Reading Log #1

Picture Book #1

Litwin, E., & Dean, J. (2008). Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Broadway, NY: HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Pete the Cat is a fun tale of a charming cat who embarks on a walk in his new, white shoes! He loves his shoes so much that he sings a song about them.  But along the way, they get changed different colors. Instead of being upset by this, each time Pete sings a new happy tune about how much he loves these different shoes. The book is a fun way for children to learn how to deal with life’s ups and downs, such as when a favorite possession is damaged or when something doesn’t go quite as planned. Pete is a happy, laid-back cat who never loses his cool, but who adapts to changing circumstances and keeps his happy outlook. This book is also a fun way for kids to learn some basic colors, and for both the reader and the child to have some enjoyable times together singing Pete’s song.

Picture Book #2

Mayer, M. (1983). I Was So Mad. New York, NY: Random House Books.

I Was So Mad is one of Mayer’s Little Critter stories, and is about the frustrations of being a kid in a world full of adults. In this book, Little Critter has his own ideas of how he wants to spend his time, but the adults around him keep telling him no. This book is so much fun to read for both adults and children, and I have found that children love to hear just how mad Little Critter is throughout the story. It is a great way for children to see this common emotion expressed so well in this story, and to be reminded that everyday frustrations, though difficult, do pass. The drawings are colorful and simple and highlight the narrative, and the angry facial expressions of Little Critter are priceless. This is a book that has stood the test of time and is a must-have addition for any library.

Picture Book #3

Willems, Mo. (2003). Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children.

Mo Willems is one of the most popular children’s books authors, and his pigeon books are partly responsible. This one is so enjoyable, as we get to see Pigeon desperately try to negotiate with the reader for what he wants. It puts children in a position of power, as they get to playfully deny Pigeon his desire, and it gives them an opportunity to see a little bit of themselves in Pigeon, as he continually tries to get what he wants. The art is very simple, as it is almost all Pigeon, but putting him front and center highlights his behaviors and pleas all that much more, and really makes it a very humorous book. Both adults and children will enjoy reading about Pigeon’s attempts to drive that bus!

Picture Book #4

Ferry, B., & Lichtenheld, T. (2015). Stick and Stone. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company.

Stick and Stone is a delightful story about the importance of friendship. Stick and Stone are both alone until they find each other and become good friends. This book highlights that though Stick and Stone are different, they each bring their own unique qualities and abilities to the friendship, and both are invaluable to the other. The book teaches children about the joy of having a friend, as well as the  importance of being friendly, and in helping each other. The illustrations do a good job of communicating a progression of the story, of not only  Stick and Stone going from being lonely to having a friend, but of a passage of time through which their friendship grows.  It is a sweet story, and one that will be enjoyed by both adults and children.

Picture Book #5

Howe, J. (2010). Brontorina. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Brontorina Apatosaurus has a dream of being a ballerina, and despite her size and her lack of ballet shoes, she goes for it. The tale of Brontorina pursuing her dream, in spite of the obstacles in her way, and those who tell her it is impossible, is a fun and important story for children, especially those who might feel that they don’t fit in. The illustrations complement the text superbly, and do a great job of showing the size difference between this dinosaur and her fellow ballet students. The pictures of Brontorina going through the various ballet moves is sure to delight both children and adults, and as the book continues, you can’t help but cheer for her, and for those who support her in her pursuit of her dream.

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Multi-Media Memoir

I have definitely been a reader for a long as I can remember. There are pictures of me as a child, before I learned to read, looking at newspapers and adult books as if I was reading them. My grandfather was a reader and a wonderful storyteller, and some of my earliest memories are of him telling me such amazing stories. I have always enjoyed being told a story, regardless of its format – whether oral, in book form, or movie form, just please let me hear a good story! I think that is also where I get my love of history – at its core, history is just a collection of fascinating stories.

My dad is also a prolific reader, and all of his children share that with him. Dad always made sure we had books, and some of my fondest memories are of hanging out at the library. When I was younger, it was a magical place for me (okay, it still is), with fun little nooks and a tree house that was the best for reading in.  For my sisters and I, a library card has always been a prized possession that provides access to an endless treasure trove of stories.

When thinking back on some of my favorite books as a child, Nancy Drew immediately comes to mind. I had all of her books, and also enjoyed Trixie Belden stories, Judy Blume, choose your own adventure books, fantasy, and so many others. Specific titles that come to mind are A Wrinkle in Time, The Dragonlance Chronicles,  Elfquest, Mad magazine, books by Robert McCammon and Stephen King, the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, and so many more.

My love for reading has never changed. My favorite thing to do is to be able to sit in a comfortable chair and open to the first page of a new book. The promise to come of a good story is just intoxicating.

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My Favorite Picture Book

One of my all-time favorite books, and one that still makes me laugh to this day, is The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone. Grover, the Sesame Street Muppet, is so scared of the monster he is sure is at the end of the book that he begs and pleads the reader to not turn any pages. He tries desperately to keep this from happening, and is so stressed as the pages keep turning. It is a good-natured story as the reader gently delights at Grover’s frustrations while also suspecting all will be okay. The illustrations are absolutely hilarious, and I think it is so fun to see what Grover will do next, and to find out about the monster at the end of the book. I think children will have a great time getting to be the brave one as they keep courageously turning pages despite Grover’s pleas, and in the end, they get to delight in being right that there really was nothing to be afraid of after all.

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This is my blog for my online graduate class entitled “Texts and E-Tools for Tots to Teens.” This is part of my academic preparation to becoming a school librarian. I am excited to be learning about selecting and evaluating materials for children, and look forward to the semester!

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