This week as we lead up to Halloween, (or maybe you celebrate Día de los Muertos!) We’ve really enjoyed many evenings of reading Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis. This book really highlights the delight of picking a pumpkin and the creative enjoyment of making it into a jack-o’-lantern. Toht shows us how fun it can be to form a pumpkin carving crew and to how to get elbows deep into the guts and seeds of a pumpkin.
The illustrations by Jarvis are super, spooky fun without being actually frightening, in case you have some sensitive readers. The rhyming text is also really quality writing and never got old to me, even though we read this many times!
For example, “Lift your pumpkin up with pride. March it to a place outside. Set it safely on the ground, and call the crew to gather round. Ask someone to strike a match. Watch! The candle’s wick will catch. See it glow outside your door. LOOK! It’s not a pumpkin anymore. It’s a… Jack-o’-lantern!” When you turn the page and see the beautifully illustrated jack-o’-lantern, we smiled with glee each time. This book is great Halloween fun, I hope you enjoy it!
This week, Zeke and I want to shout-out one of our very favorite Dalov Ipcar books: Hard Scrabble Harvest! As someone who grew up on a vegetable farm, I can relate to this wonderful book which playfully describes the joys and challenges of growing and harvesting food in New England.
One of my favorite pages reads, “Grapes on the arbor. Apples on the trees. Gather the tomatoes before they freeze. Bring in the apples. It’s cider-making time. Fatten up the turkey. Fatten up the swine.” It’s just really wonderful and relatable rhyming text paired with the marvelous Ipcar illustrations. Definitely find a copy of this one to pick up before Thanksgiving, if that’s a holiday you celebrate! And then stop by and admire the other Ipcar books we have on display near the children’s room. Happy reading!
My shout out this week is a really fun interactive book called Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. Since the trees outside are changing their colors, it’s a great opportunity to talk with children about the cycle of seasons and how trees change throughout the year. It’s a great book to read at bedtime or outside on a nice autumn day. The book encourages us to “Pat the leaves—be gentle, please. Aha! Now blow a whooshing breeze!” And with each turn of the page, we’ve magically helped the tree along on its way throughout the seasons. There’s rhyming text as well, which always helps children know what word may come next. We like to read this one in the Fall and Plant the Tiny Seed by Matheson in the Spring. Happy Leaf Peeping, Readers!
The book we want to spotlight this week is Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee. With all the fairs happening all over the state, our little ones may be feeling excited or anxious about the wild rides one buys tickets to for enjoyment. Frazee gives us readers such a fun ride with this book! We follow the characters in the line of the roller coaster as tension builds to board the ride. Zeke loved the “clickity, clackity, clickity, clackity. Up. Up. Up!” and then the “Whoosh!” of the ride that truly makes us feel like we’re on it. We read this every night until it was due, and we spotted something new on each page every time. Marla Frazee has become one of our new favorite authors and illustrators in the way she’s able to tell such a great story with just a few lines and imaginative illustration. Maybe it could inspire our young readers to be brave and give the rides a try!
Goodbye Summer Hello Autumn by Kenard Pak:
I love reading this book written and illustrated by Kenard Pak as we transition from summer to autumn. We read it every year and we always try to read it outside! We follow a girl as she walks through the woods and her downtown observing the changes in the weather. He writes about how the animals busy themselves getting ready for winter, how the cool wind asks us to “bring out your thick sweaters and scarves,” and how “the sun sets earlier and earlier now that summer is coming to an end.” I think he does a great job of capturing the happiness, but also the moodiness, of autumn in such a great way for kids. This book and the others in Pak’s season series is how my son learned the changing of our Maine seasons. His illustrations are really simple, yet beautiful!