Let’s start with The Blizzard by Betty Ren Wright, a tale with a 4.1-star rating on Goodreads. Oh oh! The children at our local day care don’t consult Goodreads . . . and they didn’t choose The Blizzard until I placed it between two books we’d already read.
Why not? I think because the cover depicts people in a blizzard. There’s plenty of action here, but not much color. Once we got into the story (which I told rather than read as most of the children were a bit young for it), they were very interested in the pictures–so much so that I had to keep telling one little girl not to block the others’ view. Indeed, it’s a sweet tale about the best birthday party ever for a boy we thought wasn’t going to have a party at all.
The librarian had recommended Kitten’s Spring for the toddlers, but I rejected it because it had no lift-the-flap pictures and, to my mind, not much of a story. Tina retrieved it from my reject pile, drawn by the pretty yellow cover with a spotted kitten, ruby-throated hummingbird, monarch butterfly, ladybug, buttercups . . . Tina told me the children would find the book exciting. And she was right.
I read the pretty spring poem to the toddlers and they croaked with the frog, clucked with the hen, scratched with the little chick, and one little girl took up the challenge of trying to wink like the little calf.
Even Bad Dog, Marley! worked with the toddlers when I told the story rather than read it. It seems that a dog drinking from the toilet has universal appeal. A little girl joined me in growling “Bad dog, Marley!” until we got to the end where (spoiler coming!) Marley saved the baby and took his rightful place with the family.
I also recommend Hug by Jez Alborough for toddlers. In just three different words (“hug” is repeated 25 times), the children accompanied a little chimp in his quest to find love.
Back to my book cover (please see the July 5 post), what do you think of the red Coralie chose for Tina’s dress and the book title? My granddaughter Tina chose orange for Katie Kat.
Come to think of it, if you’re a little kid, how else are you going to judge a book but by its cover?