When I was first trained as a children’s librarian by County of Los Angeles’ Jocelyn Mullen, she told me that I should try to read at least 5 pictures books a day. While I do read a lot of picture books, I don’t read 5 a day, and I think its time I started. I’m really trying to ramp up my Reader’s Advisory skills right now, so my goal is 5 new picture books a day and 1 chapter book every 2 weeks. And I’ll be keep track of my progress here on my blog so that I know where to go to find the list. Hopefully I’ll start writing other blogs again as well so that this doesn’t seem to become merely an RA repository. My criteria is to work partially off of the 2012 ALA Notable books list and whatever else happens to come across my desk in addition to award winners. I’ll try to condense these posts into weekly or bi-weekly posts so as not to clutter up my blog with reviews since the library world needs another blog filled with book reviews like it needs another budget cut.
Here we go! Since I’m planning for October Storytimes this week, you might notice some themes coming across in my reading…
Monday, September 24, 2012:
You and Me, Baby by Lynn Reiser, Photographs by Penny Gentieu
A cute book about babies and their parents and all the things they do during the day together like feeding each other and looking at each other. The repetition and sing-songy voice make it a possibility for baby storytime. The pictures of babies and their parents make it great for babies and toddlers who love to look at other babies. The babies and their families in the pictures are racially diverse and the bright backgrounds make the people pop.
One Naked Baby by Maggie Smith
A counting book told in rhyme, the story tells of a naked little baby getting dressed and ready for the day and the counts backwards as he has fun outside in those clothes. The book ends at it begins and everyone is happy. I plan on using this book for baby storytime next month.
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri
A 1985 Caldecott Honor Book, Have You Seen My Duckling is told mostly through pictures and only has a few phrases – the most notable one being “Have You Seen My Duckling?”. This book would be good for parents who aren’t comfortable reading in English to their children so that they can be encouraged to narrate their own story and share with their children or for encouraging children to narrate their own stories.
Moose Tracks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jack E. Davis
A super cute book for the pre-school crowd with a little bit of humor, just what Karma Wilson is famous for. The narrator tries to figure out where the heck all these moose prints around his house came from. For me, personally, I don’t think it has enough umph (that’s a technical term) for storytime, but would be great for caregivers and children to share together. The surprise ending made the book worth the read.
Moose on the Loose by Kathy-Jo Wargin, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello
Told in rhyme, this book asks the reader lots of “What would you do…” questions and puts the Moose in different scenarios. The situations are funny and the options for what the moose could do rhymes. There are no major surprises or plot twists and for as consistent as the main story is, the ending falls a bit flat. This would work with dialogic reading and would really give kids the chance to brainstorm just what would you do if a moose was in your house?
Tuesday, September 25, 2012:
Because You Are My Baby by Sherry North, illustrated by Marcellus Hall
The mother talks about “If she were…” insert occupation and then tells the baby how she would incorporate the baby into her life in terms of the choice at hand. A cute idea with a bit of rhyme, but the rhyming words are stretched far apart and its hard to really get a comfortable rhythm going. There are better books of this kind around.
Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz
Another solid book by Karen Katz, Ten Tiny Babies is a rhyming counting book that brings babies of diverse backgrounds together to fall asleep. Great for a baby storytime, there are actions which parents and babies can do together throughout the story.
Hey Little Baby! by Heather Leigh, illustrated by Genevieve Cote
This book is told through parents asking and speculating what their child will do and become as he grows. As he discovers different body parts, like his feet and hands, the parents ask what will he do with those feet and hands, describing them all the while as beautiful, darling, etc. The answers to the parents’ questions are told through the illustrations. While those pictures might be difficult to see during a storytime, the story is one that parents will resonate with as they spend time together in the library.
Pond Circle by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Stefano Vitale
This book describes the circle of life with each successive animal eating or taking something from the smaller animal to survive. This book would best be shared as a lesson in the animal kingdom and would probably need some discussion for children. The illustrations can be a little dark and might be hard for more sensitive children to digest.
Jump! by Scott M. Fischer
A book in rhyme, this is an easy storytime addition. The kids can participate by yelling Jump! after each scenario and the story in itself is entertaining. The end is especially fun. This would definitely work with Pre-Schoolers and I’m thinking of trying it with my toddlers as well.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012:
Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack
I’d never read this classic and had seen a puppet show using the book that sounded fun so I decided it was finally time to read it. I think it’s a great read-aloud. Lots of repetition and little things the kids can pick out. It’d be a great story for a memory box run. Also an excellent flannel board, which is what I think I will make out of it.
Little Bear’s Little Boat by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
A heartwarming book about growing up and sharing the things you love with others. This book is great for older pre-schoolers and kindergartners.
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Normally I don’t like alphabet books because they feel long and tedious, but this one is especially fun! Zebra, the referee, goes through the letters of the alphabet and Moose keeps trying to insert himself where he doesn’t belong. When they finally reach M, Zebra decides to go with Mouse instead and sad moose mopes for a few pages until Zebra makes it all better by the end of the alphabet. This would be fun for two people to act out with puppets of some kind.
Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek by Marianne Berkes, illustrated by Jill Dubin
A counting book in rhyme, the number seven seemed to be a bit of a stretch to get to the rhyming word of heaven. The book felt long and while it might be nice to share with a child and do the “I spy” part of it, the story isn’t really there to keep anyone engaged.
Splash! by Ann Jonas
One long math problem, Splash! seemed especially endearing to me because of the hijinx of all the animals. As a pet owner of too many pets, I resonated with the character in the story trying to keep all of her animals in line and out of the pond. A fun story good for pre-schoolers and elementary schoolers will grasp the addition and subtraction concepts.