Though Ruby likes to have the same book read to her over and over, she has still managed to accumulate quite a library, and casts her reading net wide. Here are some more titles from her bookshelf (and floor).
Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Walker Books 1989)
Many people, in Australia at least, might be forgiven for thinking this is a spin-off from the Play School song with the same words, but I think I’m right in saying that the book came first. It’s a brilliant ear-worm of a read-aloud, complete with sound effects of grass, mud, forest and other obstacles that must be gone – not over, or under, or around, but through.
Jill McDonald, Hello World! Birds (Doubleday 2017)
I promise I’m not going to mention in my log every board book in Ruby’s collection. Let this one stand in for a dozen, including Cats and Kittens (a favourite).
It’s a thrill to be with a small child as she learns to turn the pages of a book, and to indicate which images excite her attention. This is a book that allows that to happen. (And there are plenty of board books that don’t judge their readership as well as this one.)
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Monkey Puzzle (Alison Green 2009)
Here’s a terrific ‘onion book’ (thanks to Ann Knight Bell in the comments for the term). I love the fabulous drawings of the little monkey who goes looking for his mother, and the range of animals who don’t make the grade, and the wit of the text as each candidate has some feature of the mother, but none of the essential quality, finally revealed, that she must look like the little monkey. Ruby loves the book, but turns the page once that page’s candidate has been named.
Matthew Van Fleet, with photographs by Brian Stanton, Moo (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (2011)
Matthew Van Fleet has a whole string of beautifully produced, hefty picture books with pop-ups and moveable parts. This is the first one I encountered. There are also Dance, and Dog (in which a cat appears under the very last flap, and certain presenters of the book make sure it’s a very noisy appearance.)
HTML for Babies (Sterling Children’s Books, 2016)
I really don’t get this. The web description website says, ‘These concept books will familiarize young ones with the kind of shapes and colors that make up web-based programming language and give them the head start they need.’ (It seemed appropriate to leave the US spelling unchanged.) It’s impossible to read aloud, as nothing in it makes sense. I guess it’s for browsing and taking in the visuals
Margaret Wild and Ann James, Lucy Goosey (Little Hare Books 2008)
Oooh! Another perfect picture book. Ann James’s little geese (goslings doesn’t seem the right word) are very sweet, and the story about Lucy, who is enjoying her life but doesn’t want to go flying because it’s so scary, is suitably reassuring: in the end she finds the courage because her mother reassures her she will always be there. So far Ruby seems to like pointing at the pictures most, but I like the word ‘whiffling’, for the sound made by the wings of grown-up geese.
Lucy Goosey is the eighth book I’ve read for the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge.
Margaret Wild is another of my favourites: I used to do an ‘author’ study with my juniors, where we read nothing but MW for a term, comparing the themes she writes about, and also the illustrations, because unlike most other Australian PSB authors, MW has her work illustrated by someone else. If you can find any of her early work in libraries, you can compare the style. One of our favourites was an early one called Sam’s Dad, and the kids liked it because so many of them came from separated families, and we used to have some really rich discussions about the theme.