It seems that my girls never have the same favorite book, which is as it should be, I suppose, since they’re not the same age and have vastly different personalities. This, of course, makes choosing only one book to read before bed a challenge, but what a good challenge to have! This week’s best books are, as always, extremely different.
Louise, age 3, loved I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. She asked for it over and over again. In this fun, graphic, and big story, a giant squid learns that he is not the biggest thing in the ocean. The pictures are cartoonish, the colors are bright, and the story is humorous. It even includes one fold-out page which allows the impressive size of the squid to be grasped. This book is sure to please animal-loving preschoolers!
Lulu, on the other hand, chose as her favorite a story that is a little more serious in nature. Leah’s Pony, written by Elizabeth Friedrich and illustrated by Michael Garland, is the Depression-era story of Leah who sells her beloved pony to help her family survive the their farm. With some help from their neighbors, Leah’s plan succeeds. The illustrations in this lovely, touching book are oil paintings and provide an episodic, almost movie-like quality to the story. I think it might be unusual for a 4 1/2 year old to like this type of story, but given her obsession with all things Little House, I am really not surprised. Your mileage may vary, however.
A Far-Fetched Story, written by Karin Cates and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, took me by surprise. When I picked it up at the library, I thought, based on the cover, that it might be some version of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”; my girls have loved having me tell that story to them. While it is not that story, it is a good story with a sweet ending. In this story, a grandmother repeatedly orders members of her family to go pick up wood against the fierce winter that is coming. However, each family member (including the baby) comes back without the wood but with a “far-fetched story” for his or her excuse. In the end, the grandmother creates something delightful from all the tales. In addition to this being a wonderful story, this book is illustrated in a most interesting way. The illustration that accompanies each family member’s “far-fetched story” is actually a pen-and-ink drawing with watercolor that has been transferred onto white linen and then photographed (scanned?). These illustrations are also embellished with stitching. This slight difference from the other simple pen-and-ink watercolors adds to the dream-like quality of the stories they tell. Highly recommended!
The last pick of the week is pure fun. Sing, Sophie!, written by Dayle Ann Dodds and illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger, is the story of a “cowgirl through and through” who “loooooooves to sing.” The problem is, her passion and talent go unappreciated until her baby brother needs soothing. Then, her parents and other siblings who previously just wanted her to be quiet are glad she has the gift. What makes this book so much fun are the songs Sophie sings. Witness this:
My rooster won’t crow, my hen won’t lay,
My frog got warts and hopped away.
My legs are skinny, my toes are fat,
I’ve got the temper of a tiger cat.
But I’m a cowgirl, don’t you know!
This book gives the reader the chance to practice her best cowgirl voice. I’m always up for a book that includes singing, never mind the fact that all the songs have the same tune. My girls don’t seem to mind.
In addition to our usual cache of picture books, we have also been reading through chapter books at lunch. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is our latest completed story.
What books have your family loved this week? Leave me a comment or a link to your blog and I’ll be sure to visit!
Have a terrific Thursday!