One of the many reasons I love teaching primary grades is my love for picture books. I have to admit my interest in reading rapidly declined when I began reading chapter books. Where are the pictures? You mean it’s going to take more than one sitting to finish the story? Bother!
I’m always on the lookout for new books to read to my students, and now Emi. We have a LOT of books in our house. Many of these are classics, favorites from my own childhood. While nostalgia plays a part in my book acquisitions, I’m continually on the look out for new books that have that certain je ne sais quoi. Good art - simple or complex. I like artists who can inspire imagination with just their clever color pallets and design. Art that appeals to children but isn’t too “cartoony” is what I look for. I like stories that are simple, yet unconventional and witty. I feel that the more I enjoy reading a certain book, the more engaged my little listener will be. Below are my top 5 Spring favorites. Go to the library and literally check them out. You won’t be sorry, I promise!
1. The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters
This is such a fun book. Go on an adventure with the Jolly Postman while he visits friends from fairytales and Mother Goose characters. It comes with actual letters to remove and read. In the age of email, kids will learn to appreciate the loveliness of getting mail. This story is a delight to read.
2. Little Pea
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is my new favorite girlfriend. (Sorry Orla!) Her books are darling! Little Pea hates eating candy for dinner, but his parents will not let him eat his favorite spinach dessert until he cleans his plate. Kids find this story hysterical. If they like this book, then they will surely appreciate her others, Little Hoot and Little Oink.
3. Do Unto Otters
Confession: I bought this book based just on the title. It was a hit with my first graders. (They thought it was the best thing since lunchables.) Everyone loved the pictures and I appreciated the fact that it’s a book about manners. We were able to generate a much needed discussion on why manners are important. Bonus!
4. Lost and Found
This is such a sweet simple story about an unlikely friendship. I’m especially drawn to the pictures, which are vibrant and subtle at the same time. There is a sadness in both the penguin and little boy’s eyes that is quite touching. Great for ages 3-6.
5. The Secret Circus
This book is close to my heart because I know the wonderful lady who wrote and illustrated it. This is Johanna Wright's first book and it’s absolutely lovely; the perfect book to read before bedtime because of its soft rhythmic prose. Children enjoy it because they feel like they are part of a secret. Her amazing paintings, although muted, create a dreamy atmosphere and reveal “the secret,” even though the text may not. I hope this is the first of many books from the lovely Ms. Wright.
I would love to hear about any of your family's favorite books. Sharing is caring, people. Sharing is caring.