Picture Book Library Picks

I found this draft of a post from back in November. Never published because I never got around to adding the links of pictures. But since people like book lists, I thought I’d go ahead and publish it now.

A selection of what we’ve been reading from the library.

1. Androcles and the Lion

I’ve been wondering about this story since we read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in which Lucy refers to Androcles when she sees the be-dragoned Eustace.

Other stories about people helping lions and being rewarded with friendship: St Jerome and St Tekla of Ethiopia. I always thought these stories were rather fanciful but a recent story about a woman who befriended a circus lion makes me wonder if in fact it could have happened. Perhaps not helping a full grown lion, but rescuing a cub. Or maybe befriending a lion who’d been raised by humans and therefore was already somewhat tame and used to people?

2. St George and the Dragon by Geraldine McCaughrean

a different version from the Margaret Hodges and Trina Schartt Hyman. I picked it up because it was mentioned in a comment at Shredded Cheddar. I don’t like it quite as much as the other version, though it definitely has some points in its favor.

3. Roman Myths
Geraldine McCaughrean illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

It’s easy to find books of Greek Myths. Roman mythology is harder to dig up. Perhaps in part because it is so often derivative. I was looking up the St George book and noticed the same author had this book and thought Bella would like it. She does. And I do too.

4. Robin Hood

I liked the illustrations, though the retellings of the stories were only ok, they didn’t really strike me except to note the unfavorable portrayal of churchmen with the exception of the genial Friar Tuck. Still, I wanted the kids to have exposure to Robin Hood and this was a good way to get them hooked.

4. Wee Gillis

Picked this up on a reader’s recommendation in the comments. A fun book about a boy who can’t decide if he wants to live with his lowland Scots relatives or his highland Scots relatives. Features bagpipes, so it must be good. That reminds me I need to dig up some bagpipe music to play for the kids. I know I used to own several albums, but can’t find them in iTunes.

5. Billy Beg and His Bull

Another recommendation from a reader. Some interesting stylistic similarities to The Black Bull of Norroway. I liked this Irish tale and the kids have enjoyed it too. Bella cited it to me today–reminding me about the knight who refused to fight and therefore didn’t get the princess–so I know it’s made an impression on her. Interesting that we have had two different books about knights rescuing princesses from dragons.

6. Goldberg Variations Thanks to Katherine for this recommendation. A nice introduction to the music. Fictionalized account.

7. Belling the Cat

Aesop’s Fables in rhyme with nice illustrations.

8. Anno’s Aesop

Interesting metafiction. The pictures are from a traditional Aesop book, but with commentary from the characters who are “reading” the book to themselves, telling their own stories to go along with the pictures. I haven’t read it with anyone but Anthony. I’m pretty sure he didn’t get it. I don’t know if the older kids will tolerate the frame narrative.

9. Bambinelli Sunday

Amy Welborn’s story about a boy who makes a baby Jesus and then takes it to Rome to be blessed by the Pope. This would make a nice Christmas gift. A nice glimpse of Christmas customs in Italy.

10. knights in Armor (Living History)

Illustrations are of reenactors in costumes, which is kind of fun. Some of the history– like the history of women– was a little heavy on the modern interpretation and not looking at the world the way a medieval person would have.

2 Responses to Picture Book Library Picks

  1. Kyra May 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    We have Wee Gillis and we love it. Right now the girls have just discovered the Pigeon books (Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog), and I took out some Maurice Sendak I hadn’t read before. We need to read it tomorrow before it goes back to the library on Tuesday.

    • Melanie Bettinelli May 26, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      I confess I don’t love the Pigeon all that much, but Dom does his voice well. Sendak can be hit or miss for me. Sometimes I find his stuff just creepy.

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