Flying Cats, Rainy Days, and a Tribe of Kids

Flying cats? Rainy days? Tribe of Kids? Yes, this could totally be an afternoon at our house. No, I’m not kidding. However, as exciting as our days might be this is a peek into our stack of picture books that we have enjoyed lately. I have many books to share but thought I’d highlight a few favorites before they head back to the library.

Caramba – Marie-Louise Gay – As soon as I began reading this one, my children were asking if this was the same author/illustrator that wrote Stella and Sam. We might have a few Stella and Sam fans here. Caramba is just your typical furry, fluffy cat that looks fabulous in suspenders. Caramba just has one problem. He can’t do what all the other cats can do. Fly. Poor Caramba. He tries and tries to fly like all the other cats but from landing on his face in the grass to crashing into Grandpa’s lap, flying isn’t working out well for Caramba. Cousins step in to help Caramba learn to fly. Unfortunately the lesson doesn’t go quite as planned. It all ends with a huge splash.

Perhaps Caramba was written to celebrate differences and to encourage us to embrace our individuality. Or not? We just enjoyed a fun story about flying cats, trying hard when things are a bit difficult, and the value of a good friend. And, sadly, our cats here don’t fly either.

Puddle – Hyewon Yum – There is nothing like a rainy day to make us a little grumpy at times, right? Rain can make a day seem so dull and dreary. Then the boredom sets in  and nothing indoors will do. Until mom brings out a bit of paper and crayons. A mom and her young son end up having great fun taking turns drawing pictures of what they would do in the rain. After creating such a delightful picture, even including jumping in puddles, what else could they do but go out in the rain? A picture comes to life!

Such a simple, quick read but so enjoyable. An excellent read for a rainy day especially if you an go outside after reading. It would also work well to encourage a bit of art. Children could take turns drawing what they would do at the park, in the backyard, or in the snow. Then make their creations come to life!

There is a Tribe of Kids – Lane Smith – Every week or two, I go through the New Books listings on my library’s home page. Most of the time I have particular books I am looking for but sometimes I’m just browsing for a book or two that catches my eye. This is how I stumbled across There is a Tribe of Kids. For several years, we have called our family by the title of Tribe. How could I resist this title?!?  It turned out to be a favorite book that we have read and looked at over and over again.

Simple text presents various groupings of animals to a young boy: bed of clams, parade of elephants, formation of rocks, and of course a tribe of kids. The beauty of this book is not only in its simplicity of text but the lovely illustrations; charming and sometimes funny when you notice the details. This is perhaps what has drawn my children to this book again and again. My almost two year old loves to flip through the pages and it inspired my ten year old to create a few sketches of her own. She loved the style of the tribe of kids. A beautiful read that appeals to a variety of ages.  It shouldn’t have been surprising that this book has become a favorite. We are fans of Lane Smith’s Grandpa Green. A beautiful, sweet story that shares about aging and memories.

Drawn by Hannah – 10



Favorite Picture Books – 2015

My children and I have shared some wonderful picture books this year! Here are a few of our favorites:

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (Julia Sarcone-Roach)

This is Sadie (Sara O’Leary)

Please, Mr. Panda (Steve Antony)

The Bus Ride (Marianne Dubuc)

By Mouse and Frog (Deborah Freedman)

The Whisper (Pamela Zagarenski)

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Penny Parker Klostermann)

Bear and Squirrel are Friends (Deb Pilutti)

Bear Has a Story to Tell (Philip C. Stead)

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes (Nicola Davies * Emily Sutton)

Maple & Willow books (Lori Nichols)

Read Me a Story, Stella (Marie-Louise Gay)

I Want My Hat Back (John Klassen)

Check out other picture books we have read this year, here.

I’d love to hear about books you enjoyed in 2015 with your little ones!


Celebrating Imagination – Picture Books

Imaginations are beautiful. While we see a cluster of trees, a couch full of laundry, or a muddy drive way, our children see jungles with wild beast lurking, ships sailing on the high seas and a swamp teaming with alligators. There is nothing more delightful that sharing a book  with your children that embraces that gift of seeing the unseen.

We have enjoyed two picture books recently that showcase the wonders of imagination. Much conversation was had after reading these selections. It was fun to see everyone’s observations and different spins on how they heard the stories.

Beyond the Pond (Joseph Kuefler) We meet a young boy, Ernest D, in his backyard. It is just an ordinary day with no excitement in sight. Ernest decides to see how deep the pond is in his backyard and discovers that it could be bottomless.  Suited up in diving gear, Ernest dives into the depths of his pond to discovery the expected pond life. But as he goes deeper more is to be found in the shadows.

This tale of imagination and adventure is illustrated perfectly. The story begins with an ordinary house and backyard. Once Ernest returns from the depths of his pond, his world is no longer ordinary and gray and boring. There is now color and life. Imaginations are powerful. What is in your backyard?

The Whisperer (Pamela Zagarenski) was a lovely surprise for me. It happened to catch my eye from the library shelf and I tossed it in the book bag. What an enchanting treasure!

A young girl is given a magical book. As she journeys home, the letters and words fall off the pages and out of the book. When the girl arrives home and opens the book to read she is startled and troubled to see no words, no story. Then, inspired by the illustrations she sees, the girl weaves her own stories for the book. And here she finds a hidden treasure: her own imagination and her own stories.

The Whisperer celebrates the gift of reading, storytelling and imagination. I love hearing the stories and adventures that my children create. What a gift to encourage in our children. Whimsical, enchanting illustrations will inspire even the youngest reader to spin a tale. We enjoyed The Whisperer again and again. I think you might as well!

What books have you enjoyed that has celebrated childhood and imagination?