As an elementary school librarian, I love children's books, especially high quality picture books! Mo Willems is one of my favorite children's book authors and illustrators (or as he simply states on his book covers, "words and pictures by Mo Willems"). I love his books, and my all-time favorite is Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! His books are perfect for my PK and K students, as well as the upper elementary school students (3-5) who love to listen to his books read aloud and laugh at them (but will never admit it). Plus, reading aloud is one of my favorite librarian jobs (Can you really call it that?) as a school librarian so I read to them every chance I get! :)
The two Mo Willems books I recently purchased at the Scholastic Book Fair Warehouse Sale (the sale has great deals for schools and libraries) are Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator and The Duckling Gets a Cookie. The simple text and illustrators make it great for a story time read aloud for all elementary school children (PK-5). Plus, I enjoy using voices for the characters, especially the beloved, hilarious pigeon. Read more about both books and purchase them at Mo Willem's blog.
My children's book review for RevieWednesday is Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator (2011, Balzer + Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers).
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator is 6 1/2 stories (yes, 6 1/2!) that follow a girl and her friend, a very opinionated stuffed alligator. Amanda loves books and is reading different books throughout these stories, which is a great subtle message about the joys of reading. Amanda and the alligator surprise one another with different funny things throughout the story and even how an unloved alligator from the store became her best friend (sweet and loving friendship). The alligator, however, does not love one of the surprises she brings home, a stuffed panda from the zoo. Eventually, alligator makes a surprise discovery about the panda and friendship, and his realization that friends can come in all shapes and sizes! It is a great book with a subtle message of the importance of love and friendship that elementary school children will enjoy! I particularly love giving a very sarcastic voice to the alligator to suit his opinionated personality. I definitely give a Hooray for Mo Willems' book, Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator!
Tiny's Oyster Pearl of Wisdom (OPW) for Wednesday. Remember, though some books may seem simple and too "babyish" for upper elementary school students (Grades 3-5), they still love listening to you read aloud all types of books, especially the funny, unexpected books that may be for readers at lower levels. They are still children and often enjoy the same books (even though they don't want to admit it). My upper elementary students appear to be in a story listening trance sometimes when I read picture books to them.
The Tiny Librarian