I was about to read this sweet story tonight when my oldest asked to read it to us (a first!). He did so with incredible fluidity and expressiveness and I’m so very, very surprised and delighted.
Although we haven’t read it very often, both of my boys really enjoy this book, which winds down a busy day of work and play by saying goodnight to big trucks one by one. My youngest noted of the picture above that the crane truck has a teddy bear to cuddle, a star for if he wakes up in the night, and that he looks very happy. Me too.
Author: Sherri Duskey
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Where and what can a home be? Some of Ms. Ellis’ answers are conventional (for example, a nest), others are pure fantasy (see the picture above). Her drawings are deceptively-simple and peaceful–perfect for before bed. But what gives the boys the most pleasure is that every double-page spread in this book contains a dove. Sometimes the dove is easy to spot. Sometimes it is very well hidden. The boys always love finding it.
Author: Carson Ellis
Illustrator: Carson Ellis
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged Animals, Architecture, bedtime, Carson Ellis, city, Diverse Books, fairy tale, France, Home, Japan, Kenya, Mythology, Norse, Russia, Slovakia, USA
In this book, a boy composes a rather plain-vanilla letter to his grandpa sharing what he’s been doing and learning over the summer (the toothsome illustrations reveal that it is all related to ice cream). Locating ice cream lurking in unexpected places is a large part of the fun–nearly all the pages are highly detailed and lend themselves to close examination.
Author: Peter Sis
Illustrator: Peter Sis
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
Elliot is a tiny, pastel-spotted, New-York-City-dwelling elephant. He generally works around his size limitations, but often goes unnoticed and is nearly overcome by loneliness (and cupcake cravings) until he finds “someone even littler than himself, who had an even bigger problem.” In helping this someone (an adorable white mouse), Elliot’s problems are solved. This deeply cute book manages to stop short of being saccharine and is very popular.
Author: Mike Curato
Illustrator: Mike Curato
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
There was once a lovely elephant seal who lived
in the city. Most elephant seals live in the ocean, in
salt water. They sleep on rocky coasts and lie along
sandy beaches. But this seal was different. She
swam in the sweet, shallow waters of the Avon River
where it flowed through the heart of the city of
Christchurch, New Zealand.
Elizabeth, named after the Queen of England, is very happy in her unusual home and she becomes a sort of mascot for the city until she develops a dangerous habit of basking on asphalt roads. Can Elizabeth and the city co-exist?
This sweet, quiet book is interesting and enjoyable. Including a photograph of the real Elizabeth at the end of the book was an especially nice touch.
Author: Lynne Cox
Illustrator: Brian Floca
She could have picked a chiming clock or a porcelain figurine,
but Miss Bridie chose a shovel back in 1856.
Miss Bridie chose the shovel from the peg in the barn, and
she took it to the dock, where she stepped aboard the ship.
She leaned on the shovel as she rocked in the cabin while
she lived on the ship on her way across the sea.
Miss Bridie flung the shovel with her pack on her shoulder
when she stepped off the ship in the harbor in New York.
This quiet, beautiful book covers most of a lifetime and is a pleasure from beginning to end.
Author: Leslie Connor
Illustrator: Mary Azarian
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged city, Diverse Books, farm, garden, immigration, Ireland, Leslie Connor, Machines, Mary Azarian, Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel, New York Times Notable Children's Book, out of print, USA
Famous sumo wrestler Forever-Mountain thinks very highly of himself. But when he plays a joke on a young woman she (literally) drags him home to her mother (who carries around their pet cow around to spare its delicate feet) and grandmother (who pulls oak trees out of the ground if she trips over their roots) and the three of them offer to make a truly strong man out of him. When he agrees:
Every day he was made to do the work of five men, and every
evening he wrestled with Grandmother. Maru-me and her mother agreed
that Grandmother, being old and feeble, was the least likely to
injure him accidentally. They hoped the exercise might be good for
We love this book. It is unexpected, funny, and satisfying from start to finish.
Author: Claus Stamm
Illustrator: Jean and Mou-sien Tseng
Once upon a time
there was a Little House
way out in the country.
She was a pretty Little House
and she was strong and well built.
The man who built her so well said,
“This Little House shall never be sold
for gold or silver and she will live to see
great-great-grandchildren living in her.”
This is a seemingly simple story of one Little House, but there is a lot going on. The sun, moon, and stars go by. Seasons change. Children grow up. A city moves in. A house moves out. Curiosity is satisfied and a happy ending is finally reached.
The pictures are so beautiful and so very peaceful. I remember looking through it as a kid over and over again and am happy the boys really like it too.
Author: Virginia Lee Burton
Illustrator: Virginia Lee Burton