Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bedtime Reading: 10/19

These are four kids' books I've read at least once this week; it's not the record of any one night, but they're all books I like and could say something about.

  • The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog by Mo Willems -- the thrilling sequel to Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (and which was followed, in its turn, by Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!). Bus is easily the best of the pigeon books, but they're all very fun read-out-loud books, and the two Don't book in particular have a nice call-and-response rhythm to them. (The kids you're reading to are to be encouraged to keep telling the pigeon "no" when he asks to do things.) Hot Dog is a slightly different story, and introduces another main character in "the duckling." (Bus and Stay Up have a bus driver character, but he's really just there at the beginning and end to tell the kids not to let the pigeon do what he wants to do.) Both the pigeon and the duckling have very distinct "voices" on the page, which makes it very easy to give them funny read-out-loud voices (and I think I have); my boys like all of these books quite a bit.
  • Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina -- one of the great classics of the field; if you're younger than about 70, your parents probably read this to you. This is the one about the peddler who carries his caps on his head, but monkeys steal them while he naps, and then copy everything he does. No moral at all, and it's got monkeys! How can you go wrong with monkeys?
  • Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker -- a quite large book with nice art (but not overly-finished-looking; it's a bit cartoony and scrawled, which I like a lot), the sequel to Wow! City! In the first book, the author's young daughter accompanied him on a trip to New York, and was thrilled by various things there -- this time, she and her even younger sister go all across the USA and see lots of sights. This book has a very, very minimal text (the word "Wow" and a word about the particular scenic whatzis on each page), which makes it great for very little kids -- they can figure out what the words are without really being able to read, if necessary. America has two multi-page fold-outs, too, and really uses the large format well to show big panoramas of American stuff. If'n you're not some kind of dirty anti-American Commie agitator, you'll like this.
  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems -- yes, another Mo Willems book; I hadn't realized I had two of his when I dragged the pile downstairs to type them into the computer. This is more of a minor work, and is definitely didactic, but it's still a nice story with some cute monster designs. It's about a kid monster who's terrible -- not evil, but terrible at being a monster; no one is scared of him. So he tried to remedy that, and learns a lesson in the end. I can take or leave "lesson" books (it depends on the lesson a lot of the time), but this is a good one.

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