Sunday, June 16, 2013

More Great Books to Read Aloud To Your Kids

Summer is the perfect time to start reading aloud to a child in the evenings.  You don't have to worry about homework, sports schedules or rigid bedtimes.  You can just curl up with your child and see where the story takes you.

Please don't forget that just because your child may already be able to read doesn't mean that reading together aloud should stop.  I know you know this, but a gentle reminder never hurts.

So just to drive the point home:

Reading aloud gives your child a strong vocabulary.  A good children't story is 3 times richer in vocabulary than conversation.

Reading aloud teaches your kids how to imagine as they listen to the story.

Reading aloud is about showing your children the importance of books which helps them to love reading.

Reading aloud from a great book will make your kids think you are a rock star!

So take these suggestions along with my other posts Wonderful Books to Read Aloud to Kids as well as Reading Aloud is a Gift We Give Our Kids and Great Books to Read Aloud to Kids.

See, there is no excuse with all these fabulous choices.  What are you waiting for ...  get reading!

Title:       Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff 

Author:   Robert Paul Weston

Target:    Grades 2-5

Series:     No

What this book is about:
Prince Puggly comes from the Kingdom of Spud, where let’s face it, the clothes are downright ugly.  When he ventures to the Kingdom of Spiff, where the clothes are shall we say spiffy, he is made to feel uncouth and uncomfortable.  The princess of Spiff, who only wears pajamas covered with pictures of bicycles, understands Puggly’s plight, and a true friendship, and some mischief, ensues.

Why I love this book:
While I do love the story (and will talk about that in a moment, ) the true joy of this book, like its counterpart Zorgamazoo, is that it is told all in verse.  This is just a pleasure to read aloud.  The whole story rolls off your tongue as though you posses the rhyming powers of Dr. Seuss.  What this allows the author to do is use some very sophisticated rhyming language in a non threatening way.  I was amazed at all the new vocabulary that my daughter was exposed to, but the story remained lighthearted and therefore the new vocabulary did not feel intimidating at all.

Now the story itself has a lovely message about how the value of people is not based on what they wear, but it is not told in a preachy way at all.   The book is lighthearted and fun and includes a princess who loves to read - how great is that? 

Who this book is for:
It is for all kids who enjoy a great read aloud

Final thoughts:
The best review I can give you is that my daughter and I were woefully sad when the story ended.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Prince Puggly of Spud and the Kingdom of Spiff  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Yippee!

Title:       Gulliver

Author:   Retold by Martin Jenkins

Target:    Grades 3 and up

What this book is about:
This book is an abridged version of the original story Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.  Jenkins tells of the Lilliputians where Gulliver is the giant on the island of little people and the land of Brobdingnag where Gulliver is now the one who is minuscule in the land of giants.  We hear of the Laputians who need to be flapped to remember to listen to others and the kingdom of Houyhnhnms where the horses rule the humans, in a complete role reversal.  

What I love about the book:
First off the illustrations by Chris Riddell are absolutely breathtaking.  My daughter and I would just flip through the pictures to see what was coming next, and they absolutely brought the stories to life for her (and me as well.)

I had never read the original story, but I can say that this version is quite sophisticated.  This is not a dumbed down retelling and in fact, several times my daughter and I had to discuss what was going on so I was sure she was following along.  She was. While she probably missed many of the nuances of the story, she was captivated by the tale.

Who this book is for:
This book is for parents and kids who are looking for a more substantial read aloud.  This one took us a few weeks, but it was well worth it.  My daughter looked forward to it every night!

Final thoughts:
A beautiful way to introduce a classic book to your child, but be prepared for some names that are real tongue twisters!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Jonathan Swift's Gulliver (Kate Greenaway Medal (Awards))  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Yippee!

Title:       You’re a Bad Man Mr. Gum

Author:   Andy Stanton

Target:    Grades 2-5

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Mr. Gum is a dirty, filthy, mean hearted man who keeps his home a mess.  However, his garden is immaculate because a little fairy comes and whacks him with a frying pan if the garden is ever out of order.  When the local dog decides that Mr. Gum’s garden is an ideal place to romp, Mr. Gum is bruised and battered from the fairy whackings he receives.  He decides to poison the dog (because he is a very bad man after all) but when a little girl Polly get wind of the situation, she tries to come to the dog’s rescue.

Why I love this book:
Well this book is silly done oh so well, and as many of you know, doing silly in a clever way is not always that easy or successful.  The descriptions are marvelous, the characters are absurd without loosing the point of the story and of course who can resist a book with a super bonus story at the end!

This book was originally published in the UK and it still has many the British expressions (and all of the British humor), but the author has added a glossary for the Americans which “tells you what words mean by explaining them using other words.”

Who this book is for:
Kids just moving into more advanced chapter books will enjoy this.  However, I actually think reading this book aloud may be the best way to experience it.  It reads so well to an audience, and allows the kids to get some of the more advanced humor without skimming by it.

Final thoughts:
This book is a whopper of a good time, with the occasional oddity thrown in.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! Special Edition  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Yippee!

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