I posted here about the Armchair Cybils challenge that Amy at Hope is the Word is hosting. I thought it would be a fun way to read some of the great new 2011 picture books with David and Ruth. (And John, although one of the reasons I wanted to do this challenge was to personally challenge myself to read more intentionally with the little ones.)
We are all big fans of Eileen Christelow’s Five Little Monkey books and the Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney. These additions to both series do not fail to disappoint. The mom of the five naughty little monkeys has to tell them over and over, “Lights out! Sweet Dreams! No more reading in bed!” The end has a cute twist that my kids thought was hilarious. Based on the number of times I’ve had to read this to all three of my kids we’d give it a solid six thumbs up.
I’ve always loved the Llama Llama books, I think admittedly more than any of my kids. They are sweet books that my boys did enjoy quite a bit as toddlers and young preschoolers. They think they are sweet now but have outgrown thema bit. In this one Llama llama has to stay home from school because he is sick and he gets bored until he realizes it’s nice to be home and snuggle with Mama Llama.
Jane Yolen and Karma Wilson are two of our favorite authors. These new books of theirs both live up to the high expectations I have when I see their name on a cover. Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters has very simple rhyming text similar to that in Yolen’s Dinosaur series. The monsters in this book are cute and not creepy or scary. It’s well suited to the youngest monsters in your house. Hogwash has the same rollicking fun to read rhyming text as some of my other Wilson favorites like Whopper Cake and Sakes Alive, A Cattle Drive. A farmer wants to give all his animals a bath but the hogs refuse. In the end the farmer decides that mud baths are actually pretty fun after all. Its’ a simple story but with the high-quality style of Wilson’s text and the fun illustrations by Jim McMullan it’s a definite winner.
The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood is a nice concept. Each page has a picture showing a different kind of loud. There is “fire truck day at school loud”, “belly flop loud” and “Aunt Tillie’s banjo band loud”. The pictures by Renata Liwska show cute little animals acting out whatever is on the page. It’s a well done little book but for me, wasn’t anything particularly special.
Naamah and the Ark at Night on the other hand was a truly beautiful book. As the ark sails through the night, Noah’s wife, Naamah sings a lullaby to all the animals. The phrase “at night” is repeated over and over to create a lovely song like text. The illustrations by Holly Meade are luminous and go perfectly with the feeling of the book. An Author’s Note at the end explains where the author got the idea for the book and the traditions behind the name Naamah.
The Armchair Cybils isn’t necessarily about picking a winner, but of these six I’d pick Naamah and the Ark of Night as the winner. My kids would probably pick the Five Little Monkeys book, and while I enjoyed that one too, for a prize I would have a preference for the unique book over one that is one in a series.
We’ve been enjoying a lot more 2011 new books so stay tuned in the coming weeks as I share them with you.