Top Teachers’ Picks in the UK

A survey of teachers in the UK found their top authors and favorite children’s books:

Favorite Authors


1. Roald Dahl


2. Julia Donaldson


3. JK Rowling


4. Michael Morpurgo


5. Louis Sachar


6. CS Lewis


7. Philip Pullman


8. Enid Blyton


9. Maurice Sendak


10. David Walliams


Favorite Books


1. The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

2. Holes – Louis Sachar

3. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl


4. Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

5. The Twits – Roald Dahl

6. Danny The Champion Of The World – Roald Dahl

7. The BFG – Roald Dahl


8. George’s Marvelous Medicine – Roald Dahl

9. Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

10. Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo

Review: A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas


A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Violeta Dabija

Explore leaves throughout the seasons in this work of poetry.  The book focuses less on the science of leaves and much more on their impact, their dance on the wind, the shade they spill, and the color they give.  Told in verse that will work very well with young children, this book captures the wonder of nature.  

This is a dance of a book with rhymes and rhythms that really sparkle.  Much of the book is done in two-word lines that encapsulate one aspect of leaves, “sun taker” and “food maker,” and then in the autumn, “pile grower” and “hill glow-er.” 

Dabija’s art is jewel-toned and dynamic.  Her work is infused with merriment and joy.  She uses layers and transparency to great effect, capturing the beauty of nature.  One particularly striking page is her “frost catcher” where the layers of her work shine and the details are luminous. 

A great book to use in a unit about trees, this is also a book that invites exploring a poem.  Exquisite writing is well matched with rich art in this book.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Nursery Rhyme Comics

nursery rhyme comics

Nursery Rhyme Comics

Take 50 classic nursery rhymes and put them in the hands of 50 of the top cartoonists of the day, and you get a nursery rhyme book that will delight all ages!  As you turn the pages, the styles change too.   While the text stays true to the nursery rhyme, comic asides and comments merrily twist the meaning at times.  There are also plenty of modern twists on the old tales, like There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe is a the owner of a daycare who also happens have a rock and roll band.  This is a book that embraces the humor, quirkiness and outright strangeness of nursery rhymes and takes them to another level.

When I first opened the book, I thought I might list my favorite rhymes and illustrations, but then I realized turning the pages that the real impact of this book is because there are so many diverse rhymes and illustration styles.  I tip my hat to the skill of Chris Duffy in matching illustrators to the ideal nursery rhymes.  This is really what makes the book sing.  I also appreciate the creative freedom given to the artists, making the result all the more intense and beautiful.

Highly recommended, this would be a great way to get nursery rhymes in the hands of older children who may have missed out on them when they were younger.  It’s also a delight if you know the rhymes already.  Appropriate for ages 6-10.

Reviewed from library copy.