Picture books are a mixed bag. Some of them are fabulous and some…not so much. This article features three wonderful picture books that are as fun to read aloud as they are to listen to.
What makes a great read-aloud? In my opinion, a great read-aloud has to have several qualities: interesting and colorful illustrations, easily readable text, and sensical rhymes or powerful text. As always, it pays to preview the stories before you read them aloud to your audience.
The first book I found quite by accident. It is entitled Tough Cookie by David Wisniewski. The book tells the story of a detective called Tough Cookie. Think old 40s PI films, Sam Spade and Humphrey Bogart. The story, when read aloud in a suitable gravelly PI voice, is absolutely captivating. I love the cookie jar metropolis where the characters live. The story is very clever and makes for hilarious reading. Great for dads who always wanted to act.
The next book I found on a picture book display at the library. It was a tossup which drew me first – the colors or the umbrella on the cover. I love stories about rain and umbrellas. The book is entitled I See Spring by Charles Ghigna. The rhymes actually rhyme – a hard to find attribute in picture books outside of Dr. Seuss. The illustrations are bright, happy and so beautifully done that I want to purchase two copies, one to read and one to take apart and frame. A happy little story with great rhymes and illustrations perfect for little girls who love both the color pink and playing in the rain.
Finally, another funny favorite that even captivated my older children who are 10 and 7 is Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. Moose can’t help himself; he wants to be the center of attention during the talent show that Zebra is putting together. He cannot wait until the letter M, so he tries to horn in to the alphabet early. By the time they reach M, Moose has been replaced by Mouse. What follows is a hilarious romp through the remaining alphabet until Zebra once again regains control of the show. I don’t want to spoil it for you so I’ll leave it at that. Parents may want to preview this one as Moose throws quite a fit in the middle of the story. I thought it was ok, some may disagree.
I have yet to see a picture book section of a children’s department that was easily navigable. Therefore, I rely on the librarians to showcase those things that will both intrigue and draw me and my children to them. Kudos to our children’s library staff and several bloggers for their unending dedication to bringing children’s books to my attention.