The books in this post aren’t about August or really in any way related except that we enjoyed them all in August, during my blogging hiatus. I’m not sure if I’d say they are the “top three” we read this month but rather three that stuck out enough for me to remember them amongst a lot of other books read.
First up is this absolutely gorgeous collection of nursery rhymes by illustrator Jackie Morris. I have to admit to not being a big fan of nursery rhyme collections. I find them kind of boring to read aloud; give me a good juicy story any day over a bunch of unrelated (and often weird) rhymes. But I always feel a little guilty that my kids need to be exposed to this part of our culture so when I saw this book on the new book shelf at the library I brought it home. The illustrations make this one a delight to read. They are beautifully detailed watercolors featuring animals and people and often highlight the weirdness of some of the rhymes in an engaging way. I’d highly recommend it just as eye candy even if you are like me and not that fond of the rhymes themselves.
This book by Jodi Moore is slightly reminiscent of the “If You” books by Laura Numeroff. In this one if you build the perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in. The story is cute as the boy and his dragon have a great day together at the beach while his parents and sister are blissfully unaware that the dragon has moved in. The illustrations by Howard McWilliam are what really make this one extra fun. The text tells a straight story of what is happening: the dragon scares away all the beach bullies. But the illustrations suggest that it isn’t clear if the dragon is real or imaginary: the boy’s Dad is in the background shaking his BBQ tongs at the bullies when they run away. I love picture books like this where the illustrations actually add a second layer of story. Apparently my kids do also as I ended up reading this one quite a few times.
Chris Van Dusen has become one of my favorite children’s book authors. This book has all of my favorite things about his books: humor, rollicking rhyming text and vibrant almost cartoon like illustrations. I also like the mid-century America that his books are set in. Randy Riley is a science loving, geek who also love baseball but can’t get a hit. The story of how he ends up a hero by saving his town from an asteroid is silly but fun.
Be sure to stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday!