Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring is Here!

The weather may be frightful, but picture books can put you in a new frame of mind. If you are thinking Easter basket gifts, I’ve got two that I MUST purchase for my grandchildren. (I can’t be stopped!)

First is The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett. Each of the birds has an egg, except Duck. So when Duck finds a beautiful egg of his own he’s delighted-even though the other birds make fun of it. When it hatches, everyone is in for a BIG surprise! The playful illustrations are part of the charm, along with cleverly designed cut pages that allow the visual joke to unfold. Spring? Eggs? You won’t want to miss this book! Emily Gravett has become a favorite of mine for young pre-schoolers. Check out her other books, Orange Pear Apple Bear and Monkey and Me. Every book is a perfect illustration of an early literacy skill. The Odd Egg is perfect for print motivation. Everyone will want to turn the page to find out what happens. Print Motivation is how we demonstrate to children the joy of reading, the fun of books.

The second picture book is from the inimitable Kevin Henkes. He has won a Caldecott Medal, a Caldecott Honor, a Newbery Honor, and he has another winner with his latest, Birds. This time he has written the book (the words), but his wife is the illustrator. She has captured the simplicity of enjoying birds and noticing the many details a young child would discuss with a parent or an adult. The simple story ends with a satisfying declaration that is also a surprise. A lovely spring walk must be taken after reading this! Laura Dronzek’s illustrations are so colorful, especially for a young child. They have a child-like appearance with a sense of movement on every page.

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