In the days when monsters and giants and fairy folk lived in
England, a noble knight was riding across a plain. He wore heavy
armor and carried an ancient silver shield marked with a red cross. It
was dented with the blows of many battles fought long ago by other
The Red Cross Knight had never yet faced a foe, and did not even
know his name or where he had been born. But now he was bound on
a great adventure, sent by the Queen of the Fairies to try his young
strength against a deadly enemy, a dragon grim and horrible.
This is not a short read aloud and it is (unsurprisingly) quite gory. But it is interesting and strange and has dragons. The boys love it.
Author: Margaret Hodges/Edmund Spenser
Illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman
Morris looked at the candy.
He liked the gumdrops.
He said, “Give me some of those.”
The man said,
“They are one for a penny.
How much money do you have?”
Morris looked. He had six pennies.
“I have four pennies,” he said.
The man laughed. “You have six!
Can’t you count? Don’t you go to school?”
Morris asked, “What is school?”
The rest of the book answers this question, as Morris immediately heads off to school and learns lots of new things. Perhaps most importantly, by the end of the day he knows how to purchase the right amount of gumdrops.
Morris takes things very literally, and the resulting misunderstandings (like in the picture above) really tickle my youngest (who is getting ready to start school himself). This book also presents many opportunities for him to participate in the reading (for example, by counting Morris’ pennies).
Author: B. Wiseman
Illustrator: B. Wiseman
Fuzzy Rabbit had been with the family for
as long as he could remember. His dungarees
were faded. He had a hole in the elbow of his
sweater, and his buttons were all odd ones of
different sizes. One of the stitches of his mouth
had come undone, and he couldn’t even smile.
Fuzzy has been feeling sad of late. His little girl, Ellen, used to take him to school with her, but recently she has started leaving him at home with the other toys. And, for the first time, she forgets to take him downstairs for her birthday party. Fuzzy is starting to wonder where he fits in. Luckily, by the end of the book he is reassured he is loved and regains his confidence (and his smile).
The pictures here are a big part of the attraction; I remember poring over them as a girl, wishing I could play in (or, better yet, have) Ellen’s room and toys. Now I enjoy noting that Fuzzy Rabbit (or “Alpaca,” as he is known in the U.K.) was made for Ellen by her mother and that Ellen has all the skills she needs to repair him. This is a favored book of my youngest, who is very interested in stuffed animals, birthdays, and school.
Author: Rosemary Billam
Illustrator: Vanessa Julian-Ottie
Babushka lived alone in a dacha, a
little house in the country, but she
was known far and wide for the fine eggs
that she lovingly painted. Her eggs were so
beautiful that she always won first prize at
the Easter Festival in Moskva.
One day, Babushka rescues a wounded goose and names her Rechenka. As Rechenka returns to health, she lays an egg each morning for Babushka’s breakfast. And eventually, after Babushka’s lovingly painted eggs are destroyed in a (goose-related) accident, Rechenka’s daily eggs become increasingly miraculous.
This is one of our very favorite Easter stories. The pictures are strikingly beautiful, as is Babushka’s quiet, constant appreciation of the miracles all around her (large and small).
Author: Patricia Polacco
Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
A boy was collecting pinecones in
his wagon when he met a robot.
A boy and robot meet, bond, are temporarily confused by ill-timed power outages and sleep, then play happily ever after. This sweet book allows you to break out your best robot voice and is perfect for bedtime.