We've been reading a lot lately. Not that we didn't before, but ever since I got the inspiration to start writing children's picture books, I've been on a mission to get my hands on all different kinds of picture books. Call it my "research". Considering our already sizable picture book collection and the fact that they aren't exactly cheap, I've resorted to checking out piles of books from our public library or speed reading bunches of books in the Kid Lit section at Barnes and Noble. On our trips to the library, I allow the kids to pick out a couple of books each to take home and I, of course, end up checking out a few of my own. I'll come clean, while I've been good about "browsing, not buying" at B&N, I have bought a couple new picture books in the last month.
Either way, we've read oodles of new stories, some good, some really good and some...meh...and I wanted to share with you some of our recent favorites:
Winnie the Witch: If you hadn't figured it out by now, SweetPea loves witches, so she naturally gravitated to this book. Winnie the Witch loves black...everything in her house is black, including her cat, Wilbur. Here's where the mayhem ensues. Winnie can't help tripping over and sitting on Wilbur since, well, he blends. How does she solve the problem? That's the fun of this story. Of course you'll have to read to find out. By the way, don't be fooled into thinking this just a Halloween story because there's a witch in it. Really, this is a fun "anytime" story.
The Day My Runny Nose Ran Away: I'm pretty sure that I chose this one for SweetPea but as soon as we read it, she wanted to read it again and again. In short, it's a story about what happened when one little boy didn't show his nose respect. It's funny. It's clever...and be warned, it's a little long. It's meant for grades 1-3, so it's pretty wordy, but SweetPea is starting to get into longer stories, so at 4 1/2, she still enjoyed it every time we read it. The humor in the book is fantastic because it is layered in a way that both kids and adults will enjoy it.
Lil Buddy's Favs:
Little Quack's Hide and Seek: Our little guy loves ducks and he especially loves Little Quack. We have the original Little Quack board book in our collection, so when I saw this one on the shelf at the library, borrowing it was really a no-brainer. It's a simple story about how Little Quack and his brothers and sisters play hide and seek with Mama Duck and like the first book, helps little ones with their numbers. Where the first book shows them how to add, this book shows them how to subtract. Bottom line, it's an adorable story.
Owen: I'll admit it right now...I'm a huge fan of Kevin Henkes. The kids became interested in his books thanks to the Scholastic Storybook DVD collection that Santa sent our way a couple of Christmases ago. We've had his book Chrysanthemum in our book collection for about a year, so I wasn't surprised when Lil Buddy wanted to bring Owen home from the library. After all, it's about a little mouse who is completely attached to his favorite blankey, Fuzzy, not all too unlike a certain little boy in our house. Owen is about to start school and his parents are trying to figure out how to convince him to leave Fuzzy behind. How they solve this problem is what is most charming about this book. The illustrations are wonderful and his story telling style is fantastic. This is a must read!
Jessica: Um...did I mention that I love Kevin Henkes? This is one of the few of his popular stories that isn't about a mouse. Ruthie has an imaginary friend named Jessica, who goes everywhere with her and does everything she does. Her parents tell her that Jessica doesn't exist. Who is right? Hmm...you'll see! As most of his stories do, this book tackles the subject of starting school, which is actually perfect timing for those of you who might have little ones about to start kindergarten. Check it out. You won't be sorry!
Ivy and Bean and the Ghost that Had to Go: I discovered this book, in, of all places, the book and magazine section at WalMart. I'd heard about early chapter books in my research on Kid Lit, but hadn't really read any of them myself. If you aren't familiar with this sort of book, it's aimed at grade 1-3 readers and is a mix of story and black and white illustrations. The chapters are pretty short, but the overall story is definitely longer than your traditional picture books. When I bought the book, I was mostly interested in it for myself to get a better handle on the style of writing, but as I read it, SweetPea asked me if I could read it to her and we ended up reading the whole book together in two separate sittings. It amazes me that she is able to tell me about the different characters (by name, no less) and the basic story plot even though we've only read it once. Ivy and Bean are very likable, quirky characters and the story...well what could be funnier than two second graders trying to exorcise a ghost from the girl's bathroom? I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up the rest of the books in the series.
There you have it! Hopefully you'll be inspired to pick at least one of these books up at your local library or bookstore. I don't think you'll be disappointed!