Picture Books – Duck, Duck, Porcupine; School’s First Day…; Chicken Lily; We are Growing

Yoon, Salina. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! New York: Bloomsbury, 2016. 978-1-61963-723-8. 64pp. $9.99. Gr K-2.

This easy-reader title contains three short stories: A Perfect Day for a Picnic, I Think I Forgot Something, and The Campout. Each story features Big Duck, her brother Little Duck, and their friend Porcupine. The stories unfold through the back-and-forth dialogue between Big Duck and Porcupine. Little Duck doesn’t speak words yet, but his actions show that he is sometimes more aware of his surroundings than either of his friends. For example, in the first story, the friends prepare for a picnic. Big Duck and Porcupine are so busy gathering supplies that they don’t notice a huge cloud creeping across the sky. Little Duck has been watching the sky closely, though, and when a downpour begins, he is the one who is prepared with an umbrella. Yoon’s bright digitally-colored illustrations stand out against the story’s uncluttered backgrounds, and her heavy outlining further set off her characters.  THOUGHTS: Fans of Elephant and Piggie books will love reading about this trio and their many adventures. This title will also work well as a read-aloud or as a reader’s theatre production since all the text is already in speech bubbles.

Picture Book     Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County


Rex, Adam. School’s First Day of School. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. 978-1-59643-964-1. 32pp. $15.44. Gr K-3.

As a newly built school, Frederick Douglass Elementary isn’t sure what to expect at the beginning of a new school year. It’s been just the school and the janitor all summer, but when the children arrive, everything changes. There’s noisy lockers, splashing water fountains, and spilled nose milk. There’s also brightly colored drawings, lessons about shapes, and new friends to meet. Rex’s gentle text is perfect for reassuring nervous school newcomers, and students will relate to the school’s worries about the unknown. They will also connect to the many familiar activities depicted in illustrator Christian Robinson’s vibrant pictures: exploring the playground with friends, sitting in a circle on the classroom carpet, and filing out of the building during a fire drill.  THOUGHTS: Robinson’s lively illustrations feature a diverse student body, and readers will enjoy pouring over the students’ many activities. This title makes a perfect first-day-of-school read aloud, and it will fast-become a beginning-of-the-year staple.

Picture Book     Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York County


Mortensen, Lori. Chicken Lily. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 978-1-62779-120-5. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. K-3.

Chicken Lily is great at many things, but being brave isn’t one of them. She’s cautious and doesn’t like to take chances. Lily’s friends ride their bikes without training wheels, try new foods, and are even excited for the class Grand-Slam Poetry Jam, so they can get up on stage in front of an audience and read their poems. Lily? “Just thinking about reciting a poem in front of everyone sent shivers down her tail feathers.” Luckily, Lily’s friends encourage her to write a poem anyway, and she finds the courage to read it onstage…only to find out that it’s not so bad. Lily may be a chicken, but not all of the time. Lily’s story is certainly not the first about a timid child, but the way Lily’s friends and teacher encourage her is wonderful and worth a read. Adult will appreciate the subtle chicken humor. THOUGHTS: Many children could see a bit of themselves in Chicken Lily, and hopefully will find their own “plucky” spirit like Lily does. Crittenden’s cute cartoon illustrates pair nicely with the story.

Picture Book     Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools


Keller, Laurie. We Are Growing! New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2016. 978-1-48472-635-8. 49pp. $9.99. Gr. K-2.

Elephant and Piggie introduce and conclude this zany easy reader, the first in their new series called Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!  Several blades of grass are growing and each declares that he or she is the tallest, curliest, crunchiest, etc. Walt, the last blade of grass, doesn’t have a clue about what he is until the blades of grass are all given haircuts from a lawnmower, and then Walt, rake in hand, realizes that he’s the neatest! This story is simple and giggle inducing. Speech bubbles highlight the ongoing dialogue that is full of repetition and (mostly) appropriate words for beginning readers. Bright illustrations also help with context clues for tough words. THOUGHTS: Winner of the Theodore Seuss Giesel Award for 2017, We Are Growing! will be a hit with Elephant & Piggie fans or any young reader who likes a good laugh.

Picture book    Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools

Picture Books – Peep & Egg; Little Green Truck; Cat Nap; Let Me Finish

Gehl, Laura. Peep and Egg: I’m Not Hatching. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016.   978-0-374-30121-7.  32 pp. $16.99. Gr. Pre-K-2.

Peep wants Egg to hatch so that they can have fun together!  But Egg is NOT hatching!  It is too scary out there in the big world! Peep persists and continues to remind Egg of all of the fun things that they could do if she would just hatch; watch the sunrise; ride the sheep; splash in puddles. But Egg continues to say “I’m not hatching,” after each. This cute, highly graphic yet sweet picture book will have kids repeating Egg’s refusal with you and cheering when she ultimately doesn’t want to be left behind.  THOUGHTS:  This is a fun book that gently introduces the topic of fears and how to overcome them.  It is perfect for a younger crowd who will get into the repetition of repeating, “I’m not hatching!”  Students can even create a group story and choose another creature to try to convince to come out ( a turtle;  a hibernating bear; a tadpole) and give excuses and then a solution for how to finally get them to decide to come out!

Picture Book     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


Schotter, Roni. Go, Little Green Truck! New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2016. 978-0-374-30070-8. 32pp. $16.99. Gr. K-2.

Little Green Truck is the Farmer’s faithful helper.  Then one day, he is replaced by a Big Blue truck that is new and can haul bigger loads.  Little Green truck is forgotten and sad.  Then one day, the farmer’s daughter remembers how gently Little Green took them to town and what a nice small size he is for the narrow lanes at the Farmer’s Market.  So begins Little Green Truck’s transformation.  He is washed and painted.  The little girl paints happy flowers and fruit on his sides.  His engine is replaced with one that runs on corn and soy oil from their vegetables, and just like that Little Green gets a new life!  Little Green is used to haul all of the vegetables, pies, and preserves to the farmers market because he has a gentler ride and a fun new look that all of the customers love. This sweet transformation and repurposing tale is beautifully illustrated by Julia Kuo.  THOUGHTS:  This tale can be used to illustrate how we can repurpose and reuse things that might have otherwise gone into a landfill.  It also might be used to illustrate how we all have a unique purpose.  I loved how Little Green got a hybrid soy oil engine!  This might be a fun way to introduce alternative fuels to the younger set as well!

Picture Book     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


Yuly, Toni. Cat Nap. New York: Macmillan, 2016. 978-1-250-05458-6. 32 pp. $16.99. Gr. Pre-K-1.

Cat just wants to sleep.  But Kitten just wants to play.  So Cat thinks up a clever way to get some quiet time, a game of Hide and Seek! Except Kitten is very good at finding Cat.  Too good!  Readers join Kitten in the search to find Cat. Finally exhausted, Cat decides to just go take a nap and finds a surprise waiting in his bed.  THOUGHTS:  This bold graphic tale of Cat and Kitten will delight young readers and perhaps make a good going to bed (or naptime) story.

Picture Book     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy


Le, Minh. Let Me Finish. New York: Hyperion, 2016. 978-1-4847-2173-5. 32pp. $16.99. Gr.  K-2.

The young boy has just gotten settled with his new book.  He is excited and anxious to get started.  Then, out of the tree, pop some birds who spoil the plot and tell the ending of the book.  Discouraged, the boy heads back to find another book that he wanted to read.  He sneaks off and finds a quiet spot, but again the animals spoil the book.  Why can’t they just let him finish?!? This hilarious romp to avoid the spoilers and finish the book he wants to read is a problem that many readers can relate to. The action packed illustrations are colorful and full of emotion.   Will he avoid hearing the ending?  Or should he really have listened?  THOUGHTS:  This is a great discussion starter for why students should not be “spoilers” – those who tell the ending of a book or movie and ruin it for others.  It also might be a fun way to talk about where students go to read and not be interrupted.

Picture Book     Donna Fernandez, Calvary Christian Academy