Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 12 Best Read-Alouds of 2011

1. Samantha on a Roll, by Linda Ashman, pictures by Christine Davenier, Margaret Ferguson, $16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages. When Mama isn't looking, a little girl slips into her new roller skates and joyfully sails out the door. But as she crests a hill, she's going too fast to stop and careens through everything in her path.

2. Wolf Won't Bite, by Emily Gravett, Simon & Schuster, $16.99, ages 2-6, 32 pages. Three circus pigs prod a big wolf to perform silly acts and each time they foolishy sing out, "Wolf won't bite!" But are they sure they want to put their heads between Wolf's mighty jaws?

3. The Pied-Piper of Hamelin, retold by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, Candlewick, $16.99, ages 5 and up, 64 pages. When the mayor of Hamelin refuses to pay a magical flute player for ridding his town of rats, the pied-piper uses his magic to hide the town's children until the mayor agrees to clean up Hamelin.

4. Scritch-Scratch A Perfect Match, by Kimberly Marcus, illustrated by Mike Lester, G. P. Putnam Sons, $16.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages. A flea chomps into the backside of a big, scruffy stray and causes him to lurch into the air and into the heart of an old man in this rollicking adventure.

5. E-Mergency, by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer, illustrated by Lichtenfeld, Chronicle, $16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages. A fall down the stairs puts letter "E" out of commission, but who will be able to replace her? O is well-rounded, albeit a bit busy, but the problem is everyone's having trouble understanding the words he's filling in on. It's time to get "E" out of bed, but first the ABCs are going to have to give the narrator a good talking to. A hilarious romp inspired by the short video Alphabet House by Ezra Fields-Meyer, a teenage animator diagnosed with high-functioning Autism.

6. The Really Awful Musicians, by John Manders, Clarion, $16.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages. After a king gets fed up with the discordant sounds of his royal band and bans music in his kingdom, a wise horse gives a brave little piper and a wagon-load of really awful musicians a lesson in playing harmoniously.

7. King Hugo's Huge Ego, by Chris Van Dusen, Candlewick, $16.99, ages 3-6, 40 pages. A boastful king is zapped with a curse that makes his head swell, but it isn't until his ears are curled back on themselves that he realizes how arrogant he's been.
8. Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel, $16.99, ages 3-7, 32 pages. When Floyd's kite gets stuck in a tree, he tosses everything including the kitchen sink into the tree to try to knock it down. But his kite won't budge and now all those things, his shoe, a duck, the milkman, even a firetruck, are stuck there too. Could a saw be just the thing he needs?
9. The Princess and the Pig, by Jonathon Emmett, illustrated by Poly Bernatene, Walker & Company, $16.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages. A baby princess falls off a balcony and lands in a farmer's stall, causing a piglet there to bounce into the air and into the baby's cradle. The result is an uproarious mix-up that everyone in the story assumes was the work of fairies, because that's the sort of thing that happens in storybooks: a fairy casts a spell, turns a pig into a princess, or vice versa. But there are no fairies in this book and when pigs grow up and marry princes, kisses don't always fix things.

10. Zoozical, by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown, Alfred A. Knopf, $17.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages. A very small hippo and a young kangaroo rouse their animal friends at the zoo from their winter doldrums with a song-and-dance extravaganza, in this playful rhyme.

11. The Little Red Pen, by Susan Stevens Crummel, illustrated by Janet Stevens, Harcourt, $16.99, ages 6-12, 56 pages. An arsenal of desk supplies rescue a correction pen from the dreaded "Pit of No Return," just in time to correct a pile of papers and save the world, in this delightful spin on Little Red Hen. (Also on my list of the 20 Best Picture Books of 2011.)

12. Levi Strauss Gets a Bright Idea, by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, Harcourt, $16.99, ages 4-8, 32 pages.  When miners rushed to California to find gold, they ran so fast they lost their pants. All that corduroy and wool disintegrated right where they ran. That left the miners with nothing but skivvies to chase away the cold, so they strapped on barrels and waddled about, sluicing as best they could. Now those barrels were tough, but they just wouldn't bend, and soon the miners weebled and wobbled and fell over. Lucky thing, a fellow named Levi Strauss arrived out west as the miners were rolling down the hill. Since Strauss was too late to get in on the gold, he decided to earn his fortune making pants. Seeing how sturdy miners' tents were, he stripped them down and stitched them into the toughest pants around: known forever more as Levi denim jeans.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting list! Thanks for compiling it!

    Read Aloud Dad