Last October Melissa Wiley wrote about reading 100 Picture Books in six months. I loved the idea immediately! We read aloud plenty here. But the older children have moved into chapter books and the toddler is firmly in the board book category. Picture books–with their lush illustration, and engaging, often sophisticated, text–were being forgotten. So this little challenge was just the thing to bring a new focus to our reading.
Well, it brought it into focus for a while at least! I was gung ho for the first few weeks…and the last few weeks. But we will certainly fall short of 100 books. But the sweetness of the one-off stories, the books that aren’t meant for anything but enjoyment, the books that aren’t a part of any lesson plan (no matter how gentle or child-led) will stay with us. This is not something I want to lose.
The highlight for me was discovering Kazuo Iwasmura’s squirrel books! Sweet, funny stories of a family with three children. Each child has a personality and viewpoint that becomes recognizable as you read multiple books in the series. The family too has its own culture. Mabel had a very hard time narrowing down her choices, but finally settled on the graphic novel of The Odyssey (not really a picture book, I know. But if functions as a picture book for our non-readers) and the Cozy Classic version of Pride and Prejudice. Nicolas likes Tomie dePaola’s silly Bill and Pete go Down the Nile. Jojo loves Gilgamesh the King.