Book Review: 2014’s great picture books to read aloud |

Book Review: 2014’s great picture books to read aloud

Sarah Kostin/For the Steamboat Pilot & Today
My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown

“My Teacher is a Monster” by Peter Brown

Peter Brown is such a talent. Bobby thinks his teacher is a monster until they unexpectedly spend a lovely day together in the park. The deft illustrative twist at the end will delight parents and appeal to kids. A real treat!

“Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen

This dynamic duo has woven yet another great yarn. A perfect read and look-aloud that will tickle the fancy of adults and kids, who will inevitably beg for it to be read again and again.

“Telephone” by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jen Coarce

Who doesn’t love a good game of telephone? A dozen shadowy birds sitting on a telephone wire pass along a simple message from Peter’s mother to Peter. But oh, how the message gets distorted. This will most appeal to an age group who already play and understand the telephone game in real life.

“Sparky!” by Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhans

Who wouldn’t want a pet sloth? Well, I guess you wouldn’t if you want your pet to fetch, run, roll over or do anything active at all. But if you want a pet who plays dead and statue very well, then Sparky is just your kind of critter. A clever and giggly choice for the more mature picture book audience.

“Maple” by Lori Nichols

A lovely offering that will connect with Steamboat kids who spend a lot of time outside, under the trees. “On some days, when the wind was just right, Maple would simply lie under her tree, and its leaves would dance just for her.” Gently encouraging mindfulness and empathy, this also could be read to an expecting big sister or brother.

“Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure” by Anna Walker

A simple but exciting story of a chicken who gets swept away in the breeze and unexpectedly lands in the big city. The gorgeous illustrations really carry the story while we watch Peggy navigate the many legs and interesting objects found in the city. It is fun to spot Peggy sitting on heads and hopping on the train as her adventure unfolds.

“Hooray for Hat!” by Brian Won

Here’s a fun one for the toddler crowd. An uncomplicated story of animals whom are quite grumpy until they receive a very distinctive hat that brightens up their whole day. Who can’t relate to that?

“Hug Machine” by Scott Campbell

A super cute book about a boy who hugs everything. A great selection to promote more hugging with your child. Perhaps, a reluctant choice if you fear your child will go on an uncontrollable hugging spree. Although, there could be worse things, I suppose.

“What Do You Do With An Idea” by Kobi Yamada; Illustrated by Mae Besom

A gorgeous and inspiring book that easily could replace the over-gifted graduation title, “Oh the Places you Go” as a stirring read for children of any age.

Sarah Kostin is the children’s librarian at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

These books are available at the Bud Werner Memorial Library and at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore; e-books can be found at

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