Monday, June 28, 2021

It's Monday! What are you reading? We read Four Fun Picture Books!

It's been a while since I took part in It's Monday! What are you reading? and I thought this would be as good a time as any to return. Here are some picture books I have been reading with my young readers.
Reading is Fun

I Like Trains 
written and illustrated by Daisy Hirst
Candlewick Press, 2021, 32 pages
A happy little golden puppy loves nothing more than to play with his toy trains, whether his is giving his favorite animal stuffies a ride or driving his own cardboard boy train. He even loves to have books about trains read to him. But even better than toy trains is when his parents take him to the train station to ride on a real train. It's so exciting to sit by the window and watch as the train sets off. There are so many different things to see as they leave the city and ride through the countryside - houses, cars, hotels, factories, even boat on a river soon give way to fields, trees and farm animals. When they finally arrive at their stop, there's Grandma, waiting for them. This very happy golden puppy loves playing trains with his Grandma, and Grandma loves it, too. Here is a book perfect for your youngest readers, whether or not they are train enthusiasts. It is written in simple declarative sentences, with letter is bold black letters and with boldly colored illustrations as uncomplicated as the text. Don't get me wrong, simple only means it is perfect for your youngest readers who are just setting off on their reading journey. My young readers were very excited to be able to pick out the letters and some sight words they recognize from other books we've read. This book also generated some lively, always welcome conversations of trips taken with their families. My young readers gave I Like Trains a hearty 👍🏼

The Greatest Showpenguin 
written and illustrated by Lucy Freegard
Rizzoli Books, 2021, 32 pages
Poppy's family have been performers in a traveling circus for generations, and skills are always passed down from penguin to penguin. Everyone performs, including Poppy, and she is beloved by the audience. But there is just one problem - Poppy doesn't want to be a performer. She would like to feel calm and in control and that can't happen performing in a circus. But what if the family is against her no longer performing? What if her mother doesn't understand? Poppy is so unhappy, she decided to take a little break from the show to rest and relax. But while on vacation, Poppy misses everything about the circus so much that she comes up with a brilliant idea of how to be part of the circus and not perform. After all, someone has to organize things and run the circus behind the scenes and it's the perfect place for Poppy. This is a sweet, heartwarming story about overcoming fears, then finding and doing what you are best suited for. The color-was mixed media illustrations are bright and bold, and you readers will always recognize Poppy among all the other penguins - she's the one with the big round red glasses. This book also received a 👍🏼from my young readers.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone written by Jane Porter, 
illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring
Candlewick Press, 2021, 32 pages
On his first day of preschool, Demitri is so excited and happy to be there that he goes around telling everyone and everything that he loves them - the other kids, the teacher, the tree in the playgound, even the lunch lady. But no one responds to him the same way. Instead, they just joke or turn away. By the end of the day, Dimitri is feeling pretty dejected. But he never noticed how uncomfortable he was making the other people feel with his demonstration of affection. The next day, even though Dimitri doesn't want to go to school, his mom gets him ready while she explains how people can say I love you in different ways without saying the words, but through action, kindness, and words of appreciation - like hugging, sharing and friendliness. When Dimetri gets to school, the other kids invite him to join in their activities and to sit together for story time, demonstrating just what his mother had to hime about how to say I love you, just not in those words. A encouraging story about learning to recognize social cues and helping young kids with social-emotional development. The brightly colored mixed media illustration as a sweet as Demitri is and also reflect the wide range of diverse children and adults in today's schools and neighborhoods. 

Cat Dog Dog: The Story of a Blended Family
Words by Nelly Buchet, Art by Andrea Zuill
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2020, 40 pages

This is a book that makes me laugh every time I read it, and it is a book my young readers love because they've learned what it feels like to be a reader thanks to the bare minimum of words used. I love to see them pull it out and go through it pointing to the word that matched the animal. Told from the point of view of the dogs and cat, it the story of a biracial couple who move in together and combine their family - he comes with one dog, she already has a dog and cat. Over the course of a year, the animals eventually learn to accept one another and get along. When a new addition comes along, you just know it will be three against one until they all learn to get along again. What I love about this book is that the illustrations harmonize so well with the words allowing my young readers to not only begin to recognize letters and words, but to also make up their own storylines about the two dogs and cat thanks to all the detailed included in the background. There is such a variety of emotions on the faces of the pets, that it is a great way to talk about feelings and introduce the idea of empathy.
Cat Dog Dog has just won the Bank Street 2021 Irma Black Award for excellence in children's literature. What makes the Irma Black Award unique is that children are the final judges of the winning book. Watch this space for information about registering your 1st and 2nd grade classes to participate in voting for the 2022 award.
It's Monday! What are you reading? is the original weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  It's Monday! What are you reading? - from Picture Books to YA is a kidlit focused meme just like the original and is hosted weekly by Teach Mentor Texts.  The purpose is the same: to recap what you have read and/or reviewed and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week.


  1. I can't believe I haven't read Cat Dog Dog! It sounds like the perfect book to feature as my Dog Pick of the Week on my Beagles and Books blog.

  2. It's fun to see you on #IMWAYR instead of MMGM! The Greatest Showpenguin sounds like such a sweet story—I love that Poppy faces her fears but also finds a place where she feels comfortable. The Boy Who Loved Everyone sounds wonderful as well! Thanks so much for the great post!

  3. Hi Alex! I enjoyed The Boy Who Loved Everyone very much. Such a good conversation must come out of it! And I'll find Cat Dog Dog for sure. It sounds great. Thanks for sharing these and have a super week ahead!

  4. All of these are new to me- but I am especially interested in reading The Boy Who Loved Everyone (though they all sound good). It sounds like a book that will be a conversation starter for kids and adults. Nice! Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. Thanks for introducing us to these books this week. I've heard of The Boy Who Loved Everyone, but your review convinced me to track down a copy.


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