Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews
published 2011 by Henry Holt & Co
I love this Jack story because of the illustrations. They're photographs! Crews has used a photo-collage style to tell this story, and I love how modern it makes the tale feel. I also like the twist at the end - no one dies, thankfully, and the giants have a happy ending.
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna and Soula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter
published 2011 by Schwartz & Wade
Cinderella stories are very popular at the King School Library. We have so many cultures represented in our Cinderella collection, but I don't recall a Grecian one. This story is indeed very Greek - I love the explanation of why this girl is an orphan even though her father is alive (it's a Greek thing) and the fact that the prince is found not hosting a silly ball but instead attending church on Sundays. A very nice retelling of a familiar tale.
Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed by Eileen Christelow
published 2011 by Clarion Books
Christelow writes a variety of Five Little Monkeys stories, but this one is obviously my favorite. These monkeys just can't get to bed because their books are so interesting that they want to read them all. After four books, Mama says it's time for bed - Lights out! Sweet Dreams! No more reading in bed! is her rhyme once she finds that the monkeys have disobeyed her and are reading in bed. First, it's a sad story that makes them sob, then a scary ghost story, and finally a funny story that has them giggling gleefully. At the end, when they're finally worn out and ready to fall asleep, they hear laughing and crying from the other room. I think you can guess what the monkeys will find...
published 2009 by Henry Holt & Co
You may, like me, think this book is about size comparison, but you would be mostly incorrect. Although there are big, bigger, biggest-like comparisons of animals on each page, what's more are the adjectives used to describe these animals. For example, a snail says, "I'm slowest! I'm sluggish. I'm lethargic. I'm lackadaisical!" Ooh! What vocabulary! Use this book with older students to improve the adjectives in their writing, or use it with younger students to introduce them to new vocabulary. No matter the age group, it's definitely a book to be shared!
published 2011 by Carolrhoda Books
When I think about this book, I get a little giddy inside. It makes me smile until my cheeks hurt. I love the whimsical watercolor illustrations - they make me starry-eyed and swoony. And the story itself is not so bad either. Okay, it's wonderful. A little girl ventures outside after a day of rain to play in the mud. There she meets Mudkin (the creature on the cover), who thinks she looks like a queen and should in fact be his queen. The two travel to her kingdom, complete with a castle and subjects. While there is very little text in this book, the illustrations tell the story quite well. And when there is text, we can only read what the little girl has to say because Mudkin's responses are written in mud scribble. Oh, what a perfect opportunity to teach inference skills! Love it!