Our elementary school used to use Scholastic to run it's bi-annual book fair, but three years ago we started using a local bookstore instead. Ever since we started using Books, Bytes and Beyond in Glen Rock, NJ we haven't looked back. The selection of literature for our students is so much better and there is a much wider variety. Every time we hold the book fair I hear the parents and students commenting on how many great choices are available. Last week we had our spring book fair and I wanted to share 5 of the best books I bought for our library collection.
Chloe and the Lion By Mac Barnett
Chloe is a strong female lead, much needed in picture books for young kids! She is about to be attacked by a lion when the author and illustrator enter the story (all set on a stage) and begin arguing. The author insists that the illustrator must draw the pictures as he intends, but the illustrator has ideas of his own. It's a romp with some definite adult sense of humor which I always like in children' books. I'm a fan of all things Mac Barnett and Adam Rex; both are creative geniuses.
Seed Idea: Use as a mini-lesson for writer's workshop and discussing author and illustrator roles and the connections between text and pictures.
Chopsticks By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
If you loved Spoon by Rodenthal, you'll love this one too. It says on the cover "Not exactly a sequel to Spoon. More like a change in place setting." I love the play on words in this tale about inseparable friends who come to a fork in the road. It's about standing on your own and also about sticking together.
Extra Yarn By Mac Barnett
Another winner by Mac Barnett. Extra Yarn is about a girl who finds a box of yarn and knits a sweater and when she is done still has some extra yarn. So she knits a sweater for her dog Mars too. But there's still extra yarn, and on and on it goes with the yarn never running out and the girl blanketing this dark dreary town in beautiful colored knits. When a sinister archduke steals her box of yarn it ends up floating right back to the little girl for a happy ending and a yarn-covered tree. Reminds me of all the fun yarn-bombed things I have seen on Pinterest like this photo below!
One Cool Friend By Toni Buzzeo
Elliot asks his father on a visit to the aquarium if he may have a penguin, to which his father replies "yes." Elliot takes a real penguin from the exhibit home in backpack, not a stuffed one his father had intended. The rest of the book is about Elliot caring for his penguin while his absent-minded father seems oblivious to the goings on right under hi nose. The twist at the end when you find out what Elliot's father has for a pet is the best part!
Wolf Won't Bite By Emily Gravett
Emily Gravett's books are just plain awesome and this one is no exception. In sparse illustrations with a lot of white space we see three pigs who torture a poor wolf with their circus acts, always insisting the wolf won't bite. They throw knives, make him jump through hoops and even ride him like a horse. In each picture the wolf looks more shamed and distraught. Payback for all the books where the wolf terrorizes so many pigs? Perhaps, but check out the endpapers on this one where it looks like the wolf has finally reached his breaking point and the pigs are on the run!
Seed Idea: Read along with The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and discuss the long-held rivalry of pigs and wolves in literature.