Rummanah Aasi
I have fond memories of story-time as a kid, where my class would gather up close to listen and watch as the teacher and/or librarian would read picture books or other books aloud. While I student taught in elementary school, I always looked forward to reading to the kids. The best times were when you see how the kids are involved in the story and you could tease them about what would happen next. This year I'm taking a part in a picture book challenge hosted by Jennifer over at An Abundance of Books  in hopes of finding some great reads and new favorite titles.  Today I'm featuring a book and reading theme, which I didn't consciously intend to do. It just happened that way. I will be reviewing: A Story for Bear by Dennis Haseley, Excuse Me, But that's My Book by Lauren Child, and The Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore.

Description: A young bear who is fascinated by the mysterious marks he sees on paper finds a friend when a kind woman reads to him.

Review: A Story for Bear is a heart warming story that captures the excitement and rapture of being a told a story. The plot is very simple: A young bear finds a piece of paper with black marks on it in the woods and keeps it for several years, wondering about its meaning. One summer, he wanders farther away from his usual trail and discovers a cabin in a clearing, and a woman holding a mysterious square thing in her hands. He returns day after day, his curiosity compelling him closer to her. One afternoon, the woman invites him to sit with her and begins to read. Thus begins a daily routine of the woman reading aloud to the bear, who cannot understand the words, but is mesmerized by the tones and melodies of her voice. 
  The bear is anthropomorphized, but still a believably realistic wild bear with his movements. You do have to spend disbelief that the bear can understand what the woman is holding is a book and that the stories make sense to him. Some may think that makes the book awkward, but I disagree. I equate the bear with a toddler who can't grasp every story they are told. LaMarche's illustrations, done in warm tones of acrylic and colored pencil on watercolor paper, support the warmth of the story and the magic of storytelling.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for K-2nd Grade.

If you like this book try: We are in a book! by Mo Willems, Bats at the Library by Brian Lies

Description: When Lola's favorite book is not on the library's shelf, her older brother, Charlie, tries to find another book she will enjoy.

Review: Though I've heard of Charlie and Lola before, I haven't read any of the books. In this book, Lola loves Beetles, Bugs, and Butterflies, which is simply the best book in the world and the only thing she will read. When Lola finds out that the book is not on the shelf and another patron has taken out the book from the library, Charlie, Lola's older brother, comes to the rescue before a temper tantrum begins by helping Lola find other books that will enjoy. 
 I have to admit that the librarian in me couldn't help but chuckle and sigh along with Charlie in his frustration to help his sister. Anyone who has dealt with a child who is extremely picky will sympathize and encourage him to keep trying. Parents and older adults will know Lola's one track mind really well and can anticipate what she will say next. The book is filled with lots of laughs and the high-energy text are matched by the exciting, eye-catching design and clever collage-style art.

Rating: 4 stars.

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Preschool to 2nd Grade.

If you like this book try: The Library by Sarah Stewart, Miss Marlarkey Leaves No Reader Behind by Judy Finchler

Description: When various forest animals discover a mysterious object in the woods, they each use it for a different purpose, until a boy reads stories aloud from it, much to the animals' delight.

Review: The Wonderful Book was a really clever read. For the youngsters, I think they would laugh and shake their heads with what the animals do with the book. Older readers, however, will probably stop and think of other ways how a book is used and whether or not the animals are right to think outside of the box. The short, straightforward text is well matched by the whimsical, oversize animal figures that fill up the pages. Gore's artwork and writing would work well with group storytelling.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Preschool to K.

If you like this book try: Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Awesome! We just found out my brother is going to have his second child, so I'll definitely be purchasing some of these to help build up their library. I'm out of the loop on children's books, so I really appreciate the recommendations Rummanah!

  2. Fun Fun Rummanah! I have a 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 year old and they love books. I am always on the lookout for new ones. The A Story For Bear looks adorable. I am definitely going to check these out. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh, the Charlie and Lola books!!! Love the title. I think I could learn a thing or two from Lola. :)

  4. That first book sounds so perfect for some of my little cousins! Oh I'll have to keep it in mind for pressies!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    "A Story for Bear" is one of my all-time favorite picture books. The illustrations perfectly evoke the change of seasons (from summer to fall) and give the story a magical feel. It's easy to suspend disbelief in the world that Haseley creates. Great choice!

  6. Oh these sound like cute books. I especially love the Charlie and Lola book. First because a big brother is helping his little sister and then because she won't read anything but the same book.
    I'm sure it's a cute read! You're going to have me spending my money on expensive picture books!!


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