Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Library picks

On our last trip to the library, Will picked up this book, which I am by no means recommending to you.

“Mom, this is so cool!” he said about 15 times in a row in what was most certainly NOT a library voice. "Look at all these bad boys."

I wasn’t too keen on the book, which features lots of knights wielding axes and lances and the “LEGO” brand named stamped across the cover, but Will's desire to get the book was way too intense to veto. It’s a good reminder to me that my idea of a quality book doesn’t necessarily matter all that much. Will studied this book many times independently and he asked about words as we read so that by the end of the story he had learned about chasms and lances -- and shudders and gulps – and found great satisfaction in reading the book repeatedly with Rob and me.

So I let Will pick a few things that tempt him when we go to the library. But he tends to want every book he touches – even though he doesn’t necessarily enjoy them all that much once we’re home. So I try to do a good bit of the book-finding myself. Now that I’ve exhausted the Caldecott shelf at the library, I’m starting to keep a library list – this is my equivalent of a shopping list for the library. As I hear about books I’d like to read with Will, or find recommendations in an article or on a blog, I’ll jot them down, and look up the titles on the library’s online catalog to see what’s available there before we go. Then while Will browses through books, I can go straight to a few titles I think we’re likely to enjoy.

On a recent trip, I picked up five titles recommended in an article entitled “The Unheralded Classics” in the March issue of Cookie Magazine – which featured “The 33 Best Children’s Books You’re Probably Not Reading Yet.”
Here are two (billed as books for 4- to 6-year-olds) that we especially loved:

"The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson Will thinks this story of a clever mouse and his invented Gruffalo (that just happens to be real) is really funny. We’ve read it again and again.

"Amos and Boris" by William Steig I love this story of life-saving friendship between a whale and a mouse – and Will does too.

How do you choose books at the library? Any recent favorites for my library list?


shannon said...

I love William Steig- I grew up reading the one about the Donkey-turned-pebble!
Cavan, 3, has just discovered the Leo Leoni books and loves The Largest house in the World and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse.

I tend to find an author I love and then check everything out I can find. Jan Brett has beautiful illustrations and good stories, too. We've got all the Toot and Puddle series and we enjoy them again and again. Kevin Henkes is also great (A Good Day, Kittens First Full Moon, the Lily series).

I followed a recommendation off one of your friend-blogs listed and recently checked out Hollings Clancy Hollings' Paddle-To-The-Sea. It's more for my 6 year old and up but Cavan insisted Ronnie read it to him instead and he loved it. I also checked out Sea Bird, also by Hollings, and just began to read it to Cavan who looks away a little too often. This is very well written, not many be verbs and very descriptive-- eloquent. I want to sit on the grass and read it myself.

For girls- we loved the Ella books by Carmella D'amico and the Madeline books. Patricia Polacco's another good one, check out Thuder Cakes. And I don't like to admit it, but we love the Madonna series, especially The English Roses!

Oooh- one more of our very favs- Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks (great illustrations). There are two poetry compilations I love also-- Animal Crackers with illustrations by Jane Dyer and A Book of Lullabies: Dreamtime, Belinda Hollyer.

ONE more- M. Sasek and his classic "This is" series. I started buying these for my kids when we'd travel. . . we only have This is San Francisco and This is Texas and This is Paris but there are many more. Very educational and classic.

A subject I am very enthusiastic about-- can you tell? I may not know who the greatest current adult fiction writer is but by golly, I'm up on the children's books!

I'm actually worried that we're going to have read all the books in the Hamilton library by the end of the summer, so maybe I'll run into you in Columbus! Cavan'll be delighted to talk "bad boys" with Will and Will can show him around that section!

Annie Addington said...

Thanks Shannon. I pasted all your ideas into my kids book file on the computer, where I noticed I have Hollings' Paddle to the Sea on my want-to-checkout list already. (Soule Mama posts some nice reading lists.)

We're William Steig fans here too. Besides Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and our library copy of Amos and Boris, we have Roland the Minstrel Pig, which is filled with quirky songs that Will loves to hear even though I have no idea how to sing them -- and break out a new terrible melody every time.

We loved Kitten's First Full Moon too -- and have enjoyed at least one Toot and Puddle tale that we stumbled across at the library, but I'll do a more deliberate search for that pig duo sometime soon.

Looking forward to exploring some of the others you mentioned...