Young Reader in the Making

Young Reader in the Making

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book 117: The Red Lemon

The Red Lemon, by Bob Staake, Golden Book/Random House, 2006.  (Preschool/Early Elementary)

Instead of trying to explain why I like this book, I decided to write down what my three-and-a-half year old son said when we first read this book: "Wow", "Beautiful", "Delicious", "Awesome", "This is wonderful."

If you still want more information on why I bought this book, I could tell you how we've read this story almost every day, and usually more than once a day; how I had to hide it to write this review; how Bob Staake is my new favorite author/illustrator for the preschool set; how delectably brilliant the illustrations are; and how the quirky writing borders on ridiculous without crossing over.  Or I could just let Thomas sum it up:  "I love it!"

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book 116: Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook

Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook, by Michael Garland, Dutton Children's Books, 2003.  (Preschool/Early Elementary)

Some years ago I drew a pen and ink graphic for the literacy program at our library.  It showed an open door with stacks of books and some of the characters come to life.  I thought I was pretty clever.  I was not, however, as clever as Michael Garland in Miss Smith's Incredible Storybook.

Miss Smith is the second-grade teacher that you wished you had.  She has rather punk-y red hair, red cat-eye glasses, and best of all, she sports red Converse high-tops.  She reads from an incredible storybook that brings characters to life, not just in an imaginary way as any good reader can, but in a way that fills the classroom.  Imagine the possibilities, and you have Michael Garland's book.

Michael Garland is an artist of astounding range.  The illustrations for this book are phenomenal and add to the magic that is this story.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Book "series" for young readers -- 4

The "Pigeon" books by Mo Willems.  (Baby/Toddler/Preschool/Early Elementary)

Mr. Willems' first "Pigeon" book is now a classic:  Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  There is even a plush toy that says, in Mo Willems' voice, "Let me drive the bus!".  Of course, we have that toy pigeon, too.

When I was a children's librarian, I would use at least one of the "Pigeon" books for my story times for the toddlers and pre-schoolers.  The toddlers, who had mastered the word "no" loved the book, because they could shout "no" at the book -- something which they probably were discouraged from doing at home.  The preschoolers, who still loved to shout "no", understood the humor a bit more and would laugh at the silliness.  My favorite memory, however, is when another librarian and I had the pigeon flying a space shuttle for a local kindergarten class.  When I, as the pigeon, said "How about I give you five dollars" (to fly the shuttle), one kid piped up, "Make it 20, and we got a deal!"  You can't buy that kind of interest in a book.

Now that I have my own young reader, we have the "Smidgeon of Pigeon" books as well as the more sophisticated other "Pigeon" books.  My son loves to shout "no" at the books and laugh at the ridiculous pigeon.  Again, you can't buy that kind of interest in a "series" of books.  You can, however, buy the books, and they are worth every penny.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book 115: Good Boy, Fergus!

Good Boy, Fergus!, by David Shannon, Blue Sky Press 2006.  (Toddler/Preschool)

Fergus is the cutest little white Scottish terrier, ever.  And David Shannon is a genius at capturing Fergus' expressions in his darling illustrations.  Anyone who has ever been trained by a dog will recognize themselves (and their dogs) in this story.

So how does it go over with the target audience?  Extremely well judging by the giggling that occurs when this story is being read.  It might help that we have a dog named Sophie who behaves much the same way as Fergus.  If anyone is wondering:  Yes, Sophie does have us trained.