Friday, February 27, 2015

This week's children's books

This week a little guy in Elizabeth's class came up to me and said, "I like Tuesdays best because you come in and read to us."  Holy cow!  Go ahead, make my day!

 This is a new book.  I liked it immediately for the art work but when I got to the end I had a big smile on my face.  Anytime a book does that, it's mine.  Imagine catching a little one out and hearing a far fetched excuse about how the thing really went down.  We are being told this story by someone who is explaining why a sandwich is gone.  We are told bear ate it and just how bear managed to do that.  The ending is a surprise. 
 This is one of my all time favorites.  The author has gone on to write several more books featuring the Good Knight and the three little dragons but I like this one the best.  First, though, we talk about the two different kinds of night/knight and how they sound the same but are spelled differently and mean something different.  The good knight is standing guard at the top of a crumbly, tumbly tower when he hears a very loud roar.  He goes to investigate and finds a cave with a dragon dressed in jammies asking for a glass of water.  He doesn't know what to think, but because he is a good knight he gives a drink to the dragon.  And so on with dragon two wanting something and dragon three wanting something.  Just picture your little dragons stalling bedtime and you get the picture. Very cute.
Anytime David Catrow illustrates a picture book you just have to take notice.  Molly Lou Melon stands just taller than her dog and is the smallest girl in first grade.  She has buck teeth she can stack coins on and sings like a frog and is fumble fingered. But her grandma told her to "walk proud and the world will look up to you." "Smile big and the world will smile right alongside you." "Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy." "Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too."  So she did.  But then Molly Lou Melon moved to a new city and a new school and had to confront bully Ronald Durkin everyday.  Oh, my, you will love Molly Lou Melon, too, when you use her to illustrate self esteem or bullying. 
 Oops, here's another with David Catrow illustrations.   This one is written as a letter from Dad to the kids who are visiting Grandma.  It's a tribute to the very large tree in their yard.  A tree saved when the new house was going to be built and then endeared itself to the family through the years. Picnics beneath, swings and hammocks, shade, clothesline holder, hiding place, third base, you get the picture.  It's also the story of endurance, noticing the things that hold a family together,  appreciation for a good friend, and understanding.
 This is another new book this season.  Mr. Panda has a box of donuts and he asks his friends, one by one, if they would like one.  Not liking how they respond, he tells them they can't have one and walks away.  But one, just one animal answers correctly and is rewarded for having good manners.  Very simple pictures, very simple story with a very big message about manners.
The children of the village gather for stories on Babba Zarrah's knitted story blanket. Babba Zarrah notices one day that one of the children has a hole in his socks, but because the winter snow is deep she can't get out to buy wool. She unravels a bit of the blanket and knits socks then anonymously  leaves them for the little boy.  One by one as she sees the need, the villagers and children receive knitted scarves, hats, mittens, etc. but no one knows who they're from until one day the children notice there's no blanket left.  Everyone decides to repay an anonymous kindness with more anonymous kindness. 

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