November 12, 2012 @ 7:10 pm | Filed under: ,

I’ve fallen behind with the reading logs again—it’s inevitable that I will, from time to time—but I can report that my Rilla-read-aloud time has taken a leap forward into snuggling in with long, text-heavy books of the sort she wasn’t terribly interested in a month or two ago. Brambly Hedge, crammed with all those detailed, pore-overable drawings, hooked her on tales of small, industrious, quaintly dressed animals with British accents (she was already a Potter fan); we’re now well into Tumtum and Nutmeg, and she hasn’t seemed to notice or mind that there are far fewer illustrations, and only black-and-white, at that. There are bustling, clever mice and I get to unleash my best Monty Python impressions on the dialogue. (Tumtum is Michael Palin, of course, and who else is Baron Toymouse but Cleese’s Black Night? My Nutmeg, on the other hand, seems to want to be the cook from the current Upstairs, Downstairs series.)

As for picture books, recent hits with my younger three include:

Rachel Fister’s Blister by Amy MacDonald, art by Marjorie Priceman.

Rachel Fister has a blister, and everyone around her has a cure. Silly, satisfying rhyming text; Rilla in particular enjoys this kind of linguistic fun.

Good New, Bad News by Jeff Mack.

This one’s a great pick for the 3-6-year-old set, all ye aunties and uncles and godparents out there. A rabbit and a mouse and a picnic gone bad. No, good! No, bad! No, good…The kind of bright, bold, funny drawings my littles are especially drawn to, and unpredictable twists within a highly predictable (ergo comfortable and appealing to preschoolers) structure.

It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle, illustrated by the wonderful Jeremy Tankard.

You know how much we love Tankard’s work. Gorgeous coloring in this book and so much humor and excitement in the drawings. I love that heavy outline on the tiger; Jeremy was an inspired choice to illustrate David LaRochelle’s delightful tale. It’s a rollicking jungle adventure of the best kind, with a suitably ferocious tiger lurking in all sorts of unexpected places, and a kind of “We’re going on a bear hunt” vibe to the text. Huck loves it, and not just because you get to shout “IT’S A TIGER! RUN!” every few pages.

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5 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Sarah says:

    I always love your posts with the book recommendations! Some of our best books have come from your recommendations (and your writing). Thank you.

  2. David LaRochelle says:

    Thank you for such a nice review of “It’s a Tiger!” You can bet I was thrilled with Jeremy’s illustrations for my words; I feel like a very fortunate author to have such vibrant, exciting, beautiful artwork to enliven the text. If any of your readers are interested, they can download free extension activities and a teaching guide for “It’s a Tiger!” at my website: And I’m very happy to hear that Huck enjoyed this! David LaRochelle

  3. Melissa Wiley says:

    David, thanks so much for stopping by, and for the resource guide—fun! And most of all for a truly delightful book. 🙂

  4. Ann says:

    Melissa, No wonder Rilla’s entranced! I wanna come do readaloud at your house.

    Hey, did I ever mention that I’d written a whole How I Love Melissa Wiley post. ; ) It’s on my Colorado Homeschool resource site at But you should also go check out your little aggregate posts over at my CHEER Homeschool Directory

    Let me know when you come to town. If you’ve got any spare time, I’d love to get you to do a young writer’s talk. My library said they might have a bit of budget left for someone as lovely as you. ; ) And we’ve got about 20 kids doing NANOWRIMO in our homeschool group. If you don’t have time, then I’ll just come hear you where ever you are speaking and bring a nice cuppa to warm you up.


  5. Fe says:

    Thanks so much for noting these… I’ve just realised that it’s time to start ordering Christmas books—and I’m plum out of ideas! Fortunately, you posted this, (and linked to those fabulous gift box ideas… Although I don’t know if they’ll deliver to Australia). I might find some inspiration in time:-)