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.
Author: Lane Fredrickson
Illustrator: Jon Davis
Genre: Fiction picture book
Themes: Manners; Kindness/empathy
Opening: Cecily Beasley was never polite/she never said ‘thank you’ or ‘please’ or ‘goodnight.’
Synopsis: (from publisher’s website)
Cecily Beasley is never polite–she won’t say thank you, please, or goodnight. She slurps her food, refuses to share, and sticks her tongue out everywhere. But this rude little girl gets her comeuppance in this rambunctious, rhyming picture book that makes its point with irresistible humor.
Every child has heard the words, “Don’t make that face. It might freeze that way!” Well, that’s exactly what happens to Cecily–and to make things worse, a bird builds a nest on her outstretched tongue! But only when the chicks hatch will Cecily finally learn a lesson she’ll never forget.
What makes it great: Fantastic rhyme and a very engaging story with unexpected twists.
What readers notice: My 5-year-old loves this story and wants to read it over and over again. She tends to latch onto fun-to-say words and phrases from the books she likes, and for weeks she walked around the house shouting, “Watch your tongue!” That kept us all on our toes.
What a writer notices: The wonderful rhyme is what attracts me to this story, but I also love the funny, over-the-top twist. We’ve all hear the warning that ‘your face might stick that way’ when children make faces or stick out their tongue. In this story the author took that situation to the extreme when she allows a Mockingbeak Tonguesnatcher bird to build a nest on her main character’s tongue. It’s a good reminder that in picture books, taking things to extremes can make for a very engaging story.
Activities/Links to Resources:
For writers, Lane has built a fantastic website about writing in rhyme, one of the best resources out there.
Site with lessons about teaching empathy at all grade levels:
My son’s school uses a curriculum called Open Circle to explicitly teach empathy and getting along with others. I have found the recommended literature tie-ins to be wonderful, and you can access the book lists for free (organized by grade level).
This site is geared toward parents, lots of tips on fostering empathy in children: