My Top Ten April Picture Books

I’m going to try and get back into the blogging habit. My work blog has been keeping me so busy, and I love it so! Here are my picks for the best “new” picture books of April 2012 (“new” as in, my library just received them this April, not based on publishing date).

The Duckling Gets a Cookieby Mo Willems

The Duckling Gets A Cookie by Mo Willems

Little Bird by Germano Zullo; illustrated by Albertine

I’ll Save You BoBo! By Eileen & Marc Rosenthal

I’ll Save You BoBo! by Eileen & Marc Rosenthal

Faster! Faster! By Leslie Patricelli

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett; pictures by Adam Rex

One Special Day: A Story for Big Brothers & Sisters by Lola M. Schaefer; illustrated by Jessica Meserve

Beep and Bah by James Burks

Beep and Bah by James Burks

Larf written and illustrated by Ashley Spires

A bus called heaven by Bob Graham

a bus called heaven by Bob Graham

Owlet’s First Flight by Mitra Modarressi

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Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and other stories

Patrick in A Teddy Bear's Picnic and other stories by Geoffrey Hayes

Hello all! So I’ve made a great discovery today, LEVELED GRAPHIC NOVELS!! Toon Books are easy reader graphic novels for those kids that just “can’t get into reading.” They’re fun and easy to read for Kindergarten to Grade 3. In the back of every Toon Book there are tips for parents and teachers on how to read comics for kids as well as how the graphic novels are leveled (three levels broken down by the amount of words, amount of characters, and content). This particular title is Patrick in A Teddy Bear’s Picnic and other stories by Geoffrey Hayes.

Patrick is an adorable little Pre-K Teddy Bear who adores his parents and loves to get into a bit of mischief. There are two longer stories and one short vignette that both parents and children will enjoy reading. Mom’s, in particular, will connect with Patrick’s mother as she deals with an excited kid heading out for a picnic. I love the thunder in her eyes when Patrick runs ahead of her and scares the birds. The “PATRICK!” is something I have heard myself saying to my own child as we were out and about having a fun day.

The drawings are very “Saturday morning cartoon” -esque and the panels are easy for younger readers to follow. They aren’t too convoluted, and the word bubbles and dialogue are obvious. There are very few characters for children to need to remember, and one of the main threads in this story deals with a bully who Patrick ends up outsmarting, a scenario that many children will have to face throughout their school years.

I hope that this will be a new trend in the leveled readers, heading towards a mixture of the older types of readers (Dick and Jane, Fly Guy, Biscuit) and the new graphic novels. This will allow all learning styles to have a book to turn to. Personally, I think this would be a great addition to our children’s repertoire of learning tools.

Quick Facts:

Author: Geoffrey Hayes

Series; Toon Book (three different levels for different ages and reading levels)

Publisher: Candlewick Press, Somerville, Massachusetts

Where’s My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi – Book #3 in the Countdown To Halloween

Hello, hello, hello! And welcome back!

Today I’ve gone with an adorable picture book by Carolyn Crimi; illustrated by John Manders called Where’s My Mummy?

Where's My Mummy? by Carolyn Crimi; illustrated by John Manders

Although not a story about Halloween, many of the characters associated with this eerie night are found in this fun to read book. Little Baby Mummy doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play one more game of “Hide and Shriek” with Big Mama Mummy. Without waiting for an answer, Little Baby Mummy runs outside and hides. Once he realizes that Big Mama Mummy isn’t coming, Little Baby Mummy begins running around the graveyard, swamp, and caves of his home asking all his neighbors if they have see his Mummy. Little Baby Mummy interrupts all his neighbors as they are getting ready for bed: Bones is gargling with goo, Glob is scrubbing his face, and Drac is cleaning out his ears. When a mouse scares Little Baby Mummy, he finally does find his Mummy and they both get ready for bed.

A fun book to read with the repetitive questions of “Mama Mummy is that you?” that kids can be prompted to say as you read aloud to them. The descriptive sounds of the creatures “Clank clink clank. Woo boo woo. Clank clink Cloo” as Bones comes across the swamp gargling with goo, for example, adds suspense and allows the children to guess what the creature may be that is coming onto the page.

The pictures are very “comic book” -esque, with the sharp lines of the characters and the softer tones of the background. The normally scary characters of Dracula and the Glob being humanized as they get ready for bed. It’s comical to see Drac cleaning out his pointy ears with Q-Tips and a cloth. The vivid purple and red of the clothing of the scary characters are juxtapoised against the gloomy and gray background to really make them jump off the page. Children can clearly see that monsters are just like them, they have a bedtime ritual too!

A really fun book to read that is a great lead up to bedtime with Little Baby Mummy’s snores “Wee wee wee. Snoo snoo snoo. Wee wee SNOO!” as he cuddles his Teddy Mummy in bed end this book!

Quick Facts:

Author: Carolyn Crimi

Illustrator: John Manders

Age: 3 and up (there may be too much dialogue for younger readers and they may not recognize the characters being used).

Publisher: Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts