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  • 2008 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Books

    Snow Day! written by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, and published by Peachtree Publishers.

    Snow DayAn unknown narrator imagines what he and two children could do if they had a snow day from school. They could sleep in late, build a snow fort, go sledding. However, the weatherman’s predictions don’t work out. The next morning is a school day! The father and two children race to get ready. The book’s last line reveals the mysterious narrator: it’s the father—a teacher.

    Gustavson’s oil paintings from various perspectives capture the facial expressions of the characters and effectively depict the deep imagined snow, which came down like “a bazillion goose feathers.”

    The story and illustrations captured the attention of first through fourth graders. They commented on the bus almost covered with snow and “the awesome snow fort.” They liked the surprise ending and talked about their own snow days.

    Lester L. Laminack makes his home in North Carolina, and Adam Gustavson lives with his wife and two sons in New Jersey.

     

    Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity written and illustrated by Mo Willems, and published by Hyperion Books for Children.

    Knuffle Bunny TooIn this second book about Trixie and her daddy, Trixie now attends preschool and is looking forward to taking her one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny to school. Things do not go well when Trixie finds out that her classmate Sonja has a Nuffle Bunny that looks much like Trixie’s. Arguments ensue and the teacher takes both bunnies, only to give them back at the end of the day. Hours later Trixie wakes up in the middle of the night and marches into her parents’ bedroom to announce: “That is not by bunny.” The two daddies and the girls rush out to do a bunny exchange. The black and white photographs of Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza at night awed readers. They noticed the tiny cartoon figures of the girls and their daddies walking toward the arch for the bunny exchange. All ends happily with Trixie finding her first best friend in Sonja.

    Two-year-olds through first graders were excited about this story and were amazed by the illustrations, hand-drawn cartoon sketches superimposed on photographs. Children related to this story of a favorite stuffed animal, asked many questions, and pointed at objects in the pictures. One first grade class said it was the best book of the year!

    Mo Willems took photographs of his own Brooklyn neighborhood for the book. An “event kit” for the book, which contains many teaching ideas and activities, is available from the publisher’s website.