Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler is a picture book for book lovers. It is not just a story within a story, but every two pages it is another story inside another story inside another story. Charlie Cook is reading his favorite book, Shiver Me Timbers: The Story of an Old Sea Dog. The pirate chief in the story opens a treasure chest and finds a book, Fairy Tales from a Forgotten Island. In that story Goldilocks is reading Sir Percy and the Dragon, and then Sir Percy has a book. It goes on and on like that until it finally comes full circle when a headless ghost is reading a book about Charlie Cook.
The book is silly, fun and a great way to demonstrate that lots of different people read in all kinds of settings. It is also a nice way to introduce nested stories to children, though this book takes that to the extreme. I don’t know that it is the best book for storytimes, but it would work with a smaller group of children in Kindergarten and first grade. It could also serve as inspiration to have older children write their own stories within a story.
Good Knight, Sleep Tight by David Melling is a picture book that will have children and their grownups happily poring over the illustrations and finding new silly details. When a new princess is born in the palace and her favorite pillow is destroyed by the royal cat, a knight is sent out to restuff the pillow with something soft and fluffy enough to please the princess. The knight bravely gets bear fur, wolf hair, and finally feathers to stuff the pillow. Each new stuffing is tried out by his trusty horse. When the knight returns with the pillow, the princess still isn’t happy, but her older brother has the solution.
This book is very silly and children will have a super time with it. Make sure that on your second reading you follow what the knight’s shield is doing on each page. And then you can also spend a long time at the Feather Trees with all of the birds and the horse who is scared of heights. This is a lot of fun. Add it to the not so huge list of great read alouds that feature knights.