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New Nicola Davies

Posted by in Book Review

I shared this powerful picturebook last week with a group of teachers, and the story brought us to tears. A young girl lives in a “mean and hard and ugly” city. The people who live there are just as mean and hard and ugly as their city. One day the girl tries to steal a bag from an old lady, which, unbeknownst to her, is filled with acorns. The lady makes her promise “to plant them” if she lets go. These acorns, along with the girl’s promise to plant them, transform her existence. The girl is resilient and patient, planting and waiting. Finally, trees grow, inviting people to wonder and smile together. Soon the people join in the planting, and green spreads “through the city like a song, breathing to the sky, drawing down the rain like a blessing.” Nicola Davies, a zoologist who is known for her nonfiction animal texts, surprised me with this touching realistic fiction story.

Here is what I love about this amazing book for upper elementary, middle school, high school and teacher audiences:

- Davies’ use of language and imagery is absolutely gorgeous and poetic.
- The use of symbolism is very powerful. I found many parallels to the teaching field.
- The book is illustrator Laura Carlin’s first picturebook.
- The illustrations by Laura Carlin go from dark and dreary to bright and colorful.
- The pages are filled with small illustrative details that extend the story.
- The words “the promise” and “my promise” are in cursive, prompting some deep thinking in the group of teachers that I shared this book with.

To read more about this book of hope and promise, visit Donna McKinnon’s blog at “32 Pages.” She writes extensively about The Promise in a post on July 29, 2014: http://32pages.ca/

To learn more about the author, visit her website at: http://www.nicola-davies.com/

To learn more about the illustrator, visit her website at: http://lauracarlin.blogspot.com/

Below are some of my favorite Nicola Davies books.

Lift the Flap Books:

whathappens        see                                                                                                                                                          whos-like-me        0763662631                     

Animal Books:                        

dolphin   12461718   One Tiny Turtle cover 

Nature Poems Organized by the Seasons:


Tagged in: Picturebook

Shocking Ending!

Posted by in Book Review

I was at Barnes and Noble this week replacing my copy of Interrupting Chicken that I left for two boys at the Freedom School who wanted to reread it after a rousing read aloud.


While there, the picture book Pardon Me! caught my eye. I sat down at the little table in the children’s section, and after reading the book, I had to have it.

Here’s what I love:

  • - bright and saturated digital mixed media illustrations
  • - hand lettered text that actually gets moved around by the characters’ actions
  • - wonderful opportunities to predict and inference
  • - “Pardon Me” language that offers an opportunity to model expressive reading
  • - the moment when the reader knows something that the main character doesn’t
  • - shocking ending
  • - the chance to teach the concept of “comeuppance”

I don’t want to ruin the ending, so I’ll just say that it’s a big surprise! It made the whole book for me. I read it to my fellow university primary trainers, and they loved it too. I can’t wait to read it to my first graders in August!

Check out the author/illustrator’s blog: http://www.danielmiyares.com/pardon-me/

Daniel Miyares     download

This book would pair well with Bark, George; both have shocking endings.

Bark, George


(Ilustrations were downloaded from http://books.simonandschuster.com/ via Google Images.)

Tagged in: Picturebook