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  •  2016 Wanda Gág Read Aloud Honor Books

     If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!

    If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! written and illustrated by Elise Parsley, and published by Little, Brown and Company, 2015.

    Magnolia was told to bring something from nature to school for show-and-tell. Despite her teacher’s warnings about how much trouble they are, she decides to bring an alligator to school. Magnolia promises her teacher that the alligator will be good. However, readers will see many humorous reasons why you should NOT bring an alligator to school.  Even though the alligator gets Magnolia into trouble with all of his shenanigans, Magnolia is determined to impress her classmates with her show-and-tell.  She shows her class how alligators are super big, have super sharp teeth, and are super tough. Magnolia demonstrates how to send your alligator running for the hills, by yelling “BOOGA, BOOGA, BOOGA!” when you are tired of his naughty behavior.  Even though she gets rid of her ill-behaved alligator, Magnolia is still sent to the principal’s office for all the mischief the alligator caused throughout the day.

    Readers commented on the detailed illustrations in the book.  The illustrations show exactly how the characters are feeling and they complement the story. The book was a hit among all readers. Children were engaged from the moment they were shown the front cover and throughout the entire book. They asked for the book to be read again and again.  Readers highly recommended the book as a read aloud.

    Elise Parsley studied drawing and creative writing at Minnesota State University Moorhead.  She and her husband live in South Dakota. If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't! is Parsley’s debut picture book.   (ELIZABETH BAKKEN-MAYNARD)

      

    A Tale of Two Beasts

    A Tale of Two Beasts written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton, and published by Kane Miller, 2015.

    Children found this book unique as it tells two stories in one. First, a young girl relates how she “rescued” and cared for a strange beast, actually a raccoon. In part two, the raccoon tells his side of the story of how he was “ambushed” and ill-treated by a terrible beast, actually the young girl. Children learned how one event can be seen differently depending on your point of view.

    Children from preschool through fourth grade were completely engaged with this book. They liked the bright, vibrant colors in cartoon style, and enjoyed both the humor and the mystery in the story. They asked questions about the book and had many comments. Readers found that the book was easy to read aloud and enjoyed changing their voices to depict the two main characters.

    In 2011, Fiona Roberton’s first picture book, Wanted: The Perfect Pet, received the International Literacy Association children’s book award for a newly published author. Roberton, who was born in Oxford, England, now lives in London when she is not following her passion of traveling the world.  (CAROL SIBLEY)

     

     Those Pesky Rabbits

     

    Those Pesky Rabbits written and illustrated by Ciara Flood, and published by Little Bee Books, 2015.

    Grumpy Bear discovers he has a family of pesky rabbits as his new neighbors.  The rabbits knock on Mr. Bear’s door and ask for various items which, of course, Bear loudly and emphatically refuses to share with them.  The rabbits decide that Bear needs their help and friendship and they provide him with a basket of goodies loaded with all of the things he would not share with them.  Bear enjoys the gifts and then realizes he has made a terrible mistake and that he would really like some new friends.  With the addition of the rabbits, Bear finally has a complete home sweet home. 

    The detailed illustrations clearly depict the emotions of the friendly rabbits and the grumpy Bear who just wants to be left alone.  Flood includes numerous inside jokes in the illustrations that kept children interested in the story and captured their attention.

    Children in preschool through second grade enjoyed participating in the sound effects featured in the book and were engaged in the story through the detailed and humorous illustrations.  Teachers noted that the children recognized that at first Bear was angry and mean, but then he changed and the children felt sympathy for him because he was lonely.  Children commented that we all make mistakes and can change for the better.

    Ciara Flood is a freelance illustrator and Those Pesky Rabbits is her first picture book.  Flood lives in London with her partner and young son.  (PAM WERRE)