As usual, our library basket this week contains a hodge-podge of books. When I’m browsing for books at the library, I usually try to find a mixture of books that I think will appeal to both my girls. Still, my decisions are ultimately based on what looks good to me; after all, if I’m reading it aloud, I tend to do a much better job if it is a book I actually like. My girls, if left to their own devices, would fill our basket with Dora and Bob, Franklin and Blue each week. It amazes me that they are so drawn to these characters because they only watch the shows occasionally, and even then they are re-runs on video. But I digress. Here are some of the good books in our library basket this week:
Oddhopper Opera: A Bug’s Garden of Verses, written and illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, is my favorite of the week. Every page is a feast for the eyes, not only in terms of the illustrations, but also in terms of the text. Some of the lines of the poems in this book are often a part of the illustrations. While they are not quite concrete or shape poems, the fact that they are not always linear adds an element of enjoyment and fun. There is even ongoing commentary from ants that traipse across several of the pages (“Boink! ‘Here we are–where’s the food? Is it far?’/Boink! ‘Oh, my head! Can’t we shake hands instead?’ Boink!’). Chock full of rollicking buggy poetry, this book would be great for almost any age, from preschoolers to senior citizens!
Max’s Words, written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov, comes in a close second this week in my book. Max is a little boy whose older brothers collect things: Benjamin collects stamps and Karl collects coins. Max wants to collect something, too, and when his brothers won’t share even one tiny thing from their collections with him, he decides to collect words. He cuts words out of newspapers and magazines, and pretty soon his collection begins to take on a life of its own. This book is probably more appropriate for children who can read, but my pre-readers didn’t complain about it. Any logophile will love it!
This Is the House That Was Tidy and Neat by Teri Sloat is Lulu’s pick of the week. It is a fun book in the tradition of “The House That Jack Built.” Illustrated by R.W. Alley, this book is very visually detailed. It will only take a few times through for the listener to be able to recite the poem simply by looking at the illustrations. As a bonus, this book really capitalizes on the idea that mom is a very integral part of family life. As a mother who sometimes gets a little discouraged, I like this part perhaps the best of all.
Louise has taken great delight in One Monkey Too Many by Jackie French Koller. Each activity presented in this story is one that is just right for a certain number of monkeys, so when “one monkey too many” shows up, delightfully hilarious chaos ensues. This story is told in rhyme. The illustrations, by Lynn Munsinger, are whimsical and very expressive. This is a great preschool read aloud.
Reading One Small Place by the Sea enables its readers to take a trip to the seashore without leaving their comfy reading nooks. This book, written by Barbara Brenner and illustrated by Tom Leonard, details the cycle through which a tide pool goes during its existence. The illustrations are detailed and colorful. This is a great introduction to marine life and the idea of cycles in nature.
I had picked up and put back The Prairie Train by Antoine O Flatharta at least once before during a picture book hunting-and-gathering expedition, but this time, due to my girls’ ever growing love affair with all things prairie, I couldn’t resist. This story was sort of a surprise to me; what I thought was a simple historical fiction story turned out to be a fantasy of sorts. This book deals with the immigrant experience, but with a twist. The beautiful illustrations by Eric Rohmann contribute to the dream-like quality (I use this phrase both literally and figuratively) of the story.
What have you been reading this week? Leave me a comment or link and I’ll be sure to follow up! I’m always on the hunt for more great read-alouds.