Scary Stories!

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Q-tip Skeleton by Sophia

I love Halloween. The only thing that frightens me about the holiday is that I know the instant it’s over, it will be Christmas. And not just in the stores, because Christmas has already begun its red and green invasion across our local Rite Aid. No, I mean, that as soon as October ends, that whole eight weeks between November 1 and December 25 will vanish like a pepperoni pizza in a room full of teenagers.

But for now, I get to enjoy the huge variety of great picture books about monsters, witches, pumpkins, and ghosts. The only challenge is gauging the scariness level for the wide range of ages I read to. This week, I did Halloween-themed storytimes for two groups of toddlers, two groups of preschoolers, two second grade classes, and my family storytime group (mostly Kindergartners). This post is mostly about my family storytime, but I’ll list some of my favorites for the other age groups below:

monster

When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharatt

“When a monster is born, there are two possibilities: either it’s a Faraway in the Forests Monster or it’s an Under Your Bed Monster.” This book explores all the different things that might happen with each decision a monster might make, each with hilarious twists: it might eat the principal, it might meet a kitchen girl and fall in love. The kids love joining in on the repeated line, “There are two possibilities.” This one was quickly snatched up by one of my family storytime kids. The parents enjoyed it too, especially the line, “Hey, I’m a monster. You’re a monster. Let’s get married!”

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The Monster Who Ate My Peas by Danny Schnitzlein and Matt Faulkner

I love this book. It’s rare to find a long story in rhymed verse that reads so well all the way through, and is easy for the kids to follow. When a boy doesn’t want to eat his peas, a horrifying monster appears to offer a trade: he’ll eat the peas in exchange for the boy’s new soccer ball. The boy accepts, but the next time he has to eat peas, the monster returns asking for his bike. I had read this to two classes of second graders the morning before my family storytime, and I thought it was really interesting that, when I asked them if the boy should give up his ball or his bike, most of the older kids said, “Yes.” (The Kindergarten kids at family storytime said, “No” every time.). But when the monster demands the boy’s puppy, all the kids were emphatically against the deal, and also worried about what was going to happen to the dog. Luckily, the boy decides to eat the peas himself, and the monster disappears in a deliciously satisfying ending. A couple of the Kindergartners thought this one was scary, which surprised me because I remembered reading it to them a year or so before. But then I know from my own kids that they find different things frightening at different ages. The second graders loved it.

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Crankenstein by Samantha Berger; illustrated by Dan Santat

This one was recommended by my friend Kerri, on her blog What is ML Reading? It’s a fun read-aloud because the kids get to make that Frankenstein “Mehrrr!” noise all the way through. It describes all the things that can turn a normal kid into Crankenstein: waiting in long lines, running out of maple syrup, getting ready for school, and bedtime. It would pair well with another of my favorite books: What are You so Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld. This one got snatched up too.

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Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds; illustrated by Peter Brown

Always a hit! As I told the kids: this one’s only scary if you’re a rabbit. But it has all the hallmarks of a horror movie: dark shadows, creepy breathing, things that aren’t there when you turn around. In this case, the monsters are three creepy carrots, who stalk poor Jasper Rabbit until he decides to take matters into his own hands. It’s a fun read, with a funny twist at the end, and it works for a wide range of ages.

SONGS:

Jack-o-Lantern (For the tune, click here)

Jack-o-lantern, Jack-o-lantern,
You are such a spooky sight!
As you sit there in the window
Looking out at the night.

You were once a yellow pumpkin
Growing on a pretty vine.
Now you are a jack-o-lantern,
Let your candlelight shine!

1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Witches

1 little, 2 little, 3 little Witches (hold up three fingers)
Fly over haystacks, fly over ditches (fly your hand around)
Fly over moonbeams without any hitches
Hey ho! Halloween night! (Clap!)

1 little, 2 little, 3 little witches
Flew over barbed wire, tore their britches
Had to go home and get some stitches (mime sewing)
Hey ho! Halloween night! (Clap!)

On Halloween (to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus)

The ghosts in the house go, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
“Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo! Boo!”
The ghosts in the house go, “Boo! Boo! Boo!”
On Halloween!

The witches in the house go “Hee hee hee!”…

The bats in the house go “Eee eee eee!”…

The kids at the door say “Trick or treat!”

I asked for suggestions from the kids for other spooky Halloween things, or things they plan to be for Halloween.

Five Little Pumpkins

Five Little Pumpkins sitting on a gate (hold up five fingers)
The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “But we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run and run and run!”
The fifth one said, “It’s Halloween fun!”
Then “OOOOOOH” went the wind,
And out went the light! (Clap)
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight. (roll hands)

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Q-Tip Skeleton by Olivia

CRAFT: Q-Tip Skeletons

I am grateful to the Crafts Ideas website for including a printable template for the skull. I cut those out ahead of time and broke up the Q-Tips into different sizes. One thing I learned the hard way: it’s much easier to break Q-tips with your hands than to cut them with scissors. With the scissors, I was wearing out my hands, and Q-tip bits were flying across the reference desk like tiny cotton missiles!

The kids used glue sticks to glue their skeletons to black paper. If you do a search for Q-Tip Skeletons online, you’ll see an astounding variety of styles. Some of them get pretty elaborate, and include fingers and toes.

OTHER HALLOWEEN BOOKS (with recommended ages):

Babies and Toddlers:

Halloween Countdown by Jack Prelutsky; illustrated by Dan Yaccarino

Wonderful counting rhyme in a board book format. The ghosts are adorable, and there’s a “Boo!” at the end. This one really works well for any age.

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

A classic board book of the fingerplay, Five Little Pumpkins (see above). Most of the kids knew this one already.

Tucker’s Spooky Halloween by Leslie McGuirk

Tucker is an adorable white dog who would like to be something spooky for Halloween, but his owner has other plans. Simple, cute story in a board book format.

Preschool:

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman; illustrated by S. D. Schindler

A witch grows a pumpkin for pumpkin pie, but is unable to pull it off the vine. One by one, different Halloween creatures try their hand until a bat suggests the solution. Fun, repetitive story with great illustrations.

Pumpkin Trouble by Jan Thomas

When Duck gets his head stuck in a pumpkin, his friends Mouse and Pig think he is a monster. Short, funny read-aloud with a lot of visual humor. This is one of my daughter’s favorites.

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems

Leonardo is a terrible monster. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t scare anyone, until he meets Sam. This is a sweet story, and perfect for storytime because of the large pages with lots of white space. You have to take a big breath when you get to the page where Sam explains why he’s crying. I love everything Mo Willems writes.

Elementary Grades:

The Skeleton in the Closet by Alice Schertle; illustrated by Curtis Jobling

Another wonderful rhyming story. I have actually read this one to younger kids, but I point out the cuteness of the skeleton and tone down the spookiness in my voice. A skeleton climbs up the stairs of a little boy’s house, saying it’s “Coming to get some skeleton clothes!” In the end, it raids the little boy’s closet and comes out fully clothed.

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Scott Campbell

I’ve read this one for Valentine’s Day too. Poor Mortimer tries everything to meet the girl of his dreams: giving out chocolates (full of worms), hearts (the organ kind), and even diamond rings (with the finger still attached). But nothing works until he places a personal ad in the paper, and meets Millicent, who loses her shoe (and her foot) at the ball. This one got lots of appreciative “Ews!” and “Yucks” from the second grade, both for the gruesome bits and the romantic ones.

The Book that Eats People by John Perry; illustrated by Mark Fearing

The second graders and I had fun acting scared of this book, because IT EATS PEOPLE! Deliciously gruesome, but not for younger kids unless they have a high tolerance for horror.

Next week I will be doing Halloween books again, probably sticking with the lighter, funnier ones. I would love suggestions, so please send me your favorites and I’ll list them below.

My Love Affair with Superman

superman

Okay, so it wasn’t really Superman (although I have had a lifelong crush on 1978 Christopher Reeve).  That was just a tease to hide a much more embarrassing secret: my love affair was actually with Sonic the Hedgehog, and Garfield the Cat.

Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve heard well-meaning adults say something about “REAL books, not graphic novels or comics!”  In one case, it was a teacher telling me what books she lets her students check out in her school’s library.  The second time, it was a parent.  In both cases, I was privately horrified.

As a parent, I read to my son constantly throughout his preschool years, bringing him books on whatever his current obsession was: deep sea fish, reptiles, creepy crawly things, Star Wars.  I read him all my favorite childhood picture books, and many of my favorite chapter books too.  He was always an eager listener, but it was Sonic, the obnoxious speedy blue hedgehog from the planet Mobius, who made him want to READ.

My son got his first Sonic comic at Coastside Comics on Free Comic Book Day when he was six.  We read it together that night.  Personally, I found it challenging.  There was a lot of back story I didn’t know, and the characters were mostly new to me (although I knew Sonic and Tails from the old Sega video games).  But my son was hooked.  He worked at reading the comic on his own until he mastered it.

It wasn’t an easy read.  Comic books, on average, have about 53 rare words per 1000, as opposed to 30 rare words in a children’s chapter book (and 52 in an adult novel).  That means comics challenge kids with vocabulary they may never have heard, much less seen, before.  Luckily, the pictures help them decipher the meaning.

Once my son got hold of that Sonic comic, he had to have more.  Soon he was reading Scooby Doo, Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and then racing through chapter books in school.  Yes, Garfield isn’t the best role model, and we had to explain why it’s probably for the best that no one else can hear what that cat is thinking, or why we shouldn’t refer to Daddy as “Captain Obvious” (although kudos to Garfield for teaching him the word “obvious.”)  I was happy when he discovered Baby Blues because they sometimes let him see things from a parents’ point of view (plus they are hilarious!).

Three years later, my son is now hooked on the newest craze in children’s publishing: the hybrid cartoon/chapter books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Stick Dog, and Big Nate.  He still loves Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes, but he’ll read almost anything that comes his way.  Meanwhile, my four-year-old daughter and I are enjoying the My Little Pony comics, and I’m happy to see the ways that comics and graphic novels are growing and changing.

At the library where I work, we now have graphic novels for every level of reader, from preschool through adult.  And teachers are now exploring the benefits of using comics in the classroom, finding that they make information more memorable and easier to understand: http://www.readingwithpictures.org/2012/04/why-teach-with-comics/

Personally, I will always be grateful to comics for making my son want to read.  Reading is such a powerful tool for understanding the world and other people, and finding out what you need to know.  But it’s also so much fun.

You Be the Judge! The California Young Reader Medal

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Star Wand by Ramona

 

This week I read the nominees for the 2013-2014 California Young Reader Medal for Primary Grades.  Every year, a committee composed of members from four different reading and literacy organizations selects five books in five age categories: Primary (grades K-3), Intermediate (grades 3-6), Middle School/Junior High (grades 6-8), Young Adult (grades 9-12) and Picture Books for Older Readers (grades 4 and up).  Kids all over the state have all year to read or listen to the books and vote for their favorite before the winning books are announced on May 1.

I had shared these books last week with two second grade classes, and was curious to see if I got the same result from my evening storytime group, which has a number of Kindergarteners.  They enjoyed all the books, and they scrambled to check them all out at the end, but there was definitely a clear favorite.

The five books were:

children

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

When a bear named Lucille finds a little boy in the woods, she names him Squeaker, and begs her Mom to let her keep him.  But Squeaker proves to be a challenging pet, especially when he disappears.  Although this one only got one vote, the kids enjoyed it thoroughly.  I love the author’s note on the back jacket, where he says that as a kid he found a frog and asked his mom if he could keep it.  She asked him if he would like it if some animal took him home to be it’s pet.  His reply, “Absolutely!”

Ballgame_jacket

Bats at the Ballgame by Brian Lies

Great book for baseball fans.  This is a rhyming story about a baseball game between two rival teams of bats.   The illustrations of the bats are adorable, and the writing conveys the tension of watching a close game.  This one didn’t get any votes from my storytime group, but a couple of the second graders chose it as their favorite.

stars

 

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee

This is a quiet book about the wonder of stars of all kinds: stars in the sky, stars in moss, snowflakes, pumpkin flowers.  The illustrations are large and lovely, and the language is beautiful.  I love the idea of keeping a star in your pocket, just to know it is there, for days when you don’t feel so shiny.   It’s a different style of book from the other four, and even though none of the storytime kids chose it as their favorite, several of them clamored to check it out, and it did get a couple of votes from the second grade.

 

chicken

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

This one was the big winner with my storytime group, as well as with one of the second grade classes.  It’s one of my favorite read-alouds.  Little Chicken won’t go to bed without a story, and she promises her father not to interrupt.  He caves, and reads her Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Chicken Little, but every time he gets to the most exciting part of the story, Little Chicken can’t help jumping in to save the main characters: “Out jumped a little red chicken and she said, ‘Don’t go in!  She’s a witch!’  So Hansel and Gretel didn’t.  The End!”   This would be a great book for fairy tale units as well.

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Press Here by Herve Tullet

This one surprised me.  I had read it before, but never shared it with a group of kids.  They LOVED it, especially in the second grade, where it was the overwhelming favorite with the first class, and a close contender in the second.  It got a few votes from my storytime group too.   It’s a simple, interactive book that reads a lot like an iPad app (and in fact, there is an app based on it).  Each page shows a series of different colored dots, with instructions like “tap five times on the yellow dot,” or “turn the book to the left.”  The instructions appear to change the dots in different ways, causing them to move, change color, or multiply.  Towards the end, it instructs you to clap once.  The dots get bigger.  Clap twice.  They get even bigger.  In both the second grade classes, the kids were practically screaming each time I turned the page to show the bigger dots.  They were so excited!   It was astonishing and hilarious, and I had such a good time reading it with them.  I could imagine lots of ways to use this book in a classroom, to accompany lessons on color, number, pattern, or direction.   It would also be fun to have kids experiment with making their own dot books.

CRAFT: Star Wands

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Star Wand by Claire

I have very forgiving coworkers.  The storytime ended just before the library closed, and there was glitter everywhere!   But it couldn’t be helped.  We had to make the star wands described in the book Stars, because if you wave a magic wand, you might see a wish come true.  Who could pass up that possibility?

I cut out stars on yellow card stock ahead of time, and gave each child a chopstick and some tape to make the wand.  They decorated their stars with glitter (of course!), as well as stickers and markers.  Each one was unique.

Which book would you vote for?  This year’s California Young Medal Award winners won’t be announced until May, although the nominees for 2014-2015 will be revealed in February.  To learn more about the award, visit:  http://californiayoungreadermedal.org/

Burning Books: A Storytime about Firefighters

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Firefighter Finger Puppet by Claire

This week is Fire Prevention Week, and there have been firetrucks parked at all the local schools for fire safety presentations.  We are also lucky here in Pacifica that every second Tuesday (if they don’t get called away), a group of firefighters comes to the 10:30am preschool storytime to read books.  (I admit that I’m as excited to see them as the kids are, although I’ve never gotten to climb in the truck.  Someday…)

So, in honor of our firefighters, I did a Firefighting Storytime with some of my favorite books.  They were:

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Firefighters A to Z by Chris Demarest

I should have included this one in my ABC storytime a few weeks ago.  It’s an amazingly well-crafted alphabet book that follows the firefighters through all the steps of putting out a fire.  The illustrations are large and vivid.

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Firefighter Ted by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by Pascal Lamaitre

Several kids asked to check out each of the books that I read tonight, but this one was a brawler!  That’s when several want the book so desperately that all manners are forgotten and a little tug-of-war ensues.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you know it’s a good book!  This book especially appealed to my Kindergarten kids.  When Ted the bear smells smoke one morning, he knows what he has to do: become a fireman!  Armed with a makeshift fire extinguisher (a can of whipped cream with a straw attached), he sets out to save his mother, his neighbors, and his principal from all sorts of dangers.  One boy in our group laughed himself silly at the picture of the principal in his underwear.  The parents enjoyed this one too.

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The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts; illustrated by Terry Widener

I sometimes get choked up at this one.  One of the firefighters who come to the library read it at the preschool storytime the day before and seemed to appreciate it too (I’m always curious what they think about how they’re portrayed in picture books). Firefighters at a busy fire station try repeatedly to cook their Thanksgiving dinner, but are constantly having to start over when they get called away to put out a fire.  Then, Lou, one of their team members is injured, and has to go to the hospital.  While they are out on their last call, people from the community deliver a Thanksgiving dinner to the station to say thank you.  The rhyming text is simple enough for almost any age.  A few weeks ago, I gave this one to a toddler who loves firetrucks, and his mom told me they read it together every day.

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Firefighters in the Dark by Dashka Slater; illustrated by Nicoletta Ciccoli

My daughter is in love with this book.  A little girl who lives near a fire station imagines all the emergencies the firefighters are called away too: a castle where a dragon has accidentally set the table on fire; a woman who ate a chili pepper so hot that flames shoot out of her mouth; a little boy who bounces into the sky and all the way to Jupiter.  The illustrations are vibrant and whimsical, and I love the language: “The clouds are full of water and we put them in our hoses, and spray away the fire in the stars.”  There was a minor skirmish over who was going to get to take this book home too.

SONGS: Hurry, Hurry! Drive the Fire Truck!

CRAFT: Firefighter Finger Puppets

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Firefighter Finger Puppet by Ella

I found this one on the Yakaberry web site.  Basically, the kids each wrapped a small rectangle of white paper around one of their fingers and taped it into a small cylinder to make the firefighter’s head.  Then they drew a face on the paper with markers.

The hat was a red construction paper “egg,” with a little flap cut in the middle for the head to poke through (I cut these out ahead of time).  The kids glued the paper cylinder head onto the long part of the hat, then glued a little white square with a number on it onto the part of the hat that was sticking up.

OTHER BOOKS:

Fireman Small by Wong Herbert Yee

Poor Fireman Small can’t get any sleep.  Every time he climbs in bed, he is called out to rescue a cat up a tree, a small bunny in a well, or a baker with a fire.  Just as he is finally drifting off for the night, there is a knock at the door: all of the people he helped coming to say thank you.  This is a rhyming story with cute illustrations, and the first of several books about Fireman Small.

Poinsettia and the Firefighters by Felicia Bond

Poinsettia the pig is afraid of the dark.  She worries about every sound she hears as she lies in bed in her new room.  But then she sees a light: utility line outside their neighbor’s house is burning!  Poinsettia raises the alarm, and the firefighters rush over to put out the fire.  She learns that there is always someone awake at the fire station, keeping watch, and it eases her fears of being alone in the dark.  This is a sweet story both for fans of firefighters and kids who have trouble sleeping.

What are your favorite books about firefighters?

Going to the Dogs

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Envelope Dog Puppet by Olivia

I decided to do a dog-themed storytime this week.  For once I was faced with the problem of having too many great books to choose from!   The kids loved the four I read, and they all got checked out at the end, but there were so many others I didn’t get to:

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How Much is That Doggie in the Window? by Iza Trapani (based on the song by Bob Merrill)

This is my daughter’s current favorite book, and one of my all time favorite read-alouds.  Parents often ask me if it’s the full version of the original song (which actually hit #1 on the Billboard charts in 1953).  It’s not.  The original song is about a woman leaving on a trip to California, who wants to buy a dog to protect her sweetheart from burglars.  The version in this book is by Iza Trapani (author/illustrator of the classic, The Itsy Bitsy Spider).  It’s about a little boy who hopes to raise $60 to buy the adorable puppy in the pet shop window, but ends up spending all his money to help his family.   The illustrations are adorable, and I still get choked up at the happy ending.   This one is always a hit.  Tonight it got snatched up immediately!

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Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey

Poor Hally Tosis, a cute, friendly dog with horrible breath.  When Mr. and Mrs. Tosis decide to find her a new home, their kids try everything they can think of to solve her bad breath problem.  Nothing works, until two burglars creep into the house one night.  Can Hally save the day, along with her place in the family?  Filled with groan-worthy puns, and lots of visual jokes, this one appeals to both kids and adults.  It was quickly claimed by one of the kids as well.

doghouse

The Doghouse by Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas is a master of storytime read-alouds, always finding some way to interact with the audience.  In this one, several animal friends lose a ball IN THE DOGHOUSE!!  One by one, they venture inside to get it…but never come out!  The story is short, suspenseful, and funny, and the kids loved joining in on the phrase “IN THE DOGHOUSE!”

dogblue

Dog Blue by Polly Dunbar

Bertie has always wanted a dog.  A blue dog.  He wants one so badly that he often pretends to be a dog himself.  But then a real dog shows up: a perfect, beautiful, spotted dog who needs an owner.  But the new dog isn’t blue at all.  This is a sweet, funny story with Polly Dunbar’s characteristic quirky surprises.  (I also love her book Penguin).

SONGS: I did B-I-N-G-O with a dog hand puppet, who licked all the kids faces.  We barked the missing letters instead of clapping them.

CRAFT: Envelope Dog Puppets

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Envelope Dog Puppet by Joaquin

I found this craft on the Twiggle Magazine web site, and was very happy because the instructions included a template you could print out for the ears, eyes, and nose.  Basically you fold a business-sized envelope in half down the middle, then cut it along the fold (I found it worked better if I sealed the envelope first).  Then you tape the inner halves of the cut envelope together (on the side where the seal is), so that you can slide your hand into the outer part of the envelope to make a puppet.  I cut out the ears, eyes, and noses ahead of time, and the kids glued them on, along with some wiggle eyes.  I gave them crayons to add spots and other decorations.  It’s always fun to see how differently everyone’s craft comes out.

OTHER BOOKS

Katie Loves the Kittens by John Himmelman

I wish I could have gotten hold of this one in time.  When Sarah Ann brings home three adorable kittens, her dog Katie loves them so much she can’t help but howl, scaring the kittens and upsetting her owner.  The illustrations in this book are priceless, and the howling makes it so much fun to read.

Harry, the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

This one of my childhood favorites, about a dog who gets so dirty, his family no longer recognizes him.  I read it often at storytime.

Angus and the Ducks by Marjorie Flack

I remember my grandmother reading this to me, and I still have the copy she gave to me on my birthday when I was 3.  Angus is a curious Scottish Terrier who wonders about a strange noise he hears on the other side of the hedge, until one day he gets the rare opportunity to explore.   The illustrations are wonderful, and I’ve always loved the way Flack uses sound effects, capital letters, and pacing.  Great storytelling.

Bertie Was a Watch Dog by Rick Walton and Arthur Robins

One of many, many dog books about pets thwarting burglars, but this one is a lot of fun.  Bertie is a Watch Dog, but not because he is big, or mean, or scary.  It is because he is the size of a watch.  But of course, he still finds a way to save the day when a nasty burglar comes to call.  I can never read this book as well as my boss, Thom, who portrays the burglar with an hilarious heavy Cockney accent.   But I still love it as a read-aloud because the kids get to join in on all the barking.

Chewy Louie by Howie Schneider

Love this one, and not just because my own black lab ate not only the siding of our house, but also my 11th grade teacher’s copy of The Epic of Gilgamesh with all of her teaching notes inside.  As a puppy, Louie eats everything: sticks, toy trains, his dog dish.  His family hires several trainers, but nothing seems to work, and they fear they’ll have to give Louie away.  Of course, it all works out in the end.  The wry sense of humor is what makes this book, but the illustrations are hilarious too.

The Hallowiener by Dav Pilkey

Recommended by Thom Ball, branch manager of the Pacifica Libraries.  I wish I had remembered this one, since it is also perfect for Halloween.   Oscar the dachshund has enough problems with being called “Wiener Dog!” by the other dogs, and then his mother expects him to spend Halloween night dressed as…a hot dog.  Filled with Pilkey’s characteristic puns and visual humor, this is one of my favorite October read-alouds.

Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale by William Kotzwinkle

Recommended by local Mom Ria Tajbl.  When Walter ruins the family yard sale by driving away all the customers, his owner sells him for $10 to a clown with a secret plan to use Walter’s gas to inflate noxious balloons he plans to use to help him stun guards so he can rob banks.   Gotta love Walter!  Ria also recommended the classic easy reader Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman.

Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey

Recommended by school media specialist Linda Anderson.  When Stanley the dog discovers that he can get away with lying on the forbidden couch while his people are out, he wonders what other liberties he can take.  Soon he is throwing a wild party with all the dogs in town!

Old Mother Hubbard by Jane Cabrera

Recommended by Christina Olson, who says it was one her kids read to pieces.  Funny extended version of the classic nursery rhyme with bright, whimsical illustrations.

Carl’s Afternoon in the Park by Alexandra Day

Recommended by Tanya Scoville.  The Carl books are sweet, beautifully-illustrated, mostly wordless adventures about a baby and a kind Rottweiler.  In this one they spend the day in the park together, riding on a carousel and going to a zoo.

No Roses for Harry by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

Recommended by Barbara Beyer.  In this sequel to Harry, the Dirty Dog, Harry tries desperately to get rid of his new present from Grandma: a sweater with big roses all over it.

What are your favorite picture books about dogs?