Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Best Books of the Year

I’ve been reading a lot recently. For every three books I read, only one has been a standout. Here are some recent picture books that I absolutely love:

In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck; Illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
I can only say that I found this to be a perfect book. It is a good-night book, with a charming little girl talking about her blue room, yet we can see from the pictures that she does not have a blue room. As she is tucked into bed, and the pictures give us the wide view, we see that she does, indeed, have a blue room. It is earth. This is an excellent book for the Early Literacy Skill of Print Motivation as a child will want to turn the page to see the blue room. Where is it? Delightful!

Bear’s Picture by Daniel Pinkwater; Illustrated by D.B. Johnson.
First, you must understand that I’m a huge fan of D.B. Johnson. He has written and illustrated three books based on Walden and Henry Thoreau (done as a bear). The books are Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, and Henry Climbs a Mountain. It is a known fact that Daniel Pinkwater is a champion of these books from his commentary on NPR. Together they have teamed up to present a bear who paints. It is wonderful to watch bear’s painting come together while two very skeptical grown-ups fail to see what bear sees. They are NOT art critics! Again, this presents a wonderful book for Print Motivation as a child watches bear create.

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson; Illustrated by Beth Krommes.
I find black and white illustrations extremely imaginative. This book is done in black and white with gold/yellow accents throughout. The story is a reworked Mother Goose rhyme. It is a very striking book that I can see a child looking for clues on every page. It is an excellent book for the Early Literacy Skill of Dialogic Reading. The parent/adult can ask “what” questions of the child to help with comprehension and Narrative Skills to retell the story. The design is lovely. I can see a child asking to have this read every night and never tire of it. There is so much to see, to think and to dream about in this book.