identify both for both quotes, get four entries.

Want a shot every week? Sign up to follow me to be alerted to new posts via email on the sidebar (subscribers are automatically entered into EVERY monthly contest)!

Quote #1:  Painting Pepette by Linda Ravin Lodding, Claire Fletcher
"The painter propped open his easel and filled his canvas with not one, but two button noses, and three rabbit ears! When he finished, he waved his paintbrush in the air and declared his painting a 'masterpiece'!"

Quote #2: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont, David Catrow
"One day my mama caught me 
paintin' pictures on the floor
and the ceiling
and the walls
and the curtains
and the door, 
and I heard my mama holler, 
like I never did before..."



(Week 13 Guesses end Thursday, June 16, 2016 at midnight Central time are CLOSED)

Monthly Giveaway: An OCTOPUS Prize Pack! (thru 6/30/2016)

The winner of this month's giveaway will receive an OCTOPUS Prize Pack, including an adorable Octopus plush (Wild Republic 8"), Octopus Alone by Divya Srinivasan, Be Glad Your Dad (is Not an Octopus) by Matt Logelin and Sara Jensen, and Thank you, Octopus by Darren Farrell!
 
Stumped? Check out Facebook and Twitter for clues.

Good luck and happy reading!

Rules Governing Sweepstakes




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Friday, June 10, 2016

The Well Read Review: Mira Forecasts the Future (with a GIVEAWAY!)

Mira Forecasts the Future
Kell Andrews (Author), Lissy Marlin (Illustrator)
Sterling Children's Books
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookPeople | IndieBound


I've started and restarted this review a dozen or so times. Not because reviewing Mira Forecasts the Future is difficult, and not because my daughter was "negotiating" about not wanting to nap the entire time I was writing it (alright, maybe that did happen...), but because I was startled and disappointed to read another review that claimed it was just a "marginal choice" a couple of weeks ago when I decided to purchase it. Why was it a "marginal choice" according to that review? Because the visuals were "uneven": the illustrations show people in the bright and colorful garb of the 1920's flapper era, despite references to SPF 100, a surfing contest and a female lifeguard named Taylor in the text.

Really?

COME ON. 

How about we focus on what this book did right? Because it did SO. MUCH. RIGHT.

It is attention grabbing for the three to eight year old set, with a fortune teller, a seaside town with a carnival boardwalk, bright, colorful windsocks and pinwheels (which, I promise, are right up there with bubbles in fascination-factor), surfers and lifeguards and beaches.  
It offers non-overbearing lessons on science - both meteorology AND scientific method (observation/measurement/experiment).
It is the story of a little girl who decides - all on her own - to use SCIENCE to make her dreams come true after RESEARCHING AT THE LIBRARY. It also never discounts magic or other belief systems.
It is the story of a little girl who has the full support of her mother, despite obviously long hours at the boardwalk's fortune telling stand. 
It is the story of a little girl who dreams big and wins over an entire town's adult population.
It is a story illustrated with DIVERSE characters adorned with fun and festive attire that brings a colorful twist (and a nod to history) to the tale.
It is a fresh and unique story that has never (to my knowledge) been done. And that is a very hard task to accomplish. 

Does anyone really care if "SPF" and professional surfing contests didn't really happen until the 1970s in our world (though both sunblock and surfing contests did actually exist in the 1920s and 30s)? Or if "Taylor" wasn't a popular or common name for a female (though, of note, author Taylor Caldwell was born in 1900 and was a woman)? And which is more distracting or hard to follow: a fortune teller working in a boardwalk stand wearing "stereotypically exotic garb, even when she’s off duty" or a mother who works as a fortune teller who is suddenly in normal street wear? I do feel it is important to note that when she is in the library, supporting her daughter, she is wearing "off-duty" clothes, turning her "garb" into a headband, a shawl and gold jewelry; I am fairly certain I could find a picture of a well-dressed woman of 2016 wearing a very similar outfit. Perhaps the festive, colorful, bright and non-typical flapper-esque garb used in the rest of the illustrations was purposefully included to help downplay the "stereotypically exotic garb" of Madame Mirabella?

While some people might agree with the other review, I can say I wholeheartedly disagree. I hope you'll give Mira Forecasts the Future a chance, and I hope that you love it as much as our family has. Scarves off to Kell Andrews and Lissy Marlin on this debut - can't wait for your next one.

AND, to show how much we love this book (in honor of my 50th post on Pickle Corn Jam), I'd love to give away a copy to one lucky reader. Simply leave me a comment below by next Friday, June 17, 2016, to be entered.  

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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

#BOOKADAY Summer Reading List

Although we read an average of 10+ picture books a day, I thought it would be fun to keep a running list of one of the books we've read each day, all summer (break) long. So, from June 1 through July 15, I'll list one of the books we've read each day. It might be a favorite (that always works its way into the rotation), a completely brand-new book, a classic that we love, or just a fun book we've picked up from the library or bookstore. No real rhyme or reason, just a list of books we love!

This post contains affiliate links (so, if you want to buy one, you can and should click on my link so I get moolah.) :)
 
All the Summer #BookADay Books! All the feels! 

July 15. The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
Amazon| IndieBound


July 14. Maddi's Fridge by Lois Brandt and Vin Vogel
Amazon| IndieBound

July 13. The Night Gardener by Terry Fan and Eric Fan
Amazon| IndieBound
 
July 12. The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley, Kate Berube (Illustrator)
 
July 11. A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, Christina Forshay (Illustrator)
Amazon| IndieBound

July 10. It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton
Amazon| IndieBound
 
July 9. Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Amazon| IndieBound

July 8. Oh No, George by Chris Haughton
Amazon| IndieBound

July 7. It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee
Amazon| IndieBound

July 6. The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc
Amazon| IndieBound


July 5. Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Amazon| IndieBound

July 4. Little Bird by Germano Zullo (Author), Albertine (Illustrator)
         
July 3. Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan, Stephane Jorisch (Illustrator)
Amazon| IndieBound

July 2. Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Author), Scott Magoon (Illustrator) 
Amazon| IndieBound

July 1. E-mergency! by Ezra Fields-Meyer (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)
Amazon| IndieBound

June 30. Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
Amazon| IndieBound

June 29. Arlo's ARTrageous Adventure by David LaRochelle
Amazon| IndieBound

June 28. Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos (Author), Joy Ang (Illustrator)

June 27. Tom's Tweet by Jill Esbaum (Author), Dan Santat (Illustrator)
(Bonus: Check out any of Jill's other books, like Teeny, Tiny Toady or Elwood Bigfoot for even more fun!)
Amazon| IndieBound

June 26. Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett (Author), Jon Klassen (Illustrator)

June 25. Nightsong by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

June 24. Pop-up Paris (also Pop-up New York and Pop-up London) by Lonely Planet Kids
Amazon| IndieBound

June 23. This is Sadie by Sara O'Leary (Author), Julie Morstad (Illustrator)

June 22. The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
Amazon| IndieBound

June 21. Happy Birthday, Bunny by Liz Garton Scanlon (Author), Stephanie Graegin (Illustrator)
Amazon| IndieBound

June 20. The Little Gardener by Emily Hughes 
Amazon | IndieBound 

June 19. The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski
Amazon | IndieBound 

June 18. Chimpanzees for Tea by Jo Empson
Amazon| IndieBound 
 
June 17. The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller (Author), Vincent X. Kirsch (Illustrator) REVIEW!
Amazon| IndieBound

June 16. Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan
Amazon| IndieBound

June 15. Night Animals by Gianna Marino
Amazon | IndieBound

June 14. Part-time Princess
Deborah Underwood (Author), Cambria Evans (Illustrator)
(BONUS: Also check out Deborah's newest book, Good Night, Baddies - or any of her books really! AND BONUS BONUS! Part-time Mermaid comes out in 2017!)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 13. Itsy Mitsy Runs Away
Elanna Allen (BONUS: Elanna Allen's newest book, Poor Little Guy, came out last week!)
Amazon | IndieBound
 
June 12. Rattletrap Car 
Phyllis Root (Author), Jill Barton (Illustrator)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 11. The Most Magnificent Thing 
Ashley Spires 
Amazon | IndieBound

June 10. Those Darn Squirrels 
Adam Rubin (Author), Daniel Salmieri (Illustrator)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 9. Catch a Kiss 
Deborah Diesen (Author), Kris Aro McLeod (Illustrator)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 8. Ribbit!
Rodrigo Folgueira (Author), Poly Bernatene (Illustrator)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 7. The Two Tims 
David Elliott (Author), Gabriel Alborozo (Illustrator) 
Amazon | IndieBound

June 6. Lion vs Rabbit  
Alex Latimer
Amazon | IndieBound

June 5. Me...Jane
Patrick McDonnell  
Amazon | IndieBound

June 4. I Love Cake (Featuring Rabbit, Porcupine & Moose) 
Tammi Sauer (Author), Angie Rozelaar (Illustrator)
Amazon | IndieBound

June 3. Mira Forecasts the Future  REVIEW!
Kell Andrews (Author), Lissy Marlin (Illustrator) 
Amazon | IndieBound

June 2. Planting a Rainbow 
Lois Ehlert
Amazon | IndieBound
 
June 1. Oh No, Astro!  REVIEW!
Matt Roeser (Author), Brad Woodard (Illustrator) 
Amazon | IndieBound


 I'd love to hear what #bookaday books you are reading in the comments!

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