Read-Aloud Favorites

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

I don’t often get a chance to read my library selections aloud to youngsters. Instead, I read most of my picture books silently, by myself.

As a result, most of my reviews of children’s picture books are based on, well, my own opinion of the books and how I think youngsters might respond.

But this last week, I had an opportunity to babysit for a couple of my favorite little ones–avid readers at age 4 and 2.

I brought along a selection of library books and we started reading them one by one. We’d gotten about halfway through my stack when they started asking for repeats (instead of continuing through.)

These three titles by Jim Aylesworth were the ones they wanted to hear again:

Children's books by Jim Aylesworth

Country Crossing tells the simple story of a railroad crossing in the nighttime country. All is quiet except for crickets chirping and an owl hooting. But the a car drives up and is stopped at the tracks. The train approaches and departs. The car starts up again and drives away. And the country returns to its quiet activity.

What makes this story unique and repeat read-aloud-able is its use of onomatopoeia and rhythmic language to give the listener a feel for the activity occurring as the car and then the train approach and recede. The illustrations by Ted Rand are old-timey and fairly realistic. I enjoyed reading this one out loud–and the children enjoyed listening and perusing its pages.

Little Bitty Mouse is an understated alphabet book that describes how a little mouse snuck into a house and explored a variety of the house’s contents. Every few pages, the story repeats the refrain

Tip-tip tippy tippy
Went her little mousie toes.
Sniff-sniff sniffy sniffy
Went her little mousie nose

The story is enjoyable, with a nice rhyme scheme and an unobtrusive alphabet element.

But the part that probably endeared it to the kids was the very end when the little bitty mousie hears a “ZZZZ” and goes to investigate. What she finds–a cat sleeping–frightens her, and she lets out a “Squeak!” (The four year old jumped every time I turned the page to see the cat and let out my own shrill pitched “Squeak!”)

Sweet Little Bitty Mousie,
Just as scared as scared can be,
Went run run run run running!
That was all she cared to see!

Jim Aylesworth’s Book of Bedtime Stories is a compilation of four stories. We started to read these a second time, but didn’t get all the way through due to the kids’ Mommy arriving home. So I’m not sure exactly what appealed; but, like the other two stories, these stories featured a pleasant rhythm and rhyme structure, fun onomatopoeia, and simple but engaging story lines.

These stories were a hit with a couple of kids–and this reader wasn’t complaining about the repeats!

Reading My LibraryFor more comments on children’s books, see the rest of my Reading My Library posts or check out Carrie’s blog Reading My Library, which chronicles her and her children’s trip through the children’s section of their local library.

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Reader Comments (1):

  1. Davene says:

    Thanks for the heads-up about these! I was able to reserve Country Crossing (and 9 other Aylesworth books) at my library, and I’ll pick them up on Wednesday. Little Bitty Mousie and the Bedtime Stories weren’t available, but we’ll have fun with the other ones, I’m sure. :)

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