Understanding the narrative is an important skill your toddler needs to learn to read, but sometimes talking about the book as you read it can be a challenge. How do you ask questions without interrupting the flow of the story? How do you encourage your child to guess what happens next? Don’t worry, I am here to help!
Check out these two books by Jon Klassen; This is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back. There’s an obvious underlying hat theme going on, and what kid doesn’t love hats? In the first story, a little fish has stolen a big fish’s hat. In the second one, a bear searches for his lost hat. Both stories have important lessons about stealing, and they’re both amusing (I checked with my nephews, the books are definitely funny), but the best part is how easy it is to talk about the narrative. Every page is an opportunity for questions. Both books are written in a conversational style that’s very engaging. The illustrations are eye-catching. Both books are open-ended, which allows your preschooler to tell you what happens! Your child will be guessing what happens next long before you turn the last page.
Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library
Alice learns the importance of saying “please” as well as that this magical word will not lead to everything she wants.
Please, Papa by Kate Banks, illustrated by Gabi Swiatokowska and Wait! Wait! By Hatsue Nakawaki , illustrated by Komako Sakai are two charming new picture books that celebrate imaginative play and playful interactions between young children and parents. Please , Papa even gently encourages good manners.
Both books have large text, and simple, evocative language that invites the most important feature of read aloud time – conversation about the stories. Children and adults will certainly want to talk about the slightly surreal, stylized illustrations in Please, Papa. The images of the little Alice and her parents look like paper dolls cut out from a turn of the century prints and on one page a small dog, a bat on what might be an owl, hang upside down from the top of the page. Alice is pretending to have a farm and is reminded to say “please” as she requests various animals. When Papa is tired of being her horse, a frowning Alice is convinced to give her horse a rest when he in turn, uses the magic word please.
Wait! Wait! follows a small child as he encounters various neighborhood animals on the sidewalk – a butterfly, a lizard, pigeons, cats – they all fly, wiggle or leap away. But when he is scooped up and placed on his father’s shoulders, the exploration of the park continues. “Here we go!”
Recommended by: Mary Sullivan, Decatur Branch
Song-like rhyming text invites readers to guess what different components add up to. For example, a secret’s part whisper, part keeping mum, and a certain kind of fruit is part peach and part plum (a nectarine).
A book that combines rhyme with reason, shapes with colors, and with great word play? That is hard to find. This picture book also has surprise fold-out parts! The description in the inner cover describes it this way: “Just like dancing is part step and part swing, when you put parts together you get a new thing!” This book also offers plenty of opportunities for an interactive storytime.
Recommended by: Joseph Fox, Wayne Branch Library