In Reading Magic Mem Fox advises parents to “Spend at least ten wildly happy minutes every single day reading aloud.”
With this quote in mind, I set out to find some happy picture books to recommend as read-alouds to Books in Bloom readers. My three-year-old very graciously agreed to help. Her job was to listen and weigh-in on the “read-aloud-ability” of the picture books I chose. You should know that she is very serious about the “wildly happy” aspect of reading. Here are a few that we found to be particularly exciting:
Shoe-la-la by Karen Beaumont may appear on the outside to be just another pink and girly picture book to be tolerated because little girls like those kinds of books. But there is so much more to this book than can be contained on the cover. The rhyming text reads aloud well, and the pace gets faster as the girls rush around the shoe store to try to find the perfect pair before it closes. My favorite part, though, is that the girls leave the store without purchasing anything. They go home, get out their craft supplies, and make their own shoes. I love it! We are excited to test Karen Beaumont’s newest book, No Sleep for the Sheep! which promises to get little listeners joining in the fun with animal sounds that interrupt a peaceful night’s sleep. Sounds like a winner, for sure.
If you want to hear more little voices speaking up in your storytimes, try More Bears! by children’s poet Kenn Nesbitt. The story in this meta-fictional picture book is interrupted by voices demanding “more bears.” The author complies, but the demands continue. More Bears! is silly in the best sense of the word.
The play-by-play action in Mini Racer by Kristi Dempsey makes for an exciting read-aloud, but you will also want to let your car-obsessed little ones pore over the detailed illustrations that feature animals driving unusual vehicles a la Richard Scarry. When they finish with that one, hand them Cars Galore by Peter Stein for more fun with vehicles. Add Go-Go Gorillas to the mix, and you have a fast-paced storytime that will keep kids’ attention and have them begging for more.
Slow things down a bit with Marsha Wilson Chall’s One Pup’s Up as you count your way through a litter of puppies and their antics. The large illustrations work well with a group, and you can get your listeners moving by having them act out many of the puppies’ actions as the author did at a reading I attended with my daughter. She even had cute puppy masks for the kids to wear! Chall’s newest book, Pick a Pup, is a sweet story of a child choosing a dog from a shelter. Adults reading the story will appreciate the message, and the kids listening will enjoy the energetic rhyme, not to mention the fun illustrations of different types of dogs.
Whatever you choose for your next read-aloud, be sure to enjoy it. Don’t worry about counting the minutes. The important thing is the “wildly happy” part.
Cars Galore by Peter Stein. 2011.
Go-Go Gorillas by Julia Durango. 2010.
Mini Racer by Kristy Dempsey. 2011.
More Bears! by Kenn Nesbitt. 2010.
No Sleep for the Sheep! by Karen Beaumont. 2011.
One Pup’s Up by Marsha Wilson Chall. 2010.
Pick a Pup by Marsha Wilson Chall. 2011.
Shoe-la-la by Karen Beaumont. 2010.