Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Best Picture Books of 2009 (copy)

I love the end of the year with all its best books from 2009 lists. For our childcare classes, I ordered a handful from these lists and am delighted to be the first to read them.

For children with short attention spans, All the World written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Caldecott Honor medalist Marla Frazee, is perfect. Frazee wrote and illustrated last year's popular A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and she portrays the same friendship and camaraderie amongst all us humans in this new picture book. Scanlon words emphasis the message, "Hope and peace and love and trust, All the world is all of us."

Yes, I too had aspirations of becoming a pink-clad, tutu-twirling ballerina. My scrawny, third world belly was a sight, unlike the perfectly poised child ballerinas in Beautiful Ballerina by Newbery Honor winner Marilyn Nelson and photographer Susan Kuklin. Four students from the Dance Theatre of Harlem will stretch, pirouettes and leap into many a small reader's heart. Words are rare, but require an adult to read like this passage, "To the tradition of port de bras and arabesque, of pirouettes, jet├ęs, and pas de deux, you bring a tiny hint of Africanness, juju and beautiful joy danced in your every move."

For little boys Dinotrux, written and illustrated by clever Chris Gall, combines dinosaurs and trucks. The story begins, "Millions of years ago prehistoric Trucks roamed the earth. They were Huge. They were Hungry. But they weren't helpful like they are today. They rumbled, roared, and chomped. And they did NOT get along well with others. They were called DinoTrux!" Gall is a genius!

Looking for a hilarious read-aloud? Duck! Rabbit! written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld will confuse and amuse children. A basic ink shape of a rabbit, or no, duck appears on every page. Wait a minute. What is it? With motion waves drawn under the shape one declares, "There, see? It's flying!" while another says, "Flying? It's hopping!"

Bedtime will be less fight and more quiet with Otis by Loren Long. Otis is a farm tractor who has the run of the farm. When a little baby calf is placed next to him in the barn at night, he becomes a sleep aid with his "soft putt puff puttedy chuff." Unfortunately, Otis is replaced by a loud yellow tractor whose snores shakes the barn and scares the little calf. We need Otis!

Start the year off right by reading to your kids or grandkids with these best-of-the-best reads.

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