Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Picture Books

We are reviewing our first picture book this week! So today, we'll tell you about our favorite picture books.

Extinct Alphabet Book

Jerry Pallotta was my hero in elementary school. He visited my school (and he still does school visits, according to his website) and I thought he was just the coolest. He was really popular for his alphabet books at the time, and he showed us a bunch of them, including The Extinct Alphabet Book, which I fell in love with.

I was a big fan of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures when I was a little kid, so this book really appealed to me. I also liked it because Pallotta's books treat kids more intelligently than the typical alphabet book. The entries - as I recall - were well written and informative, telling you some of the characteristics of the animals, or how they went extinct.

I particularly liked "C." He gives the example of the coelacanth, which was believed to be extinct, but turned out not to be. (They're referred to as "living fossils.") So then he gives another example for "C" because the coelacanth doesn't belong there! So fun!

Another awesome thing about The Extinct Alphabet Book is that there are no dinosaurs in it. It would be really easy to find a dinosaur for every letter of the alphabet and call it good, but he did a lot of work to find unique, non-dinosaur extinct animals for each letter.

And finally, his illustrator, Ralph Masiello, is really fun, too. He hides all sorts of little jokes in the illustrations of these books. Some of them are really obvious (there is one, I think it was for the sabre-toothed tiger or something like it, that is standing on a rock that is the shape of Jerry Pallotta's head, and has his face on the side). Some of them are more subtle. But he told us about some of them in his talk at the school, and that made me want to look for more of them!

You can order any of his books from his website, and ask for them to be autographed for no extra cost! (I know I have an autographed copy of The Extinct Alphabet Book somewhere, but I haven't laid a hand on it in years...)

So my book really doesn't have any literary value.  It's called My Good Morning Book by Eloise Wilkin.  It's really directed towards very young kids (about 2-4 years old) and teaches them about how to get ready in the morning.  All it really does is go through a small boy's morning routine.

He gets up, brushes his teeth and hair and gets dressed, and he puts on his shoes.  It was one of the first books I remember reading with my mom.  I would sit on her lap and she would read the whole story to me and I would look at all the pictures.

On the very last page, there's a pictures of the little boy playing in the backyard.  I used to sit and look at this page forever, refusing to let my mom close the book because I wanted to look at every singe thing on the page.

And then I would make her read it all over again.

The words are simple, the story even simpler, but considering the age group, it's an appropriate book.

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