Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Great Read-Alouds for Kindergarten and First Grade Students

Parts by Ted Arnold (Puffin, 2000).
A little boy thinks he's coming apart when he finds, hair, ear wax, belly button lint, etc. The children in my kindergarten class loved this silly book. He seems to be falling apart. After losing a few hairs, he thinks he's going bald; his belly button lint is his stuffing coming out; "a chunk of something gray and wet" from his nose is none other than a piece of his brain; and a loose tooth puts him into shock. "Quite soon I'll be in pieces in / A pile without a shape. / Thank goodness Dad keeps lots and lots / And lots of masking tape."

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (Child & Family Press, 1993).
The Kissing Hand is the perfect story for parents to share with a child who may need reassurance about going to school. In this story, mother raccoon shares a secret with her son Chester. The secret eases Chester's fears as he heads off to school. This tender, loving story reminds us that no matter where we are, our parents always love us and we can carry them with us. Find out how as you read this endearing story.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow, 2000).
Wemberly the mouse worries about everything — especially the first day of school. Luckily she finds a friend, and soon her worries fade away.

A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (HarperTrophy, 1989).
Imagine "Kids say the darndest things" bound into a picture book. And imagine that the illustrations were done in the most charming fashion by Maurice Sendak. And voila! You have the wonderful, whimsical and purse-sized A Hole Is to Dig. Your child will giggle with delight when you read these wacky definitions together.

No Roses for Harry! by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham, (HarperTrophy, 1976).
Harry, the loveable little dog featured in this sequel to Harry the Dirty Dog, once again mimics a child's behaviour when he receives a sweater from grandma that he doesn't like. From "losing" it in a store, to hiding it in the house, Harry does everything he can to keep from wearing the rose-covered sweater. I recommend this to anyone who has a soft spot for a dirty dog or who has ever received a present that ended up in the back of the closet.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Harper Collins, 25th Anniversary edition, reprinted 1988).
Originally published in 1963, this is the story of Max, who puts on a wolf suit, causes mischief, gets sassy with his mother and is sent to bed without any dinner. The story is one of escaping into a child's imagination when he's on the outs with Mom. Max's room becomes a forest, he finds he has his own boat and then sails off "in and out of weeks...to the place where the wild things are." There, he is not impressed with the posturing of the wild things, and without much ado, he becomes their king.

The Bravest of the Brave by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Tim Bowers (Random House Children's Books, 2005). The rhythm of this tale about a skunk — who heads home and wonders about robbers, pirates, ghosts and trappers — is very engaging. Children are captive to the tension of the tale.

Detective LaRue by Mark Teague (Scholastic, 2004).
Two neighbourhood cats go missing, birds are disappearing from pet shops all over town and now nearly a whole family of pigeons is gone as well! When LaRue the dog is falsely accused of catnapping, he is determined to get to the bottom of the situation.

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (Aladdin, 1975).
In this delightful fable, we meet Strega Nona the benevolent town witch everyone turns to in their time of need. When she hires Big Anthony as an assistant, he is warned to never touch her magical pasta pot. Unfortunately his curiosity gets the better of him and soon the whole town is overrun by pasta

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert (Simon and Schuster, 1989).
When "a" tells "b" and "c", "d" and "e" to meet at the top of the coconut tree, all of the alphabet joins in the rollicking adventure. Too many vowels and consonants bring a crash that calls mamas, papas, uncles and aunts (the capital letters, of course) to the rescue. Skit Skat Skoodle Doot, Flip Flop Flee, no sooner are the little letters comforted and consoled than the rhyming tale begins anew with a moonlight challenge: "Dare double dare, you can't catch me. I'll beat you to the top of the coconut tree!"

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