Read Aloud Thursday: Happy New Year

A New Coat for Anna (Dragonfly Books)

One of my schoolish resolutions is to be more consistent with doing Five in a Row with David. He loves it and as a middle child, he craves the special attention. In practice, John ends up joining in and Ruth pretty much tags along for everything so it’s good for the whole family. We’re starting the New Year with this book by Harriet Ziefert. Set in post WWII Europe, Anna’s mother wants to buy a new coat for Anna but they don’t have the money. Instead she acquires the things she needs for the coat in a series of barters with a farmer (for wool), a spinner, a weaver and a tailor. We’re having a lot of fun with the book. One reason I chose it to start 2012 is that it takes place over a year (beginning and ending at Christmas time). I thought that as we start a new year it would be a good time to talk about seasons and the months of the year with David.

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (Sidman, Joyce)

I absolutely loved this new-to-me picture book poem by Joyce Sidman. There are oodles of books on the seasons available for kids but this one looks at the seasons using color in a way that is beautiful and unique.

Green is new
in spring. Shy.
Green peeks from buds,
trembles in the breeze.
Green floats through rain-dark trees,
and glows, mossy-soft at my feet.
Green drips from tips of leaves
onto Pup’s nose.
In spring,
even the rain tastes Green.

The illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski made this a Caldecott Honor Book of 2010. Sidman is also the author of Dark Emperor, a 2011 Newbury Honor Book and Swirl by Swirl which I’ve seen mentioned everywhere as one of the best books of 2011 but haven’t been able to get from the library yet. I didn’t put all that together until writing this post as I picked this book  on a random search for boooks about seasons.

In full disclosure, as I’ve mentioned before neither of my boys are big poetry fans. I know they didn’t like this book nearly as much as I did. But I think a regular amount of poetry in their reading diet is important and I notice that they appreciate it much more in this kind of format than if I sit down and read an unillustrated poem to them. In the end, this was one of those picture books that I ended up reading just as much for me as for them.Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons

I got this book because both boys have started to take more of an interest in graphic novels and cartoons and they both like silly. As a read-aloud it’s not anything special. Each cartoon takes up two page spreads with very simple dialogue about the season. The bright classic cartoon style is fun though and I think this would be a great book for an emerging reader to try on his own. I see on Amazon that this is the first in a series of Silly Lilly books meant for just that very thing. As early readers I can see how these would be a nice change of pace from other formats and very fun for a kid to do “all by myself”.

Winter Is the Warmest Season

Technically, this is only about one season, but the title was intriguing so I checked it out. The concept is simple: that winter is really the warmest season. Why? Warm mittens and coats and fires in the fireplace and hot chocolate and cats that snuggle on your lap. The small boy narrator takes great joy in listing all the warm things he loves about winter. I thought that this might be too young for my boys but they both liked it. They thought the idea was funny at first and then when they got into the book, they started thinking of other warm wintery things.

Start the New Year off right! Stop by Hope is the Word to see what others are reading with their kids (and share your own read-alouds.)

8 thoughts on “Read Aloud Thursday: Happy New Year

  1. Alice,

    We absolutely love Winter is the Warmest Season and enjoy reading it during the summer months because it makes me appreciate all the special things about the season. I guess I should pull it out again because, so far, I’m not enjoying the cold winter months. A cup of hot chocolate may make it a little better.

  2. Well, I have to say that you have inspired me with FIAR once again! One day I’m actually going to do it! :-). I loved Red Sings from the Treetops, and like you, I didn’t make the connection with the author/poetess. I also loved Dark Emperor and have wanted to get my hands on her new book, too.

    Your post is just full of inspiration for me!

  3. Thanks for the lovely recs! Those poetry books sound lovely. We checked out Silly Lilly so many times last year that I wished that child had never been drawn 😉 She’s not even particularly silly! But my daughter just adored the format and that she could “read” it herself. There are a bunch of books in that series, all by different authors, and all the same format (although the rest are not so beginning-reader friendly). All, in my opinion, equally odd, but my daughter liked most of them!

  4. Pingback: Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman (again) | Hope Is the Word

  5. Pingback: Collage Friday–Snow! | Hope Is the Word

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