Things To Do

Things To Do by Elaine Magliaro illustrated by Catia Chien.

Open to absolutely beautiful, wallpaper-like end pages of a little girl and her dog in a pattern of flora. They are done in a soft Delft blue palette and instantly make me think, ‘old world’. Really, such a lovely introduction to what’s inside.

Things To Do is a book of lyrical poems. They are rather random observations by a little girl as she goes through her day. The beginning:

Things to do if you are DAWN

Shoo away night

Wash the eastern sky with light

Wake the sleeping sun:

Rise and shine!

Accompanied by Catia Cheien’s ethereal, dreamlike illustrations, Elaine Magliaro introduces us to big things like the sun, to little things like crickets.

The spread compositions are varied and gorgeous. Catia’s use of lighting and cool to warm color palettes are stunning. The book design itself is quite a treat. Important words and phrases are typeset in varied fonts and colors. A visual treat that also helps young readers learn to read poetry out loud (or with a voice in their head) and learn to pull out a poem’s rhythm and cadence.

I selected this book to talk about today because I think both the pictures and words sing with a real simplicity and beauty. I hope that young readers are inspired to make detailed visual observations about everything around them. From pink erasers to the warm yellow sun. Elaine Magliaro has woven together descriptive verbs to describe each thing. This is a beautiful introduction to discussing word choice with children. The way the words sound are as important here as what they mean.

When collecting visuals for this post I came across a great Teacher’s Guide from Chronicle that you can go to here.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful book, thanks for visiting today!


All images are the property of Catia Chien

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Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. It’s a lovely book. Very appealing!

  2. I’ve read this book and it is lovely. Thanks for reminding me just how much.

  3. Beautiful! I’m going to try and find a copy to read. Thanks!

  4. This looks gorgeous! I love Catia’s illustrations.

  5. I loved this book so much, Jennifer! The poems and the art both were wonderful!

  6. Beautiful book! The artwork is stunning and the text is lovely!

  7. I think listening to and reading lyrical writing is so important for children. As you stated, Jennifer, learning to recognize the rhythms and cadence will enhance a child’s joy of literature forever!

  8. Simply lovely on so many levels!

  9. This is a book with truly lovely art. Thanks for sharing.

  10. What a gorgeous book! Both language and art, but especially that lovely art! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  11. I’m not normally attracted to lyrical poetry books, but I loved this one so much. Beautiful illustrations and writing. Just lovely with a unique concept.

  12. Beautiful illustrations and text!

  13. This looks absolutely gorgeous. I loved the first poem–such a perfect pairing of art and text. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!

  14. Jennifer, I am so happy to hear that you liked THINGS TO DO! I was most fortunate to have Catia do the illustrations for my first book. I love her artwork.

    Here are links to two articles that I wrote about writing “things to do” poems with children:

    Writing “Things to Do” Poems: It’s All About the Action Words!

    Things to Do in the Classroom with a Picture Poetry Book

    • Hi Elaine, I’m so glad that you found this post so you can read all the nice compliments people had to share about your wonderful book! Thank you for sending along the articles, they’re so interesting and informative. Congratulations to you and Catia on such a gorgeous book!!!!

  15. Thanks for sharing this one, Jennifer. It wasn’t on my radar, but wow, that looks like an incredible book.

  16. This looks like a beautiful lap book, even with a toddler. Thanks for featuring it, Jennifer.

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