For our inaugural Friday's Fave Five, here are five children's books that Junius loves to read -- and so do I. As parents, we often get tired of reading the same parade of Curious George, Dr. Seuss and Thomas the Train -- or maybe that's just me. Meanwhile, there are so many wonderful books out there that haven't had time to become classics (yet), but are fun bedtime reading for all involved. The links for each title will take you to Quail Ridge Books & Music (my most favorite bookstore) -- if you're not within driving distance, you can order online from their store (and feel good about supporting an independent bookseller, which is a rare breed these days).
In no particular order...
- Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride: Written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, this is the second title in a chapter-book series about a pig named Mercy who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson and eats lots of hot buttered toast (which became a breakfast staple after we started reading these books). Junius likes this one because it involves the "porcine wonder" in a madcap outing in the family convertible.
- How I Became a Pirate: Written by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon, this picture book follows little Jeremy Jacob as he joins with Captain Braid Beard and his crew on their quest to bury the pirates' treasure. With pirate-speak written into the story, it's a great read-aloud. Our favorite line is, "ARGH! Soccer!" The sequel, called Pirates Don't Change Diapers, is also hilarious.
- Albert: Written by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, is a beautiful picture book about a man who can't seem to find the right day to go outside. Then one morning when he puts his hand out the window to check the weather, a bird begins building a nest in his outstretched palm. The sweet story describes how Albert helps the birds and learns something about himself in the process.
- When Dinosaurs Came with Everything: Written by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small, this funny picture book shows what happens when a boy goes on errands with his mom and discovers that everyone -- the doctor, the barber, the baker -- is giving away a free dinosaur with each purchase. Where will all the dinos go and how will they all get along? Trust mom to make it all work out for the best.
- This Jazz Man: Written by Karen Ehrhardt and illustrated by R. G. Roth, this finger-snapping, toe-tapping picture book spins the traditional rhyme "This Old Man" into a history lesson about great jazz musicians. Learn about counting, musical instruments and famous artists all in one terrific package.