The Treasury of Read-Alouds
PICTURE BOOKS page 3 of 3
books represent a brief portion of the hundreds
cited in the print edition of The-Read-Aloud Handbook.
The Napping House
One of the cleverest bedtime books for children,
this simple tale depicts a cozy bed on which are laid
in cumulative rhymes a snoring granny, dreaming child,
dozing dog, and a host of other sleeping characters until
a sudden awakening at daybreak. The subtle lighting changes
on the double-page illustrations show the gradual passage
of time during the night and the clearing of a storm
outside. Also by the author: Heckedy
For other bedtime books, see Goodnight
The Neighborhood Mother Goose
took her camera into urban America and coupled Mother
Goose with children of every hue, making it a rainbow's
worth of traditional nursery rhymes peopled by children
who have been traditionally excluded from such volumes.
Other Mother Goose collections: The Everything
Denise Fleming; Lucy
Cousins' Book of Nursery Rhymes by Lucy Cousins; Pio
Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes selected by Alma Flor
Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.
An Orange for Frankie
It is books like this that make Polacco one
of the great picture book storytellers of our time, whose body of
work should outlast most of her contemporaries. Based
on the author/artist's family history, we start with
a family of nine, Christmas eve, a father missing in a snowstorm, a
boxcar of hungry and freezing hobos, one missing sweater, and a lost
of it neatly tied into a happy holiday ending. This is as good as holiday
stories get! Related books: Mim’s Christmas Jam by Andrea Davis
Pinkney; and A Cowboy Christmas by Audrey Wood.
Jim's Favorite Friendship
- Chester's Way by Kevin Henkes
- A Cowboy Christmas by
- Danitra Brown, Class
Clown by Nikki
- A Day's Work by Eve Bunting
- Eddie, Harold's
Little Brother by Ed Koch and Pat Koch Thaler
Braids by Antonio H. Madriga
- Evie & Margie by Bernard Waber
- The Friend by Sarah Stewart
- Me, All Alone, at
the End of the World by M. T. Anderson
- Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco
Dog by Stephen M. King
- Nora’s Ark by Natalie
- The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
- The Reluctant Dragon abridged by Inga Moore
- Somebody Loves You, Mr.
Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
- The Sugar Child by Monique
- Teammates by Peter Golenbock
Otis is a “throwback.” A small but diligent tractor, Otis is the life of the barnyard and the best friend of a lonely calf residing in the barn’s adjoining stall. When his day’s labors are done, they sat in the shade of the apple tree to contemplate their happy lives. But their happiness is suddenly interrupted when the farmer purchases a brand-new yellow tractor that quickly relegates Otis to the scrap-heap weed patch outside the barn. He is now outdated, unemployed, and too sad to play with his friend.
The calf, in turn, wanders down to the pond, only to get stuck in the mud. Either unable or unwilling to work herself out of the mire, she becomes the focus of a community-wide rescue effort. But neither the farmhands, the new tractor, nor the fire department can extricate her from the mud. Suddenly Otis is seen making his way down the hillside and soon a “happy ending” is in sight. Sequel: Otis and the Tornado. Related books: Ferdinand by Munro Leaf; The Little House and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, both by Virginia Lee Burton; and Smokey by Bill Peet.
POP! The Invention of Bubble Gum (nonfiction)
Nonfiction is always a challenge for read-aloud, either because the material is often dry or is interesting to only a small selection of the audience. This is especially true of younger children with shallower backgrounds. So with a sigh of relief we welcome this book. First, the subject matter is near and dear to the heart of everyone who can chew—bubble gum. Secondly, and just as important, McCarthy offers a tasty tale that is little known and easily digested.
Back in the 1920s, a young accountant, Walter Diemer, went to work in a Philadelphia gum and candy factory. Shortly thereafter he found an experimental laboratory set up in the adjoining office, a lab where they were trying to produce a new kind of gum. When Walter was asked to keep an eye on one of the lab kettles, he found the temptation to experiment on his own is too much to resist. What follows is the evolution to bubble gum, complete with a history of gum that goes all the way back to the Greeks. Also by the author: City Hawk: The Story of the Pale Male; The Incredible Life of Balto; Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse; and Strong Man: The Story of Charles Atlas. Related book: The Kid Who Invented the Popsicle.
It is the rare artist who can take 36 small pages, fill them with simple words, simple black and white line drawings, and end up with a classic myth explaining the cravings of our species for peace and war. From its first page and its single sentence, we know this is something special: “Once upon a time there were six men who traveled the world searching for a place where they could live and work in peace.” How that quest grows into a war with their neighbors is the story of civilization, a tale powerful enough make any age audience stop and wonder. This a book for not only our time, but all times. More on this book. Related book: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.
The Super Hungry Dinosaur
A small boy and his dog are playing in the backyard when a super hungry giant dinosaur arrives and announces he’s going to eat up the boy. The ensuing simple tale details how the lad and his dog outwit and tame the dinosaur. And any damage done by the dinosaur’s rampage is fixed by the exasperated creature before he can have lunch (cooked by Mom). Martin Waddell uses the same simple storytelling here that made his earlier book Owl Babies so successful and illustrator Leonie Lord turns what could have been a threatening story into an exciting but nonthreatening adventure. Together they have created the perfect toddler-preschool book. Related book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
Where’s My Teddy? (series)
created three popular books in this series about little
Eddie and the giant bear who lives in the park. In their
first encounter (Where’s
My Teddy?), Eddie mistakenly ends up with the bear’s teddy
and the bear has his. Though each is equally afraid of
the other, they both finally end up with the right teddy.
In the second book (It’s
the Bear!), Eddie’s mother is a
non-believer until she and the bear come face-to-face
(reminiscent of Robert McCloskey’s Blueberries
for Sal). In the
third book (My Friend Bear), their fear of each other is happily
resolved when each realizes how much they have in common—including
a needless fear of each other and a love of their teddies.
Related books: Good Job, Little Bear by Martin Waddell;
and Grandma's Bears (p).
Where’s My Truck?
In rhyming verse, we follow the travails of little Tommy who has lost his favorite red truck. He looks everywhere, inside, outside, high and low, begs his father, mother, sister, brother—all to no avail. And then Tommy notices, over by the fence where his dog is digging . . . Also by the author-illustrator team: Doggone Dogs!; I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More; and I Like Myself. Related titles: Have You Seen Duck? by Janet Holmes; for PreK-K ages: Bun Bun Button by Patricia Polacco; Dogger by Shirley Hughes; Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Schertle; and Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar.
Bill Peet should
be declared either a national treasure (along with Dr.
Seuss) or a modern Aesop. Using animals to make his points,
he explored the human condition in a way that helped
us all to better understand each other. Typical is this book: Discontented
with his life as a dog, Scamp envies all the attention given to his
the wonder horse. But when a backwoods witch changes
Scamp into an animal with the feet of an elephant, the neck of a giraffe,
the tail of a zebra, and the nose of a rhinoceros, he gets more attention
than he bargained for: He ends up a most unhappy circus
freak. But all ends well, and tied into the ending is a subtle lesson
for both Scamp and his readers: Be yourself!
Among Peet’s most popular titles
are: Big Bad Bruce; The Caboose Who Got Loose;
Eli; Encore for Eleanor; Farewell to Shady Glade; Fly,
Homer, Fly; How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head; Kermit
the Hermit; Randy’s Dandy Lions; and Wump
Also, Bill Peet: An Autobiography is a 180-page autobiography
(Caldecott Honor-winner) with an illustration on every
| Novels: p.1 p.2 p.3 p.4
& Folk Tales : p.1