One delightful aspect of children’s pictures books is that that impossibilities become possible.
In If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack (Tundra Books, May 2014), the illustrator and author create a number of what ifs out of the impossibility of actually having a dinosaur as a pet.
It is not just a story of one dinosaur and kid having adventures (such as in Danny and the Dinosaur). Likewise, it is not an instructional manual on how to live with a dinosaur as a pet (I am strongly reminded of How to Train Your Train).
Instead, If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a collection of illustrated scenarios for many different kinds of dinosaurs. (more…)
Moonday by Adam Rex (Disney Hyperion, 2013) answers the question, “what would happen if the moon decided to stay in my backyard?” The town cannot wake up, the tide comes in to the narrator’s backyard, and they cannot hide the bright light of the moon.
I really enjoy Moonday because of the ridiculous and bizarre aspects. It feels like a dream: the story begins and ends with the narrator watching the moon out of her car window. It it she who has the idea to take it back up to the hill to leave it there. I love the silly details that make it feel more real than a dream: mom’s best tablecloth, the dogs howling at the moon, Mom saying “zip your coat” as the child walks on the moon.
Adam Rex has provided gorgeous paintings to complement the fantasy. Interestingly, the beginning papers and the end papers are simple sketches of the town: only in the midst of the dream are things realistic and detailed. I liked the style, I liked the fantasy, and I especially liked the neat resolution. Moonday is highly recommended.
Friday nights are “fun night” for our family. Usually, this means we watch a family/kid friendly movie. Recently, now that Raisin is five, we’re branching out to board games. (When the favorite board game was Candy Land, I really did not like that option every week.) Today, Raisin requested that we read books together.
Yes, my five-year-old son wanted to spend an hour and a half reading with me. This is why I did my 1000 books project with him, and why I’m doing it all over again with my baby. Reading together as a family truly is fun. I’ve grown my son into what I am certain will be a life-long reader.
Here are some of the books we enjoyed. (more…)
In our neighborhood, it is definitely Halloween season: pumpkins, Halloween parties, bags of leaves. In honor of the season, I think it would be appropriate to share some of the “monster” books on the Cybils 2012 nomination list. Here are three that I’ve enjoyed so far. (more…)
I have been looking forward to introducing my son to the favorite books of my childhood, and I’m delighted to find he is finally old enough to appreciate them!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (originally published 1978) is a perfect chapter book for young readers. The chapters are less than five pages, the stories are compact and yet still inter-related, and the silliness factor meets the needs of a child. My son loved the time we spent reading these together, and as soon as we finished it, he took it from me and informed me he was going to read it again to himself. He is more than half way done.
As an adult, I still enjoyed it. It is silly and yet it does play off of realistic challenges: adults telling you to do things that seem impossible (going to take a note to a non-existent teacher), falling asleep when you should be awake, getting along with other kids, and overcoming stereotype, for example. I really enjoyed revisiting it as an adult. (more…)