Saturday, January 15, 2011

Books of the Week – January 15, 2011

Here are our favorites from the past week:

Tintin, age 7

Falling Up
Author/illustrator: Shel Silverstein

Tintin has liked Shel Silverstein since Kindergarten when Poem in Your Pocket Day (in April) turned into Poem in Your Pocket Until the Last Week of School (early June) and he brought in the poems of Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and others to read to his classmates. My post about that is at our other blog, Mother Is Not Concerned. Anyway, Falling Up joined our other Shel Silverstein poetry collections (Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Runny Babbit) this Christmas and is just as loved as the others. Tintin will sit and read the poems and laugh at the drawings (especially the ones in which body parts are not where they would normally be) for very long periods of time. The other day I had to dress him for school because he refused to put the book down, and when he came home from school he picked up right where he left off.

In the Night Kitchen
Author/illustrator: Maurice Sendak

Another classic, In the Night Kitchen tells the story of Mickey and his very surreal dream. Mickey falls out of bed and out of his clothes (Tintin's favorite part) and meets three bakers who mistake him for milk and try to mix him into their cake batter. Mickey, however, is clever enough to find a way out and to help the bakers find their missing ingredient. Tintin's second favorite part is when Mickey is inside a gigantic milk bottle, although Tintin says he would have swum around in the milk a little longer and had more to drink before helping the bakers. In the Night Kitchen is a frequently challenged book because of Mickey's nudity, but my boys just think it's funny that he's naked and of course don't see anything other than that it's a fantastical, well-illustrated story. For more information on the book's controversy, see the Wikipedia article.

Johnny Boo, age 5

Bed, Bed, Bed
Author/illustrator: They Might Be Giants/Marcel Dzama

Bed, Bed, Bed is a collection of four They Might Be Giants children's song lyrics: Impossible, Happy Doesn't Have to Have an Ending, Idlewild, and Bed, Bed, Bed, and comes with a CD. Both boys have been They Might Be Giants fans for a while (they dressed up as the lead singers for Halloween in 2009), and this book comes out every once in a while. Each time it does, Johnny Boo carries it around, sings the lyrics over and over again, and examines Dzama's surreal illustrations. I'm not sure if it's typical for children to enjoy reading song lyrics, but both of my boys learned to read by memorizing their Music Together songs and then reading the songbooks that came along with the classes, and they both like reading CD liner notes. If you'd like to learn more about They Might Be Giants music for kids, please check out this review by Tintin and Johnny Boo's dad.

The Snow Bear
Author/illustrator: Miriam Moss/Maggie Kneen

Johnny Boo had to get this book from the library after his teacher read it to his class. It's about a polar bear cub who loses his mother and, with the help of some other animals, builds a mama snow bear to rest with until his own mother's return. This is a sweet book, with wonderful embossed illustrations that Johnny Boo never tires of touching. It even helped to calm him while waiting for the check at a sushi restaurant a few nights ago.

Other books we've enjoyed (or are still enjoying) this week:

Picture books

Chapter books

Chapter book/graphic novel

We're linking this post up at What My Child Is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.

Disclosure: We are an Amazon affiliate, which means that if you click on any links in this post and purchase anything, we will earn a small commission through our relationship with Amazon.


Julie P. said...

SNOW BEAR looks beautiful, and you can't got wrong with Shel Silverstein! Thanks for sharing.

Laura Fabiani said...

We love Shel Silverstein. We laughed so hard with his Where the Sidewalk Ends book. Delightful way to introduce poetry to kids.

Pam Tee said...

Yes! Put us down as another household that loves Shel Silverstein.

He is just THE BEST transition from babyish poetry to more adult forms. As my 8 yo says, "he rocks!".

Raising a Happy Child said...

I guess I am one of those who cannot take some works by Shel Silverstein. We have Falling Up and while I like some of the poems, I wouldn't want to explain some of others to my daughter who is very sensitive to scary/gruesome/depressive motives. On the other hand, I can't wait until she is old enough to read Harry Potter. The only problem I have is that the books also get dark pretty quickly, and I think I'd rather wait until she is older. We did read a Snow Bear - it's a beautiful book.

melanie said...

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon here and say yay, Shel Silverstein! I absolutely loved his poetry books when I was a kid. I'm glad they're still so popular; I'd like to read them again and see what I liked so much.

I've never read the other books, but now I'd like to. Especially In The Night Kitchen--I'd heard about the controversy before, and wanted to see what the big deal was. Isn't it funny how adults can make such a big deal over something that doesn't really faze kids? There's Going To Be A Baby has an illustration of the little boy standing up in the bath, and my first thought was, "how soon till someone makes a stink about this?"

Katie said...

I'm always curious to see how kids react to In the Night Kitchen. The surreal, dream-like quality of it always gave me the creeps, but I think most kids relate to it on some strange level. I also love Instructions! It looks like you've had an excellent week of reading.