Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 2012 Picture Book Challenge -- Willa

 For this month's Take Up and Read Picture Book Challenge,  I happened to find a stack of picture books my 9 year old had on his bed.   Very good!  It appears he is not past browsing through a picture book now and then when he doesn't have his nose in a chapter book or his Kindle!  There weren't quite ten, so I added a few that have been for one reason or another, often-requested favorites of my pre-readers.

Since we are getting quite a bit of snow up here,  I think I will call this month's theme for the Ryans:

Cuddle Up and Read Together November Theme

Here they are all together.    Now I will take pictures in smaller groups and add a short description.  I've linked to related resources in a few cases, ranging from philosophical to somewhat mystifying. 

Crocodile and Hen.  I think my kids loved this for the rhythmic language and the odd, surprising and funny way it proceeds.  But it also brings in, quite naturally, a beginner's taxonomy concept.  Here's a discussion page from Philosophy for Kids

Yellow and Pink.   All my kids liked this one, but it wasn't an oft-requested one.   It's one of the ones I found on my 9 year old's book stack.   William Steig is an interesting, quirky author who has published some classics as well as some rather strange books.     Teaching Children Philosophy:  Yellow and Pink.

The Greedy Man in the Moon.   A Chinese folktale with a lesson.  Fun reading.  The illustrations are OK, not great.  The author is an oral storyteller.   There's a resource page here.   Storytelling is a valuable art that has lots of applications in daily life; and it's fun and part of our literary heritage, as well. 

Brave Irene.   I think this is my favorite William Steig story, showing the courage that comes from love (a lot of Steig's stories are about how love overcomes all sorts of challenge).  Weirdly enough, the resource I found for this one is a Youtube retelling by Al Gore.  Yeah, uh, no.   But definitely in the "what's up with that?" category. 

Anatole and the Piano.   There is a whole series of Anatole books by Eve Titus.    They are so cute.  Anatole is definitely my hero, as he is musically talented, very intelligent, has a lovely wife and six little mouse children whom he is devoted to, and is incredibly brave.  Eve Titus also wrote Basil of Baker Street, about a mouse who tries to be like Sherlock Holmes (made into an animated movie which my older kids loved as children).    I will have to see if the library has any of the Basil books.

Leo Lionni, Six Classic Stories.   Leo Lionni is another childrens' author who has written many, many books of variable quality.  Some are classics, some are sort of odd, some are both.   Random House has Lionni resources here:  100 Years of Leo Lionni.    There's a Lionni teacher's resource guide (PDF).  I found this book on Paddy's bedside, but I am wondering if Aidan would like it, because the stories are quirky and somewhat rhythmic.

Be Nice to Spiders.   You can't really go wrong with Margaret Bloy Graham.   I can remember my little brother loving the Harry books, as did my kids.   This one is one of her lesser-known ones, not in the Harry series, but with the same "look", obviously.   There is a bit of a natural-history lesson here, gently presented.   You can find a lesson plan for Be Nice to Spiders here

The Church Mice Adrift.   This is one of a series by Graham Oakley.   Full of British humor, the pictures complement the story and are intricately composed.  You can find more information about the series here.    Graham Oakley packs more onto a picture book page than practically any author I know. 

Little Fur Family.    Margaret Wise Brown is better known for classics such as Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny.      Like Goodnight Moon, this one seems to bring you into another universe, one of gentle contemplation.   So it is perfect for lulling a toddler at bedtime.  There's a nice pictorial review here.   The half-poetry of the words is complemented by illustrations by Garth Williamson.    You can't really read this book and stay stressed; or at least, I can't.

There was a little fur family
warm as toast
smaller than most
in little fur coats
and they lived in a warm wooden tree.
Hungry, Hungry Sharks.   We have quite a few of the history and science related Step Into Reading books around our house (we skipped the twaddly ones in the series).  They were very helpful in getting my second son into reading fluency (he struggled to get to the fluent stage, and preferred non-fiction to fiction until he was in his teens, so it was nice he could work on reading and learn more about his favorite topics at the same time).    As you can see, the book was falling apart from reading, and so I had to do that duct-tape repair thing to the spine.

So that wraps up my November Picture Book Challenge.

Chari and I would love to hear: 

What are some of your favorite cuddle together with a blanket picture books?


  1. Oh, I hope I get around to posting our favorite picture books. I love our fall collection and I've just added a few new ones...

  2. I would love to see your list, Elisa!


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