Towards the end of the year I start looking at lists of the best books of the year. I wanted to share some of the picture books that made the lists from last year that I enjoyed. And why yes, they are available at the North Canton Public Library.
I tend to like the picture books that are a bit on the quirky side and the books Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, The Book With No Pictures, Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads, My Teacher is a Monster, and A Perfectly Messed Up Story all have a bit quirkiness to them. Baby Bear has gorgeous illustrations and speaks with a softer voice. Whereas Have You Seen My Dragon allows for a teaching experience for younger children.
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen- I had the pleasure of reading this to a couple of third grade classes. Though they were a bit perplexed by the ending they still seemed to really enjoy this book. I don’t think that I have read a book to a class that has received such a big reaction. The kids were laughing and yelling at the characters about how close they were to the jewel. Watch this cute youtube video to get a feel for the story.
Just as its title would indicate The Book With No Pictures, by B.J. Novak, has no pictures. However, the book is a great read-aloud in that “Everything the words say, the person reading the book has to say. No matter what.” It can be very entertaining for children. Click here to watch a video of the author reading some of the book to a group of children.
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea- The Terrible Toads are terrorizing the law-abiding folk of Drywater Gulch. Who can save the town? The town bets on Ryan, a seven year old expert on dinosaurs. A lot of the humor in this book is best geared for kids that are little bit older, probably kindergarten through 3rd grade.
My Teacher is a Monster! (No I’m Not) by Peter Brown- I love the artwork of Peter Brown. I want postcards of his work. Anyways, this book partly explores that peculiar moment when you discover that your teachers are allowed to leave the school. Bobby is mischievous kid. His teacher is constantly trying to correct him. Then one day while he is visiting his favorite spot at the park he finds his teacher sitting there. He learns that his teacher might not be so horrible after all. There is a quick moment in the book where Bobby sees his teacher, Mrs. Kirby, at the park and raises his hand so that he can say something (like he would if he were in class). Also, it is definitely worth checking out other Peter Brown books like You Will be My Friend and Children Make Terrible Pets.
In A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnel- Little Louie is skipping merrily along when he finds a gob of jelly has landed on the page of his book. He is annoyed but things keep getting worse. However, eventually he learns to be okay when things aren’t going perfectly.
Baby Bear by Kadir Nelson- Seems to subtly speak to adults as well as children. Baby Bear is lost and trying to find his way home. Along the way he asks animals for help. They give him such advice as to retrace his steps, to trust himself, to listen to his heart, and to climb a little higher so that he can see all around. Some of the advice can be taken literally as well as metaphorically. The artwork is amazing. Also, the animals are generally very polite to each other and I can always appreciate some politeness in the world. This video showcases the artwork of the book and gives a feel for the contemplative tone of the book.
Have you Seen My Dragon by Steve Light- A book aimed at preschool kids. It has a simplistic story-A kid wondering where his dragon is. However, each page brings a chance for children to search for the dragon on the page and to count how many items are on that page. (The items are the only thing in color for that page and changes from page to page…4 sailboats, 5 water towers, 7 boxes… 15 balloons…etc.)
We have these, as well as many other, great picture books at the library. Enjoy finding your favorite picture book next time you’re visiting the library!