Author Showcase- Monica Wellington


Apple Farmer Annie
by  Monica Wellington is another  favorite in our house. My son loves this author and I like how simple but informative this book is. Your little reader will learn about the basics of what happens at an apple orchard , but you can take it further if you want. On many of the pages there are chances to learn more, like the page about sorting and classifying, where there are apples ready to count 1-10, and sorted by colors. I love the last page that says that Annie is so happy to have her own apple farm. I loved that message and think it’s a lot more powerful than some may think, women on farms in most books are “farmer’s wives” and I love that there is no one but Annie doing her own thing.

Mr. Cookie Baker was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.

Pizza at Sally's
Pizza at Sally’s is another great look at a small business owner , and how she does her work everyday and feeds the masses with her yummy pizza! I like how it not only explains how to make pizza but it also looks at the ingredients and how they are grown and processed.  Of course it’s not explained in depth but it is explained enough to start a dialogue with interested preschoolers for further investigation.  My son loves the cat in this book, the same cat is in many of the other books but for some reason he particularly loves it’s presence in this one. It’s inspired me to make the dough from scratch with my son next time we have pizza!  A lovely book!
Squeaking of Art

SQUEAKING OF ART, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington is a fun book to read before and even more fun to read after a visit to a museum. This book follows a group of mice that all explore the museum, and the art on it’s walls. Each page is a different theme and the text is a dialogue between the mice and their Cat guide about the art displayed. The art itself are the author illustrator’s versions of art you will probably recognize. There are multiple paintings on each page and if you are like me and like to quiz yourself on your ability to name the painting and artist this book is for you. There is a guide at the end of the book for every page. I think I like this book even more than my son for that reason. My son likes it because he can recognize some paintings, but thy are redone in bright vibrant colors and have a more cartoon look, which I think appeals to my son even more than the originals. When we “read” this book we often skip the text and simple look and explore the art.  No matter how you read it this is a fine addition to any library for those who love fine art.

Truck Driver Tom is one of my son’s picks. The story is simple, Tom and his puppy drive produce from the farm to the market and see the country side and much more along the way. The best part of this book are the fun bright and detailed illustrations, there is a wide variety of trucks, cars , emergency and construction vehicles! Also it’s a great lesson about how our food gets from the farm to us.

zinna
Zinnia’s Flower Garden This book is really useful not just about teaching about flowers and gardens, but also about patience and the annual cycle of a garden.  Zinnia plants and waits, waters, enjoys her flowers, then they die, she collects the seeds and plans her garden for next year.  I love that the main story is perfect for my almost 3 year old but there is much more for older children with longer attention spans. There is a little journal with notes about what’s happening with her garden, and various facts about plants as well.  Like in so many of her books the author celebrates hard work and her characters take great pride in what they do. A fantastic message for readers, big and little. I also love the mix of illustration and photographs in this book especially, it gives the illustrations depth and a really interesting look.

Author Showcase: Leo Lionni

An Extraordinary Egg is a very cute story about three frogs who find a wonderful egg, thinking it must be a chicken egg they are excited to have a new friend when the chicken hatches, even though it’s really an alligator! Kids love this story because they think these are the silliest frogs ever for not knowing that the chicken isn’t a chicken at all!

Fish Is Fish is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way . I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines people as fish with legs! The story of friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way friendships if true can withstand change.

Frederick is a fable about the importance of imagination. When all the mice are working hard to gather things for winter Fredrick is quietly taking in the sun, and colors they will need to help get them through the dark, cold hungry days ahead. The other mice don’t see why this is so important until everything they have gathered runs out and they need Fredrick and his imagination to help them make it ! Great commentary about art being vital. Your toddler may not pick up on that but you will !

It’s Mine! is one of my favorite books to pull out when I hear those words… which I have recently. The story is about 3 frogs who all live on a small island, and fight all the time. They take turns claiming this or that never sharing with each other. When a flood comes they learn that they need to rely on each other and share in order to survive. After they learn their lesson they see that the island is a happier place to be when all their energy isn’t spent fighting and screaming “It’s mine” to each other.

Little Blue and Little Yellow is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob! You’ll be surprised by how easily your preschooler will pick up on the connection between the two. In my PreK class I had more than a few kids make the connection all on their own.

Swimmy is a serious tale about a little fish who tragically looses his family, and is forced to face scary things alone. He soon discovers that if he and other little fish band together they have power against the big bullies in the ocean. Personally I love this author and this book is one of my favorites. Some parents have expressed concern over his family being eaten at the start , so read it for yourself before deciding if it’s right for your child.

The Alphabet Tree is a stunning book. The book is all about letters that come together to make words and then after a caterpillar informs them that they need to say something they join together to make sentences. Up to this point the book is a brilliant teaching tool , but for me the best part is yet to come. When the words get together they decide to say ” Peace on earth goodwill toward all men” and then the caterpillar asks them to jump on his back so he can take the words to the president . Considering it was written in 1968 it’s quite the statement. A fantastic activity to do with your child after reading this would be to ask them what they would write to the president ? For younger children using letters on leaves you could spell out easy 3 letter words like they do early on in the story. All in all a brilliant book.


Author Showcase : Todd Parr

The I LOVE YOU Book Kids need to know that love is unconditional and this book drives that point home is a simple , bright and funny way. I cried through reading most of it , but my son laughed and loved it. I specifically loved that the author includes that a child is loved even when they are sad, not sleeping and more. The cover of the book has a cut out heart shape and would be a great add on to a shape activity about hearts.

Otto Goes to the Beachby Todd Parr was a steal of a deal at the Goodwill last week! I got a hardcover in perfect condition for 70 cents. My bargin hunting aside, I really enjoy this book as did my son. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way! In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!

Otto Goes to Bed by Todd Parr is a really fun and positive book. Otto is a dog who doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play, chase his tail and a bath and brushing teeth don’t help. Instead he figures out that there is something he likes about bedtime, dreaming! I like that this book addresses that going to bed feels like missing out on things for kids, I know I felt like that for years. Instead of blankly saying “Sleeping is great” or “You have to go to bed” this book finds something positive about going to bed . The illustration of Otto as a super hero dog makes my son howl with laughter every time.

The Family Book by Todd Parr is a book that doesn’t give readers a narrow definition of family , it doesn’t say that your family has to look a certain way, or be the same as your neighbors. As a teacher I really appreciated the matter of fact way it embraced diversity. Kids see that families are not all like theirs and it’s important to validate the truth while recognizing that while they may not all look alike, all families are made with love. Great book , cute illustrations and children love it.

The Mommy Book by Todd Parr is a bright, funny and wonderfully random book. I love Todd Parr and his blunt and diverse books. In this one he once again reassures kids that mommies come in all different forms but all mommies want you to be who you are! Your kids will love the simple and vibrant pictures that are Todd Parr’s signature!

Underwear Do’s and Don’ts by Todd Parr makes my son laugh and me hopeful that he will want to wear underwear sometime before 2020. The book is silly and full of absurd but entertaining advice about underwear. My son is particularly fond of the advice about not putting your underwear in the freezer! He laughs like it’s a new joke every time we read it, which is 3-4 times a day.


Go See The Author!


If you are or will be in the Chicago Area August 15th and 16th you can go meet the author Todd Parr at select Nordstrom stores , where he will be reading, signing and introducing the world to his new clothing line Planet Color by Todd Parr above is an example of the illustrations that will be on the clothing. For more info check out the website