Frog on a Log? By Kes Gray, illustrated by Jim Field, Scholastic Press.
This book is jam-packed with rhymes, and would be a nice add to storytime. Bright cartoon-style illustrations will keep the attention of preschoolers, and they will get a phonemic awareness lesson while they laugh as the increasing silliness of animals sitting on things that rhyme with them. The ending will have them grinning, and some might even guess what is going to happen.
My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau, Chronicle Books
Does your family sometimes feel like a zoo? This retro-inspired French import takes us through the family of man and animal. Great vocabulary, fun illustrations, and a seek-and-find element to each picture will get kids involved in this story. And at the end, you can all answer the question, “What makes YOU special?”
Elephant in the dark by Mina Javaherbin ; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, Scholastic.
Based on a poem by Rumi, this can be a way to add a little culture to your book sharing. When the villagers try to figure out what the strange creature is that is in the dark barn, each feels a different part and describes a different animal. Similar to Ed Young’s Seven Blind Mice, this one has a more folksy feel to it. Read the two books together for a comparative story session, and use a “feelie box” and let the kids figure out what is inside.
Lizard from the Park by Mark Pett, Simon & Schuster
When a little boy finds an egg in the park, he takes it home and plays with it. The next morning it hatches—into a dinosaur. You can imagine that having a pet dinosaur is not the easiest thing, especially once it starts to grow large. A clever trip back to the park gets the dinosaur home, and the main character finds a friend. The secondary story of friendship is told through the pictures—and children will love looking for the friend once they see him. A pastel palette creates a soft world for this gentle story that will work well for storytimes for children who can sit for a longer story.
Gorillas in our Midst by Richard Fairgay, illustrated by Terry Jones. Sky Pony Press
If you can get away with absurd books in storytime, put this one on your list. Gorillas are everywhere, so make sure you keep a banana with you at all times. This is the basic premise of this import from New Zealand. Share it with kids who love a silly story, or give it to that reluctant reader who thinks picture books are for babies. Would pair well with Anthony Browne’s books.
Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon . Enchanted Lion Books
Looking for a good way to get your students interested in poetry? This book has retro-feeling, 3-color illustrations that really pop. Each poem is accompanied by electric-bright printmaking, and some have fold-out images that extend both the page and the poem. Follow a secondary story in the illustrations as you & your students explore a variety of poems featuring, you guessed it, beasts. From Blake’s famous “The Tiger”, to the very silly “Eletelphony”, there’s something in this collection to appeal to a wide age-range.