Monthly Archives: August 2014

Andrew Henry’s Meadow


Until that spring Andrew Henry Thatcher
lived with his family in the town of Stubbsville.

He had a father and mother and two older sisters
named Marian and Martha. The girls were always
with each other. He also had two younger brothers
named Robert and Ronald.
They were always with each other too.
Andrew Henry was in the middle.
He was always with himself,
yet he didn’t mind.
He had plenty of things to do.

Andrew Henry likes to build things. But when no one in his family appreciates his inventions, although they have “many fine features,” Andrew Henry decides the next thing he will build is a house of his own in a distant meadow. Before long, eight other under-appreciated kids arrive, so Andrew Henry designs houses for each of them too, according to their interests. This part is great fun. The four days and nights of frantic searching their families undergo before the happy ending? Awful to imagine. So I point out that part of his plan was not a good one (the boys are especially struck by how sad and lonely Andrew Henry’s dog Sam is without him).

Author: Doris Burn
Illustrator: Doris Burn


Happy Birthday to You!


I wish we could do what they do in Katroo.
They sure know how to say “Happy Birthday to You!”

In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born
They start the day right in the bright early morn
When the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mt. Zorn
And lets loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn.
And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays:
“Wake Up! For today is your Day of all Days!”

The perfect book for a birthday tradition.

Author: Dr. Seuss
Illustrator: Dr. Seuss


Bark, George


George’s mother said:

“Bark, George.”

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

The Kissing Hand


“Sometimes we all have to do things we
don’t want to do,” she told him gently. “Even
if they seem strange and scary at first. But you
will love school once you start.”

“You’ll make new friends. And play with new toys.”

“Read new books. And swing on new swings. Besides,” she
added. “I know a wonderful secret that will make your nights
at school seem as warm and cozy as your days at home.”

If you have a kid starting kindergarten or preschool, you need this book. My oldest’s (wonderful) kindergarten teacher read this on the first day of school and it made a HUGE impression.

Author: Audrey Penn
Illustrator: Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

Million series


Visualizing a million, billion, or trillion (or other concepts like compound interest and the metric system) isn’t easy, unless you read this fun series of books.

For example, a tank big enough to hold a million goldfish would be big enough to hold a whale. A tank big enough to hold a billion goldfish would be as big as a stadium. And a tank big enough to hold a trillion goldfish would be as big as a city harbor. (Keeping in mind a tank should hold one gallon of water for every one inch goldfish!)

Steven Kellogg’s cheerful illustrations keep things light, bright, and engaging. How Much is a Million? is our favorite of the series.

Author: David M. Schwartz
Illustrator: Steven Kellogg

The Little House


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
our great-great-grandchildren’s
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



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