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"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." Emilie Buchwald
My assignment for this article sounded pretty simple: "Mr. Scott, come up with the books you liked reading the most this year." Considering my job calls for dealing with dozens of teen books, hundreds of junior books and thousands of picture books, the task was slightly daunting.
Then came a revelation: Why not write about those books that I read or recommend over and over each and every year? These are those. All are nice, simple reads that you can share at bedtime.
"Time Flies " by Eric Rohmann: Actually, this one's not even for reading, just for sharing. The beautiful illustrations in this wordless book tell the story of a little bird who flies through a museum one night. His journey takes him through the bones of the dinosaurs. Rohmann's illustrations won him the Caldecott Award. The reward for the reader is an intriguing trip through the time of the dinosaurs.
"I Stink " by Kate and Jim McMullan: Wouldn't being a garbage truck be fun? No, really. You get to eat really gross things, make loud noises, stink up the neighborhood ... if this doesn't sound like fun, then you've just gotten too old. Get with your child or grandchild and explore the fun of being the biggest, rudest machine on the block. This is anything but trash reading.
"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus " by Mo Willems:We mean it.Don't let the pigeon drive the bus. Regardless of what the pigeon says. Regardless of what the pigeon does.And the pigeon will do about anything to get you to say he can drive that bus. This is a great book to let little ones know that sometimes "no" is good for a pigeon -- or anyone else.
"Bear Snores On " by Karma Wilson with illustrations by Jane Chapman: Perfect for bedtime, this book tells the tale of a sleeping bear. And no one sleeps like a bear. This bear sleeps through a sequence of visitors: a mouse, a rabbit, a gopher, a mole, a badger ... the list goes on until it seems that every creature seeking refuge from the cold has found Bear's cave. If that weren't bad enough, they decide to party. But when Bear wakes up, things get a little bit contentious. Wilson's rhythmic text and Chapman's warm illustrations lead the tale to a happy ending that will teach children about friendship and a little bit of irony.
"Hello, My Name Is Bob " by Linas Alsenas: That's it, just "Bob." Bob is a very, very, very boring bear. Did I mention that he's boring? Sure he has a friend who's interesting, but Bob? Bob is boring. You will not believe how boring Bob is. At least not until you share this book with a child. It will be boring -- but fun.
"Bark George " by Jules Feiffer: George will do anything but bark. He'll "meow." He'll "oink." He'll "moo." But he will not bark. So Mom takes him to the vet. He gets cured of meowing, oinking, mooing and even quacking. Mom is so happy. On the way home she shows him off to everyone ... and that's when he makes a sound that no good dog should make. This is a funny tale leading to a simple joke that young and older readers will enjoy.