Read ’em and Smile

I highly recommend these gems from the first half of 2012.

Boy + Bot.  Ame Dyckman.  Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.
A small boy and a bright red robot discover each other in the woods and become friends.  When the robot is accidentally shut off, the unknowing boy takes him home and nurses him until he accidentally comes on again.  When the boy is sleeping, the Bot thinks he must need a new battery and takes him to the lab where he was created.  Humorous and sweet.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade

Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?  Lois G. Grambling.  Charlesbridge, 2012.
A young boy tries to convince Ms Reeder, the librarian, that bringing his woolly mammoth friend to the public library would benefit everyone.  Great illustrations add to the humor and chaos.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud  K-2nd grade



Chloe.  Peter McCarty.  Balzer + Bray, 2012.
Chloe the rabbit has ten older siblings and ten younger.  She loves it when they all come together for “family fun time” where the whole family (parents included) plays creatively.  That all changes when Dad buys a TV.  Chloe and baby Bridget would rather play with the box the TV came in and bubble wrap.  It doesn’t take long for the rest of the family to join them.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Chopsticks.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal.  Disney Hyperion, 2012.
Chopsticks are inseparable.  After all, they have always done everything together.  One day there is an accident and one of them is broken and out of commission while being repaired.  Reluctantly, his friend ventures out on his own and learns that he can do many things alone.  When the injured chopstick heals, they have many new adventures together.  Clever wordplay and delightful illustrations.  Picture book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


Demolition.  Sally Sutton.  Candlewick Press, 2012.
The equipment and work necessary to tear down a building are shown and described with action verbs and onomatopoeia making this a great read-aloud.  It refers to recycling and reusing materials.  The end result is a new playground!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


The Great Sheep Shenanigans.  Peter Bently & Mei Matsouka.  Andersen Press,2012.
Lou Pine, the wolf, thinks dinner will be easy to come by when he comes upon a flock of sheep…..that is, until he comes face-to-face with Rambo the Ram.  The wolf goes to great links to disguise himself as a sheep, enlisting help from Red Riding Hood’s grandmother.  There are several laugh-out-loud moments, including the ending.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


Guacamole: Un Poema Para Cocinar.  Jorge Argueta.  Groundwood Books, 2012.
This delightful story poem in English and Spanish captures the joy of making guacamole as young Sarah sings and dances around the kitchen while showing us how to create it.  The rich language is a treat for the senses.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade


The Hueys in the New Sweater.  Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, 2012.
The Hueys are black line egg shaped creatures who all look alike.  Rupert decides he wants to be different and knits himself a bright orange sweater with zig-zag stripes.  The other Hueys are horrified, but before long they start knitting their sweaters until they once again, all look the same.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

If All the Animals Came Inside.  Eric Pinder.  Little Brown, 2012.
A boy imagines the chaos that would ensue if all the animals came inside.  Fun rhyming
romp with collage illustrations by Marc Brown.  In the end, he decides it would be better to stick with his dog and cat.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


I’ll Save You Bobo!  Eileen and Marc Rosenthal.  Atheneum, 2012.
Willy just wants to enjoy reading a book with his toy monkey, Bobo.  Earl the cat pesters them relentlessly.  Willy decides to write his own adventure story in which he expresses his anger with Earl, who still won’t leave him alone.  Drama, humor and a clever ending.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

A Leaf Can Be… .  Laura Purdie Salas.  Millbrook Press, 2012.
Charming artwork and brief (only 2 words on most pages) poetic text celebrate the uses and importance of leaves.  “A leaf can be a…Soft cradle /Water ladle /Sun taker / Food maker..”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade



The Lonely Book.  Kate Bernheimer.  Random House, 2012.
A once popular book becomes old and worn, living a lonely life in the library until a girl discovers it an checks it out.  She falls in love with the book.  After she returns it, the book ends up in the library basement waiting for the used book sale.  The girl rediscovers the book just in the nick of time.  The soft texture of the illustrations add to the understated emotion of the story.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


Mrs. Harkness and the Panda.  Alicia Potter.  Knopf, 2012.
After her husband’s untimely death, Ruth Harkness is determined to carry out his work.
So in 1936, she sets out on a grueling expedition to capture and transport a baby panda back to the U.S.  He was named Su Lin and survived only a year and a half in captivity.
Regardless of how you may feel about zoos and taking animals from their natural habitat, Mrs. Harkness’s courage and determination is remarkable.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat.  D. B. Johnson.  Houghton Mifflin, 2012.
When French surrealist, Rene Magritte, (a dog in this story) buys an unusual and playful hat, he becomes creatively inspired.  A delightful little fantasy on it’s own, but also a great way to introduce the artist and his work.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade


My Friend Fred.  Hiawyn Oram.  Tiger Tales, 2011.
Fred the dog is Grace’s very best friend.  So much so that she doesn’t want to share him with anyone.  Fred and her family help her learn that a best friend shares.  Endearingly told with humor and love.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


My Snake Blake.  Randy Siegel.  Roaring Brook Press, 2012.
A boy receives an early birthday present from his father which turns out to be “the best snake, by far, in the whole world.”  After all, he can loop himself into cursive writing to communicate as well as cook, walk the dog, turn on the TV and help with homework.  Blake is bright green, which makes him stand out in the scratchy black-line drawings, colored with a touch of pink, adding to the wit and humor.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade

Otto the Book Bear.  Katie Cleminson.  Disney/Hyperion, 2012.
Ott is a bear who lives inside a picture book.  He is happiest when the book is being read. He likes to climb out of the book and go exploring when no one is looking.  When the family moves away and accidentally leaves the book behind, Otto packs his book bag and searches for a new home.  Can you guess where he ends up?  A sweet celebration of books and libraries.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


Red Knit Cap Girl.  Naoko Stoop.  Little Brown, 2012.
Red Knit Cap Girl loves the Moon and longs to talk to it.  With the help of Owl and other woodland animal friends, she comes up with a plan to throw a party for the moon.  It doesn’t quite work as planned.  It takes dark peace and quiet for the Moon to appear.
The illustrations were created on plywood with acrylic, ink and pencil.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade


Squid and Octopus:  Friends for Always.  Tao Nyeu.  Dial, 2012.
Four short, charming, humorous, warm, quirky stories about two friends, who disagree, worry, encourage each other.  Kids and adults will pour over the muted, detailed drawings which add to the humor and charm.  Picture Book.
Read-K-1st grade
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