I might be a wee bit partial to this book because I am the owner of a formerly stray dog, who I adopted from a shelter a year ago, and now totally rules my life, but this story is great, and I find children really get emotionally invested in it. The Stray Dog, adapted from a true story and artfully illustrated by Marc Simont, tells the tale of a family who grows fond of a homeless canine during a picnic in the park. Mom and Dad and the two kids worry about the mutt they dub Willy until they meet him again, being chased by the dog catcher! “He has no collar. He has no leash.” says the dog catcher, but the little boy takes off his belt. “Here’s his collar,” and the little girl takes off her hair ribbon–“Here’s his leash.” Willy is saved and taken in by the family in this heartwarming book!
If I Ran the Rain Forest by Bonnie Worth is a selection from the Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library, a wonderful series of books for young readers. These books are entertaining and educational, presenting non-fiction concepts in a basic format to help children build ideas about the natural world. In If I Ran the Rain Forest, the much loved Dr. Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat, is here to tell you about a fascinating part of the world, filled with life! The rain forest is brimming with enormous trees, which are home to amazing creatures, like parrots, monkeys, and frogs. However, this fantastic place is threatened–people are cutting down trees, and so the Cat tells us, if he ran the rain forest he’d say “chop somewhere else, people. Leave us these trees. Don’t cut them down. Save the trees, please!”
You might be surprised how much you and your child can learn if you read Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta. It was shocking to me just how much we take for granted today that is owed to this founding father. We all know about his experiments with electricity, his role in the development of the U.S. Constitution, bifocals, etc. But did you know that Franklin organized the first public library, hospital, post office, and fire department? Did you know he was the creator of the first political cartoon? Did you know he suggested the idea of daylight saving time more than a hundred years before it was implemented? He was a truly inventive guy whose contributions continue to shape our society.
Meet a very vocal garbage truck in I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan. Have you ever been awoken to the sound of a garbage truck backing up to take your trash away? Good! He loves disturbing people’s sleep! And he loves to eat disgusting trash–in fact he has a whole alphabet of yucky things to eat, from A for apple cores to Z for zipped-up ziti with zucchini! He sure does smell bad, but without him we’d live on a mountain of trash! So, take trip through New York City with this boistrous representative of the Sanitation Department in I Stink!
Even Firefighters Go to the Potty is a hilarious book by Wendy and Naomi Wax, and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. If you have a child who is hesitant to start using the potty, proof that everyone who’s anyone sits on a toilet might be reassuring. As the title suggests, Firefighters use the potty. It’s true! Police officers do too! Baseball players, construction workers, doctors and dentists–they all go to the potty. Astronauts use the potty (although its a little difficult with those bulky space-suits). When you’re at a restaurant and wondering where the waiter is? He’s probably on the potty (and most definitely washing his hands!) Do polar bears use the potty. No–but you can bet the zookeeper does!
Vultures are truly fascinating creatures. Teach your child about these interesting birds via Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre with illustrations by Steve Jenkins. Chances are you’ll learn a lot too. For instance, did you know that vultures glide on pillars of hot air called thermals? Or that their heads have very few feathers because picking from dead animal carcasses is universally messy? You may find these carrion eaters disgusting, but they serve an important role, as nature’s clean up crew! This book is especially good for boys who might think eating garbage sounds funny or cool. You could also take your child bird-watching after reading (I know our library parking lot is a perfect place to see some vultures)!