Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge: Valentine's Day

Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story
written by Kara LaReau, pictures by Scott Magoon
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59643-483-7
32 p.
Grades K-3
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURB: Mr. Prickles was not a particularly friendly fellow. He was tough to get close to . . . because he was a porcupine.
"You're not cute like us," said Raccoon.
"Or cuddly like us," said Chipmunk.
"Or playful like us," said Skunk.
"I am," said Mr. Prickles. "On the inside."
Poor Mr. Prickles was very lonely-until the day he met Miss Pointypants. Could she be the perfect prickly companion for moonlit strolls and midnight feasts? Was love in the air for even the sharpest of sorts?
I read this book to a group of kindergarteners.  I enjoyed it and I think they enjoyed it as well.  But it's not one of my favorites.  It didn't have as much humor as I expected.  In addition, the puns pretty much go over the head of young children.  Even older elementary students don't always understand puns.  The kindergarten teachers enjoyed the puns though.  I did think that the book is a good lead in to discussions of unkindness and anger issues.  Mr. Prickles gets really angry when the other animals exclude him because he is different.  It isn't until he meets Miss Pointypants that he begins to realize that letting others determine how he feels leads to unhappiness. I did find the illustrations expressive and appealing and the story does point out how nice a friendship with the right person can be.  And every time I read Miss Pointypants name I felt like giggling.  Overall, a nice read-a-loud.

Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story
written by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Janie Bynum
Little, Brown and Company, 2006
ISBN: 0-316-00090-6
32 p.
Grades K-3
Reviewed from personal copy.
BLURB: Cushion the porcupine and Barb the hedgehog, the adorable pair from "Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story," are back for another adventure. Barb loves to dance, but Cushion has two left feet, and usually ends up prickling someone with his quills. How will he ever learn to dance?
I really enjoy reading anything by Lisa Wheeler.  She just manages to capture childlike humor so perfectly.  Her books also have a good deal of expression and rhythm which makes them fun to read out loud.  I especially like this book, maybe because like Cushion, I'm a bit of a klutz. Cushion tries to find someone to teach him to dance so he can dance with his good friend, Barb, but no matter how hard he tries he keeps injuring his dance instructors.  In the end though Cushion finds the perfect teacher and learns to dance.  

I read this book with a group of kindergartners who enjoyed the book.  When we got to the part with the Hokey Pokey, the students eagerly joined in on the few lines from the song.  If I had had more time, I would have put on the music and actually danced (I don't think the kindergarten teachers would have appreciated my getting the students all hyped up however). A fun book for sharing, one of my all time favorites.

Stop Kissing Me!
written and illustrated by Ethan Long
Little, Brown and Company, 2007
ISBN13: 9780316001434
32 p.
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy. 

BLURB: In this hilarious sound chip book, a pet poodle is disgusted when the duck gives her a friendly kiss. Despite her pleas for him to stop, the duck keeps the kisses coming, until the poodle decides to give the duck a taste of his own medicine. With a kissing sound chip that makes the sound of a big smackaroo, this animal pair will provide endless giggles for kids and adults alike.
The kindergartners that I read this book to loved it.   The juicy kisses both illustrated and auditory made the kids giggle.  While there isn't much character development or plot here, it makes for a fun read and could lead to discussions on appropriate displays of affection and the importance of respecting other people's boundaries.  But mostly the book is just silly and fun.

Read to Me Picture Book Update:

Growing Level: 21 of 120 completed.

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