On Market Street, vendors of items from apples to zippers all wear (or are made of) their wares. I’ve loved this beautiful alphabet book from the first time I saw it as a child. The boys prefer The Racecar Alphabet, but this is the week when I share some of the books that I currently enjoy more than they do, in honor of Mother’s Day.
Author: Arnold Lobel
Illustrator: Anita Lobel
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged alphabet, Anita Lobel, Arnold Lobel, Caldecott Honor, Christmas, food, Frog and Toad, I read this as a kid, knitting, Machines, Mama's Choice, On Market Street, The Racecar Alphabet, toys
The last time I wrote about Frog and Toad, this series didn’t interest the boys much. But recently they developed a strong interest in A Year with Frog and Toad, a musical based on the books (and a wonderful show, if you ever get a chance to see it in person), and now really enjoy the books.
Like Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggy series, the two best friends in this series have very different personalities. The Frog and Toad series is less laugh-out-loud funny than Mr. Willems’, but is still humorous and often tender. Some of our favorite stories are “Shivers,” from Days with Frog and Toad; “Spring” and “A Lost Button,” from Frog and Toad are Friends; “Cookies,” from Frog and Toad Together; and “Down the Hill” and “Ice Cream,” from Frog and Toad All Year.
Author: Arnold Lobel
Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
Posted in Chapter Books, Early Readers
Tagged A Year with Frog and Toad (Original Cast Recording), Animals, Arnold Lobel, Caldecott Honor, Christmas, Days with Frog and Toad, Elephant & Piggie, food, Frog and Toad, Frog and Toad All Year, Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, garden, I read this as a kid, Mo Willems, Newbery Honor Book, Robert and Willie Reale, series, songs
Farmer Brown has some problems.
It was bad enough the cows had
found the old typewriter in the
barn, now they wanted electric
blankets! “No way,” said Farmer
Brown. “No electric blankets.”
So the cows went on strike.
They left a note on the barn door.
Soon the hens join the work stoppage. And what are those seemingly-neutral ducks up to?
If workers’ rights are civil rights, as the slogan goes, we have a mini theme going this week. (When the boys stage a sit-in protest of my menu choices, I’ll have only myself to blame.) This book is very funny and I can’t read it aloud without hearing (and slightly mimicking) the Scholastic video version narrated by Randy Travis.
Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator: Betsy Lewin
Posted in Picture Books
Tagged Animals, Betsy Lewin, Caldecott Honor, Civil Rights, Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type, Doreen Cronin, farm, food, Machines, Randy Travis, Scholastic video, series, spoonfuls of stories
This is a classic story with beautiful illustrations, but all those jokes about the grim Grimm Brothers exist for a reason. This retelling hews very close to the Grimm tale, which in turn was based on an even darker French version. You won’t want to read it with your kids before they’re ready (or, perhaps, before bed), but you also won’t want to miss reading this aloud:
“Grandmother! What big, hairy ears you have grown!” she said.
“The better to hear you with, my dear.”
“Oh, Grandmother! Your eyes are so shiny!”
“The better to see you with, my dear.”
“Your hands look so strange, Grandmother!”
“The better to catch you and hug you with, my dear.”
“Please, Grandmother, why do you have such big, sharp teeth?”
“Those are to eat you up with, my dear!”
Author: Trina Schart Hyman/The Grimm Brothers/Charles Perrault
Illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman
My youngest is fascinated by this one. It is a story of transformation (straw into gold, miller’s daughter into queen, callow girl into loving mother), which is why the awful, egocentric miller and king mostly don’t register (they’re walking plot devises). The Grimm’s version of this tale changed many times and Paul O. Zelinsky’s uses all of the best parts (including an ending where Rumpelstiltskin does not pay for his good deeds with his life).
Author: Paul O. Zelinsky/The Grimm Brothers
Illustrator: Paul O. Zelinsky
“Help! Help!” cried the Page when the sun came up.
“King Bidgood’s in the bathtub, and he won’t get out!
Oh, who knows what to do?”
King Bidgood is determined to stay in the bathtub. Attempts to entice him away with battling, lunching, fishing, and dancing fail spectacularly. Will anything get him to leave?
The premise of this cheerful book is very funny (although the language is sometimes a tiny bit awkward) and the elaborate pictures are beautiful. We are always stumbling across new details we missed before.
Author: Audrey Wood
Illustrator: Don Wood
This book was our introduction to Mo Willems, a man who probably needs no introduction if you’ve had kids in the ten years or so. (If you haven’t, the quick version is he is brilliant.) Like his other books, Knuffle Bunny has a straightforward story: a favorite toy is left behind in a laundromat, communication issues ensue between a (barely) pre-verbal toddler and her father, and a happy ending is ultimately achieved. Like his other books, the art is cartoonish. And, like his other books, it absolutely connects with kids. This is an especially fun story for reading aloud–lots of voices and sounds and the kids love to hear how Knuffle Bunny is beloved, lost, and found and how the heroine finds her words.
Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Mo Willems