Monday, May 26, 2008

Favorite Read Out Loud Books

I love books. I collect books. There are books in every room of our house. A lot of books. I especially enjoy children's books. Before our first child was born seven years ago, we owned two children's books (two copies of Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go", that we had been given as graduation gifts). Seven years later our shelves are full of children's literature (over 850 books--don't ask why I know this. I should have been a librarian).

My criteria for a good "out loud" picture book is:

1) various character voices (yes, I love to read in different goofy voices)
2) humor
3) engaging illustrations
4) clever use of language
5) and of course, a good story

Here is a quick list of a few of my favorite read aloud books.

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon

Practice your goofy reading voices with some pirate talk. "Argh!" This story is funny, clever and has great illustrations. I've also used it as a casual way to talk about stranger danger. "Would you go off with pirates without telling your parents?"

The Seven Silly Eaters

by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee

This is one of the first children's books we bought and it remains one of my favorites. It is written in rhyme and there are not different voices, but it is clever and funny. The illustrations tell so much more of the story. Check out other books illustrated by Frazee. She is wonderful.

A note about reading rhyme out loud: Please, please, PLEASE pay attention to the punctuation and don't just read it sing-song style. You and your children will get so much more of the intended meaning in the story.

Duck on a Bike by David Shannon

I enjoy David Shannon's books. His illustrations are bright and colorful. I especially love to read this book out loud because all the different farm animals speak--your opportunity to give the animals various accents. As a plus, this story is pretty short so it comes in handy when your kids want you to read them a story before bedtime and it's already late.

Jackalope by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

Warning: this story is long! But I love it. It makes me laugh. I like to use a southern drawl for the characters. I also like it because we have jack rabbits, prong horn antelope and coyotes living in our back yard.

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner

I don't love all of the Skippyjon sequels, but I really enjoy the first one. I get to use a Spanish accent for the voices in this story.

Head to the library or the book store (obviously, I prefer the book store) this summer and find some great read aloud books to read to the kids. And please post a comment and share your favorites.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twilight T-shirts

I have to admit that I didn't love "Twilight". I know, I know. I'm in the minority. And that is why I am letting everyone else know about my friend Jen's blog. She has designed and printed some cute T-shirts with the Twilight theme. Check them out at She has even designed a shirt for your husbands!

Hey! We're having a Twilight T-shirt Give Away. Click here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008