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Friday, October 5, 2012

Picture Book Round-Up: Trying to Stay Ahead of the Pile

I do these picture book round not only so that others might stumble upon a fun, new read, but also to keep track of what I'm reading with my kids. I like that I have a record of some notes about the books we've read from the library. I can refer back to these posts if I need or want to. It has proved very helpful! I guess I could accomplish the same goal using Goodreads... or even just an old fashioned notebook. But I like sharing my reads with you guys! The trick is to keep up with posting about our pile of books before they are due back at the library! Ha!

A tale of a unlikely friendship between a gorilla and a cat. I really liked the simplicity in which the story was told, it was just beautiful, a kind of beauty that even my little preschooler could appreciate. The illustrations are stunning, a mix of detailed artwork and a more simplistic style. It worked so well with the story. I thought this book would work great for a "beginning/middle/end" lesson with preschoolers, or even elementary students. The story clearly divides into these three distinct parts in such a perfect way. Great book. And it definitely leaves you with the warm fuzzes!

I loved this book! What a great story for my kids - and all kids! A little boy needs new shoes, but can't afford the cool ones he's been eyeing, the ones everyone else at school is wearing. He ends up with embarrassing hand-me-downs from his school, but then discovers a pair of the coveted shoes at a thrift store! Score! But they are the wrong size. After trying to squeeze his feet into them for a while, he notices that his friend's shoes are falling apart, but that his feet are a smaller size. Aha! He ends up surprising his friends by leaving the cool shoes on his doorstep for him. I like that it features an African American protagonist, because I feel that I have a hard time finding those kinds of books for my Ethiopian son... at least ones that I think he would be interested in reading. The illustrations reminded me of animations for some of those clever new cartoon shows that are always popping up on TV (and my Netflix homepage). This book was a hit here in our house.

Another one I loved. It tells the story of two families: one living inside a snow globe, and then the family that owns the snow globe and lives outside of it in the real world. It shows the relationship between the two families; similarities and differences. The concept was just so much fun, showing how the family in the real world could affect the family in the snow globe so drastically. This book gives the reader so much to think about, and is such a conversation starter for you and your kiddos. I love the idea of taking something simple - a snow globe - and saying "what if..." 

I will SO be using this one in December with my classes. How cute! I love the graphic novel/comic-type format, and so did my boys. I don't typically enjoy reading aloud graphic novels, but when the style is done in a picture book it's a little different. And the words are so fun in the books it all just works for me! There are various characters that give me a chance to come up with fun voices. Then there's the new twist on the gingerbread man refrain that repeats throughout the tale and I like that participatory element. And then of course, there are endless fun ideas for story extensions when you've got a gingerbread man story. What new adventure could your kids dream up for the gingerbread man? Maybe they could create their own graphic novel-style picture book! 

One of my absolute new favorites. This one gets mentally filed in the same place as Press Here - as a really fun interactive book. The reader is invited and strongly encouraged to prove to the cats in the book that they are also cats so that the cats in the book will divulge their book of cat secrets. So hilarious and fun. My boys really loved it, and we had so much fun reading it several times. Having a cat around the house to read it with you makes it extra fun and you give her snuggles and imagine and joke about what her cat secrets might be, like we did when we were reading this book. I really, really loved this one, and will figure out the perfect place to fit it in my lesson planning because my students need to experience this one too! Can't wait!

What happens when a tennis ball falls down a prairie dog hole? The great fuzz frenzy!!! My boys and I giggled as we watched the prairie dogs pull the ball apart and dress up in the fuzz. I liked the large format of the book and the entertaining illustrations that gave us lots to look at, observe, and laugh about on each page spread. It was neat to get to turn the book vertical for some of the page spreads too and glance deeper down into the prairie dog hole. This was a great tale about friendship, and about making the right decision and doing the right things, even when it's not easy. 

This story gained a special place in my heart since we just got a dog this past weekend. It's about Mister Bud, the dog, and his comfortable little doggy routine that he enjoys each day. But when Zorro joins the family, his beloved schedule gets thrown off and he's not happy about it. Mister Bud eventually realizes that Zorro is not so bad, and that the two of them have actually become friends, and that sharing your day with someone else can improve it! Another warm fuzzy tale with adorable illustrations. Mister Bud is just the cutest in my opinion. I'm going to add this book to my list of potentials to use for my up-coming Pet Unit. It would be fun to use this book to do some list making by recalling Mister Bud's schedule from the book and writing a list of what a dog does all day, and all the things you typically have to do to take care of a dog. 

I love a good book about a book! I love that this one isn't simply about pointing out the joys of reading like so many of these particular kinds of books are, but is actually about book selection! Charlie is trying to help Lola find a new book to read after they go to the library and discover that someone else has checked out her beloved go-to book that she always brings home with her. It's time for her to broaden her horizons, and what a great idea for little preschoolers who so often like us to read them the same book over and over and over again. It would be a great title to read during a library unit, or when getting ready for a library visit, or on before giving some book talks to your kids to encourage them to check out a book you or someone else has enjoyed. I just love Charlie and Lola and this was a really fun read aloud, and is another one I will be incorporating into my Literacy Launchpad curriculum somehow. 

A little bit of a different flare to the favorite construction themed picture book. This time the big machines are tearing down an old building, and replacing it with a playground. Right away my son started asking great questions about why they would "break" a building, and what else they might put there instead. I like the contrast in the illustrations between the dull grays of the building they're tearing down and the bright colors of the trucks, machines, and clothes of the demo and construction crew. How fun would it be to retell the story with your kids using building blocks; tear down a building with flare, then building something new? What kind of building might you tear down? What kind of structure might be cool to build in it's place?  

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