It is no surprise to anyone around the library that I love to read out loud. They even let me do it in public, twice a month! My wife and I used to read big novels aloud together – All the King’s Men, War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov – and we’ve just started on Stephen King’s Dark Tower books – though these are hardly titles I’d suggest to those working on their Book Bingo cards. Parents or grandparents already reading aloud to children get a freebie with this square, but for others this category may be among the most challenging. A century or more ago, people read aloud regularly, as Verlyn Klinkenborg writes: Continue reading “Book Bingo: Read Out Loud”
One thing I have learned as a parent is that every family has its own sense of humor. I have also learned that some children’s books you looked forward to reading to your own children aren’t always as awesome as you remembered them. Continue reading “Go-to read-aloud picture books”
Some children’s authors get to be well known for one book, character or series of books, and their other books get sidelined. Sometimes it’s because their other books didn’t have the same cultural impact or just aren’t as good. But in other cases, some really great books get ignored and forgotten. This is certainly true in the case of Bernard Waber, author of the perennially popular Lyle the Crocodile books.
Waber wrote some other fantastic books that truly stand the test of time. Many of Waber’s other books are on the longish side, for picture books, but are such fantastic read-alouds.
One of my personal favorites, and one that my sons also adore, is Gina. Gina is the story of a girl who moves into an apartment in Queens where there are no other girls her age, but boy, boys galore on every floor. The two pages where the names of these gaggle of boys are listed is hilariously fun to read out loud. What makes this a great book is that it is about a tomboy who, in a lovely twist, can still be a girly girl when she feels like it and be accepted by the boys on the baseball field.
Then there is Ira Sleeps Over, a story about the special terror some kids experience with sleepovers with friends. Ira is teased by his sister about wanting to bring along his teddy bear to his friend Reggie’s house. While his parents reassure him that Reggie won’t think he’s a baby for wanting to bring his stuffed bear, Ira still worries and frets right until the last minute. Waber captures the emotional stress of small decisions in a child’s life and the worries we all have about the perceptions of others with humor and empathy.
Then, there’s the treat of A Lion Named Shirley Williamson. The other lions at the zoo, with less grand names, are jealous of the attention Shirley gets for her name and her consequential popularity. Seymour, the zookeep, has a special fondness for Shirley as that was also the name of his late wife. Waber does such a lovely job here of telling a tender, yet funny story that adults and children will both enjoy.
So there you have it–Bernard Waber. Just as loveable as Lyle the Crocodile.