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Friday, October 26, 2012

Picture Book Round-Up: What We've Been Reading Lately

Here's a few pics from our latest library haul. I've been trying to mostly include the books we have enjoyed, and skip the ones we didn't like so much... since we tend to check out a lot of books from the library and I can only post about so many of them.

This wasn't necessarily one of my favorites, but my boys loved it. I'm not sure what made them like it so much, but I think it was the sparse illustrations that combined photos of food and simple black and white drawings. They asked me to, "please find more books like this one."The book contains various food-related idioms that the illustrations depict in a very literal way. It's cute, but I didn't care for the flow of it. It was more of a list than a story, and reading it aloud felt a bit awkward to me. I was actually surprised my boys liked it so much because I thought most of it would be confusing to them, since I wasn't sure they had actually ever heard any of these idioms. The illustrations were pretty fun though, and I think that was what really sold my boys on this one. 

The style of this book reminds me The Jolly Postman, it's full of all kinds of fun pockets and letters to open and explore. It's probably a little more appropriate for a bit of an older reader than The Jolly Postman though. The story is a conversation that occurs over the course of a summer between a boy at summer camp, and his father at home. I read it to my preschooler and he really liked opening the envelopes and discovering the contents of each. It's a great book to use when studying correspondence or writing in general. My son has a little writing station where he likes to create letters for his friends, and this book provided some great inspiration for his work there! If my ESL third grader were a more proficient reader, this would be great for him to read and enjoy independently. Actually, he might be capable of tackling this one; I think I might let him have a go at it. The unusual format of the book makes it an extra-fun read!

I love a book that invites some good listener participation, as well as some good extension activities. And this is a great one for that! The story is about a little monkey that sets out a walk to his grandma's house and experiences a series of events along the way that alternates between good and bad, or "fortunately and unfortunately." It's great for inviting predictions from the listener. And it's fun for the listeners to "read" the "fortunately/unfortunately" parts aloud with you. I always love a book that lends itself to a good chart-making activity afterward, and this one is perfect. I would love to make a chart where the kids review each event from the story and sort them into "fortunately" and "unfortunately." 

What a cute story, perfect for Halloween time. A spooky, but not too spooky story! When the monster that lives under a little boy's bed goes on vacation, a substitute shows up. But the substitute is not scary enough for the little boy to sleep (funny!), so another substitute comes, and then another, and another... Finally the little boy's regular monster under the bed returns from vacation and he is able to sleep well once again. The various monster substitutes look pretty intimidating initially, but when they fully reveal themselves they're actually pretty funny and/or cute! This would be a fun read aloud, because it gives lots of opportunity to give the monsters some fun voices! I was going to use this one with my Literacy Launchpad students this month, but I decided it was a little too wordy and long for some of their attention spans... and for the little bit of time we have in class in each week. Definitely a good for bedtime at home though!

This is not your typical book about trucks. Yes, the illustrations are full of various construction trucks and machines. Yes, there are lots of fun truck and machine noises. But also, it engages the reader by asking them to answer a question/make a prediction on every other page. The page then fold open to reveal the answer in both text and illustration. I like that it gives interesting info about these trucks and machines that children readers/listeners might not have known. It keeps them interested and turning those pages! Plus, pages that fold open into large illustrations are always a kid pleaser too! 

Here's a fun secret agent story that any kid could appreciate. The style it's written in true secret agent style, and makes for a really fun read aloud. A stolen painting, flying to another country, parachuting off planes, being tied up and thrown off a boat... This book is full of awesome adventure, but it's not too long or wordy. It has a perfect pace! And your kids will enjoy trying to predict how it will all work out in the end. Will Jack save the painting and return it safely to the museum? You're kids will end up wanting you to read it again once it's done! Oh, and there's some great info at the end of the book about  the actual Mona Lisa and a time it was truly stolen; it was interesting for both me and my kids to read!

This one's a charming non fiction picture book that tells about many different kinds of seeds there are. It's a fun read that helps stretch kids' minds and take notice of all the kinds of seeds around us, even things in nature that might not realize are seeds! Again, another one that has a nice flow too it and isn't too wordy or long. I could definitely use this with my Literacy Launchpad preschoolers. It would be lots of fun to read and then head out on a nature hunt looking for seeds! Or perhaps just bring in a variety of seeds to let the kids explore after you read the story. There are also some good, brief, discussion-starting notes at the back of the book that help take the learning even farther. 

A modern spin on a favorite nursery rhyme. The original nursery rhyme is taken and elaborated on, but we see the old-fashioned concept from it (buying live animals at a rural market) put into a present day context (modern day grocery store and home with all our modern, present day amenities). Hilarity ensues as we witness these two things clash - live farm animals being brought into a modern, suburban-ish home. I found my boys and I having a discussion as we went through the entire story. "Oh my goodness, what's going to happen when she brings home that goose?" "Where's she going to put the cow?" "What does she need all these animals for?"It would be a great start to discussing all the various types of stores people shop at for the various different goods we buy. The kids could discuss where they buy their food and clothes, etc. This would be a fun one to put in your home living center! 

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