Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Storybooks that Won Us Over (and Over)

 Jump, Frog, Jump! Board Book

Whenever I browse children's picture book aisles at the library, I hope to find several books from classic authors and perhaps stumble on a brilliant new title or two.  What I see, however, are shelves full of beautifully drawn newer books that sometimes disappoint when I look inside. Among the colorful sea of modern titles, many lack the simple literary magic that will endure over time.   The difficulty of finding literary gems is one reason I'm glad we purchase some of our own books, in addition to visiting the library.

Still, the library remains an important component of raising our children.  We can sample books at the library that might inspire us to buy the book later, or borrow it regularly (if we discover one that is truly excellent).  Story times with the librarian are also very inspirational mixes of a book or two, music, and rhymes.  I've missed participating in those preschool and toddler story times as part of our weekly routine.  With a daughter attending preschool and another in kindergarten, our schedule is no longer as flexible to make it to as many daytime events. However, my daughters do get to bring home books from their school libraries, which have enriched our reading experiences at home.

The following is a collection of some of our favorite library and book club discoveries.  Some are recent, while others are simply books I remember my girls requesting over and over again:

Come On, Rain
Come On, Rain, by Karen Hesse, has been the top repeat request for the last week.  I love it when the books my kids want to read and read again are a pleasure for me to read too.  This book has beautiful watercolor illustrations and lovely, poetic language. It might have to go on our wish list soon!
 Raindrop, Plop!
Raindrop, Plop! was a book fair find by my husband (who has an M.A. in literature) a couple years ago.  He is usually right about what kind of books our kids will enjoy, and this has been a favorite of our middle child since she was three years old. We have the paperback version.

So Happy!
So Happy! is a beautifully illustrated, simple tale by Kevin Henkes.  The illustrations are in painting style, and three stories are told simultaneously and woven together at the end.  I'm not sure whether the art or the story holds the most appeal, but it has been often read in recent weeks.

Interestingly, all three of these books have to do with rain.  I may have to continue this book theme in future posts, since I'm attempting the 30-minute blog challenge at Steady Mom this week!


Anonymous said...

Oh thank you so much for the recommendations! My 19-month-old daughter loves books, and I'm always so overwhelmed trying to find "good" books at the library. Our visits usually result in about 1 good book for every 8 or so.

I'm putting these books on our list for our next library visit! Thanks!

Found you at Steady Mom.

Anonymous said...

I should also add that I have blogged a few books that we've enjoyed, too. One about rain that comes to mind is "Who Likes Rain?" by Wong Herbert Yee. The simple rhymes and color pencil illustrations were perfect for the attention span of my toddler. :)

Hannah said...

I know what you mean about how the flashy, newer books can sometimes disappoint. But Kevin Henkes certainly never does! How did we miss "So Happy?" Must hunt it down ASAP.

Nina said...

thanks for mentioning these. I get overwhelmed at the library too so will keep a list of those to look for.