I’ve been having car trouble lately. If Sheldon Cooper rode shotgun with me, he would have a complete meltdown, because Daisy’s check engine light came on over a week ago, and I haven’t checked her engine. So, anyway, the other morning, on the way to school with the Young Lad, despite the warming up and molly-coddling, I felt that all-too-familiar stumble-chug as we were driving along. I asked the Young Lad if he thought it would help if I gave Daisy some razzleberry, dazzleberry, snazzleberry fizz like the family in Rattletrap Car. And you know what he said, that boy of mine? “I’m too old for rhymes, Mum!” (with audible eye rolling in his tone.)
I know what he really meant. He meant that he’s too old for silly nonsense, like a car that can be repaired with random items stuck on tight with “chocolate marshmallow fudge delight.” Just like he’s too old for cuddles from Mum before he goes off to his classroom in the morning. *sob*
But honestly, how can anyone be to old for rhymes and stories? I say you’re never too old for a great picture book!* And lets face it, life is too short to read boring books. If you’ve got a littley to read to, you’re gonna want to enjoy what you’re reading too. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites with you.
- First up: Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals. I spotted this one on the shelf the other day, and I absolutely love it! It’s sort of like an in-flight safety instruction card for babies. The road-sign style illustrations made me giggle, and who wouldn’t laugh at Willems “instructions” about available activities (“sleeping and waking, eating and burping, pooping and more pooping”) and log-in codes (“Do not worry. You do not need to know any log-in codes, yet.”) Or his warnings about unpleasant possibilities, like “fighting and wastefulness and soggy toast” or the ice cream disasters that no-one is exempt from. Technically, this is not actually a picture book, which is all the more reason to share it with you, since you won’t find it in the picture book bins at your local library. When you look for it (and you really should!) you’ll find it in the non-fiction section.
- Henry Finds His Word by Lindsay Ward. When he was a little younger, the Young Lad enjoyed reading this book with me. He always loved books with nonsense words, and this one, with Henry’s baby-babble-nonsense as he tries to make himself understood by the grown-ups was no exception. Henry decides he needs to find his word so people will know what he’s talking about, but he doesn’t know what words look like. Are they big or small? Fuzzy? Prickly? Could one be hiding under his blanket? You’ll have to read this sweet, quirky story to find out!
- Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall is a great story about a crayon who just can’t seem to draw red, even though that is what his label clearly says. His friends all think he needs practice, or should try harder, but no matter what he does, all Red’s drawings turn out to be blue! A wonderful message of acceptance, and being who you are, told in a delightfully funny way. I love the brightly coloured illustrations too, they are a mixture of collage-style shapes and crayon drawings, that really make the story pop.
- Before & After by Jean Jullien is a hilariously simple book that explores the concept of before and after in funny and surprising ways. This is also not technically a picture book, but will be found with the board books. While you’re looking for it, you might also want to look for Jullien’s equally hilarious This is Not a Book.
- Reading The Scariest thing in the Garden by Craig Smith always involves lots of noise and hilarity. Would you believe that an aphid could be the scariest thing in the garden? It is to a really, really scared Brussels sprout. What about a lady-bird? They are pretty scary to an aphid. It’s fun to try to guess what the scariest thing could be each time, and to scream along with the scared bugs and animals. And you’ll laugh when you discover what the scariest thing actually is!
- Although you wouldn’t actually read ABC Dream by Kim Krans, I’m sure you’ll love sharing this beautiful and absorbing wordless picture book with your littlies. The illustrations are simply beautiful, and it’s lots of fun trying to work out all the things that begin with each letter — some are really quite tricky! I’ve shared this book with lots of children who’ve visited the library, and have been blown away by some of the things they think of. Don’t you just love it when kids surprise you?
- And finally, no list** of my favourite picture books would be complete without Captain Pugwash by John Ryan. I just love this series of Pirate stories about Pugwash and his crew, who are the laziest afloat. Although Pugwash thought himself very brave and clever, it was always Tom the Cabin Boy who saved the day. Dad gave me this book for my 5th birthday, and it is the very first book I ever read to myself. The stories are still just as exciting and funny as they ever were, so if you have a small person who likes pirate stories, I’m sure you’ll love these books as much as I do!
After all that talk about being too old for this kind of thing, The Young Lad surprised me last night by telling me he wanted to come to the library and listen to me sharing Storytimes with the little kids. I guess you really are never too old for picture books!
*I think I may have mentioned my love of picture books once or twice before
**I had a really hard time choosing which books to share in this blog post, because once I got started…I just couldn’t stop! So naturally, I also put together a list in our catalogue of a few of my favourites. I managed (with difficulty) to keep it to just 40 books. And I’m sure I missed out at least one fabulous book that I just couldn’t remember the name of.