Once Upon a Royal Superbaby, The Way of the Ninja, Little White Rabbit, There are No Scary Wolves, Tashlich at Turtle Rock Picture Book Party

Once Upon a Royal SuperbabyOnce Upon a Royal Superbaby by Kevin O’Malley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book because my supervising librarian when I was student teaching recommended Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude as a great one to use on perspective taking. Once Upon a Royal Superbaby begins with with a teacher pairing a boy and girl together to write a story again. The requirement? That there be a king and a queen in the tale. The boy kicks off the project. His king has the equivalent of a lightsaber and a motorcycle. The girl is less than an impressed. The king defeats dragons, handles all trouble, is smart, and happens to have a wife for a queen.

At that point, the disgruntled girl hijacks the story. Suddenly, everything is focused on graceful, beautiful, fought-over Queen Tenderheart. While the girl goes on about the king & queen picking out pillows while shopping, the boy’s figuring out the laser’s fate. The girl says the king sold it to fix up the castle. The boy, sick of the cloying sweetness stuck on the story, declares the baby’s ability to speak to birds is not a superpower. Baby Sweet Piper becomes Baby Strong Viper, who knows wrestling moves and wears shades. This kidlet gets huge muscles from juice before the girl steals the story back (I was reminded of Popeye and his spinach).

My seven-year-old self would have adored the unicorn that races off after the kidnapped king and queen. The narrators find a way to work out an ending together. This would be a great book to kick off a joint writing project. Discussing the illustrations and how they change with point of view would be another great extension. Maybe students could create their own collaborative story and then ‘publish’ it online for others to see.

One of my favorite lines in this book was “The unicorn was a robot with lasers, right?”

Ninja Cowboy Bear Presents the Way of the NinjaNinja Cowboy Bear Presents the Way of the Ninja by David Bruins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This simple story could be used for young students working out friendship troubles #picturebookparty
When the ninja hangs out with his friends the bear and the cowboy, it ends up in “merrymaking, buffoonery, and hilarity”. However, like all friends, these three did not always get along. Ninja wanted thrills and that got his friends hurt. Determined to have his fun, ninja set up his own adventures. His tandem bike, ping pong, and Frisbee are not as fun alone.

This simple story could be used for young students working out friendship troubles. The characters think in picture word bubbles. The ninja’s thoughts have Japanese characters in them as well. A guidance lesson extension could be to have students draw themselves thinking of wants and needs in pictures.

Little White RabbitLittle White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As Little White Rabbit is out in the fields and woods, he wonders what it’d be like to be different than he is now. After each thought comes a two-page spread showing Little White Rabbit as having that quality he wondered about. His daydreaming falls apart when threatened by a cat. He races back home, where he can wonder safely surrounded by family.

This book lends itself well to student predicting. Children can also make Little White Rabbit wonders and matching pictures.

I love the colored pencil drawings in this book and how the rabbit bounds across the pages. There is something very charming in the simplicity of the art and expressions.

There Are No Scary WolvesThere Are No Scary Wolves by Hyewon Yum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Told in first person, the little boy in this book wants to go outside, but his mom tells him to wait. When informed it’s too dangerous for little boys alone, the boy insists he’s big and not frightened of scary wolves. Later his mom says they are going out to eat, so the boy dresses in his sweater, boots, and big cape excited for a day to be big. The boy waits and waits while his mom searches for her keys. Hungry, he decides to find the Chinese restaurant alone.

At the restaurant, he spots a scary wolf & runs to the toy store, only to find another wolf. He sees these wolves all around town. When he gets home again, his mom is still hunting down her keys. The boy’s afraid to leave with her, but manages the courage.

The wolves in this story represent strangers. Through the boy’s adventure out alone, his cat keeps trying to herd him back home.

Tashlich at Turtle Rock (High Holidays)Tashlich at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This story tells of one family’s events on the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah. Annie goes against family traditions and has the tashlich start at Turtle Rock. A tashlich is when a person goes to a place with running water and throws in bread pieces for the mistakes of the last year.

Annie’s route for this family’s tradition has four stops. While walking, the family thinks of a good thing from that year. Each person then writes the memory on Turtle Rock. Once everyone has shared, the memories are erased. Now they all think of something to throw away from the year. Having found something to symbolize their unwanted behaviors, they throw them in the stream. The family throws in pieces of bread for private things they do not want in the New Year and that they feel sorry for. At the third stop, they make a footprint on a rock for their promise in the upcoming year.

Not knowing much about Jewish customs, I enjoyed reading this book about a fictional family’s approach to Rosh Hashanah.

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