Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Books #66- #62

Welcome to the eighth week of Rocking It Out Picture Book Style with Mrs. Mimi!  I am loving this list of Top 100 Picture Books…probably a little too much, but whatevs. I think most of you get it.

Okay. Starting us off today at #66 is Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman. Clearly, I have seen this book before.  It was even in my school supplied library.  But (I’m going to admit something big here…we would be holding hands if we could) I’ve never read it.  GASP!  I know, there were actually books in my library that I hadn’t gone through…It was like I had a pile of omni-present paperwork to get through or something…

Oh, and it’s totally a Caldecott book…like salt in the wound.  

Officer Buckle & Gloria (Caldecott Medal Book)  (Click on the images if you want links to where you can indulge in these fabulous titles…just do it!)

Officer Buckle loves to share his safety tips with everyone, especially school children, but no one seems to be listening.  (Um, if I was the teacher in THAT assembly, you can bet your last dime that my friends would be IN LINE, but I digress…)  One day, he is given a police dog, Gloria, who goes with him to all his presentations.  While Officer Buckle delivers his tips, Gloria strikes all kinds of hilarious poses (all behind the Officer’s back so he never notices), grabbing the everyone’s attention.  Soon there are no more accidents and Officer Buckle in huge demand.  But then, one day his presentation is taped and Officer Buckle realizes what has been going on the whole time…saddened, he doesn’t take any more presentation dates.  Gloria is forced to go alone with another officer but she falls asleep and so does the audience.  As a result, there is a huge accident (banana pudding related) and everyone wants the dynamic duo reunited.  Officer Buckle is happy to oblige and delivers his newest safety tip:
“Always stick with your buddy!”

Hearting this one and wishing I had discovered it/read it earlier!!!  I feel very late for the party.  (I thought about writing Tardy for the Party in honor of my love of bad television….get it?)  Super cute to integrate into a safety unit, a unit on friendship or to just read and enjoy.  Those Caldecott people never let me down…how do I get that job?

#65 is a book that I questioned at first, but once I read it, I loved it.  It’s Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner.

Skippyjon Jones

First off, I have a thing for kitties.  And this kitty may be the most adorable and hilarious cat ever.  EVER.  Skippyjon Jones loves to play with the birds in the morning, but his mother scolds him, reminds him that he is a Siamese cat, not a bird and sends him to his room.  While being punished, Skippyjon Jones imagines this amazing adventure in which he is a chihuahua who must save the other chihuahuas from the Bandito who has been stealing their beans.  (Yes, you read correctly.) Filled with a few Spanish words here and there, this part of the story is hilarious.  In the end, Skippyjon Jones’ mother comes in to discover the insane mess he’s made, but she loves him anyway.

Skippyjon is quite the character.  Your friends will laugh out loud – I guarantee it.  Especially if you read the story with a little flair – I’m thinking some accents and maybe a few bold hand gestures here and there.  Totally hot.  This is a fun read aloud, plain and simple, to be shared on a day when you all need a laugh or a jump start in imagination.  I say, save this for those rainy days (where you ALL want to poke yourselves in the eye). 

#64 was another tough one to track down.  You know, if these books are so fabulous that they made this list, then I feel like they should be readily available in each library.  But that’s just me…I’m a little beat down from using all my detective skills to hunt down these books.  (I know, cry me a river.)  Although I AM noticing that most of the harder-to-track down books are older so maybe libraries are just age-ist.  Who knows?  Even Amazon is making this harder than it needs to be by providing a link that has no image.  Boo. So, #64 is “I Can’t,” Said the Ant: A Second Book of Nonsense by Polly Cameron.

 Hopefully I will be able to track it down and get you an update asap.  Apologies all around. 

Annnnnddddd, at #63 we’ve got another new book for Mrs. Mimi. I am officially afraid of my upcoming bill from Barnsey.  It’s Traction Man is Here! by Mini Grey.  All I can picture is some dude in traction in the hospital…I have a feeling that image couldn’t be farther from this book…at least I HOPE it is.

Traction Man is Here

We follow a little boy through his day and to his grandmother’s house.  Even though he’s just eating breakfast or taking a bath, this story is filled with HIS imaginative stories about his action figure, Traction Man.  From tackling the dishes together to a long car ride, everything seems to be a great adventure with Traction Man!

This book is adorable, funny and super imaginative.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again and again…), I love a book long on imagination and short on video games.  I think friends in kindergarten through early second grade would love this one.  I also think it might help your more-reluctant-writer-friends see the possibility for story in their everyday lives.  If that is indeed the case, then this book might as well be worth it’s weight in gold, am I right?

Finally, coming in at #62 is The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack.  I totally had this book on record when I was a kid.  (I can practically hear my friends exclaiming, “You had it on what?  Huh?”)

The Story about Ping (Reading Railroad Books)

Ping has a crazy huge family that lives on a boat on the Yangtze river.  Every day they go ashore to hunt for snails and things to eat, heading home when the Master of the boat calls.  The last duck on the boat gets a spank on the bottom.  One day, Ping realizes he is going to end up being last and instead of facing his spank, he hides in the grass and doesn’t get on the boat.  The next morning, Ping’s family’s boat is nowhere to be found.  He tries to dive for food as the other birds do and ends up getting caught by an evil looking little boy who fell into the water.  The people on the boat put Ping under a basket and are planning on eating him for dinner.  (Bet that spank doesn’t look so bad now, does it?)  The boy, who isn’t as evil as he looks, let Ping free before he can be eaten just in time to see his family on a far away shore.  Ping swims like crazy to catch up and ends up being last on the boat.  He doesn’t mind the spank one bit.

Quite the adventure for a little duck.  I think this book is a total classic and makes a great read aloud for your friends in first or second grade.  I used to like to stop in several precarious places (when Ping gets left behind, when he got captured on the other boat) and ask my friends to make and revise predictions about the ending.  The story was able to hold their attention across a few days and has a happy ending, which is always nice. 

Well, we’ve made it to the end of June.  (Although I’m furiously writing this in early June in the last few remaining days before Mini Mimi’s debut.)  So in my book, that means each and every one of you should (finally) be on summer vacation.

(collective sigh of relief here)

Enjoy my friends.  You deserve it.


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  • "'I Can't,' Said the Ant" was one of my very favorites as a kid. Full of funny rhymes and with an (inspirational? Motivational?) morale. I think. Actually, I haven't read it since I was about eight. But it was pretty fantabulous, I remember that.

    June 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm
  • Where are books numbered 71-67? Did I miss them somewhere? I am so excited to have so many books for read alouds next year…thanks for reviewing all of them!

    June 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm
  • HOORAY for SKIPPITO!!! I met him about 5 or 6 years ago and we are now the best of friends. Met Judy Schachner at a Book Festival here in ATL — she's just as lovable as her main character. My kiddos adore Skippyjon and beg for me to read about his adventures on a regular basis — and, yes, the read aloud definitely needs a lot of spunk and theatrics!!!

    June 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria is also available on United Streaming (Discovery Kids), as a video. I read the book a couple of times at the beginning of the year, then in May, I surprised them with the video. The kids loved it.
    Also, scholastic had an author interview with Judy S. and a clip of Skippyjon Jones. Our school library has the CDs of a few of the SJJ books and the author also does the reading. Really funny with the voices, my kids loved that too. It was hilarious to hear them using their best "spaneesh accents" to read along with her.

    June 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm
  • "I Can't, Said the Ant" is available on the Scholastic web site. They even have a Big Book. My kids loved that book, and many years later I used it with some of the kids I tutored. On the other hand, I had a big debate over Skippyjohn Jones with one of my adult students. I didn't find it funny, but more to the point, i found the fake Spanish accent required to read it well sort of offensive. So how many books are in the baby's personal library by now?

    June 28, 2010 at 1:24 pm
  • I think I am losing it. I have been to the Top 100 picture book sight so many times and can never find the top 100 list. Where am I going wrong? Please lead me in the right direction! :o)

    June 30, 2010 at 1:39 pm
  • I heard the expression "Shut the front door" on a gum advertisement today. I thought of you.

    Oh, and pretzel M&Ms are beyond amazing, I know.

    July 2, 2010 at 8:33 pm

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