The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
In this hilarious picture book, Duncan’s crayons go on strike and each writes a letter as to why they have done so. Among the reasons, red crayon feels overworked, yellow and orange can’t agree on which of the two is the real color of the sun, peach feels betrayed because Duncan peeled off his wrapper and left him naked and exposed, and pink feels woefully underused. This is an excellent book for teaching the almost lost arts of letter and creative writing. Best read aloud for kids age 3 and older (and independently read by K-2) as they will appreciate the humor and be able to sit for the length of the book.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown
This little gem is probably my favorite book of the year. The crisp, stylized illustrations are both expressive and subtle. In the story, Mr. Tiger is tired of his buttoned-up bipedal life and begins to give in to his more base nature to the shock and horror of his prim friends. An escape to the wilderness proves cathartic for Mr. Tiger, but he soon misses home and returns to find that things have changed. A short, simple story with enough whimsy to appeal to kids’ (and adults’) sillier side, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is an oft-asked-for read-aloud in this librarian’s house. A must read for fans of Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat.
Nelly May Has Her Say
by Cynthia DeFelice, illustrated by Henry Cole
For those traditionalists looking for a good folksy story, this book will tickle your fancy. Nelly May goes to work for Lord Ignatius Pinkwinkle and must learn his special names for common things:dog=fur-faced fluffenbarker, trousers=long-legged limberjohns, boots=stompinwhackers…you get the idea. When an emergency arises and she must employ all of these nonsensical words at once, Nelly May and her patience is put to the test. Fun, expressive illustrations complete this tale and make it a hidden gem of this year. Professional tip: incorporating the use of those Downton Abbey accents you have secretly been working on when reading this story aloud really brings out the giggles for the preschool crowd. Additionally, ask the children to come up with their own versions of Lord Ignatius Pinkwinkle’s words to add to the fun.