Best Read Aloud Picture Books 2017
I knew that Bob, Not Bob! (Disney/Hyperion, 2017) favorite read-alouds of the year, yet today it had special meaning. I have a cold. I have a a snotty, cough-y, I’m hot, I’m cold, could you get me some tea, no not that one, the one with ginger and peppermint and honey, the I’m not going in to work today cold. And even though I am pretty cranky, this one makes me laugh as much on the twentieth reading as it did on the first.
Louie has a cold. He wants his Mom. But out of his stuffed head, Mom sounds like Bob. Bob is his dog. I laughed. I cried. Brilliant.
Carmen Agra Deedy has an amazing talent. She can transform an ordinary librarian into a storyteller. A story teller who can command attentive listening of four classes of first graders as well as rollicking participation. I first experienced this transformation with Martina the Beautiful Cockroach (Peachtree, 2007) First it is the story, then it is the language, and then the pacing.
The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet is sure to become a go to for the public librarian who suddenly has an unscheduled class visit of two second grade classes from PS 8.
The mayor, Don Pepe has declared that there will be silence in the village of La Paz. The town becomes a quiet somber place where everyone is afraid to make a peep. The rooster, “a plucky Gallito” cannot keep from singing defies the Mayor. His tree is chopped down. He is jailed. He is threatened with death. Yet the gallito still crows, “Kee-kee-ree-KEE!” The little rooster gives everyone the courage to sing their own song.
For a rhyming, boisterous read aloud for the very young, one can’t miss with Stephanie Calmenson. Calmenson, author of the classic Dinner at Panda Palace, (Harper, 1991) brings us delightful wordplay and onomatopoeia as Stego and Rex “vroom” and “screetch” through inner city traffic.
Antongionata Ferrari’s exhuberant cartoon ink and water color illustrations capture the cacophony of the urban landscape as the “honks” of the cars and the “WOO,WOO WOO, WEE OOO, WEEE,EEEOOOEEEOOO” of the sirens dance across the page.
For those who are interested the dinosaurs aren’t gendered a welcome respite from the overwhelming maleness of children’s book protagonists.
Calmenson, Stephanie., and Nadine Bernard Westcott. Dinner at the Panda Palace. New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins, 1991
Calmenson, Stephanie, and Antongionata Ferrari. No Honking Allowed!, New York: Holiday House, 2017.
Deedy, Carmen A, and Michael Austin. Martina, the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree, 2007.
Deedy, Carmen Agra, and Eugene Yelchin. The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! New York: Scholastic, 2017.
Scanlon, Elizabeth G, Audrey Vernick, and Matthew Cordell. Bob, Not Bob!, NewYork: Hyperion, 2017.