Each month we share a list of the books that have been on our reading list—old books, new books, books we’ve borrowed, and books we’ve purchased. This month we read some very special picture books and learned why a certain novel won the Newbery Medal. Out of curiosity, I checked a board book out from the library this month and I was not disappointed.
Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals
Balderdash by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
We are pretty much obsessed with nonfiction picture books by Michelle Markel, so we were tickled when Chronicle Books sent us Balderdash! Markel, who wrote other favorites like Hillary Clinton: Some Girls are Just Born to Lead, Brave Girl, and the Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, is a master at making nonfiction tons of fun for kids (just look at those happy faces on the cover). Balderdash! is the story of John Newbery and the birth of children’s literature. It begins with a welcome for young booklovers:
“This books for you. Every page, every word, and even its letter are designed for your pleasure. Lucky, lucky reader. Be glad it’s not 1726.”
There weren’t always books designed to make children laugh and help them learn. Until John Newbery came along, kids’ reading choices were limited to religious texts and didactic fables. If you don’t know why one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature is named after John Newbery, pick up this new title and snuggle up with your lucky reader.
Don’t Cross the Line by Bernardo Carvalho
Don’t Cross the Line was new to us on loan from the library, but was published in late 2016 by Gecko Press. A soldier has strict orders from the general: DO NOT LET ANYONE ON THE RIGHTHAND PAGE OF THIS BOOK. The people are outraged! How will they ever make it through the story? As a crowd grows and voices its displeasure, a child’s stray ball slowly dribbles onto the blank page. What happens next makes the soldier a hero and leaves the general with quite a mess to clean up. The busy illustrations allow you to read this book often and notice something new every time. The girls love discussing the cast of characters depicted on the endpapers.