Picture Books 2017 – A Few of Our Favorites

Despite not having a thorough record of my books for 2017, I decided to take a bit of time and try to remember at least some of our favorites for the year. With the help of my reading history from the library, I was able to get a decent list together while I rocked my little guy to sleep. Perhaps a few of these will be new to you or remind you of an old favorite.

Little i -(Michael Hall)  Little i has lost his dot!! And so begins his journey to find the missing dot. As you join Little i on his quest you will meet the rest of the alphabet and if you are watching closely, you will also meet some punctuation. While this book is a great resource to use for alphabet/spelling/grammar studies, it is also a fun read.

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse -(Marc Barnett (author); Jon Klassen (illustrator)  We really enjoy the books that these two guys collaborate on. Dave and Sam Dig a Hole, Triangle, and Extra Yarn are all favorites here. The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse was no exception. Perhaps it is our weird sense of humor that makes this tale so enjoyable? Duck is swallowed by Wolf and is he frantic to find a way out? No! Duck quite enjoys the warm comfort of the Wolf’s belly. But what happens when Mouse joins in the fun?

Bruce’s Big Move – (Ryan T. Higgins) This is the third book in the Mother Bruce series. If you haven’t read the first two then they are a must. In Bruce’s Big Move, the grumpy (but lovable) Bruce tries with no success to rid his home of some pesky mice that just. won’t. leave. Finally Bruce has enough of the guests that won’t leave. Bruce packs up and moves away. Ah, all settled in his new, mouse free home. But wait….who just scurried in? Simple story that my young ones love and great illustrations.

A Perfect Day– (Lane Smith) – Ah, the perfect day! Beautiful flowers, refreshing water, and yummy seeds. What more could you ask for? Perfection for Cat, Dog, Squirrel, and Chickadee. Well, until Bear arrives and finds his own perfect day. Smith’s lovely illustrations provided the perfect backdrop for the simple text of this story. A humorous story to share with your little ones or even a great opportunity to discuss the different perspective of characters.

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis – (Paul Meisel) – This little gem caught my eye on a library trip. It was just sitting on the shelf and I grabbed it without even flipping through the pages. It was definitely a win. My Awesome Summer takes you through the life cycle of a preying mantis is a humorous but accurate way. I read it aloud and everyone was chuckling and making comments. I learned a thing or two about preying mantis myself. A great book to use for nature study/science. Engaging, entertaining, and educational; well done, Mr. Meisel. Well done!

Blue Ethel – (Jennifer Black Reinhardt) – Confession: I totally grabbed this book because I liked Blue Ethel on the cover. Something about old Ethel just made me smile. She is a cat who is old, a little on the plump side and well, black and white. Ethel is a cat who has settled into her life and is quite content. Then suddenly, well, I’m not quite sure how to say this…Ethel turns blue. And life might not be the same for Ethel after this. Even if you are not overly fond of cats, I think you might like Blue Ethel. The illustrations are super fun, too.

Don’t Blink– (Tom Booth) – Right now. Look at the cover. How can you not read this book? The girl. The turtle. I know. Too cute! My kiddos are all the time having staring contest. Having a staring contest with a sibling is totally different than having one with the girl in this book. Oh, yeah. She is a tough one to beat. Did I mention the gorilla, the bird, and oh, that turtle? This one might be on my to buy list. It quite simple just makes me smile.

Bob! Not Bob!: *to be read as though you have the worst cold ever – (Audrey Vernick, Liz Garton Scanlon, Matthew Cordell). Right now. Go to your library’s online catalog and request this book. Seriously. If you can fake a cold, get this book. If you are a mom who has ever had a sick child, get this book. If you have a child with a cold, get this book. Hilarious. Plan and simple. Louie is sick. And he keeps calling for his mom. But instead of his mom coming, his dog, Bob, keeps showing up. See. Read the title as if you have a really bad stuffy nose. Super fun.

Before You– (Rebecca Doughty) – “Before you..I was a tail without a wag. A bean without a bag.” Ah…isn’t that sweet! When I started reading this book, I was prepared for groaning. Whenever I read picture books, my older kiddos are often lingering around. The groaning was very minimal because Before You is simply cute and sweet. A adorable little book that speaks to those of us who love someone else with all our hearts. It would be great to have on hand for Valentine’s Day and perhaps add a few couplets of you own. I need to request it from the library again. (I debated putting it on the list. But my 12 year old daughter remembered the book and she thought it was super cute so I decided it made the cut. )

There is a small selection of some of our picture books we enjoyed in 2017. Hopefully one or two of them will find their way into your book basket and bring smiles and laughter to your little ones.

Have you read any of these? I’d love to hear what you thought of them. What picture books were hits at your home this past year? I’m always, always looking for books to add to our library runs!

Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully I can get up a list of children’s fiction and adult novels I read in 2017.

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Summer Reading! – Five Picture Books We Have Enjoyed

While summer has officially arrived, we have been enjoying hot and humid days for weeks. One way to beat the summer heat is to enjoy a good book or two in the shade or with a lovely fan blowing your way. Perhaps you are looking for a book or two to add to the summer reading list? Here are several picture books that have been enjoyed here:

A Visitor for Bear – (author, Bonny Becker; illustrator Kady MacDonald Denton) – Bear has no interest in having a visitor. Why not? Well, there is a sign on his door that clearly states that “No Visitors are Allowed”. So. No visitors. All Bear wants to do is to enjoy a nice cup of tea and perhaps a slice of bread. Unfortunately his food preparations keep getting interrupted by Mouse!! Bear repeatedly asks (at varying levels of frustration) for Mouse to leave but Mouse just wants a small cup of tea, please. Bear relents and shares a cup of tea and conversation. Then Bear realizes that maybe he does enjoy visitors after all.
This book was delightful! It was great fun reading this aloud. The language and vocabulary make me smile. Vamoose, begone, intolerable and one of my favorites, “I am undone” are just a taste of  what this text has to offer. The illustrations worked perfectly to capture my children’s eyes and the essence of this cute, engaging story.  When the visitor happens to be a mouse, we can definitely support Bear’s desire to send him away. And it is oh so fun to see where Mouse will appear next!  We can all understand the moment that you realize a bit of quiet company in a friend is beautiful gift. A fun read that will likely have your little ones laughing and asking you to read it again. There are more Bear books to check out as well!

Bear & Hare Go Fishing – (Emily Gravett) – My younger ones really enjoyed Bear & Hare Where’s Bear? so I grabbed this one at my last visit to the library. The tale is a simple one; Bear and Hare go fishing but well, things don’t go exactly as planned. Bear succeeds in fishing out a hat and roller skates but the big catch of the day seems to elude him. Hare? He doesn’t seem to be enjoying the day of fishing. It was his hat, after all! But Hare might bring in the biggest catch of the day!

I think the beauty in the Bear & Hare books are the simplicity. Simple, short text paired with illustrations that keep Bear and Hare front and center make this a win for young listeners and early readers. No doubt you will find yourself smiling at the end.

I Am (Not) Scared – (author, Anna Kang; illustrator, Christopher Weyant) – My children love this series about two fuzzy animals. When I pulled out I Am (Not) Scared even a couple of my older children gathered around to hear me read it aloud. These two friends are facing something scary….a ride on a roller coaster!! But there are scarier things, right? Hairy spiders, fried ants, and snakes!!!! Can these two friends find the courage to face the Loop of Doom!?!!?!?! Perhaps they might even learn that scary things can sometime be fun, too.

I am not sure that my children gained deep understanding about facing scary things. They did however enjoy reading this over and over. Sometimes you just need a fun and silly book, right? And, well, we can all appreciate being scared of hairy spiders and snakes.

Now we shall leave our furry characters behind and move on to the creepy, crawly creatures.

Hank’s Big Day The Story of a Bug – (Evan Kuhlman and Chuck Groenink) – Hank is a pill bug (we call them Roly Polies here) and has quiet the adventure. He climbs a stick, eats a dead leaf, survives a close encounter with a skateboard, and meets his best friend, Amelia (Isn’t she a cutie?). An exciting day in the life of a bug!

We all enjoyed Hank’s adventure. The illustrations were detailed using natural colors and they served Hank’s story well. Not only do we get Hank’s view of the day but we see it from our perspective as well. It really gives us a glimpse into the life (joys and struggles) of being a bug. You might find that you watch your step a bit more closely just in case one of Hank’s friends is close by. This would be a fun way to introduce an afternoon of nature study on insects. I can see my children wanting to check Hank out again and again. Can you really go wrong with a bug named Hank? Also, Hank’s friend, Amelia, pretends to be Amelia Earhart. Subtle way to bring in a bit of history for those interested.

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs – (Carol Murray, author and Melissa Sweet, illustrator) I like to keep a poetry book or two available for my children to read and enjoy. Cricket in the Thicket is a perfect poetry selection for summer! When we first brought this book home, I planned to read just one or two poems. The poems were so engaging and fun that my kiddos kept asking me to read one more.

Poems about a cricket in the bedroom (Cricket’s Alarm), cicadas leaving behind shells (Cicada’s Surprise) and dragonflies gliding around (Dragons Fly the Sky) were enjoyable. Dung Beetles, Walking Sticks, Preying Mantis, and Grasshoppers all have delightful a place in the book. Never fear there are poetic words about Mosquitoes, Ticks, Flies and even Cockroaches including as well. Yes. A poem about cockroaches that enlightens us as to who loves them. At the bottom of the pages, there is information given on the highlighted bug and a couple of pages in the back give information as well. This is a great one to have available during summer to encourage reading, writing, and nature study. Any bug lover is sure to want to flip through this book.

What have you been reading this summer?

 

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Read Alouds – January 2017

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A couple of days  ago, I shared what I had been reading. Naturally, I have been sharing wonderful books with my kiddos, too! Although not as much as I would like.

We have three “groupings” of read alouds currently: Picture Books for my young ones, Chapter Read Aloud for the Younger Half, and Family Read Aloud. Trust me; my big kiddos still gather round for the picture books or snatch them later.

Picture Books

Bear Counts – Several months ago I read Bear Colors. My two year old loved it.  Loved it. So when I saw Bear Counts at the library I grabbed it for him. Yes, he loved this one, too.. I’m not sure if it is the colorful illustrations, the cuddly bear, or the rhyming text but he enjoys it. Fun, colorful, and cute.

The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep (Caroline Nastro) – Bear just can’t get to sleep! He decides to take a walk and enjoys the sights of the big city. Will bear ever be ready to snuggle up for the winter? Hibernation and New York City are clearly focal points here. It was not a favorite selection. We read it once and that seemed enough for the kiddos.

A Greyhound, A  Groundhog (Emily Jenkins) – This is a tongue twister book and I have a kiddo who loves them so I just had to request it. Well, I also like groundhogs so this had to be a win, right? Simple text partnered with simple illustrations made for a fun read. The animals are just cute! When I read it aloud my children were eager to see me get a bit tongue tied. While I didn’t get tongue tied we did enjoy this. As my nine year old pointed out “it would be a better tongue twister if you didn’t have pages to turn”. She is correct. Having to turn the pages after just a few words made this an easy one to read. However, you could easily use the book to memorize the tongue twister and then practice saying it quickly. Perfect!  Fun memory work!

Out of the Woods: A True Story of an Unforgettable Event (Rebecca Bond)-  This book made it home based purely on its cover. A hotel on the edge of a lake was a temporary home to a variety of personalities in the year 1914. The author’s grandfather was five and enjoyed the excitement such an assortment of people brought through the doors. Bond paints a vivid picture with her words of what life was like for Antonio at his hotel. That picture is enhanced with detailed pen and ink illustrations. A fire begins in the woods and those in the hotel head to the lake for safety. They soon are joined by the various animals of the woods that are seeking safety as well. This was an excellent book and my children found it very engaging. Highly recommend!

Younger Kid Read Aloud

We are currently reading the The Railway Children ( E Nesbit). We started it some time ago but with holidays and sickness we have made slow progress.  I don’t want my younger ones to miss out on the favorites I read to my older kiddos years ago. So I try to read books such as this during the morning or at lunch. Often my older ones will join us. Makes me heart smile.

Family Read Alouds

We finished up Ember Falls (S. D. Smith) a couple of weeks ago. My family thoroughly enjoyed The Green Ember and were eager for Book Two to be available. It was great to be back with Heather, Picket, Smalls, and my seven year old’s favorite, Helmer. The feel of Ember Falls was a bit heavier but that reflects well the trouble and hardship that is facing  our rabbit friends. As always, I recommend Smith’s books; they are exciting, adventurous stories with great characters. And I do hope that Smith is working on Book Three.

Our current family read aloud is The City of Ember (Jeanne DuPrau). This is the story of two children, Lina and Doon, who live in the city of Ember. Ember is an underground city built 200 years before by the Builders. Things are not going well in Ember as supplies are running out and no ones seems to care. Lina and Doon work together using  pieces of instructions left by the Builders to find a way to save the people of Ember. We are over halfway through this book and the children are eager to see how this all ends. When we began reading it, I was reminded a bit of The Giver (Lois Lowry). The purpose behind the two communities was different but  there are similarities in the people and their mindset. I am looking forward to a bit of discussion with my older people.

As we head into February, I want to do better are reading to my little ones. I have to purpose to take a moment, slow down from the busyness, and just enjoy a few good book with my young ones. And I need to start looking for the next family read aloud?

Thanks to Amy at Hope is the Word for  letting us join her in the Read Aloud Roundup!