Monday, 2 January 2017

My 5 Star Reads from 2016: Picture Books

Following on from yesterday's reviews of my favourite children's fiction and graphic novels, today I am going to look at the picture books I gave 5 stars to in 2016.

Chicken Clicking by Jeanne Willis
A humorous, cautionary tale about a chicken discovering the delights of the internet - first through online shopping, and then by finding a "friend".

11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill
This amusing book teaches you how to conduct science experiments by coming up with hypotheses to check.  Of course, the experiments in this case include investigating questions like "can a washing machine wash dishes?" and the results are often messy!

This is a Ball by Beck and Matt Stanton
I love it when teachers read this book aloud to their classes.  I can normally tell it's happening when the howls of outrage start.  Everything in this book is wrong, which makes it a whole lot of fun to read.

How this Book was Made by Mac Barnett
There is a crazy little video to promote this book.  The book is equally wacky, which always appeals to me.  It also has some interesting details about making a book (which do need to be separated from the parts about pirates and tigers!).

Tell Me the Day Backwards by Albert Lamb
Just before he goes to bed Timmy Bear tells his mama about his day.  However, he tells it in reverse, starting with what has just happened and then talking about what happened just before that, and so on.  I think this bedtime story would inspire parents and children to have some fun and share their own day in the same way.

Undercover: One of these Things is Almost like the Others by Meagan Bennett
This is a wordless picture book that has readers look for the odd one out.  The choice of the "different" objects is really clever and often humorous.  It was surprising how much fun I had with this one!

A Bike like Sergio's by Maribeth Boelts
Here's what I wrote about this book in my post about diversity in picturebooks last year - Ruben finds a lot of money that has fallen out of someone's purse, enough to buy him a bike like his friend Sergio's.  He struggles with what the right thing is to do with the money, given that his family sometimes doesn't have enough money for everything on their grocery list.  A nice story that acknowledges income equality and has a great ending (but it doesn't involve a bike).

How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen
Babette Cole's illustrations are just delightful in this role-reversal story about a girl putting her parents to bed.  This is one of those books that parents will enjoy as much as their children.

Guess Again! by Mac Barnett
This is the second Mac Barnett book on my list.  He has obviously had a lot of fun with this book, as he sets up a rhyme so that the logical answer is very clear...and then chooses a different answer altogether!  I can't wait to see what our students think of it, this was a holiday read so I haven't had a chance to share it yet.

The Forgetful Knight by Michelle Robinson
This rhyming picture book has a twist at the end, and I would recommend reading it through before reading it aloud, as I think it makes it easier to understand how best to read it.  The narrator seems confused about what has happened in his story about a knight who sets off on an adventure...on a horse? By himself?  With a sandwich?  With a sword?  A lot of fun and definitely one for repeat readings.

A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O'Leary
What a special book that celebrates the many different kinds of families there are.  Children in a classroom talk about what makes their families special.  A gentle and warm book that belongs in school libraries everywhere.

Flight by Nadia Wheatley
This is a powerful and moving sophisticated picture book.  It evocatively illustrates what refugees may go through in order to flee their homeland.  It would be a great book to accompany any current events discussions about refugees.

Up tomorrow, a hodge-podge of children's non-fiction, some YA and some awesome professional reading.

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