It’s Monday! What are you reading?
Join Jen and Kellee’s meme and share all of your reading from picture books to young adult reads! Such a fantastic way to learn about “new to you” titles by exploring all of the blog posts shared! Share your own reading on twitter via the hashtag #IMWAYR
My picture book obsession has continued and so again I have many books to share. Like the last few weeks, I will keep it to my ten favourites.
Brief Thief written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo Absolutely hilarious. Dare you to read this and not laugh. Or at least smile. Definitely smirk. My daughter called it disgusting when I read it to her which made me love it all the more. So of course I had to share it with my students. The first three pages each have one sentence. On page three, we find out that the main character (a likeable lizard) has to go poo. Well, of course, . . . that got everyone’s attention. One child even shared that he often had a meal, went to play and then (like the lizard) had to run back in and take a poo! Oh thank goodness, we have created an environment where connecting is valued 🙂 Anyway, I don’t want to give much of the plot away as this book really does need to be experienced. I will say though that the “briefs” on the cover are stolen to deal with a toilet paper crisis, there is a battle with a “conscience” and in the end, heroes (of sorts) win out. That’s all I’m saying (Except – Go read the book!)
My New Shirt written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Dusan Petricic This pair work so wonderfully together. Their recent Mr. Zinger’s Hat is one of my favourite picture books of 2013. My New Shirt came out in 2007 and I happened upon it at my public library today. This isn’t a book for those that don’t like a longer picture book. It is on the lengthy side and would likely be best shared with readers 8 and up just so that the length can be managed and the humour appreciated. It is basically about a young boy who is gifted a new white dress shirt every year on his birthday by his grandmother. This year when his “Bubbie” gives him the shirt, he has a sort of “out of body” experience (that involves an image of endless white shirts floating towards him) and the shirt ends up getting dropped out the window. What happens from there is an amusing romp through the neighbourhood and around the eclectic neighbours as the chase is on after the shirt (keenly held in the pet dog’s teeth)! Maybe this book especially appeals to me because I have “gift receiving anxiety” It’s a lot of pressure to receive a gift gracefully – especially one you might not like – although I have never thrown anything out of the window!
The Big Question written and illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch A simple little picture book that tackles a huge life question: “Why am I here?” Turning the pages allows us to hear many answers to this big question. “You’re here to kiss the clouds,” says the pilot. “You are here to obey,” the soldier states. “So that you many learn patience,” the gardener shares. The book takes us through many answers from people and animals alike. It ends with the wisdom that as you grow, more answers will reveal themselves and includes a place in the back to make notes for when answers are discovered. This book won the Bologna Ragazzi award in 2004. Original edition is in German.
Backbeard and the Birthday Suit written and illustrated by Matthew McElligott All about fun and ridiculous pirate fashion. One of the best pirate books out there. Backbeard is the quintessential pirate – hairy, stinky, and full of pirate swagger.
Puffin Peter written and illustrated by Petr Horacek Absolutely stunning illustrations. A story about friendship, the similarities and differences in birds and the importance of being specific. And whoa . . . a gorgeous whale page!
Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping written and illustrated by Melanie Watt When I shared this book with my class, we had to pull out every Scaredy Squirrel book in the room and these books travelled from child to child during independent reading time. Scaredy Squirrel is the most wonderfully anxious, eccentric character out there. How can you not love a squirrel who dons a survival kit to bring an extension cord to a power outlet so that he can watch TV shows about camping in the safety of his own tree? (Think I just summarized the book in one very long and exhausting sentence) Hilarious!
The Princess and the Pig written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene This lovely little read manages to link to many classic fairy tales while telling a great original story and poking fun at just about everything! A pig and a princess switch places and the happy ending is not what you might predict.
Not your Typical Dragon written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers What happens when a little dragon is born into a long line of wonderful fire breathers and can’t manage to even produce a little puff of smoke? A story about diversity, acceptance and realizing what you need.
Little Red Riding Hood written by Lari Don and illustrated by Celia Chauffrey I have been collecting many fairy tales for our class collection and loved the illustrations in this version. Some twists from the original tale. A Barefoot Books book so just beautifully done and contains a story CD.
Just Ducks! written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino I love the gentle narration infused with facts in this beautifully illustrated book about ducks! And I love ducks. This book would have been a treasure to my childhood self.
In other reading, I finished two fantastic middle grade novels.
Bigger than a Breadbox written by Laurel Snyder So powerful. A sensitive story about a young girl coping with the separation of her parents. Captures emotions and thinking that is so personal and raw. The magic in this book is really well done. It seems possibly impossible and I’m sure would entice young readers to continually ask themselves, what would they do in Rebecca’s place? While this book is about the break up of a marriage and what it does to a family, it also handles all of the emotions of moving to a new place and new school so well. Important and real family moments. Friend anxiety. A perfect middle grade selection.
Hold Fast written by Blue Balliett This is the first Balliett title I have read. I was very curious about this novel. I have seen people rave about it and others have some pretty specific criticism. I was quickly captured by the brilliant word/literacy reverence and the rhythms of language. What held me was the power of family and faith and the desire for home. Such an important book.
What’s next? Homesick by Kate Klise. This was a recommendation made to me by another blogger from the #IMWAYR community, Ms Yingling, when she saw I had read another title about a child of a hoarder. Will be interesting to see how this topic is handled in this novel.
Great books Carrie! I think my 4th graders would get a kick out of Brief Thief. I have Bigger than a Bread Box, but have not read it yet. Looks like it will be moving toward the top of the pile.
Bigger Than a Breadbox is such a great MG read. I bought it for my daughter and then borrowed it back! Brief Thief is well worth reading aloud to watch the reactions!
Thanks for all the recommendations. We might need to have the new Scaredy Squirrel for our fifth graders when they head for Outdoor Ed. And the dragon book looks like it would be an important book for many grade levels. As usual, you introduce me to many books that I have not heard of yet. Thanks!
Scaredy Squirrel, a camping expert he is not but a nervous expert – he has that down! Funny guy! Glad that you found some titles that looked interesting!
Great picture books as always, Carrie. I will definitely need to check out Brief Thief! I loved Bigger Than A Breadbox-think it’s so important for children whose parents are divorcing. We’ve had a few this year, a consistent thing for some in the 5th grade & up age. And you know I loved Hold Fast. Thanks for all!
Hold Fast is just wonderful. Your positive review influenced me to pick it up. Brief Thief is very smile worthy!
I adored Scaredy Squirrel with his camping escapade. I immediately added Brief Thief to my TBR list. You have hit on so many wonderful looking picture books. Thanks!
So glad you found some good titles! Brief Thief is certainly a winner! My kids are still talking about how funny it was. Lent it to my principal and her kids loved it too!
Oooh! I need to read Puffin Peter! My husband and I are going to Iceland in 2 weeks and there’s a lot of puffins there! 🙂
I LOVED The Princess and the Pig. One of my favorite fractured fairy tales.
The Princess and the Pig was such a pleasant surprise for me. My librarian at school recommended it and I am so glad. I might not have picked it off the shelf as from the cover it looks too princessy. Shows you that I should know by now – don’t judge a book . . .
And Puffin Peter is a MUST if you are going to see real live puffins! Iceland! WOW!!!!! I also love Puffling by Margaret Wild.
Ok, I needed a good smirk, thanks for putting Brief Thief at the top of your post. I of course have requested a copy to read to my class! And to balance things out I also requested Just Ducks. Because who doesn’t love a duck? Thanks for the recommendations!! Hope you’re having a great week!
It is a must read! (Brief Thief) Absolutely hilarious. And I agree, everyone should love a duck! Or two, or three . . .