Support for PBS Parents provided by:


  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Odd Squad
  • Peg + Cat
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Martha Speaks
  • WordGirl
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Arthur
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • Cyberchase
  • Between the Lions
  • Mama Mirabelle
  • Caillou
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Oh Noah
  • Fetch!
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Mister Rogers
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • SciGirls
  • Wilson & Ditch
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM
 

Books

Home »

Posts by Pam

Pam

Thursday Three: Poetry Collections

Posted by Pam on April 8, 2010 at 10:00 AM in PoetryRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

In continuing from last week with National Poetry Month , I'm sharing three poetry collections for kids of all ages. It's possible - and I'm not tossing out blame here - that you've thought of the poetry progression as Mother Goose, Shel Silverstein, and whatever they hand out in middle school. That's okay, because I was once like you. But now you can start your foray into poetry with these incredible collections.

A Kick In the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Foms
Selected by Paul Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka

A Kick In the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic FomsWhether it's starting small with an Odgen Nash couplet and moving on through to a Shakespeare sonnet, or showing a limerick where we all know the form to a pantoum where we learn something completely new, this book both serves as a collection of poems and a primer of forms. Along with a sample poem from a variety of poets, each form is explained briefly, but in a fun, entirely accessible way for the youngest readers to us poetry-deprived adults. The bright, lively, abstract illustrations of Raschka capture the different tone of the poems and lend to the lightness of the collection. You can pick up this book in paperback, so it's a ridiculously low investment for a lifetime of understanding poetic forms.


Poetry Speaks to Children
Edited by Elis Paschen and Dopminque Raccah, Illustrated by Wendy Rasmussen, Judy Love, and Paula Zinngrabe Wendland

Poetry Speaks to ChildrenThis is an amazing collection of modern and classic poems from a diverse group of poets that includes Ogden Nash, Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez, and Roald Dahl. I love the eclectic feel where "Gas" by C.K. Williams is one page away from a poem from Macbeth and a Native American poem taken from a Osage prayer is followed by a poem by Rudyard Kipling. The book is accompanied by a CD of many of the poems read by the poets, which means that thanks to archival copies, today's children can hear readings of Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, among others. Three illustrators bring these poems to life, giving us a mix of styles, while still keeping a general consistency throughout the book. Absolutely one of of my favorite poetry books.

Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World,
edited by Jan Greenberg

Side by SidePoetry and art. Multiple languages and multicultural images. Enriching and educational, this collection is masterful in its presentation. Each poem is written in the poet's native language, as well as in English, and represent a wide range in style and subject. Each page is illustrated by an iconic, related work of art, which is such a natural fit to poetry that it makes the book inspired. The overall sophistication makes this a collection for the older elementary child and on up. While it would be a pleasure to own and peruse in any home library, I have to say that it would be ideal for the classroom.


(Are you checking out the poetry sources online that I suggested? The full list is at KidLitosphere Central, but dip your feet in the poetry pool with 30 Poets/30 Days, Poetry Makers, and Poetry Books for Children.)

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Poetry Month

Posted by Pam on April 1, 2010 at 10:09 AM in KidlitsospherePoetry
Bookmark and Share

I was going to follow my own tradition and give three bunny books to read if you missed the Easter selection at your local library, but then I looked up such books in my own library's catalog and found over three hundred picture book titles. Clearly, you don't need my suggestions as you would be much better off planting yourself in front of any picture book shelf and pulling out books at random - though as a hint, you'd have an easy time in front of the Rick Walton or Rosemary Wells books.

Okay, actually I will give one suggestion. (And if you count the Walton and Wells books than we're up to three recommendations.) Beatrix Potter books. You probably have this lovely collection on your bookshelves, and may always be looking for the right time to read it. There is a lot of text for younger kids, but the stories themselves are perfect for this age, so it can be a hard book to bring out. Here's your chance.

Now, today is the first day of National Poetry Month. Don't leave. Maybe you don't see how poetry applies to you and your kid, but stay with me. I used to think of posting about poetry as the Right Thing to Do. An educational experience I should share. The broccoli of children's books. But I have come to discover in a personal way that I was wrong.

In my inexpert, parental opinion poetry can be a great choice for slower, maybe less-than-strong, readers. I missed this because I read quickly and find it hard to take the time that a poem requires. My first daughter is the same way. But with my second daughter, now almost eleven, I'm seeing where poetry can be a perfect fit for a deliberate reader. This isn't even to go into the benefits of exposing your kids to all kinds of literature or the inherent beauty or playfulness or craftmanship of language in poetry.

So today I'll point you to the KidLitosphere Celebration of Poetry Month, and break it down in to three beginner sites that you simply must visit this month.

1. Poetry for Children is reviewing a poetry book a day during the month of April and will give you some fantastic recommendations.

2. 30 Poets/30 Days will introduce you to some of the fantastic poets for kids with an original poem a day.

3. Poetry Makers offers a series of interviews with poets, starting off today with Mary Ann Hoberman, our own Children's Poet Laureate. (You didn't know we had one, did you? Learned something already.)

Pam

Thursday Three: Easter

Posted by Pam on March 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

I'm approaching today's post on Easter books like a wedding tradition - with something old, something new, something borrowed, and something out-of-the-blue.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
by Dubose Heyward, illustrated by Marjorie Flack
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold ShoesA little girl bunny defies the odds to become an Easter Bunny, even though she isn't high-born or well, male. Her good upbringing, hard work, and perseverance take her beyond what others think a country bunny can do. You go, girl! I loved this book as a child, and it was one of very few books about Easter at the time. Of course, this was before every cartoon book and TV character got their own holiday story. Does this older tale still win over the young readers? With a wink, I have to say that it doesn't really matter. We parents have to reserve the right to share a few books just because they spoke to us as children, and I'll put this one top of my list for its great story, lovely illustrations, and classic classicness.

The Easter Egg
by Jan Brett
The Easter EggSeriously, I have to wonder what took Jan Brett so long to tackle an Easter story because this is a natural subject for her amazing artwork. Look at the possibilities in decorated eggs! And so she did, with this new book where a bunny finds that his real talent isn't in egg-decorating, but in something else altogether. It's a sweet story, and of course beautifully illustrated. If you like some behind-the-scenes, check out the short video where Jan Brett talks about her process - while holding a chicken. She also has a contest, coloring pages, and more fun at her website.

Junie B. First Grader: Dumb Bunny
by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Junie B. First Grader: Dumb BunnyHere's both the something borrowed (from my MotherReader site) and out-of-the-blue (if you were expecting another picture book). Junie B. and her class are invited to an egg hunt at richie Lucille's house. There's a special prize if you find the golden egg, and that lovely prize is a playdate with Lucille in her indoor pool and everyone wants to swim in that fancy, hot water pool. But things take an unfortunate turn for Junie B. - as they often do - putting the poor girl in a pink bunny suit. A fun book for Easter, or really any time you need a laugh. As a little bonus today, I'll share my favorite passage:

"I just don't get it," Lucille grouched. "How could anyone forget the Easter Bunny? The Easter Bunny brings candy right to your door."
Lennie did a frown at her.
"He doesn't bring candy to my door, Lucille," he said. "The Easter Bunny is a different religion than me. I'm Jewish."
Shirley nodded.
"I'm Jewish, too, Lucille," she said. "I've never even been to an Easter-egg hunt before. What do you wear to something like that, anyway?"
Lucille stood up and fluffed herself.
"Well -- since the Easter Bunny and I are the same religion -- I'm going to wear a fancy Easter dress, Shirley," she said.
Shirley though for a minute. Then she nodded.
"Hmm. Then I guess I will wear a fancy Jewish dress," she said.
Lennie's eyes lighted up.
"Really, Shirley? You mean we have our own clothing line?" he asked.
He smiled.
"Then I think I will wear some fancy Jewish pants," he said.

If you have a favorite Easter book, share it in the comments. And with both Passover and Easter coming up next week, enjoy your holiday - whether it involves an Easter dress or Jewish pants. (giggle, giggle)


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Thrifty Reading

Posted by Pam on March 18, 2010 at 8:55 AM in creative literacy
Bookmark and Share

I have discovered that the one advantage to losing your job is that you can close down pushy salesmen immediately. Apparently there is no answer in the sales patter that matches, "Now that I'm unemployed, I just can't spare the money."

Nobody is going to argue that we're in tough times and even if your finances haven't changed, you've probably become a bit more cautious and thrifty in response to the economic situation. Here I have another advantage, because I've always had a frugal streak and a nose for bargains. When I hear about kids in our country without books at home, I'm upset that these kids are missing this important literacy exposure, and I'm also frustrated knowing that it doesn't need to be expensive to have books.

Maybe feeling the pinch lately, you've cut restaurant outings or Starbucks grandes or - sigh - new, cute shoes. But you don't need to cut books, though you can change the way you get them.

1. The Library - Duh. You may roll your eyes at my noting the library as a place to get books, and that's okay. I can take it. Of course you know it exists, that it's there as a source of free books, but that doesn't mean you're taking full advantage of this generous resource. Yes, you can check out books. You can also take your kids to programs, including some for older children that might not require your actual presence in the room allowing you to skim the magazine section. When my kids were young, we sat and read some of the books there and then took a few of those home. It made reading time special to be doing it in the library, and offered a chance to try some new titles. Utilize the librarians to get suggestions on good books for the kids, instead of wasting money on something disappointing. And don't forget all of the resources in the library that can save you money by giving you information in the form of home repairs, craft projects, exercise programs, and financial planning.

2. Book Sales - There are many kind of book sales, and which works best depends your own needs and free time. Libraries often run book sales, either as an event or an ongoing sale. You can do extremely well here, picking up some great hardbacks for a buck or two while supporting the library. Win-win. Thrift stores also sell books, though the selection and quality varies from place to place. I find the special kid consignment stores rather pricey on books, but I do have to admit that they are generally better organized. When I feel like heading to the bookstore, I do so mostly to browse the bargain books and overstocks. I'll also use some mindless Internet time - maybe while supervising homework - to browse the bargain books section on Amazon. I've bought some amazing books this way, including standards that must be temporary overstocks or something. Otherwise I can't explain the continual appearance of titles by Mo Willems, Rick Riordan, and Neil Gaiman.

3. Book Exchanges - Some schools or community centers have a Leave-a-Book/Take-a-Book plan, but if not you can start your own. Set up a book exchange for your own school, preschool, playgroup, neighborhood, or workplace. Having a dedicated shelf for the book exchanges is a small way to start. You can set up systems of one-to-one exchanges or credits, or be more loose about it, hoping that books simply find a good home. You could arrange a larger scale trade at your child's school and donate the books that aren't chosen to a charity that can get them into the right hands.

What book ideas do you have for the frugal family?

Pam

Thursday Three: Classics

Posted by Pam on March 11, 2010 at 10:33 AM in ClassicsRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

I was actually going to write an entirely different post today, but then I chanced upon today's installment of the Top 100 Children's Novels and I had to go back to that topic. Last time I wrote about three (or four) books that I had suggested that had made it on the list so far. Now two (or three) more of my choices have come in the same batch, and they are all classics - which fits in with today's Share a Story -Shape a Future theme of Old Favorites, New Classics.

To explain, Share a Story -Shape a Future is a weeklong online event contributing ideas about ways to engage kids as readers. It's not an author or book tour, but instead a promotion of books, reading, literacy, and ideas. And it's fabulous. Tomorrow our own Jen Robinson hosts the theme of Reading for the Next Generation, and I'll be sharing my thoughts with "Reading is Boring (Sometimes)." Don't miss this wonderful resource of reading tips, suggestions, thoughts, and essays.

Coming back to today's post, I thought it was fate that it would be a classics theme on the same day that three of my favorite classics hit the list. It also figures into Jen's request for books for her baby (Congrats, Jen!), because these are the perfect read-aloud books for down the line. In fact, I'd argue that at least Winnie-the-Pooh is intended for reading to your child then waiting for her to be old enough to read it on her own.

Winnie-the-Pooh
by A.A. Milne
Winnie-the-PoohThe nostalgia factor is so high on this title, that I was surprised that it only came in at #30. Though perhaps the years of Disneyfication of Pooh have finally taken a toll on this impeccable, imaginative classic. After years of making the characters preschool fodder, the original stories have all been lost in the shuffle. Kids who are finally old enough to appreciate the sophisticated language and nuance, have tossed aside Pooh as baby books. It's a crying shame. The only advice I have for new parents (Jen), is to own the classic set and ban any and all Disneyfied versions with a fierceness usually reserved for smoking near the baby.

A Little Princess
by Francis Hodgson Burnett
A Little PrincessHitting the list at #28, is a book about triumphing in the face of adversity, and keeping a positive spirit and nature throughout tough times.When I was young, I read it, lost it, didn't remember what it was called, and for some reason didn't seem to ask anybody, but kept looking for the book for years. I remember the joy of finding it again, on the shelves of a bookstore, and going home to read it again and again. Sigh. This book was absolute magic to me in elementary school years, but when I read it again as an adult I couldn't capture that same feeling. That's okay though, because my childhood memories of the tale completely trump my adult sensibilities.

Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
Alice in WonderlandI have to admit that I'm cheating by mentioning the book that is #27, because I didn't actually submit it as one of my choices. But it's so much a part of my own favorite books, that I had to go back to my original email to see that I didn't suggest it. I guess it slipped through the cracks - of my mind. Here's a book that is entirely about imagination, and by that I mean one that gives the reader's imagination a complete workout as she visualizes the worlds and events of the story. It's one of the reasons that I see the book as a perfect one to read aloud, because that frees the child from the work of reading the words, allowing her mind the space to imagine the scenes in this fantastic adventure.

You can read the extensive write-ups at Fuse#8 at School Library Journal, which include the variety of cover art and a few video clips as well, by clicking on the links above. You can add your own thoughts on these touchstone classics here in the comments below.


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: From the Top 100 Children's Novels

Posted by Pam on March 4, 2010 at 10:42 AM in Chapter BooksMiddle Grade BooksRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

The countdown of the Top 100 Children's Novels is on hold as the amazing author of the list, Betsy Bird, gets Internet access at her new apartment, and I am on pins and needles waiting! I don't blame her as she's a nice person, good friend, and deserves some time off to move her earthly belongings from one place in New York City to another, but it's so hard to wait when the results have been so interesting. Sure, a few of my choices have made it on and I expect a few more will before this show is over, but the real fun is seeing what other people thought of as their favorite books. Fascinating.

As I've gone through the countdown, I've seen many other titles that I could have chosen, but here are three books that I listed that have made it so far. What do you think?

All-of-a-Kind-Family
by Sydney Taylor
All of a Kind FamilyAt #79 we find this classic about a poor, immigrant, Jewish family living in New York City in the early 1900's. The book is about the everyday - chores, market trips, make-believe games - mixed with a helpful and healthy dose of Jewish traditions. It's historical fiction at its finest, putting the reader in the world while celebrating the time period. As for why love this book, I must quote myself for what I wrote for the countdown: Because the joy that the girls had in choosing what to spend a nickel on outweighs most of the excitement I could imagine then or now. It made me crave a dill pickle from the barrel, for goodness sakes.

The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
The Bad BeginningComing in at #71 is the first book in this Series of Unfortunate Events. Here the Baudelaire children first become orphans and are placed with Count Olaf, who will soon become the villain in their long tale of woe. The wit and wordplay in the books bring in the fans, along with the ever-more-complicated mysteries that grow deeper with each title. What I still find interesting about this book over ten years, is that it tends to get a love it or hate it reaction. While the Amazon ratings for The All-of-a-Kind Family were overwhelmingly five stars with a handful of low ratings, the ones for The Bad Beginning come in at about a 6:1 ratio for the book. Unusual for a book of this caliber.

Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilders
Little House on the PrairieI'm actually surprised that this book is already making its appearance at #42, making me wonder if any other books in the series will show up later. While this title is not actually the first book in the series - that would be Little House in the Big Woods - this is the one that really kicks it off, letting the reader get to know Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa as they travel and set up a homestead on the prairie through difficult times. When I was a kid I loved the first books in the series, finding the other ones boring, but as an adult, I think that the later books are better written, with stronger characterization and plotting. I used The Long Winter in my mother/daughter bookclub and the girls there all thought the book was too slow, and most of them had given up on the series earlier because they were bored by the books with their extensive descriptions of scenery, food, and house-building. In fact, while my generation loved these books, personally I've yet to find a kid who also adores them - which may explain the lackluster place on the countdown.


If you click on the links in the reviews, you can read the extensive write-up done at Fuse#8 at School Library Journal. To be totally upfront, I also selected Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin which made the list at #81, but if I extol the virtues of that book one more time I going to be suspected of getting some kickbacks. Also, you might wonder where Harry Potter is, to which I guess Top Ten. Right?

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Black History Month and Libraries

Posted by Pam on February 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

I really wanted to come up with a more concise title, but as it stands, these three fiction picture books focus on the place of the library in African American history. Two of them were nominated for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book awards this year, and the first book won a Coretta Scott King Award in 2001.


Goin’ Someplace Special
by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Goin’ Someplace SpecialIt’s the 1950s and ’Tricia Ann is heading downtown in Nashville to go “Someplace Special.” Her grandmother is reluctant to let her go on her own, but when she relents, ’Trica Ann faces a journey of pride, humiliation, encouragement, and ultimately joy as she reaches her destination — the public library, open to whites and blacks alike. The injustices of the segregated south are made all too real with this likeable character facing off against the obstacles. Pinkney’s lovely watercolors bring just the right feeling of the era to the book.

Finding Lincoln
by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Colin Bootman
Finding LincolnWhen this story takes place in Alabama in 1951, Louis isn't allowed to use the public library. When his father's own book collection runs thin, he turns to the small library at his church to find a book on President Lincoln. When he can't find the information he wants to know, he bravely steps into the public library to find the book he needs. Some people are rude, but one librarian is helpful in getting Louis the book he wants which shows how Abraham Lincoln starting shaking things up even as a boy - just like Louis. The book contains additional information about segregation in libraries, plus a bit about Abraham Lincoln. The watercolor illustrations are lovely and capture the feelings and characters quite nicely.

Ron's Big Mission
by Rose Blue, Corinne Naden, illustrated by Don Tate
Ron's Big MissionRon loves books and is well-known at the Lake City Public Library for his frequent visits. He spends hours reading there, but this day is different. The nine year old boy is going to take on the system by demanding to be allowed to check out books. Knowing that the privilege is reserved for whites, he literally takes a stand to get his own library card. Based on a real incident in the life of Astronaut Ron McNair, the story gives a different feel to discrimination than most books on the subject, focusing on the institutional ruling than belief system. All of the individuals who encounter Ron - from the friendly elderly lady to the helpful librarian to the befuddled police - all want to help him, mostly by getting around the law. While it may not offer a more valid a perspective than other books that tackle discrimination, it puts the emphasis on an unfair law rather than racist people. The illustrations also lighten the tone, with the bright colors and expressive faces. A particularly good book for read-aloud in the classroom or library.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Snow

Posted by Pam on February 18, 2010 at 9:50 AM in Picture BooksRecommendationsSeasonal Books
Bookmark and Share

I read that this winter is the only instance recorded that snow was on the ground in 49 of the 50 states at the same time. Hawaii was the holdout, even though they do get snow on their mountaintops sometimes. With the snowiest season I remember - and a record-breaking one in the Washington, DC area - it seems most appropriate to bring out the snow books.

In the SnowIn the Snow
by Peggy Collins
When a young boy wakes up to discover a world of white, he is in for a day of snowy fun. He finds animal tracks and tries to catch the rabbit who made them. He builds a snowman with his daddy, complete with hardhat and a wrench. And at the end of his adventure, goes inside for warmth and hugs. With bright, lively pictures and simple text, this is a book for the youngest readers.

Danny’sDanny’s First Snow
by Leonid Gore
When a little rabbit goes out in his first snowfall, he sees friends in the piles of snow all around him. But they turn out to be trees and such buried in the snow. But it’s all good, because Mommy's waiting for him. The fuzzy art style makes it appear as if we’re viewing the illustrations through a sleet-encrusted window, which is nicer than it sounds. Gentle snowy-time book.

Snow Day!Snow Day!
by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

“Did you hear that? Did the weatherman just say what I thought he did? Did he say... SNOW? Oh please, let it snow. Lots and lots of snow.” This person is ready for a snow day and all the things that go along with it. No alarm clock. Staying in PJs. Playing outside. A day to watch TV and read a new book. To sled and throw snowballs. The special fun in this book is the surprise that I won’t spoil, and the fun illustrations that bring the reader into the imagining of the perfect snow day. (Even if you've had enough of them this year.)


I've already talked about the lovely Waiting for Winter and at MotherReader, I have a review of a very relevant book, The Terrible Storm. And I have so many others that I like for the winter months. What are your favorites?


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Love

Posted by Pam on February 11, 2010 at 10:03 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

In the library, these are the days when we get frantic parents looking for a Valentine book to read at their child's school and finding that all the books are gone. But here are some nice books about love that will nicely fill the gap.


Never Too Little To LoveNever Too Little To Love
by Jeanne Willis
A mouse who wants to give a kiss to his friend, but she's way above him - literally. He stacks things precariously to get a little bit higher, but it's pretty clear that this homemade ladder is not going to hold. Fortunately the giraffe he loves bends down and offers a kiss. Simple and sweet, the book has sturdy pages for the littlest readers.


Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story
by Lisa Wheeler
Porcupining: A Prickly Love StoryAlone and ignored in the petting zoo, the poor porcupine can’t find somebody to love. Oh but he tries, courting other animals with unintentionally insulting songs. Because no female, pigs included, want to be called "pink and fat." Just as he is about to give up hope, he meets a darling hedgehog. The cheery illustrations feature clever details, and the funny story will charm all audiences.


Pierre in Love
by Sara Pennypacker
Pierre in LoveA fisherman rat is too shy to talk to the ballerina bunny he loves. He leaves her gifts and flowers in secret, and eventually she catches him. Unfortunately, she loves another. So sad. Pierre stills feels better after having shared his secret and encourages her to do the same with wonderful results for all. The watercolor artwork of the fishing village captures the feelings of this gentle tale.


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Cybils Picture Books

Posted by Pam on February 4, 2010 at 10:23 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
Bookmark and Share

In January, I talked about three of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book Finalists with an eye towards which ones might win a Caldecott medal. I was right about two of them. "Bam!" said the lady!

I also reviewed one of the other finalists - Jeremy Draws a Monster - as a book that I was giving to my three year old niece. But with a bit more than a week to go before the ultimate winner is chosen, it's certainly time to share the other three books from the Cybils Fiction Picture Book shortlist.


The Listeners
by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Mike Benny
The ListenersThe lives of the slaves are hard work, little food, and old clothes. But there are also times of pride, worship, and family. Under the cover of darkness, the slave children sneak under the windows of the Big House to hear the news and then take it back to their community. Inside the conversations are elements of harshness, indifference, compassion, and with any luck - hope. Beautifully rendered, this story for older readers will touch your heart and open your eyes.

Silly Tilly
by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by David Slonim
Silly TillyHere's a goose who "took her baths in apple juice," so we can safely say that she's pretty silly. Her crazy antics get to her barnyard friends, who read her the riot act to stop the silliness. Later though, they miss laughing and the miss the real Tilly, who they learn to accept just the way she is. The value of the book is in the wild lines that will have kids giggling even as they are learning about rhymes. It's a perfect read aloud with wonderful rhythm and expressive illustration that captures this very silly goose.

The Book That Eats People
by John Perry, illustrated by Mark Fearing
The Book That Eats PeopleDark and deadly, this is a book to be feared as it eats people. Throughout the pages the reader learns of many of the unsuspecting victims of this most dangerous book. The illustrations are appropriately creepy, and the tone is darkly comedic. While I personally would have put this book as most appropriate for older readers - say first and second grade - I've had personal reports of much younger children who want to hear this book read again and again. So beware, because it might just take over your family as well.

Support for PBS Parents provided by: