This spring, I've been spotlighting the picture book recommendations of librarians. I'm loving the high quality of these selections!
Matthew C. Winner (library media specialist-turned-author) directed me to The Sound of Silence (Katrina Goldsaito, illustrated by Julia Kuo). He also kindly included a mention of my book review in his amazing All the Wonders podcast series. (Thanks again, Matthew!) Click here to listen.
I also received an excellent recommendation from Rita Meade (public librarian and author), who shared several picture book suggestions, including an old favorite of hers - Heckedy Peg (Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood) - which completely delighted my kids.
So fun collaborating with Matthew and Rita! It's my pleasure to now introduce a local recommender: Ginny Sieck, library assistant at the Geneva Public Library.
If you've ever attended toddler story time at Geneva Public Library, you know Ginny. She has led story time there for 17 YEARS! All three of my girls have participated in her fun literary adventures.
Ginny is a PRO at introducing young ones to the concept of sitting still (so hard!) and paying attention to narratives. Here's my Little Ms. L at her first GPLD story time... See? Hands clasped even!
Exactly HOW does Ginny keep these tiny ones with her? I'm not entirely sure, but it includes a combo of lively readings, puppets and catchy songs. It's truly a wonder to behold.
Ginny and I recently chatted about some of her favorite picture book titles. A big fan of Candace Fleming, Ginny enthusiastically recommended Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! - one of her all-time faves (illustrated by G. Brian Karas).
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! is about a man (Mr. McGreely) with a dream. Perhaps you share it: Having a beautiful garden.
One year, Mr. McGreely finally pulls the trigger and sets up his palace in the soil. And it's bliss...
... until three little rabbits decide that Mr. McGreely's garden is their private buffet. The first time the bunnies sneak in and munch on some sprouts, Mr. McGreely is miffed, but assured he has it under control. But with every defense he mounts, those sneaky little bunnies figure out a way past so that they can "muncha, muncha, muncha" all of his green goodies.
Here are 3 things that make this book sing:
Repetition: Each time the bunnies bust through Mr. McGreely's elaborate fencing, they feast in the same way ("muncha, muncha, muncha"). The instant that my girls hear me say the first "muncha," they know just how to finish the phrase. Their confidence in participating makes reading the book a total joy for them.
The Bunny Hunt: As Mr. McGreely erects his fencing structures, you can see the bunnies in the distance (in Karas' illustrations), planning a counter attack. My "bunnies" love finding the conniving hoppers on each spread.
Furry Fury: As the story presses on, Mr. McGreely's anger goes from a simmer to a rapid boil - a progression that my girls unfortunately recognized with ease. ("Mom, sometimes YOU get furious." True, little bunnies. True.) They love watching the escalation of the gardener's temper.
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! is LOADS of fun. When I read it to the kids, I've taken to naming the three little bunnies after my girls. They think that is pretty silly. Although... maybe not quite as silly as wearing a headband on top of a sun hat (below).
This season, we've expanded our own family's garden to include bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and kale. Here's to hoping that our hoppy friends stay out... That's MY dream anyway!