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The Read-Aloud Handbook – by Jim Trelease

This is the seventh – SEVENTH – edition of this wonderful book. Recommended by “Dear Abby” upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. It has also been a staple in schools of education for new teachers. This updated edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research (including the good and bad news on digital learning), The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.

Get your copy here.

Sleep Like a Tiger – by Mary Logue

Sleep Like a Tiger is another of the 2013 Caldecott Honor Books. It is illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Mary Logue and published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Age Level: 4-8 years

In this magical bedtime story, the lyrical narrative echoes a Runaway Bunny–like cadence: “Does everything in the world go to sleep?” the little girl asks. In sincere and imaginative dialogue between a not-at-all sleepy child and understanding parents, the little girl decides “in a cocoon of sheets, a nest of blankets,” she is ready to sleep, warm and strong, just like a tiger. The Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski’s rich, luminous mixed-media paintings effervesce with odd, charming details that nonsleepy children could examine for hours. A rare gem.
– Amazon review

Buy your own copy here.

One Cool Friend – by Toni Buzzeo (2013 Caldecott Honor Book)

“One Cool Friend” is a Caldecott Honor Book for 2013. It was written by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small.

On a momentous visit to the aquarium, Elliot discovers his dream pet: a penguin. It’s just proper enough for a straight-laced boy like him. And when he asks his father if he may have one (please and thank you), his father says yes. Elliot should have realized that Dad probably thought he meant a stuffed penguin and not a real one . . . Clever illustrations and a wild surprise ending make this sly, silly tale of friendship and wish fulfillment a kid-pleaser from start to finish.
(review by goodreads.com)

Purchase your own copy of “One Cool Friend” here.

This is Not My Hat – by Jon Klassen (2013 Caldecott Award Winner)

This Is Not My Hat

by Jon Klassen

Jon Klassen garnered critical acclaim for his wickedly amusing debut picture book, I Want My Hat Back (2011). The Ontario-born author/illustrator follows up that success with another sly tale that will have children and adults clamouring for more.

This Is Not My Hat introduces readers to a new cast of animal characters – and a new hat. The story is told from the point of view of a small, plucky fish who boldly snatches a stylish blue bowler off the head of a much, much larger fish, whom the little guy assumes is deeply asleep. The hat thief confidently swims away, bowler jauntily perched atop his head, assured in his belief that there is zero chance of being caught. Of course, fans of Klassen’s work will know better, and delight in trying to guess the outcome as the story progresses. Klassen does not disappoint, crafting a conclusion that is just as delicious (ahem) as that of his previous book.

The story’s prose is simple, effective, and perfectly timed to complement the visuals. Every precocious declaration made by the tiny fish is followed by an amusing spread that suggests he may not have everything figured out after all. Klassen’s signature illustrations pack an expertly delivered punch. Subtle metallic colours set against a black background provide just the right amount of contrast to make the underwater world shimmer without distracting from the narration.

Older readers will smile at the similarities between the book’s guileless hat-thief hero and the young people in their lives, while younger readers will undoubtedly find the tiny fish’s naivety more humorous with each read. Make no mistake: this is another “hat story” that will be requested by children over and over again before bedtime, during story hours, and in the classroom. Mr. Klassen, hats off to you.

Purchase your own copy of This is Not My Hat.

Reviewed by Sarah Sorensen (from the September 2012 issue of Quill and Quire)