Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Read-4-Luck (PPBF): Drops of Life

Before we get to the goods this week, I'd like to congratulate the winner of my A to Z challenge, which was to guess or discover my secret message. Throughout the month, I left clues. The answer is my April quote for the month:
"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face....It is one of the few havens remaining where [your] mind can get both provocation and privacy."
-Lord Byron
Congratulations goes out to none other than our famous Susanna Leonard Hill! Thanks for playing! And her reward? A choice of two different picture books. Today's review happens to be the book she chose! ENJOY!

READ-4-LUCK acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. This fun weekly feature began back in October 2010 with four books. It has since evolved into one book each week. In November 2011, I joined up with Susanna Leonard Hill and her Perfect Picture Book Fridays (PPBF). 

 = Not bad. Might read twice.
 = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
 = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
 = Awesome! Never tiresome for children, parents, teachers, or writers. May just have to buy it.

This week's pick is Drops of Life by Esko-Pekka Tiitinen and illustrated by Nikolai Tiitinen.
"This fable is a warm and happy tale about the importance of cooperation. It is also a well-known children's play that has been performed in over eighty countries, originating in Finland."

Publisher: Cuento de Luz  
Year: 2012
Word Count: long
Book Level: 4.2 ?
Age: 6-10
Topic: animals and the environment
Theme: cooperation

First Lines:
Even though the town had grown large, the old owl still sat in the Town Hall tower, reminiscing about his youth when his friends roamed the meadows and he was able to scare them with his swoops.
"In those days we played wonderful games!" the owl sighed. "You spread your wings and life was one big celebration. Hoo! Hoo! Is there anybody left down there?"
At that very moment, a small bird thudded against the owl's side and sang out, distraught: "Help me please, kind and wise owl. Show me the way to Africa, I have to get back there immediately." 

A bit long, but the animals do hold the child's interest. Includes a nice refrain. Children and parents could help make up a tune for it. It repeats about three times in various forms.
Good moral of cooperation that isn't in your face. Very timely environmental theme.
Works great in Social Studies and Language Arts units. Could get the play as a companion text. Perfect for Earth Day! Have the students do a Reader's Theater. 
Worth looking at twice. With the story originally written in Finnish, I wonder if the English translation lost a bit of magic.

Be sure to visit other "perfect picture books" at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. Thanks for the reward, Christie - I will look forward to reading the book. It sounds interesting, especially as you say it's translated which I didn't know. Was I the only one that guessed the challenge? Or just the lucky one of many whose name got pulled form a hat? Thanks again! Oh, and BTW, I don't know if I'm only just noticing something that's been here for a while, but I like the new look :)

  2. Oh, Susanna (no, not the song...) you are the first to notice the new look. You're such an observant little blogger. Thanks, although I am not happy about how it is spacing my clover images for my Read-4-Luck feature. I'm going to try to find a similar, but better template (same background though).

    You are the only one that guessed the challenge! Way to go! Like I said, you are such a good little blogger.

  3. Well done, Susanna! Christie, you may well be right about the 'lost in translation'. I do think I would enjoy this story/theme and I love the title and the front cover.

  4. Sheesh! I forgot to mention that the illustrations ARE magical. AND the ending gives you a warm tingly feeling.

  5. CONGRATS to Susanna!

  6. This is my final template. I like the way the clovers show now. ;)

  7. The illustrations for this book are lovely. What a great recommendation. As for me, I guess I should be more observant. Congrats to Susanna!

  8. I love the cover of this one! It is gorgeous. Congrats to Susanna on the win!

  9. Sounds lovely, and I'm so intrigued that it is also available as a play.

    Great new blog-look, too. (I love the banner!)

  10. What a great sharing. This would be a great entry forthe Reading the World Challenge,Christie. Wish I would have found this book, as I've been trying to find a translated book, and one in rhyme for their multicultural theme. Lovely book! Susanna chose well! If you want to check out the challenge, I have it in my sidebar on my blog.

  11. Great job Susanna. Looks like another good book, too.

  12. Your rating of this book - one clover for children and 4 clovers for teachers gave me pause to think. This book answers a number of curriculum needs for teachers, but does not magically capture children into the world of the story. As as teacher I sometimes choose to read books that are less than magical because they teach something I am required to communicate to the kids. But I want the kids to experience wonder with every book we read. Sorry. I am rambling. Thanks for sharing this book - and Susanna, I hope you enjoy it.

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  13. Sandi, I'm glad you mentioned/noticed this. Some books are like this, as you well know. Just remember that 1 clover doesn't mean it's a bad book. It just means that a child might not want it over and over again. It will still be enjoyable and able to hold a child's attention, but only once or twice.


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