Calvin and I have been enjoying Dog Friday by Hillary McKay. I laugh uproariously throughout (I love that word uproariously), and Calvin giggles too, though I'm not sure he gets everything. But the story is darling. Read it to your 6-8 year olds and have the older kids read it themselves (or you could read it to them. You should always read to all your kids if they'll let you.)
And I want to sneak in a little reminder here about Alvin Ho—book three is coming!!!
(This is a series for 5-9 year old boys. Although lots of girls love it too. The author has a girl series for the same age, called Ruby Lu. It is hysterical as well.)
Fairytales, fairytales, fairytales! For beautifully illustrated classics, look to Paul O. Zelinsky.
He has done Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and Rumplestilskin. Another amazing folktale illustrated by Zelinsky, and written by Anne Issacs, is called Swamp Angel. And I just saw that these two have paired up for another book to come out in a few months called Dust Devil.
In case you haven't noticed, picture books are changing. It is impossible to get a picture book published over 750 words unless you are extremely famous as a writer, and it's difficult to get a book published over 300 words. 300 hundred words is nothing! Book sellers believe that people over the age of six no longer read picture books! They say that most kids in school will not pick up a picture book because it isn't cool, and teachers are pushing novels faster than ever, so the 6 to 10 year olds that used to read picture books no longer do.
What slander! What a travesty! What big, fat, stinking lumpheadedness! I'll bet there are twelve-year olds who still pick up a picture book when they've got nothing better to do at home, particular a well written folktale that makes them laugh and think and linger over brilliant pictures. The girl who wrote this:
Just graduated from my program. I cried when I realized who she was and what she'd written, (partly because I own this book and I would have brought it up for her autograph) and also because it is such a well-written book with lots and lots of words. I asked her about the word problem, and she said it is sad, so very sad, but true. It is almost impossible to get a picture book with a lot of words published.
Fight against this with me! Buy picture books with lots of gorgeous, beautiful, inspiring words! Prove all those money-making honchos (whom I hope one day want to buy my books) wrong!
Off to battle!