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…
Can you HEAR the DELIRIOUS?
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.)
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?
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.
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 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.