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Reading Picture Books Out Loud Makes Lasting Memories

I’d be willing to bet that many of you have fond memories of picture books you either read to your youngster, or books being read to you in your younger days.  Here are some wonderful picture books that will be taken off your bookshelf more times than you can count.  Picture books can be enjoyed by all ages.

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I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen, is one of those books that both young and old will enjoy and possibly chuckle over. The bear’s hat is gone and he goes in search for his favorite accessory.  As he seeks his hat, he’s so polite but it soon becomes obvious in his posture that he becomes very sad.  How he finally retrieves it and the ending of the story will bring smiles to all. The story is told through simple dialogue making the story an easy read for ages six and up. The illustrations are simple as well, using Chinese ink and are digitally drawn.

This is Not My Hat, also by Jon Klassen, is a follow-up on his successful book just mentioned. But the only part of the story that connects to Klassen’s previous best-seller is a hat.  However, the layout of the pictures and the simple direct dialogue is similar. A tiny fish swims into view and the complete story is told through his eyes. And he’s wearing a hat. The story progresses with why he has a hat and you’ll soon find out what happens to this hat.

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Gem, by Holly Hobbie, is a gem of a book. I am always looking for wordless books because the pictures are so clever in the way they tell the story. These books also invite conversation and encourage children to tell their own story. This story centers on a toad’s spring journey as he travels from a muddy road and ends up in the green lily pad.  The wash of watercolor, pen and ink creates a wispy leaf green color of life renewed.

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The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse: An Aesop Fable retold and illustrated by Helen Ward, is richly told with vivid pictures that entangle all the seasons as the mice emerge in unfamiliar and exciting territory only to find their own home much missed.

Oh No, Little Dragon!, by Jim Averbeck, shows what Little Dragon does when he puts his fire out while taking a bath.  All his attempts leave him dry, until mom warms his heart with her full acceptance. The digitally enhanced oil pastels embellish the story and bring Little Dragon to life.

Next Stop – Zanzibar Road!, by Niki Daly, continues this delightful story about African life from Daly’s first book: “Welcome to Zanzibar Road”. Enjoy five easy-to-read stories that include Mama Jumbo’s adopted child: Little Chico the chicken and Mama Jumbo heading to market. The watercolors seem to lift off the page of lively fun on every single page. This book is great fun and is an experience into another continent.

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Because Amelia Smiled, by David Ezra Stein, showcases all the good that comes from the smallest and most effortless gesture of kindness: a smile.  When Amelia smiles as she skips down a street, Mrs. Higgins sees the smile and smiles too.  Because she’s feeling good from a simple smile, she decides to send some cookies to her grandson who lives in another country. And so it goes, ending up around the world.  To think it all began with just a smile!  The pictures, drawn with pencil, crayon and watercolor, fill the pages which will most likely bring a smile to you as well.

The Three Ninja Pigs, by Corey Rosen Schwartz, and illustrated with hues of yellows, browns and greens by Dan Santat, is quite a different take on the traditional tale of The Three Little Pigs. These pigs have had enough of that big bad wolf so they take martial arts training. Of course, pig #1 and #2 don’t stick with the lessons and aren’t prepared for the wolf.  But the wolf better watch out for pig #3!  This book is great fun to read out loud.

Black Dog, by Levi Pinfold, is a beautifully painted book that teaches one how to face our fears. A huge black dog suddenly appears beyond the home of the Hope family. Everyone is afraid to go outside. Only the youngest and smallest girls make the decision to go out and face it. What she discovers about the dog teaches the rest of the family about making rash decisions as well as being strong in the face of possible danger.

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Those Darn Squirrels Fly South, by Adam Rubin, and illustrated with watercolor and mixed media by Daniel Salmieri, celebrates autumn and the birds who fly south for winter.  But Old Man Fookwire is sad because all the beautiful birds that he loves to paint from his backyard leave for warmer weather. This may sound like a sad tale, but alas, it’s just about to get funny. The squirrels are attempting to figure out where these birds are going – and why. And they devise a way to go south to.  And perhaps Fookwire has a surprise coming as well!

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