Amy over at Hope is in the Word hosts a Read Aloud Challenge every Thursday on her site to encourage people to make the time to read aloud with their kids. In fact, it was participation in this weekly event that got me going back to my library and exploring the shelves!
One of the things that Amy enjoys about this weekly event is the complete randomness involved and now that we're reading through the library's collection of picture books, in alphabetical order by author's last name, we're definitely feeling very random.
Over the course of the next year or so, I know my posts for Read Aloud Thursday will be incredibly random but this week I wanted to highlight one particular author and illustrator combo that stuck out to me as being really unique.
Michael and the Cats and Charlie Anderson by Barbara Abercrombie and illustrated by Mark Graham are both stories about, well, cats! I can't say that I like cats all that much as a general rule (I'm really not much of a pet person) but Bookworm1 thinks every furry thing is just as cute as can be.
In Michael and the Cats we meet a little boy who is visiting his aunt and uncle who have two cats. Michael thinks the cats are wonderful creatures and really wants to be friends with them. However, no matter how hard he tries, they don't seem to want to do the things he wants to do, such as dressing up and taking baths. Michael spends a few days watching their habits and once he begins to feed them food that they like and tries stroking their heads instead of trying to hold them, they warm up to him. I thought this book was absolutely spot on for where Bookworm1 is at. He loves animals and can frequently be found begging them to come to him to play. He, at the age of 3, is developing the fine art of gentleness and care where animals are concerned and is a quick learner. This book emphasized all of our advice to him of late to "sit still" and let the animals come to him and to be gentle, etc., etc. He sat in rapt attention as we read this book. This one is a great one for talking about how to be kind to animals!
Charlie Anderson, written and illustrated by the same duo, is about a cat named Charlie who adopts a family of two little girls. No, wait! It's about a cat named Anderson who lives with a middle aged couple. Or perhaps it's about a cat who knows where to go and when! Charlie Anderson is so dubbed once it is realized that the cat makes his home with two different families and does it on his own schedule and preference! How very like a cat. Abercrombie seems to know these animals very well in trait and Graham knows them very well also, as evidenced by his beautiful full-color paintings.
Redbook declared Charlie Anderson to be one of the "Ten Best Picturebooks for Kids [in] 1991" and I would say it is worthy of such a decree.
If you like cats (and even if you don't) we recommend these books! They were quite enjoyable.