We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

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All of Jon Klassen’s picture books are fabulous read-alouds which will have children and adults begging to read them over and over. There is a central theme of a hat in each of his picture books so far: I Want My Hat Back, This is Not my Hat, and the latest, We Found a Hat.

In We Found a Hat,  readers will be delighted by two adorable turtles who seem to do everything together. Who doesn’t love turtles?! The only problem is that they have found a hat, together, of course, but there is only one hat, and two turtles. What are they going to do? And they admit the hat looks very good on both of them. Just the sight of a turtle wearing a hat causes a lot of laughter, as they can’t see a fool thing while wearing the hat. The story is divided up into 3 short parts, with some repetitive phrases, but ultimately building up to a delightfully surprising end.

Klassen’s simple, but textured illustrations allow the reader to get so much out of the story. Watching the turtles’ eyes focusing on different parts of the pages will give the reader clues as to what is going on in the story and foreshadow a possible outcome. However, the surprise ending will leave readers laughing with joy. Maybe there really is a way for the turtles to be together and both have a hat?! You’ll have to read it and find out for yourselves. I would highly recommend all of Jon Klassen’s books for students in grades K through 6. The tales are really fitting and enjoyable to any age.

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Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

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Am I all set to tell you why I love Nanette’s Baguette? You Bet!

Mo Willems has done it again – created a hilarious tale with lasting characters and unique illustrations. Willems, rock-star author and illustrator of many favorites including the Elephant & Piggie series, Knuffle Bunny, and the Pigeon picture books,  never fails to delight young readers and adults alike. Nanette’s Baguette is written completely in rhyme, sparking silliness and creating a build-up in tempo with every new page. The story follows young frog, Nanette, on her very first trip to the bakery to get the baguette. Sure, Nanette is able to get the baguette with no problem (you bet!), but it’s what happens after she gets the baguette that will have readers in stitches. Perhaps my favorite scene from the story reads like this, “This is as bad as it can get. Maybe Nanette will move to Tibet. Tibet is as far away as you can get. Nanette would need a jet.”

The illustrations of the French village are completed by paper-model, allowing Nanette and the other characters to really jump off of the pages in a lifelike manner. Nanette’s Baguette is a joy to read aloud, even though it’s easy to get tongue-tied if you read it too quickly. This adds to the humor of the situation, of course, making it one of the best read-alouds to come across my desk in a long time. Also, I have to mention that I am hungry for a warm baguette each time I read Nanette’s Baguette. The story would pair nicely with a bread tasting time! Fabulous work, Mr. Willems!

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles by Michelle Cuevas

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The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles has no name, but a very important job. He delivers messages from bottles to their recipients. Some of the messages are sad, and some must be carried for quite some time before they find the receiver. However, most of the messages bring happiness, “for a letter can hold the treasure of a clam-hugged pearl.” He lives alone, along the sea with only one tree and a loyal cat who follows him on his travels.

One day , the Uncorker finds a bottle with an unusual message about an upcoming seaside party, but its unclear who the message is for ,or even who the message is from. He attempts to deliver the message, inadvertently letting multiple townspeople in on the invitation to the party. A surprise awaits the Uncorker (and the reader) when he arrives at the seaside party. The whimsical illustrations and heartfelt story-line make this a picture book to be remembered, and to be read and shared over and over again. This is one you’ll want to add to your library, as well as your home collection.

I Yam a Donkey by CeCe Bell

9780553496642_9ffdfThis is one of my favorite read aloud books for the elementary classes (K-6). Lower elementary may not get the grammar humor as much as the higher elementary kids, but they do love the book. Especially when I give the yam and donkey very different voices. One little boy said “How do they sound like that!?” This is one of the many reasons I love my job so much!

It’s a silly story made up of the banter back and forth between a very proper yam and a very grammar-deprived donkey. The poor yam is getting very frustrated and the poor donkey just doesn’t get it. One of my favorite things about the book is that it uses old phrases that I say all the time, such as: “For Pete’s sake” and “Good Grief.”  Grammar nerds like myself will swoon for this story. I have read it so many times and the kids beg for me to read it again. It’s a hit, every time!

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

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I haven’t yet reviewed any children’s picture books on this particular blog, but this book was so fantastic that I couldn’t resist! As a children’s Librarian, I see a ton of children’s books pass through my office, and the Crayon series by Drew Dewalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers are some of the best. The first book in the series is called The Day the Crayons Quit. It is delightfully funny and witty, with scenes that children and adults alike absolutely love. I especially loved it for read-aloud story time for grades 1 through 6.

However, the new installment The Day the Crayons Came Home is even better than the first book! Dewalt and Jeffers have outdone themselves with a new masterpiece, detailing the woes of quick-witted crayons who have been left behind and forgotten by Duncan over the years. For example, poor Maroon Crayon is left in the couch and broken in two when Duncan’s father sits on him. Pea Green Crayon decides that he no longer likes his name and changes it to “Esteban…the Magnificent” as he sets out for new adventures. The stories become more hilarious as the book goes on.

I can hardly wait to share this book with all of my elementary classes for story time. I know they will just adore it as much as I do. I can hear their high pitched giggles now. If you like to read and know a kid (or adult) who appreciates a story – I would highly suggest getting a copy of this book (or checking it out at your local library, of course.) I think this will be one of those instant, “Please read it again, Mrs. Jones!!” books. Just a hunch… #every crayon counts esteban