Friday, July 25, 2008

Children's Choice Picture Books

I didn't want to create ten posts over each of the picture book nominees for the state children's choice awards, so I've just decided to do one monster post on all of them and give you the highlights.

By far, I think the favorite book will be Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds. It is fun and colorful and makes you hungry. =) The animals in the book are very reminiscent of Click, Clack, Moo. Including an ornery set of mice that seem to be running quite the racket! This is my prediction for the winner this year.

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen will also be a hit with the kids. All of them will love hearing about the fun extravagant (and unrealistic) details the main character is adding to his car. I think that you ought to hand out pencils and paper with this book, as every kid is going to want to draw their own car after reading it!

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen is sweet and touch and every librarian will love it. Kids will also like the idea of tame and well-meaning pet lion.

Fancy Nancy is already an instant class with little girls and if they have anything to say about it, this book will be high up there on the final list.

If you want a creative way to teach some math skill and work fairy tales in, The Three Silly Billies by Margie Palatini is perfect. Another fun and humorous book, this will be a great curriculum aide for teachers. Money counting here we come!

Let Them Play by Margot Theis Raven will be another great curriculum enhancer. The story of a Little League All-Star team from the 50's, this book focuses on racial inequality and has so many options for tie-in literature! I can't wait to share this one with my social studies teachers.

Three books, while o.k. books just didn't seem to have the pizazz the others did. Lucky by Jean Craighead George is a nice state tie-in, but the writing leaves something to be desired. "Cute" and "nice" are the two words I used to describe Duck and Goose by Tad Hills. There's not too much to this story, but it's cute. A book that seemed to be selected more for the adults than the kids is Nothing to Do by Douglas Wood. The message is plain, sometimes we gotta take time out to stop and smell the roses. But I'm pretty sure that students won't grasp this idea too easily. It's something that really seems to be learned in hindsight.

Finally, my rant about Honey, Honey, Lion by Jan Brett. I like Jan Brett, I really do. But this book really disappointed me. Honey Badger and Honey Bird have a symbiotic relationship. And one day Honey Badger gets selfish and keeps all the honey for himself. He doesn't really pay attention to Honey Bird's upset squawks, so the next day, Honey Bird leads Honey Badger straight into a mean lion that chases him and scares him. In fact it mentions something to the effect of, "That's the closest any animal can get to an angry lion and live to tell about it." The rest of the animals are amused and call out to each other to watch out for Honey Bird. Hmmmmmmmmm....... Great lesson I want to teach my son. Share or you'll get eaten by a lion. If someone doesn't share with you, it's o.k. to be really mean to them. If someone has something scary and mean happen to them, it's funny because they probably deserved it. My son was really excited to look at the pictures and name all the animals, but after that, I took the book back to school. I wasn't going to read him the story. (I know...I'm a grouch.) I was really disappointed this was selected as a nominee.

That's all of them. Check back in May to see if my predictions are right: Chicks and Salsa and If I Built a Cart will be at the top of the results!

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