Library Harvest – 3/18/14


I scored big at the library today. The New Books shelf was fully loaded — and I happily unloaded it right into my bag. Have you read any of these, or any other new books you loved? (The one in the middle is Crankenstein by Samantha Berger and Dan Santat, which I can’t wait to read.) Down in the right corner is Lulu and the Duck in the Park by Hilary McKay, which my 5 year old is enjoying as a read-aloud, lately. It’s a very sweet series that is helping me get my mind around chapter books as a genre.

Speaking of new books…I am enjoying the discussion over in the Debut Picture Book Study Group. This is a Facebook group dedicated to studying picture books by first-time authors (not author illustrators). If you like talking plot structures, voice, and character arcs, come and join in!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Tea Party Rules

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.

tea_party_rulesTitle: Tea Party Rules

Author: Ame Dyckman

Illustrator: K.G. Campbell

Publisher: Viking

Year: 2013

Genre: Fiction picture book

Ages: 3-5

Themes: Friendship; manners

Opening: Cub was playing in the woods when he smelled something delicious. He followed his nose through the bushes and found…cookies! And another bear.

Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) When he follows his nose through the woods, Cub discovers a backyard tea party…with cookies!  He is just about to dig in when the hostess of the tea party shows up. And she has several strong opinions on how Tea Party must be played. Cub tries to follow her rules . . . but just how much can one bear take, even for cookies?

What makes it great: Like Ame’s earlier book, Boy + Bot, this book has a spare simplicity that is so much fun to read. I love that Cub’s motivation is cookies – because who hasn’t been motivated by cookies?

What readers notice: My kids loved the scene when Cub finally loses it and devours the cookies in such an UNdainty way.

What a writer notices: Editors today are demanding shorter and shorter texts, and reading this book is like a master class in that style of writing. There is not one word wasted or out of place. And yet, she manages to inject plenty of voice and personality into the text. In just 425 words, the author tells a complete, humorous, and emotionally satisfying story.

Activities/Links to Resources: 

Mind Your Manners tea party ideas:

Kids might be interested in learning about the different etiquette required at a Japanese tea ceremony:

Lots of activities about teaching general good manners here: