Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tanya's Favorite Mainstream Children's Picture Books

Kristina was right: this is a tough assignment! As kids grow they cycle through different books as favorites. There are those that will always be classics in our home, but here are a few currently most read.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion celebrated its 50th anniversary three years ago, but it's still a favorite in this house, as are other Harry books such as Harry and the Lady Next Door and Harry by the Sea. The original tells of a white dog with black spots who hated taking baths. One day, when he heard the bath water running, he took the scrubbing brush, buried it in the garden and ran away from home. Harry had a wonderful day playing all over town and getting wonderfully dirty. Before long he began to miss his family and headed home, only now he was a black dog with white spots. His family didn't recognize him even when he performed his best tricks. Finally he does a new trick: he finds the scrubbing brush and begs for a bath! The children oblige and are delighted to find their beloved Harry under all that dirt. (Toddler - 1st Grade; HarperFestival, 2006; ISBN: 006084244X; Boardbook; $7.99. Also available as paperback or hardback.)

Olivia, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer, is a Caldecott Honor winner and, though only a few years old, is already a classic in many homes. In it a young pig named Olivia shares a little about her life, her family and her daily activities. The treasure of this book is in the illustrations as much as the text. Together they tell a fun story of a precocious, energetic girl who is greatly loved, faults and all. (4-8; Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books, 2004; ISBN: 0689874723; Boardbook; $7.99. Also available as Hardback.)

Passport into the Wild by Jack Hanna takes readers on an interactive journey through the seven continents. Part journal, part scrapbook, this book is filled with interesting facts and gorgeous glossy photos making this book appeal to readers of all ages. Each continent "chapter" is eight pages long, complete with maps, languages, geographical information, population and anthropological details. The last page of each "chapter" invites readers to interact with the information they've just read by using their "passports" and stickers, both removable features found and stored in the front cover of the book. Our whole family loves this book! It's saturated with information, but because of the format, we can read as little or as much as attention spans can handle. (5 and above; Thomas Nelson, 2008; ISBN: 1400311381; Hardback; $16.99)

Cooking with the Cat combines two of my daughter's loves -- cooking and reading -- with the classic Dr. Seuss character, Cat in the Hat. As a Step 1 book in the Step Into Reading series, this book's format is designed to encourage beginning readers. The rhyming text and clear font make it perfect for learning and reviewing phonetic combinations. Of course, the Seussical illustrations make this book a hit with everyone whether read by or to the kids. (Preschool-1st Grade; Random House Books for Young Readers, 2003; ISBN: 0375824944; $3.99)

Big, Bigger and Biggest Trucks and Diggers may never make it back to our local library. This large, hardback volume teaches all about Caterpillar construction vehicles, an obsession with almost all boys under the age of ten. Using text boxes and large glossy photos, this book tells all about excavators, backhoes, bulldozers and mining trucks, just to name a few. Readers learn what they do, how big they are, what the different parts are called, how much they can carry and more. This book comes with a DVD so kids can watch these "Cat Trucks" in action. You'll find over an hour of video narrated by kids and filled with fun truck songs. (4-8; Chronicle Books, 2008; ISBN: 0811864324; Hardback w/ DVD; $14.99)

1 comment:

Kristina said...

Tanya, we also love the original "Oliva" book and the Harry the dog books :)