Around this time of year, I always feel like I have gotten out of all my routines, and I think our children sometimes feel the same way.
After weeks of staying up later than normal, traveling and attending special events, it can be a challenge to get “back into the swing of things” after the holidays. Along with re-establishing school night bedtimes and homework schedules, January is a great time to refocus on a reading routine. Sharing some new stories with children can remind them how fun reading is and rekindle their passion for reading time. Try these fun stories with unexpected twists to delight the young ones.
“Bulldozer Helps Out” by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann: While a group of trucks works on a construction site, Bulldozer sits on the side, “watching, watching, watching,” eager to help, but told by the bigger trucks that he is too small, that this work is for “rough, tough trucks.” Crane suggests Bulldozer clear a pile of trash, and Bulldozer eagerly sets to work, charging off, but then coming to a quick halt. When the other trucks come by to check on Bulldozer, they are upset that he hasn’t done any work. The other trucks start to step in and get the job done, but Bulldozer stops them and tells them to be quiet, then reveals why he stopped his work: a litter of kittens and their mother are nesting there. The repeating words throughout make this is a fun and engaging book for young readers and the twist at the end set this story apart from other truck books.
“Firefighter Duckies!” by Frank W. Dormer: A group of brave, strong duckies compose a firefighting squad to rescue an odd and ridiculous assortment of characters, from a whale in a tree, to dinosaurs on bicycles, to monsters who need a haircut. With their rescues we find out not only are these firefighter duckies brave and strong, they are helpful and kind. Lovers of wacky, unpredictable and humorous stories will enjoy turning the pages to find out what kind of creature the firefighting duckies are rescuing next.
“La Princesa and the Pea” by Susan Middleton Elya: The story of the princess and the pea is a familiar one, with a lonely prince looking for a wife and his mother believing only a true princess is fit for her son. Until the very end, La Princesa and the Pea stays true to the traditional tale, while incorporating a sprinkling of Spanish words throughout the rhyming text (a glossary at the front of the book defines the handful of Spanish words for those readers who don’t speak the language). Colorful illustrations create a charming setting in Peru filled with distinctive characters, from the Queen mother to the servants who have to carry in mattress after mattress upon her command. It is not until the very end that we learn this story has a twist, that the prince has done his part to guarantee his chosen would pass his mother’s test.
“Not Friends” by Rebecca Bender: Giraffe and bird are definitely not friends. The bird is loud and messy. The giraffe smells bad and his manners are atrocious. They are constantly bothering each other, with the giraffe nosing into the bird’s perch and the bird dropping not so nice things onto the giraffe below. They finally each lose patience with each other and go their own way. During a severe storm, the bird and giraffe realize how much scarier the world is without each other. Though they do find each other again, they don’t have a sweet reunion, they haven’t changed their ways, and it still looks like they are not friends. But we know differently.
Darcie Caswell is youth services coordinator for Central Rappahannock Regional Library.