Monday, November 12, 2012

Wonderful Read-Alouds

Nationally, November is Picture Book Month, while here in Massachusetts, the Governor has declared that it’s Family Literacy Month.

Picture books are meant to be shared, either one-on-one with a child sitting in your lap or with a group of wriggling, rowdy kids in a classroom, library, or living room.

Here are three recent picture books that fit the bill for sharing with preschoolers:

It’s a Tiger!
Author David LaRochelle really knows how to set the stage for a great picture book adventure. The narration begins this way:

Are you ready for a story?
Me too.
We’ll start in the jungle…

You know things are going to get interesting, especially when there’s a tiger in the title. LaRochelle uses the repeated tagline “It’s a tiger!” to great effect, giving kids something to shout about. Jeremy Tankard’s lively artwork has kids searching for tell-tale tiger stripes on every spread.

Good News, Bad News

Can very different individuals really get along? Using just four words (good, news, bad, and very), author-illustrator Jeff Mack introduces polar opposites: sunny, overly optimistic Bunny and dark, brooding Mouse. Mouse lets the manic Bunny lead them into adventures—none of which turn out exactly as planned. A very funny story that’s both simple and complex, with cartoonish illustrations that bring my new favorite odd couple to life.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

Out since 2011, this picture book collaboration between first-time author Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld has already garnered much praise, including a silver E. B. White Read-Aloud honor award. Playing on kids’ fascination with heavy machinery, Rinker invites us to say goodnight to each machine on a big construction site.

This read-aloud is perfect to introduce to a small group or one special child just before naptime or bedtime. It honors the work of big machines—and subtly suggests that the hard work of being a kid is just as important:

Construction site, all tucked in tight,
The day is done, turn off the light.
Great work today! Now…shh…goodnight.


  1. Thanks for the recommendations, Gwenyth. I'm always looking for good read-aloud books - will add these to my list.

  2. Gwenyth! Thank you for these gems -- I follow your blog and appreciate your recommendations and comments.

  3. Thanks, Nancy. I'm exposed to so many more new picture books in my new job at Wellesley Books.

  4. Thanks for the nice review of "It's a Tiger!" Gwenyth. I'm going to miss you here in Minnesota, but it sounds like you are settling into your new home.

  5. David--A librarian friend out here said she was forced (by small children) to read your book out loud twice. If that's not a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is. It's a wonderful book!