The Great Picture Book Culling: Day 6

>> Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Jo's favorite of the night was The Mystery - a Max & Pinky book by Maxwell Eaton III. All of us love all of the Max & Pinky books. In this one, Max, Pinky & friends all paint the barn red. The next morning they wake to find that it's been repainted pink! Every day they repaint the barn red, and every night someone repaints it another color. It's a fun little mystery and the book is full of visual jokes and great interplay between the text and the picture - like this one of Jo's favorite spreads.

I love The Mystery, but my favorite of the night was 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill with art by Nancy Carpenter. Warning! If you think naughty children should get their comeuppance by the end of the story, this is NOT the book for you. This little girl is full of creative ideas that torment her little brother and drive her mother mad - and she's thoroughly unrepentant at the end. She's Ramona and Eloise and Olivia and Junie B. Jones all rolled into one and I love her. She has an odd fixation on beavers (she chooses to write her George Washington report on beavers, she tells her class she owns 100 beavers, etc.) that culminates in this lovely spread near the end of the story.
Jo also read. . .

Unique Monique by Maria Rousaki with art by Polina Papanikolaou - a very cute book about a girl trying to look unique in spite of her school uniform

Angelina on Stage by Katharine Holabird with art by Helen Craig - one of many Angelina Ballerina books we have

Maisy Cleans Up by Lucy Cousins. The Maisy books are really for a much younger audience, and I thought Jo might vote to cull it, but she decided to keep it for when some of her younger friends come to visit because they might want her to read it to them. Nice!

And that little comment from Jo made me realize something very important. Jo knows when she's outgrown a story - and when she hasn't. Right now she's at an in-between stage where she enjoys the complexity of longer novels, but she still loves a good picture book - as I do. But Jo hasn't been reading picture books for a while. We've been reading chapter books to her and she's been getting really good at reading chapter books to us - so chapter books it has been, in spite of the fact that every time she picks out a new one she quickly flips through it and then, sighing, says "No pictures." I've been pushing her to challenge herself and I know better. The surest way to make a kid hate to read is to make it a task. So my new New Year's resolution - inspired by how much fun we've been having with our picture book project - is to LET JO READ WHATEVER SHE WANTS TO READ! As long as she's reading something every day it's all good. . .


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