23 July 2009

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You

The original meme at Well-Read Child seems to have ceased, but this is still such a good exercise that I'll continue anyway. This is actually two weeks worth of picture book reading, and I did all of it--NMD was simply a contented listener.
  • Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
  • Dog Biscuit by Helen Cooper
  • Dolphins on the Sand by Jim Arnosky
  • Enemy by David Cali, illus. by Serge Bloch
  • Flapstick by Jon Agee
  • My Sister Alicia May by Nancy Tupper Ling, illus. by Shennen Bersani
  • Night of the Gargoyles by Eve Bunting, illus. by David Wiesner
  • Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman, illus. by Scott Magoon
  • Pete's a Pizza by William Steig
  • Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, illus. by Stephen Gammell
  • Smart Feller, Fart Smeller by Jon Agee
  • Tacky Goes to Camp by Helen Lester; illus. by Lynn Munsinger
  • Tadpole Rex by Kurt Cyrus
  • That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child
This fortnight's highlights:
Jon Agee's book of playful spoonerisms was not just a good teaching moment ("What's a spoonerism?") but a good opportunity for a lot of laughing. After a brief definition not just of spoonerisms but of their unintentional creator, the tongue twisted Oxford don William Spooner, Agee gets down to what he does best--writing and illustrating intelligent, humorous books. I'm so grateful that he takes the time from writing picture books to play with language as he does.

Night of the Gargoyles is a favorite that we were revisiting. It's a window into the night time world of mischievous gargoyles, released from their silent sentinel duty. Illustrator David Wiesner really lets his imagination free as he creates the scenarios and games for the gargoyles. Mysterious and edgy without being scary.

We are continuing our love affair with Jim Arnosky with this story based on an actual event. Why dolphins beach themselves is a natural mystery for which there never seems to be a reasonable answer. In this story a town pulls together to keep the beached dolphins hydrated and comfortable until they can be returned to the water. Uplifting and satisfying.

I had originally intended to use A Bad Case of Stripes for a storycraft program at work, but when I decided that it wasn't suited, I brought it home to read to NMD. That was a good decision! While the words and images themselves combine to humorous effect, the book tells a serious story about a girl who is so concerned about what other people think of her that her real self becomes suppressed and she can do no more than reflect what others say about her. The scene where she stands in her classroom, helplessly changing patterns according to what her taunting classmates call out to her is particularly painful to read. A good introduction to discussions about self-esteem and being true to one's self, which, sadly, is something that has already come up in these early tween years.

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