Kansas Reads to Preschoolers Week is November 17-23, highlighting the importance of reading aloud to young children daily. Our library was honored to be chosen as the site for the statewide kick-off with a special storytime on November 19 at 11:00. First Lady Mary Brownback will read this year’s selected book, Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd, and children’s librarians will lead other fun songs, rhymes and stories. Following storytime, we will host “Dog’s Colorful Play Day” during which children can create a dog craft with spots of all colors, play with balloons, games and puzzles related to literacy, colors, shapes, and other early concepts and skills, and take home a free book, courtesy of the Manhattan Library Association and a Ready to Read grant.
The library has thousands of other great picture books to read aloud with young children. Here are just a few new ones that will spark their imaginations:
A great follow-up to Dog’s Colorful Day is Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates. Dog counts his way through various animals, finding different traits to count, like the lines on a five-lined skink or the rings on a raccoon’s tail. Another fun dog story is Chris Raschka’s new Daisy book, Daisy Gets Lost. Raschka’s illustrations, sometimes described as abstract or “fluid,” blend colors and lines, capturing motion and emotion at the same time. Daisy gets distracted from playing catch and chases a squirrel, leaving her owner behind. The reuniting hug at the end is a satisfying ending for any dog lover.
David Wiesner, winner of multiple Caldecott Medals, has a new, nearly wordless picture book to please both cat lovers and alien hunters. Mr. Wuffles! appears to be a typical cat – too lazy to play with the toys his owner buys him, but endlessly watching through cracks in the wall while twitching his tail. Wiesner shows us what is happening behind Mr. Wuffles’s walls – tiny aliens have landed, and they need help to repair their ship damaged by the cat’s paws. Enjoy this delightful, playful book as children describe what is happening and what they think the aliens are saying to each other.
Fantastical animals will carry you away in Emily Winfield Martin’s Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey. Beautiful paintings show children riding animals – a bear, a fox, a narwhal – to dreamy landscapes that combine real animals with fairies, elves and imaginary beasts, making the transition from bedtime story to dreamland seamless.
In Stardines: Swim High Across the Sky, a new book of poetry by Jack Prelutsky, the author creates new critters by changing or adding just one (very important) letter to each animal’s name, followed by a poem about its humorous habitat and behaviors. Learn about bluffaloes, chormorants, slobsters and more. The tattlesnake is a rattler with a megaphone for a head – “Tattlesnake, Tattlesnake, Overly keen to tattle repeatedly – Truly, you’re mean. You’re noisy, annoying. You’re venomous, vile. You don’t mind your business. We don’t like your style.” I’m sure Mr. Prelutsky would approve of kids making up more new animals and poems themselves after reading this volume!
Magic Colors and Magic Opposites by Patrick George are fun books to share with children. Each double-page spread is separated by a clear plastic page with a single shape or color. Turning the clear page from one side to the other illustrates a color change or an opposite image. An umbrella in the rain on one side becomes a beach umbrella in the sun on the other side. Children will marvel over the way a pink semi-circle can be a pink and brown ice cream scoop on one side, and an orange sunset on the other. This is a great way to introduce the idea of mixing colors to make new ones. Get out the paint set next!
Reviewed by Jennifer
Published in The Mercury, Nov. 3, 2013