As a Youth Services Librarian, I’m expected to stay up to date on all kinds of books for kids and teens, from graphic novels, beginning readers, through the gamut to all kinds of chapter books and series. Of all the books published for kids, picture books are my favorite. I glom onto all of the shiny new picture books that come in, sniff out new titles that patrons reserve, and haunt book review journals to find out when a new book by a favorite author is coming out. (The Quiet Book has a sequel, squeee!) I love to recommend books to patrons, except that most of the time my favorites are checked out. In the almost two years I’ve been here, I have tried to add more popular picture book titles, but have found that the collection on a day to day basis remains much the same, since most of the new books I bought are checked out most of the time.
So with my shiny new blog I want to start sharing some favorite picture books.
Today’s picture books are all great animal read alouds, not new books, but classics I can pull out and read to a group of kids on a moment’s notice.
First is Bark, George! by Jules Feiffer A staple of storytimes everywhere, this is a great tool for developing narrative skills and getting kids involved in a book. It works for kids who are quite young, so long as they have a good grasp of their animal sounds. I use it for preschool through grade 2 visits, but my assistant will read it to anyone. I gave a copy to my niece and my sister says that she is finally getting the humor in the book. This is also a good book to do creative dramatics with or use puppets. They do make a puppet that goes with the story that you can buy, but I’ve adapted the story to use what ever puppets are on hand.
Second, and staying with the dog theme, Move Over, Rover!, by Karen Beaumont, Which has a rollicking rhythm and rhyme that draws children in, and a rainy day and animal theme that make this a good book for a number of story times. This book is for a narrower age range, probably preschool through kindergarten, though younger kids on a one on one basis could enjoy it.
Third is What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, by Jan Thomas, which does have a dog in it. I love this book for the expressions on the animal’s faces, and the way that the author tries to draw the audience in. Also, I have a fat cat. I think that this book, The Doghouse, and Cow’s Birthday are pure genius. I’m not as enamored of her other work, but I do continue to buy it for the branch.
The last is a book I use all the time, but usually I just tell the story. It is Dog’s Colorful Day, by Emma Dodd. It is a great counting and color story, that I can do on a white board and can adapt to a number of themes. We did Ghost’s Colorful Day, and you could do Cat’s Colorful Day, and so on. It is fun to tell this story because you can engage the audience in thinking of messy things the creature encounters, and children can practice their number, color, and narrative skills. This is a toddler to preschool book, though I suppose Kindergarteners could enjoy it as well.