Picture Storybooks for Children

Reading and playing with my favourite picture storybooks!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

This is my favourite book to read. I love the way it teaches bravery and confidence – resilience, really! I also love doing different voices for the different characters.

Reading Tips:
1.       Be surprised! Each animal is enticing until it realises the Gruffalo likes eating their kind. Then they react with surprise. When you get to the page where the Gruffalo appears, show shock! Kids love it.
2.       Move from shock to confidence. When the mouse realises the mouse moves from disbelief to belief he becomes terrified. Then, he sees opportunity. And he dares to use the same cheekiness he used to get away from every other animal to dissuade the Gruffalo – and he builds ultimate fear in each creature of his own superiority as they see, he really is friends with a real live Gruffalo.
3.       Enjoy giving each animal a personality and voice. This is done through speed, pitch and intonation.

4.       Have fun!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd

This is a classic. You can find it in every Australian primary school and probably in each classroom those schools. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy teaches repetition, rhyming and group involvement.

Reading Tips:

1. Interact on "Hairy Maclary". I have a stuffed little Hairy Maclary that I give to one of the kids in the front row and explain we will take turns with Hairy - saying his name and then passing him on. Each new dog added to the list has the repeated "And Hairy Maclary". I have the kid who has the dog say "Hairy Maclary" after I say "and" - if any other kids say it with them, I stop them and say "Who has Hairy? Oh, I was confused because there were so many Hairy's in the room!"

2. Interact on "from Donaldson's Dairy". I ask the rest of the class to say "Donaldson's Dairy" after I say, "from" - this gets everyone involved in special tasks (saying Hairy Maclary) and group tasks (Donaldson's Dairy) and makes what would seem to be a very odd book become highly engaging. No wonder every kid loves it!

3. There are a lot of weird names in this book! If you haven't read it before, practice saying the names so they rhyme with the words that are supposed to rhyme with them. This may be a completely silly idea to some, but being American, my accent means things don't always rhyme the way they should!

4. Have fun!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Puff the Magic Dragon

This is both a fantastic song and beautifully illustrated picture storybook.

Reading tips:

1. Sing it! Something amazing happens to kids when a person starts singing. They go into a delightful trance. If your voice is a bit ho-hum, like mine, don't worry - kids are the most forgiving audience in the world.

2. Invite the kids to join you for the chorus. It starts and finishes with the chorus, so the kids feel fully engaged. Some will try to read the words and sing the rest, as well. I don't say anything but just continue singing. It is a brave thing for a child to keep singing when their friends aren't!

3. Stop and describe words. like "sealing wax" - what's that? Or what about, "frolicked" - what does that mean?  Even "Autumn" and "Mist" can be discussion words.

4. Change the ending! If you listen carefully (amazingly, no one has mentioned it) I changed the end of the song because of the pictures in the book. As one YouTube viewer commented: This made me cry tears of JOY when my teacher read this to me and my classmates! One of my friends yelled out, " Oh my gosh, THATS HIS DAUGHTER! " Then I bursted into TEARS!! Beautiful story.. Wow..

5. Have fun!

Friday, March 11, 2016

How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers

This creative story mesmerizes children through the imagination of a boy.

A boy who wants to catch a star.

Reading tips:

1. Take it slow and easy. This is a truly beautiful book and the imagination of the boy in the story is turned into pictures very cleverly on each spread. The kids love looking around the pages for the story points.

2. Slow down at intriguing turns in the story. There are a couple points where you realise the boy has a fertile imagination - on the 'out of character' page where he thinks back on the day when he took his rocketship to the moon. ... Every other page could have happened. This one, purely imaginary, give a clue that there may be a creative ending in store!

3. Have fun!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Invite the Storyteller

The gift of story is the most important thing you can give to your children.  Show the value you place on them by making literacy a key feature of their life.

Literacy provides a better life.

When you read to a child, you provide a better future. They do better in school, get better jobs and raise healthier and happier families who read to the next generation. Stories change the world!

Turn your child’s birthday party, school assembly, classroom incursion or other event into a literacy affirming storytelling environment!

Dave Edgren - Storyteller