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by Jim Trelease
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• excerpts from The Treasury of Read-Alouds •
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Handbook

The Treasury of Read-Alouds

PICTURE BOOKS page 1 of 3

These books represent a brief portion of the hundreds
cited in the print edition of The-Read-Aloud Handbook.

rule

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

by Judith Viorst; Ray Cruz, illus.      K and up      34 pages      Atheneum, 1972

Everyone has a bad day once in a while but little Alexander has the worst of all. Follow him from a cereal box without a prize to a burned-out nightlight. Sequels: Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, and Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move. Also by the author: If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries. Related books: Are You Going To Be Good? by Cari Best; and Once Upon an Ordinary Day by Colin McNaughton.

Andrew Henry's Meadow

by Doris Burn    Grades K-2        48 pages           Philomel, 2012 e-book

Back in the mid-19th century, Henry David Thoreau took to the Massachusetts woods beside a pond at the edge of town. There he demonstrated his independence and self-reliance, eventually making himself famous when he published his notes as Walden. By a small stretch, one could say Andrew Henry's Meadow is a children's version of Walden. The author-illustrator created it while raising her family in an island cabin with neither electricity nor running water. In detailed black and white drawings, we follow the preteen Andrew Henry and his inventive efforts at making everyone's life in the family easier. Unfortunately no one at home appreciates his marvels, and he packs his tools and heads off through the woods to a meadow where he builds a little home for himself. Soon other kids from the neighborhood arrive—all of them unappreciated at home for their hobbies and sundry talents, and Andrew Henry builds them each a retreat tailored to meet their needs. And what happens when the children turn up missing? How do their parents and siblings respond? A heart-warming ending. NOTE: After being out of print for decades, this much loved book from the 60s is now back in print. But as of the moment Hollywood is laboring over a script for a movie based on the book. One can only guess what monsters they'll generate in the meadow to threaten the innocents. Stick with the book for now.

Aunt Minnie McGranahan

by Mary Skillings Prigger; Betsy Lewin, illus.      K–2      30 pages      Clarion, 1999

Everyone in the small Kansas farm town thought Aunt Minnie had lost her mind when she took in nine orphaned nieces and nephews in 1920. Based on the true story of one of the author’s relatives, the tale describes Minnie’s sometimes whimsical adventures with the children as they adjust to farm life and she adjusts to all of them. Related book: Saving Sweetness.

Baby Brains

by Simon James      PreS-1      24 pages      Candlewick, 2004

This is a wonderful send-up of the super-baby syndrome that afflicts too many parents, but, on another level, it’s a funny story for children. Mr. and Mrs. Brains do “everything right”—before he’s born: they read to him, play music and foreign language tapes, even watch the news with the sound turned up. Thus days after Baby Brains is born, he’s sitting up reading the newspaper when his parents come down for breakfast. After breakfast he announces he’d like to go to school tomorrow, which he does, and heads the class! It’s not long before he’s included with the astronauts for a trip into space and that’s where it all comes apart—but in a good way. In the sequel, Baby Brains Superstar, the wee wizard is back as a musical prodigy and rock ‘n’ roll star. Related book: A Fine School by Sharon Creech.

BELLA AND STELLA COME HOME

by Anika Denise; Christopher Denise, Illus.   PreK—K   36 pages   Philomel 2010

In today’s world, few children will escape the trauma of moving from one home to another. Because of all the emotions involved—some good, some not so good, “moving” is one of life’s most indelible moments. Strangely, few children’s picture books have captured or addressed that feeling. Here we have a little gem to answer the call.

    Bella is a preschooler who looks like any one of thousands of preschoolers. She represents a huge congregation of little movers. Stella is Bella’s small stuffed elephant and her only apparent friend in these hours of moving. As the story’s uncertain moments unfold, Stella rises to the occasion and grows larger on the pages. Together these two pals wade through the heartache of saying goodbye to the old house and the nervousness of walking into a new one.


A Bus Called Heaven

by Bob Graham    Gr. PreK—1    140 Pages    Candlewick, 2011

Stella is part of a crowd that’s gathered around a hollowed-out bus abandoned in the middle of the street. Soon she’s convinced everyone to push it into her driveway. Next step is a makeover, complete with paint, rugs, games, chairs, and mattresses. It's turned into a neighborhood clubhouse for all ages. Or it was—until a tow truck hauls it to the junk yard ("It's an obstruction!") But they don't know Stella and her resourcefulness. The book’s strong plot will allow it to be read to a class without showing the pictures (which are multiple small images on large pages) but is perfect for sharing with two to three children at once. After hearing it, a class will want to examine and re-examine closely, so put this one where it can easily be reached.

Chato and the Party Animals

by Gary Soto; Susan Guevara, illus.      K–2      28 pages      Putnam, 2000

When Chato, the original party animal (cat), discovers that his friend Novio Boy came from the pound and thus doesn’t even know his own birthday, he decides to schedule one for him and invites everyone in the barrio. The problem: He forgets to invite Novio Boy. When he doesn’t show up and can’t be found, everyone assumes he’s died or been kidnapped. When he finally shows up, there is a great pachanga. An excellent celebration of Latino culture. Other books in the series: Chato’s Kitchen and Chato Goes Cruisin’. Also by the author: Baseball in April, a collection of teenage short stories.

Corduroy

by Don Freeman      Tod–2      32 pages      Viking, 1968

In this beloved story, a teddy bear searches through a department store for a friend. His quest ends when a little girl buys him with her piggy-bank savings. Also by the author: A Pocket for Corduroy; and Beady Bear; For related books see Ira Sleeps Over.

A Day’s Work

by Eve Bunting; Ronald Himler, illus.      K–4      30 pages      Clarion, 1994

A young Mexican-American boy seeks work for his newly arrived grandfather who speaks no English. In persuading a man that his grandfather knows how to garden, the boy tells a small lie that ends up causing them twice as much work. The lesson in truthfulness is apparent, but just as important is the tender relationship of the child with an old man who needs help in a frightening new land. Related title: The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey.

Don’t Want to Go!

by Shirley Hughes    Gr. PreK—K     32 pages    Candlewick, 2010

Lily’s mother is home sick with the flu and Dad must go off to work, which means Lily must spend the day at the home of parents’ friend. That is NOT what Lily wants. She is not big on changes or strangers. But Dad prevails and off they go where she has the wonderful day, so good, in fact, she’s not keen on returning home. Also by the author: All About Alfie (p) and Dogger. Related books: Llama Llama Home With Mama by Anna Dewdney; A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead; and  A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker.

 

Picture Books:  p.1   p.2   p.3
Short Novels :  p.1   p.2   p.3
  Novels:  p.1   p.2   p.3   p.4 Anthologies:  p.1 Fairy & Folk Tales :  p.1  Poetry:  p.1


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