November 2014

 

As my wise mother often says, "While you're reading the words, the child is reading the pictures." The processes and skills involved in reading the pictures are mostly the same ones involved in reading the text. Too often, though, adults feel that a wordless picture book slights the importance of reading. Not so! Wordless books allow practice in those skills. A child can read the pictures to herself, or better yet, verbalize it to another person. 
Listening to your child interpret the pictured story will give you a superb window into your own child's mind. Start out with Molly Bang's The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher, and go on through David Wiesner's work: Flotsam, Tuesday, Mr. Wuffles, etc. There are many others as well. Our newest favorite is The Farmer and the Clown, by Marla Frazee. ~ Carol

 

A lonely farmer stands, gazing across his field as a circus train chugs by. Suddenly an object falls from the back of the train and the farmer runs to see what it is. To his surprise, it's a clown--a toddler, who immediately gives the farmer a hug. Reluctantly, the farmer takes the smiling clown's hand and heads home. After all, the circus train is long gone. Thus begins The Farmer and the Clown, a charming wordless picture book from one of our favorite children's author and illustrator, Marla Frazee (think Everywhere Babies and All the World, as well as her illustrations for the Clementine series and Boss Baby).

As the clown and farmer get to know one another, there is a big smile on the clown's face; he and the farmer talk and eat dinner. However, when it's time to wash up before bed, the farmer sees the smile was only the clown's make up, and there's a very sad toddler standing before him. Something must be done to turn the tide!

The farmer reverses roles and becomes the clown. It works! Soon the little clown has a real smile and is sharing chores and daily life on the farm. And for his part, the farmer also has a smile, as well as a companion. Then one day, in the distance, they hear the circus train's whistle . . .

Wordless books provide endless opportunities for adults and children to explore a story and illustrations. They offer a chance for a child to create his/her own story, and for the adult to embellish the material with abandon. The story behind The Farmer and the Clown is easily interpreted through Frazee's fanciful drawings, and its universal themes will be readily apparent to children and parents alike. ~ Mary Fran 

 

 


My favorite picture books are the ones in which the text and the illustrations tell two parallel stories. Illustrations usually offer details of the the story that aren't specified in the text, but sometimes illustrations also augment  parts of the text or even contradict it. Handa's Surprise is a delightful story about a girl who takes a basket of fruit to her friend. At least that's the textual story. The visual story is quite different, creating excellent opportunities for dialogue between parents and young readers. What is Handa thinking about versus what is happening in the story? Does Handa know what the reader knows? Handa's Surprise is a story of friendship, but the text and illustrations together create a story about perspective as well as the different ways to tell a story. ~ Sara

Tasha and Lola's Book Corner 
 
When we are outside, Lola - 19 months - likes to point to cars and trucks, so this month's Tasha & Lola's Book Corner focuses on vehicle books. Lola likes Jez Alborough's Duck series. Fix-it-Duck, Duck in a Truck, and Captain Duck are among the titles that she has enjoyed. The colorful illustrations, quick rhyme, and familiar animals -- Duck, Goat, Sheep, and Frog -- are all a hit with Lola. We have also been reading Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, about a friendly truck who, with the help of his barnyard friends, rescues a dump truck who has gotten stuck in the mud. Like the Duck books, Little Blue Truck has nice illustrations by Jill McElmurry, a snappy rhyme, and familiar animals. Lola even learned to say a number of new words while reading Little Blue Truck, including "toad," "tree," and "bump."

The last vehicle book Lola and I have been reading is one of my favorites: The Happy Man and His Dump Truck, by Miryam, about a jolly fellow who takes his animal friends for a ride in his truck. This is a longer, non-rhyming story, so Lola doesn't always sit still through the entire text, yet this is the book she selects most regularly from our bookshelf. I often find her sitting quietly with it, examining the illustrations and making animal noises.
This month has been a great one for reading with Lola. She still enjoys simple board books, but at right around a year and a half, I noticed that she was ready for longer rhyming stories with more involved pictures. Instead of just pointing to what she recognizes in an illustration and moving on, I now her see her engaging with the entire page, looking at everything, and being quite willing to try to say new words. She looks like she's having fun reading, and I know I'm having a blast watching her develop every day.

 

 

Tuesday Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780395870822
Availability:

On Our Shelves. PLEASE call 508.548.5548 to confirm.

Published: Clarion Books - September 27th, 2011

The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher Cover Image
By Molly Bang, Molly Bang (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780689803819
Availability:

On Our Shelves. PLEASE call 508.548.5548 to confirm.

Published: Aladdin Paperbacks - May 1996

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The Farmer and the Clown Cover Image
By Marla Frazee, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442497443
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Published: Beach Lane Books - September 23rd, 2014

Handa's Surprise: Read and Share Cover Image
By Eileen Browne, Eileen Browne (Illustrator)
$3.99
ISBN: 9780763608637
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 1999

Duck in the Truck Cover Image
Call for price: 508-548-5548
ISBN: 9781933605760
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Published: Kane/Miller Book Publishers - February 2008

Little Blue Truck Cover Image
By Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry (Illustrator)
Call for price: 508-548-5548
ISBN: 9780547248288
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 19th, 2009

The Happy Man and His Dump Truck Cover Image
By Miryam
$4.99
ISBN: 9780375832079
Availability: Currently not in store. Available to order. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Golden Books - January 11th, 2005

Battle Bunny Cover Image
By Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, Matt Myers (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9781442446731
Availability: Currently not in store. Available to order. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 22nd, 2013

Owl Moon Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399214578
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Published: Philomel Books - October 23rd, 1987

My Grandfather's Coat Cover Image
By Jim Aylesworth (Retold by), Barbara McClintock (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780439925457
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Published: Scholastic Press - October 21st, 2014

A Story for Bear Cover Image
By Dennis Haseley, Jim LaMarche (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780152002398
Availability: Currently not in store. Available to order. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 2002

The Little House Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780547131047
Availability: Currently not in store. Available to order. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 2009

Martha Speaks Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780395729526
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 27th, 1995

A Library Book for Bear Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763649241
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - July 22nd, 2014