"A picture book is a small door to the enormous world of the visual arts, and they're often the first art a young person sees." ~ Tomie dePaola
I've written in previous blog posts that I wasn't really a reader when I was younger. The only thing I read, other than what I had to, was Sports Illustrated. It's not that I was interested in reading, I just had other things that were more important to me, like playing outside. Do I wish I read more when I was younger? Of course I do. It's one of my many regrets!
I know how important it is to read aloud to your children. I learned that from Jim Trelease and "The Read Aloud Handbook." That's why I try to find the best picture books for my daughter so that I can help support her growth as a reader. Knowing that this summer I would have lots of time to read with her I did some research and came up with a number of titles. I'm sharing two with you today in the hopes that they may inspire you to read them with your kids or to use them in your classroom.
Rosario's Fig Tree by Charis Wahl and Luc Melanson - Rosario is a magician. Not the kind that pulls rabbits out of hats or finds pennies behind your ears, he's a garden magician. With help from his young neighbour Rosario spends all spring and summer growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Then he does a strange thing. He brings a fig tree out of the house and plants it in the garden. Rosario is not sure if the fig tree will survive as they do where he is from, but he tries. The fig tree grew big, wide leaves and lots of sweet, squishy figs. But when winter comes Rosario does something that leaves his little neighbour wondering what the fate of the fig tree will be. Will it survive over the winter? Only Rosario knows!
It's Only Stanley by Jon Agee - The Wimbledon's have a very helpful dog, but he decides to be helpful at nighttime when the family is sleeping. He fixes the oil tank, the bathtub drain and even an old TV, but Stanley has something bigger in mind. He's preparing the family for a trip. Can you guess where he's going? And who he's taking along? Keep an eye out for the family cat. He seems to get caught in the middle quite a bit.
Zoe loved both books. She loved Rosario's hat and discovering all the different things he planted in his garden, especially the small purple figs on the tree. It has a powerful message about our relationships with nature, our neighbours and seniors. Zoe loved the rhythm in It's Only Stanley. She quickly picked up the rhyming in the story and loved seeing what happened to the cat. Her favourite part was the ending, but I won't give it away. It's quite a blast!
Do you have any new picture books you'd like to share? Zoe and I would love to read more!
Happy reading :-)