Every Friday I read picture books to toddlers at the local bookstore. Tomorrow’s theme is Jungle Animals and here’s what I’ll be reading:
Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. Gerald the Giraffe is a little different on the dancefloor and the other animals tease him about it. Then he learns something new about music and he ends up charming the whole jungle. This “dance to your own tune” story has some amazing illustrations that really kickstart your imagination. Especially when “the lions danced a tango that was elegant and bold”.
The Escape of Marvin the Ape – Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner. Marvin escapes from the zoo into the urban jungle of New York. He loves it, although the cops are after him, but he manages to give them the slip. There is so much to look at in these illustrations, clouds in funny shapes, hidden cats in the shadows and of course a policeman and an ostrich somewhere on every page.
Over in the Jungle – Marianne Berkes and Jeanette Canyon. This sing-a-long book is full of actual jungle animals in their actual jungle settings. I wish it used photos though, rather than the crazy half sculpture half illustrations. But it’s always good to sing to toddlers.
Daft Bat – Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. Another story about how it’s ok to be different, those jungle animals are obviously the rebels of the animal kingdom. This time it’s a bat who sees things differently from the other young animals. Plenty of opportunity here to use different animal voices and there’s even a part where the reader has to turn the book upside-down. One of my all time favourites.
Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell. Amazingly this little lift the flap book is celebrating a 25 year anniversary. It’s truly a timeless classic, a simple concept, simple illustrations and everyone can join in. All together now “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet…”
I’ll be singing “Deep in the Jungle”, “Si Ma Ma Ka” (which is a Swahili children’s song about sit, stand and jump), and row row row your boat with the additional crocodile, polar bear and Lion. Poem wise it will be some short Gile Andreae poems, although I’m always tempted to read the Simon Armitage one about the giraffe as an unwanted gift. I’ll probably duck out though, it’s too melancholic for the under threes.
And speaking of poety. Tomorrow I’ll be interviewing the British poet Julia Bird about her new collection Hannah and the Monk and the links between handicrafts and poetry. See you then then.