Well, I've almost finished the Bluebonnet books for this year. I've got one left that I accidentally returned early to the library, so I've requested it and hope to get it in soon so I can finish the list!
For today, I'm going to mention my Top 5 books on the 2 X 2 Reading List 2014, which I also read this summer. As you may remember, these are books recommended by the Texas Library Association (TLA) for age 2 to grade 2. Such a fun range! There are 20 really great books on the list, but I'll share just a few of my favorites.
Two of the books I had already recommended to my SCBWI group before I even knew they were on the list - so those are definitely ones I really enjoyed. The first is The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli. Let's face it, the color palette and illustrations are what really won me over with this one. I love the greens and pinkish-reds and graphic design elements the artist/illustrator uses throughout the book. The second one I had recommended was The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers. Such a clever way to present childhood fears in a reassuring way. Both of these books took ideas that have been done before (swallowing a seed, scary shadow) and put their own unique stamp on them.
Another book that takes a familiar storyline and gives it a fun twist is Little Red Hot by Eric A. Kimmel. It seems like every time I say that I'm tired of fairy tale remakes, a clever one comes along that catches my fancy. This was one of my son's favorite stories of the bunch too. I liked this fun retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It's a great opportunity to compare and contrast the original story to the remake as well if you're presenting it to a group of kids. For more on that concept, see my reviews about Traditional Tales, especially The Three Ninja Pigs.
Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard was another one I enjoyed. Poetry and construction vehicles! What an original combination. I liked how the author used a favorite subject for this age, and used it to introduce them to poetry. Very nicely done.
Turkey Tot by George Shannon was clever as well. I liked the way the Turkey creatively solved his problems and didn't give up on himself despite the doubts of his friends. Another example of a nice message delivered in a creative way. Plus - I've always had an affection for those stompers made out of tin cans (read the book to find out what I mean!).
Also, as for family favorites, one of my daughters used her own money to buy her brother Night Light by Nicholas Blechman at the book fair. The cut-outs and guessing factor definitely make this book a winner. As for my husband, Fraidyzoo by Thyra Heder was one of his top picks. He was a fan of the creative illustrations in this twist on the traditional ABC tale. My son also enjoyed Count the Monkeys. I doubt there are many kids who can resist the charm and humor of Mac Barnett.
The 2 X 2 list has a lot of strong books on it this year. I hope you take the time to enjoy them. Tune in next week for my top Bluebonnet picks!