Archive for the ‘Outstanding Picture Books to Enjoy at Home or at School’ Category

5 Terrific Picture Books About Children Having Problems Learning to Read

Posted on July 19th, 2019 by Carolyn Hart

5 Picture Books About Characters Having Trouble Learning to Read

If you are supporting a child who is having difficulty learning to read, these are picture books that share an encouraging message. Reading well involves learning a variety of strategies and practising them with increasingly difficult text. For a child who has difficulty with letter recognition, dyslexia, phonemic awareness or comprehension, reading can be a terrible struggle. Hearing about the experiences of other children can be a help.

Here, we share five picture books that will be helpful for children who are having trouble learning to read.

“Learning to read and read well is already hard enough: it takes years of practice to make knowledge of reading automatic, transparent and fluid. When children practice reading in a context that’s kind– with books they love, teachers who understand reading, and systems devised to make a hard thing easier — they’re more inclined to practice, remember, make sense of, get better at, and love reading.”

Nancie Atwell in The Reading Zone: How to Help Kids Become Skilled, Passionate, Habitual, Critical Readers

5 Terrific Picture Books About Children Having Problems Learning to Read Click To Tweet

I Don't Like to Ready by Nancy CarlsonI Don’t Like to Read! written and illustrate by Nancy Carlson
Picture book about Having Trouble Learning to Read published by Puffin

Henry likes first grade but he does not like reading. He avoids it at school and at home. One day, his teacher asks him what the problem is and he confides. His teacher offers extra help and before too long, when a babysitter is not available to read aloud to Henry and his sibling, Henry takes over, reading with increasing confidence and emerges with a love of reading at home and at school.

Ms Carson’s illustrations are a highlight of this engaging picture book. Henry’s body language, especially as a non-reader, is a terrific addition to her delightful story.

Level of Reading Intervention – Resource teacher at school, extra practice at home
Reason for reading difficulty (if any identified) – N/A

I Don’t Like to Read! at Amazon.com

I Don’t Like to Read! at Amazon.ca


Lily and the Mixed Up Letters is a story about difficulty learning to readLily and the Mixed Up Letters written by Deborah Hodge and illustrated by Fance Brassard
Picture Book about Having Trouble Learning to Read published by Tundra Books

Lily enjoys school and especially opportunities to create art. Unfortunately, grade two is not as much fun as kindergarten and grade one were. Reading aloud is especially worrisome for Lily and, when her teacher announces Parent Day will include having each student read out loud, Lily confides her lack of confidence reading to her mom,

I can’t do it,” she sobs. “I can’t read my page on Parent Day. It’s too hard. All the other kids can read their pages, but I can’t read mine.”

Lily’s mom is empathetic and requests that she receive extra help at school. Her teacher assigns a peer Reading Buddy and Lily also practices at home. By Parent Day, Lily is ready for the challenge.

Level of Reading Intervention – Peer reading buddy at school, extra practice at home
Reason for reading difficulty (if any identified) – N/A

Lily and the Mixed-Up Letters at Amazon.com

Lily and the Mixed-Up Letters at Amazon.ca


Children's books about learning disabilities, Miss Little's Gift
Miss Little’s Gift written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Jim Burke
Autobiographical Picture Book about Living with ADHD and Difficulty Learning to Read published by Candlewick Press

Douglas is in grade two and he doesn’t like having to sit still. He interrupts his teacher; he has problems with reading and on the playground. He is very resistant to staying after school in order to get extra help with reading but Miss Little is firm and determined. She finds a book to match his interests, she encourages him and she gives him just enough help. Miss Little’s Gift is a celebration of the difference a wonderful, caring teacher can make.

Level of Reading Intervention – extra time with a classroom teacher
Reason for reading difficulty (if any identified) – ADHD in Author’s Note

Miss Little’s Gift at Amazon.com

Miss Little’s Gift at Amazon.ca


Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader BehindMiss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind written by Judy Finchler and Kevin O’Malley and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley
Picture book about a reluctant reader and a persistent teacher published by Bloomsbury USA

In Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind, we meet a student who is able to read but simply does not like reading. He much prefers playing video games with his friend. His very determined book-loving teacher spends the entire school year trying to find a book that will captivate him. One by one she wins over his classmates but it is not until the year is almost over that she finds the key to unlocking a love of reading and books.

This picture book would be a good read-aloud at the start of a school year, especially for teachers and librarians who have an extensive classroom library and a very good knowledge of books that will appeal to hard-to-reach students.

We also suggest reading our series, Journey of a Reluctant Reader

Level of Reading Intervention – Classroom teacher
Reason for reading difficulty (if any identified) – Reluctant reader

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind at Amazon.com

Miss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind at Amazon.ca


Thank You, Storytime Standouts looks at picture books about children having difficulty learning to read including Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia PolaccoThank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
Picture book about Having Trouble Learning to Read published by The Penguin Group

Thank you, Mr. Falker is an autobiographical picture book about Ms. Polacco’s difficulty learning to read and the help she finally received in grade five. A detailed, thoughtful story for older children, Thank you, Mr. Falker explains that Trisha grew up in a family that loved reading and treasured books. After the loss of her grandparents, she moved to California with her mother and her brother. Trisha hoped it would be a fresh start and that reading would be easier but her struggles persisted and before too long she was being teased by bullies.

it is not until Trisha is in fifth grade, with a teacher who is new to the school, that the bullying is called out and Trisha receives extra instruction.

We’re going to change all that, girl. You’re going to read – I promise you that.”

This picture book is best-suited older children and highlights the fact that some children can hide their difficulties with reading for quite some time.

Level of Reading Intervention – Classroom teacher and reading resource teacher
Reason for reading difficulty (if any identified) -N/A

Thank You, Mr. Falker at Amazon.com

Thank You, Mr. Falker at Amazon.ca

The Girl Who Hated Books

An animated short from the National Film Board of Canada introduces us to Meena, a young girl who hates books.

We also wrote about Storytime Standouts writes about I Hate BooksI Hate Books by Kate Walker


7 Special Board Books for Babies and Toddlers

Posted on July 6th, 2019 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts recommends 7 Classic Board Books for Babies and Toddlers


Start baby’s first book collection with these special classic board books! Award-winners and bestsellers, these are stories that every child should hear, see, touch and enjoy. Board books make perfect gifts for baby showers and first birthdays. These are stories that mommies and daddies will read again and again.

We began reading to our first son when he was six months old and I always recommend establishing a daily read-aloud routine while children are very young and happy to cuddle before bedtime. Don’t be shy about using silly voices or being dramatic. Make the read-aloud experience relaxed, fun and memorable.



For tips on reading aloud to infants and children, be sure to read our answers to 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Reading Aloud to Children

Goodnight Moon written by Margartet Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement HurdGoodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Harper Festival a Division of Harper Collins Publishers

Ranked number 1 in School Library Journal’s poll of Top 100 Board Books, Goodnight Moon has a gentle, pleasing cadence that is soothing and relaxing.

In the great green room
There was a telephone
And a red balloon
And a picture of –

Young readers will watch as a young bunny tries to settle for sleep, adjusting the pillow and bedcovers, as the room darkens and eventually sleep comes.

Our first glimpse of the ‘Great Green Room’ does not reveal everything, colour illustrations alternate with black and white. New details are revealed over the course of an hour. Youngsters can watch as the clocks’ hands move and search the room for each of the details described in the text. A companion to The Runaway Bunny, children will make connections between the two books especially when they look carefully at the illustrations.

Goodnight Moon at Amazon.com

Goodnight Moon at Amazon.ca

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Philomel Books

What more could you ask for? A beautiful die-cut concept book that includes rich vocabulary, counting from one to five, the days of the week, the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly and beautiful, richly toned illustrations. This truly is a can’t miss story for babies and preschoolers.

Highly recommended as a gift for baby.

Click to visit our page about The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Amazon.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar at Amazon.ca

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric CarleBrown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See? by Bill Martin Jr and Eric Carle
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers

Simple but beautiful collage illustrations and repetitious, rhythmic text introduce 9 animals and colours. Also notable, the book illustrations include a racially diverse group of children. The simplicity of the story makes it ideal for very young children but also opens the doors for young writers and illustrators to tell their own stories, perhaps using a different sense – Jacob, Jacob, what do you see/hear/smell/touch/taste?

Click to visit our page about Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.com

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? at Amazon.ca

Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra BoyntonMoo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Little Simon

Twenty years after first reading Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La La La!, my guess is that you will still remember the gentle humor of the text and illustrations – even if you can’t quite recite the entire story from memory. There is something very special about Ms Boynton’s ability to write a book that children and adults enjoy equally. Her tales are neither sickly sweet nor predictable and that’s exactly what makes them fun to read aloud. Don’t be the least bit surprised if your child asks to hear her books again and again before ‘reading’ them himself or herself. Every animal oozes personality and Moo, Baa, La La La! is paced in such a way that encourages settling to sleep.

Moo Baa La La La! at Amazon.com

Moo, Baa, La La La! at Amazon.ca

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick BensonOwl Babies written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Patrick Benson
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers published by Walker Books

Darker than the other stories described here, Owl Babies is set in a tree, at nighttime. When Mother Owl leaves the nest one night, her babies awaken alone and wonder where she has gone. Sarah and Percy are confident that mama has gone hunting for food. Bill is less confident and more frightened. Happily, Mother Owl does return and reassures all of her children that they needn’t have worried, “You knew I’d come back.”

A good story to share with a child who is experiencing separation anxiety and would benefit from the reassurance that sometimes parents have to go away but he or she will be safe and cared for.

Owl Babies at Amazon.com

Owl Babies at Amazon.ca

Everywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla FrazeeEverywhere Babies written by Susan Meyers and illustrated by Marla Frazee
Classic Board Book for Babies and Toddlers Published by HMH Books for Young Readers

A wonderful celebration of babies and the amazing things they do. The gentle, repetitious and rhyming text introduces the seasons, body parts, clothing, sounds, modes of transportation, toys, games. There is just so much to notice and appreciate about the very detailed and inspiring illustrations including racial and family diversity, loving (but not always well-rested) parents, bottle feeding and breastfeeding and the special relationships that very young children often have with older adults and siblings.

Apart from being a great book to enjoy with very young children, Everywhere Babies has a positive message about babies that is great for preschoolers, especially those with a new brother or sister.

Horn Book Fanfare Book, 2001

Everywhere Babies at Amazon.com

Everywhere Babies at Amazon.ca

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita JeramGuess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

Visit the official Guess How Much I Love You website for printable activities and information about the book.

A beautiful, gentle exchange between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare will reassure young readers that the love between someone small and someone big is impossible to quantify. The relationship between the two is not specified although we know that both characters are male. Perhaps it is a father and son or maybe an uncle and nephew, it does not matter at all.

“I love you as high as I can reach,” said Little Nutbrown Hare
“I love you as high as I can reach,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.
That is very high, thought Little Nutbrown Hart. I wish I had arms like that.”

Beautiful watercolor illustrations enhance the story and lovingly capture the personalities of the two hares.

Guess How Much I Love You at Amazon.com

Guess How Much I Love You at Amazon.ca

Do you have a favorite board book for baby?

Hit the Slopes with Bunny – an exceptional winter theme picture book

Posted on January 29th, 2019 by Carolyn Hart

If you are still dealing with cold temperatures, wintry days and shovelling snow, now is a good time to freshen up your home or classroom library. Also a great gift idea, I highly recommend Bunny Slopes. This is a special picture book that will have tremendous appeal for preschool-age children and their weary parents or caregivers.

Winter-theme picture book written and illustrated by Claudia RuedaBunny Slopes written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Winter theme picture book published by Chronicle Kids

An exceptionally good picture book that asks young readers to “shake,” “tap,” “tilt,” and “turn” as a playful rabbit goes for a fun day of skiing. Few stories for preschoolers are as engaging and interactive as this. Children will love to be part of the action as they “create” snow, hillsides and a way for our hero to escape from a tight spot. Oozing personality, Bunny is a delight. A great pick for boys and girls aged 3 years and up.

For older children, the extension opportunities could include devising their own instructions for readers to follow together with “before” and “after” artwork. The possibilities are endless and will be lots of fun for children!

Bunny Slopes at Amazon.com

Bunny Slopes at Amazon.ca


Unlimited Squirrels in I Lost My Tooth!

Posted on October 22nd, 2018 by Carolyn Hart


Storytime Standouts writes about Unlimited Squirrels in I Lost My ToothUnlimited Squirrels in I Lost My Tooth! written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Generously illustrated book for beginning readers published by Hyperion Books for Children

I have hosted a Little Free Library (LFL) outside my home for the past four years. My LFL is limited to children’s books. Recently, one of my neighbors has been adding brand new books(!) to it fairly often. Recently, he or she left a copy of hot-off-the-press Unlimited Squirrels in I Lost My Tooth!

A terrific follow-up to Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie series, this is a book that will have great appeal for new readers. Bright, bold, graphic illustrations and fun, expressive text combine to tell the story of a search for a squirrel’s missing tooth.

When a team of enthusiastic squirrels needs to fact-check, Research Rodent adds background information about teeth to an otherwise silly story. Boys and girls who are at about a grade 1 or 2 level will enjoy the “inside” joke about a tooth that has been lost. The Table of Contents, irreverent endpapers that identify each of the squirrels by name and the antics of the furry-tailed characters make for a great fun.

Follow this link to our free Squirrel Theme printables and picture book suggestions.

I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) at Amazon.com

I Lost My Tooth! (Unlimited Squirrels) at Amazon.ca

The Wonky Donkey Children’s Book Phenomenon

Posted on October 18th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart


The Wonky Donkey has the world giggling this week

The Wonky Donkey written by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley
Cumulative, Rhyming Picture Book published by Scholastic

In late August 2018, The Scottish Granny posted a Youtube video that has caught the world by storm. In the video, she is reading The Wonky Donkey aloud. Her wonderful Scottish accent and her infectious laugh are simply irresistible. We can’t imagine anyone watching the video without giggling. Sales of the book have shot up and a quick check of our local library shows that the book is “on order.”

The Wonky Donkey began as a song, performed by Craig Smith. It was the 2008 APRA AMCOS Children’s Song award winner.

In 2009 The Wonky Donkey was published as a book and it was the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Children’s Choice award winner and Children’s Choice Picture Book category winner in 2010.

Smith’s wonderful rhyming, repetitive and cumulative text is just so silly and fun!

He only had three legs, one eye and he liked to listen to country music and he was quite tall and slim and he smelt really bad and that morning he got up early and he hadn’t had any coffee
He was a cranky stinky dinky lanky honky tonky winky wonky donkey
Cranky stinky dinky lanky honky tonky winky wonky donkey

This is a simply fantastic book to share with children. The vocabulary is rich (lanky). The alliteration (winky wonky) and rhyming (stinky dinky) will support the development of phonemic awareness.

In the case of The Scottish Granny’s video, although her grandson doesn’t understand the humor of The Wondy Donkey, Granny does and her delivery has an unrehearsed feel to it. She is discovering the book for the very first time and her delight is simply thrilling. Who wouldn’t want to share The Wonky Donkey (or any great book) with a child? Here’s hoping this phenomenon inspires many moms, dads and grandparents to read aloud every single day!

The Wonky Donkey at Amazon.com

The Wonky Donkey at Amazon.ca

Wonky Donkey (Digital Music) at Amazon.com

Children’s Books about Anger, Grumpiness and Bad Moods

Posted on October 13th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares picture books about anger and bad moods


Picture books to help a child understand and cope with anger

When my youngest son was very young, he was frequently impacted by the negative effects of artificial food dyes. Sadly, we did not realize what was happening with him for quite some time. For years, we were puzzled by apparently random bouts of anger that were, in fact, a result of eating or drinking a trigger food,beverage or even medication.

Thankfully, we did eventually figure out what was happening and the instances of uncontrolled anger pretty much disappeared. Along the way though, we used picture books to help our children understand anger and give them techniques for managing frustration and bad moods.

Please leave a comment and let me know about your favorite books for exploring this theme.


Children's book about anger and being in a bad moodBad Mood Bear written by John Richardson
Small format picture book about feeling angry published by Red Fox a division of Random House

When my children were young, we had a wonderful collection of Red Fox Mini Treasures. These were small-format picture books from many well-known, accomplished children’s book authors and illustrators. One of our favorite Red Fox Mini Treasure books was Bad Mood Bear. If one of my sons had a rough day, reading this story was one way to help him understand and learn to manage strong emotions, including anger. In addition to depicting a tough day, Bad Mood Bear also shows that the opportunity to feel and behave better may be just a short nap away.

You may not be able to find a new copy of this picture book but I did not want to leave it off my list of children’s books about anger.

Bear mooched around, kicking stones and growling. A fly buzzed around his nose
‘Buzz off!’ screamed Bear, flapping his arms around in a temper.

Bad Mood Bear (Mini Treasure)

Bad Mood Bear (Mini Treasure) at Amazon.ca


Picture books about anger and bad moods including Finn Throws a FitFinn Throws a Fit! written by David Elliott and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Picture book about a child’s temper tantrum published by Candlewick Press

Usually, Finn is happy and loving but when Finn is upset, everybody in the household suffers. Using thunder, lightning, flooding, hurricane winds, blizzard conditions and an earthquake to describe Finn’s outburst, Finn Throws a Fit! will delight young readers and their parents.

With no explanation given for the upset, there is a good opportunity for an adult to ask probing questions such as,
Why do you think Finn was upset?”
“How did Finn’s parents and dog feel when Finn was upset?”
“What could Finn do next time he is upset?”

Finn Throws a Fit! at Amazon.com

Finn Throws a Fit! at Amazon.ca


Children's Book About Anger and Feeling GrumpyGrumpy Bird written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard
Children’s Book About Anger and Feeling Grumpy published by Scholastic

This is a picture book about anger and grumpiness that I have read dozens, if not hundreds of times. It is a book that I shared over and over again with a child that I helped to overcome a speech delay. The delightful, repetitious text was exactly what I needed to prompt dialogic reading

He was too grumpy to eat.
He was too grumpy to play.
In fact, he was too grumpy to fly.
“Looks like I’m walking today,” said Bird.

I arrived for each appointment with a briefcase filled with picture books, puzzles, games and other activities. More often than not, Grumpy Bird was selected by my student and we enjoyed reading about Grumpy Bird spending time with friends (even if he was not enthusiastic about their company) and, eventually finding himself transformed into a happy, social creature.

Grumpy Bird at Amazon.com

Grumpy Bird at Amazon.ca


Picture book about being angry How Do Dinosaurs Say I'M MAD?How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague
Picture book about expressing anger and frustration published by Blue Sky Press an imprint of Scholastic

Part of the How Do Dinosaurs series of picture books, this story not only describes behaviours that might happen when a child is angry, it also suggests ways for a child (or dinosaur) to deal with angry feelings.

he counts up to ten,
then after a time out,
breathes calmly…
and then…
he cleans up his mess

Dinosaur fans will love the detailed endpapers and the notations within the book that identify the species of each of the dinosaurs.

Some readers have commented that it is unfortunate that the dinosaurs do begin by behaving badly. Their behavior includes ripping books, throwing a mug, kicking and defiance. We agree with these observations but, unlike several books about anger, grumpiness and bad moods, this book did include suggestions for managing strong emotions.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? at Amazon.com

How Do Dinosaurs Say I’M MAD? at Amazon.ca


Childrens books about anger, The Day Leo Said I Hate You
The Day Leo Said I Hate You written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang
Picture book about emotions and anger published by Little, Brown and Company

When young children feel anger, it can be a frightening experience for them. They may be completely overcome by frustration and may be unable to control their words.

Here we meet Leo, a little boy who has been told, “No” more times than he can count. His mommy doesn’t want him to roll tomatoes across the floor and she doesn’t want him to drop string beans into the fishbowl.

Leo announces that he hates “No.” Mommy calmly says that she understands his feelings but, “There are some things you just should not do.” Leo decides that his bedroom is the best place to be but, when he begins drawing on the wall, his mommy is certain to be annoyed and it is not long until he cannot contain his emotions any longer. He shouts, “I HATE YOU.”

Strong, bold Photoshop illustrations are sure to resonate with children who have felt overpowering emotions.

A valuable resource for families, The Day Leo Said I Hate You! is a reassuring story of enduring love – even when it has been a very long and extremely emotional day.

The Day Leo Said I Hate You! at Amazon.com

The Day Leo Said I Hate You! at Amazon.ca


I'm So Grumpy written and illustrated by Hans WilhelmI’m So Grumpy! written and illustrated by Hans Wilhelm
Beginning Reader Story About Being in a Bad Mood published by Scholastic

Beginning readers are sure to enjoy this simple story about Noodles’ bad mood. He doesn’t like his food, he doesn’t want to go for a walk. He wishes that everyone would leave him alone. Repetitive text and appealing illustrations will support young readers as they enjoy this fun story and the thrill of reading independently.

There are a total of 32 books about Noodles that are perfect for new readers. Check out this page of resources, including posters and a teacher’s guide.

I’m So Grumpy at Amazon.com

I’m So Grumpy at Amazon.ca



Trees and Forests for Preschool, Kindergarten and Primary Grades

Posted on September 20th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart

Picture books and free printables highlighting trees and forests

Sharing a selection of picture books about trees has led to some wonderful discoveries. The books we have included are respectful of trees and their impact on our environment, some using them metaphorically.

These picture books about trees and forests often include references to the seasons and to the cycle of life. Use these picture books about trees and forests in preschool, kindergarten and primary classrooms to share information and create environmental awareness.

Elsewhere on this site ~
– Children’s books about the environment
– Gardening Fun with Kids
– Children’s books about recycling


Storytime Standouts looks at picture books about trees including A Grand Old TreeA Grand Old Tree written and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma
Picture book about trees and ecosystems Published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic

“Once there was a grand old tree. Her roots sank deep into the earth, her arms reached high into the sky. She was home to many creatures.”

Lovingly written and illustrated, A Grand Old Tree is a wonderful tribute to an aging fruit tree. We watch as squirrels scamper, birds chirp and bees buzz in the branches of the tree. Through the seasons, we witness her bloom and produce seeds to blow from her branches. We consider how many leaves she has produced.

One moonlit winter night, she falls. Snow covers her weary trunk and branches. When spring arrives, we can see her offspring growing nearby and we know her decaying trunk is still home to raccoons, insects and lichen. We appreciate her legacy and understand that her children and grandchildren are now growing, flowering, and sowing.

Both informative and quietly reassuring, this is an eco-friendly picture book children will enjoy again and again.

Note: there is a concrete poem (the text is printed to represent the trunk of a tree) in the book.

Teaching suggestions from the author’s website

A Grand Old Tree at Amazon.com

A Grand Old Tree at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts highlights picture books about trees including The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionnithe alphabet tree written and illustrated by Leo Lionni
Picture book about letters, words and a remarkable tree published by Dragonfly Books

A lovely tribute to the idea that there is strength in numbers. the alphabet tree opens with individual letters living happily in a large tree. When a very strong windstorm hits, some letters are blown out of the tree. The remaining letters retreat and huddle together. It is a word-bug that encourages the letters to work together to form words. Feeling stronger and more confident together, a caterpillar suggests forming phrases and, eventually, creating an important message for the president. An outstanding resource for encouraging print awareness, this picture book could also be interpreted as encouraging social or political activism.

The Alphabet Tree at Amazon.com

The Alphabet Tree at Amazon.ca


Leo's Tree by Debora Pearson and Nora HilbLeo’s Tree written by Debora Pearson and illustrated by Nora Hilb
Picture book about trees, seasons and family published by Annick Press

A lovely picture book to share with preschool-age children, Leo’s Tree begins when Leo’s parents plant a tree just after Leo is born. We watch as both the tree and the baby grow, changing through the seasons. Gentle watercolor illustrations follow Baby Leo, Toddler Leo and, eventually Big Brother Leo, playing nearby as the tree grows tall and strong. Rhymes, repetitive text, and alliteration all contribute to a rich text that will appeal to young children.

Leo’s Tree at Amazon.com

Leo’s Tree at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts highlights picture books about trees including The Magnificent Tree by Nick Bland and Stephen Michael KingThe Magnificent Tree written by Nick Bland and illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Picture book about problem solving and creativity published by Scholastic

Bonny and Pop love creating things. Bonny takes a simple, straightforward approach. Pop is less conventional. they would both love to have birds stop and stay for a while but, instead, they just fly past. Bonny and Pop agree that the solution is to make a tree. In keeping with their personalities, Bonny approaches the tree problem simply. By contrast, Pop makes an elaborate plan and works day and night. Finally, Pop’s creation is ready and, on the first day of Spring, dozens of birds check it out before landing in Bonny’s project.

An exuberant tribute to finding more than one way to approach a challenge. Fun illustrations have lots of details that will have a special appeal for tinkerers.

The Magnificent Tree at Amazon.com

The Magnificent Tree at Amazon.ca




Storytime Standouts shares a quote - The good man is the friend of all living things.

Storytime Standouts highlights picture books about trees including The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree by Anne Shelby and Cor HavelaarThe Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree by Anne Shelby and Cor Hazelaar
Tall Tale about a man who decides to live in a tree published by Simon Says Kids

Beautifully illustrated and richly told in a storyteller’s voice, it is easy to imagine hearing this tall tale while sitting fireside on a winter evening. Harlan Burch lived in Appalachia long ago. He worked as a carpenter and spent time in the woods, choosing trees for his projects. Apart from cutting trees down, he also planted them – replacing each one that he cut with two saplings. One day, he came across a sycamore that was so large, there was room enough inside for Harlan to create a comfortable home.

Not long after moving into the sycamore, something strange happened. It was as though time had stopped and reversed. Harlan became more and more youthful. He soon married and had a family. The family thrived and grew, eventually populating all of Appalachia.

The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree at Amazon.com

The Man Who Lived in a Hollow Tree at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts shares a selection of picture books about trees including Red Leaf, Yellow LeafRed Leaf, Yellow Leaf created by Lois Ehlert
Picture book about a Sugar Maple Tree published by HMH Books for Young Readers

Featuring dazzling collage illustrations, great for a group setting/read-aloud, Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf shows readers real maple tree seeds (samaras), burlap, twine, wire, plant tags, and tree roots. Beautiful Fall colors are highlighted in the cover art and elsewhere in the book. The main text is large and tells the story of the origins of a maple tree, from the moment a seed falls in a forest through transfer to a garden center and eventual planting in a garden. In addition to showing readers the tree growing from seed to sprout to sapling, the illustrations also include unobtrusively labelled creatures that might live in and around a tree (squirrels, birds, earthworms) as well as other details that will promote learning.

A four-page appendix provides background information that will be helpful to young scientists and inquisitive researchers. An outstanding resource for kindergarten and primary-grade classrooms or for homeschool.

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf at Amazon.com

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts highlights picture books about trees including Tess's Tree by Jess M. Brallier, pictures by Peter H. ReynoldsTess’s Tree written by Jess M. Brallier and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Children’s book about coming to terms with loss published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

Tess loves the tree in her yard. She loves to sit under it and read, she swings from it and, in Fall, she plays in the leaves beneath it. On dark, blowy night, two of the large branches are damaged and fall to the ground. There is no choice, the old tree must be taken down.

Tess’s emotions are strong. She is angry and sad. She knows that she must do something to honor the tree. She plans a funeral service to celebrate the life of her tree.

It is not long before Tess learns that the tree is not just hers. There are others for whom the tree was important.

Tess’s Tree provides an opportunity to explore important themes of love and loss with children. I have read some reviews that suggest that the story ought to have ended with Tess planting another tree. My personal perspective is that might be an obvious “solution” to Tess’s grief, in some ways, this particular tree was irreplaceable. Much like the loss of a friend, family member or pet, dealing with loss is not always as simple as finding a replacement.

Tess’s appears to be part of a single-parent family.

Tess’s Tree at Amazon.com

Tess’s Tree at Amazon.ca


We Planted a Tree and other picture books about trees and forestsWe Planted a Tree – written by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake
Picture book about trees and ecosystems published by Golden Books an imprint of Random House

Young families in Brooklyn, New York and in Africa each plant a tree. As their trees grow, We Planted a Tree takes us to visit beautiful trees budding in Toyko and gorgeous bright, pink blossoms in Paris.

“The sun kept shining.
The pink blossoms dropped off,
But soon there were green leaves,
Green, green shiny leaves,
Which had food inside for the tree.

This joyous celebration of trees and the impact of planting just one, highlights that they can be a source of food and shade, they help to clean our air and they can prevent soil erosion. As well, readers learn that trees are home to birds and animals.

We Planted a Tree at Amazon.com

We Planted a Tree at Amazon.ca


Free, Printable Tree-Theme Writing Paper for Home and Classroom

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Tree with bluebird

Tree theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Tree including roots

Tree theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Picture Books About Worries and Fears

Posted on June 24th, 2018 by Carolyn Hart

Explore these picture books with children who have worries and fears.

Help your child learn to manage worries and fears with these picture books

Some children deal with new experiences and people with relative ease. For other children, there are reasons to worry about meeting new people, trying unfamiliar activities and beginning school. Anxious children may anticipate all sorts of dreadful outcomes that parents, caregivers and teachers don’t even consider. They may anticipate problems and focus on them, certain that outcomes will be unpleasant or even dangerous.

Enjoying these picture books together will provide opportunities for children to watch as a picture book character successfully overcomes fear and worry and manages a first day in a new classroom, sleeping in a dark room or listening to a thunderstorm.

Picture books for children who have worries and fears including David and the Worry BeastDavid and the Worry Beast written by Anne Marie Guanci and illustrated by Caroline Attia
Bibliotherapy about anxiety published by New Horizon Press

David and the Worry Beast was written especially to help children cope with anxiety. David’s worry beast causes him to worry when he plays basketball, when he’s at home and when he is at school. His anxiety grows and grows until he learns specific steps to cope with his worries. In addition to providing tips for children, the authors also have suggestions for parents.

David and the Worry Beast: Helping Children Cope with Anxiety at Amazon.com

David and the Worry Beast: Helping Children Cope With Anxiety at Amazon.ca

Franklin's Blanket is a picture book about a child's security objectFranklin’s Blanket written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark
Picture book about a security object published by Kids Can Press

When Franklin’s favorite blue blanket goes missing just before bedtime, he is distressed and has trouble settling down to sleep. Franklin tries to remember where it might be. The following day, Franklin visits his friends and discovers that they also have comfort objects that help them to manage challenging situations.

Franklin’s Blanket features familiar characters and offers gentle reassurance about managing emotions, including fear, with a Teddy Bear or a cozy blanket.

Franklin’s Blanket at Amazon.com

Franklin’s Blanket at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts looks at Noni is Nervous, a picture book about dealing with fears and worries surrounding starting school.Noni Is Nervous Written by Heather Hartt-Sussman and illustrated by Genevieve Cote
Picture book about managing fears, especially with starting school published by Tundra Books

There are things that make Noni feel anxious, including her relationship with a friend and world events. When we meet Noni, she is particularly concerned about starting school. Her family members reassure her that all will be well but Noni likes the comfort of home and being near to her mama.

Noni imagines all sorts of things that could go wrong at school and is relieved when she doesn’t get lost, her teacher isn’t a monster and she is able to open her juice box.

Noni Is Nervous will comfort children who are contemplating a new experience. Suitable for boys and girls aged four and up, the cheerful illustrations depict a racially diverse classroom and enhance readers’ understanding of the emotions that Noni is experiencing.

Noni Is Nervous at Amazon.com

Noni Is Nervous At Amazon.ca

The I'M NOT SCARED Book can help children deal with fears and worries.The I’m Not Scared Book written and illustrated by Todd Parr
Picture book about dealing with worries and fears published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Todd Parr writes about and illustrates several typical childhood fears including fear of the dark, of dogs, of starting school and of getting lost. Illustrations show both boys and girls (and a bear) in a state of being afraid, encouraging readers to take a closer look and gain understanding.

Bright, bold illustrations are well-suited to a small group read aloud. Children are shown with a variety of skin colors including blue and purple.

A good choice for a preschool or kindergarten classroom.

The I’M NOT SCARED Book at Amazon.com

The I’M NOT SCARED Book at Amazon.ca

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears is a story that can be used to explore themes of worries and fearsLittle Mouse’s Big Book of Fears written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
Award-Winning picture book about fears published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Little Mouse draws, writes and creates collages to express fear. A fascinating and engaging format that includes cutouts, a foldout, a flap to lift and nibbled pages, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears is a relatively dark picture book that is best-suited to older children (aged 5 or 6 and up). Winner of the 2008 Kate Greenaway Medal for distinguished illustration, this is an inspiring book that could be used to encourage young readers to express emotions through artwork and writing.

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears at Amazon.com

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears at Amazon.ca

Wemberly Worried is a picture book that can help children deal with fears and worries.Wemberly Worried written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Picture book about worries and fears published by Greenwillow Books

Wemberly is a little mouse with big worries. All day long, she finds reasons to worry at home and away from home. Her family tells her not to worry but that is easier said than done. When it is time to start school, Wemberly’s fears seem to multiply. She worries all the way to school.

Fortunately, Wemberly’s new teacher introduces her to Jewel. Jewel has not joined all the other mice, she is standing off to one side, observing. Before too long, Wemberly and Jewel are sitting together and Wemberly’s worries have subsided.

Wemberly Worried is a thoughtful, reassuring story that will provide reassurance to young mice (and children!) who are concerned about starting school. illustrated thoughtfully, not only are skin tones (hair color) diverse, Mr. Henkes also includes a young mouse who uses a wheelchair.

Wemberly Worried at Amazon.com

Wemberly Worried at Amazon.ca

Picture Books About Worries and Fears are a great resource at home and in classrooms.


Books for Bedtime! Special Stories to Share with Children

Posted on May 20th, 2017 by Carolyn Hart

Great bedtime-theme children's recommended by Storytime Standouts



Finding the perfect bedtime story can make all the difference as toddlers and preschoolers settle down for the night. In this post, we have a look at some delightful bedtime-theme children’s books that will set the tone for a good night’s sleep. In the comments, we hope you’ll let us know about your favorite books for bedtime!







A picture book about going to bed, 10 Minutes to Bedtime written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann10 Minutes till Bedtime written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Mostly wordless picture book about bedtime published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers an imprint of Penguin

In this classic, fun picture book, Dad cautions his son that it is 10 minutes till bedtime. Within a moment, a pet hamster has summoned other neighborhood hamsters to stop by for ten minutes of fun. Preschool-aged (and older) children will enjoy the detailed and engaging illustrations that tell most of the story. Of course, the joke is on Dad as he has no idea what is happening behind his back, as his son gets ready for bed. Good fun and a great opportunity for language and comprehension development. Carefully ‘reading’ the illustrations and talking about what is happening is a big part of this bedtime story.

10 Minutes till Bedtime at Amazon.com

10 Minutes till Bedtime at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts shares picture books about going to bed including Baby Bedtime Baby Bedtime written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Emma Quay
Rhyming toddler picture book about bedtime published by Simon and Schuster

Soft tones and sparse, rhyming text are hallmarks of this gentle picture book about a baby elephant’s bedtime. Cuddling and smiling, an adult elephant takes a baby elephant through a bedtime routine (including a story!) before finally saying goodnight.

One of the really lovely aspects of this picture book is that the gender and age of the adult elephant is not specific. This could be a mom, dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle putting the youngster to bed.

Baby Bedtime at Amazon.com

Baby Bedtime at Amazon.ca


Rhyming picture book about bedtime Steam Train, Dream TrainSteam Train, Dream Train written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Rhyming children’s book about bedtime published by Chronicle Books

Wonderful rich vocabulary and onomatopoeia make this a wonderful bedtime story for preschool-age and older children. Children who are interested in trains, will enjoy hearing the names of the various cars (hopper, tender, reefer, gondolas etc.) and will hear the rhythmic text that echoes the sounds we associate with steam trains.

Set in moonlight, Mr. Lichtenheld’s illustrations, created with wax oil pastel are beautifully atmospheric. We especially liked the train’s arrival and the child’s moonlit bedroom.

Steam Train, Dream Train at Amazon.com

Steam Train, Dream Train at Amazon.ca


A picture book about bedtime How to Put Your Parents to BedHow to Put Your Parents to Bed written by Mylisa Larsen and illustrated by Babette Cole
Fun picture book about bedtime published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers

Preschool-age and older children will enjoy the humor as a young girls tries to get her parents to go to bed. Chores, a computer, games, television and even cell phones are delaying mom and dad’s bedtime but, with determination, it is possible for her to get them settled and off to sleep.

Older children, especially those who resist shut-eye, will see themselves in this fun role-reversal tale.

How to Put Your Parents to Bed at Amazon.com

How to Put Your Parents to Bed at Amazon.ca


Princess Baby Night-Night written and illustrated by Karen KatzPrincess Baby Night-Night written and illustrated by Karen Katz
Picture book about getting ready for bed published by Schwartz and Wade, an imprint of Random House

Getting ready for bed can be an exhausting proposition. Princess Baby has lots to do. She not only puts her own pajamas on, she dresses her six special friends for bed too. She also helps with washing up, brushing teeth and selecting stories.

Bright, beautiful collage illustrations make this a great story to share in a group setting. Fans of Princess Baby will want to explore Princess Baby and Princess Baby on the Go.

Princess Baby, Night-Night at Amazon.com

Princess Baby, Night-Night at Amazon.ca



Storytime Standouts Looks at a New Picture Book: The Hockey Song

Posted on October 9th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors, published by Greystone BooksThe Hockey Song written by Stompin’ Tom Connors and illustrated by Gary Clement
Hockey-Theme Picture Book published by Greystone Books

OH! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hockey game.

An outdoor game of pick up hockey is the setting for this fun, energetic tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ widely known anthem. The well-lit rink is in a city and it glistens beneath the stars on a wintry evening. It feels as though it would be the centerpiece of a community, drawing players from far and wide for a casual, drop in game.

Engaging illustrations show us the game from ice level and above, depicting players from various races who are young and old, petite and burly and male and female. It is fun to see more than one multi-generational family group; moms and dads enjoying the game with their children.

The game begins with just two players on the ice but soon swells and, by the end of the song, the rink is crowded with enthusiastic hockey players. Some wear familiar NHL-style jerseys while others are dressed less traditionally. Some wear hockey helmets and others have toques, headphones, pony tales and stocking caps. Young readers will enjoy playing eye spy and noticing all sorts of interesting details about the dozens of players who finish the game.

Very good fun for children aged four and up. The Hockey Song would be a great gift for a hockey-loving grandparent to share with a newcomer to the game.

The Hockey Song at Amazon.com

The Hockey Song at Amazon.ca

Wordless Picture Book Fun with Flora the Flamingo

Posted on August 14th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Flora the Flamingo - wordless picture book by Molly IdleFlora the Flamingo created by Molly Idle
Wordless Picture Book published by Chronicle Kids

From my perspective, wordless picture books are an under-appreciated genre. “Readable” in any language (or multiple languages), they help children to develop comprehension skills and they can be used to prompt discussion and encourage language development.

Last week, I had the pleasure to read two wordless picture books by Molly Idle. Floral and the Flamingo was published in 2013. Flora and the Peacocks was published this year. Flora and the Penguin was published in between.Illustration from Flora and the Flamingo

Floral and the Flamingo begins when a young girl approaches a statuesque flamingo and takes her cues from the bird. Soon it appears that the flamingo is challenging the girl to match her posture and form. Floral is up to the task. She stands on one leg, she arches her back, she stretches and poses. Before too long, the flamingo and Flora are dancing together and loving every moment of the experience.

A truly lovely picture book that uses flaps beautifully, this will have special appeal for fans of ballet. Delightful illustrations are wonderfully expressive and will create an opportunity to talk about Flora’s emotions as she does her best to match the graceful flamingo’s movements.

Flora the Flamingo was a 2014 Caldecott Honor Book

Flora and the Flamingo at Amazon.com

Flora and the Flamingo at Amazon.ca

Flora and the PeacocksFlora and the Peacockscreated by Molly Idle
Wordless Picture Book published by Chronicle Kids

The third book in Ms. Idle’s series, Flora and the Peacocks adds another dimension to her storytelling. In this wordless picture book, Flora introduces herself to two peacocks. One of the peacocks appears quite happy to have a new friend but the other is not keen at all. The trio struggles to find a way to find harmony and to be friends.

Dramatic illustrations highlight gorgeous blue, green and gold peacock feathers and the especially the facial expressions of the three characters. Young readers will want to talk about why it was difficult for Flora to join the two peacocks and how their behavior changed over the course of the story.

An excellent choice for classroom and home use.

Flora and the Peacocks at Amazon.com

Flora and the Peacocks at Amazon.ca


First Day of School Jitters? Try Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Posted on July 22nd, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts reviews Splat the Cat by Rob ScottonSplat the Cat written and illustrated by Rob Scotton
Picture book about starting school published by Harper Collins Publishers

There’s no doubt about it, going to school for the very first time can be nerve-wracking. It is no wonder that Splat is wide awake bright and early.

When mom opens his bedroom door, his first instinct is to pull the covers over his head. When that doesn’t work, Splat tries all sorts of tactics to delay leaving for school. He can’t find socks and his hair is a mess. One thing he knows for sure, having a friend in his lunchbox is certain to help. Splat pops Seymour the Mouse into his lunchbox and sets out to meet his new teacher and classmates.Splat the Cat spread

Mrs. Wimpydimple and Splat’s new classmates are very welcoming and soon Splat is full of questions. He is especially curious to know why cats chase mice! (A definite opportunity to introduce the concept of foreshadowing) When it is finally lunchtime, Splat opens his lunchbox and his small rodent friend, Seymour is suddenly the centre of attention – and not in a good way. Splat’s new classmates do exactly what readers will predict – the chase is on!

Engaging, playful illustrations provide many details for young children to notice and enjoy. A mostly grey and black color palette is highlighted with vibrant yellow and red details that pop off the page. Those who are able to read will love the signs in the storefront windows and Mrs. Wimpydimple’s blackboard illustrations.


Harper Collins has some terrific Splat the Cat printables for children to enjoy.

Splat the Cat at Amazon.com

Splat the Cat at Amazon.ca


Fun with Shh! We Have a Plan written and illustrated by Chris Haughton

Posted on July 4th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Shh! We Have a Plan written and illustrated by Chris HaughtonShh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
Picture book published by Candlewick Press

When four friends, armed with three nets, set out to capture a beautiful, red-plumed bird, all goes well until the smallest friend alerts the the ruby bird that something is afoot. Giggles and laughter will accompany a read-aloud session of Shh! We Have a Plan. This is a book that will appeal to children – especially “youngest” children – as well as adults. The repetitive text will have youngsters ‘reading along’ quickly and repeated building of suspense will encourage children to make predictions about whats will happen next and the final outcome.

Bright, bold, dramatic illustrations are a highlight of this captivating, humorous picture book. A key to the storytelling, observant readers will note the eyes and the posture of the smallest friend in the cover art – he is definitely up to something!

Shh! We Have a Plan is the sort of story that parents and teachers will quite happily read again and again. It is great fun!

Chris Haughton won the 2015 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for new illustrator with this picture book. The Ezra Jack Keats Book Award for Illustration was established in 2001 to recognize and encourage emerging talent in the field of children’s book illustration.

Shh! We Have a Plan at Amazon.com

Shh! We Have a Plan at Amazon.ca


Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Posted on April 30th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal illustrated by Garcia LamAwake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam
Alphabet picture book published by McSweeny’s

In this fascinating picture book, Amy Krouse Rosenthal uses only words that begin with A, B or C to tell her story. The day begins as a young boy awakens and enjoys Apples, Bananas and Cantaloupe for breakfast before heading outside and finding Ants, Butterflies and Caterpillars. He later celebrates at a birthday party, explores a city and appreciates an artist. Older children will enjoy scouring debut picture book illustrator Gracia Lam’s detailed digital illustrations for an apron, bowling pins, binoculars, a castle, a cape, a church (and more!) that serve to broaden the appeal of the story and support the development of phonemic awareness and alphabet recognition.Awake Beautiful Child spread

It is worth mentioning that Ms. Rosenthal and Ms. Lam do not limit the story or illustrations to the phoneme /K/, they also challenge readers to recognize the use of ‘C’ in words beginning with the /ch/ and soft ‘C’ sounds, as in church and city. the ‘A’ words that we detected use the short vowel sound.

We envision this picture book as a wonderful inspiration to young illustrators and writers. Great for classroom use, the clever take on the alphabet book genre could certainly be a jumping off point for children to create their own stories and illustrations using only two or three letters.

This is a picture book that will be enjoyed by children aged 3 and up but that has great potential for exciting older children and adults.

Awake Beautiful Child at Amazon.com

Awake Beautiful Child at Amazon.ca


One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray

Posted on January 17th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

One Two That's My Shoe by Alison Murray, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsOne Two That’s My Shoe written and illustrated by Alison Murray
Counting Picture Book published by Disney Hyperion Books

A delightful, cheery picture book, One Two That’s My Shoe by Alison Murray will have tremendous appeal for toddlers, preschoolers and older children. Beautiful illustrations feature a lovely palette and direct readers to notice numbers and what is to be counted in each two-page spread. Very well-suited to a classroom or a library read aloud session, the illustrations are bold and large enough for a group to enjoy.

One Two That's My Shoe spread

Georgie Dog picks up one of Grace’s shoes and within minutes a chase ensues. Georgie jumps over three teddy bears and races past four wooden blocks. Soon after, he rushes outside and into the garden. Grace chases after him. This is a playful pup with a winning personality. He is clearly having fun until he encounters ten upset chickens.

One Two That’s My Shoe is a special delight and highly recommended.

Young readers may recognize Georgie Dog and Grace from Apple Pie ABC

Cut and Colour Georgie Dog from Ms. Murray’s website

One Two That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.com

One, Two, That’s My Shoe! at Amazon.ca


Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge created by Victoria Martin and Caitlyn Knepka

Posted on November 22nd, 2015 by Carolyn Hart

Itty Bitty Wouldn't Budge a picture book written by Victoria Martin and illustrated by Caitlyn KnepkaItty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge written by Victoria Martin and illustrated by Caitlyn Knepka
Picture book published by Mascot Books



At the front of my suburban house, I have a Little Free Library. With an emphasis on children’s books, at any given time, the library has three or four board books, a dozen or so easy readers, twenty chapter books for middle grade readers and twenty five picture books. This is our second year in existence and the library has been a wonderful way to meet neighbors and celebrate community. Many people speak to my husband and me about the library and we have received many generous donations. Throughout the week, I rotate books in and out of the library as I try to keep the selection fresh.

This week, while my husband was working in our garden, someone stopped by to donate a new picture book to the library. She explained that her friend, who is an author, had sent it along and asked her to drop it off. This is a “first” for the library – an author-autographed picture book!

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge

is a perfect match to the community spirit of a Little Free Library. Nana is a well-known and very popular elementary school teacher. She and her Newfoundland dog often walk through Maplewood Village. They pass local landmarks including a church, a park and the railroad station. Along the route, they see familiar faces and speak to friends.

One day, Itty Bitty decides stop partway along the route. She simply does not want to move. Nana does her best to persuade Itty Bitty to finish their walk but she’s a very large dog and quite stubborn. Passersby and community helpers ask Nana if she needs help but Nana knows her best and eventually solves the challenge.

I want to thank Victoria Martin and her friend (who lives not far from me) for this donation to our neighborhood library. I know it will be appreciated and enjoyed by many children.

Read about the author and the inspiration for this picture book here.

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge at Amazon.com

Itty Bitty Wouldn’t Budge at Amazon.ca

Enjoy Some Picturebook Fun with Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

Posted on January 10th, 2015 by Carolyn Hart

Enjoy Some Picture book Fun with Creepy CarrotsCreepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown
Outstanding picture book published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers





Terrific fun for children aged five years and up, Jasper Rabbit is very fond of carrots and makes a trip to Crackenhopper Field whenever he fancies eating a few delicious treats but one day Jasper has an eerie feeling that Creepy Carrots are following him as he leaves the field. Soon Jasper is seeing Creepy Carrots everywhere: in his house, in the garden shed and on the street. Poor Jasper is petrified! He knows exactly what to do to solve this problem.

Preschool and kindergarten teachers will find all sorts of wonderful (and orange) ways to extend the learning with this delightful book. Whether designing their own carrots or a different solution to Jasper’s problem, this book is sure to inspire fun. Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! would be an excellent companion story.

2013 Randolph Caldecott Medal Honor Book
ALA Notable Book of 2013
2013 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Crystal Kite Award Winner (Midwest)

Coloring pages (free PDF download) from Peter Brown’s webpage

Flannel Friday: Flannelboard and Template

Creepy Carrots! at Amazon.com

Creepy Carrots! at Amazon.ca

The Creepy Carrots Zone from Peter Brown on Vimeo.


Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Posted on December 2nd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is the first in our series of posts looking at the 2013 Caldecott Medal and Honor Books

Storytime Standouts Reviews Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon KlassenExtra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
2013 Caldecott Honor Book published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers





When young Annabelle finds a box of yarn and knitting needles, she begins by knitting herself a colorful sweater. Once the sweater is finished, she looks for friends and neighbors to outfit in warm wool creations. It is not long before she transforms her dreary, wintry grey town into a cheery, cozy world using the apparently endless supply of yarn. When an archduke arrives and offers to buy the magical box and its contents, Annabelle refuses him. He decides that he must have it and sends robbers to get the box from her. Extra Yarn spread

A fascinating fairy tale that explores generosity and community, Extra Yarn is best suited to children aged four years and up. Fans of Jon Klassen will enjoy spotting some of his trademark characters wearing Annabelle’s cozy gifts.

2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Extra Yarn at Amazon.com

Extra Yarn at Amazon.ca

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

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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


Classic Picture Book: Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

Posted on October 15th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes created and illustrated by James Dean, story by Eric LitwinPete the Cat I Love My White Shoes created and illustrated by James Dean, story by Eric Litwin
Picture book published by Harper Collins Children’s Books





Light, breezy, rhythmic and upbeat, Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes shares a message of resilience that will appeal to children and adults. Pete begins his day with bright, white new shoes. When he steps onto a pile of strawberries, his shoes turn red and, when he encounters blueberries, his shoes turn blue. Regardless of what poor Pete has to walk through, he maintains his happy outlook. Very popular with young children who enjoy learning and singing about colors, Pete also has a message for older children and adults:

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.” Helen Keller

An excellent choice for young readers who will benefit from the repetitive and predictable text, Pete’s coolness is oh so groovy!

Harper Collins Publishers’ Pete the Cat downloads (including songs)

I Can Read Pete the Cat (free downloads)

School Library Journal’s Top 100 Picture Books
2013 Morning Calm Award Medal, International Schools of South Korea
2013 Best Picture Book, Colorado Children’s Book Award
2013 Best Picture Book, North Carolina Children’s Book Award
2012 Center for the Book at the New Hampshire State Library – Ladybug Picture Book Award
2011 ReadKiddoRead award for Best Illustrated Books
2011 Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award
2010 25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes at Amazon.com

Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes at Amazon.ca

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes on YouTube

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes Pinterest Board

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes created and illustrated by James Dean, story by Eric Litwin on Pinterest.


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Phonemic Awareness

Bolstering Phonemic Awareness, Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Bolstering Phonemic Awareness, 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 ...

5 Ways to Assess Your Child’s Phonemic Awareness (Series)

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

Terrific Chapter Books for Middle Grades and Teens

Wrapping up the year… best books for middle grades

Wrapping up the year… best books for middle grades

I always say this but I can't believe it's the ...

A Middle Grade Teacher’s To Be Read List – Let it inspire you!

It's been a while since I did a top ten ...

Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy

This isn't a scientific fact but it is a completely ...

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