I've been woefully neglectful of the PB&J challenge, even though I've had 3 library books to read for 3 weeks now. I finally sat down to read them and review them before taking them back today. And, of course, I read them aloud, because, in my opinion, you can't really review a picture book without taking into account its read-aloud-ability.
All Year Long by Kathleen W. Deady was my choice for my "A" title. The text of this book is simple, but nice when read aloud. It would be a good choice for a storytime for young preschoolers with a "seasons" theme. This book is also a "circular story" ending at the spot where it began: the first line is "I know it's spring when robins sing, and tulips give a nod," and the last little bit goes, "But mama's cocoa keeps us warm from winter until spring; When, if I listen closely...I'll hear a robin sing." Very nice. But the best thing about this book is the illustrations. The illustrator, Linda Bronson, uses collages to illustrate the book, and they are just lovely.
Bark, George by Jules Feiffer was my choice for my "B" title. My intention was to choose newer books, but this one, published in 1999, jumped out at me. This book is ideal for very young preschoolers and older toddlers, especially ones who are very into learning animal sounds. George's mom is concerned because instead of "arf"ing like a dog, he makes various other animal sounds. This book is cute and has simple, but colorful illustrations.
I chose Look Out, Jack! The Giant Is Back! by Tom Birdseye to represent my "B" author. This book is a great read-aloud! The refrain:
Wham blam hickity hack!
I'm gonna get that boy named Jack!
He now be living, but soon he'll roast!
I'll spread him with mustard and eat him on toast!
will delight young listeners and have them chanting along. This would be a great addition to a fractured fairy tale-themed storytime. After Jack (of the beanstalk fame) has killed his giant, he thinks he's home free...until his brother comes to avenge his brother's death! This book is great fun! The illustrations are great, too. Here's the description from the book: "The artwork for this book was prepared on 100" cotton vellum. The artist tinted both the front and back surfaces of the paper with a variety of media, including woodless pencils, inks, egg tempera, colored pencils, water-soluble crayon, and oils. The art was then drymounted on bristol board."
Overall, these were 3 great selections. I'm not really sure how to go about choosing my picture books. Last time, I just browsed, but I like a little more structure than that. I'll have to see if I can find some good recommended reading lists. I really want to focus on new (within the past 3 years or so) books.