2 Almost Late to School and More School Poems By Carol Diggory Shields (Dutton, 2003)Here are rhymes about jump rope, fund raisers, snakes, nicknames, and an attack of the giggles but the best one is on the very last page, “Poem for Two Voices.” Find a friend and read it together.MORE: Lunch Money by Carol Diggory ShieldsA well-researched novel based on a true story.
3 Clever Beatrice: An Upper Peninsula Conte By Margaret Willey (Atheneum, 2001)Beatrice is smart but the giant isn’t. Her family is so poor that they are down to their last meal. So Beatrice sets out to win a bet with the giant and get cash. How can she make him believe that she is stronger than he is? Clever Beatrice. As is common with many folktales, readers can dissect this for ethical behavior and other points of view. Beautiful pictures.MORE: Not One Damsel in Distress: World Folktales for Strong Women by Jane Yolen.A well-researched novel based on a true story.
4 Come to My Party and Other Shape Poems ByHeidi Roemer (Holt, 2004)A visual delight with poetry about seasonal items such as birds, kites, and ocean waves. Charming shape poems to help children make connections between the visual and the auditory. A great tool for reading teachers; wonderful for read aloud.MORE: A Poke in the I, by Paul Janeckzo and Outside the Lines by Brad Burg.
5 Coming On Home SoonByJacqueline Woodson (Putnam. 2004)A gentle, tender story of a little girl during World War II who loves and misses her mother. Mom has gone to Chicago to work while Ada Ruth stays home with her grandmother. Woodson and Lewis deserve the Caldecott honor for this book. Words and pictures create a mood that small children will feel and understand.MORE: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen; Smoky Night by Eve Bunting
6 Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better ByJohanna Hurwitz (HarperCollins, 2003)Six short stories, in chapters, about second-grader Elisa Michaels and her family. Elisa has an eleven year old brother, Russell, and a two year old brother, Marshall. Elisa calls him Marshie because he’s soft as a marshmallow. Elisa’s experiences will be familiar and comforting as well as fresh and funny to her lucky readers.RL: GR 2-4Younger for Read AloudMORE Eliza books: E for Eliza, Summertime for Eliza and 4 more.
7 Falling for Rapunzel By Leah Wilcox (Putnam, 2003) This silly take on a serious, even scary fairy tale removes all fear as well as any other intent for this ancient tale. What is has here is a persistent prince and a Rapunzel ever-willing to toss her belongings out of her tower window. Rhymes that rhyme and usually scan and pictures that pop add much frivolity to the nonsense.MORE: Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen; Chicken Little by Stephen Kellogg; The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka; Cinderella Penguin by Janet Perlman.A well-researched novel based on a true story.
8 Goin’ Someplace Special ByPatricia McKissack (Atheneum, 2001)This is a story about a child, irrepressible in her love of life and belief in herself, who must face a difficult time to reach a place she loves. Tricia Ann is allowed to go to the public library by herself for the first time in the 1950’s segregated South. The library’s sign said, “All are Welcome.” Tricia Ann was reassured by others as she faced indignities to get there. McKissack herself faced these injustices which makes the story all the more believable.MORE: Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack.
9 Gus and Grandpa at Basketball By Claudia Mills (Farrar, 2001) The best of the best in an easy to read book is here in this fresh, real and worthy read. Dan is learning to play basketball. He is on the team and he practices at Grandpa’s. Grandpa understands what it’s like to be learning and playing for the first time. Genuine relationships and facets of the game are illustrated. Good read-aloud. Good for kids, especially boys, just reading on their own.MORE: Gus and Grandpa and five others in the series.A well-researched novel based on a true story.
10 I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More ByKaren Beaumont (Harcourt, 2005)Glorious color, joyful artistic abandon and a traditional song band together to make an appealingly gleeful read-aloud. It can be sung or spoken with equal effectiveness. Young children will be singing along and you all will have a great time.MORE: Compare with Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth illustrations by Stephen Gammell.
11 Megan McDonald (Candlewick, 2001) Judy Moody Gets FamousByMegan McDonald (Candlewick, 2001)Judy Moody is in the mood for FAME when she thinks that everyone but her is famous for something. She is especially determined since archrival Jessica has a tiara and a newspaper picture because she won the spelling bee. Judy sets out to become famous, but her plans never quite make it. When she does something because she wants to and not for fame, the newspaper picks up this story and Judy is famous, anonymously. She decides she likes having this little secret. MORE: Judy Moody and six other titles in this winning series for third grade readers.A well-researched novel based on a true story.
12 Manana IguanaByAnn Whitford Paul (Holiday House, 2004)The Little Red Hen with a Latin twist and a few Spanish words. Iguana, Conejo, Tortuga, and Culebra are excited about having a spring party, but only Iguana is willing to do any of the work.MORE: The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges; a version of the original Little Red Hen by Byron Barton.
13 Mercy Watson to the Rescue ByKate DiCamillo (Candlewick, 2005)Mercy Watson is a very lucky pig. She lives in a house with Mr. and Mrs. Watson who love her dearly. She eats toast and naps on the couch and listens to her special lullaby. She is lonely only at night after the lights go out and the lullaby is over. One night she climbs in bed with the Watsons, but, oh, there is a creeek and a crack and the bed begins to sink. Mercy hops out of bed in search of you guessed it, toast, but she finds more than that in this action packed night-time frolic.MORE: Dumpy La Rue by Elizabeth Winthrop; Hog-eye by Susan Meddaugh
14 Mighty Jackie: The Strike Out Queen By Marissa Moss (Simon & Schuster, 2004)Jackie Mitchell could play baseball and she could pitch. Her dad told her she could be good at whatever she worked at. She dreamed of playing in the World Series but the closest she got was striking out “The Sultan of Swat,” Babe Ruth himself. A true story of a time before girls were allowed to play sports; thank heaven times have changed.MORE: The Girl Who Struck Out Babe Ruth by Jean L. S. Patrick; Dirt on their Skirts by Doreen Rappaport.
15 Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth ByAlison McGhee (Harcourt, 2004)What’s a girl to do when she hears from her bus partner on the first day of first grade that her new teacher is a 300 year old alien with a purple tongue who collects baby teeth? -- Keep her mouth shut – for the WHOLE year! Yes, but then, there’s a problem Can she solve it? Harry Bliss’ cartoons add giggle-ready comical detail.MORE: Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall; Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
16 My LightByMolly Bang (Blue Sky Pr , 2004)Molly Bang makes electricity seem like a tangible, real thing in this unusual book linking the light of the sun with all the energy of the earth. The illustrations help to make the connections that help us realize how much the sun means to us in ways that go beyond sunbathing and growing plants.Accessible to children and adults, this is a book to think about.MORE: I wish there were more like this.
17 Superdog: The Heart of a Hero ByCaralyn Buehner (HarperCollins, 2003)Dexter the Dachshund is tired of the constant ribbing he takes from Cleevis the Cat, so he trains exhaustively and “bones” up on super-heroism. He buys a costume and begins doing small heroic deeds, but Cleevis still taunts him until the old tomcat himself is in need of a super rescue. Readers will cheer this all heart hound and want more.MORE: Fanny’s Dream by Caralyn Buehner.
18 The Tale of Tricky Fox: A New England Trickster Tale By Jim Aylesworth (Scholastic, 2001)Tricky Fox knows he is tricky and is proud of it. He even bets he can trick a little old lady out of a pig.Illinois author and first grade teacher, Jim Aylesworth retells this old folktale with his rich talent for rhythm and rhyme. He adds a tiny twist at the end that will cause more tricksters than Tricky Fox to sit up and take notice. The illustrations are a perfect match.MORE: Zomo the Rabbit by Gerald McDermott; Love and Roast Chicken by Barbara KnutsonA well-researched novel based on a true story.
19 What Do You Do With A Tail Like This By Steve Jenkins (Houghton, 2003) Tails, noses, mouths, ears, eyes and feet of very different animals are each grouped together on one page allowing speculation about what the animal is and how it uses its body part. The explanations follow on the next double page spread. Great for interactive discussion about important animal characteristics. Addresses IL State Learning Goals in science for Elementary.MORE: Actual Size; Biggest, Strongest, Fastest and other books by Steve Jenkins.Kids who like this should also read Newbery Award winner:
20 Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book By Lauren Child (Hyperion, 2002) Herb, who is not very good at caring for his books, is sucked inside one of them when he falls asleep reading. Disgruntled by misplaced moustaches, horned heads and cut-out characters, none of the protagonists wants him in their stories. Herb must make amends and manages to appease everyone but the ill-mannered Goldilocks.MORE: Prerequisites: Puss in Boots, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.. Lonnie lost his family when his mother died and his memories of his life are poignant and sad. National Book Award Finalist. For good reason. Read this one.
21 Wild About BooksByJudy Sierra (Knopf, 2004)In this story in rhyme, bookmobile librarian Molly McGrew accidentally drives her library into the zoo and the zoo critters are drawn to this new thing called reading. They crawl all over each other and the books to find out more. Bright bold color, plenty of action, and rhyme that boths scans and rhymes is a lot to ask for but it’s all here.MORE: Pair with other books about animals that love books such as Book! Book Book! by Deborah Bruss.