Posts Tagged ‘generously illustrated’

A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Storytime Standouts Shares Wonderful Choices for Beginning Readers








The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 2014  Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award WinnerThe Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Picture book for beginning readers published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group



When a charming and exuberant crocodile explains that he loves watermelon, we are utterly convinced,

Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby cocodile, it’s been my favorite.
CHOMP! SLURP! CHOMP!

While enthusiastically devouring his favorite fruit, the crocodile accidentally ingests a seed, his imagination runs wild and he assumes a variety of terrible outcomes.

Repetitive text, limited use of long vowel words and very good supporting illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers.

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.com

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.ca



Ball by Mary Sullivan a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookBall written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Picture book for beginning readers published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children



There is little doubt that this dog loves his small, red ball. From the moment he wakes up, he is focused on only one thing: playing with the ball. He especially loves when the ball is thrown by a young girl but when she leaves for school there is no one available to throw it.

This is a terrific picture book that relies heavily on the illustrations for the narrative. Apart from one repeated word (ball) it could be classified as a wordless picture book.

It will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young children – especially those who are eager for an opportunity to read independently.

Ball at Amazon.com

Ball at Amazon.ca



A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookA Big Guy Took My Ball written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Series for beginning readers published by Hyperion Books for Children



This charming story will remind readers that appearances can be deceiving and perspective is everything! Gerald and Piggie’s friendship is solid and Gerald is more than willing to stand up for Piggie when her ball is taken by a big guy.

Delightful illustrations will appeal to young readers as they effectively portray a range of emotions. The text is perfect for children who are beginning to read – lots of repetition and very few long vowel words.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) at Amazon.com

A Big Guy Took My Ball! at Amazon.ca



Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookPenny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Generously illustrated chapter book series for beginning readers published by Greenwillow Books An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers



It truly is a treat to read such a beautifully-written chapter book for beginning readers. Kevin Henkes has created a new character: Penny. She is a young mouse with a sense of right and wrong. In this book, she is out with her sister when she “finds” a beautiful blue marble. She excitedly puts it into her pocket and later wonders if she did the right thing.

Lovely, full color illustrations and a thought-provoking dilemma make this a great choice for newly independent readers.

Penny and Her Marble at Amazon.com

Penny And Her Marble at Amazon.ca


Summer Reads for Tweens

Posted on August 5th, 2013 by Jody

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

image of cover art for Dork Diaries Summer Reads for TweensThis summer, we brought home a stack of books to read but have moved rather slowly. My daughter has made her way through the sixth Harry Potter, reminding me that I should read the series again. She’s so immensely caught up in the story that she walks into a room spouting random facts as though we’d been having a long winded discussion. I’ve had to “make” her read other books with me because I like a little variety. A couple of surprises turned out to be Dork Diaries and Forever Four. I have seen Dork Diaries several times: in the classroom, the library, Scholastic, and the hands of students. I have even suggested it to students who prefer the graphic, comedic, preteen reads. However, I have not actually read them. I can’t read every book I recommend to students because I simply don’t have time (and I read slower than you can possibly imagine). In my attempts to persuade my oldest to try something other than the wizarding world, just briefly, I found that I was making quite an excellent recommendation.

Rachel Renee Russell‘s main character, Nikki, is adorable, self-depricating, authentic, and, I suppose, a bit dorky. She’s the kind of dorky that exists in all of us that weren’t into cliques and created from a mold of self-confidence. She’s the kind of kid, girl, pre-teen that is relatable. The best characters are the ones in which we see pieces of ourselves. This is definitely true of Nikki. Even at 37, I found myself charmed by her friendships, her crush on Brandon, and the karma that befalls the ever present ‘mean girl’.

I think that in the world of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson (admittedly excellent reads) it’s nice to remember that there’s some humor to be found in every day, real-life, situations that our kids face. As they move up through grades, they are going to have crushes, feel like dorks, be uncertain in social situations, have enemies and frenemies and Russell’s portrayal of this is lighthearted and fun but also something to which kids can connect.

I meant to do a joint post on Dork Diaries and Forever Four but it turns out I like each of them so much, I’ll have to do separate posts.

Dork Diaries website

Dork Diaries at Amazon.com

Dork Diaries at Amazon.ca

Pet-loving friends highlight generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog Disaster

Posted on June 24th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

image of cover art for generously illustrated chapter book, The Great Dog DisasterThe Great Dog Disaster written by Katie Davies and illustrated by Hannah Shaw
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Simon and Schuster

Suzanne and Anna are great friends who live next door to each other. The wall between their two homes is so thin that, if they try, they can hear each other’s family discussions. When Suzanne’s mom inherits Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog, the two girls are thrilled until they actually meet Beatrice. It seems Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog is old and slow and smelly. Undaunted, the girls are determined to make Beatrice behave like they believe a proper dog should before medical bills and incontinence cause Suzanne’s dad to do something drastic.image of a spread from The Great Dog Disaster, a generously illustrated chapter book

This generously illustrated chapter book will appeal to both boys and girls (aged 8-12), especially those with a fondness for dogs. At times, poignent, The Great Dog Disaster will encourage readers to consider the relationship between Great-Aunt Deidra and Beatrice, how neighbours and community can be important and how the girls’ determination to make a difference has far-reaching implications. Ms. Shaw’s charming illustrations and amply-spaced text will appeal to reluctant readers.

Note: Throughout the book, Anna refers to “Me and Suzanne.” If grammar mistakes are a problem for you, The Great Dog Disaster will not be a good choice.

Website for the Great Critter Capers series of generously illustrated chapter books.

The Great Dog Disaster at Amazon.com

The Great Dog Disaster at Amazon.ca

Anti Bullying Fiction – How to Tame a Bully

Posted on February 21st, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Storytime Standouts looks at an anti bullying chapter book, How to Tame a Bully

Storytime Standouts looks at anti bullying fiction for primary-aged children

How to Tame a Bully written by Nancy Wilcox Richards and illustrated by Drazen Kozjan
Anti bullying chapter book published by Scholastic



Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

Lauren is excited to begin grade three. She is thrilled with her teacher and delighted to be in a class with her best friend. Lauren’s happiness dims quickly when she discovers that she is seated next to Bethany.

Bethany is a giant. She is almost as tall as Ms. MacArthur. And that’s when she’s sitting down… Her eyes are always moving. Watching everyone. I know what she is doing. She’s looking for her next victim. Someone she can force to do her homework. Someone she can beat up.

It is not long before Lauren and Bethany tangle. Bethany writes a message about Lauren on a washroom mirror and Lauren responds by giving Bethany a snack tainted with far too much salt and pepper. Bethany calls Lauren “Shrimp”, extorts recess snacks from her and splatters red paint on her new top.

When forced to work together on a school project, Lauren reachers her breaking point. She tells Bethany to stop calling her “Shrimp” and is surprised when Bethany agrees. They manage a temporary cease-fire while working together on their project but it is not until Lauren speaks up again that the relationship improves.

“Because you’re always bullying kids.”

Bethany stared back at me. Hard. Her eyes narrowed. But before she had a chance to say anything and before I ran out of courage, I continued. “You took some little grade one kid’s lunch money. You put gum on Rachael’s seat and she ruined her brand new pants. You threw a big rock through the gym window. And,” my voice started to get louder, “you keep taking my recess snack! That why you don’t have any friends. Bethany, you are just plain mean!”

Rather than resolving the bullying with an unrealistic “magical solution,” author Nancy Wilcox Richards has the girls work out a truce. Bethany’s bullying tactics subside and the girls learn to tolerate each other.

Last year, in our post titled Five Ways Young Children Can Say “No” to Bullying , we referred to Health Canada’s suggestion that one way to reduce bullying is to ask the bully to stop – a tactic that is used with success in How to Tame a Bully.

Suitable for readers in grades two or three, How to Tame a Bully is a 75 page, generously illustrated chapter book that encourages speaking up against bullying.

How to Tame a Bully at Amazon.com

How to Tame a Bully at Amazon.ca


Grade Three Reading – What if You’ve Made it to Grade 3 and Can’t Read?

Posted on September 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Whether your child struggles with grade three reading or not, this is an enjoyable, generously illustrated chapter book

I Hate Books a great chapter book for grade threeI Hate Books! written by Kate Walker
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Cricket Books





Hamish is blessed with a Grandpa who reads aloud “with lots of expression”. When Hamish was little, he loved books but the love affair ends when he begins grade three reading and his teacher asks him to read aloud. Before long, Hamish is referred to a reading specialist and it is confirmed that he has been making up stories rather than reading the words on the page.

After struggling with flash cards and remedial reading, Hamish decides that life will be fine – whether he learns to read or not. It takes a disastrous family road trip, an embarrassing birthday party and a persuasive older brother to change Hamish’s mind.

Happily, Hamish overcomes his struggles and eventially earns a prize for “most improved reader.”

Shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book of the Year and the Young Australian’s Best Book Awards, I Hate Books! features relatively short chapters and very appealing illustrations. At about a grade three reading level, it is recommended for children aged seven to nine.

I Hate Books! at Amazon.com

I Hate Books! at Amazon.ca

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride – Delightful Reading for 6 to 8 Year olds

Posted on September 4th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride - Delightful Reading for 6 to 8 Year oldsMercy Watson Goes for a Ride written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Chapter Book Series for Kindergarten to Grade 3 published by Candlewick Press





What could be better than expertly buttered toast? Not much, especially if you are Mercy Watson. She loves hot buttered toast almost as much as she enjoys adventure.

Author, Kate DiCamillo and illustrator, Chris Van Dusen have teamed up to create a delightful series of blue ribbon pig tales. Perfect for boys and girls, aged 6 to 8, each book is generously illustrated with bold and humorous depictions of Mercy’s hilarious escapades.

Whether attempting to drive a car or capturing a thief, Mercy is one very special pig. Read aloud or independently, this series is definitely one you’ll ‘toast.’

The delightful Mercy Watson website

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride was a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book in 2007

Ms. DiCamillo has written several notable chapter books for older readers Because of Winn-Dixie (a Newbery Honor book), The Tiger Rising (a National Book Award finalist), and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. She won The Newbery Award for The Tale of Despereaux. I can’t pick a favorite, I’ll just look forward to the next.

Picture Book A Camping Spree With Mr. MageeMr. Van Dusen wrote and illustrated two picture books I frequently recommend; A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee and Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee.

Chris Van Dusen’s website

Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride at Amazon.com

Mercy Watson Goes For A Ride at Amazon.ca

A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee at Amazon.com

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee at Amazon.ca

Emergent Readers Captivated by Drama and Mystery

Posted on August 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail


Check out this series for emergent readers

I spent a fair amount of time in a dentist’s chair today and was reflecting on my recent experience with a grade one student. I’ve been working with him for a while. His older brothers have had some difficulty with reading so I spend half an hour, once a week with this youngster. Yesterday he read from the Oxford University Press Read at Home series. He is familiar with these books and knows the characters; Floppy, Chip, Kipper and Biff.

During our session, I suggested he try one of the Level 4 stories. He eagerly selected, Trapped! text by Cynthia Rider, illustrations by Alex Brychta. It was delightful to hear him read confidently but what was even more special was his reaction to the book. Clearly, he saw this story as different from others he has read independently. There was more text – about three sentences per page. There were letters and hidden keys to locate within the illustrations. But, most surprising, there was drama – when Grandma was briefly trapped in a castle – and mystery – why was there face at the castle window?

My emergent reader was thrilled to read Trapped – he likened it to the kind of books his older brothers read. He felt competent, confident and intrigued. If only all books for young readers could replicate this winning combination.

The Oxford University Press Read at Home series is excellent from beginning to end and includes dozens of great titles for emergent readers.

Read at Home: More Level 4c: Trapped! at Amazon.com

Read at Home: More Level 4c Trapped! at Amazon.ca

Read at Home: Level 4, Pack of 6 at Amazon.ca

What is your favourite series for readers at this level? Please share your ideas and suggestions.


Princess Marty McGuire Enchants

Posted on May 9th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Marty McGuireMarty McGuire written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Brian Floca

Marty is not yet impressed with grade three. Her former best friend has a new friend who likes dancing. Marty would rather catch frogs than waltz. She misses her friend very much. “Veronice Grace Smithers has stolen my best friend and taken over recess. I’d call Veronica Grace Princess Bossy-Pants if I were allowed to call people names. But I’m not. So I won’t.”

When their teacher announces that the class will be performing The Frog Prince and Marty will be cast as the princess, our young heroine is reluctant to take the stage. Portraying a princess is not for her! Marty McGuire accurately depicts the social challenges experienced by a group of grade three girls as they adapt to change. As well, Marty and her friends manage to find middle ground in this fun, generously illustrated chapter book.

Will be enjoyed by boys and girls, grade two and up.

Marty McGuire at Amazon.com

Marty McGuire at Amazon.ca

E is for Environment by Ian James Corlett

Posted on April 18th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

E is for Environment – Stories to Help children Care for Their World – at Home, at School, and at Play
Written by Ian James Corlett and Illustrated by R.A. “Riley” Holt


You will also be interested in our page highlighting picture books about caring for our environment, the water cycle, reducing our environmental footprint and more. Terrific resources for Earth Day and Arbor Day.



Featuring a friendly, conversational tone, E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World provides a wealth of useful information for children and families.Storytime Standouts looks at E is for Environment






After hearing a presentation by Matt Hill and Steph Tait of Run for 1 Planet at their school, Elliott and Lucy are inspired to find all sorts of ways to take action to “green” their world.

Twenty-six chapters (four pages each) cover everything from carpooling to soccer games and wearing a sweater rather than turning the thermostat up to packing a litterless lunch and choosing green gifts.

Each chapter begins with a scenario that suggests an opportunity for Lucy and Eilliott to make a change. Readers are encouraged to answer a question, “What do you think Elliot’s new plan was?” and then read to see if their guesses are correct. Additional supporting information is provided, and more questions prompt readers to consider how they can apply Elliott and Lucy’s decisions to their own lives. Thought-provoking quotes enhance most of the chapters.

  • When Elliott decides to use rechargeable batteries in his favourite toy robot, we learn that rechargeable batteries have up to 28 times less impact on the environment than regular (alkaline) batteries and rechargeable batteries can be reused up to 1,000 times.
  • When the family decides to walk to the post office rather than drive, we learn that Thomas Jefferson remarked, “Of all exercises walking is the best.” and Stephen Wright said, “Anywhere is walking distance, if you have the time.”

In addition to being an inspiring resource for families, E is for Environment is ideal for primary classroom use. Reading one chapter aloud each week could be used to prompt on-going discussions and action including encouraging young researchers to explore the science behind the book.

E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World at Amazon.com

E Is for Environment: Stories to Help Children Care for Their World at Amazon.ca


More News

Learning the Alphabet

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia ...

Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and ...

Alphabet Recognition Game for Preschool

[caption id="attachment_16404" align="alignleft" width="300"] Diecuts With A View Alphabet Scrapbook ...

Phonemic Awareness

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Some of the keys to learning to read are noticing ...

Developing Phonemic Awareness: How’s Your Nose, Rose?

You won't regret using wordplay to support your child's phonemic ...

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic ...

Rhymes, Songs & Fingerplays

Songs for a Summertime Storytime

This summer I presented two different early literacy programs for ...

Father’s Day Wordsearch Printable

Here is one of our many free PDF printables for ...

Kindergarten Springtime Fun – Writing prompts, printables and more

Celebrate warmer days with some kindergarten springtime funHere are some ...

Translate »