“When Peter was just one year old,
He did not like his milk served cold.
He did not like his milk served hot.
He liked it warm…
And he would not
Drink it if he was not sure
It was the proper temperature.
But Mrs. Peters did not mind.
She was a mother sweet and kind;
And when his milk spilled on the floor,
She patiently prepared some more.
She’d take the bottle from the shelf
And chuckle softly to herself, ‘What a silly sort of eater
Is my darling baby Peter.’”
Marla Frazee is one of my favourite illustrators. I never get tired of reading this book to my kids because the illustrations are so detailed and relatable. Mrs. Peters looks more frazzled and weary as the book goes on and as she has more and more children. Her house gets messier and messier as she has to accommodate more picky eaters. I can relate.
“Making an apple pie is really very easy. First, get all the ingredients at the market. Mix them well, bake and serve. Unless, of course, the market is closed. In that case, go home and pack a suitcase. Take your shopping list and some walking shoes. Then catch a steamship bound for Europe.”
In this story, harvest some wheat in Italy, coax a French chicken to lay an egg, peel off some cinnamon bark from a tree in Sri Lanka, and pick some apples in an orchard in Vermont, all before heading home to bake a pie to share with friends!
“There was once a quiltmaker who kept a house in the blue misty mountains up high…Many people climbed her mountain, pockets bursting with gold, hoping to buy one of the wonderful quilts. But the woman would not sell them. ‘I give my quilts to those who are poor or homeless,’ she told all who knocked on her door. ‘They are not for the rich.’”
The Quiltmaker’s Gift is a story about a selfish and greedy king who is obsessed with hoarding gifts and treasures all for himself. When he discovers that the quiltmaker will not sell a quilt to him for any amount of money, he becomes angry and desperate. The quiltmaker says to him “Make presents of everything you own… and then I’ll make a quilt for you”. The king begins to give his treasures away to others, reluctantly at first, but as he sees the joy that it brings others, he becomes happier and happier himself. I love this story for teaching children the joy of sharing with others. The illustrations are colourful, whimsical and engaging. This is a picture book I never get tired of reading to my children.
“Angelica Sprocket lives next door. Her overcoat has pockets galore.”
This is a silly, rhyming, nonsensical book and it is so fun. Angelica Sprocket has an extensive collection of strange items in her many coat pockets. If you grew up reading Roald Dahl books like I did, then you know what I mean when I say Quentin Blake’s illustrations are so nostalgic and incredibly unique.
“Grandma looked at the horizon, drew a deep breath and said, ‘This is Thunder Cake baking weather, all right. Looks like a storm coming to me…Don’t pay attention to that old thunder [child], except to see how close the storm is getting….We need to know how far away the storm is, so we have time to make the cake and get it into the oven before the storm comes, or it won’t be real Thunder Cake.’”
I love the concept of this story! A young child staying with her grandma fears the sound of thunder and her grandma distracts her by taking her around the farm to collect ingredients for baking a “Thunder Cake”. They have to hurry so they can get the cake into the oven in time for it to be ready when the storm is right above them!
The Raft is a dreamy story of a young boy spending the summer with his grandma. At first, the young boy is afraid he’ll have a boring summer but his grandma lives by the river and he soon finds the magic in it. He spends his days exploring on a floating raft and getting up close to the creatures who live in and near the river. The author himself says: “This story is about… a summer in the woods, a special grandparent, becoming a river rat, and becoming an artist.”
“After that, I had little time for anything but the raft. I raced through whatever chores there were, then ran down to the dock, wondering what animals I’d see that day. It wasn’t just birds that the raft attracted. One morning three raccoons followed me along the shore. Another time a turtle climbed on board and spent the morning sunning itself. And one afternoon I saw a family of foxes slip through the trees along the river.”
“Five miles off the coast of Maine
and slightly overdue,
a circus ship was steaming south
in fog as thick as stew.
Onboard were fifteen animals
who travelled to and fro.
The next day it was Boston
or another circus show.”
This story is about a circus ship full of animals (and their demanding circus owner) who get caught in a big storm that destroys their ship. The circus owner selfishly saves only himself on a small life boat. The animals end up swimming to shore and landing in a quiet town on the coast of Maine. “Soon animals were everywhere, and into everything”. A woman finds a python in her pantry! A man finds an ostrich in the outhouse! Eventually, the townspeople begin to get along with all these new exotic visitors. When the greedy circus owner arrives on a big ship to collect his animals, the townspeople hide their new friends in fun and creative ways.
Liam lives in a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind and then one day he stumbles upon a small struggling garden.
“Since Liam had always wanted to explore the [railway] tracks, there was only one thing for the curious boy to do. Liam ran up the stairs….The first thing he saw was a lonely patch of color. Wildflowers and plants were the last things he had expected to find up there. But when he took a closer look, it became clear that the plants were dying. They needed a gardener.”
Liam returns every day to water and tends to the flowers. The small struggling garden starts to spread and travel throughout the whole city. The illustrations in this book show the ugly brown city slowly getting covered in fresh green plant life. Plants pop up everywhere and new gardeners join Liam in the beautifying project!