Byron is now at an age where he can ask for books by name. Well, sort of. And while a few months ago, it was all about trains and trucks, he lately is taken up with animal books (and animal toys), just in time for the reinvented basement with the train table (sigh). Like my last post on this topic, I’ve really come to appreciate how picture books are all about play, theater, and interactions between the reader and the child. Those interactions have changed–it used to be “here is where I tickle him and he giggles,” now he can finish lines and even read a few words (he’s an amazing genius child).
He’s also more in tune with the emotions in the book. The first time I remember him being upset by a book was Little Blue Truck. Though it was a favorite, he always punched that big mean dump truck right in the nose. I blogged about that here. Anyway, two books he can’t get through are Patrick McDonnell’s The Monsters’ Monster (even though the monsters are totally silly, all their crashing around upsets him) and Phyllis Root’s beautiful Scrawny Cat, which has a happy ending but boy, that cat goes through hell first, and boy does Byron hate to see it.
Anyway, here are some of the ones he asks for “by name” — it’s a completely NON-comprehensive list, but these are definitely favorites.
A.K.A., “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes. Nobody needs to be told about this adorable Caldecott-winner, but we went through a period where he needed this read to him several times a day. It marked the transition from “things that go” to “things that meow and bark,” in his reading adventures.
A.K.A. “How Rocket Learned to Read,” written and illustrated by Tad Hills. Great book for a kid his age or a little older, because it goes beyond the alphabet books we’re tired of and shows the letters being turned into words. He can now read (or has memorized, not sure) several of Rocket’s words like “dig,” and “mud.” I have fun with the voices. Oh, and he’s totally picked up on G-R-R-R and now says GRRR whenever he sees a tough-looking dog.
AKA “Puppies and Piggies” by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Ivan Bates. A bunch of cute animals do stuff. Byron likes to say the names of the animals as you turn the pages.
A.K.A. “Wild About You,” written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown. This book… I can’t even talk about it without tearing up. Let’s say that the Misses and I identify with Mr and Mrs Panda, waiting for a little bundle of Byron-like bliss to enter our lives, and we, too, were “black, white and BLUE.” Byron loves the “find the babies” page and fills in a lot of the rhymes. It’s got such a great message, too. What a sweet, special book this is.
“It Tiger! It Tiger! It Tiger!”
A.K.A. “It’s a Tiger,” written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. Byron asks for this in loudness and repetition. He is a little tiger mad these days… and this is fun, he totally gets it and plays along with the page turns. (Hint: it’s a tiger!)
“Toot Toot Zoom”
A.K.A. — actually, Byron gets this one exactly right. Written by Phyllis Root, and illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Board books are mostly behind us now… and we bid a fond farewell to Sandra Boynton, but our other favorite from the baby era is still very much with us. She has books for all ages, and Byron loves to “toot toot zoom!” in the right places when we read it. I have fun with the voices.