It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Picture Book Month Favorites

IMWAYR       b4f78-pb2bmonth2blogo

It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

It’s hard to believe that November is almost over and in a few hours, the countdown to Christmas will begin!  It has been wonderful celebrating picture books this month with you and I hope that you have been inspired to use some of these wonderful books to enhance your lessons and bring some picture book joy to your students!  Here are some of the books I’ve featured on my Facebook page this month plus a few extras!


The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Class – Justin Roberts

I know a book is going to be great when the word “transform” is written in the last line: “And now the world could transform and a change could be made by the smallest girl in the smallest grade.” This is a wonderful story about Sally, who, despite her small size, notices things going on around her – hurtful things. An inspiring story about making a difference and standing up for change – no matter what size you are! Vibrant pencil-crayon illustrations and rhyming text. A perfect primary read-aloud! Love!

If You Give a Mouse an iPhone – Ann Droyd

Getting sucked into screen time is certainly a topic we can all connect to! This is a hilarious spin on the classic series by Laura Numeroff. A boy gives Applesauce, the mouse, an iPhone to keep him quiet for 10 minutes. Of course, Applesauce wants the phone for much longer and ends up missing out on the fun activities surrounding him. If you are a parent trying to explain to their children why they should NOT get an IPhone – this might help your cause! Great illustrations, great fun! A great companion to Anne Droyd’s “Goodnight Ipad” (similar spin on Goodnight Moon)

Book Trailer:


The Storm Whale – Benji Davies

This beautifully illustrated book invites readers to infer both from the carefully selected words and stunning artwork. The story is about a Noi, a young boy who discovers a whale on the beach after a storm. His father is a busy fisherman (and is a great hugger) and, despite their 6 cats, Noi is often alone. He decides to take the whale home and hide it in his bathtub. There is a tenderness to this quiet tale of loneliness, family and friendship.  Will make a wonderful book to practice questioning and inferring. 


Blizzard – John Rocco

This book is based on John Rocco’s childhood experience duing the now infamous blizzard of 1978, which brought 53 inches of snow to his town in Rhode Island. Brief text and dynamic illustrations: the wonder of a winter storm told through the eyes of young boy. I LOVED John’s Rocco’s book Blackout (2012 Caldecott Honoree) about a family’s experience one summer during a power outage. I think I may love this one just a little bit more.


Louise Loves Art – Kelly Light

This is a book that celebrates creativity, imagination and the challenges and joys of having a younger sibling!  Louise loves art – when she is not drawing, she is thinking about what she is going to draw next.  One day, she is preparing her latest masterpiece for the “Gallery du Fridge”, when her younger brother wants to join in but has a slightly different plan for her painting!  I liked the way the text told Louise’s story and the illustrations told her brother’s.  The illustrations are bright and lively and I liked how Louise modeled self control when her brother clearly ruined her special art.  This would be a perfect “connect” book!

elephant and piggy

Waiting is Not Easy – Mo Willems

Love this latest in the Elephant and Piggy series by the great Mo Willems.  This one deals with the challenges of having to wait for something!  Poor Elephant  is not having an easy time waiting for a special surprise that Piggy has in store for him.  This would be a perfect book to practice making connections with your primary class – especially with the Christmas season coming up… Who doesn’t have a hard time waiting for Christmas to arrive?

hockey sweater

The Hockey Sweater – 30 Anniversary Edition by Roch Carrier

With the passing of Pat Quinn, one of the most beloved faces of Canadian hockey this month, it seemed fitting to post a book celebrating this great sport. The Hockey Sweater is a true classic Canadian book and this year they have re-issued it as an “anniversary edition” (30 years!) Same classic story but filled with extra materials, still photos from the animated movie and best of all, quotes from celebrities who have read and loved the book. The story centers around a boy living in a small town in Quebec, his hockey hero #9 Maurice Richard, and the famous rivalry between the Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is a story of hockey, family, community, heroes, passion and dreaming big.  This book would make a perfect Christmas present for the special hockey players in your life. (All three of mine have their own copy!) LOVE this book.


What We See When We Read – Peter Mendelsund

Visualizing, or “making metal pictures” when you read is a strategy I have spent years teaching students about. In this fascinating book, graphic and book jacket designer Peter Mendelsund explores how we are better able to understand the act of reading through visualizing. In a “scrapbook” approach, a collage of short text, pictures, sketches and concepts he creates a visually interesting and thought-provoking look at the process of reading. Lively, quirky and thought provoking. This is a quick read (I read it cover to cover on the Victoria ferry) and reinforced the very foundation of what I know to be true: “The reader writes the story” (Annie Proulx)


The Misadventures of Sweetie Pie – Chris Van Allsburg

It is actually painful for me to admit this – but I did not really like this book.  I love everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that Chris Van Allsburg has EVER written.  I was SO excited seeing this new release on display in my favorite book store, but after reading it, I was left feeling so very disappointed.  Sweetie Pie is a pet hamster who longs to be free and run wild with other wild creatures. We follow Sweetie from the pet store to the owner’s house and finally to the classroom when he becomes the class pet.   Over Christmas, one of the students takes Sweetie Pie home – and forgets about him! I felt as if this whole book was about the abuse of this poor animal and about selfish children who didn’t care about him or anything!  I could not see myself reading it to my class as I don’t think there would be anything positive to discuss.   I am often teased by friends and colleagues that I “love every book” I read.  This book,  sadly, I did not even like!

 Hooray – this is my 100th Post!    Thanks for stopping by today!   Please leave me a message and let me know which book caught your eye!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. The Styling Librarian

    Sigh about Sweetie Pie… oh well. Can’t wait to read The Storm Whale… (and Waiting is not easy as well) 🙂 happy reading to you!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, Sweetie Pie was not so sweet! Would love to know what you think of it! Storm Whale is well worth waiting for! Thanks for stopping by, Debbie! Have a great week!

  2. Tara Smith

    I think I need to read If you give a mouse…to my sixth graders – their parents might appreciate it!

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, your 6th graders would get a big laugh out of Mouse book! Especially if they are already familiar with the originals! Thanks for stopping by, Tara!

  3. Cheriee Weichel

    I will have to get my hands on The smallest girl. It sounds like an ideal book for when teachers are looking at social justice issues. I’ve got Waiting is not Easy in the library, but I’m waiting for time to get to it. Have you seen the NFB version of The Hockey Sweater? It is one of my all time favourite short films.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Thanks so much for leaving me this link for the film version of the Hockey Sweater. I LOVE this video and have not seen it for a few years. I might even show it to my class before the holidays! The Smallest Girl is a very good book – lost of themes to inspire great discussions! Thanks for stopping by this week!

  4. Myra GB

    Immensely surprised about the new Van Allsburg title. Hmmm.. And interesting too, in a sense. Will check it out once it’s available in our libraries. Great selection you have here, yet again, dear Adrienne. Most are actually unfamiliar to me, so I’m looking forward to getting to know new titles.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      Yes, I was SO very disappointed – I wish I had never read it! I would love to hear your impressions of it… maybe I over-reacted. But the bar is set high for books by Chris Van Allsburg… and this one definitely DID NOT even come close! Hope you found one on the list you love! (just not this one!) Happy week, Myra!

  5. carriegelson

    I have seen this Van Allsburg title and must admit the entire idea offends me. It just doesn’t seem like his kind of book. I am not going to read it. Then I can keep loving all the books I read 🙂 I just literally 15 minutes ago read The Smallest Girl . . . Great title with lots of interesting discussion potential. Love the quiet noticing. Powerful little title.

    1. Adrienne Gear

      I wish I had not read it now. It has tainted my view of his talent a little – my advice is to just stay away! Yes, Smallest Girl is a powerful read… lots to discuss. I think you will also love the Storm Whale – let me know what you think but it’s definitely a “carrie” book! Hope you finish your report cards soon! I’ll be finished tomorrow! : )

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