“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~ Dr. Seuss – “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut”
Published in 1986 and wonderfully illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester is a delightful picture book that will entrance readers and listeners alike. Fluffy the porcupine is distressed that his appearance doesn’t live up to his name and he tries to become what he is not – fluffy. He meets a new friend, a rhinoceros named Hippo, with the same problem. In the end, they are able to laugh at themselves and accept themselves for who they are.
With a great object lesson for children (and many adults!), this is a book that will be read over and over. The illustrations that accompany the text are adorable. Read it! You’ll be glad you did.
This enchanting book by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers was published in 1999. It has great simple rhyming text about moods, emotions and facial expressions but the real beauty is in the photos of the produce by Nimkin/Parrinello. Saxton Freymann has sculpted simple but expressive faces into an assortment of unusually shaped fruits and vegetables in perfect harmony with the words.
New York City was combed for just the right peppers, potatoes, strawberries, oranges, kiwi, onions, apples, peas, mushrooms, turnips, tomatoes, cantaloupe, peas, lemons, sweet potatoes, squash and radishes to provide canvases for adorable faces. Black eyed peas are used for eyes and beet juice colors the lips. The stem ends of the produce are noses.
The New York Times Book Review voted How Are You Peeling? the Best Illustrated Children’s Book. I still enjoy looking at the book and I no longer teach young children or have a young child. It makes me smile every time I see it.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boomby Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault has the rhyme and rhythm to make learning the alphabet fun for all. Published in 1989, it won the Parents Choice Award in 2003.
Long after the book first came out and long after I had learned to love it, I heard John Archambault speak at the Sevier County Junior Authors Conference (grades 5-8) in the spring of 2007. He explained how the book came to be and the science behind the “rhythm.”
In Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, the lower case letters of the alphabet (the “children”) all race (in alphabetical order, of course) to the top of a coconut tree. Overloaded in the tree, they all fall to the ground. The capital letters (“parents”) come to the rescue of the wounded.
Simple, brightly colored illustrations by artist Lois Ehlert punctuate the catchy text. This book is both fun to read aloud and listen to. It is a must for young children and makes a wonderful gift.
Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway is a wonderful picture book with beautiful illustrations by the author. The story is fun to read-aloud and to listen to, with catchy alliteration and rhyme.
Nipper the Crab feels like he doesn’t fit in. Who hasn’t felt that way before? Everything he tries to do is wrong. His huge claws cause all kinds of problems when he plays with his friends. Finally, Nipper is able to use his claws to help a friend in need and he realizes he is special, after all.
Parents and teachers will enjoy reading this book to young children. I highly recommend it. A great lesson in individuality and that everyone has a talent.