My favorite of the week is Dahlia, written and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. This is the story of a little girl named Charlotte who has no use for the fancy doll give to her by her Aunt Edme. However, after a day of outdoors, rough-and-tumble play, Charlotte realizes that Dahlia (christened such because she looks like Charlotte’s mother’s huge dahlias in the garden) might be a worthy companion after all. Aunt Edme arrives at the end of the day, and the story ends with a sweet surprise. The story is completely charming, especially for little girls who prefer messiness and rowdiness over being prim and proper. The illustrations are delightful in an old-timey storybook kind of way. This one is really a keeper!
My second favorite book of the week is a surprise to me, really. I associate Kevin Henkes with Lilly, Wemberly, Owen, Chrysanthemum, and I love them all. I really do. However, I have not read Henkes’ books to my girls because I was waiting until the girls are a little older. I picked up A Good Day because of the illustrations, which are really what make this book so great. This is a simple story about how a day that starts out to be not-so-good turns into a good day. The bold-but-simple watercolor illustrations are gorgeous. Highly recommended!
I was a little hesitant to pick up Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella because I didn’t know if adoration of the Disney princess Cinderella and familiarity with her story (only through books; we’ve yet to make it through the movie due to an intense cat-and-dog scene early on) would be enough to bridge the gap for my girls. I shouldn’t have worried, though. I actually read Cindy Ellen aloud to third or fourth graders when I was an elementary librarian, and I can’t say that they were as delighted with the story as my four-and-a-half year old was. Lulu loves this book! This is a great book on many levels in terms of teaching, too. The author, Susan Lowell, uses lots of “wild west” slang that would be interesting to discuss with older children, and of course, the concept of fractured fairy tales is one that is good for lots of mileage. This book can definitely stand alone as a fun read-aloud, with or without the more in-depth treatment , and the illustrations by Jane Manning are perfect.
This last book really surprised me. I picked it up because I thought it would be interesting to learn something about chameleons, and I am always looking for nonfiction titles to grab my girls’ attention. Martin Jenkins does a great job at making this book interesting and accessible, more like a story than a science lesson. For example, did you know that chameleons don’t just look grumpy, they really are grumpy? Or that their eyes can look in different directions at the same time? Wow! This book is particularly fun to look at, well, because chameleons are fun to look at! Sue Shields captures their odd but entertaining physiques in a bold and colorful way in this great science read-aloud.
That’s it for this week, folks! What have you and your family enjoyed together this week? Tell us about it in the comments or leave a link to your blog post. I’d love to hear about it!