Thumb Love written and illustrated by Elise Primavera is a story about a girl named Lulu who has a bad habit. Lulu loves to suck her thumb. She loves to suck her thumb everyday and everywhere she goes. Many people around Lulu do not understand why she still sucks her thumb. Her parents, grandmother, and other family members all comment on how she is too old to be sucking her thumb. She is even made fun of by other kids because of her thumb sucking. Lulu sees no problem with it until one night she has a bad dream about the consequences of thumb sucking. The next morning Lulu declares that she will stop sucking her thumb even though her thumb protested this idea. Lulu comes up with a 12-step program that anyone who is trying to stop sucking there thumb can follow. Her program also includes many tricks that you can try to dissuade you from sucking your thumb. The main thing that Lulu stresses in her program is that it is not easy to quit and you will sometimes fail, but the important thing is to keep on trying.
This book is very funny and witty. The book starts off with Lulu admitting to other people that she has a problem. It is a very clever play off of how many self-help meetings start off. The 12-step program to stop sucking your thumb is a very clever addition to the story. The author does a good job of providing advice along with humor. What I also found to be very clever about this book was the incorporation of the word bubbles. With the word bubbles she was able to bring life to thumb. The author especially did a good job of conveying the message that sometimes it is hard to accomplish your goals and sometimes you may fail, but that does not mean you stop trying. Instead you keep trying and trying until you succeed. I think that this is a wonderful message because for some kids it will be a challenge to stop doing things that sucking their thumb, and sometimes they just need some encouragement and to now that it is okay to experience some setbacks.
The illustrations were also very well done. I really liked the variation in size of the illustrations. Sometime the page just had small separate illustrations and other times the illustrations would take up the whole page. The illustrations were very cartoon like and they just really brought life to the story. The text and the illustrations were also integrated very well with one another. On some pages there would be a simple illustration bordering the text. Overall, the illustrations and the text worked very well with one another.
I think children will love this book. It is a great book for children who may be trying to kick the habit of sucking their thumb and for those children who have already kicked the habit. It is recommended for children ages 4-8. This book is very relatable and the approach the topic is done in a very child-like manner. I think that adults will also enjoy this book and even find themselves laughing at times.
Viola Swamp, the strict and mean teacher who “meant business” and loaded students with homework, lives in infamy as the type of teacher students fear. Although Miss Nelson is Missing was published in 1977, it has remained a timeless classic to generations of school children and a cautionary tale about what happens when students misbehave. Author Harry Allard and illustrator by James Marshall have written spin-offs titled Miss Nelson Is Back and Miss Nelson Has a Field Day and a DVD version can also be found online.
In the original story, Miss Nelson had difficulty getting the students to behave or respect her in class, so one day she sends a substitute named Miss Viola Swamp. Miss Swamp is tough on the children and it gets so miserable that they eventually meet with a detective, Detective McSmogg, to get help finding her. Detective McSmogg declares, “I think Miss Nelson is missing.” The children hypothesize what happened to Miss Nelson and generate ideas like being eaten by a shark or traveling to the moon. When Miss Nelson finally returns, the students are ecstatic to see her and from then on are well behaved and appreciative. One of the final pictures shows Miss Nelson giggling to her self and part of Miss Swamp’s characteristic black dress and wig are visible in her closet.
This story is fun for children because they get to imagine what having a teacher like Miss
Swamp would be like. For some students, the reality of Miss Swamp comes alive when they receive a visit from Miss Swamp in person! This yearly tradition takes place in Paige’s grandmother’s classroom when her mom dresses like Viola Swamp and comes to class to interact with the children. It is definitely a fun way to get the children involved with the literature.
The book is recommended for age 4-8; however, it is a timeless story that can be revisited at any age. In fact, when Dr. Neely brought it out in class we got very excited and shouts of “I loved that book!” and “awww” could be heard throughout the classroom. As a future teacher, I especially hold it close to my heart. So to all the “Miss Nelsons” out there, thank you for your guidance and wisdom, may your classes always remember Viola Swamp and appreciate you.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems is a picture book about a little girl, Trixie, who goes on an adventure with her daddy down the block, through the park, past the school, and finally into the Laundromat. Trixie has a blast helping her daddy out in the Laundromat. As they walk back home, she realizes something terrible has happened. She no longer has Knuffle Bunny in her arms! As Trixie begins to make all sorts of sounds and noises to try to convey to her daddy the tragedy that has just occurred, her father is just absolutely clueless. They arrive home and immediately Trixie’s mother asks where Knuffle Bunny is. They run back to the Laundromat to find him and in that moment of joy, Trixie shouts her first words, KNUFFLE BUNNY!!
This picture book is not just any ordinary picture book. Mo Willems has artfully pieced together real-life photographs with his original cartoon drawings. The illustrations in this book include hand-drawn sketches and digital photographs of Brooklyn, New York. The photographs have a sepia tone and they provide the background to Mo Willems’s hand drawn ink characters, Knuffle Bunny, Trixie, and her parents. The brightly colored characters offer a visually appealing contrast to the gray scale pictures in the background. The distinction between the realistic background and the cartoon-like drawings really helps capture readers’ attention. Mo Willems also strategically uses a pale green color for all the pages behind the photographs and text which presents another contrast to the photographs. The text, photographs, and ink drawings really work together to tie the whole book together. The book cover is also beautifully made. You can see a realistic photograph in the background and the hand drawn pictures of Trixie and Knuffle Bunny are in vibrant colors. The cartoon drawings are especially shiny and smooth. It really makes the hand drawn illustrations stand out. The book jacket is in a dark green color and it gives a short summary of the book and tells us a little bit about Mo Willems and his other books. The page before the title page shows photographs of how Trixie came to be with a picture of her parents getting married and then a picture of her as a little baby and soon the adventure begins with the title page and Trixie hugging Knuffle Bunny.
This unique picture book is written for children ages 2-5. However, children and adults of all ages can most certainly enjoy this book. This book is definitely appropriate for young children. There is not a lot of text and it is a very simple but amazingly fun read with different nonsense sounds. Children of all ages would enjoy reading this book! This book is also the first of three Knuffle Bunny books. Mo Willems has written two new books since the first one: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity and Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion. Be sure to check these out as well!
The Quiet Book written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska, is a wonderful new picture book published this year for children ages 3-6. This book illustrates the many different types of quiet that children experience. Liwska illustrates these experiences through the use of animals including bears, rabbits, porcupines, mice, owls, moose and wombats in different situations where they are quiet. These types of quiet include “making a wish quiet,” and “best friends don’t need to talk quiet,” presenting situations that children experience in their own lives.
Deborah Underwood includes very little text, just one line per page as seen in the image on the left. These single lines accompanying the illustrations provide readers with repetition of the different kinds of quiet, all having similar sentence structures and simple illustrations. This repetition along with the gentle treatment of the animals is a very appealing quality for young children. Additionally, the book is very small, adding to the quiet and calm nature of the story. This is a great book for children to curl up to and hold close to them in their laps as they learn about the many different types of quiet they can experience in the world.