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The PBs your kids 'really' like

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jonnyb

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Hi,  I have been reading countless PBs to my 2 year old son, some of them he loves, some he has no interest in.

One thing I have noticed is the books that I pick because I liked them are the ones he's not so keen on.  My tastes are for very contemporary illustration and subtle, sparse stories.

Here are a few of my son's favourites:  We're going on a bear hunt, Micheal Rosen; Little Beauty, Anthony Browne; Gobble gobble moo tractor book, Jez Albright. 

I'm just trying to figure out if a lot of the popular PBs today are really being sold to the parent - are kids really interested in them?  Maybe it's just not his taste or they are 'too old for him'?

Anyone any thoughts?  What type of PBs do your kids love?

Jonny
#1 - September 25, 2010, 06:00 AM

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Your son is still very young, so he's still learning to sit still and how books work, as well as figuring out what he likes.  My kids are much older now, so it's hard to remember back 15 years, but I used to have a stack of ten to fifteen books and by the time the oldest was three or so we could go through books for an hour or so.  Sometimes a younger one gets down and runs around, and then comes back.  All four of my kids are huge readers and I think it's because we always had scads of books in the house that they could choose from, going to the library was a Twice-Weekly Big Fun Event, and I read to them.

Unlike some book-loving parents, I gave up on reading to them pretty much as soon as they could read chapter books well for themselves.  There's part of me that regrets that but I did what I could at the time, and it doesn't seem to have kept any of them from reading voraciously.

The point of all that is that it's okay if your son doesn't like certain books right now.  Just provide a variety.

#2 - September 25, 2010, 06:19 AM
VAMPIRINA IN THE SNOW (Disney-Hyperion, 2018)
BUSY-EYED DAY (Beach Lane Books, 2018)
GROUNDHUG DAY (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)
among others

It looks like two of the books your son likes can be read with a beat or have a repeating refrain: Bear Hunt and Gobble Moo. Maybe he likes that feeling of beat or repetition.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom springs to mind. I'm sure the picture book gurus on the board can think of dozens of examples.

And I agree with Ann Marie - making a weekly trip to the library was a big event when my kids were little... sometimes we even stopped for ice cream:) Now they are book loving teens.

#3 - September 25, 2010, 06:55 AM

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My kids at that age adored books that had the refrain, as Christina mentioned.  Some popular read-to-shreds titles were:  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (and all the other ones in that series); Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox; Bear's Busy Family (I can't remember the author, pub by Barefoot Books); Goodnight Gorilla; Chicka Chicka Boom Boom; Good Night; anything by Eric Carle (Caterpillar and Busy Spider were two top faves).

I think kids at that age like to interact with the books, whether by actual, tactile interactions (lift-the-flaps, novelty books) or by being able to participate in the reading when that familiar refrain comes up.  They like the predictability of it, and are very proud of themselves when they know what's coming and what to say.  Patterns are important; my son adored any book that invited him to count something.

We still go to the library every week, and to keep the four of them behaved at dinner, I read aloud to them at that time in addition to before bed.  The two older ones have moved on to reading by themselves (Harry Potter, Wimpy Kid, as well as old favorite chapter books), but still love to listen to the picture books I read to the younger two.  In fact, I often have them do the reading aloud!

We have always been a "book" family, so our rooms overflow with them, all kinds.  I think letting kids pick for themselves is important, but to give them as many choices as you can.  And keep at it!
#4 - September 25, 2010, 07:18 AM

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jonnyb, I also feel that some of the books coming out now are aimed at parents rather than the children - I even recently posted a thread about the sparse words/design that you describe! I've noticed a trend of these types of books (which are not my favourite) and wondered the same as you. My daughter prefers what I call the 'old-school' style of picture book: detailed imagery, lots of good sounds, a beginning/middle/end plot and always, always a happy ending.
#5 - September 26, 2010, 07:18 PM

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I thought ALL PB's were aimed at parents. Little kids don't have money.
#6 - September 26, 2010, 10:10 PM

jonnyb

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haha good point wonky

franziska, can you post a link to your thread?

thanks all
#7 - September 27, 2010, 01:19 AM

At two year old, what my boys liked were Richard Scarry's THINGS THAT GO, Boynton's DOGGIES and other books where we could make car noises, animal noises, munching sounds, or sing: Wheels on the Bus, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. They also loved any book that had flaps to peek under or other manipulations.

Illustrations are important! Kids have amazing instincts for good (accurate) illustrations. The boy shown on my avatar, as a two-year-old, noticed if an illustration of a car "close-up" was missing its windshield wipers. "Mommy, where's the wiper? Where's the wiper?"

Some other beloved picture books at that age include: OWL BABIES; BIG RED BARN; GOOD NIGHT GORILLA; ARE YOU MY MOTHER?
#8 - September 27, 2010, 05:24 AM

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Oh, yes, hazelnut, I should've included Boynton books.  My kids read those ragged -- Red Hat, Green Hat (title?) was a particular favorite, but they loved 'em all (we had those 2 5-board-book box sets).
#9 - September 27, 2010, 09:40 AM

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Here you go:
http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=45518.0

I love some simple design-led illustrations too, but I was worrying that the more detailed style was being ignored as I just wasn't seeing much of it in the newer PBs.

Wonky, yes, we parents do wield the all-mighty wallet... but there are a lot of PBs in our library that I have definitely not chosen myself! Richard* the bloomin' great big annoying blue dog, for example (*names have been changed to protect the innocent.). I just don't enjoy reading those stories, but those are the ones my daughter sometimes picks out at the bookstore or the library. Then again, maybe I'm the only parent who is utterly bossed about by her three-year-old child!

Modified to add: when I wrote 'our library' above, I meant our own library at home! Just realized that it sounds like I'm dissing our local library which I am not. I would crumble and die without our library, which does have some Richard the big blue dog books but has a tonne of other, more fantastic books too!
#10 - September 27, 2010, 11:20 AM
« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 12:34 PM by Franziska »

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Why, Siski, whatever books are you talking about?   :snork  We have a zillion books in our library and sadly more than a few are ones I wouldn't have picked either, but sometimes you just gotta let the kid pick the book she wants.  I mean, in the end, isn't the reading the important thing?  For every  tiara-clad or backpack-wearing girl book we have, we have another of more, er, substance/skill.  Of course now we have no book-buying budget, so it's a weekly free-for-all at the library, and I'm happy we have such an awesome library with very smart librarians choosing the books to buy. 
#11 - September 27, 2010, 11:26 AM

mswatkins

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My son is 9 and he still loves the PARTS books. He is reading books on his age level, but he always goes back to those. I must admit, they are pretty darn funny.
#12 - September 27, 2010, 04:17 PM

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Oh, yes, hazelnut, I should've included Boynton books.  My kids read those ragged -- Red Hat, Green Hat (title?) was a particular favorite, but they loved 'em all

That Red Hat, Green Hat book was the first book one of my sons read to me at age 3 or 4. He was so proud!  :yup
#13 - September 29, 2010, 04:48 AM

jenniferfisher

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Mo Willems books...All the Elephant & Piggie books, as well as the Pigeon books, are wonderful. Their humor, simple plot, and fun emotions make a great read aloud for that set.
#14 - October 02, 2010, 06:44 PM

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I love to visit the 3-monthly sales my local library has. This is how the library offloads excess books, and they're just a dollar each. It gives me the opportunity to buy a wide assortment of picture books, and see what grabs my daughter's interest - fiction and non fiction, about people, the weather, animals, machines...whatever! I once bought three copies of the same book because it looked so wonderful (by Shaun Tan). Then I gave the extras to friends with kids.
#15 - October 03, 2010, 06:10 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink

www.juliemurphybooks.com

Thanks, JennaWren, for the insightful comments about repetition and interaction. I never thought about it before. I always thought kids picked books because they were interested in the story or liked the pictures.   Goes to show I don't know nuthin'.   :blackcat
#16 - October 04, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Well, certainly the pictures go a long way, for sure!!  That's why books  like the Boynton ones or Willem ones (and a gazillion others) are perennial favorites -- the kids who can't yet read pick them up and want to bring them home.  But the ones they ask for night after night often have the features I mentioned before.   :smile


Ooo, Julie, love the dollar sales!
#17 - October 04, 2010, 04:17 PM

My daughter's (just turned 3 in Aug) current favorites are:

Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord (EVERY night)
Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Too Purply
Too Pickly

I think she likes them because they're fun, ask for her involvement and/or have some repetition to them so she can "read" them herself.
#18 - October 05, 2010, 02:49 PM

Forgive me, jonnyb, for stealing your thread for a second, but I have a question.
If 2 and 3-year-olds like interaction/involvement and repetition, then what do the 4-6 year olds like in a PB?
(I'm ashamed to say I have no kids to ask.)
-- Laura
#19 - October 05, 2010, 11:40 PM
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at ages 18 mos.-3ish, my kidlet was all about interactive books. Some favorites were:

That's Not My Monster (Usborne touchy feely books) - lots of different textures. This was a HUGE favorite for about 2-3 years (she got it on her 1st birthday).
Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet (Dr. Suess) - lots of textures to feel
Wo steckst du, Kätzchen? (Where are you hiding little cat?)http://www.amazon.de/Wo-steckst-Kätzchen-Antje-Flad/dp/381573116X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1286389142&sr=1-1 (by Antje Flad - I love her illustrations - in my next life I want to be able to draw like her!) - this has a different interaction on every page - levers to pull, flaps to lift, etc. while the dog looks for his friend the cat who is hiding.

The kidlet also had three of these puzzle books by Melanie Mitchell. http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Baby-Safari-Touch-Jigsaws/dp/0802780644/ref=pd_sim_b_4
They were great - a brief text on one side of the page, and a two piece puzzle (one each of the mother and baby animals) that were velvety to touch on the opposite page. However she lost interest in these at about 3ish for some reason.

Non-interactive books that she liked a lot were these two (in German)- they talk about what the "toddler" aged animals can do all by themselves (get dressed, help put away the toys, drink milk from a cup, brush teeth, etc.)  My rough translations of the titles are in parenthesis.
Hase Möhrchen ist schon gross (Rabbit Möhrchen Is So Big) http://www.amazon.de/Hase-Möhrchen-ist-schon-groß/dp/340108934X/ref=sr_1_51?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286389023&sr=1-51
Was Entchen Milli alles kann (Everything Ducky Milly Can Do) http://www.amazon.de/Was-Entchen-Milli-alles-kann/dp/3401089331/ref=sr_1_96?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286389065&sr=1-96

Big Bear, Little Bear by David Bedford has been unique - she loved it as a small thing (we bought it when she was 1 year old) because of the velvety feel to the bears. The first copy was a casualty to reading in the crib after waking up, so we bought a second one which she still loves (age 6) because of the story. Little Bear is thinking about what it will be like to be grown up, so Mama Bear shows him, but then tells him not to grow up too fast - he's just right the way he is right now. The message really resonates with her because she is in that phase of realising she will be an adult one day and has lots of questions about what it is like to be grown up.

great thread!
#20 - October 06, 2010, 11:50 AM
« Last Edit: October 06, 2010, 11:53 AM by EL »
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taradawn

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There are a few picture books I really love because they are so lovely...I even end up tearing while reading them. My kids look at me like "What's wrong with you, Mommy?" Examples include MELISSA PARKINGTON'S BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL HAIR, THE ORANGE SHOES, and THE MOST THANKFUL THING. They like those books just fine, but they aren't favorites.

But I also like to read funny, quirky books. That's what they love. (Although there is a particular book that makes me turn it upside down several times while reading that drives me a little nuts. The kids like that novelty about it, though.)

My almost-four-year-old loves the BING books by Ted Dewan. The illustrations are retro-inspired (with mid-century furniture, lava lamps and such), and colorful. The main character is Bing bunny and he has a stuffed sidekick named Flop. The books are small in size so she can easily hold them, plus they have a lot of repetition so she can join in. Every BING book also starts the same way: "Round the corner, not far away, Bing begins another day" and they end similarly: "It's a Bing thing."

She also really likes Sandra Boynton books. Like others mentioned, BLUE HAT, GREEN HAT was the first book she "read" all by herself.

My 7 1/2 year-old likes just about anything that's funny. Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Carolyn Crimi, Laurie Keller, Lauren Child and Tedd Arnold are her favorite PB authors.

I work at the school library and Arnold's FLY GUY series (easy readers) are hugely popular among the K-2nd graders.
#21 - October 29, 2010, 02:48 PM
« Last Edit: October 29, 2010, 02:56 PM by taradawn »

jenniferfisher

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Hey Laura_6,
My kids are 5 & 6, but since they used to be 4, I can qualify to answer your question  :smile
They love humorous books that entertain on all levels, including irony and tongue-in-cheek (with some explanation). Some of these are Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rosoff and Swamp Angel by Anne Isaacs…just to name a few. They love slap stick too. But some books excel at writing on both levels, and when I'm reading aloud get more into it, perhaps my reaction is contagious.
#22 - October 29, 2010, 03:37 PM

shoniker

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Thought I would chime in from an educational perspective.  I am a literacy coach and train teachers in Pre-K through middle school. 

Jonny- I think you have gotten lots of really great advice here, as well as tons of great titles to try with your son. 

Jenna- you hit it on the mark!  At that age, kids are learning about langauge and how it works.  They love to play with words and be silly.  Look how successful Dr. Seuss stories are.  The words roll off your tongue- like a song- and if he didn't have the right word, he just made one up.  Little kids love stories with rhyme and repetition.  Since they are pre-readers, they know what to expect and can join in with the story.  Of course the surprise ending or change in the pattern is great too. (Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a great example and lots more have been mentioned)

Another great series I would like to add is "A Box of Treats" by Kevin Henkes.
My son loves these.  He started really 'looking' at them at age 3 and now 'reads' them (he's 5 but has an unusually SHORT attention span).  They are short but sweet stories and he comes back to them over and over.  Happy reading Jonnyb & son & everyone
 :study

#23 - October 29, 2010, 05:53 PM

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Forgive me, jonnyb, for stealing your thread for a second, but I have a question.
If 2 and 3-year-olds like interaction/involvement and repetition, then what do the 4-6 year olds like in a PB?
(I'm ashamed to say I have no kids to ask.)
-- Laura


At 4, my kidlet liked books with lots of rhyme/good rhythm to the writing. For example, Green Eggs and Ham (dr. Seuss) and Goodnight Sweet Butterflies. And she loved (and still does) books that talk about how much the parent loves the child, like Mama Do You Love Me by Barbara M Joosse/Illustrated by the fabulous Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee, Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, and Mama Loves You by Caroline Stutson and John Segal (rhyming text, along with the parent loving the child theme).

Other than that, she has had a lot of books that were versions of videos she knew, or further adventures of those characters, etc.  :embarrassed2

All this is may be of limited value because we're not living in the US, so I have no idea how her tastes compare to other 5 or 6 year olds. Also she's reading at about the 3rd/4th grade level (according to the tools suggested to me by the wonderful blue boarders  :thankyou) so the books we have on hand may be atypical for her age. Because we don't have access to a library with books in English, we have only what we have ordered online, and she's thrilled with whatever we buy, just because it's a new book for her to read.

ETA: How could I have forgotten?! Beatrix Potter - especially, for some reason, the tale of Samuel Whiskers. Oh my, the number of times we have read that. And we still make "dear little muffins" together (as the kidlet likes to call them  :D).
#24 - November 02, 2010, 11:40 AM
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 12:30 PM by EL »
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EL - Thanks for you two cents - I think that was a whole nickel's worth.  :dr  You're in the same position I'm in. I live at the end of the world (not really, only Egypt, but sometimes it feels like the end of the world), and I have no access to English books. 

I believe I have gone wrong in my PB ms by not making a repetitive stanza, like a refrain. Hm. I'll have to think one up.

Thanks again for everyone's input. Great thread, jonnyb!  :paint
#25 - November 04, 2010, 12:51 AM
Soul Cutter ~ YA Horror/Romance (MuseItUp Publishing Dec 2013)
Blog: http://lexacain.blogspot.com/

I wanted to bump up this thread because I've just stumbled on a list of books that my kids *love* to hear over and over and I like reading. ;) (my kids are 3, 5, and 10 and all listen to pbs) So I wanted to post them here:

1) Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Sczieska
2) Squids Will Be Squids (same author) - maybe my favorite book ever - more a collection of modern fables
3) Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
4) How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen (and all the sequels)
5) No David! by David Shannon

#26 - May 29, 2011, 06:21 PM
Robin

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My daughter is 5, and she has really always preferred the longer PB's that have lots of details.  Story picture books, I guess?  Every time I read her one of the shorter PB's, she complains, "Why was that so short?"  Anything under 500 words bugs her!
#27 - June 19, 2011, 02:06 PM
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lousears

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Katie - I'm with your daughter.  I just wish publishers were interested in the longer picture books.  Seems like everyone I hear at SCBWI conferences talks about keeping picture books under 700 words and even prefer 500-700.  It's very difficult to give many details when you're limited to so few words.  I'm a Reading Specialist in an elementary school and I use picture books with a variety of ages.  I use Patricia Polacco books such as "Chicken Sunday" and "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs" by Scieszka to teach voice in Writer's Workshop and the kids (yes, even big kids) love them. Lou S.
#28 - June 19, 2011, 04:22 PM

mirandapaulbooks

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My son is 2, and my daughter is 5 (and independently reading).  So I've got a lot of knowledge on this topic!

My son likes books with sounds, rhyme, and repetition.  Illustrations that are bright!  Under 500 words keeps his attention.  Some favorites include Mark Teague's Firehouse, Sue Heap's Baby Bill and Little Lil, Dig Dig Digging and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

My daughter, on the other hand, likes reading quite a mix of things.  In the last year, especially, she's really changed her focus and she likes longer books.  She can sit through 1000+ word books, and sometimes prefers them when being read to.  Some of her favorites are The Rose in My Garden by Anita Lobel, Harold and the Purple Crayon (we have 2 collections, each with 4 stories), The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (the first story that didn't have a happy ending in her opinion, and sparked a discussion which I enjoyed), and Stink Soup by Jill Esbaum.  Independently, she's really into leveled readers because it gives her confidence.  I'm noticing more and more that she picks books based on the cover and title - anything with princesses or butterflies is of interest lately!

In our household, we have more than 150 children's books on the shelf.  We visit the library weekly and we also have digital eBook tablets and readers.  As far as digital books, the kids liked an app called ReadMeStories and one called TouchyBooks.  After awhile, though, they got bored with them - perhaps because the pictures weren't as detailed and large as actual books?  But they do go back and forth between the two types on occasion.
#29 - June 22, 2011, 08:47 AM

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My daughter's (just turned 3 in Aug) current favorites are:

Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord (EVERY night)
Rhyming Dust Bunnies
Too Purply
Too Pickly

I think she likes them because they're fun, ask for her involvement and/or have some repetition to them so she can "read" them herself.

Awww! Just saw this. Thanks for the shout-out.
#30 - June 22, 2011, 01:25 PM
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