Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Books #s 76- 72

I know many of you only have a few weeks to go until school is officially O-V-E-R.  Just know, YOU CAN DO IT!!  I hope these lists make the time go by a little faster…and maybe psych you up to do it all again next year?  Yes?  No?

Regardless, do you have your coffee?  (Or cocktail if it’s afternoon where you are.)
Got your list?
Your favorite Sharpie?

Then let’s go!

At #76 this morning is Zoom at Sea by Tim Wynne-Jones.  A warning – this book was a you-know-what to find at the public library.  I mean, it’s like hunting for buried treasure. So I hope a) it was worth it and b) it’s easier for you to find.  Anyone have something to share with us about this title? Hopefully I’ll have an update sometime soon. 

Zoom at Sea

Okay, my loyal readers.  At #75 we have one of my FAVORITE.  STORIES.  EVER.  It’s Horton Hatches the Egg by the master of rhyme himself, Dr. Seuss.  (insert moment of reverence here)  So far, my boy Dr. S is the only author to grace this list THREE TIMES.  That’s right, I said THREE TIMES and we’re only on number 75.

Horton Hatches the Egg (Dr. Seuss Classics)

First of all, I think I must warn you that Mayzie, one of the main characters in the book, totally infuriates me.  I mean, girlfriend is the epitome of all things self-centered.  And, reading this book while pregnant, does not make me feel any more sympathetic.

So, if you haven’t read this one before RUN OUT YOUR DOOR AND GET IT NOW.  It is totally worth it.  Basically, Mayzie is a lazy piece of crap bird who is sick of sitting on her egg.  Horton, who is fabulous, volunteers to watch it for her while she runs out for a minute.  Except…Mayzie never comes back.  And Horton, who is the most faithful and wonderful creature EVER, stays on her egg through all kinds of heinous weather.  (Mr. Mimi, my southern Californian, is somewhere just twitching thinking about sitting outside in all that snow.)  Plus, all the other animals make fun of him, but Horton, who shows great inner-strength, stays on the egg.  (I mean, how much does he charge an hour?) Then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, some hunters come and take Horton (with the eggs) away to put him in a circus!  Cue Mayzie who flies in to visit the circus and discovers Horton with her egg that is hatching!  And, because she has balls the size of North Dakota, Mayzie yells at Horton to give her back her egg and accuses him of stealing.  (deep breaths)  Out pops an elephant bird which Horton promptly takes home.

I know. Long summary.  But I get all excited when I think about this book that you HAVE to read with your first and/or second grade friends.  (And as a Fountas and Pinnell Level P book, great for third grade just right independent reading.)  I mean, we’ve got opportunities to study some rhyme, a fabulous story to discuss, a lesson about being true to your word and even the potential for a debate between children who are wrong side with Mayzie and those who side with Horton.   I say, slam dunk, Dr. Seuss, slam dunk.

I’ll try to keep this next one shorter.  (You’re welcome.) Number 74 is Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.  If you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, you will receive roughly six copies of this in board book form.  Consider yourself warned.

The Runaway Bunny

A little bunny continues to threaten to run away.  (If Mini Mimi ever pulls this, I may not handle it as well as the Mother Bunny in this book.)   For example, when the little bunny says he is going to become a rock on a mountain high above her, the mother replies that she will become a mountain climber.  In the end, the little bunny realizes that his mother will always be with him and decides to stay home and be her little bunny.

Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant and haven’t had a drink in MONTHS, but…when I read the book this time, I could only think to myself that the little bunny sounded like a little shit.  I have a feeling that most see this as a very sweet story between mother and son, however and perhaps, with fewer hormones, I will again too.  Either way, I think this is more of a bedtime story than it is a read aloud for your friends at school. 

I already know that I love this next story!!  It’s The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant by Jean de Brunhoff at number 73.  I was obsessed with elephants as a child, still think they are adorable today and even sneaked a few into Mini Mimi’s uber-cute nursery.

The Story of Babar (Babar Books (Random House))

So the beginning is a little rough.  Babar’s mother is killed by some poachers.  Babar runs away and meets a rich Old Lady (seriously, that’s her name in the story) in the city who gives him some money for clothes and takes him in.  (Can’t blame a guy for trying to fit in, right?)  Babar goes to school and totally lives the good life but still misses his mother.  (Think E! True Hollywood Story all the way.) One day, Babar’s two cousins come to find him, although their mother and father are worried.  Babar misses his family and decides to pay a visit to the forest but on that day, the king of the elephants gets sick and dies.  They make Babar the King of the Elephants.  Celeste is his Queen (and also his cousin…creepy?)

Okay.  I may have blocked the part about Celeste being his cousin.  I don’t think my childhood self made that connection.  Methinks I’m going to continue to ignore it for now as well.  This is a fun read aloud for first and second graders…just fun.  And, as I’ve said before, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a book together.  Maybe one to keep on hand for emergency sub plans and/or those random extra ten minutes you sometimes end up with at the end of the day.

And, at the end of our list for today is The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban.  This book originally came out in 1966 and as I’m finding out, the older books are usually a b*tch to find in the public library, even if they are considered classic. 

The Little Brute Family

All right my fellow book nerds, that’s it for this week. Stay tuned for numbers 71-67 next weekend.  A sneak peak at the list tells me that my boy Robert Munsch is about to make an appearance…


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  • Babar hasn't been as much fun since they stopped printing it with the font that looked like script. I don't know if you are old enough to remember that. Deciphering the print was challenging for a kid, but a real joy.

    June 14, 2010 at 2:11 pm
  • Zoom at Sea- well it was my daughter and me that got it on the list so I guess I should comment? We love this book. It is a gentle but adventurous fantasy with complementary black and white pictures (most full page from what I remember). We did it as a read aloud for both kindergarten and 1st grade and it was liked both times. We LOVED the part how the sea was inside the house, and wondering who the mysterious Maria was. The book was published in the States as a part of the Zoom Trilogy (Akadine press maybe?) but did not have wide distribution I think. Good luck getting a copy.

    June 15, 2010 at 5:21 pm
  • Huh . . . I thought I was the only person who thought the little bunny needed a good kick in the pants when the mama bunny caught him. Don't get me wrong, I love the damn book, but I never fully understood the dynamics. I much prefer Goodnight Moon for purely sentimental reasons (the way the Girls would whisper "Hush" after the mama bunny).

    June 18, 2010 at 12:42 pm

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