Thursday, September 1, 2011

Favorite Read-Alouds

A friend asked about good read-aloud books for the kindergarten age range, and since we are just now entering that era, I am still exploring.
As I mentioned before, we are working through Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook this year.  So far, our favorites have been Peter Spier's Circus! and The Napping House by Audrey Wood.

Circus! was a good one for The Husband to read to them; it sparked a lot of conversation, and his pronunciation of some of the names elicited many giggles (Dijkstras or Wisniewski, anyone?).  Thing2's favorite word in the book was Budapest.  I'll leave the interpretation of that one to your imagination.

The treasure in The Napping House is the illustrations.  With each page, the artist's perspective is a little higher, and the light coming through the window is a little brighter.  All the characters are hilarious, but the sleeping grandmother wins the prize.  The story is predictable, which is delightful for a three-year-old.

Outside of the Read-Aloud Handbook, Thing1 has enjoyed The Littles by John Peterson and Roberta Carter.  We just finished this today, and it left both me and Thing1 ready to get the next one.  The chapters are short enough that it is not a chore to read, and Thing2 even enjoys listening.

We attempted a Hank the Cowdog over the summer, but we aren't ready for those yet.  There is too much description and dialogue without enough action for my young guys.  It will be more fun when they can actually get the humor in Hank's rambling.

Here's a list of our favorite read-alouds over the years:
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews.  This was Thing1's first favorite book when he was less than 2 years old.
  • The Little Red Caboose by Marion Potter (Little Golden Book).  Both boys went through a stage when they could quote this one word for word.
  • Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?  We have had this book for longer than the boys can remember, but they still can spend an hour looking at the pictures that each intricately and humorously depict a process.
  • Fred and Ted Go Camping by Peter Eastman is Thing2's favorite.  He has it memorized.
  • How to Behave and Why by Munro Leaf (sounds familiar because he wrote Ferdinand the Bull, also a favorite) was a gift from the boys' uncle this summer.  He bought it at Anthropologie, believe it or not.  It is good for the whole family.  Leaf writes, "You have to be honest, you have to be strong, you have to be fair, and you have to be wise.  And there is no good in trying to fool yourself.  All that isn't so easy."
  • Lastly, I like Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson.  The illustrations by Amy June Bates are gorgeous, and the poem makes me look forward to Thanksgiving.
I know most of these books are for younger kids, but a few (How to Behave, The Littles, Circus!) might be a good place to start for older ones.

Anyone else have any kindergarten-level book ideas?

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