Read Aloud Books
Ursula K. Le Guin (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy; Book Theme: Animals
"Catwings" by Ursula K. Le Guin is a story about the adventures of four cats with wings as they leave the city and find a new home in the country. This easy-to-read animal fantasy book appeals to children in second and third grade. "Catwings" is a good chapter book to read aloud.
Ludwig Bemelmans (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Theme: Rhyming Stories
"Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans, often considered one of the best picture books, is a classic book that has delighted children for generations with its memorable character, engaging pictures and humorous rhyming texts. A spirited little girl named Madeline is rushed to the hospital from her boarding school in Paris. Preschoolers and beginning readers will enjoy this Caldecott Honor book. "Madeline" is also a great story to read aloud.
Byron Barton (Board Books)
Genres: Fiction - Children's Picture Books, Fairy Tales & Folklore; Book Themes: Animals, Opposites
Byron Barton, in "The Three Bears", retells the classic European folklore tale of Goldilocks and the three bears. The story begins with three bears taking a walk in the forest. While the bears are away from home, Goldilocks eats their porridge, sits in their chairs and sleeps in baby bear's bed. The story ends with Goldilocks running away from the three bears. The simplified vocabulary and the bold illustrations are well suited for toddlers and preschoolers. The picture book also teaches opposites such as hot or cold, big or small, fast or slow. "The Three Bears" is a good read aloud book.
Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction - Animal Fantasy; Book Theme: Animals
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo, a 2004 Newbery Medal award winner, is one of our favorite animal fantasy books. This chapter book tells interwoven stories of three main characters. It is a tale of Despereaux Tilling, a small mouse who doesn't behave like an ordinary mouse. Despereaux likes to read stories and falls in love with a princess named Pea. The Mouse Council banishes Despereaux to a dark dungeon for breaking the mouse rules of conduct. It is a tale of Chiaroscuro, a rat who lives in the darkness of dungeon but has an unusual interest in light. It is also a tale of Miggery Sow, an abused and slow-witted servant girl who longs to be a princess. After discovering the rat's plot to kidnap the princess, Despereaux bravely comes to the rescue. With a well-paced story and memorable protagonists, The Tale of Despereaux appeals children in 4th grade through 7th grade. It is a good chapter book to read aloud.
Mo Willems (Hardcover)
Genres: Fiction - Children's Picture Books, Humorous Stories
"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Emmy Award-winning writer Mo Willems is a funny picture book that children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade will have great time reading and interacting with. When a bus driver takes a break, he asks readers to keep an eye on his bus and the pigeon. What a determined pigeon! He reasons, begs and bargains. Of course, readers always say no to the pigeon's request to drive the bus. The frustrated pigeon finally falls into a temper tantrum. But he cheers up after seeing a huge tractor-trailer truck drive up. The pigeon's feelings and emotions are amply expressed in this simply illustrated Caldecott Honor Book. The humorous story is great for reading aloud.
Linda Williams, Megan Lloyd (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Emotions and Feelings, Halloween
"The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything" by Linda Williams is a great Halloween story although it doesn't have the word Halloween anywhere in the texts. A brave old lady walks home through a dark forest. She comes across two big shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, two gloves and a hat. Each time, the little old lady tells them she is not afraid of anything. Then after a scary orange pumpkin head appears, the old lady runs all way home. Once at home, she overcomes her fear and finds a happy solution. The items that have tried to scare her become a scarecrow in the little old lady's garden. The picture book makes good use of attention-grabbing sound words, such as "clomp clomp", "shake, shake" and "clap, clap". Megan Lloyd's lively and detailed illustrations show the old lady's emotions and complement the story well. It is a good picture book for read aloud to children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.
Erica Silverman, S.D. Schindler (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Witches, Halloween, Pumpkin
"Big Pumpkin" by Erica Silverman is a funny Halloween story that will delight children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. A witch wants to make pumpkin pie, so she plants a pumpkin seed. The pumpkin grows so big that the witch cannot yank it from the vine. Some traditional Halloween characters come to help, but neither the ghost, nor the vampire, nor the mummy can make it budge. Finally a bat comes up with a good idea. They line up and pull together. Off comes the big pumpkin. The colorful illustrations by S.D. Schindler is a little spooky but not scary. With predictable rhyming texts, the picture book is good for reading aloud. Kids can also see the value of cooperation and teamwork.
Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (Paperback)
Genre: Fiction - Children's Picture Books; Book Themes: Animals, Witches, Halloween, Rhyming Stories
"Room on the Broom" by Julia Donaldson is a fun picture book to read aloud around Halloween time or any time of the year. A witch and a cat are flying on a broomstick. The wind blows and the witch loses her hat, then her bow, and then her wand. Each time, an animal picks up her lost item and asks if there is room on the broom for him. The generous witch always says yes. The added weight finally snaps the broom in two and the witch encounters a mean dragon. Her animal friends find a clever way to scare the dragon off and the rhyming story ends with the witch and the animals riding happily on a luxurious broom. Axel Scheffler's illustration is bright and lively. "Room on the Broom" appeals to children in preschool, kindergarten and first grade.
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