A GOOD READ: Some storytime favourites for youngsters
I’ve been leading children’s storytimes at the Terry Fox Library for 10 years and I’m still happy when it’s that time of day and I get to walk into the story room and read to children. Over the years, I definitely have discovered my favourite children’s books to read aloud to toddlers and pre-schoolers.
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino is a wonderful, rhythmic book about a young llama, Lloyd, who asks all his friends if their mamas are llamas. He discovers in rhyme that their mamas are other types of animals. Steven Kellogg’s whimsical, detailed illustrations give children a clue to the next animal. Perfect for pre-schoolers and early readers.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell is about three little owls, Sarah and Percy and Bill, huddled together on a branch, worried their mother will not return. At last, she gracefully swoops back to the nest. This story reminds children that mommy always comes back. Stunning illustrations by Patrick Benson perfectly capture the plight of the anxious little owls.
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood is well-known and -loved by children all over the world. Little Mouse worries the Big Hungry Bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself. The Bear never makes an appearance and the narrator convinces the Mouse that the only way to save the red ripe strawberry from the big hungry Bear is to “cut it in half. Share half with me and we’ll both eat it all up. Yum!” Don Wood ‘s superb illustrations perfectly capture Little Mouse’s efforts to save the strawberry.
Silly Sally by Audrey Wood is an all-time favourite. Come along with Sally and her silly companions on their backwards, upside-down journey to town: “Dance a jig with a pig. Play leapfrog with a dog. Sing a tune with a loon.” These sing-song verses are simple enough for toddlers and catchy enough for pre-schoolers. Playful illustrations will spark the imaginations of young readers. Children love to hear this story again and again and soon will be reciting the catchy rhymes.
Whenever I read Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman at a storytime I am never sure if it is enjoyed more by the children or their parents. “Dinosaurs were all wiped out, a long way back in history. No one knows quite how or why. Now this book solves the mystery...” The author might just have the answer: underpants. “Laugh your pants off “ as T. rex and the gang try to take “man’s undies” in the mighty underpants war. Ben Cort’s hilarious illustrations add to the rollicking fun. Dinosaurs and underpants, as far as children are concerned, couldn’t be any funnier.
The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort is an animal-filled version of the classic children’s song “The Wheels On The Bus.” Every time the bus stops, another kind of animal joins the commotion on the bus. Finally, a group of skunks gets on and the people on the bus yell, “Help, help, help!” If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera is another animal-filled version of a well-known children’s song. Children clap along with a silly monkey and stamp with an enormous elephant. Both of these sing-along action books are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
If you are looking for more great titles, don’t hesitate to ask at your public library. Librarians are always more that happy to recommend books for you and your little ones who love to read.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Dianne Allan works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.