A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
Bear never has visitors, in fact he even has a sign on his door that says “NO visitors allowed.” When a small determined Mouse comes to the door, Bear turns him away. But Mouse appears all over inside Bear’s house as he prepares for breakfast. After trying and trying to keep Mouse out of his house, Bear gives up and allows him to stay for tea. And with that one snack together, Bear discovers that maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t hate having visitors so very much.
This book is simply charming. The soft-hued illustrations don’t shy away from some great slapstick comedy routines. They will delight young readers. The repetition and rhythm in text makes this a perfect read-aloud and children will enjoy chorusing some of the repetition along with the reader. Under all of this runs a story that is warm and filled with friendliness.
A great choice for reading aloud to preschoolers and Kindergarten classes.
Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton, illustrated by Valeria Petrone.
Red Truck is a hard-working tow truck, especially on a rainy, slushy day when the school bus is stuck on a slippery hill. Red Truck zooms, pulls, and roars its way through the puddles and ice to save the day.
A perfect book for toddlers and young preschoolers, this book reads aloud like a dream. So many truck books for small children are just a list of parts and noises, but this book has a story, action and will be popular from the moment it gets into children’s hands. It is the red truck on the cover and the bright vehicles that pop on the grey background that will have small hands reaching for it. The pictures are very child-friendly and marvelously bold and simple. Perfection for reading to a large group.
Zooooom over and pick this one out. It’s a guaranteed hit with the preschool set. Recommended for ages 2-4.
Peanut by Linas Alsenas.
Mildred is lonely until one day she finds a stray digging in the garbage. She tries to give him bones, take him to the dog park, and other things you would do for a dog, but Peanut is different than other dogs. But Mildred loves him anyway, despite his differences. When a man from the circus comes to take his lost elephant back from Mildred, she is left alone again. Until she finds a lost… kitten.
Alsenas’ tone in the text is perfectly pitched, allowing readers and listeners simply ride the gag of the book along to the end. The art is equally successful, not over-the-top funny but allowing the joke of the book to really shine through.
Preschoolers adore books where they immediately get the joke and this is one of those. Read it deadpan and sincerely and you will add to their glee. Recommended to share with a group of preschoolers, age 4-6.
The Getaway by Ed Vere.
Looking for a breakneck-paced picture book that will immediately grab small boys and keep them enthralled? Have I got a book for you! Fingers McGraw is an infamous cheese thief and the reader is immediately enlisted to help him escape with his stolen cheeses. Jumbo Wayne Jr. is hot on his trail and all the reader needs to do is keep their eyes open and whistle when they see an elephant approaching. How hard could that be?
Great dialogue for adults features classic movie quotes and lines that will have you putting on your wildest vintage PI voice ever. The book is just plain wild fun to share with kids. Vere’s words make the book flow, but his art is just as wild and wonderful, helping to increase the pace of the text. Fingers always has his ears blowing back in the breeze as he tears past a background of real photographs. Yes, the art is evocative of Knuffle Bunny’s style, but is done with more close up photos so it also has a feel all its own.
A sure-fire hit with kids, save this one for a short school day or a Friday afternoon when the wigglies set in. Recommended for ages 4-7.
thebestkidsbooksite.com has a great section dedicated to storytimes. It is filled with themes that are complete with book suggestions and craft ideas. This is a quick way to put a storytime together or to get ideas to freshen stale programs. Great stuff.
King County Library System–Kidspage has a Books to Grow On section that offers a wide variety of themes for storytimes complete with fingerplays, activities, and even snack ideas. Sweet!
Always on the prowl for quick ways to find crafts, theme ideas, rhymes and more for my storytimes, I discovered Preschool Activities at EnchantedLearning.com. It has a wide range of printables, ideas, activities and more that will be useful for both teachers and librarians.
Books to Sing: Song-Based Picture Books is an article by Sue McCleaf Nespeca from the last Book Links. The article offers reasons to incorporate singing into story time as well as a list of recommended titles.
If you are doing storytimes for preschool children, either as a parent or as a professional, you need to know about the recent research and how to incorporate it. A good place to start is Storytimes for Preschool Children Can Incorporate Curren Research by Ellen Fader.
Early Literacy Project is a program by PLA. Research has shown that public libraries are perfectly positioned to positively impact children’s readiness to read. Librarians can slightly alter their story times, incorporating information for parents and caregivers. The improvement in literacy skills covers all income levels, so all public libraries should be doing this. The site offers information on the research, brochures, background, and more.
I will be posting more on this subject in the future as I look for library sites that recommend materials to use in the new storytime formats.