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Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.

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Click here to sign up. If you have already signed up, here is the April-June linky where you can link up your reviews or updates from your reading list. We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away copies of Julian Sedgwick’s Mysterium: The Palace of Mystery to two lucky CORL participants from April-June. So link up your posts now!

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.

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I love how these two picture books celebrate picnics! We used to love to do that here in Singapore but because of the sweltering heat and humidity, we don’t do it as much any longer. But still, picnics!

IMG_3167Ernest & Celestine: The Picnic

Written and Illustrated by: Gabrielle Vincent 
Published byCatnip Publishing, Ltd. 2013
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

Ernest and Celestine are friends who are preparing for an entire day of picnic. They had all their food packed and prepared for the next day. However, instead of a gleamingly-sunny day, it was a bleak, gray, and rainy day.

Celestine was predictably very upset, burrowing herself in the slats of their wooden chair. What would happen to all their plans and the food that they have lovingly packed together?

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Ernest could not bear to see Celestine sad and disappointed. And so he thought of a bright idea:

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He pretended that it wasn’t raining, although the puddle and the wet pavements in the streets say otherwise. Whether or not the picnic pushed through, I shall leave for you to discover. I gravitated towards this picturebook primarily because of the illustrations and the vibrant artwork. There seemed to be something missing and a bit confusing with the text. When I looked at the copyright section, I discovered that this was a translated book – possibly European, which might explain why there seemed to be a lot of gaps in the narrative.

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Despite this, I loved the tenderness that I could sense between these two friends through the imageries, and how their unlikely friendship demonstrates patience and a deep sense of affection.

We’re Going on a Picnic!IMG_3171

Written and Illustrated by: Pat Hutchins
Published by: Red Fox Edition, published in 2013; First published by Greenwillow books, 2002
Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.

When I found out that this was a book written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins who also created the famous Rosie’s Walk, I just knew that I had to feature it here. The story is deceptively simple, with Hen, Duck, and Goose packing their favorite things in their trusty basket for a picnic day: berries for Hen, apples for Goose, and pears for Duck.

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Keep your eye out, little ones, something’s happening in this picture!

As they walked across the field, looking for the perfect spot, little do they know that someone seems intent on joining the picnic, unannounced, and quite stealthily too. Can you see him? I love how totally clueless these three friends are as they argue, sing merrily, and even take turns in carrying the basket – not knowing that other uninvited guests are also taking turns slipping into their basket.

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Sneaky, sneaky is the way to go. This is a perfect example of how visual literacy works in picturebooks. The text tells one thing, yet the artwork tells something else entirely. How the kids would just adore this book as they figure out for themselves what is going on! Interestingly, the three friends ended up where they had started – they have circled back home! And surprise, surprise – their basket seemed lighter than usual – so light, in fact, that they discovered it was empty!

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Well, never you mind. They can always get more fruits from their trees – as they trudge up the hill once more, singing merrily at the top of their lungs, with all the sneaky animals peeking through the bushes in anticipation. What a brilliant book and such fun! Sure to be a favourite in a lot of households.

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Picnic at Chinese Garden, Singapore
Picnic at Chinese Garden, Singapore

Happy Picnic Day!

Currently Reading…

I was able to finish Benjamin Alire Saenz’s Last Night I Sang to the Monster last week and simply fell in love with Saenz’s words. I will be posting a review of this one sometime in June. I took a photo of one of the pages and edited it using an iPhone app – just to show you how beautiful Saenz’s words are:

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Finally reading Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic and loving it so far. I like Felicity Pickle, she must be my sister in a past life. I hope to finish reading it this week.

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Not even halfway through. I promise you’d be seeing more of this in the next few weeks thereabouts: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Relishing the language, but I have to have frequent breaks in-between.

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Reading Challenge Update: 88, 89 (25)

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12 comments on “[Monday Reading] Rainy Days and Picnics

  1. Love your picnic theme! I used to love Rosie’s Walk, and We’re Going On A Picnic looks like it would bring lots of laughter Since it’s snowing here in Denver, your family pics look wonderful! Thanks Myra. Glad you are enjoying Snicker!

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  2. I love Rosie’s Walk also. I use it for teaching directional words. Both Rosie and Picnic have that definite vintage color look to them like something you would see on an apron. I would like to have We’re Going on a Picnic and have a good idea for a lesson in mind.

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  3. Food books are on my mind since you’ve announced your bimonthly theme. I can’t wait to read the ones I have in mind!

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  4. I just finished the AJ Fikry book last week and absolutely LOVED it!

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  5. You had a great week. Happy reading!!

    Here is my post!!

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  6. I’m so glad you are loving Snicker! I’m using it with 4th grade classes right now and they are really enjoying it. I love Pat Hutchins’ books too – great text and I love the simple, clean artwork! I have AJ Fikry on my list for this summer 🙂 Have a great reading week!

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  7. Rosie’s Walk takes me back to my salad says of teaching, so I am very excited about We’re going on a picnic. I’ve added it to my wish list for our school library. Ernest & Celestine: The Picnic sounds delightful. It will be delightful to read it to my students here in Vancouver, BC where rain is an expected event.

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  8. Maybe Felicity had lots of sisters from other lives! Donna Tarte’s book is on my summer reading list. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I recognized Pat Hutchins’ illustrations immediately. They are very distinctive and fun. I love your picnic theme. I just recently found a post again about food and books from Paper Tigers http://www.papertigers.org/wordpress/papertigers-10th-anniversary-top-10-multicultural-childrens-books-about-food-double-helpings-from-grace-lin-and-jama-rattigan/ I have Goldfinch and Snicker of Magic on my list for summer. Have a great week.

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  10. Love the photos you shared of your picnics! Delightful. I haven’t read Snicker of Magic yet but will soon – I bought it after hearing so many people rave and rave. I think my daughter has made off with my copy though! One of my favourite food related books is an old title my husband gave me- Panda Cake published back in 1978. I used to read it to my children. My husband found a used copy years and years ago.

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  11. Holly M @muellerholly

    I love the picnic theme and the photo. Such happiness in that picture! I’ve read both A Snicker of Magic and The Goldfinch – Snicker is just wonderful, and The Goldfinch is a feat! Our book club felt so accomplished when we finished it. 😉 And then it won the Pulitzer!

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  12. Love the picnic photo! It will eventually be picnic weather here in South Dakota–but not this week! I hope to finish Goldfinch this summer–and Snicker! Enjoy your week!

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