Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Perfect Place for an Elf Owl

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it’s written and illustrated by kids, a cute book, and I really like books with the topic of owls.

The Perfect Place for an Elf Owl

Written and Illustrated by the First and Second Grade Multiage Class of Anthony T. Lane Elementary School in Alexandria, VA

Published in 2011 by Scholastic Inc.

31 pages – ages 4+

Theme/Topic – Owls / Being lost

Opening and Synopsis – “One windy night in the desert, mama elf owl went out in search of dinner for her babies.”

When mama elf owl went to search for food for her babies, the youngest owl missed her and tried to find her. The wind takes the little owl to a lot of different places and  he meets a lot of different kinds of owls. He asks all the owls he meets the same question – “Is this my home?” But they all say “No.” Then the wind takes him to the desert, and he asked the owl that he meets the same question, “Is this my home?” When the owl says “Yes,” the owlet realizes that it was his Mama that he was asking, and that he made it home safe.

Why I liked this book –  I really, really like this book! I think this is a wonderfully told story! The artwork is really cool! It is cut paper, feathers, markers, crayons, and paint all combined in an awesome way! Take a look at some of the artwork!

I think it’s awesome that this was written and illustrated by first and second graders! There are pictures of the kids working on and researching for the book in the back of the book and a group photo of the kids and teachers on the back cover. There are also fact boxes included on the pages. They tell  about all the owls that the little owlet meets on his trip and the places (the different owl habitats) he goes!

This book was made for the “Kids Are Authors” competition sponsored by Scholastic every year. It just so happens that this marvelous book won for the best nonfiction book in 2011! I actually never heard of this program before finding this book. It sounds like a great opportunity for schools.  Here is Scholastic’s summary of the competition:

“Under the guidance of a project coordinator, children work in teams of three or more students to write and illustrate their own book. The creative process of working in teams helps provide a natural environment to practice editing, teamwork, and the communication skills necessary for future success. All students involved get a sense of pride and accomplishment from submitting the team project.”

Activities and Resources –

You can make your own owls using the same materials as the students did – It looks fun! Maybe you can make your own story up about an owl or other animal!

I found an Elf Owl fact sheet at the Desert Museum’s website. Visit it HERE .

I also found Lane Elementary’s website and they announced the kids won. You can visit the site HERE .

You can visit Scholastic and see information about the Kids Are Authors competition HERE.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9, Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading

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39 replies

  1. What a great book, Erik! I have never heard of this Scholastic program either but what a wonderful idea! I love books made by kids for kids. We have one about endangered species that was written by an 11 year old! The art is really cool. I love all the activities. Thanks for sharing this one – it sounds really neat!

  2. Wow, I love these illustrations. What a great project and some talented young authors and illustrators!

  3. Fascinating artwork and a fun story. Thanks for sharing the book and the competition too.

  4. You’re right, the artwork is fantastic! I’ve never heard of this Scholastic program before and I’m sure the kids had a lot of fun participating in this project. Thanks, Erik!

    • I’m glad you liked it! I never heard of the event before, too, until I read the book! I hope the kids had lots and lots and lots (and lots and lots and lo– you get the idea) of fun researching, writing, and illustrating the book! 🙂

  5. This is absolutely amazing! I just had a student in my marketing class tell me that her son is an aspiring author and illustrator. I had no idea Scholastic had an annual contest. I’m passing this information on to her. Thanks as always Erik!

  6. Great find, Erik! I teach grade 1 and know my kids would love that book. It reminds me a bit of “Are You My Mother?”

    Grade ONEderful

  7. I’m having trouble posting my comment — it’s complained about two of my email addresses so far…

    I love owls, so the title caught my attention right away. (Especially since today would have been my Dad’s birthday, and he loved owls even more than I do.) When I saw that the book had been written and illustrated by first and second graders, I was mightily impressed.

    Thank you so much for sharing this book — and that fantastic program of Scholastic’s — with us today, Erik!

  8. Amazing artwork! What a great book and an great idea. I did not know about this contest. I will pass the word through my homeschooling peeps. Wonderful! Great add to the PPBF library. Have an awesome weekend. 🙂

  9. What a great competition, Erik, and wow the standard of the entries must have been real high. I love the artwork and story here. What a great PPPF choice!

  10. This is a great project! My second-grader just won an award for an owl drawing she did, it would fit right into this book! Thanks for sharing, Erik.

  11. Erik, a great selection. I’ve never heard of this Scholastic Program. How wonderful that the kids researched, wrote and illustrated a book. They saw the complete process — that’s cool! I love the story, the message and illustrations. Great pick.

  12. Very cool book and review Erik. Another book by kids for kids…yay! Love those. I have been aware that Scholastics do run competitions and lean toward kids writing for kids. Keep an eye out Erik, I am sure there might at some time, come an opening where you can show your talent. Would love oneday to see a book by you arrive on my shelves…*wink*

  13. Sounds like an interesting book. I can’t wait to check out the artwork. I love mixed media. Such a cool idea to use real feathers to illustrate an owl book! Making a bird picture out of feathers would be a great art project for kids to do. I’ll have to find some feathers before I read the book to my kids.

  14. What a great discovery! I’ve never heard of the Scholastic program — I’m interested in learning more about it. And love that this book was written by 1st and 2nd graders.

  15. Erik…you are amazing!!!
    I love this book…the illustrations are fantastic…and the fact that it is written and illustrated by elementary school kids makes it even better!
    Thank you so much for the wonderful resources you listed, as well as telling us all about the Scholastic Competition…every school should JUMP on-board…what a great opportunity for young children to get a taste of writing their own books. 🙂

  16. Hi Erik, this is the first time that I am leaving a comment on your blog but I’ve explored a bit previously and I’ve read some of your reviews. I am amazed by what you do here. Congratulations on having such a vibrant site. We have just recently joined the Perfect Picture Book Friday meme and I was led to this review through Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.

    This does look like an awesome book, and the mixed-media artwork also seems to work well with the story line. I believe I have seen a review of this book previously and it is just awesome that the kids are given this fabulous opportunity to have their work published. Would you know if this is also available internationally?

    • Thank you very much! Thanks for stopping by my blog too! I really like the art work in the book. It is very creative. I got the book at my school’s bookfair. I think that you may be able o get it through Scholastic’s website. I didn’t see it for sale on Amazon. Hope that helps!

  17. I love Owl books too. This one looks great and the pictures are fabulous.

  18. Erik, I think your website is terrific! I’m happy to see you reviewed the 2011 Scholastic winner in non-fiction and are so supportive of kids as writers. “Kids are Authors” is a fun contest for kids and the grand prize winners each earn $5,000 worth of Scholastic books for their school. The 2012 winners have already been announced and I was wondering…will you be reviewing either of those? They’ll be available at book fairs this fall. (Okay, I’m a little biased–my daughter was one of the authors of this year’s fiction winner, “Two Dollars, One Wallet.”) It would mean a lot to read what you think of the book! (There will be an audio version on the Scholastic website too. It’s got sound effects and everything!) Keep up the good reading!

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