Recommended Narrative Nonfiction: Picture Books

applegate_ivan

Applegate, Katherine Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla 40 pp. Clarion 2014. ISBN 978-0-544-25230-1 Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Applegate introduces picture-book readers to the true story that inspired her Newbery-winning The One and Only Ivan. In poetic prose she describes gorilla Ivan’s early life in Africa; his dramatic capture; his […]

Review of Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way

cronin_boom snot twitty

Boom Snot Twitty: This Way That Way by Doreen Cronin; 
illus. by Renata Liwska Preschool   Viking   40 pp. 6/15   978-0-670-78577-3   $16.99   g On the opening endpapers of this gentle story, the unfortunately named Snot (a snail) is happily gathering blueberries and putting them in a basket. The title page shows Boom (a bear) and Twitty […]

Review of First Grade Dropout

vernick_first grade dropout

First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Matthew Cordell Primary   Clarion   32 pp. 7/15   978-0-544-12985-6   $16.99 “I can’t stop thinking about it. How everyone laughed and slapped their desks and stomped their feet. And pointed. At me.” The narrator’s social infraction? “I. Called. My. Teacher. MOMMY!!!” It’s a typical-enough blunder among kids new to […]

Poetry and pictures

paschkis_flutter and hum

Poetry appears in many forms in these four illustrated books: one collection of old favorites, two books that present original poetry in both Spanish and English, and one biography of an enslaved man who became a poet. JooHee Yoon’s sixteen selections of poems about animals in Beastly Verse include the usual suspects from Nash, Blake, […]

Review of My Cousin Momo

ohora_my cousin momo

My Cousin Momo by Zachariah OHora; illus. by the author Primary     Dial     32 pp. 6/15     978-0-8037-4011-2     $16.99 Two squirrel siblings excitedly await a visit from their cousin Momo. Unlike them, he’s a flying squirrel — and once he arrives, they learn that the differences don’t stop there. Everything about Momo is foreign to the squirrel […]

Review of The Fun Book of Scary Stuff

jenkins_fun book of scary stuff

The Fun Book of Scary Stuff by Emily Jenkins; illus. by Hyewon Yum Primary   Foster/Farrar   32 pp. 8/15   978-0-374-30000-5   $16.99 A child shares with his two chatty dogs the list he wrote of things that scare him: monsters, ghosts, witches, trolls. The pug seems sympathetic, but the self-proclaimed “bravest dog ever” bull terrier is unfazed […]

Review of Playful Pigs from A to Z

lobel_playful pigs

Playful Pigs from A to Z by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary     Knopf     40 pp. 7/15     978-0-553-50832-1     $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-50833-8     $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-50834-5     $10.99 Twenty-six pigs wake up in their pen and decide to explore the countryside, running down the road and finding a field of “magical surprises”: […]

Review of The Skunk

barnett_skunk

The Skunk by Mac Barnett; illus. by Patrick McDonnell Primary     Roaring Brook     32 pp. 4/15     978-1-59643-966-5     $17.99 A skunk shows up on the narrator’s doorstep and begins to tail him. Try as he might, our narrator just can’t seem to shake the skunk — “When I sped up, the skunk sped up. When […]

Go the BEEP to sleep!

staniszewski_power down little robot

TREND DETECTED! Insomniac robots are rolling off the assembly line. Here they are blinking their way through bedtime in Todd Tarpley’s Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! (Little, Brown, September 2015), illustrated by John Rocco. And here, one little robot takes its sweet time shutting off in Anna Staniszewski’s Power Down, Little Robot (Macmillan/Holt, March 2015), […]

Top 5 meta books to teach print concepts

We Are in a Book!

As a Pre-K teacher, one of the things I am focused on is helping children learn concepts of print. These concepts include that books are read from left to right and top to bottom (in English at least); the role of punctuation; that print has meaning; the relationship between print and speech; that books have […]