Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kristina's Favorite Mainstream Children's Picture Books

Christian Children's Book Review is the only place to consistently find reviews for Christian picture books, and we love what we do! But we love all books, not just Christian books, so from time to time, we like to share a few wholesome mainstream books we think you should know about. That's what this current series of posts is about. All of us (minus Christine, who doesn't have small children anymore and doesn't buy mainstream picture books) are eager to post about our favorite mainstream picture books.

Being the founder of CCBR, I get to go first (haha!), and I can tell you this assignment isn't as easy as it looks. There are so many good books out there, it's tough to choose around five I think are the absolute best. I've based my criteria on how much my three year old and I like the books, and I've tried to steer clear of famous books (like The Complete Adventures of Curious George and Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales) every family with children should own, but probably already know about. Here are my recommendations:

How Are You Peeling by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. In this little gem, truly clever photographs show fruits and vegetables expressing emotion. Not only does this make healthy food more appealing to kids, but it's just plain fun! It also helps toddlers and preschoolers understand and put words to emotions. I've been reading this book to my daughter since she was less than a year old, and she still loves it. (Baby to preschool, Scholastic, 2004, ISBN 0439598419, paperback, $6.99)

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone. While the little red hen works diligently, her housemates do not...but soon discover the benefits of being helpers. Galdone's version of this classic story is by far the best I've seen, and my daughter asks me to read this book to her over and over again. (4 - 8, Scholastic, 2006, ISBN 0618836845, paperback $18.25)

Parts by Tedd Arnold. This book will make both you and your child laugh. A young boy suddenly notices hair in his comb and thinks he's going bald. He finds fuzz is in his belly button and is sure his stuffing is coming out. Snot comes out of his nose and he thinks his brain is falling out...You get the idea. He thinks he's literally falling apart. The conclusion is comforting, and once kids understand this is how our bodies work, they'll laugh each time you read this tale. (4 - 8, Puffin, 2000, ISBN 0140565337, paperback $6.99)

How Groundhog's Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry. Young children have a natural curiosity about nature, and the preschool and lower grade years are the ideal time to give children some gardening experience. This book introduces the concept of planting a vegetable garden (from gathering seeds, to planting them, to harvesting them) through animal characters. The story holds my daughter's attention, and we both love the lush drawings. (4 - 8, Blue Sky Press, 2003, ISBN 0439323711, hardback $11.55)

Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. I recommend all the books in this "Backyard Books" series (Are You a Butterfly? Are You a Snail?, etc.) The author begins by asking if the reader is a ladybug. "If you are, your parents look like this and they eat aphids." We see what their eggs look like and then the author implores us to eat lots of aphids once we hatch so we can grow and grow. She takes us through the entire cycle of ladybug growth, then says if our parents look "like this," then we are not ladybugs, but humans. "Your skin will not split as you grow. You can't fly. it is very unlikely that you are red with black dots." She does a great job of presenting scientific fact in a fun, entertaining way. (4 - 8, Kingfisher, 2003, ISBN 0753456036, paperback $5.99)

1 comment:

Tanya said...

We have "Little Red Hen" too. I've added "Parts" and the ladybug book to our wish list. Thanks!