On the blog:
- A curation of some of the best of last week’s online reading
- A celebration of one of my favorite therapeutic parenting techniques, outcrazying the crazy
- A reflection on three chapters of Digital Reading for #cyberPD
- A review of the new picture book biography of e.e. cummings
- A slice of life about the meaning of mother
There is something so exuberant and happy-making about Lita Judge’s illustrations. As the mom of a precious tween who has A LOT of trouble modulating his voice, I enjoyed this story of a parrot who’s just a little—ok, a lot—too loud and whose voice and over-enthusiasm disturb the animals he lives with. I definitely don’t think my son recognized himself in this story, but I sure did.
I love the illustrations and ample use of white space in Deborah Underwood’s series about the cat who gets to moonlight as the various fantasy creatures of childhood. The stories are all just a bit long for me, but they’re clever, and I’m a sucker for a cat book. Cat longs to see the Tooth Fairy and is willing to do just about anything to make his dream come true—including trying to trick the Tooth Fairy by leaving her the tooth from a comb instead of a tooth from a mouth. The Tooth Fairy has a trick up her sleeves for Cat too.
Using very few words, Amy Krouse Rosenthal crafts a sweet story that’s perfect to give to soon-to-be big sisters. Rosenthal captures the joy and frustrations of little siblings. Peter Reynolds’s illustrations are charming as always. I found my son’s response to this book quite interesting. The focus is on the sibling relationship, and so the parents are very much in the background. The story and illustrations show the big sister doing much of the work caring for, playing with, and watching after the little sister. “Where are the parents?” he kept demanding. “Why is the kid doing the parenting?”
I think I would have to read this one to a group of children to decide what I really think. I had a very hard time understanding the audience for this book. First, a rundown of the plot. More than anything, Sophia wants a giraffe for her birthday, but first, she must persuade four very tough customers to agree: her mother, her father, her uncle, and her Grand-mama. There’s an interesting lesson in rhetoric here as Sophia marshalls different evidence and crafts different speeches for each of her tough customers. Not one of her speeches gets results: her family accuses her of using too many words. Which is actually my complaint about this book. So many hard words! I found the scribbly drawings very appealing and charming, but for me, they skewed the audience quite young. The moral of the story—please and thank you are the most important words—also skews young. The writing, on the other hand, is really complex and difficult with sentence after sentence packed with very high-level vocabulary. There is a short glossary in the back but there are many more words that probably should have been included in it. I could tell that I lost my son many times while I was reading this story. Granted, he’s still an English language learner, but he is going into 7th grade and generally never gets lost in a picture book.
Another winner from CeCe Bell. I wish I could have figured out how to do a donkey voice for my read-aloud. Regardless, Donkey is one of my new favorite characters. He is so very confused by Yam’s grammar lessons. What Donkey does when he discovers all his new friends are actually vegetables is hilarious. Well, I found it hilarious. My son dislikes even light dark humor in a picture book, so he was very disturbed. I anticipate this will be a new favorite in my Children’s Lit class. Which means I’ve got to develop a Donkey voice.