Kids’ Corner Picture Books (August 5, 2013)

Strawberry has developed a love for reading. It’s not surprising, given the number of books by which she is surrounded. What I’m finding somewhat amusing and annoying is that right now she has a very definite preference for what books we read together: she wants the ones she has read before, and if I try to read something else (to Raisin, for example), she gets very mad and throws a book and has a fit. I suppose this is perfectly normal for 17 months old.

Her favorite book right now seems to be Teeth are Not for Biting by Elizabeth Verdick. This book choice was my fault: I wanted her to stop biting! Now we read it over and over again. I suppose, once again, this is a good thing. Now she’ll say “ouch!” each time I read it in the book. Maybe next time she bites and I yell “ouch” she’ll get the picture.

She also enjoys the rhymes in Home Sweet Tree and The Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain. These Berenstain Bears books are for a lower reading level than the traditional “learn a lesson” Berenstain Bears books, and she likes to hear the rhythm and rhymes in them. The Spooky Old Tree is one of my favorites, so I don’t mind it so much. Although reading it five times in a row gets a bit tiring.

Raisin finally has an interest in some of my favorite picture books, ones that I’ve been hoping he’d like for years. One is Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. He finally appreciates it! I think the story is fantastic, and the personalities assigned to the ducklings is adorable. The illustrations are full of power, even without any color. It’s a book that is meant to be savored for generations.

I’ve found some other books that I’ve enjoyed too. I wrote about Falcon by Tim Jessell (Random House, 2012) on my other blog today. It brings to life a dream many share: what would it be like to fly. In Tim Jessell’s lavishly illustrated paintings, the reader sees a falcon soaring over the waves, the mountains, and then the tall buildings of a city. In his story, a young boy dreams that he is the falcon soaring everywhere. I must admit that when I was a child, I regularly dreamed that I had the ability to fly. I was not a bird, but I did have the magical ability to rise above the buildings and trees. As I read Jessell’s picture book, I felt like I was in one of those dreams again, soaring above the buildings. I like how the boy in the story dreams he is amazing other people with his feats. It gave him a reason to be proud of himself as a falcon. The author’s biography mentions that he is a falconer, and I was all the more impressed with the story when I realized the author was so intimately acquainted with what falcons actually can do with their flying.

I also read two review picture books recently. The first, The Line by Paula Bossio (Kids Can Press, 2013) is a wordless picture book about a girl who comes across a line. She plays with it, ties it up, and so forth. In the end, we see that the line is connected to a child who will probably be a friend. This book didn’t jump out at me, but maybe that is because I read a digital edition. It reminded me of Harold and the Purple Crayon in that so much can be done when one has the means to draw as well as an imagination.

I’ve saved the best for last. Mr. King’s Castle by Genevieve Cote (Kids Can Press, 2013) is apparently a second book about a smiley lion (or tiger?) named Mr. King. I must now go find the first book! In this book, Mr. King is living in a house on top of a hill, and he decides to make his home larger and more like a castle. He builds his castle from the land around his house, not noticing that he’s taking away the land his friends live on. When he realizes his mistake, he feels small and makes things right again. His friends then chip in and help him then add something nice to his small house. It’s a nice story about remembering to think of others. One could also read it in an environmental way too: take care of the land around you and don’t go too extravagant, or you’ll lose the view and the animals that make your spot so nice.

What picture books are your kids reading right now?