Childrens Book Reading Extravaganza 2010: Picture Book Party #s 6-2

Are you getting excited???  We are just one post away from PICTURE BOOK NUMBER ONE!!  (Hollllaaaaaa!!!!!)  Friends, it’s been a long ride, but I have loved every minute of reading the Top 100 Picture Books and sharing my strange little thoughts with you.  My wallet?  Well, let’s just say it’s recovering. 

I can barely contain myself, so let’s get started.

Starting us off at #6 this morning is Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey, another Caldecott Award winner.  I remember Big Mama Mimi reading me this one (and maybe even had it on record too…yes, again, I said I had it “on record”…on vinyl…whatevs.  I had it Fisher Price style).

Make Way for Ducklings (Live Oak Read-along) (Click on the images if you want to shop ’til you drop, nerdy style.)

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard decide to make a home on the Charles River in Boston, close to the bread throwing tourists in the Public Gardens.  Mrs. Mallard soon has eight ducklings, who she tries to take out on the town.  Suddenly the family finds itself in the middle of a busy intersection until Michael, a police officer the Mallards had befriended, rushes to their rescue.   The ducks continue on their way (with a police escort of course) down Beacon Street toward the Public Gardens  where Mr. Mallard is waiting as promised.

This book is such a classic that it’s almost a crime NOT to read it. Despite my whole need-to-make-every-read-aloud-super-purposeful thing, I would suggest this one as a Let’s Just Enjoy Reading Together book, or even (gasp – this may be sacrilegious) as a substitute/emergency read aloud.  I think our friends in kindergarten and first grade would enjoy this one the most…coming in at a Level L it would also probably make a lovely independent reading book for second grade friends as well.   

At #5 is another appearance from my boy, Mo Willems.  (I seriously can NOT get enough of his books.)  Have you guys ever read this one?  Believe it or not, a three year old totally introduced me to it and I have loved it ever since.  It’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! 

The genius begins with a bus driver asking us to watch the bus for a minute and reminding us to not let the pigeon drive.  From there, the pigeon proceeds to make a very convincing argument as to why he SHOULD be allowed to drive the bus.  Sounds strange, but in reality, is hilarious.  There’s rationalizing, begging, yelling…seriously, it’s fantastic.  Like watching one of your little friends beg you for the extra donut hole after your writing celebration when you know full well that a snowball will sooner have a chance in hell than they will to get that last munchkin but, dammit, they are going to try every trick they have in their back pocket.  In the end, the pigeon does not get to drive, the bus driver returns and we see the pigeon move on to fantasizing about driving a big old truck.

I know it doesn’t sound all that fabulous when you’re reading my meanderings here, but take my word for it, it’s pretty great.  The illustrations are simple, the text is simple, the story is simple, but put them all together?  Fabulous.  I can see myself using this with the small fries for pure enjoyment or as a humorous introduction to a (not so successful) piece of persuasive writing.

We have a classic book coming in at #4 which is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Another Caldecott winner, y’all.

The Snowy Day

Although I totally don’t get this kid’s snowsuit, do you?  What’s with the pointy hood?  Anyhow, this book is about Peter’s day out in the snow.  He does all the things a kid does in the snow…make snow angels, check out footprints, think about throwing snowballs.  He even puts a snowball in his pocket to save, but after his bath, he discovers it melted.  He dreams that the sun came out and melted all the snow away but happily discovers in the morning that even more snow has fallen.

Another total classic.  I think it works really well with your kindergarten and first grade friends as part of a study on winter.  However, if you want to take it up a notch, Ezra Jack Keats is great for a study on author’s craft – there are sound effects to check out and the interesting ways that he uses just a few words to stretch out actions we might otherwise breeze by.

Number 3 is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I think by this point, my love for Mr. Carle has been established.

Very Hungry Caterpillar

I’m thinking there is no summary necessary with this one.  The hungry caterpillar eats a bunch of stuff and turns into a butterfly.  The genius comes in the brilliant illustrations.  Brilliant.  Use this one to spice up a unit on insects with your kindergarten or first grade friends OR (my personal choice) use this one to inspire some really fabulous collage art projects!!

(drum roll please)

In position #2 is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise.  I think Mini Mimi already has five copies of this one, but hey, can’t go wrong with a classic, right?

Goodnight Moon

Ah, Goodnight Moon.  Shall I recite it to you from memory?  Because I have read it EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since my little friend was born.  And have loved every single reading.  I have always imagined this as a mommy read aloud and less of a classroom read aloud, but you know I’m open to hear how you all have used it in your rooms.  Thoughts?

Speaking of Mini Mimi, I think we’re off to read some Elephant and Piggie.  I seriously have love for those two characters.  Is it wrong that I laugh every time I read them and, now that I am familiar with the stories, have taken my read aloud to dramatic new heights?  We’re talking dramatic pauses, voices, hand gestures…the works.

I hope you can contain yourselves until next week….it’s NUMBER ONE, NUMERO UNO….the big cheese. 

Try to hold it together. 


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  • And you probably already know this, but you can take that baby on up to Boston and visit Mrs. Mallard and her babies in the Public Garden, where they're a statute. Last time I was there, college students on spring break from Argentina were taking their photos in front of it. Awesome!

    October 1, 2010 at 8:37 pm
  • Mo Willems is a genius…the Seinfeld of children's literature…I totally mean that as the highest compliment!

    October 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm
  • Elephant & Piggie and the Pigeon books are not only hi-larious, my second graders are having an absolute blast using them to practice fluency using punctuation. we did a choral read of an elephant/piggie book using a document camera, then they were off. fun, fun, fun!

    October 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm
  • I love your choices…especially since almost all of them were written before I was born, or right after! Did you hear that on October 7th there is some sort of record-holding thing to see how many teacher can read Snowy Day to their kids??

    October 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm
  • Do you realize that it is possible to find out #1 by clicking on the list in the sidebar? Good choice. And I personally am so tired of that damned caterpillar that my adult students are not allowed to use it when designing their final projects.

    October 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm
  • Goodnight Moon is one of the favorites we have memorized at our house too! I think you're right though, I can't really imagine using in the classroom.

    October 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm
  • Thanks for these suggestions! I am a secondary English teacher who loves picture books– we can still learn through pictures and easy reading, right? I'm a new follower and I'm loving your blog. Can't wait to see what you have in store for the future 🙂

    Check out my educational blog at:

    October 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

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