The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Knopf, 2015
“It all started with the bear.” An unknown narrator weaves an impossible story to account for someone’s missing lunch in a picture book pairing a straightforward narrative with beautifully realized illustrations made whimsical by their impossibility. The bear, it seems, fell asleep in the back of a truck full of berries and ended up in a new forest (a city), where he found “climbing spots” (e.g., fire escapes, clothes lines between buildings), “good bark for scratching” (a brick-sided building), and “many interesting smells” (garbage cans). Eventually the bear got hungry, and there was the sandwich, all alone in the midst of leafy green (on a bench in a park). An already delightful story takes an even more waggish turn in its final pages when the identity of the speaker and subject are revealed: a small black dog (somewhat bear-like) pouring out the tall tale to a now lunch-less little girl. The warm, colorful acrylic and pencil illustrations are superb, their realistic accounting of the bear’s adventure will be a source of glee for young readers and listeners, as will the play between narrative and art. ©2015 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Talk: Talk about the differences between the forest and the city.
- Sing: Bear crosses a bridge to the city. Sing London Bridge.
- Write: Make sandwiches and cut them into shapes of bears or into the letter B.
- Play: Can you move like the bear? Can you stretch and sniff, can you climb and scratch? How else does the bear move?
- Math or Science: Can you make a bridge? With another person? What else can you make a bridge with?
Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor. Illustrated by Jean Jullien. Candlewick Press, 2015
Unconventional Hoot Owl concocts one outrageous costume after another as he attempts to bag his evening meal. But just as his carrot disguise doesn’t fool a rabbit, his ornamental birdbath get-up fails to result in a pigeon dinner. Undaunted, Hoot Owl moves from one lost opportunity to the next, finally nailing an inanimate pepperoni pizza while wearing the white jacket and toque of a waiter, complete with a mustache penciled below his beak. Despite his repeated failures, this bird of prey remains unfailingly confident (“I swoop through the bleak blackness like a wolf in the air”) as he invokes his flamboyant descriptive powers (“The shadowy night stretches away forever, as black as burnt toast.”) Bold black outlines and saturated, flat colors add dramatic flair to Hoot Owl’s nighttime escapades, while his melodramatic prose extends the humor of his plight. After scarfing his pizza, Hoot Owl flies off “into the dark enormousness of the night. “And the world can sleep again.” Honor Book, 2016 Charlotte Zolotow Award © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Talk: Talk about all the ways that Hoot Owl moves in the story. Point out the verbs or action words in the book.
- Sing: Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Write: Practice the letter O in pudding or shaving cream
- Play: How can you disguise yourself? Who or what can you become?
- Math or Science: Talk about what owls eat. What does Hoot Owl eat? What do you eat? How are alike or different?
Try these poems about food:
Changes: A Child’s First Poetry Collection: page 32
Lullaby and Kisses Sweet: Food section