Category Archives: Picture Books

Rock What Ya Got

Rock What Ya Got”

The opening: “Once upon a blank piece of paper, where anything can happen…”

The artist draws a character and names her Viva.

Viva likes who she is but the artist feels that something isn’t quite right. 

She draws different hairstyles for Viva. Still not right, and the artist continues to change things about Viva. With each change, Viva states, “Rock what you ya got!” Will the artist ever accept Viva the way she is?

This story promotes creative components of individuality and different perspective.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because of its message: “Rock what ya got – Look at what it is, not what is not!” Another element that this story offers is that the artist learns to accept herself. 

TITLE: Rock What Ya Got

AUTHOR: Samantha Berger


PUBLISHER: Little, Brown and Company, 2018


TOPIC(S): self-esteem, acceptance of one’s self

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: individuality, different perspective


1) Find a rock and decorate it to look like you.

2) Use a beat/rhythm that you like to write a song about you. 


To learn more about author Samantha Berger, visit:

To learn more about illustrators Kerascoet, visit:

Chilly Da Vinci

“Chilly Da Vinci”

Chilly did not do penguin things. He built things that did not work.

When Chilly’s invention accidentally breaks a chunk of ice off from the Vinci colony, 

he needs to prove to himself and the other stranded penguins that he has what it takes to be a good penguin.

This story promotes creative components of imagination, taking risks, and humor.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because I am a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci’s and as such, I really enjoyed seeing J. Rutland’s perspective and how he introduces Da Vinci to young readers through a humorous story about a penguin taking risks despite failure.  

TITLE: Chilly Da Vinci

AUTHOR: J. Rutland


PUBLISHER: NorthSouth Books, 2019


TOPIC(S): penguins, inventing, a nod to Leonardo da Vinci

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: imagination, taking risks, humor


1) Research a scooter or skateboard. How might you change its design to improve its function? Additionally, what other functions can a skateboard or scooter perform or what else can it be?

2) Play with ice cubes and popsicle sticks or toothpicks. What can you make?

3) Look at one of Leonardo da Vinci’s invention designs. How might that invention be used today?


To learn more about author/illustrator J. Rutland visit:

Knock Knock

“Knock Knock”

In the book, Knock Knock, joke telling is the story teller. As Bear is getting ready for bed, his friends keep knocking on his door interrupting Bear’s plans for hibernation.

With each knock, Bear becomes more and more annoyed until Al knocks on his door and a surprise unfolds.

This story promotes creative components of humor and originality. 

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because of how the author combined two things that don’t usually go together – jokes and bears, to produce a humorous story about hibernation. Additionally, the full-of-life illustrations depict vibrant characters that lend another layer of storytelling.

TITLE: Knock Knock

AUTHOR: Tammi Sauer


PUBLISHER: Scholastic Press, 2018


TOPIC(S): friendship, jokes, hibernation

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: humor, originality


1) Invent your own knock, knock jokes about another animal who hibernates.

2) Create more knock, knock jokes with your friends to make a joke book. Here is a joke of mine: Knock, knock. Who’s there? Ida. Ida, who? Ida wanna do my homework.


To learn more about author Tammi Sauer, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Guy Francis, visit: