Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Recommendations: Featuring Rather Less Kissing and Rather More Pictures

In today's edition of Books Kiersten Recommends, I'm actually spotlighting Books Kiersten's Kids Recommend. And, since my kids have impeccable taste (naturally!), hopefully your kids (and you) will enjoy these as well.

Nayna recommends:

The Babymouse Series

Stephanie Perkins, fine connoisseur of all things wonderful in writing, has been recommending this series of graphic novels for my seven-year-old for ages, and of course she was right. The storytelling is delightful--a central plot populated by Babymouse's hilarious flights of fancy. The writing is sleek, the pictures simple but expressive. I love sitting by Nayna as she reads (and re-reads) and letting her point out all her favorite visual gags. The world owes Jennifer and Matthew Holm's parents a debt of gratitude for not stopping at just one child.

Nayna also adores Dave Roman's ASTRONAUT ACADEMY and Ursula Vernon's DRAGONBREATH series. Both are excellent; the bonus of Babymouse is that there are already sixteen books out.

I really love these fun, funny, completely age appropriate graphic novels. They have the movement and sustained plots of longer books but with so much more visual engagement. Nayna loves reading, writing, and drawing, and these are the perfect books to feed those interests.

Dojo recommends:


We're big Adam Rex fans in our house. Dojo's one request for a prize on my last trip was FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH. It didn't disappoint. The poems are delightful and ridiculous, and the paintings are varied and charming and filled with enough humor for beginning-reader Dojo to appreciate even when he can't read all the words. I read it in the car on the way back from Phoenix and forced Shannon Messenger, my travel companion, to listen to most of the poems read aloud. They're that funny. I can't tell you how much I appreciate books for children that are also entertaining to read aloud.

I've talked about GUESS AGAIN, a collaboration between Mac Barnett and Adam Rex, on this blog before. It's in my top five picture books of all time, just for the sheer joy of watching my kids first get mad that it defied their rhyming expectations, and then laugh their heads off. (Even better was hearing them try to explain the book to other people. "But it wasn't a mouse! It was a VIKING! How could he live in the walls??")

Speaking of Barnett and Rex and brilliant combinations of brains, they have another book coming out. Here's the trailer. Tell me you don't want to read it:

I got to hang out a bit with Adam this weekend at the Changing Hands' YAllapalooza party. It's always nice when artists and authors whose work you adore turn out to be just as cool in person. Once you got past his five bodyguards, of course. He's kind of a big deal--he has a book coming out with Neil Gaiman, after all. His bodyguards were also lovely people, in case you were wondering, though I would have preferred fewer concealed weapons at a library event.

I had to wait in line five hours to get this picture. Honestly, these rockstar author-illustrators--and the paparazzi! It was insane.

(Unnecessary parenthetical: I am lying. Though that's how it OUGHT to be. And no bodyguards, though apparently his mom has mad skills with a bowie knife. But only versus dinosaurs.)

(Further shockingly necessary parenthetical: You know my kids aren't actually named Nayna and Dojo, right? Because...yeah.)

(Though of course my husband's driver's license says Hot Stuff.)

Speaking of Mac Barnett, his newest picture book EXTRA YARN with Jon Klassen is getting all sorts of starred reviews (as well as hitting the NYT Bestseller list). I'm getting it for my kids for Valentine's Day. Nothing says love like books!

So, tell me: If you have kids, what are they reading? And what are your favorite books to read aloud to them?


megwrites said...

We love Babymouse books!
And I just blogged about Guess Again yesterday :). Those guys are the rockstars of the children's book world. And you too, of course!

Jackie's Little World said...

Our kids love Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich! My 3 year old picked it out a few years ago around Halloween, and we've all loved it! Although at the time he was equal parts scared and obsessed with the Phantom :-)

Melanie Fowler said...

We like the berenstien bear books (I know I didn't spell that right!)

We also love mother goose nursery rhymes and a book called THE POPCORN SHOP by alice low....best book ever...seriously!

Kathryn @ Clean Teen Fiction said...

My 3 year old's favorite for this week is I'm a Truck Driver by Jonathan London. The boy loves trucks! :)

tamir said...

I'm trying to find a series for my 6 year old that I love. But some just get boring after a few books. Some have overboard annoying bullies, some are a bit overly scary for a 6 year old, some use awkward wording and you wish you could like the book more...but if only the author would write "normal". And some don't use the nicest words, such as sissy.
Anyway, as for picture books, I love Woolbur. Mo Willems books are great too.

Alysa said...

I *adore* Babymouse.

A picture book I really loved just recently was Cinnamon Baby, I reviewed it on my book blog: http://everead.blogspot.com/2011/09/cinammon-baby.html

One I love and haven't reviewed is Nursery Rhyme Comics. So. Creative. So Perfect for all ages!

Stephanie Perkins said...

YAY! Auntie Steph is *always* right. ;-)

Kiersten White said...

You were ALSO the first to recommend Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich! ALWAYS ALWAYS right!

Kate said...

One I've found very popular with my six year old girl is "Fancy Nancy" which I adore as well and love to read a loud, good thing too since she's had it read a loud to her so many times she has it memorized. And "Birdie's Big Girl Dress" (which she also has memorized). Another that my eight year old boy enjoys is "Diary of a Worm" and "Diary of a Spider", I'm getting him "Diary of a Fly" for his birthday, because he has been wanting to read it ever since he found out it existed and he could. :)

Myrna Foster said...

The Elephant and Piggie books, by Mo Willems, are pretty awesome.

Helen Peters said...

Great post. I'm in England so a lot of the books don't cross the pond, but I would so recommend Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's books - The Gruffalo, for example. Very clever and funny rhyming texts, great to read aloud, and gorgeous illustrations. Also everything by super-talented and witty writer/illustrator Lauren Child.

Becky Wallace said...

I thought we owned all of Adam Rex's books. Going to amazon now!! <3

Jo Schaffer said...

My boys are reading Fablehaven and Harry Potter lately.

When they were little I read the Little House On the Prairie series to them. (= They liked it!

LauraN said...

My kids are much older than yours (current books--Pride and Prejudice--for AP English, and Harry Potter et le coupe de feu--to entertain while improving French) but recently even they have enjoyed Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby, Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey, and Press Here by Herve Tullet. When I find a good picturebook, everyone has to read it.

Aimee said...

Two of my very favorite new to me kid reads from last year were Zita the Spacegirl (graphic novel for kids)by Ben Hatke and Zorgamazoo (280 pages written completely in rhyme. no kidding. it's amazing and funny) by Robert Paul Weston. If you haven't seen these books, you should check them out.

Oh, and read them while eating chocolate. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. :)

Kristen said...

My older boys will sit and read Mo Willems to my toddler for very-nearly-hours on end, which makes me incredibly happy and grateful. My 8 year old is into Big Nate and Bad Kitty, and Pokemon manga (natch). The 11 year old has FINALLY gotten into the Harry Potter books, and can't put them down. He's also a fan of the Dragonbreath books and Rick Riordan.