The blog gets a new title. Because I can no longer share with that damned dog. Truthfully, now that I’ve relocated halfway across the country, it’s just too difficult to keep the dog on task. It was never that easy in the first place. So the website is getting an overhaul, and the Stuffed Dog Book Reviews are no more. He says he might pop in with one last review of His Dark Materials, because he’s almost finished with it. But he said that a month ago. R.I.P. Puppy J. We are no longer getting married when we are eighty.
Now on to other things! Picture books are in decline. Everyone says so. This saddens me. I spent days in the library as a kid. It was a memorable childhood highlight. And picture books are still excellent. I know, because I refuse to buy any gifts for my friends’ kids aside from books, and I only buy the ones I will also enjoy reading to them a million, gagillion times (that’s the minimum number of times they’ll demand it.) So here’s a top ten list, and some tips for making them fun, even after the millionth read.
MY TOP 5 PICTURE BOOKS TO READ WHILE PRETENDING TO READ TO KIDS
5. GOODNIGHT MOON, By Margaret Wise Brown
I’ll admit, I don’t even know what it’s about. The only important thing is to read it in Christopher Walken’s voice. It’ll be awesome, trust me.
4. I NEED MY MONSTER, By Amanda Noll, Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
An adorable story about a kid who can’t fall asleep without his monster. This one’s too new to know if it’ll hold up for the adults upon numerous readings, but I think it will. The illustrations are beautiful, too.
3. FOX IN SOCKS, by Dr. Seuss
I read this even when they don’t want me to. It’s an obsession. A challenge. This damn fox will not beat me. To spice it up after numerous readings, try throwing a stopwatch into the mix. Or yelling it. Let me know if you pass out.
2. THE POLAR EXPRESS, by Chris Van Allsburg
Couldn’t get the image to upload. But you know what it looks like. Chris Van Allburg is a master. Read the Polar Express with hot cocoa and giant marshmallows. When you’re finished, look around at the children and realize that it sort of sucks to be an adult. Great holiday story.
1. SKIPPYJON JONES, by Judy Schachner
This Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a Chihuahua is fantastic. The songs are kid pleasers, and as a bonus, you get to do some of it in a Spanish accent. So what they will hear is, "Oh my name is Skippito Friskito…" but what you will hear is: "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya."
BTW, is anyone else pissed that it seems like Prince Caspian switched accents in The Dawn Treader? The Inigo accent was half the fun the first time.
Take these recommendations or don’t. But reading to every kid you know, is not a bad thing. Unless you are reading them this:
Which is just hilarious.