Monday, May 20, 2013

Read-Aloud Faves We're Raving About

I am a Mom first. My title of 'blogger' comes somewhere around 8th or 9th on the list of badges I wear. That is the only excuse I'll give for my month-long absence from the blogging world. I'm a Mom...'Nuff said.

As the weather's been (finally) warming up the past month, my preschooler and  I have been taking lots of walks to the library. We live within walking distance of a LIBRARY!!! (Dream come true, I'm telling you!) So we load up the hefty canvas bag of picture books, Middle Grade books, YA books, and kid movies and pull out the little guy's "motorcycle" (envision tough looking plastic tricycle) and walk the half mile to our new library.


Isn't it cool-looking! And it has lots of awesome-sauce inside!

Today, I wanted to share some of the super gems we've found inside these walls. First of all is one of our staples: Elephant & Piggie books by the ever-funny Mo Willems.

If you haven't read these books, stop right now and go pick up one. These are great for any kiddo between the ages of 2-6. But I find these are especially great for the fidgety kind. The words are multi-sized with lots of emotion. Its not just reading at a monotone. But shouting and whispering and groaning and crying. For example:

All these emotions in one book. And there are a TON of them! I couldn't afford to buy them all, so I'm reallllly glad that Libraries are around to foot the bill and make them available to all of us.
These are also great for early readers. Lots of simple words. But NOT BORING....AT ALL!
My older kids still pick them up and laugh. 
Real humor, real humanity (even though they are animals), real emotions. 
'Caveat Lector'...after reading a couple, especially at full volume, you might need a Big Gulp to rehydrate your vocal chords. :)

Another fun couple of books are two I brought with me to our elementary school's Reading Is Fundamental  winter program. Let me tell you, the kids Looooooooooooved them. They wanted tons more time with these books and had a hard time going to pick out their own free book. 
Our theme for the day was "Let your Imagination go Wild" and these two really fit the bill.
(Images via

In the first book, author/illustrator has Jack telling his dad all about the awesome car, HE would build, and boy, does he pull out the stops, from gel-filled bumpers that don't crumple to a snack bar to a robot and beyond. Just watch the eyes of a kid reading this book for a the first time and you will not bemoan the future of the next generation. Promise.
The next book, Jack has a conversation with his mom about their boring, run-of-the-mill house and the ideas he has for improving it. Again, it is filled with lots of pink and turquoise and mid-century kitschy-cool blended with Jetson-esque remodeling.

The kids really got excited about this, as each room becomes more outlandish and outstanding. Here's an image of the kitchen, the FIRST room that is described.

It gets really does. And there are glimpses of the car from the first book, which are fun 'Easter eggs' for the kids to find on their multiple readings afterwards. Which there will be. I promise.

Another fun read, we only discovered this year was "Traction Man". If any of you have sons into action figures or who had action figures yourselves or had brothers, buddies, or friends who had them, then you will enjoy this wonderful book that takes a look into the life of the new Christmas present and his exploration of his surroundings and heroic activities that day.
But what happens when Granny gives Traction Man a wonderful gift???

You have to read! There is a sequel that takes place at the beach with some new Barbie-esque friends. And it looks like there is another one out that I haven't read yet:

Looks good!!!

I'm noticing a trend here of Author/Illustrators. Well, we shall keep that up with my last recommendation with the ever-wonderful, Lauren Child. My family hadn't heard of her until 3-4 years ago when some friends introduced us to the fun TV series, 'Charlie and Lola' based on Child's books. We watched all of them available on DVD at our local library. We were hooked. And I polished my British accent so I could read the REAL books aloud to my crew without making them protest, "Say it right, Mom!!!" My all-time favorites are the one about picky eating and the one about Lola's make-believe friend, Soren Lorenson. 

The way the book was printed to make Soren there, but not there in the illustrations was simply amazing. You have to check out the book to see what I mean...I'm not spoiling. :)
Below is another book I love, just because I am a bibliophile and I HATE it when the book I want from the library or bookshop is NOT there! Child totally captures that feeling.  

Lauren Child's 'Clarice Bean' books are great. At least one is a picture book, and I believe the rest are upper elementary chapter books which are great for the almost-tweener.
But one of my favorites of hers is "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?"
I am planning to share this one for next fall's RIF day. (Shhh! Don't tell.)
In this wonderful read-aloud, Herb has been cutting the pictures out of his books and when he is sucked into his fairy tale book one night, he discovers the consequences of messing about with good books. Its' like a fractured fairytale/fairytale retold with wonderful illustrations and story line. And lots of humor. I mean, Goldilocks is the Antagonist!


Made my Happily-Ever-After heart go pitter-pat. Absolutely loved.

So what about you? Do you have a favorite author or illustrator or storybook series? Please share? I love to get new recommendations. :)

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