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I Want Your Smile, Crocodile - illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

I want your smile, Crocodile.
Kids love your pointy chin.
If it were mine,
they’d stand in line,
and wait for me to grin.

Would life for a spunky meerkat pup be better with polar bear hair? Porcupine spines? A crocodile smile? As Jack the meerkat covets all the things his zoo friends have, he creates calamity and discovers contentment in this humorous tale celebrating God's perfect, purposeful design. Written by critically acclaimed author Denette Fretz and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jackie Urbanovic, this comical story of self-acceptance will have readers giggling through the pages.


  Check out the trailer for I Want Your Smile, Crocodile!

Hear it!
Splatypus, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

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“A clumsy platypus takes on a humorous persona. In this playful, rhyming text, Platypus continually falls as tries to find friends. He meets a host of Australian animals… and tries to follow their lead... He tries racing with dingoes, leaping with possums, and flying with fruit bats, only to be discouraged each time, until he discovers his natural milieu. His swimming skills come into play as he enters the water… Here he is also called "SPLATypus," but the name takes on a different connotation as the water creatures welcome him. Browns, greens, and blues predominate in the watercolor palette, and the illustrator gives viewers a strong sense of several different habitats in the land Down Under… An amusing tale, ready for reading aloud, of finding "the perfect place." (Picture book. 4-7)
Kirkus reviews


“It’s plain fun! The quick moving and rhyming story keeps Splatypus moving among different groups of animals, trying to fit in. He’s trying to find his place and a group of friends he can keep up with. He moves from trying to play in a tree with the possums, jumping with kangaroos, and running with dingoes…Children’s book enthusiasts will also recognize the illustration style of Jackie Urbanovic, The New York Times bestselling creator of Duck books.

This will be a hit in every primary classroom. The animals are unique, the story is catchy, and the words on the page move with the action. When Splatypus falls from the tree, the words on the page fall with him… Teachers will love the book because of the message it delivers: you should always be yourself and try new things.”.
—Jessica on the Literary Fusions Blog

Click to read excerpt!
Splatypus excerpt - CLICK

I’m adding this link to the blog because Jessica also gives some ideas for integrating the story and animals into your curriculum. LINK click here!


Click to read an excerpt
of the book!

click for book excerpt
Prince of a Frog, illustrated and written by Jackie Urbanovic

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Who came first: the frog or the prince?
Hopper is not your ordinary frog; the pond denizens all consider him a bit of an oddball. Then a wise old turtle–cum-storyteller shares the story of a “prince who was turned into a frog.” Maybe that’s why Hopper is so peculiar. Hopper believes that he has all the correct physical attributes for frogginess—but might he actually be a prince? Following the requirements of the tale, he sets off on a quest to find a kissing princess. Alas, the quest is a downer. Not a woodpecker nor a smelly skunk nor a hungry fox fills the bill. Then, happily, Hopper meets a perfectly named dog who saves him from the fox, and immediately they become BFFs, singing, kicking balls and kissing. Hopper is still green, goggle-eyed and webbed, but he now understands the true meaning of nobility—all thanks to his new friend. Urbanovic has crafted an entertaining tale that is a twist on an old favorite. Her splashy blues and greens along with very expressive animal faces heighten the spirit of fun amid the animal antics. Speech bubbles for dialogue and a page design that varies between full-page art and sequential panels add to the entertaining narrative.
Kirkus Review
Fairy-tale fun for frog fans. (Picture book. 3-6)

My first grade students LOVED hearing this story.
Prince of a Frog is a book that gave me goose bumps! Certainly, not all children's books can do that! It is the story of a frog who is a little bit lost in his own skin. He begins a search for a princess to see if he should really be a PRINCE and not a frog. It is the twist in the plot that gave me goosebumps! My first grade students LOVED hearing this story, so I would say this book is appropriate for PreK - First or Second grade. I have both the kindle and book versions. I will say the real book is a better format for young readers. I was captivated by Jackie Urbanovic's picture of the wise old turtle. He is beautiful. If you read stories out loud to children, this is a book you need on your shelf!
Mrs. S


HEAR Prince of a Frog read to you
on Storytime with Erin 
Hear it!
Hear it!

HEAR Prince of a Frog read to you on
Wooldridge’s Weekly Read Aloud

King of the Zoo, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic

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click for excerpt

“If the lion is the king of the jungle, who is the king of the zoo? Carlos believes that he is. However, the rest of the animals have other ideas. Is the kangaroo king of the zoo? Monkey? Elephant? Not according to this chameleon. There is room for only one king. "Me! That's who!" an unhappy Carlos grumbles. But maybe he needs to learn a lesson about what makes a true king. Readers will admire Urbanovic's playful  illustrations and her affinity for comical animals…”
School Library Journal

I've Lost My Hippopotamus is a Bank Street Book of the Year 2013
click on cover for book excerpt
I've Lost My Hippopotamus

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“This collection of more than 100 new poems from the nation’s first children’s poet laureate is steeped in frisky typography, absurdity and appropriately juvenile humor…Black and white illustrations by Urbanovic cry out for full color, though they fittingly embody Prelutsky’s zany spirit…”
New York Times Book Review

“Urbanovic’s blithe pen and ink illustrations offer playfully literal interpretations of clever hybrids like a “Spellican”…pictured with a craw full of letters and an “Elephantom”, rising from a gravestone…”  
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Urbanovic’s black-and-white artwork displays a comfortably free hand, roving between loose and scrunched as it depicts Prelutsky’s vast company of players…”

“…Urbanovic’s black-and-white ink cartoons increase the laugh factor and add a touch of whimsy. Impeccable rhyme and snappy rhythm make these poems ideal for reading aloud or to use during a poetry unit. Don’t miss this one.”
School Library Journal, starred review

"Twists on popular preschool tunes are always welcome additions to picture-book collections. Sayre's twist on "If You're Happy and You Know It "is sure to become a favorite... The exuberant characters are expressively drawn by Urbanovic: dogs grimace through their growls, and a baboon and a raccoon demonstrate their messy habits by getting their fur full of food."
Karen Cruze

click on cover for book excerpt

“Sure to be a storytime staple, with many requests for repeat performances.”

Click on the book cover to read an excerpt from If You’re Hoppy, by April Pulley Sayre

If You're Hoppy

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No Sleep for the Sheep
click to read an excerpt

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"A terrific read-aloud that will have listeners quacking, mooing, and neighing with Sheep’s friends each time they wake him up… This is sure to be a storytime favorite alongside Audrey Woods’s The Napping House."
School Library Journal, starred review

"Beaumont's playful, repetitive text, with its loud animal sounds, will have children chanting along to the beat."
Kirkus Reviews

Click on the book cover to read an excerpt from No Sleep for the Sheep
by Karen Beaumont

No Sleep for the Sheep!
The Family Bedtime Treasury
  • Named to the 2012 Texas 2 X 2 reading list!
  • Chosen as a 2012 Bank Street Book of the Year!

No Sleep for Sheep is now part of a new book,
The Family Storytime Treasury, a collection
of 8 picture books and 8 poems.

click for excerpt

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Jackie Urbanovic has dazzled picture book enthusiasts with her amazing illustrations in Duck Soup and Duck at the Door. When you see the cover of Glamsters, you won’t be able to resist picking up this fabulous picture book. Urbanovic has illustrated this charming story by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel.
Lori Calabrese, examiner.com

"Kimmel makes the most of her silly premise, going just enough over the top to create a satisfyingly goofy heroine before bringing her back to reality, though much of the fashion satire will likely sail over readers’ heads. Urbanovic’s heavy outlines give her hamsters a wide range of comical expressions, but young kids who love to dress up may not see any problem with Harriet’s makeover. For sophisticated readers with enough emotional distance, it’s a hoot and a half."

Click on the book cover to read an excerpt from Glamsters by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic.

Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip

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Horace the Horrible

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"...This comfortable, cumulative story with an African-American flavor, is smoothly rendered and jauntily illustrated with expressive color paintings...."
Deborah Abbott, The Chicago Sun Times

"...Well written, charmingly illustrated, and with a new ethnic twist, this book is a first choice for libraries....."
Mary Hazelton, School Library Journal

  • A 2005 Aesop Accolades book
    The American Folklore Society
Grandma Lena
The Bully BLockers Club

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"Although this story is purposeful, it is told with humor and drama. The illustrations are colorful and engaging, and the last page contains a discussion on bullying for adults. Rather than having a didactic approach, this is a kid-friendly tale that teachers might use as a springboard for discussion." 
—Elaine Lesh Morgan, School Library Journal

Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal

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10 Best Things About My Dad

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Do Your Ears Hang Low?

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Spaghetti Eddie

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"...The story has a good, zippy tempo and the waggish art makes it all seem possible, capturing Eddie in his cool, maverick glory."
Kirkus reviews

PreSchool -G r.2 
A kid's devotion to his favorite food is taken to dizzying heights and unusual purposes… This tale is a bit odd, but it's enhanced by terrific pictures. Urbanovic uses thick black lines and curves and angles to delineate shapes and surfaces; her faces are mobile and exaggerated. Best of all, she captures the thick, red essence of spaghetti sauce, which covers Eddie's fingers and every strand of his useful pasta.
For larger collections.
—From Booklist, GraceAnne DeCandido

Do the Hokey Pokey

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