Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Book Party #s 11-7

Watch out, friends!!  We’ve only got two more posts to go and we’re done reviewing the list of Top 100 Children’s Books….I have to admit.  I have some mixed feelings about all this.  I think the peeps at my local library are breathing a sigh of relief (since I’m THAT JERK who reserves them all over the internet and then just breezes in to pick them up which was cool when I was pregnant times and essentially on bed rest but now I’m just…well, I’m a fan of the service, let’s just leave it at that).

Here we go with number 11 which is The Story of Ferdinand by Monro Leaf.  I’ve never read this one personally but totes remember it from the movie “The Blind Side” and so feel like I love it already.

The Story of Ferdinand (Puffin Storytime) (As usual, click on the images for links to online picture book shopping paradise!!)

This story takes place in Spain, so I love it right off the bat.  (Did I ever tell you guys about how I met Mr. Mimi in Spain??  No?  It’s a good one…remind me sometime.)  However, I will continue to sum it up for you here.  (You’re welcome.)  Ferdinand is not like the other bulls.  He likes to sit under the trees and smell flowers.  He’s the introspective type, I guess.  All the other bulls are running around in a macho pissing match trying to get picked to fight in Madrid.  Ferdinand could care less, but…sits on a bee and (who can blame him) jumps up and runs around like a bull possessed.  Clearly, he gets taken to the bullfight and everyone thinks he is so ferocious that they are scared you-know-what-less.  HOWEVER, Ferdinand sees all the flowers in ladies’ hair, sits down in the middle of the ring and just smells.  Infuriated, the matadors have no choice but to take him home where he promptly sits down under his fave tree again.


I love it.  I mean, I love it when characters break traditional stereotypes and show that it’s okay to be your own person.  (Am I getting to deep with a children’s book here?  I have a smidge of a tendency to read into things.)  Basically, this book has a great story that will keep your little friends (perf for first and second grades) interested, simple text and lovely black and white illustrations.  I think there is a lot of potential for great follow up discussion about this meaty little lesson Mr. Leaf has tossed up for us.  All in all….heart it. 

At #10 is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by the man, the myth, the legend…Mo Willems.  My love for his books is pretty intense, people.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. LOVE.  L. O. V. E. I. T.  The only issue I have is with it’s pronunciation…Similar to the whole “Henkes” debacle, I have heard “Knuffle” pronounced two distinct ways.  It’s like an inner battle between the teacher inside me, who wants desperately to have “kn” always say “n”, and the other part of me who, deep in her heart, thinks it’s pronounced quite the opposite.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Bccb Blue Ribbon Picture Book Awards (Awards))

For those of you who know I love kitties…I was pumped to see the following title at #9.  It’s Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. Bonus, this is also a Caldecott book.  Kitties and awards…I mean, how good can it get?

Millions of Cats (Gift Edition) (Picture Puffin Books)

An old man and old woman are lonely.  The woman wants a cat to keep them company.  (Can you blame her?)  So, the old man sets out to find her one.  He comes upon this hill filled with millions of cats.  He tries to pick out the prettiest cat, but every time he turns around, he sees another one she might like.  (Picture me at the shelter trying to pick out my kitty…Not.  Easy.)  He ends up bringing them all home.  Clearly the one who thinks ahead in this relationship, the old woman asks how they are going to feed all these cats.  The old man suggests he lets the cats fight it out and choose which one of them they should keep.  While not graphic at all, I don’t condone kitty violence, so this part bugged a little…I mean, all the cats are fighting each other to determine who is the prettiest.  In the end, all the cats ate each other up, except for one very homely cat that none of the other cats bothered with.  They take him in, feed him well and give him a bath and soon he is a lovely little cat too.

Minus the cat fight part, I think this is a sweet book.  I love the whole ugly duckling twist on things too.  It has fairly simple black and white drawings, and I bet your friends could come up with some really creative, colorful and fabulous drawings on their own too.  I’m trying to imagine where you could fit this into your day to get the most out of it, and I think that it may be one of those books you hang on to for those emergency five minutes and/or put on the sub plan pile.  (Because don’t you hate it when a last minute sub reads one of your faves that you have been saving forever?? ) 

Although I totes think they spelled it the wrong way (one of my BFFs spells it the truly French way with the extra “e”), #8 is the Caldecott Award winning Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. 


Do I really need to summarize this one?  I don’t want anyone to feel left out if I don’t and they haven’t read it, so I’ll keep it short.  Madeline evidently goes to boarding school and has to have her appendix taken out.  She’s scared, but, of course, everything ends up being okay and all the other little girls from boarding school come to visit her.  When they see all her fab gifts, they all want to have their appendix out too.

Very cute, very simple, very basic story.  HOWEVER, totes a classic AND totes has a rhyming pattern.  And you know how Mrs. Mimi loves that word study connection to a read aloud.  LOVE IT!  As an added bonus, famous landmarks from all over Paris are included in the illustrations…*sigh*…making me want to be in Paris right now.  I can practically taste the chocolate croissant…

For our last book this morning, we have #7 which is the always popular Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson.  *sigh* I do love children who can spend a whole afternoon crafting arts and farts projects all on their own.

Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition (Purple Crayon Books)

Um, classic titles much?  I heart this little boy’s imagination.  Harold and his trusty purple crayon draw themselves all sorts of adventures including landmarks so they don’t get lost.  Would I love Mini Mimi to take a crayon and draw herself silly?  Um, yes please. 

I love this story.  Love, love, love.  Talk about a wonderful story to share with your little friends, especially if you are an arts and farts lover like myself. 

All right kiddies, that does it for this week.  Mrs. Mimi is going to go treat herself to a nice cup of tea – watch out – I’ll be back to cocktails before you know it!

Have a fabulous weekend…did you notice that we’re basically done with September already??  I thought being a teacher made time fly, I didn’t realize becoming a parent would multiply that by a ho-jillion.


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  • If you read the second Knufflebunny, the other girl calls hers "Nufflebunny." One of my kids insisted it was K-nufflebunny and he was right for the first book. :o)

    September 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm
  • You are not along in the Knuffle pronunciation debate. After all, in Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Trixie's bunny gets mixed up with Sonja's at school. The two girls argue over how to say the bunny's name. Trixie is pro kuh-nuffle though, and since her bunny is the main character, that's the pronunciation I use when I read it out loud.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm
  • Hey Mimi – Great list. The Knuffle Bunny controversy gets cleared up in the sequel Knuffle Bunny 2 – which I L.O.V.E just as much.

    September 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm
  • But how is it that no one has posted that the Knuffle pronunciation debate is RESOLVED in the second book (Knuffle Bunny, Too)? Trixie pronounces the K; her eventual best friend Sonja (who has a nearly identical, save the ears, bunny) does not.

    (Yes, we have these books. Actually, most of the ones in this post, except we have Ferdinand in Latin.)

    September 26, 2010 at 9:26 pm
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon has got to be one of the greatest books ever conceived.

    September 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

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