Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10 for 10 Picture Books

By Denise Krebs, et al, Children's Literature Bloggers

Thanks to Mandy Robek and Cathy Mere who created the wonderful challenge August 10 for 10 Picture Books. This is the second annual event.

This summer I have the wonderful privilege of teaching three students in an undergraduate education course called Children's Fiction and Non-fiction at Buena Vista University in LeMars, Iowa. We have a wonderful time sitting around a table reading and discussing children's literature. What could be more fun for someone who loves children's books? We decided to do a collective August 10 for 10 Picture Books. It was not easy to come to a consensus, so we each picked two and the last two were classics we all liked.

Christy Walrod

One picture book a classroom cannot be without is Tops & Bottoms by Jane Stevens. This book has a great message for children to learn. In the book, Hare tricks the lazy bear into giving him the best part of the harvest.
The moral of this story is the one who works the hardest reaps the reward. My favorite part is how the lazy bear is always surprised at his share of the crop.
A second book that is great for the classroom is A Bad Case of Tattle Tongue, by Julia Cook. This book teaches children life skills about when tattling is appropriate. The book also has a fun, silly phrase that keeps the children’s attention, as well as great illustrations throughout the book. This book is a great resource for teachers to help lessen tattling in the classroom.

Julie Swenson

I have been collecting many picture books, and I can’t wait to add them to the classroom I will be hosting someday. One of the books is titled The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. This is a classic book that was loved by children many years ago and is still loved today. Ferdinand is a bull who is content to sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. All of the other bulls would run, jump, and butt heads with each other, because someday they hoped to be picked for bull fighting. As time went along, the bulls grew, but Ferdinand grew large, larger than all of the other bulls. One day, some men came to look for the biggest, meanest, and toughest bull to fight in the bull fights. Ferdinand was spotted, after he had sat on a flower occupied by a bumblebee. This bee stung Ferdinand and you can probably imagine what happened next. Well, the men picked Ferdinand for his mad and fierce performance, so Ferdinand was hauled to Madrid, Spain, by cart. Once Ferdinand entered the arena, he spotted all the flowers resting in the ladies’ hair and he began to smell their lovely fragrances. The men who were to fight Ferdinand could not get him to budge. They could not engage him in bull fighting. The men grew angry trying. They were fed up with Ferdinand, so they took him home. I love this book, because it goes with the saying, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Even though large is considered strong and mighty, one must not assume this is always true. Even the strong can be fragile and the mighty can be soft-hearted. Children and bulls come in all shapes and sizes, including their hearts. This book also says that it is OK to be different, because not everyone enjoys the same things.

One of my favorite books when I was a kid is called Blueberries for Sal written by Robert McCloskey. This is a story about a surprise mix-up. Sal and her mother went to Blueberry Hill to pick blueberries. Mother wanted to can some for winter. They both carried their own tin pails for picking and Sal found it hard to resist eating her collected blueberries. So, Sal started taking blueberries from her mother’s tin pail. Mother told Sal, to run along and pick her own berries.
Sal decided she would sit and eat what she picked. On the other side of Blueberry Hill a mother bear and her cub were looking for blueberries. The mother bear had told her cub to eat as many as he could, because the cub needed to fatten up before winter. The little cub would stop from time to time, to eat blueberries and found that he needed to catch up with his mother. Somewhere between all the eating of blueberries, Sal and Little Cub found themselves following what they thought was their mother. Sal was following Mother Bear and Little Bear was following Sal’s mother. When both mothers realized this, they were surprised. Sal’s mother and Mother Bear both backed away from their surprises. They knew that humans and bears were not to trust each other. Soon, both mothers had found their original little ones eating and munching on berries. Both families continued on their hunt for more blueberries. I like this book, because of its surprised mix-up. Kids can relate to the temptation of eating blueberries and some mothers can relate to reminding their child(ren) to keep up, or saying “Oh my goodness, where did my child go?” This is a good lesson for children to stay close to their parents and it is good reminder for parents to keep close tabs on their children.

Natasha Iwen

The first picture book that comes to my mind is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This book follows a caterpillar as it eats multiple foods before turning into a butterfly. This is a great book to use in the classroom because you can use it when working with counting, the days of the week, foods, and a butterfly's life stages.

The second picture book that I think of is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. I remember my teacher singing this book to us to teach us the alphabet. The book starts off with letters climbing up the coconut tree in alphabetical order and then the tree ends up collapsing. Then the capital letter come to help them. This is a fun book because it rhymes and has a good rhythm that children can really get into.

Denise Krebs

A picture book I can't live without is George and Martha by James Marshall. The subtitle says it all--Five Stories about Two Great Friends. The stories are short and to the point, each one about friendship. My favorite is when George--trying not to hurt Martha's feelings because he doesn't like her pea soup--pours his soup into his loafers while she is in the kitchen. Outrageous, yes, and funny too. With Marshall's warm and wonderful humor and precise word choice, how can children and adults not fall in love with the two friends? George and Martha are the most winsome beady-eyed pachyderms in the picture book world!

My second choice has to be an ABC book--Dr. Seuss's ABC. When I was six, my mom enrolled me in a book club where I received two easy readers each month. (Being one of the youngest of seven children, I knew how special this was!) Some of the classic titles I received were Green Eggs and Ham, Are You My Mother?, Hop on Pop, and Put Me in the Zoo. One of my favorites as a child and to this day, is Dr. Seuss's ABC. "Big A, Little a, What begins with A? Aunt Annie's alligator...A...a...A. Big B, Little b, What begins with B? Barber, baby, bubbles, and a bumblebee..." I still have much of it memorized! The lyrical writing and crazy pictures make it a favorite of beginning readers. I also have a huge collection of other ABC books; this title was my very first.

Where the Wild Things Are is a classic children's book by Maurice Sendak. It is a beloved story of a child who can become king of his own domain. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in a couple of years. Every young child can appreciate getting in trouble for being too wild. Max is empowered by his imagination in this lovable book.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin, is one of those books that every young child should read, recite, illustrate, act out, etc. One can get a lot of mileage out of this book in an early childhood classroom.

Here is the link to the JogtheWeb collection of #PB10for10 participants. We are #11.


  1. Some great classic picture books! We love Ferdinand, Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear in our house. :)

  2. Lovely list with lots of old favs.

  3. I love Ferdinand! And I had the Dr. Seuss ABC's memorized as a kid, loved it! I think I want to take your class :) sounds fun!

  4. I hadn't seen the first two before. I an't wait to read them. Thanks.

  5. Denise~ I love the way you included your students in sharing in pb10for10! What a great way to teach young teachers about the power of blogging in education.
    I found a new story here, A Bad Case of Tattle tongue and a reminder of a few old fags too.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Wonderful list of oldies-but-goodies.
    Thank you.
    Apples with Many Seeds

  7. Hey Denise-
    Enjoyed your list too. I 'll be on the lookout for the Bad Case of Tattle Tongue like Deb. THanks for sharing!

  8. Thanks for joining us today and I just love this was a collaborative class project. You've done a great job of looking through some classic books needed for each room.

  9. These surely are favorites!!! I haven't heard of Bad Case of Tattle Tongue - will check it out. Love this idea of sharing children's literature.

  10. We used 'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?' in a story innovation with rock pool animals last year. As a class we wrote our own story following Brown Bear's structure - and then children illustrated their page using plasticine art. The books were gorgeous. Another classroom use for the wonderful 'Brown Bear'.