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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Book Favorites

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.

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ScoMan said...

My personal favourites are anything by Dr Seuss.

I know as my niece grows older, I will be the uncle who always reads her Dr Seuss books, well into her mid 20s.

And who also gives her lots of soda just before returning her to her parents.

Kathy B! said...

The cover art on these books is beautiful and vivid. I adore reading but I do love picture books. These look like great choices.

dede said...

thanks so much - we are always looking for a new favorite (and we don't have any of these YET!)

Heather said...

One of my favorites as a kid was The Dragon Kite by Nancy Luenn. It's geared towards a litter older kids, 8 maybe. I really love fairy tales too! I can't wait to check out the The Jolly Postman book!

He & Me + 3 said...

I haven't heard of those books before...hmmm. I am goign to check into them though.

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

This is great! I am always looking for new books. I can oly read Green Eggs and Ham so many times before I want to tell "Sam I AM" to take a hike! :)

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...

The Little Pea one is so cute!!

Dino-Hockey is a big hit in our house. :)

Let's see if I can get this link to work

Paging Doctor Mommy said...

Thank you VERY much for these suggestions. My little one LOVES for us to read new books each night. I'm off to check this out immediately!

jennykate77 said...

I have a slight obsession with children's books. I went to college to be a teacher, but don't teach now. However, I think once you're a teacher, you're always a teacher. We have the Do Unto Otters book. It is so good! I love the illustrations. I'm like you, when I look for books, I look for something special...great illustrations, a unique title, appealing colors...then I read. I'll have to check out the other books on your list that we don't have. Thanks for sharing!

Oh, and my favorite book (well one of my favorites) is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I also love anything by Jan Brett.

Hope you have a great day!!

Just SO said...

I love picture books. We got one not to long ago called The Hiccupotamus I LOVE it and so do the kids.

Deb said...

I'm going to try several of these. Thanks for the recommendation!

Anonymous said...

I don't know any of these, but I can tell you that Robert Munch and the whole Curious George series rocked my socks off.

Oh. And also Franklin.

Who doesn't love a talking Turtle

Amy said...

My little one loves all books.
Right now she brings these to me.

Time for bed: Jane Dyer
Baby says Peekaboo
Eight Silly Monkey
Pooh and Christopher Robin

We love to read together. Thanks for sharing more books.

Sneaky Momma said...

The Jolly Postman books are some of my favorites. You should check out the Christmas one. Too cool! :)

Heather said...

We love the Oliver Jeffers books!

Danyele Easterhaus said...

do unto others....love the illustrations!!!

Grand Pooba said...

The Little Pea story book sounds so funny! I love little kids books too! A book is always better with pictures right?

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

These sound like wonderful books. We can't get enough of books around here, either.

One of our current favorites is The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen. We also like Fish Is Fish by Leo Lionni. (we're not fish crazy, they just happen to be 2 good books about fish)

Fiauna said...

I'll have to look for these. I'm always trying to find books to inspire my kids.

Nana said...

All those books look great. I love picture books too.

Felicia - I complete Me said...

Thanks for the books. I so need to by more books so I can read to my little man. Although he is 8 months I enjoy reading to him and have been since I accepted the fact that I was pregnant.

Heather of the EO said...

I think I love picture books more than my children. So I'm loving the recommendations. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the book recommendations! I am always on the look out for books to add to Mekhi's library.

Erin said...

I have never heard of any of these books. Thank you for the recommendations!

{amy k.} said...

LOVE the "jolly postman" I'll have to check out the others- their covers are great! (yeah, yeah... don't judge a book by it's cover, I know.... but-)

Connie said...

We like Skippyjon Jones, the Siamese who wants to be a chihuahua. Yes, we have a silly Siamese :)

tiburon said...

Those all look like fantastic books! I will add them to our queue.

wendy said...

love johanna's book - it is super sweet, and lost & found - I have it to send with emi's goodies, guess she already has it.

I am also a big fan of kiss goodnight by amy hest.

Susan said...

Those books look great. I'm going to have to check into them.

Crazee Juls said...

I love, love love children's literature... ! Thanks for sharing these!

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I love anything by Melanie Watts or Mo Willams~ my students can't get enough of those books either!
Mysterious Benedict Society
Princess for a Week
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat
No David!
and I cannot forget
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I teach 4th grade, and regularly use picture books to begin a topic, open discussion and just for fun. Students love them!
BTW- if you ever have the chance to attend a Peggy Sharp workshop through B.E.R, I highly suggest it. She is an amazing speaker who has-literally- thousands of ideas for how to use children's books in the classroom.
p.s. I love the Otter book too!

Lisa@saltandlightstudio said...

Ooooo a post about children's books, right up my imaginary alley!!

I love love love these books:

Three Nasty Gnarlies - awesome story for little girls - their Gnarliness IS what makes them beautiful!

I love you Stinky Face - THE BEST love story for a mommy and little one, not like some other lame ones I won't mention.

Alpha oops - An adorable book where the letters decide to mix things up a little, funny to read and listen to.

Oh I could go on and on dear Kacey because books are WICKED COOL AND TOTALLY RAD. But I should stop before I work myself into a sweat.


I am Harriet said...

Did you even bother to pick up a fan when you stopped by??? Geezzz...

Seriously, thanks and bloggy luv to you too. BTW- I had like 50 comments on that post until I ditched the JSKits comment form on Monday. I lost every comment. I'm finding out just how much people hate commenting on those forms now.

Anonymous said...

AHH. A functional post. I can use this info. I have a 4 year old Goddaughter, and I love buying her books, but I am not up on the latest and greatest for small children.
Do Unto Otters. Yeah, I'll be getting that one. Thanks for the great book ideas. Even as an adult I am still a Dr Seuss fan, so that would be my pick contribution. ~Mary

tiarastantrums said...

oh I have not ever seen any of these - WE LOVE books in this house!!! The pea one look good

Heather said...

oh my gosh! the illustration on the little pea book is adorable! i gave lost and found to a friend's son for his birthday and thought it was a completely adorable book! olivia will always be my favorite though! who doesn't love a bold and precocious pig?!

Unknown said...

OH MY GOSH! I love a good childrens book like I love dessert. And I LOVE dessert with all my heart. What a wonderful post : ). That postman series is just about the cutest thing on the planet! I can't wait to check out the others. The Otter is killing me : ).

Pietro Brosio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pietro Brosio said...

*** Francesca ***

I'm glad your Mom and sister are coming to Italy. Hope they have a very nice trip and see lots of interesting places!
I like the images of these books.

Helene said...

I'm so glad to read this post because I've been so bored reading the same old stories to my kids. They seem to be stuck on Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see and anything having to do with Thomas the Tank Engine.

I'll be checking the books out that you mentioned!!

Jenni said...

I'm so grateful you posted this because lately I've been wanting to buy some books for our little one, but didn't really know what to get him. Thank you!

johanna said...

Thanks so much for posting about these wonderful books,and The Secret Circus! Who-hoo!! xo

SE'LAH... said...

Love children books...thanks so much for sharing.

Sarah said...

Oh, thanks for the suggestions. I'll check them out. We're a bit addicted to books at my house.

Abigail's favorites:
Jesus Loves Me! by Tim Warnes
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
My Shoes Take Me Where I Want To Go by Marianne Richmond

Mama's favorite: 47 Beavers On The Big Blue Sea by Phil Vischer

Sapphire said...

Great post! We have tons of books, but could definitely use some variety. We don't have any of the ones you suggested, so I can't wait to check them out.
Some of our favorites are
Not Norman by Kelley Bennett
Tub Boo Boo by Margie Palatini
and anything by Eric Carle

Vodka Mom said...

I have ALWAYS loved The Jolly Postman.


Amy W said...

Oh, I love the Otters one! I will have to pick it up for my Animal the next time I'm at Borders. Thanks for sharing your faves.

Unknown said...

I love kid's books - i'll have to check these ones out!