Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 2014 Favourite Read-Aloud Roundup

It's hard to believe it's already the end of March. We have just had the worst blizzard of the winter, and are expecting more snow on Sunday. It is not unusual for us to have snow in March (and April. and sometimes May.) but this was quite a storm. The boys were very happy to have their Papa home for a cozy snow day. In honour of the winter weather, I'd like you to introduce you to Snow Bears, our favourite winter book ever. It may also possibly be my favourite book by Martin Waddell, though I haven't read them all yet. 

This book is just so sweetly humorous. Three little bears get very white rolling around in the snow, and have a fun little game with their mother pretending they are not her little bears, but snow bears. When they go back inside, the snow melts and they transform into their mother's own little bears again. I recommend it especially for ages two to four, though my five-year-old loves it as well (especially as he can read it on his own now!).

The Mountain that Loved a Bird is a beautifully written story of a bird that visits a barren mountain once a year. The mountain always asks her to stay, but with nothing on the mountain to support life, the bird must go on. Finally the mountain's heart breaks, and the water of its tears is the beginning of a wonderful transformation. 
I think this book will be appreciated by all ages. The illustrations by Eric Carle make it accessible to even the youngest children, and the story itself will be appreciated even up into adulthood. I love reading this aloud as much as my children love listening to it.

One of our favourite books for Poetry Teatime this month was Mother Goose, illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I believe it is out of print now, but we found it at our library. It is indubitably the most beautiful collection of Mother Goose I've seen to date, and my boys loved to choose from it. Of course, many of the rhymes are songs, and they love it that I sing those ones for them. 

We also checked The Children's Book of Virtues out of the library this month. It is a collection of stories and poetry arranged according to the virtues they convey: courage, responsibility, compassion, honesty, and more. The author, William J. Bennett, speaks in the introduction of the purpose of the book:
"Today we talk about how important it is to 'have values,' as if they were beads or a string of marbles in a pouch. But these stories speak to morality and virtues not as something to be possessed but as the core of human nature, not as something to have but as something to be, the most important thing to be. To dwell among these stories and verses is to put oneself, through the imagination, into a different place and time, a time when there was little doubt that children were essentially moral and spiritual beings, when the verities were the moral verities, when the central task of education was virtue."
My boys' favourite story was "The Little Hero of Holland," the story of a brave little boy who kept his finger in a hole in the dike throughout the night to prevent the water from breaking through and flooding the land. (It may have helped that their Opa is from Holland.) The illustrations by Michael Hague are wonderful as well. Highly recommended for children aged four and up.

Sharing with Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word today, 

and also with Book Sharing Monday at Life on a Canadian Island.