Tag Archives: Problem Solving

PPBF – Blue Rabbit and Friends

As a pre-published picture book author, I seek out the newest releases at my local library and in bookstores. At every conference and in every webinar, we’re told to read, read, read, BUT only books published in the past few years, as the market constantly evolves and, for picture books especially, the optimum word counts change.

Every once in a while, though, an older book captures my interest, and I find that it could as easily have been published today as back in the day. I’m happy to feature one of these “oldies but still goodies” as a Perfect Picture Book.

9780142300794_p0_v1_s118x184Title: Blue Rabbit and Friends

Written & Illustrated By: Christopher Wormell

Publisher/date: Jonathon Cape Ltd/1999 (UK); Phyllis Fogelman Books (Penguin Books for Young Readers)/2000 (US)

Suitable for Ages: 4-8, or younger

Themes/Topics: home, trading, problem-solving

Opening: “Once there was a Blue Rabbit who lived in a cave in the middle of a dark forest.”

Brief Synopsis: Blue Rabbit decides he doesn’t like living in a cave in a dark forest and sets off to find a new home. He finds that Bear, Goose and Dog are also unhappy in their homes, and together, the animals reach a solution that suits everyone – with a twist.

Links to Resources:

  • Draw your perfect home – what makes it perfect for you?
  • Build your perfect home using found materials like empty boxes, old blankets, etc.
  • Try block printing

Why I Like this Book: This is a simple story about finding one’s place in the world, exploring the concept of home – what makes one setting or dwelling perfect for one person (or animal) but not another. It’s also a terrific lesson in the power of group problem solving. With all of the text on the left side and the vibrant linoleum block print illustrations on the right, it’s also a lovely book to read aloud.

A Note about CraftAs noted above, Blue Rabbit and Friends is an older book, but for me, at least, its style and story still resonate. While its word count, around 600, is longer than the norm and while, arguably, some repetitive language could be cut, on the whole, the text does not seem too long.

In addition, Blue Rabbit has a problem, and it’s an age-old problem – he isn’t happy at home, something just isn’t right. Through the course of the book, he realizes he isn’t the only one with that problem; and he solves the problem on his own. The story then ends with a twist that could, and in fact did, lead to a sequel. To this reader, at least, Blue Rabbit and Friends seems just like the sort of well-executed picture book story line popular today.

Christopher Wormell is a prolific English illustrator, artist and children’s author. Check out his other books here.

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

I pre-ordered the subject of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday post because I was curious to learn how anyone could explain such a difficult concept in a way that would resonate with young listeners and because I was so pleased to see a young girl grace its cover. Last evening, I had the pleasure of discussing the genesis of the book with one of its authors, Emma Dryden, of drydenbks. I learned that she and co-author Rana DiOrio encountered problems while working on the book, but, with true entrepreneurial grit, they pivoted, solved them and produced a book that is better than the one originally envisioned. I applaud Emma and Rana for showing us all what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Happy belated Book Birthday to What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, the sixth book in Little Pickle Press’ What Does It Mean To Be…? series.

unnamed-2Title: What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?

Written By: Rana DiOrio and Emma Dryden

Illustrated By: Ken Min

Little Pickle Press, January 2016

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Entrepreneurship; problem solving; teamwork

Opening: “What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Does it mean making lots of money? No.”

Brief Synopsis: From explaining what being an entrepreneur is not, to focusing on the skills entrepreneurs need, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? follows a young girl who perseveres to open a business that solves a problem and, thus, becomes an entrepreneur.

Links to Resources: Explore the steps necessary to start a business with your own child or children by identifying a problem, brainstorming solutions, and working to realize your dreams. There are also several online resources for teaching entrepreneurship to children, although most focus on older children and teens. See http://bizkids.com/games for some interesting entrepreneurial games, and http://www.bschool.com/little-entrepreneurs-business-for-kids/ , which includes lesson ideas that are searchable by age group, including pre-K.

For more resources and some further perspectives on What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?, see Joanna Marple’s review.

Why I Like this Book: I’ve been working with college-age entrepreneurs at my alma mater for the past few years, and was, frankly, curious to read a picture book devoted to the subject, especially as both authors are entrepreneurs. Going beyond the “open a lemonade stand” or “rake the neighbors’ leaves” models of youth business, What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur? not only shows what it means to be an entrepreneur but explores the work and skills necessary to succeed. That the problem and business solution involve dogs and that the first myth debunked is “making lots of money” are added plusses. As importantly, though, I’m thrilled to see a young girl portrayed tackling technology and entering the world of entrepreneurship.

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!