I've enjoyed the work of prolific author/illustrator Dan Yaccarino for many years now. His colorful, painted art often captures the look of mid-20th-century advertising art, and is always fun & eye-catching. The art is enough to draw me into not only his own books, but those he has illustrated for other authors (all of whom owe him a debt of gratitude). From the simplest of picture books for the youngest children, to beginner chapter books for independent readers, Yaccarino has a lot of creativity to share. Here are just a handful of my favorites to get you started:
An Octopus Followed Me Home
When a little girl comes home with a new eight-legged friend, her father has to remind her of the troubles visited upon him by the rest of her menagerie. The rhyming couplets & big paintings of a funny range of beasts make this a very fun read.
The Birthday Fish
Another book about a little girl & her potential new pet. Cynthia really, really, really wants a pony. "Every year she put a pony on her Christmas list. But no matter how good she was, she never got a pony." When her birthday comes, Cynthia thinks surely the box from her parents must contain "a very small pony!" Can she learn to accept her birthday fish?
Deep in the Jungle
"The lion was the king of this jungle and he made sure everyone knew it... The animals couldn't stand him one bit." When a man found wandering through the jungle offers the lion a job in show business, the offer is snapped right up. Unfortunately, the lion finds itself, caged, whipped & humiliated in a circus--and worse yet, the other jungle animals are being rounded up, as well! Will the lion be able to win the animals their freedom--and itself their friendship? Comeuppance can be hard to swallow--or not!
Boy + Bot
Written by Ame Dyckman, & illustrated by Yaccarino, this simple, fun story of a new friendship always has children & adults in storytime groups smiling. Did you know that robots read to each other, too? Of course, they read instruction manuals...
Freshly-published (February 2013), this book shows a happy little robot boy who is plugged in for downloading each day so his parents can go about their business. When something outside the window catches his eye, Doug unplugs and ends up discovering an amazing world! I've enjoyed reading this to storytime audiences in which the adults are too plugged in to enjoy the events along with their children. For a few moments, at least, this grabs the attention of some of them.
If you'd like to get a look at more of Dan Yaccarino's books, visit his website. There are even movie-trailer style book preview films! Do YOU have any favorite books by Dan Yaccarino--or anyone else, for that matter? Please tell me about them! Also, please spread the word about these great books, check them out, and read up!
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