Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's Basbusa reading?

Billy & Milly: Short & Silly is a title which gives a perfect summary of the book itself. It's about a boy called Billy and a girl called Milly, and their adventures are indeed extremely short and extremely silly. However, they have the great advantage of being easily readable by a child with only the most basic phonics and word-building skills, which Basbusa finds extremely satisfying. One sample "story" goes like this: "Room. Broom." (accompanying a full-page picture of a fancy bedroom with a broomstick in it.) "Boom! Zooooooooooooom!" (as Milly hops onto the boomstick, flies up through the ceiling (hence the "boom"), and zooooooms away. All of the stories consist of only three or four rhyming words, like this one, and the plots are correspondingly - well, short and silly. But Basbusa's a fan, and has chosen this one from the library three times now.

The Snail and the Whale is a book I saw on is Learning with Mouse's best books of 2011 list, and since we've really enjoyed several other books by Julia Donaldson (The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child, Room on the Broom), I knew we'd like this one too. And sure enough, it was a very fun read. It's all in rhyme, which is Basbusa's favorite format, with plenty of humor, and attractive, busy illustrations. The story describes a snail who longs to see the world, and hitches a ride on the tale of a whale in order to explore with him. The snail is awed by the size and splendor of the sights he sees, and is feeling very small and insignificant, when suddenly he finds that he, only he, can come to the rescue of his gigantic friend.

I think I must have read Pierre: A Cautionary Tale sometime myself, because it seems very familiar. So excuse me if this is such a classic that it's old news to everyone else! Although the title describes the books as being "in five chapters and a prologue," each chapter is really only a page long. It's a poem about Pierre, whose only response to his doting parents, and even to a hungry lion, is a jaded "I don't care!" And so the lion ate Pierre. But don't worry, his parents get him out again! Basbusa liked the story, liked the rhyme, liked the small size of the book (as always!) and liked how fast the "chapters" race by, giving her frequent opportunities to announce "Chapter FOUR!" or "Chapter FIVE!"

Listen to my Trumpet! is another of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books. I should really stop reviewing these now, because basically I say the same things about each title, but this one is definitely my favorite so far. I found myself giggling through it, which is a first (although Basbusa finds almost all the books in this series very entertaining). I won't spoil the plot by explaining exactly what happens, but even leaving the story aside, there were several other things we liked about this one. Basbusa liked checking the shape of the speech- or thought-bubbles to see whether Gerald's words were spoken aloud or not, and we had some interesting chats about why Gerald might have chosen to keep some of his thoughts to himself, and why he was "ummm..."ing so much while trying to find words to say aloud. I also liked that the sounds Piggie makes on her trumpet are spelled out in ways that are very encouraging for beginning readers: made easier through hyphenation, and made stress-free because they're nonsense words anyway. (For example, "Bl-ARK! Vr-ARP! Sn-ARK!)

Linking up with What My Child is Reading and Read-Aloud Thursday.


  1. We love the Elephant and Piggie books as well...I don't think we have read the trumpet one yet though, so I'll have to see if I can find that one at the library!

  2. Ooh, a new Elephant and Piggie book! We love this series! I am glad you liked A Snail and a Whale, and thanks for joining WMCIR!