When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons

April is National Poetry Month.  This is such an incredibly fun time for most lovers of English.  I loved teaching in April and sharing poems and having students work on crafting their own.  It is a magical experience to see little ones really become creative and often times poems give just that creative outlet.


When I heard that Julie Morstad was working on a new book, I got really excited, she is one of the illustrators that I follow, or stalk might be the more appropriate way to put it.  I love her work, you will probably remember her from I am Sadie or perhaps Julia, Child, which is shared in my Petite Foodie series.  I love her work and even more so the amazing writers that she teams up with.

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for all Seasons, by Julie Fogliano and art by Julie Morstad; published by A Neal Porter Book, 2016.  This is a book that shares poems for specific days throughout the year; starting in the spring and working through to the winter.  The petites particularly enjoy the poem for June 10th discussing all sorts of flowers and how they came to be, another is June 15th sharing about eating berries which is a favorite summer past time for  my girls.  Just like you will recall from This is Sadie, the illustrations are divine.  I love the small bright pops of color and attention to the little details whether is a small butterfly flitting about or a bicycle being gently dusted with snow.

Both Julie Fogliano and Julie Morstad seem to have melded together to create this perfect union of words and illustrations, the imagery that is depicted within the lines of the poems are so perfect.  It is almost as if each poem has captured that particular moment in time and you feel almost as if you were right there smelling the tomatoes ripening on the vine, or the salt spray in your hair.

I think that this book would be perfect to share with petites to spark their creativity and foster a love for the seasons.  This book would also be perfect to teach poetry writing to elementary and lower middle school students.  The poetry is accessible and would be a great starting point for many students as they start to explore creative writing.

Touching Tales

I love story time, there is something so tender, so sweet about snuggling up with your petites and reading a story.  There are a few stories that we have that are so incredibly sweet they bring me to tears every single time I read them.


The first book I wanted to share with you is Someday by Alison McGhee and Peter H. Reynolds, Scholastic Inc., 2007.  I bought this book before Zoe was born and remember just sobbing sitting in my new rocking chair in an empty nursery as I read this story to my growing belly.  As I read this story to my girls this afternoon tears streamed down my face because this is the journey of a girl who becomes a mother – in that moment everything changes.  This is such a beautifully written story about a mothers love and how she watches her daughter grow into a woman and have a child of her own.  This story is perfect in every way.  I love it.  I love how it encapsulates all of what I feel for my petites now and what I can only imagine I will feel as they grow older.  (I should probably grab a box of tissues if I am going to tell you about the other two books).

I Wish You More

I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, Chronicle Books, 2015.  This book was given to Zoe when she was in the hospital.  It is also a lovely story, each line starts with I wish you more it is filled with lovely sentiments that every parent would hope for their child.  “I wish you more treasures than pockets” is one of the lines that speaks to my petites, as their pockets are constantly filled with little stones, pussy-willows, flower petals and any other treasure that they find along the way.  This book is perfect for parents of boys and girls alike.  The illustrations showcase a diverse group of petites making this a perfect book for anyone who has wished something special for their own petites.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin, Random House, 2015.  I have written about my love for Emily Winfield Martin before, here and here, oh that’s right and swooned over here prints here.  Her illustrations are stunning and filled with whimsy and are delightful.  The opening line in this lovely tale is When I look at you and you look at me, I wonder what wonderful things you will be.  This books is filled with incredibly sweet sentiments that all parents wish for their petites.  Like all of Emily Winfield Martin’s work this too, is perfect for your petites shelf.

Hopefully you will enjoy these sweet books and especially with Mothers day just around the corner these might be the perfect books for the favorite Mama in your life.


A Maze-ing Illustrations!

FullSizeRenderPierre The Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone by Hiro Kamigaki & IC4DESIGN is probably one of the most fun books I have seen in years.  Growing up Where’s Waldo was one of those books that was sought out on library day at school.  I remember searching for that red and white striped cap and getting lost in all the little details.

Fast forward almost 30 years…

Pierre the Maze Detective is so much more fun and engaging than Waldo (sorry, Waldo, you were cool thirty years ago, but now your story is just a little, well…flat).  Basically this book is a game, and there are four things you need to do.

  1. Find the START sign and follow the maze to the goal, but beware there are pesky things blocking your way, so you need to be creative in your maneuvering.
  2. Extra challenges, Pierre’s friends will ask you to find lots things (perhaps a green dinosaur, or a kings throne).
  3. Find Hidden Objects: stars, trophies, treasure chests within each maze
  4. Find the shortest route that isn’t blocked to the goal sign

The premise is that you need to help Pierre, he is a maze detective and he has been just waiting around for another job.  All of a sudden Pierre’s adorable friend Carmen (who wears a perfect pink pea coat), arrives to tell him that a huge crime has occurred, she has the newspaper clipping and a letter from the culprit, Mr. X who has stolen the Maze Stone and turned all of Opera City into a maze!  Of course Pierre is up for this challenge as any Maze Detective of good merit would be.

So if you choose to help Pierre solve this crime you will enter into the world of Opera City and the 15 mazes that Pierre will need to solve to uncover the clues to find Mr. X.  You will travel through a cafe, hot air balloon festival, castle, forest, a busy port, haunted mansion, and of course an ocean maze complete with a craken!


This book was so much fun, every night my husband and Zoe and I would lay in her bed scouring the mazes to locate all of the hidden items (sometimes as many as twenty), and giggle at all of the silly things happening in the pictures.  We would race to see who could find the items first.  It was an absolute joy to scan the pages together with excitement for how to solve the maze and locate the hidden items that Pierre’s friends has specially requested we locate.  When it got close to the end of the book we found ourselves feeling equally excited because the mazes had been so much fun, but also sad because a special part of our nighttime routine was soon to end.

A little bit about the art…it’s AMAZING!  Seriously, wait until you can spend a few minutes looking at all of the fine details that come together to make this book so perfect.  I found myself getting really excited every night to spend time with my family, but also to see what else was in store in these stunning illustrations.  I guarantee your kids will love this book.

Perfect for kids 6 -11 year olds, I think it would be perfect for traveling with children as it takes a lot of focus to find all of the items and through the maze, with that said the book is oversized, so if you have space constraints check into that.  I could see this book being good for kids who need to build their stamina for focusing; it was great to watch Zoe slow down and look for detail and learn to scan and ignore everything else she was looking for.  Also, this book smells amazing!  Added bonus of course.

I can’t wait to hear what you think, seriously, I love nothing more than chatting about books!


The Circus Ship…and Some Unexpected Visitors

Recently we went to one of my all time favorite bookshops, Keplers in Menlo Park, California.  Growing up this was one of my favorite places and I spent most if not all of my allowances there.  Being back in California brought back so many fantastic memories that I wanted to share with my petites, so of course it was only natural to share this fantastic place with my family.


While browsing the children’s books one of their delightful sales people came up and asked us how we were, I asked her to show me some of her favorite titles.  She told me about her son and how he loves The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen, she said that he loved looking for the animals on the pages.  After a quick peak, it was clear that this book would be coming back to Seattle with us.

The Circus Ship

This is a tremendous story that is sure to become a favorite at story time.  It all starts five miles off the coast of Maine, where a circus ship is stuck in the fog.  On board this boat were fifteen circus animals that were heading to Boston for a show.  The delightful captain, Mr. Carrington was concerned about the weather and wanted to delay, however, Mr. Paine the circus boss has another plan in mind.

As you might have expected the circus ship didn’t make it to Boston, in fact it crashes and this is where the unexpected events unfold.  The fifteen anaimals swim all night long and soggily land on the shore, when the towns people begin to wake up they are in for quite the surprise.  This is where the amazing illustrations really come to life.  I found myself being excited with the turn of each page to see what the animals are getting into.  This story is filled with fun and adventure, the animals get into all sorts of trouble.  The rhyming flow of the story makes this a perfect book to be read aloud.  You cannot help but have a huge smile on your face as you search for the ostrich in an outhouse, a python in the pantry, and a tiger in the tulips.  This book also provides the perfect opportunity to discuss feelings of the towns people as they discover the different animals – I love this interaction it is so important to be able to discuss these small components of stories with petites.

Of course no story is complete without something really stunning happening, there is a fire and a little one who is trapped inside, the tiger acts just like he has many other nights with jumping through a ring of fire and he does just that and saves sweet Emma Rose.  After this brave act the towns people change the opinion about the animals and they lived together and it seems like this would be the perfect ending to a perfect book.

However, you may be asking yourself what about Mr.Paine?  Well, he comes back and he is mean as ever looking for his animals so that he can put them back to work.  The townspeople have had a change of heart, they love these animals and so they help to hide them.  Mr. Paine searches all over the town and cannot find his animals anywhere.  This is where your petite can see if they have better luck than Mr. Paine.

What I think is so terribly fun about this story is that it is based upon true events!

Circus Ship

What!  So this is the part where I get really giddy, as a teacher I love stories like this one and then where there is a non-fiction document to go with it, you have a fantastic teachable moment.

Little Kunoichi The Ninja Girl

photo A few weeks ago we happened upon Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl written and illustrated by Sanae Ishida copyright 2015 Sasquatch Books.  This book features a determined young ninja named Little Kunoichi who, at first struggles at school, thinking it is too hard, she sneaks away to her hideaway and cries about how it is hard. This strikes a chord with me, because my petite struggles in school.  I’ve mentioned before that she has epilepsy and this causes challenges for her in class, and she often times comes home feeling very sad that she wasn’t able to focus or do her best work.  This is something that as a parent is heart wrenching to watch.  The reason I wanted to share this is that, Little Kunoichi is a book she can relate to.  Through reading this book she made a connection to Little Kunoichi. What is so remarkable is that Little Kunoichi finds a friend, Chibi Samurai, he too struggles at school, but together they work really hard and practice and practice and then practice some more.  What the darling duo finds is that to find success they need to persevere and shugyo (train like crazy). This book will become a fast favorite among your petites for many reasons.  First, the story is gorgeously illustrated, my daughters love looking through the pages and seeking out new things within the very detail illustrations.  Another reason that my girls love this book is because Little Kunoichi and Chibi Samurai are exceptionally relatable – they struggle, are innovative, creative, fast friends and best of all they are hard workers and their shugyo style mentality leads them to success. I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that this book, according to my five year old, smells amazing!  So if you have a petite who likes the smell of books, then this is yet another reason this book is amazing. Read more about the amazing author Sanae Ishida in an interview here with Sasquatch Books.  Here is another interview with NW Books, where Ishida tells us about some of her favorite books, you’ll want to check out her book recommendations they are fantastic.

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A Princess, A Sonic Socket Wrench and a Whole Lot of Ingenuity


A few weeks ago I went to a bookshop I’ve never been to before and they had these most amazing displays of books.  Within this amazing wall of books, all of which I need to just magically appear on my bookshelves, was Interstellar Cinderella.  Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood with illustrations by Meg Hunt copyright 2015 Chronicle Books.

As the mom of two small girls, I know how important it is to have lots of books around, but more so to have books that feature strong female characters.  Characters that show gumption, ingenuity and curiosity about a myriad of topics.  I love these books, they are treasures and books I want to surround my girls with – Interstellar Cinderella is just this type of book.

This book is a play on the traditional Cinderella, but with an updated twist, this Cinderella dreams of fixing rockets and her wicked stepsisters are going to The Prince’s Royal Space Parade and not a ball.  Cinderella also has a lovely fairy godrobot that is illustrated to perfection.  There are many similarities that will have you thinking about the traditional Cinderella, but the part that I love the absolute best is that it is this Cinderella can fix her own problems, she doesn’t need a prince to help her do it, and she knows what she wants.  The ending is one that makes you want to applaud.  Instead of the book ending with a marriage and a carriage, Interstellar Cinderella ends with her turning down a proposal and offering one of her own!

This book is perfect for everyone, however, if you have a daughter, niece or granddaughter this is a book you will want to add to their shelves.  The illustrations are wonderful and the message is so needed.  I hope that this author illustrator duo have something else in the works, because this book is perfection.

If you like this book you might also like Rosie Revere Engineer, read more here.

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Well hello, This is Sadie

Cover Art

This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary & Julie Morstad published by Tundra Books/ Penguin Random House Canada, Spring, 2015.  This publication of this book is something I have been looking forward to for a while.  The art Julie Morstad has created is simply divine.  You may already be familiar with her work she illustrated Julia, Child which I have adored from the moment I first saw it, read more about Julia, Child here.  There is something about these gorgeous images that just inspire and make you feel as though you are dreaming.

What I love so much about this book is that the Sadie has a very active imagination and as a mom of two little petites imaginative play is so incredibly important.  It is something that we try to foster and support in any way that we can.  I love that this book starts out with Sadie playing in an empty cardboard box.  She is a girl who loves a good story, a girl who is imaginative and bold.

Another incredibly endearing quality about this book is the marriage of story and illustrations.  This book has a very unique and special quality that makes it easy to read over and over.  Even when you see this book on the shelf it jumps out at you, with darling Sadie peeking out through her fox mask.  The illustrations engage the reader and sort of hold your hand through the magical experience that Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad take you on in this lovely collaboration.

Another really fun component to this book is that Tundra Books is an awesome publishing company that not only publishes some of our favorite books, but supplemental materials that keep the fun going.  Check out these beautiful buntings, paper fox mask (just like Sadie’s), paper dolls and paper flowers.  The bunting makes me so happy, I love that I can decorate my petites book nook to represent one of her favorite books.  Click on the image below to be directed to Tundra Books website where you can download this lovely activity kit.

Activity Kit

Once you check out This is Sadie let me know what you think.  Also for more of our favorite books check out our facebook page The Petite Stag.

Juna’s Jar

CoverJuna’s Jar by Jane Bahk with art by Felicia Hoshino copyright LEE & LOW Books January 2015.  Let me tell you why this book would be the perfect addition to your petites shelf.  First of all the illustrations are delightful, the story is so real and touching.  It is about a young girl named Juna, her family has a large jar of kimchi in their fridge and when the kimchi is all gone she sometimes get to keep the jar.  Do you know any petites who would like to keep a jar like this?  I certainly do.

Juna is also a girl who loves adventures especially ones with her best friend Hector.  They are perfect together looking at books and collecting things to put into the jar.  Sadly, one day Juna goes to get Hector for another adventure and learns that he has moved from his grandmother’s house to a new house far away.

Juna is devastated that she didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.  Her older brother, Minho, tries to cheer her up by buying her a fish to put into her special jar.  What is so unique and special is that this book has so perfectly captured what it is to be in a petites world to feel that unfairness and disappointment.  But more so in the beauty that is a child’s  imagination and dreams.

As Juna goes on these magical adventures inspired by whatever is in her special jar, she searches in her dreams for her dear friend Hector.  One night she is able to check in on Hector and realizes that he is happy and that he too has a special jar.  The story ends just as you hoped it would with Juna wishing of what to put into her jar when she unexpectedly meets a new friend and we can only assume the adventures continue.

Something that makes Juna’s Jar stand out from other books is that it is so relatable to so many families.  Many children live in apartments and many live with extended family of some sort this book honors that.  Another aspect that I believe is so crucial is that nature can be found anywhere – even in an urban setting.  This book also honors the fact that to have a wonderful time you don’t need a lot of “stuff”, you can be outside and explore your surroundings all you need is a pal and a jar.  This book is relatable to so many petites.  I truly believe that this book should be in all school libraries, because every petite deserves to have the opportunity to relate to the books that are available to read in their school libraries.  #WeNeedDiverseBooks

The one thing you will most likely need to do is find a jar because as soon as you read this story your petites will want to embark on their own adventures.

How the Library (NOT the Prince) Saved Rapunzel


How the Library (Not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel by Wendy Meddour and Rebecca Ashdown is a really fun spin on a classic tale.  I have written before about my 5 year olds love of all things princess before, well this book is exactly what I think a lot of parents have been hoping for – the answer to the helpless princess problem.


So this book has a really eye catching title, and lovely illustrations.  In the begging as you start reading you will meet the idle Rapunzel.  She had no where to go and nothing to prove so she sits in her 16th floor tower apartment block.  She is rather bored and apathetic to her constant slew of visitors.  She clearly looks dour and sad, she has no purpose and as you read you will see her shoulders slump and face become even more discontent.  Even the cats look pretty sad.

When the prince comes it is pretty hilarious, my petite didn’t think he looked like a prince at all.  I laughed out loud when he rolls up on his scooter.  But not even the prince can woo Rapunzel into letting down her hair.  When all of her visitors finally walk up the stairs to see Rapunzel the most amazing thing happens a letter is delivered and within it a purpose.  She has a new job at the library!

This is where the story takes a turn and is just wonderful she is uplifted and now has something to prove, her whole demeanor changes and she is completely rejuvenated, she braids her hair puts on her best clothes and goes to work in one of her favorite places…the library.

Books more important than looks

This books message is so important, Rapunzel realized that she didn’t like the girl she was waiting around for the prince and she did something about it, moving her forward.  However, it is what she did that I love so much, she changed her outlook and becomes inspired.  She learns everything she can from the distance to the moon, Scottish dancing, playing the bassoon, speaking four languages, playing chess, knitting and so many other things…all because of library books.

But don’t just sit and wait and stare…when there’s more to life than growing your hair!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I am a sucker for books with a good message, even more so a book that promotes books!  This book just happens to be my personal trifecta of favorite things: love of books, a strong message about being smart, and a feisty redheaded petite!  I truly couldn’t ask for more.  But wait there is more…the illustrations Rebecca Ashdown has created are wonderfully diverse, I love this.  Yay for diverse children’s books.

If you like this post, you might also like:

The Princess in Black

The Princess in Black



Women’s History Month Books for Petites

It is Women’s History Month and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some really powerful books about young women who are quite remarkable and inspiring.

My Name is Not Isabella
My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? is a fantastic book about a little girl who tries on many hats and in the process will introduce your petite to many remarkable women throughout history.  I love this book, after our first read my petite wanted to know more about some of the women that were featured.  It is a really fabulous story, in fact you can stop here to read more.

Rosie Revere Engineer
Rosie Revere, Engineer Andrea Beaty and David Roberts have created a manual for all petites.  I love this book, this book is an action inspiring book, the minute we were done the petite wanted to make machines and inventions.  Yes, please!  If you haven’t checked it out you will want to do it immediately.  I’ve written about my love of Rosie Revere here

The Princess in Black
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale is a book that all petites will enjoy, there are monsters, princesses skilled in ninja moves and problems to be solved.  This book is fantastic for reading aloud to kids, I know a few teachers who have read this aloud to their classes and the kids love it!  Parents and teachers, if you are interested this book was recently in the scholastic catalog.  I adore The Princess in Black, read more here.The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch) a classic story about a little girl who goes through some struggles and comes out on top.  I love a strong willed girl and if you do to this book is for you.

I am Rosa Parks
I am Rosa Parks (Ordinary People Change World) I am in love with these books by Brad Meltzer, they are all so fabulous.  I love that this book features the humanity of Rosa Parks, that we are able to get a glimpse into what made her into the icon that we all know now.  I adore these books, check them out here.

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon initially I wasn’t sold on this book at first, I though the illustrations were a little, well silly.  But then I gave it a read and loved it, the message is that kids aren’t always kind and well, Molly Lou has a granny who helps her to stand tall and build her confidence.  In turn making this a fantastic book a way to help kids realize that when they are the best version of themselves that they can accomplish anything.

Miss Rumphius
Miss Rumphius, this story is one of a woman who is given a simple bit of advice as a child to leave the world a better place – she travels the world and in the end does just that.  A really beautiful story with stunning illustrations.  This book stood as a reminder to me as well that whatever you do it should be done with your whole heart.

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing this book is all about a little girl and her dog, she has an idea to make the most magnificent thing, what I like the most about this book is the vocabulary that is so rich and educating.  I love that the little girl has real reactions and emotions around making her “thing”.  This book is real and I love that.

Now it’s your turn, what are your favorite books to celebrate girls and women?