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Notes from a Children's Librarian: Books on Health and Safety

tagged: 49th kids, notes from a children's librarian, health, safety

Our Children's Librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.

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Teaching health to primary grades left me scrambling for resources. But I found the following picture books work great as starting points when discussing safety rules—at the pool, playground, neighbourhood, during a fire, as well as safety regarding allergies, dressing for the weather, sleep and hygiene.

Swimming, Swimming, by Gary Clement, is a fun depiction of the classic song: “…When days are hot/When days are cold/In my swimming pool.” The lyrics provide the framework for Clement’s playful depiction of a day-in-the-life of an avid swimmer meeting his friends at the pool.

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The following four great resources by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Martine Gourbault, are fun, rhyming stories that teach.

In No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons), the girl befriends a dragon at the beach and invites him home where his sneeze starts a fire. A slew of safety rules are addressed throughout the story: stay down low to avoid smoke, have an exit plan/family meeting place, don’t go back inside for a beloved toy. At the end is a fire-safety poem kids can recite and a checklist for further discussion, including “stop-drop-and-roll,” not touching hot handles, and knowing your smoke alarms. 

In The Treasure at Sea for Dragon and Me: Water Safety for Kids (and Dragons), a girl and her dragon friend follow a canoe full of “pirates” at the lake, hoping to find treasure. Dragon ends up breaking some safety rules, such as waiting for an adult to be nearby, always swimming with a buddy, and avoiding diving into unknown water. 

Also included in this series are: Once Upon a Dragon: Stranger Safety for Kids (and Dragons) and The Tale of Sir Dragon: Dealing with Bullies for Kids (and Dragons).

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 The importance of listening to parents, as well as safety around frozen bodies of water, are poignantly presented in A Promise is a Promise, by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak, illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka. Young children find this tale captivating, especially when they learn that parents of northern children use the story of the Qallupilluit to warn kids away from thin ice. Allashua breaks her promise to her mom and the mythical creatures take her underwater where she almost freezes to death.

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In The Fire Station, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Marchenko, Sheila and Michael disobey the grownups and venture into a fire station, ending up in the back of a truck at a real fire. The consequences: a five-day bath before their parents recognize them through the filth from firefighting and welcome them back home. 

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Rules around allergies are the topic of the next two titles. 

book cover no nuts for me

No Nuts for Me!, by Aaron Zevy, illustrated by Susan Tebbutt, is a great resource because the main character speaks directly to the reader, inviting connections, asking questions, i.e. “Do you know anyone at your school with a food allergy?” The protagonist talks about his Medic Alert bracelet and EpiPen for Show-and-Tell. “Maybe someone can do that at your school,” he says to the reader. 

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In Aaron’s Awful Allergies, by Troon Harrison, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, Aaron loves animals. He acquires a dog, a cat, kittens and guinea pigs, then sadly discovers he’s allergic to his pets. A replacement fish from his parents fails to measure up until he sees “Flash’s” unexpected qualities.

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Climber safety is the subject of Up, Up, Down, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko. “Be Careful. Don’t Climb,” Anna’s parents always say. But Anna climbs everything, and falls. One day she scales a tree. When her parents climb to get her down, they are the ones who get hurt, putting Anna in the position of warning her parents to be more careful.

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Wearing appropriate clothing for the weather is the focus of Thomas’ Snowsuit, also by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Thomas refuses to wear it. He tussles with his teacher and his principal, who all end up wearing each other’s clothes.

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Book Cover Mortimer

Sleep is the theme of Mortimer, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Mortimer gets lots of attention for singing, “Clang-clang, rattle-bing-bang/Gonna make my noise all day” when he’s supposed to be sleeping. He works his family into a frenzy, but by the time the police arrive, Mortimer’s finally given in to slumber. 

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Cleanliness is addressed in the next five books. In Please Clean Up Your Room!, by Itah Sadu, illustrated by Roy Condy, Christopher refuses to clean his bedroom. In this hilarious, rhythmic book, Christopher’s two goldfish become so worried about the state of their health that they enlist the help of the cockroaches (who find it too stinky to help) but the fish cry and the roaches give in and the army of bugs start dropping onto Christopher while he sleeps, even dropping into his mouth. Christopher finally gives in.

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In Mud Puddle, by Robert Munsch, Jule Ann discovers the power of soap in the face of a mud puddle.

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In Munsch's Purple, Green and Yellow, illustrated by Helene Desputeaux, Brigid gets herself into trouble decorating her skin with super-indelible-never-come-off-till-you’re-dead-and-maybe-even-later colouring markers. 

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In No Clean Clothes, by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Lacey hides her dirty clothes or leaves them in the backyard. Mom tells Lacey to wear her one clean t-shirt—her “Kiss meI’m Perfect” t-shirt until the laundry is done. Wearing it brings some unexpected results.

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In Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko, Tina wears her new socks for so long the animals start to fall over as she passes them on the way to school. The kids hold her in the river to wash her socks and the river starts to smell so bad even the beavers vacate their homes. Tina is so pleased with the washing job, she decides to never do laundry again.

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On her first day as teacher-librarian, Julie Booker was asked by a five-year-old if that was her real name. She's felt at home in libraries since her inaugural job as a Page in the Toronto Public Library. She is the author of Up Up Up, a book of short stories published by House of Anansi Press.

February 26, 2019

Books mentioned in this post

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Swimming, Swimming

illustrated by Gary Clement
edition: Hardcover
also available: eBook
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: water sports, humorous stories, music

Drawing on his own memories of the best days of summer in the city, Gary Clement brings us an illustrated version of the beloved classic “Swimming, swimming in a swimming pool,” full of fun and humor.

The illustrations show a young boy and his friends spending a carefree day at the neighborhood pool. We see them walk to the pool together, chang …

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No Dragons for Tea

Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons)

by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Martine Gourbault
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
  • age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: safety, fantasy & magic

While out for a walk with her mom, a little girl has the surprise of her life --- she meets a real, live, fire-breathing dragon! Now this dragon is nothing to be afraid of --- in fact, he's so friendly that she invites him home for tea. But their afternoon snack is suddenly interrupted when the dragon sneezes and sets the table ablaze. Luckily, the …

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Treasure at Sea for Dragon and Me, A

Water Safety for Kids (and Dragons)

by Jean E. Pendziwol, illustrated by Martine Gourbault
edition: Hardcover
  • age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: safety

Fun and safety go hand in hand as a little girl and a dragon spend a hot summer day at the beach. The two friends build castles in the sand, splash and swim, and race a boatload of pirates to a hidden treasure. As they play, the girl teaches her irrepressible friend to be water smart.

The winning combination of adventure and safety information --- …

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A Promise is a Promise

by Robert Munsch & Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover Paperback Hardcover
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: native canadian, self-esteem & self-reliance

When Allashua disobeys her parents and goes fishing on the sea ice, she has to use her wits to escape the Qallupilluit--the troll-like creatures her parents have always warned her about that live beneath the frozen surface of the sea. But the only way to break out of their grasp is through an exchange: Allashua can go free if she brings her brother …

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The Fire Station

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k to 2
tagged: cars & trucks, classics

When Sheila and Michael sneak into the back of a fire truck, they find themselves in the midst of a big smoky emergency. The fire chief takes them home, but they are already so messy that their parents can barely recognize them!

A newly designed Classic Munsch picture book introduces this hilarious tale of first responders to a new generation of you …

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Aaron's Awful Allergies

by Troon Harrison, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged:

Aaron loves animals more than anything else in the world. But when he is diagnosed with allergies, the doctor tells him that his pets --- a dog, a cat, six kittens and six guinea pigs --- have got to go. After Aaron reluctantly finds each pet a new home, he discovers other ways to make animals a part of his life.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of …

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Up, Up, Down

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
edition: Hardcover
also available: Paperback Hardcover
  • age: 0 to 3
  • Grade: p
tagged:

What goes up must come down!

Anna loves to climb. She goes up, up, UP to the very top of anything she can find - the dresser, the refrigerator... the TREE?! Can her mother and father get her down?

Up, Up, Down has always been a popular story with Robert Munsch's very youngest fans. Now he has adapted it with a new, simplified text to make it perf …

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Thomas' Snowsuit

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: humorous stories, imagination & play, clothing & dress

Another laugh-out-loud book from the author of The Paper Bag Princess!

 

Thomas thinks his new snowsuit is the ugliest thing he has ever seen in his whole entire life. When his mother, his teacher, and even his principal try to get him to put it on, his answer is, “NNNNNO.”

 

A newly designed Classic Munsch picture book introduces this tale of sart …

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Mortimer

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: k to 2
tagged: bedtime & dreams, classics, humorous stories

Mortimer will not be quiet and go to sleep. Not for his mother, or his father, or his seventeen sisters and brothers, not even for the police.

A newly designed Classic Munsch picture book introduces this unforgettable noise-maker to a new generation of young readers.

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Please Clean Up Your Room!

A Scholastic Canada Reader

by Itah Sadu, illustrated by Roy Condy
edition: Paperback
also available: Paperback
  • age: 5 to 8
  • Grade: k to 3
tagged: intermediate

This Scholastic classic is now available in a levelled reader format!

Christopher is a good kid with one bad habit: he refuses to clean his room. He likes it that way, cheesy socks and all. Even the bugs don't want to stick around. Finally, the critters unite. The fish convince the cockroaches to send a message to Christopher: clean your room!

Itah S …

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Mud Puddle

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Dusan Petricic
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: humorous stories

A brand-new look for a classic story.

First published in 1979, this was the first of Robert Munsch’s oral stories to be turned into a book. Since then, it has made countless children (and adults) all around the world laugh out loud.

When Jule Ann goes outside, a mud puddle jumps on her and gets her dirty all over. No sooner does her mother scrub he …

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Purple, Green and Yellow

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Helene Desputeaux
edition: Hardcover
also available: Paperback Hardcover Paperback
  • age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
tagged: humorous stories, colors, imagination & play
  • Over 25 million Classic Munsch titles in print
  • 20 Classic Munsch titles are planned for redesigned editions
  • Advertising and co-op in Canada and the US
  • Tote bags for ALA Annual
  • Read-aloud e-books available through Open Road Integrated Media
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No Clean Clothes

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 3 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 2
tagged: humorous stories

If Lacey can't remember to put her clothes in the laundry, her mom is going to make her wear a weird grandma shirt to school.... And who knows what could happen?

With his classic style, Robert Munsch takes a normal, everyday situation and turns things upside down! When Lacey goes to get dressed for school she finds she has. . .no clean clothes! He …

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Smelly Socks

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
edition: Paperback
also available: Hardcover
  • age: 3 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3
tagged: humorous stories, multigenerational, self-esteem & self-reliance

Tina's new socks are so wonderful she vows to wear them every day! But they begin to smell really, really bad because Tina will not take them off - even to be washed. The kids finally drag Tina down to the river and make her wash those stinky socks, driving away all the fish with the nasty odour! Tina's mom gets her a new shirt as a reward for fina …

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