Leslie Patricelli does it again with Be Quiet, Mike! This is the charming story of “ a monkey named MIke, who started drumming as a tiny little tyke.” He plays on everything: his tummy , the water, the trashcan, his parents’ heads. But over and over again he hears “Be Quiet, Mike!” One day he sees a beautiful drum set in a store window and he realizes what he is born to do. Just try and read this one without tapping your feet or drumming your fingers.
And if you manage to get through Be Quiet, Mike without drumming along, try Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! for a bouncing rollicking good time. The sounds all around the city create the jazzy backdrop to a little boy’s life. The muted cartoon like illustrations go perfectly with the onomatopoetic text by jazz great Wynton Marsalis. I knew this one was a success in our house when David was drawing pictures based on these illustrations during church this week.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Liz Garton Scanlon and Think Big, her new book, doesn’t disappoint. We follow a group of young children as they are obviously preparing for something big. The bright cheery illustrations are accompanied by a crisp poem about creativity. I love that the entire book is a celebration of creativity of all kinds. Any child should be able to see himself in at least one of the pages of this book.
Dot is one of those books that on first reading you might be tempted to think, “Hey, I could that.” But then on second or third pass you realize that it’s a deceptively simple book. Graphic designer Patricia Intriago takes the concept of a simple dot and plays with it in some unexpected ways. There is a stop dot and a go dot. But also a fast dot and a slow dot. And a heavy dot and light dots. It was interesting to me to think about how graphically a concept like fast can be conveyed with only one dot and a few lines. How does our brain see that and translate it into “fast”? As much as I enjoyed this one for the gee-whiz factor, I prefer books with stories. My kids seem to feel the same way, although they liked this one more than others that are similar in idea.
Be sure to stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday (and great gift ideas for the readers in your house)!
Think Big and Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! have been nominated for a Cybils in the fiction picture book category.