Perfect Picture Book Friday: A Small Blue Whale

Title: A Small Blue Whale

Author: Beth Ferry

Illustrator: Lisa Mundorff

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017

Audience: Ages 3-5

Themes: Friendship, lonliness

Opening lines: A small blue whale sat in a silver sea wishing, wanting, waiting for a friend. Waiting was hard, but he didn’t mind; he was sure a friend would be worth the wait.

Synopsis: A small blue whale is alone in the sea. He wonders what friendship might look like, sound like, taste like, and feel like. He wonders what friends do. At first he thinks a small pink cloud might be a friend. As he follows the cloud, the whale comes upon a group of penguins. He tries to join in their fun, but gets stranded. Eventually help arrives in the form of hundreds of snowflakes and hundreds of penguins. The whale learns all about friendship and knows it was worth the wait.

Why I Like This Book: The beautiful, lyrical language immediately jumped out at me. Phrases like “a glint of gold,” “radiant ribbons of red,” “They leapt and swooped. And laughed and whooped” begged to be read over and over. The simple story line is appealing to young children who may also wonder about friendship. The soft illustrations add to the wonder and expertly complement the text.

Resources: There is a story time activity kit on Beth Ferry’s website ( It includes suggestions for before, during, and after reading, a connect-the-dots, a maze, and an art activity for making a rainbow with pipe cleaners.

For a list of wonderful picture books, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books. And check out today’s post here for a peek at a beautiful wintery book by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes.

Posted in Picture Book Friday | 3 Comments

Poetry Friday: The Winterberry Waits

I’ve been fortunate for the past several years (possibly a decade), to have bluebirds nest in my backyard. I love spotting that flash of blue in late winter as they return to familiar spaces. Several years ago I planted a few winterberry bushes hoping the bluebirds would feel welcome to stay through the winter. The bushes started out as mere twigs, but they survived and eventually matured. For many years there were no berries, then for several years a few berries, then a few more. I’m not sure what happened, but this year the bushes are full of beautiful, plump, bright red berries. But last spring, after an initial brood fledged, the bluebirds seemed to diappear. So now I had berries, but no bluebirds. Until…

last week, when I spotted one perched on the feeder. I thought it strange, since bluebirds usually don’t eat seed, but there wasn’t just one, there were several. I saw them again yesterday, but the strange thing is, they aren’t eating the berries…yet.

The Winterberry Waits

The winterberry waits
to welcome a visitor.
Laden with fruit, it splatters red
in that small space by the fence.
This morning a bluebird,
his russet chest puffed and fluffed,
perches on the feeder.
One by one he snatches
a bit of fruit,
a tiny nut—
treats on this cold, cold day.

Does he not know
the winterberry is so close,
waiting to welcome a visitor?

Tabith has the round up today here. Head on over for more poetry and some puzzle fun, too.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 3 Comments

Poetry Friday: Following the Moon

Lately I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the moon. I’m working on two manuscripts for picture books and both have to do with the moon, so I’ve been filling my writing heart (and brain) with all things “moon.” One of the manuscripts is written in poetry form. Here’s a sneak peek:

The moon is a spotlight on ocean’s high tide,
guiding turtles and crabs scuttling in for a ride.

I’ve always had a fascination with the moon, so I looked through some old files thinking I must have written about it before. That’s when I found “Following the Moon.” One night last Spring I was driving home, mesmerized by the moon. It was right in front of me as I drove. A supermoon—round and full and so lovely and wondrous that I had a hard time concentrating on what I was doing! The next day I wrote this poem (which doesn’t really do it justice):

Following the Moon

I followed the moon home tonight.
A full orb,
a super moon
in a clear sky.
my heart filled with its attraction,
its wonder.

I was surprised that was the only moon poem I could find, at least in my electronic file. There must be others tucked away in the pages of old notebooks. Or maybe they’re still tucked away inside me. The moon is such an inspiration for poetry, I think I’ll have to write more.

Mary Lee has the roundup today here. Head on over there for a luscious look at a pomegranate and more poetry fun.

Posted in Poetry Friday | 15 Comments

Poetry Friday: Before the Sun Wakes

Happy Poetry Friday! Last Sunday I woke early and padded into my office. Sleepy-eyed, I noticed something through the window – a light. Several lights, actually, in the house beyond our backyard. I stood by the window while I wondered who was awake in that house? Were they off to work? Leaving to catch a plane? In my mind I imagined a young adult, home for the holidays, but now needing to return to a life somewhere else. It wasn’t exactly a memory, but it filled me with a nostalgia that perhaps I had been there before, both as the one leaving and the one staying.

Before the Sun Wakes

Before the sun wakes,
before the birds call,
the lights in the little house,
warm and welcoming,
signal that someone is stirring.
Thankful for the laughter,
thankful for the love,
but needing to leave,
the lights in the little house
will always be there,
warm and welcoming.

For more poetry fun, head over to Beyond Literacy Link where Carol has the roundup and reminds us to remember there is much to appreciate in the world. Thanks for reading, and may your weekend be warm and welcoming.

Posted in Slices | 12 Comments

Poetry Friday: Memories

I used to be a crafter. I sewed, embroidered, knitted, crocheted, cross-stitched, and more. On my first Christmas as a married lady I made a yarn angel for our tree. Her wings were corn husks gathered on the farm where we lived, and her halo and skirt were netting from my wedding veil. And so began a tradition of hand-crafting a special ornament to celebrate each year of my marriage. Over time, I’ve begun to purchase some of the ornaments, but I always try to add something to make it more personal. Touching each ornament as I lift it out of the box brings back so many memories. It’s my most favorite Christmas tradition. I used to dream of having a tree decorated with just these special ornaments. I’m just about there.


On the tree I see
a yarn angel with corn husk wings,
a brown corduroy teddy bear,
a beaded crystal star,
ribbon remnants from a glass bell (shattered when it fell),
a tiny treble clef tucked in a grapevine wreath,
a macramé star,
a pewter dog paw.
Each has a story to tell.
Each celebrates
a milestone,
a memory,
a lifetime of love.
One for every year—
now forty-four and counting.

May you all make warm memories this holiday season.

Posted in Poems, Poetry Friday | 12 Comments