Providing storytime programming is one of my favorite parts of being a librarian. I use music, instruments, movement and apps, but the essential part of storytime is the picture book. These books entertain, enlighten and teach children about the world around them. They introduce them to new vocabulary and sounds. Sometimes apps freeze up or the sound system will not play the music, but the books always work. They are the foundation for a winning storytime which often is a child’s first introduction to wonders of the library. The following are two new additions that celebrate individuality and families.
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Pictures by Christian Robinson
Recommended Ages 2-6
Mrs. Poodle is loves of all her pups: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La and Gaston. She teaches them to sip and never slobber and to yip and never yap. She of course notices that Gaston is a unique guy and bigger than the other pups. For every lesson he smiles the biggest and he does his best to make her proud. One day they meet a bulldog family at the park. Mrs. Bulldog has four puppies who are very rambunctious. It is apparent that one of her puppies is a poodle. Thinking that there has been a mistake, Gaston goes home with Mrs. Bulldog. Antoinette the poodle goes home with Mrs. Poodle. Soon both the families realize that there has been a terrible mistake. Gaston does not fit in with the bulldogs and Antoinette is not refined like Fi-Fi and the girls. Both families race back to the park the next day and all is well again. Mrs. Poodle is extremely happy to have Gaston back with her and the girls. This message of acceptance and love is portrayed exquisitely by the creators. A family doesn’t have to look the same to have a connection and be a real family. The illustrations expressed the emotions of the characters seamlessly. The puppy families are extremely cute and lovable.
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino
Recommended Ages 3-6
A little crocodile desperately wants to fit in with his brothers and sisters who love the water. He watches them and wishes he could enjoy swimming as much as they do. He saves his money to buy a swim ring, though he rather climb trees. He makes several attempts to get in the water. When he almost drowns, he begins to feel a sneeze coming on. As the tickle in his nose grows, his sneeze comes out as fire. Soon they all understand he is a dragon. This works out fine as he flies through the sky with his family of crocodiles riding on his back. The author/illustrator shows the sadness and triumph of her little dragon as he worries and celebrates over finding his real self perfectly. The family is together and happy as the little dragon share his gifts with them.
These are some other lovely books on celebrating individuality!