Sunday, September 20, 2009

Custard the Dragon

Ogden Nash's Custard the Dragon is a wonderful read-aloud story in rhyme. Our favorite version is illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.

The book begins:

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called him Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

A rollicking read about bravery and friendship.

Great for pre-K to second grade.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Charming Opal

The Toot and Puddle series is wonderful! The stories are sweet, and the watercolor illustrations delightful.

One of our favorites from these stories is Charming Opal, where Cousin Opal comes to visit Toot and Puddle. She has a loose tooth - a great subject for early readers. Chloe particularly loved this book in Pre-K.

When will Opal's tooth come out? Will the Tooth Fairy find Toot and Puddle's house? A really amusing book for kids and parents alike.

Great for 4-6 year olds.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Room on the Broom

A perfect witch book, just in time for Halloween.

Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (of the Gruffalo Fame), this book features a friendly witch who makes room for all kinds of animals on her broom. With the arrival of each animal, a new challenge arises.

With rollicking rhymes this is a great read-aloud. The opening lines are:

The witch had a cat
and a hat that was black,
And long ginger hair
in a braid down her back.
How the cat purred
and how the witch grinned,
As they sat on their broomstick
and flew through the wind.

This book is about friendship and helping others and has a wonderful happy ending.

I should note that there are two versions of this book - an English and an American version. We came to the English version first, and prefer it, but both are lovely!

Great for pre-school to second grade.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Sara Pennypacker writes what I think is probably the most wonderful on-going series for young kids out there. So far she has written three books about a little girl named Clementine.

The first in the series, Clementine, follows the clever third-grader, who has a keen eye for observations and a good heart. In the book, Clementine finds that these attributes, which endear her greatly to the reader, can lead her into trouble. This first installment focuses on Clementine and her relationships with her family and with her best friend, Margaret.

Clementine is a modern-day Ramona, but I think funnier and more engaging. We have laughed loads while reading about Clementine's misadventures, and this book has stood up to multiple re-readings over the last two years. It's a great read-aloud but also a book that Chloe will pick up on her own. It features wonderful black-and-white illustrations by Marla Frazee. Great for first to third-grade.

Eleven out of ten stars! Read it now!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Chloe and I read The Invention of Hugo Cabret (which we loved, but that's another entry). After that, I went looking for information about the author, Brian Selznick. He said one of the books he was most impressed by growing up was Remy Charlip's Fortunately. When I was young, I had a copy of Remy Charlip's Arm in Arm. My parents loved that book - I thought it was okay, but not brilliant. However, on Selznick's recommendation, I decided we should check out Fortunately, which fortunately we did.

Chloe's review: Fortunately is about a boy named Ned, who is fortunately invited to a surprise party. Unfortunately the party is in Florida. Along the way to the party, Ned encounters a series of obstacles, but meets each obstacle with a surprising solution.

Andrea's take: To me this book is wonderful because it is about looking at the glass half-full.

A fun read for kindergarten through second grade.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Zoo for Mister Muster

We love Arnold Lobel at our house. He wrote such wonderful books, many of which I remember from when I was young. This is one that I wasn't familiar with though.

A Zoo For Mister Muster is a picture book that focuses on the value of friendship. Mister Muster visits the zoo every day to visit his friends, the animals. But "when it was rainy or snowy or sleety and Mister Muster could not go to the zoo, he felt lonely and missed his friends very much." The animals miss Mister Muster too. They devise a plan to steal the zoo keeper's keys and escape to their friend, Mr. Muster's, apartment. Comedy ensues with lions hiding in beds and monkeys behind washbasins. Will the animals live forever with Mister Muster or return to the zoo?

My daughter loved this story and the illustrations. A good story to read to your kids and a fun book for early readers. Appropriate for pre-k to 2nd grade, depending on reading level.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Guess How Much I Love You

It seems appropriate that my first post should be about one of Chloe's earliest favorite books, Sam McBratney's classic Guess How Much I Love You.

There are so many wonderful things about this book, from Anita Jeram's beautiful illustrations to the message of complete and unconditional love. It's a great book for snuggling before bed and invariably leads to your own Guess How Much I Love You conversations with your child.

A sweet and beautiful book to share with your youngest.