This series, about a slightly-diabolical genius whose science skills far outpace her social skills, has been making the boys HOWL with laughter. In a very happy coincidence, the poem generator above was part of tonight’s bedtime reading. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Author: Jim Benton
Illustrator: Jim Benton
Posted in Chapter Books
Tagged Animals, bedtime, Diverse Books, food, Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist, Jim Benton, Machines, school, science, science fiction, series, toys, Valentine's Day
This collection of short stories and poems is one of my very favorite books. I loved it when I was a kid and now I love reading one or two of the stories to the boys each night before bed during the lead up to Christmas. The stories are absolutely charming and the pictures are beautiful and I wish this version (from 1969) wasn’t out of print (the version currently in print cut out a few of my favorite stories–I have no idea why). Don’t let the missing stories stop you from picking up a copy of the new edition, if you don’t have one already. This book is contains so much holiday joy; it really shouldn’t be missed.
Author: Kathryn Jackson
Illustrator: Richard Scarry
Over the last thirty years, Dutch author Toon Tellegen has written over 300 stories about a group of anthropomorphized animals. This book is contains nine of these stories that all, in one way or another, relate to parties. The stories are whimsical, delicate, and quiet. The characters glory in lists, details, and internal discourses. The book itself is beautifully and thoughtfully produced (down to a bright ribbon bookmark). It is charming, bittersweet, and perfect for bedtime.
Author: Toon Tellegen
Illustrator: Jessica Ahlberg
It was bedtime. Chris and his father sat side by side on
“Alexander was a pretty bad horse today,” Chris said.
His father lit his pipe. “Alexander, the red horse with
“What happened?” Chris’s father asked.
It seems Alexander has had a rough, rough day. But Chris’s father reassures him that “anybody can have a bad day once in a while” (even, it turns out, Chris), and still be able to look forward to being “wonderful” tomorrow.
This charming vintage book feels extremely contemporary (well, except for that pipe), and is the perfect reminder that tomorrow is another day.
Author: Harold Littledale
Illustrator: Tom Vroman
All the birds had laid an egg.
All except for Duck.
Then Duck found an egg!
He thought it was the most beautiful egg in the whole wide world.
Well after all of the other birds’ eggs hatch (in a sequence making clever use of paper engineering), Duck keeps faith in his egg. Ignoring the other birds’ overt skepticism, Duck waits and waits until his very special, surprising, hatchling makes a grand entrance. The boys really enjoy this book; it is sweet, short, and very funny.
Author: Emily Gravett
Illustrator: Emily Gravett
Amos McGee works at the City Zoo. Every day, he gets up early and rides the bus to work. Although he has “a lot to do at the zoo,” he always makes time “to visit his good friends” (an elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl). But one day, he awakes “with the sniffles, and the sneezes, and the chills.” He can’t go to work. So his good friends come to him.
This gentle book is the reading equivalent of lemon tea with honey. Warm, comforting, and sweet, it is good for what ails you. (And I like to think its red balloon is a homage to another of our favorites, Good Night, Gorilla.)
Author: Philip C. Stead
Illustrator: Erin E. Stead
George’s mother said:
George went: “Meow.”
George’s unusual speech patterns have a very unusual cause. This book is quick and funny, which makes it a good choice for before bed.
Author: Jules Feiffer
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
As we’ve discussed before, David Wisener’s work is nearly wordless and always carefully-plotted, mixing the familiar with the very strange. (Although it is very different, it reminds me of Shaun Tan’s excellent, wordless, graphic novel, The Arrival–which I look forward to introducing the boys to when they are bit older.)
Flotsam is the tale of an underwater camera that washes up on a beach with some very unusual pictures waiting to be developed. Among its other virtues, it is the perfect bedtime book for when you’ve lost your voice to a summer cold (assuming you’ve already explained the concept of “film” that needs to be developed during previous readings).
Author: David Wiesner
Illustrator: David Wiesner
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged aliens, Animals, beach, bedtime, Caldecott Medal, David Wiesner, Flotsam, Machines, New York Times Best Illustrated Book, science fiction, Shaun Tan, The Arrival, Tuesday
Once upon a time, long, long ago,
where the forest runs down to the
ocean, a hunter lived all alone in a
house made of logs he had chopped for
himself and shingles he had split for
himself. The house had one room, and
at the end closest to the ocean there was
a fireplace of pink and gray and green
boulders–the hunter had carried them
home in his arms from the cliff where
the forest ended….
In spring the meadow that ran down
from the cliff to the beach was all foam-
white and sea-blue with flowers; the
hunter looked at it and it was beautiful.
But when he came home there was no
one to tell what he had seen–and if he
picked the flowers and brought them
home in his hands, there was no one to
give them to. And when at evening,
past the dark blue shape of a far-off
island, the sun sank under the edge of
the sea like red world vanishing, the
hunter saw it all, but there was no one
to tell what he had seen.
This strange and beautiful book has hunters and mermaids; bears and lynxes; loneliness, love, and luck; and moments of violence and deep sadness. More than anything else it is about making a family.
Author: Randall Jarrell
Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
One dark, dark night in Burrow Down,
a rabbit named Eliza Brown
found a book and settled down…
when a Snatchabook
flew into town.
In this cozy mystery story, books begin to disappear from the town of Burrow Down. As the title foreshadows, the culprit is a Snatchabook (a small, cute critter who is desperate to hear a story). This is a quick, rhyming read with a happy ending. It is perfect for bedtime and is very frequently requested. (As a bonus, there is a great discussion of how the illustrations were created here.)
Author: Helen Docherty
Illustrator: Thomas Docherty