Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kid Konnection: Assorted Picture Books

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I'm going to share with you some fun picture books that Booking Son and I have read in the past few weeks.

Summary: What lurks inside that mysterious store at the end of town? Only Benny Penny is adventurous enough to find out. . . .

In this book, you can read the words
and the pictures. Perfect for children just learning to read, this silly, kid-friendly rebus picture book is sure to be a hit in the classroom and at home. (In a rebus, words are represented by images, or by an image plus a letter. And even beginning readers can take pleasure in reading pictures!) The pairing of Valorie Fisher’s full-page art with J. Patrick Lewis’s funny rhyming poem will give young readers plenty of clues for solving these fun and engaging picture puzzles. -- Schwartz & Wade

THE FANTASTIC 5 & 10 STORE: A REBUS ADVENTURE by J. Patrick Lewis and Valorie Fisher is truly unlike any book that I've read to Booking Son. It's actually made up of "normal" text and lots and lots of rebuses. If you aren't familiar with a rebus, it is a word which is shown as a picture or a picture combined with a letter or two. The book is so much fun to read especially with a youngster who can help you out! I have a feeling that kids are going to figure out these little puzzles much quicker than a lot of adults (yours truly included!)

The storybook is actually written in rhyming verse so I felt the pressure as I tried to read it and figure out the rebuses at the same time. I found myself guessing at the words and then realizing that they didn't fit into the rhyming scheme. I was a tad bit frustrated (in a fun way) but Booking Son didn't seem to mind. He just loved guessing what each picture represented. Of course, he got a kick out of some of my rhymes!

In addition to the fun that you will have reading this book, Booking Son and I also enjoyed the picture. The rebuses are adorable and appear on wide-lined notebook paper, and the rest of the illustrations are extremely interesting. Since the story is a tad bit whimsical, I thought the pictures were the perfect complement to the text. There is quite a bit going on on each page and I think kids will look at the book over and over again.

After we finished THE FANTASTIC 5 & 10 STORE, I discovered that there was an "answer" guide in the back of the book with the entire text of the story. Booking Son and I both started laughing and then re-read the book. We actually found that we didn't do too badly with our guessing!

THE FANTASTIC 5 & 10 STORE is an extremely fun book that children are guaranteed to love -- even if it's because they can laugh at their parents!

Summary: Here is the thrilling, thigh-slapping companion to Swamp Angel, the beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book.

Swamp Angel has a reputation as the greatest woodswoman and wildest wildcat in all of Tennessee. But when she grows too big for that state, she moves to Montana, a place so sizeable, even Angel can fit in. It’s there that she wrestles a raging storm to the ground and, at its center, finds herself a sidekick—a horse she names Dust Devil. And when Backward Bart, the orneriest, ugliest outlaw ever known, starts terrorizing the prairie, seems like Angel and Dust Devil may be the only ones strong enough to stop him.

Children will be captivated by the beauty and exaggerated humor of Paul Zelinsky’s American primitive–style paintings and the wit and energy of Anne Isaacs’s unparalleled storytelling. Here is an original folktale starring an extraordinary gal who is as feisty as she is funny and as courageous as she is kind. -- Schwartz & Wade

DUST DEVIL by Anne Isaacs and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky is another wonderful kids' book. It's actually aimed at a little older audience than Booking Son (who is six) because of the length of the story and the subject matter. We actually didn't read the entire book in one sitting. However, he still enjoyed this "larger-than-life" story about the Wild West and the heroes Angel and Dust Devil.

I never considered myself to be a huge fan of folklore, but I found this book to be extremely entertaining. The story and characters were, without a doubt interesting; and I loved how the book explained the history of some words and events -- like the derivation of the word butte, the creation of the Grand Canyon, and the reason there was so much gold in California. The writing in the book was so smart and funny that I doubt many kids will appreciate all of the references, but parents will! Don't you just love it when a children's book appeals as much to the grownup reading it as the child being read to?

In addition to the story, the pictures were also beautiful. I absolutely loved the colors used to depict Montana's terrain, but I also thought the drawings of the characters were extremely fun. All of the pages are filled with lots and lots of illustrations, and these pictures just draw you in. One reason Booking Son enjoyed this book so much is that he found the pictures to be interesting with lots to look at.

DUST DEVIL is a companion book to the Caldecott Honor-Winning picture book SWAMP ANGEL, although it definitely works as a stand-alone read. Having said that, I am extremely curious to see SWAMP ANGEL now that I know how fantastic DUST DEVIL was.

I was a little surprised, but very happy to see that there is a teacher's guide available for DUST DEVIL. This book really does touch upon some history of the Wild West and I think it would work well in the classroom.

If you are a fan of folklore, then you definitely won't want to miss DUST DEVIL. Even if you are like me and not a huge fan, you should check it out too. DUST DEVIL is an action-packed story that is guaranteed to entertain kids of all ages.

Summary: This sweet picture book starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird, is perfect for back-to-school! Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own.

With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listeners learn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten classrooms and story hour or as a gift for that beginning reader. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the
New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Duck & Goose, will make this a favorite. -- Schwartz & Wade Books

HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ by Tad Hills is one of my new "favorite" children's books. I can sum it up in one word -- adorable! Booking Son and I both loved this story about a little dog who learns to read. Since Booking Son is in kindergarten and learning to read, this book was just ideal for him. I think he appreciated how Rocket learned the letter sounds and started spelling everything!

As a mother of a reluctant reader (Booking Son loves books if they are read to him but he doesn't want to read them himself!), I enjoyed this book because my son could relate to it. He has known his alphabet by site since he turned two, but he is hesitant to go the next step and actually read (although he will write which is another story.) I am hoping that he picks up on Rocket's enthusiasm for books and especially his quest for knowledge!

Besides the story of Rocket which I found absolutely precious, I also adored the illustrations in this book. I haven't really come across many cuter dogs in picture books than Rocket, and his teacher (a little yellow bird) is so sweet and encouraging. Tad Hills, the author of HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ, is amazing; and he's also the author of the New York Times Bestseller DUCK & GOOSE. Guess what we'll be checking out of the library next week?

As far as I'm concerned, HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ is a must-have book for all preschoolers and kindergartners. It would also be the perfect gift for your child's teacher this holiday season!

Summary: David Small's dryly comic story of a little girl who wakes one morning to discover she has grown antlers has delighted children since it was first published 15 years ago. Now reissued in a sparkling oversize format, this classic is ready for a whole new audience.

The family doctor, the school principal, and even Imogene's know-it-all brother, Norman, fail to resolve her dilemma. Imogene, the cook, and the kitchen maid, however, make the best of things, finding unusual uses for Imogene's new horns. Meanwhile, the problem appears to be solved when Imogene awakes the next morning antler-free.

But the family (and the reader) are in for a surprise when Imogene comes down to breakfast. . . . -- Crown

IMOGENE'S ANTLERS by David Small was a big hit in our house. Booking Son absolutely loved this book and laughed like a nut when I read it to him. I have to agree with him -- it was one funny story. IMOGENE'S ANTLERS is being re-released for its 25th anniversary, and I think it definitely stands the test of time. It's one of those books that parents and kids alike will enjoy.

The premise of the story is entertaining in itself. Imogene wakes up one morning to find that she has grown a huge rack of antlers. Her reaction is funny as is the doctor's and her Principal's, but her mother's reaction is positively hilarious. (Booking Son and I couldn't stop laughing when we saw the illustration of her mother fainting.) Imogene lives with her new horns for an entire day, but when she goes to sleep, the antlers disappear. Things aren't quite back to normal though, because Imogene wakes up to an entirely new "addition." Once again, Booking Son and I were besides ourselves when we saw the picture on the last page.

And that brings me to the next thing that I loved about this book -- the illustrations. In fact, the pictures in IMOGENE'S ANTLERS really bring the story to the next level for me. The drawings are very detailed with lots to look at, but at the same time, they are very silly. They perfectly complemented the story and I think everything about this book just worked.

Highly recommend by Booking Son and Booking Mama!

Thanks to the publisher for sending me copies of these adorable books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Pam Pho said...

Dust Devil is amazing. Addie and I went to signing at our local indie and she treasures it greatly.

Deborah said...

aww man i remember Imogen's Antlers from when I was growing up! It was on an episode of Reading Rainbow..i think it was the zoo episode.'s great to see a blast from my past on here!

bermudaonion said...

Everyone seems to love How Rocket Learned to Read. I'm sure Vance would have, too, just because of the dog.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I still love picture books. Wish I had an excuse to buy them! :--)

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I love rebuses and I actually use them as a brain-stimulating activity at work. The Fantastic 5 & 10 Store sounds like a very original book. Will go on my wishlist. Actually, your whole collection of books this week was fun!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I can vouch for Imogene's Antlers. It was a favorite in my house for many years!

Andrea said...

The Rebus book looks great! What age range would you suggest it for?

Brimful Curiosities said...

We've been wanting to read IMOGENE'S ANTLERS by David Small for awhile now. I saw it mentioned on another blog. They made their own antlers to go along with the story.

Tracey M. said...

I found you over at Brimful Curiosities and joined your blog hop. Thanks for sharing all great books and for hosting!

LitLass said...

We have and love Rocket. We'll have to check out the others.