Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Books #71-#67

Um, so this post totally sneaked under my radar and got lost in the shuffle while falling through the cracks.  I say, blame it on the baby!  Better late than never?  A bird in the hand…


Regardless,  you ALL should be taking time to enjoy yourself (because it is finally finally SUMMER) and drool over these books, especially this first one. I, on the other hand, am barely awake at any given time of day and really?  If I’m honest with myself, feel as if day and night no longer have any meaning or distinction.  So goes one’s foray into parenthood I guess.  The sick part?  I don’t think I’ve ever been happier.  Sans sleep, sans high heels (but only until I’ve finally recovered) and sans the ability to plan anything that might disrupt the feeding schedule…

Being a mom rocks.

But enough about me.  Let’s get down to the books, shall we?

#71 is The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  I mean, I can barely even think about this book without my heart getting all poundy.  I. Love.  It.  I will read this one to any child at any given moment.  You don’t believe me?  Okay, I’m in the mall and see someone roughly seven years old sitting on a bench clearly waiting for their mother to buy them one of those pretzel thingys at that stand that smells so good? BAM! I whip Mr. Munsch out of my purse!  Just kidding!  (Kind of…try me.)

The Paper Bag Princess (Classic Munsch) (Click right away on this image…the other ones too…for a link.  You.  Need. This.  Book.  Trust me.)

Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, was all set to marry Ronald.  And then, one day a dragon burns down the castle, all her clothes and steals Prince Ronald.  Elizabeth, because she’s a badass, goes to save Ronald.  Dressed in only a paper bag, Elizabeth manages to trick the giant dragon (I mean, the girl is genius!) and get to Ronald.  AND THEN, Ronald has the balls to tell Elizabeth that she looks like a mess and should come back when she is dressed like a real princess!!!  (Cue the outrage, right?) And what does my girl Elizabeth do?  She tells Ronald he’s a bum, doesn’t marry him and skips off into the sunset.

GIRL POWER!  Talk about wanting to high five all the women around me and burn my bra!

I LOVE using this book during a fairy tale unit or as an example of strong, female characters.  LOVE. I’ve even broken this up over an entire week and had various groups do different comprehension based activities. The best is if you save the last page (the part where Elizabeth tells him to go take a hike) and kind of leave them hanging over night.  Although I had to hide the book because they were DYING to know.  One of my favorite read alouds of all time.  (That’s huge, people.) 

Talk about a tough act to follow, right?  Well, at #70 we have Miss Fanshawe and the Great Dragon Adventure by Sue Scullard.  Ms. Scullard must have known she was following up such a strong text, because this text is impossible to find.  Or at least it is where I live.  Fingers crossed that it gets here from a library far, far away in time for this post.  I’m not even posting an Amazon link for this one, not because it’s unworthy but because the only two links are ridiculous!  One is for $98.99.  Seriously?  It better come with a pair of fabulous shoes for that price.  Or do your laundry.  And the other link is essentially blank and not helpful.  Although it does reassure me that I’m not totally useless since I had so much trouble tracking this one down.

I also had no luck tracking down this next text, which is also new to me.  At #69 we have We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.  Any helpers? 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic

At #68 is another new title for Mrs. Mimi.  It’s The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  And I have to admit, this one threw me off a bit.  It’s pretty unexpected.  First of all, it’s far thicker than most picture books I’ve seen before (and I’ve seen a few).  It’s also told entirely through illustrations…beautiful but haunting illustrations.

The Arrival

This book is probably best for friends in grades five and up.  And although I don’t like to overstep my elementary school bounds, I think it would be incredibly interesting to use with friends all the way through high school.  For reals.  You see, this book is really about the immigrant experience.  Through drawings, we see the journey of one man, who comes to a new country as a shadowy but ominous creature threatens his native land.  With only an inventive alphabet (which could spark interesting discussions about how people new to our country experience English for the first time) we watch this man explore a strange new world.  (We’re talking floating elevators, strange creatures, etc…very fantasy times.)  I think you could keep coming back to this one and see something new with your (older) friends each time.  For me, it felt pretty intense.  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this one…share away!

This weekend, we’re going to wrap things up with my boy Leo Lionni.  I think I’ve adequately expressed my love for him earlier in the countdown.  At #67 is Little Blue and Little Yellow.  Watch out friends, Leo Lionni + an opportunity for me to geek out about arts ‘n farts = FABULOUS!!

Little Blue and Little Yellow 

Little Yellow and Little Blue are best friends. They spend most of their days together, but then one day, when they hug, they become green!  When it’s time to go home though, their parents don’t recognize them (because they’re green).  They cry big yellow and blue tears and until they are nothing but tears.  Suddenly, they can be just blue and just yellow again.  Their parents are so happy to see them that THEY  hug and realize what had happened before.  Then everyone plays together until supper.

This is a very sweet story.  Granted, it’s not going to spark the book talk of the century, but it is a great read aloud for mini-friends who are starting to learn their color combos.

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  • We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a pattern book. The family is looking for a bear, but they keep coming across obstacles (a hill, a forest, a river…) The repeating line is something like, "Can't go over it, can't go under it, have to go around it" (or maybe it's through it…it's been a while since I've read this!) It gets interesting when they actually find a bear! This is a fun read aloud for little ones, kindergarten or first grade.

    July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am
  • Thank you for posting these great book picks. I love to read and pick new books for my classsroom.

    July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am
  • The Paperbag Princess is totally my most favorite kid's book of all time! I dressed up as her for our Halloween literary character parade my first year of teaching…made my paper bag out of butcher paper. Little Blue and Little Yellow is a favorite too. My youngest just came home with a bag of Playdo a couple of weeks ago – one ball of blue, one of yellow.

    July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am
  • ooooooooohhhhhhh Mrs MIMI!!
    Awesome to get back to reading your stuff after my arctic hiatus and vacationland. SO so so sososososo – a million times so – happy that Mini Mimi is digging the world outside.
    Now, let me hear it for SHAUN TAN – the man is a genius and The Arrival, while intense, is brilliant, poetic, engaging, haunting – I srsly could go on and on – I love anything Mr. Tan has done, plus he's a nice guy. I emailed him once in a fit of gush and he wrote back an amazing kind open message.
    Younger kids can get into this – I gave it to my friend Syd who then read it to her six year old Sasha, who is admittedly precocious, but he was really into it, and got it all the way through.
    It'd be a hard one to read to Mini Mimi, tho, since there's no words in it at all…
    Glad to be reunited! And hey! I've been having trouble connecting with the list of readable books – I can't seem to find it anywhere and i want to read along with y'all!

    July 3, 2010 at 2:29 am
  • I just love Paper Bag Princess. I'm with you on it being a favourite! Granted, I say that about most Robert Munsch books (and about many books in general), but this one is a hands down for all of the reasons that you mentioned! My favourite student reaction came from a six year old boy who, after the last page, gave a dropped-jaw-stunned-look while announcing loudly: "Dude got OWNED by a GIRL!" 🙂

    July 3, 2010 at 11:22 am
  • Ah the Paper Bag Princess. Unfortunately for my daughter's sake (who is another Elizabeth) I did not discover this until I read Betsy's list. But I agree with you- great read aloud.

    July 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

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