Sloths, Squirrels, Rabbits, and Bears -- Oh My What a day for Books
I don't know about you, but I am yearning to travel. Yearning to visit museums, and parks, and wander down streets that are unfamiliar. I don't know where I got that wanderlust from. Maybe it was my dad who traveled a lot for his job. Maybe it was the book on Rembrandt he brought me from the Netherlands. Maybe it is genetic and I inherited it from my birthfather who was a Merchant Marine. Whatever it is, my legs and mind are itching for travel.
Peter is happy looking at the sky from the same tree every day, but Ernesto wants to see it from everywhere.
Title: Peter & Ernest a Tale of Two Sloths
Author/Illustrator: Graham Annable
Publisher: First Second, 2018
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: Friendship, Wanderlust, Travel, The Sky
We see Peter and Ernesto at the top of a tree looking up at the sky. Peter says: Rabbit.
Page turn: Ernesto replies: Good one. Oh! Bear!
They are eating a hibiscus flower and looking at the shapes of the clouds.
Soon, we discover that Peter is very happy in the tree with his friend where nothing ever changes. Ernesto's expression begins to look sad. He says he loves the place, but this is only one piece of the sky. He wants to see ALL of the sky. Ernesto takes a trip and sees the sky from many places. He has scary moments and exciting moments. And you will have to read the book to find out what Peter does.
Why I love this Book:
As I mentioned at the beginning, I'm feeling a bit like Ernesto. I want to see ALL the sky. But It's also a story about friendship and being willing and able to allow a friend to do what makes him/her happy. Sometimes that even leads to the friend who stays home, taking chances and experiencing the world and life too.
Ernesto has this joie de vivre (joy for life) that makes you excited and happy to follow him on his adventures.
This is a true beginner graphic novel. It's formatted larger than most graphic novels. The illustration and text are both easy to read. It's the next step for a child who wants to begin reading on their own. I believe that picture books can and should be read to all ages. They are often written with more complex language and are meant to be read together; parent and child, storytime, classroom setting, you name it. They help build language skills so that when a child is ready to read on their own, they have developed reading muscles in a fun way. Beginning graphic novels are a great step to independent reading.
There are three books in the Peter & Ernesto series at this time.
Title: The Bear Must Go On
Author: Dev Petty
Illustrator: Brandon Todd
Publisher: Philomel Books, 2020
Themes: Acting, Friendship, Shyness
Ages: 4 - 8 and some of us adults who needed to hear it.
Four woodland animals could not decide how to spend their spring day.
"I have and idea," said Rabbit. "Let's put on a show."
"A show?" said Bear.
"A BIG show," said rabbit.
"The BEST show!" said Squirrel.
"SHOW! SHOW! SHOW!" said Other Squirrel.
Bear says he will be the note taker. He is too shy to be in the show.
They work together to plan the show, but forget one VERY important thing and the only one who can save the day is Bear.
Why I love this book:
I love Other Squirrel. Every time they come up with an idea, he adds on a detail and says if that thing doesn't happen, everything will be ruined.
They all work together and make their plan a reality, until the one thing they forgot. Through the whole story, they work together and shy Bear does take the stage and gets out of his comfort zone.
See how these books tie together? In both, a character has to leave the safety of his comfort zone to discover more about himself and experience life.
A friend recently shared with me that she had her high school students write reports about an artist. They were then supposed to read the reports in front of their class. They begged and begged to not have to read them out loud and she backed off saying she would read the reports, but they had to ask two questions of their classmates. One student who has Tourette's Syndrome, stood up and gave his own report. He pushed through the challenges and went on stage. This young man knew that this was a part of his growth as a person and he may have forgotten a line or maybe his hands shook, but he did it any way.
Sometimes we need that little push. That moment when we just have to leave the safety and comfort of our world, and push ourselves so we can grow.
Resources and Activities:
If you do only one activity for this week. Do something that takes you outside your comfort zone.
Write a song, a poem, or a play.
Sit outside and watch the sky. What do you see in the clouds or the stars?
Apply for that grant or scholarship or new job.
Try a new activity with your kids or students. Let them help you make the plan. The last year plus has been so weird, can it really go all that wrong? What if it does? What can you learn from what didn't work? How will you all grow?
Book the trip.
Check out Graham's blog post on how Peter and Ernesto came to be.
Check out Dev Petty's website.
Learn more about Brandon Todd.
Don't miss out on fun, kid-friendly Sunday Comics with Sunday Haha.
You can find these books at Bookshop.org, your local independent book store, your library, or Amazon.
(The links are affiliate links. I'm not in this for the money, just trying to get you the quickest way to get the book for your kids, your library, or your school classroom. At Bookshop.org, I have begun a few booklists including my Perfect Picture Book Friday and my Graphic novel picks. I recently added a middle grade and an adult book list.)
Check out Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday Blog to discover more cool books to read with your kids and add to your collection.