Favorite Picture Books, Alphabet Letter Exchange News, and New Blog on the Block

I started this post yesterday morning looking for my favorite picture books on Amazon so I could link up with Lindsey's "must have picture books" party. But you know how some days just don't end up like you thought they would? Yesterday was one of those days. I was on my computer when my mom called from work. She just wanted to let me know that she was going to the emergency room because she has some shortness of breath and unusually high blood pressure. Yikes! She said I didn't need to come, but I'm only 1 1/2 hours away so of course I went. By the time I got there she felt better. Of course any emergency room visit takes hours, so we sat and talked till the doctor came back and said she was okay. Whew! So I drove her home and we visited for the afternoon and had dinner before I came back home. Today she said she feels fine. Thank goodness!!!! I love you mom! (She reads my blog so that's for her. I hope she's not upset that I told this story.)

So today is a better day for getting to my blog.

I'm linking up with Lindsey's (from The Teacher Wife) terrific idea
The Teacher WifeThe Teacher Wife

to share 5 of my favorite picture books with you. Wait! Only 5? Seriously, how can I choose? Picture books are one of my favorite things ever! I know I can't choose my favorite 5, so I'll choose 5 favorites instead. Well, sort of. I'm going to cheat a bit and include some collections of books by a favorite author. Here goes:

1. Books by Chris Van Allsburg. These are 2 of my favorites. The Garden of Abdul Gasazi is about a little boy who is asked to take care of Fritz, Miss Hester's dog. Fritz runs away into the Garden where a sign warns that no one should enter. The boy meets Mr. Gasazi, a former magician, who turns the dog into a duck. Or does he? That's what I like best about Chris Van Allsburg's books. They all have a point where the story could end, but then Chris puts a special twist on the story. It leads to a fun discussion with my students about what they think really happened.
In The Wreck of the Zephyr a young boy meets an old man next to a sailboat at the top of a cliff. He's confused about how the boat got there so the old man proceeds to tell him the story. The boy in his story wants to be the best sailor ever and learns to pilot a boat that soars through the sky.  It ends up crashing atop the cliff and the boy's leg gets hurt. As the old man finishes telling the story, he walks away with a limp.
After reading this book with my class, I have the watercolor a piece of white paper with blue and a little black and purple so the water/sky look stormy. Then they color and cut out a sailboat and glue it into the picture. I wish I had an example to show you, but it's at school. The kids love the project!

2. I wish I'd read Patricia Polacco a long time ago. I'd heard about her books but didn't read them until a few years ago when I taught 2nd grade and Thundercakes was in the reading anthology. I went to our school library and checked out most of her books to read to my class. If you know Thank You Mr. Falker, then you know her books can be tear jerkers. This is no different. It was one of the last of her books that I read and apparently the kids could tell when I was going to cry. In this book a young, new teacher gets a kitten. The kitten goes missing for 2 weeks (if I remember right). At this point one of the boys in my class said, "She's gonna cry!" And he was right. I couldn't help it. I thought of my pets and got all choked up. In the end the teacher gets her cat back. I love this book. Maybe you can read it without crying. Good luck!

3. I love the simplicity of this story! And it's great for starting an art lesson about mixing colors. It's about Little Blue who goes out searching for a friend. He meets up with Little Yellow. They hug, turn green and go back home where no one recognizes them. They are sad and cry, causing the two colors to separate. They form back into themselves again and ... ready?... live happily ever after. It's really very sweet. I read that this was Leo Lionni's first book. He came up with the story while riding home from work on the train with his grandchildren. They were bored so he took out some paper and made up a story. It sounds so easy.......

4. Books by Virginia Lee Burton. Some of my very favorites. Especially The Little House. Another story that makes me cry, actually. I believe it was written in the 1940's. "It was written about the time your grandma or great-grandma was born," I tell them. And they turn and look at each other, astonished. This little house sits int he country and is very well loved. As time goes by the city gets nearer and nearer until she is almost swallowed up by the skyscrapers. The subway runs right past her and she gets neglected. One day a woman passes by who recognizes the house from when she was a child. Her grandfather built it. She has the house moved back out the country where it is happy again. My students always enjoy the final picture where the house looks like she's smiling. I find the story very touching. Mike Mulligan and Katy and the Big Snow are 2 other books of hers that I really enjoy reading to my first graders.

5. This book is special to me. It was written by a local winery owner that my husband and I became friends with. It's called Mambo's Tail. Mambo was the winery owners dog- a big, super-sweet black lab. Jodi (the author) and her husband loved Mambo so much and this story tells of the adventures and trouble Mambo got into in his life. He passed away a while ago and is deeply missed. I got this book a few months ago and read it to my class. They really enjoyed it to. The book is also quite a family project. Jodi wrote it, her mom illustrated it, and her brother helped with layout or publishing (I can't remember which). If you love dogs you'll identify with this book.
You can purchase it at Consilience  and Tre Anelli Winery. Just click HERE.

Well, those are some of my favorites. I have enjoyed reading other people's choices. My wishlist is much longer now! Oh, by the way, the rest of the books are available through most major bookstores and probably through

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! There's a new blog on the block.
Kinder Carole
Her blog is really cute! But the best part is that she's hosting an Alphabet Exchange too. So if you're still looking to join up, she'd love to have you on board. Please hop over there and check out her blog. She's love to have you visit!

Well that's my rambling for now. I'm glad today was a much calmer day than yesterday. I'm off to work on my spread sheet for the alphabet exchange. I should it out to all participants in the next few days. Have a great night!


  1. I like your book choices. I haven't heard of many of them so it was nice to have some new books to look into! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  2. Great book choices, Chrissy. I like Patricia Polacco, too. I hate it when I cry in front of the kids ... but it sounds like such a sweet book.
    I'm glad to hear your mom is okay!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

    PS Do you have any drama lessons you'd like to share on my linky that no one has linked up to yet? Ha ha.

  3. I'm glad your mother is ok! I love the linky about favorite picture books!! Pre-K is full of wonderful opportunities for picture books and I always forget some of the best if they aren't already in my library :) Thanks for reminding me of a few!

  4. Hi Chrissy, I am glad your mom is ok:) Thanks so much for posting about my new blog! I love your book choices. Thanks for sharing:)

  5. Glad your mom is okay! Your list is definitely a good one :)

    Make sure to stop by and enter my giveaway.

  6. So happy to hear your mom is ok! Your blog is so adorable. I love the colors and graphics. Patricia Polacco is a favorite of mine. I was lucky enough to be exposed to Thank You, Mr. Falker my first year teaching (13 years ago) and get choked up every time I read it. I read that book, along with many others, every year. For the Love of Autumn is new to me so I'm excited to check it out. Chris Van Allsburg is a favorite of mine also.

    Thanks for sharing such great books. Check out our list at http://4321teach.blogspot.com/

    Antoinette :)

    1. I coblog with Antoinette. I love your list. "For the Love of Autumn" is similar to "Charlie Anderson." The Wreck of the Zephyr is so much fun to read too.

      Thanks for sharing your list.


  7. Wow, I just found your Blog! Hooray for me!!! Thanks for sharing your choices. Stop by my Blog and follow me back. Smiles!!!


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