No words for my favourite read-aloud

The Chicken ThiefRead-aloud books – there’s so many favourites out there we’ve made this great list of read-alouds through the ages – there’s bound to be one of your favourites on it.

But my favourite read-aloud, and probably my vote for the book of the year, is one that has no words. Not a single piece of description. No dialogue, no tired rhymes from the thesaurus, no names, no cutesy chit chat.

It’s no easy choice – at the end of the day when you’re tired and you’re trying to get a ratty three-year-old to bed, the challenge of making up the narration and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of The Chicken Thief is sometimes the last thing you want to take on. The plot? A fox steals a chicken – her chicken partner and assorted friends chase them high and low for several nights, crossing mountains and oceans – but then the chicken ditches the lot of them for the fox!

And yet it’s a story choice we never regret. We talk about the action, the scenery, the characters, the drama, what might happen next – and every time we get a different, fun, entertaining version.

It’s magic that the illustrations capture so much, but what I really like is that it puts the reader in charge of the story somehow – deciding what to highlight, exaggerate or omit;  choosing sound effects, what names the characters might have and so on.

Two other quick votes: The Snagglegrollop and Gordon’s Got a Snookie – try them, and tell us your favourite read-aloud – is it on our list?

9 thoughts on “No words for my favourite read-aloud

  1. zackids 16 December 2009 / 5:09 pm

    My favourite readalouds of the year are:

    – Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith. It’s a hilarious story with great illustrations and the song is fantastic!

    – Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andrea. It’s disgusting and makes kids go ‘Ooooooo!’ and ‘Yuck!’ everytime you turn the page.

  2. Lisa 17 December 2009 / 12:35 pm

    Dinosaur vs. Bedtme – does anyone remember that show “Endurance”? Dinosaur vs. Bedtie reminds me a lot of it – Dinosaur vs. Leaves – whoosh – Dinosaur Wins! I haven’t met a kid so far who doesn’t see themselves as the dinosaur!

  3. Richard 17 December 2009 / 3:21 pm

    Wonky Donkey is a real hit; it seems to be everywhere! I’ll have to try The Mankiest Monster…

  4. Michael A 18 December 2009 / 1:50 pm

    Must add my all time read-aloud favourite, Margaret Mahy’s “17 Kings and 42 Elephnats” although “Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel” runs a close second and probably “Whistle up the Chimney” into third…so many to chose from!

  5. Lisa 18 December 2009 / 2:17 pm

    “Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel” was just pipped at the post by “The Little House”, the 40’s were def a turning point in Children’s Lit and a boon to Librarians who read aloud!

  6. Valerienl 18 December 2009 / 3:42 pm

    I read the first four Harry Potter books out loud to my daughter at the rate of between 5 and 10 pagers per night. It was I think a labour of love. My daughter’s favorite read aloud was The Faraway tree series. I read the 3 of them to her several times. It was so exciting – the escapes from polar bears and goblins and the flight from Dame Slap’s School.

  7. Nickie 19 December 2009 / 3:19 pm

    My kids loved the Richard Scarry books but the all time favourite which I must have read aloud a thousand times was “My cat likes to hide in boxes” by Eve Sutton, which was first published in 1973 and is still a favourite.

    • Marion 21 December 2009 / 10:41 am

      Memories Nickie – that used to be a favourite in our house too.

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