“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
You are not born a bibliophile, you become one–but usually at a very young age. The members of the writing team here at Kindred Grace can all attest to the fact that the picture books that were read to us as children and the novels we discovered on our own as adolescents, were the catalysts of our deep love for reading. Now many of us are moms and none of us have stopped picking up new books, supposedly written for children, and flipping the pages for our own enjoyment.
For this year’s March of Books, we decided to share our new favorite finds. Not necessarily new books, but new finds for us. Please enjoy our reviews of our (new) favorite children’s books.
Our (new) Favorite Children’s Books
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
reviewed by Jessiqua
Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, by Alice Schertle, is my son’s all-time favorite book. He can quote whole phrases from it at a time, and he does so, randomly, throughout the day. Anytime we drive into a city, he points up at the tall buildings and reminds me of that book. The phrases in the narrative rhyme, and the words and expressions are powerful and strong, just right for my expressive little man.
Bear Snores On
reviewed by Jessiqua
Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson, is my family’s favorite book. The story-line revolves around a gang of loyal and endearing forest animals, all of them beautifully illustrated. It’s another tale that has phrases that rhyme, and the vocabulary is whimsical and wholesome. Our whole family cuddles up together and yells “and the Bear snores on!” every time the phrase is repeated, (which is often.) We’ve made grand memories with this book. The kids constantly ask for it by name as a bedtime story.
reviewed by Callie
Roadwork by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Bryan Lovelock: I fell in love with this book the minute I took it out the package. Lucky for me, my son loves it even more! This is a perfect story for any busy boy who loves construction. As an architect, I am personally drawn to this energetic and rhythmic story, as it describes that process of building a road. My son enjoys walking through the steps of marking, moving, loading, tipping, packing, rolling…. until the road is finished! The illustrations are accurate and intelligently drawn, composed of striking saturated colors and revealed brush textures, and add to the technical understanding of how a road is made. This is the sort of book that is easily memorized and “read” together. The text takes on a graphic element that I’ve found helpful for teaching my son a few early reading skills, and of course a book full of trucks always keeps his attention. “Drive along your brand new road. Toot! Honk! Vroom!”
Johnny Tractor and His Pals
reviewed by Gretchen Louise
Whenever it’s my son’s turn to pick a bedtime story, he always wants an “‘actor book” (tractor book). And that means the bedtime story is going to be about Johnny Tractor. Johnny Tractor and His Pals was originally published in the 1950’s, illustrated by Roy A. Bostrom, the same man who did the drawings in all the John Deere tractor owner’s manuals. The books have been reprinted, and the series expanded, so that today’s children can enjoy these fun stories about the farm equipment and how it operates. The history and detail in the artwork makes the books enjoyable for the adults, too, but the cute stories will be a definite hit with any little person who is fascinated with farm machinery.
I Had a Favorite Dress
reviewed by Caroline
I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn is a new favorite for my little sister and I. The beautiful illustrations by Julia Denos caught my eye and I had to order it. I read it to my ten-year-old sister, but I kept it for myself! It’s a sweet little tale of a girl and her favorite dress…which, as favorite dresses will do, quickly becomes too small. Her innovative mother turns the dress into a blouse–problem solved! But then the blouse is too small and we follow the fabric through a long life as many accessories. Meanwhile, we observe sweet relationships and truly adorable artwork featuring a little “brown” girl, which I really appreciate, coming from a multi-racial family.
Marguerite Makes a Book
reviewed by Elisabeth Allen
Long ago, before books were printed, there lived a young girl called Marguerite. She lived with her father and mother in Paris. Marguerite’s father was a book painter and she loved to watch him work. When her father had an accident that stopped him working, right in the middle of painting a prayer book for a lady, what did Marguerite do? Marguerite Makes a Book tells the story of this plucky girl and her determination to help her father. It also tells the reader how to make a book in Medieval Europe. Even as an adult, this is one of my favourite picture books, because the story is satisfying and the pictures are beautiful. Each one is simple enough to appeal to a child, but detailed and nuanced to appeal to an adult too, drawing the reader into the world of the story. I didn’t read this book as a child, but sort of wish I had, it’s so lovely.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
reviewed by Elisabeth Allen
I somehow managed to miss this children’s classic until I was teaching in school. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is the story of five siblings who are bored. It’s a beautiful day…the perfect day, in fact, for a bear hunt. They’re not scared so off they go, swish-swash through the long, wavy grass, looking for a bear. And they’re not scared! Until, that is, they find a cave and in the cave they find…a BEAR! The illustrations are beautiful, soft watercolours that capture the mood of the adventure and the texture of the world the children explore. The words are repetitive, rhythmic and altogether satisfying to read and reread to (or with) a group of children. There’s also lots to discuss, from the characters of the children, to the character of the bear who possibly wants to play rather than eat!