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Read Aloud Thursday

read-aloud211Our book basket runneth over with terrific books this week!  In fact, Steady Eddie has commented recently on its fullness.  Not that he would actually complain about it–oh, no.  He knows better than to do that.  😉

This week our read-alouds have been so rich and well-loved, it’s hard to pick the best.  Here goes:
Peter Spit a Seed at Sue by Jackie French Koller is the perfect book to read for the upcoming watermelon season!  It’s the story-told-in-rhyme of four bored kids who banish their boredom with some watermelon seed spitting fun.  (I really don’t like the word bored very much at all, but it is redeemed in a major way in this story.)  They spit seeds everywhere and manage to involve lots of people in their mischief until the end of the story when the mayor of the town steps in to  stop their spitting.  You’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out how she stops it!  John Manders‘ illustrations are very comical and appropriate for this fun, fun story.  My girls love this one!  Warning:  be sure that you have high tolerance for watermelon seed spitting yourself before you read it!
If you’ve never read any of Helen Lester‘s books, you’ve missed out.  A Porcupine Named Fluffy is a great place to start!  The hero of our story is a porcupine with the misfortune of being named Fluffy.  Fluffy suffers all sorts of tribulations as he tries to live up to his name, but he finally comes to terms with his lot when he meets a rhinoceros with an equally inappropriate (and even more hilarious) name.  My girls get the irony of this book, which is one reason I think it’s so amazing.  Another  is the fun illustrations by Lynn Munsinger.  Highly recommended!

As I’ve mentioned before, we obviously like rhyming books here at the House of Hope.  Roger Eschbacher’s Road Trip is a funny book that will be familiar to any parents who have taken their children on road trips over one hour in duration.  (Actually, it’s more like thirty minutes in our car when Louise is along!)  From backseat bickering to road trip games, meals at greasy spoon cafes to overnight motel stays, this book hits all the fun and foibles of the family road trip.  Thor Wickstrom‘s illustrations are a real plus–his truck stop waitress is not to be missed in her beehive hairdo, cat-eye glasses, and semi-truck earrings!
This last one is my favorite.  I LOVE the illustrations in this book.  This Little Chick, written and illustrated by John Lawrence, is so much fun.  It begins in a way similar to many nursery songs–“This little chick from over the way/went to play with the ___[insert different animals] one day/And what do you think they heard him say?”  It turns out that the little chick is quite adaptable, and when he gets back to his mama and the family nest, he has a whole new vocabulary to share.  The illustrations are bright, bold, and whimsical.  Don’t miss this one!

Well, I could go on and on, but I think I’ll save it for another Read Aloud Thursday.  What has your family enjoyed this week?  Leave a link or a comment!

Read Aloud Thursday

Is it possible to check out too many books from the library?  Yes, I think it is, and I believe we did that this week.  I have been working on a few author/illustrator spotlight posts for Hope Is the Word, so I checked out all of those I could get my hands on.  In addition to that, we checked out our usual fifteen or twenty.  As a result, we did not get to read all of them this week, but no worries.  They’ll make it back into our basket some time in the future, I’m sure.  Here are a couple of stand outs from the week:
If your preschoolers love silly stories like my girls do, then they will positively love Parents in the Pigpen, Pigs in the Tub by Amy Ehrlich.  In this story, the farm animals decide that life in the farmhouse must be better than life in the barn, so the animals move in.  After the house gets a little too crowded, the people move out to the barn.  Everything goes well for a while, but finally, everyone (people and animals) decide they miss the way things used to be.  What makes this story so great, really, are the illustrations by Steven Kellogg.  In his trademark style, Kellogg creates characters that are both realistic and humorous-looking.  The facial expressions he creates are priceless.  This book is pure fun!
Another book we really enjoyed this week is Shoes from Grandpa, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Patricia Mullins.  This is the story Jessie, whose grandpa declares that he will buy her some new shoes for the winter when he sees how tall she’s grown.  What ensues is a fun rhyme about all of the things other members of her family give her “to go with the shoes from Grandpa.”  Lulu especially liked the fact that Jessie really wanted jeans, and that’s the one thing no one gave her.  Lulu loves a certain pair of faded, too small dungarees, so she can definitely relate.  This is a fun and sweet rhyming story about family life and love.  (On a somewhat related note, has anyone read this book by Mem Fox?  It looks like it might be right down my alley.)

We’ve also been enjoying some vintage finds in the past week or so.  What has your family enjoyed this week?  Leave a comment or a link to your blog post.  Have a terrific Thursday!

Read Aloud Thursday

This week our library basket contained some interesting and very quirky books.  Among them was One Potato, Two Potato, written by Cynthia DeFelice and illustrated by Andrea U’Ren.  This is the story of Mr. and Mrs. O’Grady, who are poor both physically and materially.  The discovery of a magic pot, however, changes all of that.  The pot can multiply anything placed within it, and the O’Gradys take advantage of this with humorous results.  The illustrations in this book struck me as a little odd at first, but after I read the book the first time, I grew fond of their quirkiness.  This book ends with a delightful play on words.

Another book we enjoyed this week was The Real Story of Stone Soup, written by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Stephane Forisch.  This is, of course, a retelling of the Stone Soup legend, this time from southeast China. In this story, the Chang brothers work as fishermen for a lazy man they respectfully call Uncle.  The Chang brothers, of course, trick Uncle into doing most of the work in making the stone soup.  There are subtleties in this story (for example, Uncle’s laziness) that make it a good story for reading between the lines and interpreting illustrations.

Our favorites of the week, however, are two history books written in the form of poetry.  Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails, written by Verla Kay and illustrated by S. D. Schindler and Homespun Sarah, written by Verla Kay and illustrated by Ted Rand, are wonderful introductions to the westward movement and colonial life, respectively.  In Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails, we follow Father, Mother, and Baby John as they trek along the California Trail from Independence, Missouri, to the Sacramento Valley.  The obstacles and triumphs of the pioneers wagon train are described in rhyming couplets and in warm and expressive illustrations.  It is especially fun to “watch” as Baby John grows into a toddler on the journey.  Homespun Sarah, on the other hand, details the daily life of  a girl in colonial Pennsylvania.  Sarah does many chores including fetching water, filling the wood box with branches, tending the garden, cooking, doing laundry, making candles, gathering berries, spinning wool, and finally, making her own dress since she has outgrown the one she wore throughout the whole story.  Again, rhyming couplets and warm illustrations make this book engaging for little ones, all the while giving a good sense of life in the 1700s.  My four year old daughter requested to have this book read as a bedtime story even as I had it in a stack to review here on my blog.  Of course, my girls do have a predilection for pioneer stories, but because of its fun rhymes and interesting subject matter, I think this book would make a great read aloud for almost any audience.

What have you and yours been enjoying together as read alouds?  Leave me a comment or a link to your blog where you tell about it!

Next week’s Read Aloud Thursday will be a special A.A. Milne edition.  If you have read Milne’s Pooh stories or his poetry (or even some of his lesser-known adult books and articles), please be sure to come back next Thursday and link your blog or leave a comment!

Book Review–The Seven Silly Eaters

The Seven Silly Eaters

The Seven Silly Eaters

Title:  The Seven Silly Eaters

Author:  Mary Ann Hoberman

Illustrator:  Marla Frazee

Publisher:  Browndeer Press

Pages:  [37]

ISBN:  0152000968

This is one of the best read-alouds we’ve enjoyed in a while.  Written primarily in rhyming couplets, this is the story of the Peters family and the beleagured Mrs. Peters who has seven of the silliest eaters around.  Each one of her children has only one thing he or she will eat, so poor Mrs. Peters works herself into a tizzy keeping up with their demands.  Of course, the problem is solved in the end, and I must say that it is a solution that most children would enjoy.  As the reader of this read-aloud, I enjoy the rollicking rhyme and the terrific illustrations.  I also identify on a small scale with Mrs. Peters and her never-ending work.  Maybe that’s why I like this book so much!