Snack on a Picture Book:
They’re Not Just for Little Kids Anymore
by Suzanne Harrison-Thomas
Sometimes, you’re just not really hungry for a big meal. Sometimes, a little snack will be enough to satisfy a rumbly tummy. What if your child is hungry, not for food, but a good story? A picture book is the perfect example of a high-quality tale in a bite-sized package.
A “picture book” simply means that the illustrations and the text work together to tell the story. Often, the punchline or the action of the story is not stated in words, but drawn in the pictures. Picture books can be full of sophisticated humor, rich vocabulary, artistic inspiration and compelling storylines. All told in a bite-sized, finish-it-in-one-sitting book. Small yet satisfying, the following nuggets will do the trick when your older child is hungry for a good story and needs a little something to fill him up.
Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat. Just because you’re at the top of the food chain doesn’t mean you don’t have feelings, too. Lion, Wolf and Shark try out being vegetarians to see if they fare any better, forming a support group to help sort out their complicated feelings. Munch on just about anything by this author or illustrator and you cannot go wrong.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The crayons have had it up to here. Why, Blue asks, do I always have to color big things, like water and whales? Red is tired of fire engines, and orange and yellow just cannot get along. They proceed to air their grievances in a series of letters they have written to their owner, hoping he can change his ways and think a little outside of the crayon box when choosing what colors to use in his artwork.
Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Lisa Brown. Is death really the end, or just a new beginning? When Goldfish Ghost is “born,” he sets off on an adventure in search of companionship. Snicket’s picture books are incredibly moving and address not-so-comfortable topics in a beautiful, poetic way. Check out his picture book, The Dark, as well.
Keeper of Soles by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Yayo. A kind-hearted and generous cobbler is visited one night by Death. Instead of leaving with him, the cobbler empathizes with Death’s painful feet (think of all of the endless walking in all kinds of circumstances Death must endure? Surely he needs a good pair of shoes!). As hard as it is for Death to admit, the cobbler is correct, and the shoes do make his fatigued feet feel much better. But how long can he enjoy the cobbler’s soles, while waiting for the cobbler’s soul?
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Sam and Dave are on a mission — to dig a hole. Sounds simple enough, but they are on the lookout for something “spectacular.” What could that something be? To our story’s heroes, the endeavor appears to be in vain. All they seem to find is more dirt — nothing spectacular about that. But the reader (and Sam and Dave’s canine companion) know better. The reader has the luxury of seeing far beyond what our fearless diggers see, and it is truly spectacular! This is a perfect picture book for all ages and a stellar example of the special partnership between words and pictures, authors and illustrators.
The Skunk by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Patrick McDonnell. I know I have already mentioned another book by Barnett, but this book is too wonderful not to be included. Ever have the feeling you were being followed? Usually it’s just your overactive imagination, but for our story’s protagonist, it’s true. To make matters worse, it’s a skunk doing the following. The man speeds up — so does the skunk. The man hops in a taxi — that skunk hails his own cab, and is hot on his tail. What does the skunk want? That’s up to the reader to discern. Finally, the man is driven to relocate to a new neighborhood just to get away from his nemesis. But, hey, where did that skunk go?
Programs at the Milford Public Library
We are proud to offer programming for a variety of ages at the Milford Public Library. Our popular storytimes start back up again in September. Preschool Storytimes, for ages 3 and up with a caregiver, are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddler Times, for ages 2 and under with a caregiver, are on Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 11.a.m. If you and your child are attending one of these programs, they are the perfect age to participate in our 1,000 Books Before Bedtime initiative. Ask at the Children’s Desk for more information and get started on the journey to create life-long readers. We also offer a Music Together class for younger kids, Cooking Class for elementary schoolers in partnership with Shop-Rite of Milford and a variety of special programs throughout the year.
Starry Night Storytimes are held the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., September-December.
Our LEGO® Build-a-thon is the first Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. and Chess Club is held every second Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The Brain Station is our library’s makerspace and offers a variety of hands-on programs for children and adults.
The Milford Public Library is located at 57 New Haven Avenue. Visit our website at milfordlibrary.org or give us a call at 203-783-3312 for more information about upcoming events for all ages.
Suzanne Harrison-Thomas is the Children’s Librarian at the Milford Public Library.