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Friday, August 10, 2012

Ten for Ten!

Today is the day for Ten for Ten!  I've given my book list a lot of thought.  I thought, at first, that it would be easy but the more I thought about it, the longer my list of contenders became!  Even though there were several newer titles on my long list, I noticed that I kept returning to the older titles more often.  That is how I narrowed my list.  Every time I thought to myself "but what about..." I would know that it was an important one to keep on the list.  Eventually, I had a list of ten (in no particular order).

1. Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.  I had a hard time with this one because I love all of the Llama Llama books.  I use them often with my kindergarten writers because Dewdney's illustrations show such great facial expressions on Llama and his Mama.  It shows how important illustrations can be to a story.  And, let's face it, what mom can't relate to Llama Llama Mad at Mama?  I love little Llama's dramatic breakdowns in each story! It's funny when you aren't the Mama in the situation! 

2.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  This story is just a classic, great story.  I remember reading it the first time and just getting caught up in the pictures.  I loved the bright colors, the way they were created, the layers of depth in each one, I could go on and on!  My students love it as well.  We always read it at the beginning of the school year and then again in the spring and usually several times in between because it is highly requested each year.  There are so many teaching points in the story as well: the life cycle of the butterfly, collage, instant gratification vs. waiting to find just the right thing, days of the week, word choice, etc.

3. Read To Tiger by T.S. Fore.  I stumbled upon this book because my daughter received it in the mail as part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program.  To be honest, it sat on the bookshelf for a while before we read it.  She wasn't all that interested in it at first, but then we read it and we both really enjoyed it.  It has so many onomatopoeia words that it is just a fun book to read.  Again, many great teaching points can be found in this story as well but most of all, any child that I've read it to has loved it.  That says a lot.

4. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge and I Went Walking by Mem Fox.  This was just one pair of books that I just couldn't narrow down.  I love them both for different reasons.  Wilfred is a sweet story about relationships that so many can related to in some way that old and young both enjoy it.  Walking is a story that is fun to read with young children.  It reminds me of Brown Bear, Brown Bear by Bill Martin Jr. in that it has repetitive lines, colors and animals.  Each year my students enjoy this story and we typically make our first class book using this story as our model.

5. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood.  Again, this is an author that I had a hard time narrowing down the choices.  Wood has so many great books that I use every year in my classroom and that my own children have enjoyed at home.  This story is a favorite because of the illustrations.  I love that you can read the words and enjoy the story but you can also read just the illustrations and enjoy the story.  When you combine them both, it's amazing!

6. Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin.  Honestly, I love all three Pete books, but my favorite is this one.  I love the rhythm of the story, the colors, the illustrations, Pete's attitude and of course, the moral of the story.  I have the song downloaded and on the desktop of my computer because my own children and my students request it so often.  We enjoyed this story so much last year in the classroom that I wrote my own version of the story/song when I got a new pair of plaid shoes!

7. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.  Is there anyone that doesn't love this book?  I use it in my classroom all year long.  I have a chicka chicka boom boom tree in my classroom.  We do art projects surrounding this story.  We sing the song version of the story.  We use the small chicka tree and velcro letters to act out the story.  We make our own chicka books that go into our book boxes.  I love it!

8. No, David! by David Shannon.  David is one of my very favorite story characters.  Kids relate easily to him and all of the troubles that find him.  My students this past year really enjoyed the fact that David Shannon wrote this story about himself as a child and they were very motivated to learn that Shannon wrote his first version of the story as a young child.  It's a great mentor text to use in the classroom!

9.  Tulip Sees America by Cynthia Rylant.  Again, it was a tough debate between this book and Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains.  Both are fantastic but the illustrations in Tulip Sees America are what tipped the scale for me.  I love that there are pictures that are close ups, some are scenic illustrations and some are drawn in a way that so clearly shows the vastness of some places in America.  The page that always gets to me is the one with the stormy sky in one of the plains states where you can only see fields for miles and it feels so lonely and isolated that I can't help the catch in my breath each time I read it/see it.

10. Mo Willems might just be my favorite children's author.  He is a master in this arena! His characters are hilarious and so easy to relate to.  I love Elephant, Piggy, Trixie and Pigeon!  His illustrations are geared toward the artistic abilities of children. He has said that he tries to draw his characters in such a way that children can try to duplicate them.  In fact, he has published a step-by-step instruction sheet showing how to draw Pigeon.  You can't help but smile when you read a Mo story!


  1. I love and have most of these, Robin, & especially love the new Llama, Llama books and can't believe you have another Elephant & Piggie I haven't seen. I just purchased We Are In A Book, also fun. I do love all of Mem Fox so understand you had to do two. There are so many wonderful ones. Thanks!

  2. I love all your titles. Mo has a place in everyone's library, who can't laugh when reading a Mo book!? Great list.

  3. You've included many of my favourite authors. It is a real challenge sometimes to pick just one.
    Thanks for sharing your recommendations.
    Apples with Many Seeds