Picture books to help you giggle

To celebrate picture book month, I am sharing peeks into the wonderful conversations I get to have with children about particular picture books. When I thought about writing a picture book post today, no conversations leaped out at me to share. I have no students here at home on a Sunday morning and I have been reading my own children the amazing novel Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt. But . . . just yesterday evening, I was talking to Vancouver kindergarten teacher Sharon Hales about how great Elephant & Piggie titles are. She is a huge fan! (Great taste!) And, of course, I asked a few times – “Have you read . . . ?” “Do you know author . . . ?” 

Hmmm, this was a conversation about picture books . . .

So I started thinking, if I were a kindergarten teacher, what would be must own picture books for my classroom library? Books guaranteed to inspire giggles and choruses of “Read it again”? Quickly, I started a list on a scrap piece of paper. I ran out of room! This post is the result. 🙂

Grab one of these, grab a child or a kindergarten/early primary class and prepare for smiles and giggles!

Picture books to help you giggle There's a Book for That

And because once you start laughing, you need to laugh some more:

Picture books to help you giggle There's a Book for That

Picture Books to help you giggle:

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Z is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky 

I’m Bored  written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Brief Thief written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

Warning: Do not Open this Book! written by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

Let’s Do Nothing! by Tony Fucile

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld 

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Interrrupting Chickenby David Ezra Stein

Chester by Mélanie Watt

You’re Finally Here by Mélanie Watt

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won

Such a joy to share these favourite titles – perfect for the younger set but appealing to happy readers of all ages!

Are you in the picture book mood? Share some favourites! It’s Picture Book Month!

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Monday September 8th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

I read a real range of titles this week. My favourites:

Everybody Bonjours! written by Leslie Kimmelman and illustrated by Sarah McMenemy

A simple little picture book that is a great reminder about how important it is to learn a few words of the language when one goes to visit a new country. Being able to greet people with a hello and a big smile goes a long way.

Everybody Bonjours! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Erwin Madrid

Perfect for those readers just beginning chapter books. Judy Moody helps her friend solve a mystery. Well sort of . . . A wonderful surprise at the end. I bought a handful of copies of this book and in the spring my students held a little reading club to read this title together. Hope more in the series are on their way.

Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Lulu’s Mysterious Mission written by Judith Viorst tand illustrated by Kevin Cornell

I adore Lulu. I love her cheeky nature, her creativity, her misbehaviour and her unintended failures. Of course, Viorst writes with such voice. Another delightful book in this series!

Lulu's Mysterious Mission #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit up the World written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez

I learned so much from reading this book: how inspirational and transformative Tesla was with not only his invention of electricity but also how much his inventions have shaped modern life as we know it. I also had no idea about his rivalry with Thomas Edison and how Edison treated Tesla who had viewed him as a hero. Fantastic scientific notes in the back of the book give so many more details for the eager reader. Perfect title for intermediate students.

Electrical Wizard #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton

I am very excited to share this book with my students. It is the perfect introduction to microbes – making sense of a confusing concept in a way that allows students to understand aspects of the microscopic world. Wonderful illustrations by Sutton compliment the engaging style Davies writes in.

Tiny Creatures #IMWAYR There's a Book for That September 8th 2014

Yikes, I am slipping on my reading goals. One would think being on strike would afford me a lot of time. Unfortunately, I use up a lot of time reading articles, blog posts and twitter communications about B.C. Education trying to figure out what the heck is happening. Not sure why I bother sometimes. The constant and unchanging news? We are on strike. Yes, there is lots of drama and mud slinging, but in the end, I spend too much time walking circles on a sidewalk.

I am however almost finished Revolution by Deborah Wiles. It is so very, very good.

Hoping for more reading time next week. My mind needs distraction!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 411/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 106/65 complete

Gift Books 2013 – twelve picture books to give this season

gift Books 2013

I spent close to three hours at my favourite bookstore yesterday – Vancouver Kidsbooks selecting books for a donor that wants to gift our primary students with new books to take home this holiday season. Books in hand and in home make so much difference! While my Teacher Librarian and I shopped, we were privy to many conversations between customers and the very knowledgable Kidsbooks staff. And it got me to thinking . . . Which 2013 picture books would I recommend for a gift list?

Of course, there are many amazing titles to choose from. I narrowed it to twelve. Twelve books I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make the readers think differently about something? Does it celebrate something important? Is it a book that brings joy? With those questions in mind, here is my list:

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos written by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham

This is a fascinating biography that not only makes math seem absolutely engrossing but gives us a glimpse into a mind that was truly one track. A beautiful balance between the mathematical life and the other life of Paul Erdos.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

On A Beam of Light- A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne and illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

A wonderfully accessible biography of Albert Einstein. This title has all the perfect themes of wonder, curiosity and thinking outside of the box.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić 

This is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days? Based on a true event where famous musician Joshua Bell played in the metro and was basically ignored. My students shared reviews here.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Matchbox Diary  by Paul Fleischman illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline 

History, stories and memories told through unveiling of various contents of a number of matchboxes. Perfect to inspire storytelling between the generations.

The Matchbox diary Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Full of quotes to read, share and ponder. Love the message that peace needs to be everywhere (in our hearts, homes, schools, countries . . .) in order to impact peace everywhere else.

Peace Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animals’ Lives  written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Gorgeous. Want to reveal how math is all around us? This is the book to do it. There is counting and estimating and wondering and a whole bunch of other mathematical applications – in addition to being a beautifully illustrated books with lots of fascinating animal facts.

Lifetime Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

The Snatchabook written by Helen Docherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty

Know a family with a new baby? Give them this beautiful book which sends the message loud and clear – we all need to be raised with daily read aloud moments.

The Snatchabook Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Once Upon a Northern Night written by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

Lyrical, soothing and visually beautiful. Let the text lull you to sleep with dreams of the magic and quiet of winter. A perfect book to celebrate this coldest of seasons.

Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Journey by Aaron Becker

Grab your imagination and enter a magical world where anything might happen. A wordless treasure.

Journey  Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Papa models the curiosity and persistence of an inventor. This book is “almost true” based on the life of Lodner Phillips who really did build The Whitefish, an actual functioning submarine.

Papa's Mechanical Fish Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Because we all need to laugh together! Interactive. Will make you want to leap out of your chair in delight! Giggle, giggle, giggle.

Count the monkeys Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

My First Day by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Children love to hear about what it was like when they were a baby. This nonfiction title reveals what the first moments are like for different animals. So much to discuss.

My first day Gift Books 2013 There's a Book for That

Books are gifts to treasure! This season give books!

Monday September 30th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! The #IMWAYR crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.

IMWAYR

I read some beautiful picture books this week and some very amusing Toon comics:

My absolute swoon book was . . .

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dusan Petricic with a postscript by Joshua Bell

This book is such an important experience that I want to say next to nothing yet I want to say almost everything. I LOVE, love, love and then love this book some more. It quickly shot to the top of my favourite lists for 2013. WOW! The first page spread is divine. It was a 5/5 book just because of those two sentences and the illustration. And then it just continued to get better. Read and treasure this title. Go, now! Find this book. Seriously.

The Man with the Violin #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also enjoyed . .

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse has edited a book of Beasts by Emily Gravett to make it less intimidating because you know, lions and rhinos and bears . . . oh, my! And snakes, crocodiles and wasps . . . the poison, the teeth, the stings! Terrible! Little Mouse has rewritten a book that is large on ingenuity. I know this will be an instant favourite in my room. There are lift the flaps, peer through holes in the pages, wadded up newspaper (really!) – so much fun!

 Little Mouse's Big Book of Beasts  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ten Things I Loved about You by Daniel Kirk

An adorable book about kindness and friendship but it has possibilities beyond just these themes. This title really explores finding the best in a friend and thinking about the positive qualities that are dear. Would be a great prompt for a writing activity.

Ten Things I Love about You  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I found this title simple but yet, powerful – Seeger trademarks. So much is told with limited text and accurate expressions of various feelings. Explores questions such as . . . What prompts mean/bully behaviour? How do we feel when we are called on our actions? What is the cause and effect relationship of bully dynamics?

Bully  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Yellow Moon,  Apple Moon written by Pamela Porter and illustrated by Matt James

Simple lyrical language. A beautifully illustrated bedtime poem. Translation of a New Mexican lullaby included in the back pages.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

LOVE the interactive aspect of this story. Barnett is a master at this (think Chloe and the Lion) I read it to myself and must admit was tempted to leap out of my chair a few times! I cannot even imagine the mad rumpus that will ensue when I share this with my class! Fun, more fun, and then even more!

Count the Monkeys  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Barry’s Best Buddy by Renee French

A cute little story line about what we do for our friends. Love the intrigue that the marching ants carrying all kinds of puzzling things inspires – just what are they up to?

Barry's Best Buddy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Day in the Office of Doctor Bugspit by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd. Doctor Bugspit works in a medical clinic in outer space. Quickly readers will suspect that his medical training might have come from some strange location where standards  are not quite up to our Earthly expectations. Many strange ailments come into the clinic and the Doctor’s suggestions are even stranger!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With two presentations this week on top of teaching, I unfortunately missed out on big chunks of reading time so I am only half way through the novel I have been reading –  Jinx by Sage Blackwood. Finding it a fascinating read so far!

With our student book club we have started The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone. Check out our discussion here.

Next up, after I finish Jinx, I plan to read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes and The Boy in the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson.

What are you reading? Happy reading to all!

Monday August 20th, 2012

It’s Monday! What are you reading? Participating in Kellee and Jen’s meme celebrating books read from picture books to young adult selections is such a pleasure. There is so much to learn in what everyone is reading and blogging about.

This week I read a number of fantastic picture books. I had a difficult time trying to narrow my favourites to the top five to keep this post to a reasonable size! But here they are – my top 5 picture books of the week:

Sector 7 by David Wiesner. I love Wiesner’s books but for some reason I had never read this one. When I found it at the library the other day, I was delighted. I am always using wordless books in the classroom  (I posted about using wordless books in the primary classroom here) and so love finding new titles to share. This book celebrates creativity, imagination and the endless possibilities in the clouds!

Footprints in the Snow by Mei Matsuoka was in a pile of books I had ordered from Scholastic last year and hadn’t yet labelled. When I read this book I was pleasantly surprised by the clever twists. First we meet Wolf who has been reading books about wolves and realizing that wolves are always portrayed as (yes, you know what’s coming) nasty, scary and greedy. He sets out to write his own book that depicts Mr. Nice Wolf acting in only lovely ways. He continuously meets animals that seem only to have met stereotypical awful wolves and they run from him. Finally a duck indulges Mr. Nice Wolf in a bit of a conversation and . . . Here’s the twist you might not have expected . . . I won’t spoil it! It’s worth finding a copy and having your own little chuckle as you read this book.

So I’ve decided that Sarah Stewart and David Small simply have not created enough picture books together. Very soon there is going to be a week where I can’t include a Stewart/Small title here and on that day, I will be very sad. This week I read The Library. All about book love and devotion. Nothing more needs to be said.

My next two favourites were sent to me in a box of “bookly delights” by a book loving friend.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce I absolutely adored this book – it fast became a favourite picture book. I love that it is so whimsical, the illustrations lure you in and you feel entangled with all of the books in the pictures. Amazing. But it also reads beautifully. I read it aloud to my two children and it was so smooth, so lyrical. Cannot wait to share this with my class this fall.

Cats’ Night out written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen. This was the first picture book that Klassen illustrated and it is so fun. I love the colours – all of the dark browns, blacks and shadows. Across each page dance cats. Cats with such serious smug expressions like they are saying, “We certainly don’t see you, dear reader,  up here doing the fox trot so elegantly in evening dresses or tuxedos.” The text is rhyming and one soon realizes that this is a counting book. Counting by twos! What fun and if you look carefully you can find numbers hidden in each illustration. A book that deserves multiple readings and begs to be shared with a friend to search for numbers, marvel at the pictures and reread the poetic text.

In other reading . . . .

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a mystery novel that is so much more. There is definitely a mystery which keeps it fast paced and highly energized. But wow, the characters! The other story lines going on! The idiosyncrasies of a small town and its inhabitants. The power of family no matter how it is defined. If this isn’t on your TBR list, add it!

I also read The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin. Loved Kevin Cornell‘s illustrations. There were lots of funny parts in this story but I worried that it might possibly too difficult for early readers (this is an early chapter book) to follow. Different chapters are told by different characters and I didn’t think it was always clear who was who. Maybe I’m wrong. I will see how some readers handle it this fall.

I also read Kazu Kibuishi’s Amulet: The Cloud Searchers (Book Three) While I am always so impressed with the art work in Kibuishi’s Amulet books, all of the battle scenes are not my thing. But if it is your thing (my son adores these) these books are pretty amazing.

 I am still reading The Search for Wondla to my children and we started listening to The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Exciting!

Mustache

Dan, our BLG reader this week brought in a fabulous book – Mustache and prompted a discussion about men’s fashion through the ages and the price of vanity. Mustache is witten by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell.

This book reminded us that when you take a picture book, add a bunch of students and a read aloud environment,  you just never know what you are going to get! In our classroom this week, the book Mustache got us talking (well Dan talking . . . ) about how men used to wear tights and high heels. Very intriguing for the children who just shook their heads in disbelief or broke out in contagious giggles. Our main character,  King Duncan,  was always gazing at himself in the mirror examining his style and so we looked at it a little more closely and spied tights! What was with the King’s outfit? For a few pages, we couldn’t move past that. Neither could King Duncan evidently as he had a royal “mirror carrier” follow him everywhere so he could continuously check out his reflection.

Oh King Duncan, so busy being vain, he never gets to the kingly duties of caring for his kingdom. When his subjects storm the castle and ask for improvements, King Duncan takes a week to have a banner made for the side of the castle: a picture of himself with “I’m Great” written underneath. Getting nowhere with their direct requests, the King’s subjects revert to other means to communicate their frustration with the King: drawing moustaches on his banners. And then . . .  painting moustaches on the wanted posters he prints to try and uncover the moustache banner culprit. A lot of posters. A lot of moustaches. A lot of giggles in our classroom!

Finally all of the villains (can you be a villain for merely vandalizing? Apparently, yes!)  end up imprisoned. It turns out everyone is guilty and the whole kingdom becomes “jail” – fixed up by default as more “jail” is erected. What is a poor lone King to do with just his own reflection to keep him company? Hmm . . . perhaps paint a moustache?

Our student reviewers report:

Deandra: I liked this book because the King painted his face!

Truman: I liked it when everyone drew moustaches on him!

Khai: I liked the book because it was very funny. People kept drawing mustaches on the King’s posters!

I was already a fan of Mac Barnett who wrote the fantastic Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem. Check out Barnett’s website here. Kevin Cornell is a new illustrator for me – but one I will be keeping an eye out for. His illustrations in Mustache were absolutely delightful!  His website can be found here.