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.