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.
FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH
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?