Books I’ve read recently – Children’s books!
I was at the library the other day, waiting on meeting some folks, and got to looking through the children’s section. I work with preschoolers and their parents, so some of it is about finding books for work, and some of it is because I just plain like picture books.
The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, The Exploding Eggs, The Wolf, and Grandma, by Diane and Christyan Fox
Not so much a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood as more of a meta-telling of it. Cat tries to share one of his favorite books with Dog, who has an entirely different attention span. Probably best for K-3rd grade, better if they are already familiar with Little Red Riding Hood. Cute artwork.
This Monster Cannot Wait, by Bethany Barton
Monster has a super-hard time waiting. He’s *so* excited about going camping, but the camping trip isn’t for another 5 days – forever! Monster’s parents try a variety of strategies to help Monster learn to wait. Finally, he stumbles on one himself. I’d hoped this would be a good book for actually working on patience with some of my small work friends. While it’s about patience, there isn’t really much in here geared towards the actual teaching of it, especially for a preschooler. Pre-Ks might like the story and artwork nonetheless – it’s a fun read. It might be a useful adjunct for a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grader whose family and/or teacher is already using some strategies for working on patience. In which case, this could be a good book for prompting conversation about some strategies the kiddo has been learning, and whether and how Monster might be able to use them. This book is one of a series of books about Monster. It is a fun story all on its own, and your little monster might enjoy it.
Otter and Odder: A Love Story, by James Howe
Otter falls in love with a fish. Which doesn’t seem so strange, on the surface, but he comes to realize “I am in love with my food source”. Yes, that’s an actual quote. And the other otters make sure Otter knows how odd this really is. Fish (whom Otter believes is named Myrtle) returns his love – after going through what sounds like some of the same emotions as someone who has been kidnapped. “As for Myrtle, her first desire was: Please don’t eat me.” I had a *really* hard time with this book. I’m all for books about falling in love with someone your family doesn’t approve of, and the love working out (for whatever value of “working out” is still safe/respectful of the participants). But in love with your “food source”? How in the world does one work with that? The author has Otter eat tree bark and other plant life. Otters are meat eaters! How’s that going to work?
Myrtle’s initial abused-partner-just-trying-to-survive reaction giving way to what I can only imagine as some sort of Stockholm Syndrome somehow magically blossoming into True Love kinda freaks me out in a picture book meant for elementary school kids. I’m all for unlikely pairs becoming friends. I’m cool with them falling in love. But this plot was too much for me.
Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles, by Steve Antony
Another one I just didn’t get. The Green Lizards and the Red Rectangles are at war. No idea why. No idea how they are battling, except that occasionally some rectangles fall on the lizards, and some lizards knock over some rectangles. Then out of nowhere, a small faction from each side decides it’s time to end the war. No idea why. And they end the war and live happily and peacefully ever after. No idea why.
Poor Louie, by Tony Fucile
Louie is his people’s only baby, pampered and just a bit spoiled – all in the best ways. Until another baby comes along. Louie is so sure his way of life will end that he plans to run away. Fortunately, everything turns out okay.
The Bus Ride, by Marianne Dubuc
Another retelling of sorts of Little Red Riding Hood. The reference is subtle enough that you might miss it. This is the little girl’s first bus ride all by herself. She talks herself through her brief concerns and many observations. Lots of little jokes and gags throughout. This is a great book about riding the bus and about observing and interacting as well.
Toilet: How It Works, by David Macaulay
While this one is a picture book, it’s definitely aimed at a slightly older crowd than the other books I read, maybe 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th grade, depending on your reader. If you’re trying to get a young reader interested in reading non-fiction, this might just be the way to do it. What kid isn’t fascinated with bodily functions, especially functions normally deemed socially unacceptable to talk about! A bit wordy for a beginning reader, but definitely a topic that will engage.