Because of my disappearance from blogging in the last few weeks, I haven’t posted about all the wonderful children’s books Raisin and I have discovered. Here are a few that we’ve enjoyed, from Greg Foley and Jan Thomas to two newer books. I’ll talk about more another time.
Red Wagon by Renata Lewski (2011, Philomel) has soft illustrations of a child-like fox (Lucy) with a new red wagon. Before playtime begins, however, Lucy must run an errand for her mother. As Lucy and her friends head to the market with the red wagon, they have a number of imaginative adventures, all shown through the fantastic illustrations. Lucy’s trip to the market was a reminder of the fun that we can find as we do ordinary things – with an imagination, of course! I loved this book both because of the gorgeous illustrations but also because of the imagination the illustrations encourage. Raisin and I read it many times.
Greg Foley’s simple animal world in the Thank You Bear series has been a favorite as well. With plenty of white space and limited text, Thank You, Bear (2007, Viking Juvenile) shows a bear who has a gift he thinks is wonderful for his friend Mouse, but his other friends discourage him. In Good Luck, Bear and Don’t Worry, Bear, Bear and Mouse’s friendship is continued. One of my favorite is the newest edition to the series, I Miss You, Mouse (2010, Viking Juvenile), because it adds a lift-the-flap aspect to the story. Raisin loved lifting the flaps to join with Mouse in looking for Bear in all the places he could possibly be.
Another Greg Foley written and illustrated winner is Purple Little Bird (2011, Balzer + Bray). In this story, Purple Little Bird loves everything purple. One day, he feels he’s missing something and he goes on an adventure looking for what it could be. No other place he finds feels like home, but he finds what he was missing in his purple life. Purple Little Bird has a sweet story, it teaches a young reader colors, and it reminds us that diversity makes life more interesting. Look inside the book at Amazon.
Raisin and I discovered Jan Thomas’s illustrated picture books this summer as well. Two that we read were Can You Make a Scary Face? (2009, Beach Lane Books) and What Will Fat Cat Sit On? (2007, Harcourt Children’s Books). Raisin was able to read many of the words in these books, and he loved the silliness of both of them. The illustrations are bright and attention grabbing, much like the subjects of the books. In Can You Make a Scary Face?, a bug directs the reader to pretend there is a bug in his or her shirt, and encourages him or her to do a silly dance and make a scary face, to a hilarious conclusion. In What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, the narrator asks what the fat cat should sit on, from a chicken to a cow, ultimately settling down on a chair, of all things. Raisin found this so very funny, requesting reread after reread. Somehow, I didn’t mind. It was a fun readloud, and Raisin had it down pretty quickly himself.
Finally, Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan Shea (2011, Blue Apple Books) is simple, delightful fun for the discerning child. Using windowed lift-the-flap pages, Shea asks which things around us grow, using familiar growing progression as a comparison. For example, my favorite one was this, “if a kit grows and becomes a fox, can a watch grow and become a clock?” The watch face becomes a clock face with the flip of the flap and there is a page turn that allows him to answer. As a result, Raisin loves the interactive aspect of reading the book, and laughed at the progressions that were obviously silly to him. I loved the rhyming of the book, and the ultimate conclusion was perfect for my growing big boy. Beyond the lift-the-flap aspect to the illustrations, the pictures are bright and colorful.
Not only is the book fun for the readers, but it is also educational, as it helps a child understand which things are alive and which ones are not, a concept that may be confusing for children in a world where many things do grow. Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? is a wonderful selection for the young child and parent to enjoy together.