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Storyteller's favorites - recommendations from the Ottawa Public Library

This is the fourth post in a series of monthly blog posts by Ottawa Public Library children’s librarians! We hope you enjoy today’s post and remember to check back every month for great children’s books ideas. by Anne-Marie Miller, Children’s Librarian, Hazeldean Branch

When it’s  this cold outside maybe we’d rather just stay indoors and have a story about the winter.   Here I’ve introduced a few of my favourites.  Once you’ve had a chance to share these, check out the library for more stories by the same authors.  They will never disappoint you.  Especially if, like myself, you prefer your storybooks to be lovely, lively and humorous!

Playful Little PenguinsOne of the liveliest newer winter-themed storybooks is Playful Little Penguins written by Tony Mitten and playfully illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.  The story is told in rhyme and the text winds around the illustrations so both the oral and visual effect s are as playful as the penguins themselves.  The story has a suspenseful little plot involving the rescue of a baby seal and concludes with a family cuddle in a stunning double-spread illustration of a vast Antarctic penguin huddle.  With lots to see and discuss on every page you will want to read this one over and over.

The Missing Mitten MysteryIn The Missing Mitten Mystery written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg one little girl, Annie, discovers that she has lost her mitten in the snow.   In the low light of the late afternoon, Annie searches everywhere finding only the sweaters and boots lost by her friends.  Maybe the birds took her mitten, she surmises; or maybe a mouse.  She dreams of planting the remaining mitten and growing a mitten tree.  She dreams of having so many mittens, she can give them away to her family and classmates.  Finally,  she goes inside for tea, but, as it begins to rain, the mitten emerges from the snow in a very special spot that Annie had never thought to check.  Annie is a delightful child  and the ending is a grand surprise.

The First Day of WinterIn The First Day of Winter by Denise Fleming the narrator dresses the first snowman of winter one item at a time and the text follows the format of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.  So, on every page the list of winter wear is cumulative and repeated in the text.  The snowman in the illustrations becomes more and more colourful as he acquires one hat, two mittens, 3 scarves and so on.  At the end, there is a charming two page spread of the snowman in his full winter finery.  This is a book that your child can ‘read’ with you as the text is repetitive and the illustrations provide the visual clues for the next item of attire.   Denise  Fleming uses many different  mediums in her illustrations to create a rich visual experience as well as, a satisfying narrative.

More fine visuals await you and your child in Bear Snores On written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman.  The rhyming text brings some of the smaller forest animals out of the nighttime blizzard into the warmth of bear’s den.  Chapman’s acrylics are a delight and each little animal has lots of personality.   As the animals gather, they bring along a little food to share and before long there is a party going on.  But, as we learn on every page – Bear snores on.  When he finally awakes, there is only one tense moment before Bear himself  is ready to join party.  Get ready, though, for the surprise ending to this delightful story.

SnowballsLois Ehlert is another author who illustrates her stories in mixed media collages.  Her book, Snowballs, is pretty well a storytime classic and great introduction to her work.  With oversize text and double page illustrations throughout, this book will catch your child’s interest instantly.  There is an entire snowman family to see, including the cat and the dog, and each one is lavishly, uniquely  dressed.  Mom, for example sports a colourful  knitted purse full of peanuts!  In the end the snow family melts away, but Ehlert gives you a detailed spread of all the bits and pieces she has used to create her masterpieces.  Maybe this will inspire your next snow, or even paper creation.

This winter check out these and other fun titles at  biblioOttawalibrary.ca .