I generally prefer for my Read Aloud Thursday posts to be all nice and random, but life, with all its requisite nightly activities, has begun in earnest at the House of Hope this week. The girls have resumed their music classes, and I, alas, must hie me to the local community college twice weekly for instructing students in reading skills. (Appropriate, huh?) I wanted to make the books we’ve enjoyed as a part of our Five in a Row unit on Katy and the Big Snow all its own post, but I’m killing two birds with one stone here for sake of time.
I’ve highlighted Ezra Jack Keats before here at Hope Is the Word, but I only mentioned The Snowy Day briefly in that post. However, no sharing of books about snow would be complete without this Caldecott Award-winning book! The Snowy Day is about Keats’ most famous (only?) character, Peter, and the fun he has out-of-doors on an unexpected snowy day. With simple, colorful illustrations and a story line that capitalizes on the fun even a city boy can have when his world turns white with snow, this is a perfect example of how good a simple picture book can be. Highly, highly recommended, and I’m adding it to my Best Picture Books list to prove it! 🙂
This next one is pure silliness, but I like it. There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro is my favorite of the ones of read of her “Old Lady Who” series, and I’ll admit that it took a second reading for me to even get that in this book she isn’t the “old” lady, but the “cold” lady. Cute, huh? More perceptive readers than I will probably recognize what it is, exactly, that’s percolating in that cavernous stomach of hers (based on what she swallows), but I thought it was very clever. My girls like this one a lot, too, and the illustrations by Jared Lee are just as appropriately colorful and silly.
I don’t usually like wordless picture books, but I do like Emily Arnold McCully’s illustrations (and her writing, too, for that matter), and this one works for us. (Ironically enough, we inadvertently ended up with two McCully books from one library run, and they’ve both made Read Aloud Thursday!) I’m beginning to suspect it’s because Louise is much more willing to narrate the story for us, and now that she’s old enough, Lulu’s predilections don’t have as much sway over what we read, etc. Anyway, First Snow is a sweet, sweet picture book about a family of mice who take a day to go sledding, and one little girl mouse overcomes her fright of going down the big hill to have the best time of all. One good thing about wordless picture books is that they force you to really stop and inspect each page. I have such respect and admiration for children’s book illustrators that this is always a good thing for me.
This last book really deserves a post all its own, but as you know, I’m trying to kill the proverbial two (or three or four) birds with one stone here.
I’ve been on a quest to purchase all of Robert Sabuda’s pop-up books ever since the fateful day I ran across his Narnia book at my local Tuesday Morning. Since then we’ve added Peter Pan: A Classic Collectible Pop-Up, and just before Christmas I ran across a banged up copy of Winter’s Tale at T.J. Maxx. I paid more than I should’ve for it, given its condition (some of the pop-ups are a little crumpled; some feature, I suspect musical, at the end of the book just doesn’t work), but I couldn’t resist. I’d already given the book a place of honor on our shelf, next to our other pop-up titles, when I happened to remember it. I’m so glad I did! The girls really enjoyed this 3-D version of a world covered in snow, and we all marvelled at Sabuda’s ability to create such intricate likenesses of snow-bound creatures like an owl, a family of deer, and a moose. This would make a great companion to any book that focuses on snow and its effects on the animal world. One bonus for me was that since the book is already less-than-perfect, it was easier for me to give in and let the girls really look at it. If you’re unfamiliar with Robert Sabuda, be sure to visit his website for a taste of what this amazing paper engineer has to offer. You’ll be hooked, too! 🙂
One last title that I want to share in detail here is another Caldecott Award winner. Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian actually appears in a later volume of Five in a Row (we’re currently in volume one), but I couldn’t resist sharing it with my girls this time through. It is the true story of Wilson Bentley, a Vermont farmer whose passion in life was collecting and photographing snowflakes. The story is all about his determination to follow his dream, despite the hard work and sacrifice. My girls enjoyed this book tremendously, and while I didn’t read every detail about his life to them (there is more information in the “sidebars” of the story), they liked it enough to request it twice in a row. The illustrations truly are worthy of their Caldecott distinction–woodcuts with watercolors–beautiful! I’m pretty sure there’s no shortage of resources out there for this book, but I did want to link the Original Wilson Bentley images website for those of you who are unfamiliar with this remarkable story.
We did read a few more titles, of course, which I’ll list here:
- Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening (by Robert Frost; illustrated by Susan Jeffers) (this one is also in volume one of Five in a Row, but I’m choosing not to “row” it with my girls this year)
- Water (All Aboard Science Reader) (by Emily Neye; illustrated by Cindy Revell)
- Noodles: I Love Snow! (Scholastic Reader Level 1) (by Hans Wilhelm)
Some other titles which we’ve read before would’ve made a great addition to this unit, if only I’d had the foresight to borrow them again from the library:
I had planned to read The Long Winter for our next chapter book selection (Louise having declared that she’s afraid of the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which was my other choice), but it turns out that I no longer own this book, or at least I can’t find it. I settled on Farmer Boy instead; since it is set in New York, I figured that much of the book has to take place in a winter time decidedly more winter-ish than ours.
Whew! That’s an unusually long Read Aloud Thursday post, and if you’re still with me, thank you! 🙂 I actually have at least one more book to share, but it will wait for Friday since it’s actually a Vintage Find. 😉 I also hope to share some pictures of our lapbooks, but since we haven’t put them together, that will also have to wait for a future post. Stay tuned!
What about your family? Is it cold enough where you live for everyone to hunker down by the fireplace for some good, old-fashioned entertainment in the form of shared stories? Please tell us about it by either leaving a comment or linking up you blog post below!
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Have a terrific Read Aloud Thursday!