Barb’s Reading Roundup

Guess what! Stitching for Literacy has two children’s book professionals guest-blogging during the 2010 Bookmark Challenge. They’ve chosen some of their favorite books to share with us.

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Adam Rex

Billy Twitters’ parents threaten a singularly unusual punishment when he doesn’t clean his room, brush his teeth, finish his peas. And now Billy’s got a singularly unusual problem. He’s got a blue whale. And you thought being a dog-owner came with responsibilities. Try taking your blue whale to the park. Or playing with your blue whale. Or feeding your blue whale forty pounds of krill siphoned through ten-thousand-gallon mouthfuls of sea water.

Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem is a terrifically entertaining picture book, with its wildly absurd situation and hilariously droll illustrations, all wrapped around enough blue whale facts to satisfy–and pique the interest of–any young cetacean enthusiast. Both Barnett and Rex get the school-age kid and grade school classroom details just right, and the dead-pan Billy–not to mention the equally dead-pan blue whale–is the perfect anti-hero. A perfect read aloud, read along, or read alone for five to seven year old boys–and girls. (Bonus: Don’t miss the tongue-in-cheek, salty sea-dog advertisements under the dust jacket and on the endpapers!)

(Bonus #2: If you’ve got a young shark-lover at home, have a look around for Shark-Mad Stanley, by Griff. I heard tell that they made a TV show out of this, unfortunately, featuring Stanley mad about a number of other animals, but this original story was another fun, slightly absurd introduction to sea creatures, in this case sharks, as Stanley pines for a shark of his own instead of his little goldfish. And, while I think Billy is best for youngsters nearing or at school-age, Stanley is great for a younger crowd, too, say three to seven.)

Barb Weber has been a fan of children’s books all her life (she still has her copy of her favorite Golden Book, The Little Yellow Taxi, torn page and all, and it still chokes her up), and has been a children’s bookseller for over ten years. She likes nothing better than to share her enthusiasm and bring terrific books to people’s attention. And her sister-in-law, Jen, is finally making her do something about it for a wider audience.

Categories: Reading

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