On the blog:
- A puny version of Links I Loved Last Week
- A 4th of July celebration of fireworks and explosions
- A review of an excellent nonfiction animal hero story
- A slice of life called Mad
Um, nothing? Seriously, we finished 5 picture books, and that’s IT. I did NO reading of my own all week, and we had a couple of nights with too much trauma for story time and then we started a chapter book, Liesl Shurtliff’s Jack, which is wonderful so far but will take us a couple of weeks to finish. But at least there are those 5 picture books!
There’s a particular category this book belongs to. The ones you buy new parents and then parents read over and over to their child. Goodnight Moon. Guess How Much I Love You. Love You Forever, for reasons I find utterly mystifying. It’s a difficult genre—easy to go treacly instead of touching, sentimental instead of sweet. And it’s also a difficult type of book for the adoptive family. There are plenty of adoption-specific titles in this category, but I find most of them problematic because they underplay the trauma experienced by the adopted child. From the parent’s perspective, it’s wonderful to adopt. From the child’s? Not so much. Melissa Marr manages quite a feat in Bunny Roo, I Love You—the perfect title for both birth and adoptive families, real and also adorably sweet. This book spoke deeply and powerfully to me because it is really a story about special needs parenting, inspired by Melissa Marr’s experience adopting an infant with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Marr compares her new baby to different animals, normalizing some of the behaviors special needs parents experience with their children and showing how a parent’s commitment, patience, and love can overcome some of those behaviors. It’s one I wish I could read to my son again and again. Since it also works beautifully for biological parents, it’s one I’ll definitely give as a gift too. Teagan White’s illustrations are timeless and lovely.
I absolutely loved Alicia Potter’s Fritz Danced the Fandango, illustrated by Ethan Long. It’s quirky and funny and a wonderful story of a bunch of outsiders finding their people. And as a read aloud? Brilliant! Fandango is a super fun word to say, AND there is yodeling!
I was expecting a bit more from the illustrations in Slobcat after reading Paul Geraghty’s The Hunter, which had magnificent landscapes of Africa, but found the pictures a bit dull. Lots of white space for no very good reason. But lluckily, this story of a cat’s secret life was clever. Slobcat is fat and lazy—or so his family thinks. In reality, during many of those hours they think he’s lazing around sleeping, he’s actually out rescuing kittens and performing other heroic acts. The juxtaposition of Slobcat’s adventures, which are depicted through the illustrations, with his family’s dismissive though affectionate words is quite funny.
Mo Willems can do no wrong. This may be one of the sillier entries in the Elephant & Piggie series. All the snoring and snurking and mmming make it a fun read-aloud, and Elephant’s dream sequence in which Piggie becomes a turnip head is quite memorable. Bonus points for the Knuffle Bunny appearance.
What a wonderful memoir mentor text from William Joyce—and a perfect story for inclusion in a writing workshop. Billy loves to write and illustrate stories, and he’s pretty sure he’s cooked up a contest winner in “Billy’s Booger.” He’s disappointed when he doesn’t win the prize, but in the end, he wins something even better—actual readers who love his book. Of course Joyce’s illustrations are gorgeous, but the writing really shines here as well.