Category Archives: Picture Book

Starting Super Series

The newest Paperback Pigeon page is found under Booklists and it is all about Super Series.  Over then next few months there will be quick posts adding the best series, for all ages of world travelers.  Through these books readers jet-set around the globe – discovering culture, history, art, architecture and cuisine – alongside the favorite characters they know and love.

A Walk In Series- by Salvatore Rubbino

With three titles in this series the youngest readers visit the highlights of New York, London and Paris alongside a beloved adult.  Enjoy a virtual vacation to see the iconic sights, while also soaking in the delightfully unique atmosphere of each location via charming illustrations.  A fun and fact filled adventure awaits on every walk. (PB)

walknewyorkA Walk in New York – From the Empire State building to the Statue of Liberty discover the wonders at every turn in New York City!


walklondonA Walk in London – Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London are just a couple of the sights you’ll find in this tour of London!


walkparisA Walk in Paris – La Tour Eiffel to Notre Dame – the heart of French history, culture and cuisine is discovered here!

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Filed under Picture Book, series

V is for….

One little girl shows she’s got what it takes.

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen

violetthepilotViolet Van Winkle has always been a little different.  Growing up with her father’s junkyard at her disposal she’s always been extremely mechanically inclined.  Since she was little more than a toddler she’s been taking things apart and putting things together, but her truest passion is flying machines.  Violet isn’t understood by her classmates, but if she can win a prize at the air show it will prove to her peers that she has talent.  A detour on the way to the airshow has unexpected results and reveals her true winning character. (PB)

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Filed under A to Z, Picture Book

T is for….

Two pig pals – one wants to explore the world and one prefers to stay home.

Toot (& Puddle) by Hollie Hobbie

A globe-trotter and a contented homebody are the best of friends.  One is always off indulging his passion for travel and the other is happily having a delightful time in his own backyard.  Toot and Puddle’s friendship endures despite their differences and each learns to appreciate the other’s way of life, proving there is a perfect place for everyone to call home. (PB)

tootandpuddleToot & Puddle  In a small house in Woodcock Pocket, Toot and Puddle live happily together.  Until Toot decides it is time to see the world and travel around the globe.  Puddle, however, prefers the quiet life of home.  This delightful picture book travels through a year, each month highlighting Toot’s adventures in exotic locations, as communicated via postcard to Puddle.  The facing page tells of Puddle’s exciting year at home, with all the seasonal joys to look forward to in your own backyard.  This lovely tale equally appreciates the wanderer and homebody in all of us.  A Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite!

topoftheworldTop of the World   Toot’s wanderlust has gotten the better of him again!  When he doesn’t return in a timely manner from a walk, Puddle decides the only thing to do is to go after his dear friend.  Although traveling the world is out of his comfort zone, Puddle embarks on a journey of the utmost importance – the journey to find his very best friend.  Will he find Toot and when he does can he convince him to return home?

homeforchristmasI’ll Be Home for Christmas Toot is attending a family reunion in Scotland, but promises to make it home to Woodcock Pocket for Christmas.  Unfortunately a series of delays cause Toot to make some detours where he finds himself discovering the true spirit of the season.  Will he make it home in time to celebrate with Puddle?  With a little luck and some help from a very special friend, Toot finds his way home for Christmas

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Filed under A to Z, Picture Book, Pigs, travel

S is for….

S if for…


What books are perfect for every age

With wonders to discover as you turn each page?

Will it be The Cat or the Lorax or an elephant named Horton?

Or Yertle, or Bartholmew?  What could be more fun?

For nearly 80 years Dr. Seuss has charmed and challenged young readers with his rhyming prose, whimsical illustrations and fantastical creative universes.   From the first publication of And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street in 1937  you’d be hard-pressed to meet a child who hasn’t been won over by a Seuss story.  Although they are funny, magical and sometimes nonsensical, the true joy in a Seuss is discovering the real moral heart of each story – and realizing Theodore S. Geisel truly believed, “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.  His belief in children, and their ability to learn from and love literature, is evident on every page.    Here are just a few Paperback Pigeon favorites from the more than 40 Seuss titles to choose from. (PB/ER K-2)

mulberrystreetAnd to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street – The very first Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27 publishers!  This classic tale of a young boys’ journey home from school, and what he saw (or imagined) on the way home appreciates the creativity and ingenuity of make-believe and cherishes the storyteller in all of us!

yertletheturtleYertle the Turtle and Other Stories – Moral tales in engaging rhyme – what a perfect pairing.   Yertle, the greedy turtle king, forces all the other turtles to hold him up to view his kingdom – but when his desire for power and possession goes too far it only takes a tiny action (hilarious to kids of all ages) to bring him back to reality.

grinchHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!  – The enduring tale that reminds all of us that Christmas isn’t about toys and trees, and the joy of the season can impact everyone – even if your heart is two-sizes too small.


greenegsandhamGreen Eggs and Ham – “I do not like them, Sam-I-Am.”  The story of this infamous dish mimics the struggles of every parent to entice picky-eaters to try new foods.  Seuss keeps it funny and lighthearted, but in the end Sam-I-Am wins out and a delicious discovery is made.  PBP Challenge: Can you read the longest page in only one breath?

Do you have an ultimate Seuss fan at home?  Trip It:  with a visit to Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure to see Seuss Landing – and immerse your young reader in the world of Dr. Seuss firsthand!

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Filed under A to Z, classics, Early Reader, Picture Book


B-12!  Free Space!  4 Corners!  BINGO!   This past summer we discovered how fun it is to play Bingo. Our local VFW hall hosts the game every Wednesday night, and they pack ’em in!  For less than the cost of a movie, you get 2 hours of serious Bingo.  Snacks are available for purchase, but they encourage a bring-your-own policy for candy, popcorn and soda.  When play starts, it’s time to quiet down and concentrate, and it’s amazing how focused a group of kids can be when a win is on the line.   We’ve had some luck and won a couple games, but more than anything it is just good, old-fashioned fun – supporting the VFW, and hanging out with family and friends.  Since it is break week, and bedtimes are a little more lax, we headed to Bingo this past week, hoping for a win, but knowing we’ll have fun.


Playing off our new found love of BINGO I made “Reading Bingo” boards for my girls.  There are many options available online, but I personalized them to support each child at their reading level while making sure its still fun.  This is a great way to motivate summer reading, but would work as a year-long goal, too.  I haven’t decided yet what the prizes will be, some will be reading oriented – a new bookmark or a giftcard to the bookstore.  Others might be purely fun -an ice cream cone or a trip to the zoo.   Check out the BINGO boards for each reading level below and feel free to print and use them – or amend and alter them to fit your ultimate BINGO reading challenge!

PBP Picture Book Bingo – Perfect for any age, but especially geared for pre-readers to complete along with adult help

PBP Early Reader Bingo – Modified for newly independent readers

PBP Middle Reader Bingo – A little more challenge and diversity

PBP Young Adult Reader Bingo – Allows for independent reading choices & encourages reading diversity

BP Mom’s Bookshelf Bingo – Even grown-up readers can play!


Filed under Bingo, Early Reader, Middle Reader, Mom's Bookshelf, Picture Book, Summer, Young Adult

Year of the Sheep*

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how it began.  I chalk it up to being a slightly bored, housebound, stay-at-home mom who, when trapped by the freezing temperatures and mounds of snow outside, latched onto an idea to bring some festivity to the otherwise drab early February.  This is how my family adopted the celebration of Chinese New Year.

Chinese_New_YearWhat started as an attempt to pull us from our winter doldrums (and I admit an excuse to order in rather than cook) has become a cherished tradition in our household.  Along the way the Museum Educator in me came out and we have developed a deep appreciation for the history and tradition of the holiday.  We embrace many of the activities of the New Year as well – everyone gets a haircut (the only time of year they don’t fight me), we clean our house (again, much less of a fight when they know it is for the New Year), we make fortune cookies and Nian Gao, cut-paper lantern decorations hang about the house, and we listen to Chinese music.   Perhaps my favorite part is when we remember our ancestors – Chinese New Year reminds us to talk to the girls about the great-grandparents they never met, or can’t remember well.

Something about Chinese New Year is simply appealing to kids. First, why wouldn’t you want another opportunity to have a celebration?  Second, it is fascinating that Chinese zodiac names each year for an animal.  Finally, lion dancers and dragons are really cool.

In major part because of our celebration we always visit Chinatown when we are in NYC.  This hectic, busy, loud section of the city is endlessly fascinating to my girls.  They want to shop for red envelopes and lanterns, get an ice-cream cone at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (where the “exotic” flavors include vanilla, and the “regular” flavors range from green tea to banana durian), and try delicacies like dried cuttlefish.   These visits also lead to great discussions, and further reading, about immigration and settlement of cultural enclaves in major cities.

This year Chinese New Year falls on Thursday, February 19, and many cities have celebrations you can attend.  Check out how New York, San Francisco and Seattle are planning to welcome in the Year of the Sheep.  If you can’t make it, consider having  your own celebration. has a nice overview of the holiday and a trip to your local Asian market will provide the rest.  Over the years we have established a large collection of Chinese New Year books to help us with our celebration.  Our favorites are below to help you get started.

myfirstchinesenewyearMy First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz.  A perfect beginning book for young readers to explore all the preparation and festivity of Chinese New Year.  (PB)


bringinginthenewyearBringing In the New Year by Grace Lin.  Follow a Chinese-American family as they prepare for the holiday. (PB)

PBP Note:  I simply ADORE Grace Lin and there isn’t a thing she has written that I don’t LOVE.  Other great PB titles include Dim Sum for Everyone! and Fortune Cookie Fortunes.   Also check out her Ling & Ting  ER Series and Pacy Lin Series for Advanced ER.  Look below for MR titles that are amazing!


disfordragondanceD Is For Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine.  There is an aspect of Chinese New Year for every letter of the alphabet.  Celebrate from Acrobats to Zodiac. (PB)


runawayricecakeThe Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine.  The Chang family only has one rice cake for the New Year – and when it runs away the three brothers chase it across town.  What could end in disaster results in a special lesson – when you give to others it comes back to you ten-fold.  This is where our family found our Nian-Gao recipe, which we make every year.  Other folk-tales by Compestine in her “story of” series such as The Story of Noodles, The Story of Chopsticks, and The Story of Paper  are additional delightful reads for the holiday. (PB)

storiesofchinesezodiacsheepTales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Chin.  There are 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac and author Oliver Chin has a story for each.  Discover which year your child is born in and read their story, or read them all!  (PB)

celebratechinesenewyearCelebrate Chinese New Year: With Fireworks, Dragons, and Lanterns by Carolyn Otto.  This non-fiction National Geographic book  takes a look at Chinese New Year celebrations around the globe, highlighting the tradition and pagentry of this world-wide cultural event.  Beautiful photography accompanies clear, informative text.  (PB)

azchinesenewyearThe New Year Dragon Dilemma: A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #5 by Ron Roy.  The kids are in San Francisco and their new friend Holden is going to take them to the Chinese New Year parade.  But when Miss Chinatown, and her priceless crown, go missing the kids need to solve the mystery quickly, before Holden gets blamed.  (ER-2/3)

nancydrewchinesenewyearmysteryThe Chinese New Year Mystery : Nancy Drew Notebooks #39 by Carolyn Keene. Nancy’s class is celebrating Chinese New Year and she and her friends get to make the dragon!  All their hard work is for nothing when the dragon goes missing.  The parade will be cancelled if Nancy can’t solve the mystery quickly.


happynewyearjulieHappy New Year, Julie: American Girl by Megan McDonald.  Julie’s first Christmas since her parents divorce is a difficult one, and she finds solace in helping Ivy prepare for her families’ Chinese New Year celebration.  When she discovers that Ivy’s family is inviting her mom and dad to the party Julie worries that they won’t be able to get along and will ruin everything.

wherethemountainmeetsthemoonWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.  Minli has grown up hearing her father’s tales of the Old Man on the Moon and as her families fortunes are bleak she sets off one day to find him, and have him change her fortune.  Throughout her journey Minli meets many characters who help her to learn the most important lesson of all – by appreciating what you already have you are the richest of all. (MR-4th & Up)  *PBP All-Time Top-Ten Favorite*

starryriveroftheskyStarry River of the Sky by Grace Lin.  When a mysterious woman arrives in the village where Rendi is working as an errand boy she brings with her stories to share.  Her wisdom opens Rendi to the possibilities of those around him,and helps him to see that to write the ending to his own story he needs to rethink his present. (MR – 4th & Up)

*2015 is the Year of the Sheep/Ram.  Because the Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar calendar it fluctuates each year – occurring sometime between mid-January and mid-February.  When determining what “year” you were born, check when the New Year fell during your birth year.  For dates all the way back to 1930 click  HERE.

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Filed under Asia, Chinese New Year, Early Reader, History, Holiday, Middle Reader, Picture Book

All you need is LOVE….

I love holidays, but for some reason I have never had particularly warm feelings about Valentine’s Day.  Perhaps it is the commercial focus on romantic love, that at once celebrates coupledom and highlights the lack thereof, which rubs me the wrong way.   However, my perspective has altered in recent years.   I’ve come to the conclusion that there is so much sorrow, hurt, and hate in the world that what we need is more love.  And all kinds of love should be celebrated – for when we care about each other, in all capacities, the world we live in will be a much better place.    So love each other – parents & children, siblings, friends & teachers, gay, straight, young & old.  This holiday isn’t just about romantic love, although that is nice, it’s about caring for each other.  It celebrates that acting with love everyday makes our world better.

heartBelow are some books that celebrate LOVE in all forms.  Pick one up to broaden your perspective on Valentine’s Day as more than just roses and chocolate.

tangomakesthreeAnd Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell – The true story of a pair of  male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who wanted a family of their own.  When an observant zookeeper gives them a egg to care for they “know just what to do”.   In a world where families come in all kinds of configurations, penguins Roy and Silo create a unique family and prove the most important ingredient in creating a family is love.  (PB) *ALA Notable Children’s Book Nominee,  Note:ALA #1 most challenged book of 2010

henrymudgegreatgrandpasHenry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas by Cynthia Rylant – Henry and Mudge love to visit Great-Grandpa Bill.  He lives in a home with lots of other grandpas, all of whom love to play with a boy and his dog.  When Henry discovers a swimming hole he knows he’ll need a grown up to swim with him, but little did he know that all the grandpas would want to join in the fun!  A hilarious look at love of life across generations. (ER-K/1)

katiewoonervousnightA Nervous Night by Fran Manushkin -In this addition to the Katie Woo series Katie is going to spend the night at her grandparents house.  She loves her grandparents, and enjoys doing fun things like gardening and cooking with her grandmother.  But the unfamiliar bedroom is a little scary, until Katie discovers that it was her mother’s bed…and learns that a grandmothers love is the perfect substitute when mom isn’t there. (ER-2/3)

nodogsallowedNo Dogs Allowed!by Bill Wallace- Kristine is heartbroken at the loss of her beloved horse and vows to never love another pet, ever again!  When her father gives her a puppy for her birthday she stands firm in her refusal to welcome him into the family.  How can she find room in her heart to love again?  And will she see that sharing her love with a pet brings her more love in return?  (MR-4/5)

sistersSisters by Raina Telgemeier – A middle reader memoir told in graphic novel format that highlights the ups and down of sibling relationships.  Over time the realization of shared history and common experience helps these sisters learn to stick together! (ER-5/6)

faultinourstarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green – When 16 year old Hazel Grace, a terminal cancer patient, meets Augustus at a support group their common experience battling cancer leads to a deep friendship and eventual romantic entanglement.  Together they navigate the world of loss and love, learning that sometimes the joy of loving someone is worth the painful cost of losing them in the end. (YA)

fireflylaneFirefly Lane by Kristen Hannah – Kate and Tully are an unlikely pair of best friends, but their experiences together form a lifelong bond that spans decades.  Through trials, traumas, self-discovery, and self-imploding they learn that having a friend who loves you for exactly who you are, faults and all, is a gift to cherish.  (Mom’s Bookshelf)

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Filed under Banned Books, dogs, Early Reader, Love, Middle Reader, pets, Picture Book, Valentine's Day, Young Adult, zoo

O is for….

There is never a dull moment with

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Olivia is a little pig with big personality.  From the moment she wakes up until her third bedtime story she never stops moving, and learning, as she explores her world in typical energetic pre-schooler manner.  Although it’s become a tv series and spawned a variety of early-reader and board books, the first Olivia stories are modern classics that entertain young readers , introducing them to art and culture along the way. PB

*A Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite*

oliviaOlivia – Meet Olivia as she sings, dances, dresses up, and discovers the world as only this curious, adventurous little pig can.  Even when it lands her in time-out, she’s ready to take every opportunity available to explore her world first hand.  Whether creating her own Jackson Pollack on the wall, or dancing like Degas‘ Dancers, Olivia is ready to try it all – after she moves the cat.

oliviasavesthecircusOlivia Saves the Circus –  When all the circus performers are sick with ear infections it is time for Olivia to take over.  And she can do it all!  Whether taming lions or swinging on the trapeze Olivia proves she has what it takes to be a great leader, all she needs is a little imagination!


oliviaandthemssingtoyOlivia . . . and the Missing Toy – When Olivia’s most favorite toy can’t be found anywhere it is up to her to tackle the things that go bump in the night to get her dearest treasure back.  In true Olivia style, she handles this problem with pluck and saves the day!


oliviaformsabandOlivia Forms a Band – If there are fireworks, there will be a band – at least according to Olivia.  But what will our determined heroine do when she learns there isn’t going to be a band?  Create one of course!  Olivia takes matters into her own hands and puts together a one-pig band to provide the perfect accompaniment for the fireworks show.

oliviahelpswithchristmasOlivia Helps with Christmas – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Olivia is super busy making sure everything gets done right!  In true Olivia style she guarantees that all the details will be perfect for a Christmas to remember.


oliviagoestoveniceOlivia Goes to Venice – Olivia and her family are off to visit Venice and as usual, hilarity and adventure are at every turn.  Delightfully detailed with photography and art work to introduce young readers to this spectacular Italian city as seen through Olivia’s unique perspective.


oliviafairyprincessesOlivia and the Fairy Princesses – Olivia has never followed the crowd, but she’s feeling overwhelmed by too many sparkly and frilly princesses and she just wants to stand out!  Discover how Olivia stays true to herself and maintains her individuality.


oliviacollectionJust one Olivia story isn’t enough!  Get all 7 classic Olivia stories in The Olivia Collection.

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Filed under A to Z, Art, Picture Book, Pigs

L is for….

Libraries are the ticket to wondrous worlds.  Even if you never get on a plane, pack the car, or hop on the next train you can visit the world, both real and imaginary, in the stacks of a library.  Many children are first introduced to the unlimited magic of the library at storytime.  Captivated kids hang on every word the librarians read, and they always know the best books to share.  On your next visit to library pick up this all-ages read-aloud because, no matter how old you are you never out grow the library and, everyone loves storytime, especially…..

Library Lion by Michele Knudsen

librarylionThis is a charming tale of a special lion who comes to the library and is allowed to stay as long as he follows the rules.  The Library Lion soon becomes an indispensable helper to the head librarian and a welcome presence in the library.  But when he breaks a rule everyone at the library learns that sometimes rules need to be broken to help a friend. (PB)

nycpubiclibrary lionsThe New York Public Library branch on 5th Avenue & 42nd Street, Manhattan, NY is the home to two lion sculptures that welcome visitors.  Their names are Patience & Fortitude and have become the symbol of the New York Public Library System.


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Filed under A to Z, animals, Library, New York City, Picture Book

I is for…

What if you could be anyone, or go anywhere?  With a little imagination anything is possible!

Isabella books by Jennifer Fosberry

Isabella is a little girl with big plans.  With unlimited imagination nothing is impossible for a girl who truly believes in the magic of pretend!  (PB)

isabellagirlonthegoIsabella: Girl on the Go – Isabella is spending the day helping her father, but she isn’t going to settle for ordinary chores!   As she goes about her day each chore becomes an exciting adventure across the globe.  Where will she end up?  The best place of all, of course, home.  Wonderful information for young readers about the fantastic destinations that Isabella visits – from the Pyramids at Giza to the Great Wall of China – at the back of the book.

isabellanotmynameMy Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? – Isabella isn’t going to settle for just being Isabella!  Call her Sally the astronaut or Marie the scientist, or Mommy the greatest Mommy there ever was!  Isabella spends her day pretending to be all her heroes, driving home the idea that girls can be and do anything they want.  And maybe being Isabella is the best person for her to be, after all.  Turn to the end to learn all about the amazing women Isabella adores.

isabellastarofthestoryIsabella: Star of the Story – Isabella discovers the wonders contained in the covers of a book when she visits the library.  Here she takes a turn at being the lead role in classic children’s tales while she tries to find just the right book.   Who will Isabella be next?  Peter Pan, Goldilocks and Black Beauty all make appearances, but it is the yellow brick road that leads Isabella to the checkout desk and the perfect book for her.  Don’t forget to check out more information on the stories Isabella enjoys at the back of the book – perhaps one is just right for you!

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Filed under A to Z, Art, Biography, classics, Library, Picture Book