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by Jim Trelease
• excerpts from The Treasury of Read-Alouds •
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The Treasury of Read-Alouds

PICTURE BOOKS page 2 of 3

These books represent a brief portion of the hundreds
cited in the print edition of The-Read-Aloud Handbook.

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown; Clement Hurd, illus.      Inf–Tod.      30 pages      Harper, 1947

This classic is based on a bedtime ritual, sure to be copied by every child who hears it. Also by the author: The Important Book; The Runaway Bunny; and Sailor Dog. Related bedtime books for infants and toddlers: Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell; Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman; How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen; Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest; Max’s Bedtime by Rosemary Wells; The Napping House by Audrey Wood; Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping by Julie Markes; and Sleep Tight, Little Bear by Martin Waddell.

Gossie (series)

by Olivier Dunrea Page    Gr. Inf-Tod    30 p.    Houghton, 2002    Board, Hardcover, eBook

It is rare for a book aimed at this age group to remain in print for a decade, and in three different formats: hardcover, paperback, and e-book. Gossie, like many of her siblings and companions, is a barnyard gosling, full of the same curiosity that all infants and toddlers have—except she has more freedom to explore her environment. The stories are simple—lost boot, favorite toys, eating, avoiding nap-time, etc.—with uncomplicated but luminous illustrations. in the books are a size that’s a perfect fit and weight for little hands. The humorous touch in both story and illustrations make the series a winner. Also in the series: Gossie and Gertie; Ollie; Ollie the Stomper; Boo Boo; Peedie; Gideon; and Gideon and Otto. Related title: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (p)

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel      PreS.-1      56 pages      Harcourt, 2005

This whimsical tale was born the day the authors’ watched a tennis ball roll into prairie-dog town. What would the dogs think it was? So they put themselves into the mind of those underground dogs confronted by a round lump of fuzz and just imagined. The result is a delightful romp that has many applications to human behavior—copycatting, greed, even early-warning signals. The large fold-out pages (which are not text-heavy) and brightly colored illustrations will make this a read-aloud standard for years. Try top have a tennis ball nearby when reading this book.

Henry’s Freedom Box (nonfiction)

by Ellen Levine; Kadir Nelson, Illus.    Gr. 2 and up   40 pages    Scholastic, 2007

By the start of the Civil War, more than 60,000 of the four million slaves in the U.S. has escaped to freedom, most via the Underground Railroad. But the most unusual route was that chosen by Henry Brown. Brown had just seen his wife and three children sold in the slave market and now he figured he had nothing left to lose. With the help of a white doctor and a black friend, he had himself stuffed into a wooden crate and then mailed 350 miles from Richmond to Philadelphia. This extraordinary journey, during which he could not stretch, sneeze, or even cough, took twenty-seven hours. Related books: Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend ; and Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson.

I Am So Strong

by Mario Ramos    Gr. Tod-K           28 pages      Gecko/Lerner, 2011

Give me a book with some good old-fashioned yelling in it, throw in a handful of  familiar characters like that wolf and Red Riding Hood and those three pigs, add a couple of dwarfs, and then round it off with a baby dinosaur and his HUGE mother. The end result is one terrific read-aloud. Related books: Beware of Boys by Tony Blundell; and King Hugo’s Huge Ego by Chris Van Dusen.

Ira Sleeps Over

by Bernard Waber      K–6      48 pages       Houghton, 1972

This is a warm, sensitive, and humorous look at a boy’s overnight visit to his best friend’s house, centering on the child’s quandary whether or not to bring his teddy bear. It makes for lively discussion about individual sleeping habits, peer pressure, and the things we all hold on to—even as grown-ups. In the sequel, Ira Says Goodbye, the two best friends experience a childhood pain when Reggie moves away. Waber is also the author of the popular Lyle the Crocodile series that begins with The House on East 88th Street and Evie & Margie, about two female best friends. Related books: Corduroy by Don Freeman; I Lost My Bear by Jules Feiffer; Mirabelle by Astrid Lindgren; and Where’s My Teddy? by by Jez Alborough.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse

by Kevin Henkes      PreS.–1      30 pages      Greenwillow, 1996

Few writers for children have as firm a grip on the pulse of childhood as does Kevin Henkes. His mice-children experience all the joys and insecurities of being a kid, but he manages to maintain a light touch throughout his stories. In this case, Lilly loves school and her teacher—until the day her antics distract the class and the teacher must temporarily confiscate her precious new plastic purse. Shattered, she’s uncertain how to handle this small rebuke and seeks ways to show her hurt. With the help of her family, Lilly overcomes her embarrassment and hasty behavior, writes an apology, and soars on the good feelings that come from doing the right thing. Lilly also stars in: Lilly’s Big Day; Chester’s Way; and Julius, the Baby of the World. Related book: Rotten Teeth by Laura Simms.

Mighty Jackie (nonfiction)

by Marissa Moss; C. F. Payne, Illus.      Gr. 1-4      36 pages      Simon & Schuster, 2004

In March, 1931, Jackie Mitchell's dream was finally going to come true: Jackie would get a chance to show the world's greatest hitters that a 17-year-old could throw a mighty mean curveball. All those barnyard practice throws would finally come to something and not just against any team — against the mighty New York Yankees, led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, coming through Tennessee on a spring barnstorming tour. So when Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe and Lou in succession while pitching for the Chattanooga Lookouts, there was considerable excitement— and not just because Jackie was 17 years old. The bigger story was that Jackie Mitchell was a girl! In this wonderful retelling, Moss and C. F. Payne bring to life a little-known but true story in American sport. How it remained buried all these years is a wonder. Related books: Girl Wonder by Deborah Hopkinson; Mama Played Baseball by David A. Adler and Players in Pigtails by Shana Coreyon; and Daredevil: The Daring Life of Betty Skelton by Meghan McCarthy. For a list of outstanding sports picture books, see sports.

My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers (nonfiction)

by Christine King Farris; Chris Soenpiet , illus.      Gr. 1 - 5      30 pgs      Simon & Schuster, 2003

One unfortunate aspect of heroes and icons is that we put them on such high pedestals, they’re out of children’s reach and thus children will find little of themselves in our heroes. Not a good thing. So along comes Christine King Farris, older sister of Martin Luther King. Jr., who regrets the loss of both her brother and those things that made him human. Thankfully, she has put her memories down in this fine little narrative, the events of one family's childhood years that molded, inspired, entertained, and sometimes frightened its three children—the human things we seldom find in the history books but that make heroes real to children. For more books about the Civil Rights movement, see Goin' Someplace Special.

Other recommended biographies: The Boy Who Drew Birds: The Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies; Eleanor (Eleanor Roosevelt) by Barbara Cooney; Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull; Joe Louis: America’s Fighter by David A. Adler; Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome; Roberto Clemente by Jonah Winter; and You’re on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt by Judith St. George.

High-Scoring Sports Picture Books
  • America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by Terry Widener
  • The Babe and I by David A. Adler
  • Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuk
  • Casey at the Bat by Ernest Thayer (C. F. Payne, illus.)
  • Casey Back at Bat by Dan Gutman
  • Eddie, Harold’s Little Brother by Ed Koch and Pat Koch Thaler
  • The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
  • Joe Lewis: America’s Fighter by David A. Adler
  • Jump! From the Life of Michael Jordan by Floyd Cooper
  • Major Taylor: Champion Cyclist by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Mighty Jackie by Marissa Moss
  • Mudball by Matt Tavares
  • Oliver's Game by Mattt Tavares
  • Play Ball! by Jorge Posada w/ R. Burleigh
  • Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey
  • Roberto Clemente by Jonah Winter
  • Satchel Paige by Lesa Cline-Ransome
  • Shoeless Joe & Black Betsy by Phil Bildner
  • Shooting for the Moon (Annie Oakley) byStephen Krensky
  • Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson Against the Odds by Robert Burleigh
  • Teammates by Peter Golenbock

Picture Books:  p.1   p.2   p.3
Short Novels :  p.1   p.2   p.3
  Novels:  p.1   p.2   p.3   p.4 Anthologies:  p.1 Fairy & Folk Tales :  p.1  Poetry:  p.1


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