For Parents and Children

I love to read picture books, and here are some of my family’s favorites:

HOOWAY FOR WODNEY WAT by Helen Lester. This book was shared by my grandson, Michael, when he was five-years-old. He told me that I HAD to read this book. The main character’s real name is Rodney, but he can’t pronounce his R’s.  Wodney, er Rodney, is always teased for the way he pronounces his words. One day a bully comes to school. Read this story to see how Rodney is able to save his classmates from the antics of this bully.

I AM A TIGER by Karl Newsom and Ross Collins was the most requested picture book on a recent family vacation. My grandchildren range in ages from 5 to 13, and they all asked for this book to be read again, and again, and again. I can still hear all of the giggles.

A BOOK FOR BEAR by Ellen Ramsey. Illustrated by MacKenzie Haley. In this debut picture book, written by one of my critique partners, Bear yearns for a book of his own. This heartwarming story is a tale of friendship and determination. After reading this picture book, children might want to write their own story for bear and share their love for books.

PLAYING POSSUM written and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt. In this wonderful picture book, Alfred, a possum, and Sophia, an armadillo, share their journey of feeling anxious, nervous, and scared, and turn it into friendship, patience, and trust. This is a gentle story about acceptance and support.

PETE THE CAT ROCKING MY SCHOOL SHOES written by Eric Litwin. Art by James Dean. Pete the Cat has so much fun at school that he definitely plans to go back tomorrow. The text and illustrations are simple, and there’s anticipation on each page as Pete discovers the joys of school while singing about his shoes.

I think it would be a cool idea to buy your child a pair of red shoes. The night before the first day of school read this story and sing along. Then ask your child if they spent the school day rocking in their shoes like Pete the Cat.

TOMMY CAN’T STOP by Tim Federle. Pictures by Mark Fearing. Tommy is a rambunctious child whose energy can truly be described as annoying. His family tries to direct his energy but nothing seems to interest him, until his sister suggests tap dancing. Tommy is resistant to this idea, as he has a predisposed idea as to what dancing lessons might entail. With encouragement, Tommy quickly learns to direct his energy into something that gets…applause!

This is a good book to use to generate discussion with your child about trying something new. Turns out Tommy likes tap dancing, but he would never know that if he hadn’t given it a try. Ask your child if something like that has ever happened to him/her.

Mo Willems Presents THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA! This story starts out a bit creepy (to the adult in me), but it is done well by Mo Willems. The younger child will not be able to predict the twist in the story, but the older picture book audience will, most likely, see where this story is going. This is an interactive story and the voice of the main characters, as well as the chorus of geese, is delightful. Plus, Mo Willems clever presentation of this as an old time silent movie is entertaining to the adult reading it.

THIS IS NOT MY HAT by Jon Klassen is a fun and simple story with a big guy versus little guy theme. And, frankly, it begs the question of which one looks better in the hat…

THE IMPOSTER by Laura Bower. Illustrated by Kris Greene. Every parent can relate to the drama involved when a beloved stuffy goes missing. And, every adult in that child’s life can relate to the frustration of trying to replace that missing stuffy with an exact replica. The child can always tell the imposter. Laura Bower does a great job bringing this time old story to life.

THE UNDERPANTS by Tammi Sauer. Pictures by Joren Cull. In my family, we totally relate to this fun story, as our dog loves diving into warm laundry that is fresh out of the dryer. However, our dog is not as clever as Kitty in this very funny story. Read to see where Kitty’s cozy coat takes her and the friends she meets along the way.

BOBO AND THE NEW NEIGHBOR by Gail Page. They say a good picture book should appeal to children and adults, and this book does exactly that. This is a humorous book about mistaken identity. All ages will enjoy the silliness of Bobo and giggle their way through his dilemma.

NO PIRATES ALLOWED! SAID LIBRARY LOU by Rhonda Gowler Greene. Illustrated by Brian Ajar. Can a soft-spoken librarian tame the boisterous behavior of a pirate looking in the library for buried treasure? This pirate is demanding that Library Lou help him as his map indicates the library is at “X marks the spot.” Will Library Lou be afraid of such an imposing demand, or will she ask the pirate to leave the library immediately? This story is cleverly written in verse. There are strong characters and a sophisticated story arc. Good opportunity for follow up discussions on how Library Lou handles the pirate’s behavior.