Some Book Basket Selections

I spent many hours reading books that appeal to my older children. However, there is nothing quite like the joy of a good picture book. I thought I would share a few recent favorites.

Have You Seen My Monster (Steve Light, 2015) is the choice of my three year old daughter, Martha. This story takes us to the county fair with a little girl. The little girl is in search of her monster. From the carousel to the fun house, she is looking high and low for her monster. As we help her search for her monster, we learn about twenty different shapes along the way. The shapes include common shapes like rectangles and ovals. It also introduces children to trapeziums and heptagons.

The black and white illustrations with splashes of colored shapes work well with this simple tale. Little ones can easily locate the monster that seems one step ahead of the little girl. All ends well as the little girl leaves the fair holding the hand of her monster.

I asked Martha why she liked this story. She liked the little girl sharing her mom and dad with the monster. The monster did not have a mom and dad. Martha enjoyed the simply looking at the illustrations and perhaps creating her own story for the little girl and monster. While this book is looked at often, rarely am I asked to read it. I think the illustrations are the winner for this picture book.

A Child’s Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson) is constantly in the hands of my five year old, Sam. This edition of Stevenson wonderful collections of poems is illustrated by Barbara McClintock (2011). Sam looks at this book often and can tell you all his favorite illustrations.

I asked him why he selected this book as a favorite and he said, “Well, it has poems. And I like the picture of the boy in bed and all the toy soldiers.”  The Land of Counterpane would be the poem that is home to his favorite illustration. It should be noted that he did bookmark  the poem, Pirate Story as well.

With a basket full of newly published picture books, I love that he selected A Child’s Garden of Verses. I think he has excellent taste.

Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons (Maragaret Wise Brown, 2015) was the book choice of my daughter, Sarah (7). This is a collection of songs about nature that young children will love. Simple and beautiful. My daughter’s favorite selection was Advice to Bunnies. Twelve different artists illustrated the songs which comes together to give a nice range of engaging artwork.

Our library copy also included a  CD of twelve different artist singing the various songs included in the book. While we enjoyed these selections as poems, the CD would work beautifully during nap time or rest time to give a calming atmosphere. If you utilize memory work in your home or classroom, these could be wonderful additions to the memory box.

Evermore Dragon (Barbara Joosse, 2015) has been read numerous times. The tale is a simple but beautiful one of friendship between a little girl and her dragon. A simple game of hide and seek takes a turn when Little Girl hides a bit too well. Dragon is looking for her everywhere. Little Girl is scared and alone until she hears Dragon calling for her and he was there, “Evermore, evermore, I am here.”

The illustrations by Randy Cecil meld perfectly with the lyrical text.  You can’t help but delight in the Little Girl and Dragon. My nine year old daughter, Hannah, said that I should share this book with you. Why? Because everyone loves a dragon story; young or old.

“Once there was a girl, a very little girl. And there was a dragon, a very biggle dragon. They were friends….”


And one final book selection for you today, Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story (Pat Zietlow Miller & Jill McElmurry, 2015). Simple rhyming text and colorful illustrations bring us the story of a 19th century family coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving. From Grandma baking her pumpkin pie to the son folding pilgrims hat, everyone helps to get a feast upon the table. A lovely celebration of family, fellowship, and thanksgiving that everyone will enjoy and appreciate.

“Family, find your dining place.

Choose a chair and fill your space.

Bow your heads and ask for grace.

Family, find your place.”

One of my older children said that I should share this book with you. Why? It is a sweet story that has nice pictures. Lydia had just finished reading it to our youngest one who loved looking along.  This is the perfect season to read Sharing the Bread with your young ones. It might be fun after reading to create a poem or book of your own about your family’s Thanksgiving fellowship. I can see us reading this each year during the Thanksgiving season.

What have you been reading lately? New books? Old favorites?


Counting Crows, By Mouse & Frog

I have two picture books to share with you today that have been recent favorites from the Picture Book Basket.

First up is Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt.  The cover of this book completely caught my eye. Black and white crows with snazzy red and white striped shirts. And don’t forget the fashionable crow sporting a red polka dotted scarf! So engaging to the eye. These simple black and white illustrations meld perfectly with the rhyming text of counting crows.

One, two, three, crows in a tree…

As we turn the pages the number of crows increases (up to twelve) as does their snacking. But the crows need to worry about more than their snacks. A cat is lurking waiting to have a snack of his own! Keep an eye on that flashy crow’s scarf.

Nine little spicy ants,

nine round crackers.

Nine for the counting crows.

Nine, by smackers!

Counting Crows is a simple, quick read but an excellent addition to the book basket. Even the youngest will enjoy the rhyming text and fun, bright illustrations.  (I just read it again myself.)

By Mouse and Frog (Deborah Freedman) has been read over and over.  Mouse is writing a story. What could be better than a quiet, little story about enjoying a cup of tea? But Frog, mouse’s friend, jumps in and wants to take the story in a more exciting, energetic direction.

When these two ideas collide, all that is left is a big story mess! Spilled tea,cake, and of course, there must be ice cream. Kings and dragons? Yes! Until Mouse can take no more and yells for Frog to STOP!

Illustrations highlight the unfolding stories of Mouse and Frog. The expressions of Frog will just break your heart. Poor guy.  What are two friends to do? Work together to create a story suited to both personalities and include a half-jillion fairies. A great story of the beauty of friendship no matter how different you are. It might just encourage a story or a sketch or two. Trust me. This is too cute and fun not to share with your kiddos.

And from the Picture Book Basket

It would appear that my reading time has excluded the younger crowd. Never fear! There is always a vast selection of picture book reading happening around the house. My little ones may not realize how wonderful they have it when it comes to books. So many available readers to cuddle up with and enjoy a good book! Hannah (9) who is quite good at spotting a quality picture book is always willing to read to her littlest siblings.

Here are a few we have enjoyed over the past several weeks:

Yard Sale (Eve Bunting) –  When financial struggles happen to Callie’s family, moving from their home into a smaller apartment becomes a necessity. Callie’s mom and dad have a yard sale as they downsize and declutter. Her parents have explained that they are moving into a nice but smaller home and some of their things just won’t fit. Callie doesn’t quite understand and when she sees some of her favorite things being taken away, emotions get the best of her. With some help from her parent’s Callie learns what is really important in a home.

This simple picture book relays a real life event that can be overwhelming for many young ones. Leaving the home you have always known, letting go of treasured possessions, and learning what is truly important can be challenging at any age. We really enjoyed this sweet (and a little sad) story. I must confess that I did tear up a bit when Callie saw her bike being sold. While this story may seem harsh and depressing to some, I do think it has a relevant message. Many people are facing economic challenges. Helping little ones understand changes can be difficult. I know my children and I had some great conversation after sharing this story together.

The Dog Who Belonged to No One (Amy Hest) – A young girl who delivers her family’s bread by bicycle would love nothing more than a friend to join her on her deliveries. A small dog who travels the roads unseen by those around him longs for a home. Would anyone take him in? We all know how this one will end. At the end of a lonely, rainy day, girl and dog find each other. A perfect happy ending.

Beautiful illustrations complement the story.  Any one who loves a story about a cute, lonely doggie will be sure to love The Dog Who Belonged to No One. I would say ages 5 and up would most likely appreciate this one.

This is Not My Hat (Jon Klassen) – Enjoy a bit of humor? You will want to check this one out. Every time I read This is Not My Hat, my kiddos were laughing. Little Fish sneaks a hat and is confident that he is going to get away. The Enormous Fish will never know who took it. No one will tell Enormous Fish where Little Fish has gone, right?

The illustrations tell a different tale. While Little Fish is confident of his get-away with the hat, Enormous Fish is hot on his fins. Subtle details like the look in the fish’s eyes and the “he won’t tell” crab really make this story enjoyable. A simple and fun story to add to the book basket.

We are always looking for new selections to add to our basket. What have you been reading lately?