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.
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!
Exclamation Mark is just not like anyone else. As much as he’d like to look the same, he’s always a standout in a crowd.
He was confused, flummoxed, and deflated.
He even thought about running away..
Clever wordplay and fun, expressive illustrations will captivate children old enough to understand punctuation and the important role it plays in our language. Older readers will enjoy the double entendre and will celebrate Exclamation Mark’s voyage of self discovery.
Why oh why is he different? He wants nothing more than to look just like the periods around him. It is only when Question Mark arrives on the scene that Exclamation Mark discovers something deep within – he discovers why and how he has an important role to play – despite his rather unique upright appearance.
An outstanding 2013 picture book, Exclamation Mark is highly recommended for readers aged five years and up.
MEAN JEAN was Recess Queen and nobody said any different.
Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung.
Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.
Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced.
Mean Jean is a playground bully. At recess, she commands all those around her. She controls the swings, the soccer ball and the basketball.
One day, a new girl arrives at school. Tiny Katie Sue is completely unaware of Mean Jean’s position of authority at the playground. Katie Sue does not wait to be told what to do. She swings and she kicks and she bounces. When challenged by Mean Jean, Katie Sue asks, “How DID you get so bossy?”
Before long, there is a showdown between Mean Jean and Katie Sue. When Katie Sue pulls a jump rope from her pocket, she invites Mean Jean to skip with her.
Repetitious text, delicious wordplay and bright, energetic illustrations highlight a terrific anti-bullying book that begs to be read aloud. Recommended for children aged four and up.
Add this anti-bullying picture book to your bookshelf –
When you’ve read all the best-known novels for preteens, here are some lesser-known recommended chapter books
I work with a grade three girl who is a very good reader. She has read almost all of Roald Dahl’s books (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The B.F.G., etc.) and also E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. The question posed Wednesday was, “What shall I read next? What are your recommended chapter books for kids like me?”
Let’s take a look at some possibilities…
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt A great pick for summertime reading, this adventure is set in the 1880s and tells the story of a family who has found a source of eternal life. Very difficult decisions lie ahead as one of the boys falls in love with Winnie. She must decide between eternal life with him and a life that will come to an end.
Frindle (plus The Landry News, The Report Card) by Andrew Clements Nick has loads of ideas – he’s always trying to liven things up. His grade five teacher, known as The Lone Granger, is all business and unlikely to appreciate Nick’s antics. However, an early assignment to look up word definitions may just have potential: why not call a pen something else? How about using frindle instead?
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat I love this depiction of Mr. Mowat’s boyhood. He lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and had all manner of pets. His parents must have been amazing – imagine managing a household with a dog, gophers, snakes, owls and more. The chapter that describes the new minister’s tumultuous visit is one I will never forget.
The Nose from Jupiter (plus A Nose for Adventure & Noses Are Red) by Richard Scrimger Leave your scepticism at the door and enjoy the fun. Poor Alan is a mess, there is something not quite right. His nose is stuffy, considerably stuffier than usual. Norbert, an alien from Jupiter, is an unexpected, uninvited guest in Alan’s nose.
A picture book that was originally published in 1957, this new edition of Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words is a great introduction to what words are. Combining bold, bright graphic illustrations with a text that begs to be read aloud:
Some words are gay and bright and full of light like tinsel and silver and sparkle.
Sparkle and Spin highlights rhyming, onomatopoeia and homonyms. Although the striking illustrations and wordplay will be enjoyed by very young children, there is much here for older children and adults to appreciate.
The Penguin and the Pea – written and illustrated by Janet Perlman
Here is a delightful twist on a familiar tale. Poor Prince Penguin is lonely and filled with despair – will he ever find a penguin princess suitable for marriage? It seems unlikely until a stormy evening when a drenched young penguin arrives at the castle. She claims to be a princess seeking shelter. Prince Penguin is enchanted – the Queen is unconvinced. Will the ‘princess’ pass the test and ensure a happy ending?
The Penguin and the Pea is a fun take on a familiar story. Children will enjoy comparing this with other versions of The Princess and the Pea. Also fun for penguin theme.
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