Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Library Gems

I probably need to apologize. Most blogs have a focus and mine is all over the place. You will see teaching ideas, recipes, rants and meanderings. I keep thinking that I should focus down a bit but really, this is who I am and I love being all over the place. I hope that the few of you who do stop in from time to time will continue to tolerate my wanderings. I have fun when ideas pop into my head and it's fun to have a place to share the chaos in my brain.

Every week, Pk and I go to the library (and Baby Bean comes along and hangs out in the sling). Pk does her Storytime programme without me (how can she be big enough for that now???) and then I let her pick a few books. I always do some searching while she is in the programme since she tends to like to go to the same things every week - Franklin, Spot, the Thomas the Tank Engine easy readers, Clifford and Rosemary Wells. I don't mind old favourites but I tend to like some variety too (and, if possible, to avoid the Dora books that she loves to bring home - ugh). I love our weekly library jaunt and find myself excited to come home and read together. We read before each nap and before bedtime so our collection of books usually gets read through several times before the next week.

I thought that I would start a weekly series featuring a few of our current favourites. I love good suggestions (thanks for the Ladybug Girl suggestion, Kittenpie!) and I hope that I remind you of a few good reads here, too.

As a teacher, I am not a great lover of Frankin. I teach grade 2 and they are just a bit below my students in terms of the depth we need to achieve with a text. I tended to avoid Franklin but I have to say, since Pk has discovered Paulette Bourgeois' loveable turtle, I have developed a much greater appreciation for these books. Franklin faces the kind of problems that Pk does, the illustrations are often lovely (Franklin's Thanksgiving is one of my favourite books in the fall, just for the gorgeous colours) and there is often a title that really addresses an issue that we are facing at home. Franklin and Harriet is the story of Franklin coping with the ups and downs of a needy little sister and Pk loves it. We read it over and over and it's one that, for me at least, stands up to repeated readings.

I LOVE Barbara Reid and The Party lives up to what I love about her books. The Party is the story of a birthday party for Gran. The text flows in a wonderful pattern and rhythm and again, a birthday party/family gathering is something that all children can relate to on some level. If you have not met Barbara Reid's books before, all of the illustrations are done in incredibly intricate plasticene montages and the depth of detail is awe-inspiring. The page that shows the table of food groaning under the weight of all the traditional dishes (sausage rolls, bean salad, deviled eggs, etc) is like going home. I would suggest any of her books (on my other blog, I have shared my love of the Zoe books for little ones) and this one is no exception. I will be sad to return this one.
John Burningham is an English writer with some wonderfully quirky titles (e.g., I LOVE "Would You Rather" and use it as an intro to surveys in my grade 2 class every year and my students roll on the floor laughing). Hushabye is a bit of a strange little book. I expected it to scan like poetry but it doesn't. It is somewhat poetic in style but the traditional rhyming patterns of similar books are lacking. The repeat of Hushabye throughout the story does give it a quiet, settling to bed kind of tone. The illustrations are interesting, a mix of drawing, collage and paint for texture and Pk is fascinating by the illustrations. This is a great going to bed book and a little less cloyingly charming than some other lullaby texts.

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