Posts Tagged ‘read-aloud’

I grew up on these books. If the only version of Pooh you know is from Disney, I beg of you to read the originals, with the original illustrations. Please. The language is fantastic, and will quite possibly add phrases to your family’s lexicon. The illustrations are just right, without the cutesiness of the Disney version. The books of poetry are also good, but the original two books of stories ought to be part of any child’s storybank, and any adults who missed out the first time still have the chance to catch up. Then, play a game of Poohsticks.

Author: A.A. Milne

Illustrator: E.H. Shepard


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In a world just a little unlike our own, truly exceptional children go on truly strange adventures.  While each of these books could be read separately, they are definitely a series, as the kids all end up at the same crazy school in the end.  As always, Stewart and Riddell have created a world full of odd inventions, odder people, and strange beasties of different shapes and sizes.  The kids are spunky and resourceful.  The characters would make great fun for make-believe play.  The illustrations are amazing.  Riddell has a style I would recognize anywhere, which complements Stewart’s odd brain.

Authors/Illustrator: Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Order: Fergus Crane, Corby Flood, Hugo Pepper

Not sure whether the series is still being written.


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Authors: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

I blasted through all of these the first time I read them.  Stewart and Riddell created an amazing world, where rocks float and there are a bunch of different humanoid beings running around, each with their own outlook on life and way of living.  You can read them in published order or reorganize them into internal chronological order, as some of the characters turn out to be the grandparents of other characters.   Either way, a good rollicking read with characters you might actually care about.  The pen-and-ink illustrations top it off – interesting, complex, and perfect for the story.

Order: Beyond the Deepwoods, Stormchaser, Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, The Curse of the Gloamglozer, The Last of the Sky Pirates, Vox, Freeglader, The Winter Knights, Clash of the Sky Galleons

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Eva Nine has lived her whole life underground, cared for by Muthr, her Multi-Utility Task Help Robot.  When their Sanctuary is attacked, Eva Nine must venture forth into the world above – a world that neither she nor her gadgets recognize at all.  Loosely based on The Wizard of Oz, this book is fantastic, in all meanings of the word.  DiTerlizzi has found all kinds of cool life forms here on Earth and brought them into new and very strange life in this new world.  The illustrations are, of course, amazing.  We are avidly awaiting the next in this series.

Author and Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi

Series still being written

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Title: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Author: Paul Fleischman

Newbery 1989

Having got it out of the library originally, I actually went and bought a copy of this book.  I love it!  The concept of poems written to be read by two people simultaneously is really cool, the poems are so much fun to read aloud, and the illustrations are beautiful – anthropomorphized insects that manage to be still buggy and not too cute.  Some of the poems are quite a challenge to read aloud – you need good rhythm, some practice, and a sense of humor.  He did two other books of poems for two voices, and I want them, too.

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Title: Grandfather’s Journey

Illustrator/Author: Allen Say

Caldecott 1994

The illustrations are beautiful, and laid out somewhat like a memory book or photo album, which is correct for the subject matter.  The story is clearly heartfelt and true, though not actually all that well written. Say’s grandfather traveled from Japan to the US and back to Japan, always missing the other country.  I’m sure this resonates for many immigrants and travelers, but the wording was sometimes clunky.  The paintings are technically well-done, but only certain images seem like they truly have heart to them.  Perhaps this is on purpose, to evoke snapshots, but I am not sure.

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Title: Smoky Night

Illustrator: David Diaz

Author: Eve Bunting

Caldecott 1995

A child’s recollections of the LA riots are told in fabulous illustrations.  Each page’s background is made up of a collage of objects that could be found in that scene, plus a beautiful painting.  It is hard to imagine under what circumstances you would own this book – unless, of course, you and your child had lived through a riot or war and needed to tell that story.  For older children, it could be a lead-in to a discussion of violence, perhaps when such events were being shown on TV or in the news.  A beautiful book; a heartbreaking subject.

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