Little Rooster's Diamond Button

Little Rooster’s Diamond Button retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Will Terry.

A great story for reading aloud and storytelling, this picture book captures the rambunctious spirit perfectly.  Little Rooster finds a diamond button but before he can take it home to his mistress, he is stopped by the King who takes away the button and claims it for himself.  But the Little Rooster goes to the kingdom and demands the button be returned.  The King disagrees and has the rooster thrown into a well.  Now the story takes a major turn and readers discover that the Little Rooster has a magic stomach!  He drinks up the water in the well.  The King next order the rooster thrown into the fire, but the rooster uses his stomach again and pours the water from the well onto the fire.  They try to throw the rooster into a beehive but the rooster eats up the bees with his magic stomach.  And I wonder if you can guess what happens next?

The retelling is joyously fun to read aloud, filled with great rhythm, repeating patterns, and humor.  The illustrations are equally vivid with their bright colors.  The pop-eyed rooster is lusciously colored and the pictures don’t shy away from the spectacular nature of his magic stomach.  Terry has created a world filled with colors that zing and dance as much as the story itself does. 

Highly recommended for reading aloud in your next preschool story time about chickens or birds.  This one is a certain winner that will have children eager to listen.  Appropriate for ages 4-8. 

The Wishing Club

The Wishing Club: a story about fractions by Donna Jo Napoli, pictures by Anna Currey.

When Petey wishes on a star for a dollar, he ends up finding a quarter instead.  His little brother wishes for a cookie, but gets half a cookie instead.  His twin sisters each wish for a bag of marbles and each ends up with 10 marbles, 1 eighth of a bag.  The star turns out to be a comet and on the final day it will be visible, the children come up with a plan to put their fractions together into one big wish to get one whole thing.

So many math-based picture books are more about the cleverness of the math than the quality of the story, but Napoli has created a math book with heart and magic.  A large part of it is the strength of her writing and the wonder of the characters at what is happening.  The illustrations work with this wonder in their soft washes that make it seem as if anything is possible. 

Highly recommended for classrooms working with fractions, this book works well as a read-aloud at any time.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.