Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Read-4-Luck (PPBF): Zaira and the Dolphins

If you missed Monday's post about the writing craft, I hope you'll take a minute to check it out. My new feature, Story Elements, focuses on the top ten elements of picture book writing. Monday's post talks about Story Element #1: Character. 

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 Read-4-Luck pick is Zaira and the Dolphins by Mar Pavon and illustrated by Cha Coco. 
"Zaira is a little girl with an imagination so big that she can see dolphins in the town square fountain. One day, she is shocked to find the fountain empty. The children who play in the square and make fun of Zaira for telling make-believe stories are shocked too—when a real fairy arrives to help her. This story, full of magic and fun, embraces the amazing imagination that breathes life into children’s games, and treasures the joy of imaginary friends."

Publisher: Cuento de Luz
Year: 2011 (originally printed in Spanish)
Word Count: 500-750?
Book Level: 3.1-4.2?
Age: 4-8
Topic: dolphins, imagination, bath time 
Theme: friendship

First Lines:
Just like she did every day, Zaira went to the fountain in the square to see the dolphins. She went with Spooky, her best friend. 
"Look! The dolphins are playing! They're balancing balls on their noses!" gasped Zaira, absolutely thrilled.


Girls especially love the dolphins and water play. Imaginary friends are fun too.

The fairy, Takethat, is quite funny. Could be a fun book for bath time.

Good opening to a lesson on character development.

Lots of good examples of dialogue.

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

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. That sounds adorable. I've got too many on my to buy list now :) Thanks Christie.

  2. I love books dealing with imagination, and this week is a treasure trove of such books at PPBF!

  3. Love the cover illustration! Great topic too.

  4. Beautiful cover and sounds like fun! Beth is right - we have a lot of imagination titles this week - nice!

  5. This sounds like a lovely choice for my daughter. She's really inter fairies right now. Thanks for sharing Christie!

  6. We do have so many books about imagination this week. This looks like a fun one.

  7. Love stories that encourage magination. I remember those days and how real my imagination was to me.

  8. I agree...stories that encourage imagination and highlight a child who has a vivid one will help validate the kid who has one and was ashamed to speak about it. Fairies are awesome...looks like a winning book to me. :) Thanks for the great review, Christie!

  9. I love the sound of this book. Thanks for adding it, Christie!


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