Three Picture Book Favorites

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These three books are our current household favorites. Carter asks for these books every night, knows the characters by name and can quote several pages of text. It’s another reminder to me that stories and books shape lives.

One Word from Sophia
Written by Jim Averbeck • Illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail

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Sophia’s One True Desire is to get a pet giraffe for her birthday, but she must convince her family that this is a good idea. She prepares presentations, proposals and pie charts but discovers that her arguments are too verbose. She must figure out a way to persuade her family that a giraffe is a good idea before her birthday arrives!

Reasons I love it:

  1. Sophia is persistent and precocious. She makes some bomb presentations that include arguments like, “A giraffe could take me to ballet class and deliver me right to the second floor” and “Giraffes are a good source of manure, which can be sold at a profit to garden centers and activists. In short, people will pay me for poop.” I think Carter is in love with Sophia.IMG_5577
  2. Sophia is part of an interracial family that challenges stereotypes. Her mother is a judge, her father is a businessman and Uncle Conrad is a politician. Sophia, a young girl of color, is both sophisticatedly clever and charmingly sweet. I love that this book presents a different narrative on race and gender without making it the explicit focus of the story.
  3. Vocabulary vocabulary vocabulary! Jim Averbeck uses words and syntax that might be considered too advanced for young children, but cleverly creates context for them to puzzle out meanings on their own. The English teacher in me loves this!
  4. There is a simple message that everyone – children, parents, teachers – will love. Read it to find out more!

Stick and Stone
Written by Beth Ferry • Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

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Stick and Stone are lonely. When Stick rescues Stone from a bully, they become good friends and adventure together happily. One day, Stick is blown away in a storm and it is up to Stone to save him!

Reasons I love it:

  1. This entire story is told in less than 150 words. That’s right, Beth Ferry tells a story with a beginning, middle, climax, resolution, and several universal themes in less than 150 words. Oh, and it rhymes. It also includes humorous word play and sound effects that add a deeper layer of meaning and makes the story fun to read aloud. In, you got it, less than 150 words. Mind blown.
  2. The illustrations are so dang cute. They add layers of dimension and bring the characters into all their charming, loveable life. I was first drawn to this book because of the adorable pictures. Look:IMG_5575
  3. The underlying theme of friendship is told with sweetness and ingenuity. It is neither preachy nor sickly gag-worthy. It makes you laugh and awww in perfect balance. I know I love a book when I don’t mind reading it ten thousand times a day with Carter!

 

This is Not My Hat
Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen

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Little fish steals hat from big fish. Little fish is confident that he will get away before the big fish figures things out. But, big fish wakes up and wants his hat back!

Reasons I Love it:

  1. This book is hilarious and unlike any other picture book I’ve read. The little fish breaks the fourth wall, telling readers about his adventures. This sets the stage for dramatic irony and deadpan humor that hooks adults and kids alike.
  2. Visual humor in beautiful illustrations. The story is told in the pictures. This book won the Caldecott Medal in 2013. Take a look:IMG_5574
  3. Mysterious ending. We learn that stealing is wrong, but what happens to the small fish? This is up for debate. Could potentially be upsetting to younger children depending on how one decides to spin it!
  4. Did I mention I think this book is brilliant and darkly hilarious?

Happy reading!

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