Animal Stories For Adults

Come, Thou TortoiseCome, Thou Tortoise
by Jessica Grant

Have you ever wondered what goes through your pet’s mind? I know I have. What initially drew me to this book was the fact that it features a tortoise as one of the narrators. Yes, you read that right: A tortoise—as in, the hard-shelled land-dwelling reptile–narrates several chapters of this book.

The other chapters are narrated by Audrey Flowers, or as her Uncle Thoby calls her, Oddly. The nickname suits her well, because odd is exactly what she is. But in a very lovable way.

The story is told with a unique combination of quiet sadness and comic relief—but mostly comic relief. I laughed at Audrey’s adorable quirks, cried for her losses, and was completely blindsided by her final discovery. Perhaps other readers saw it coming, but for me it was totally unexpected. Lest I spoil it for anyone, I will leave my comments at that. If you get to the end of the book you’ll understand.

Three Bags Full
by Leonie Swann

A co-worker recommended this book, and I was immediately intrigued by the notion of a sheep detective story. I’m currently on the fourth chapter. Whenever I tell people that I’m reading a book about a flock of sheep who are trying to solve the mystery of their shepherd’s murder, I usually have to clarify that it is actually not a children’s book. Not that I don’t enjoy a good children’s book every now and then. In fact, it’s probably my love for children’s books, combined with my love for animals, that makes me appreciate whimsical, imaginative stories like this one. I’m looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

Who Loves the Little Lamb?

Who Loves the Little Lamb?I thought it would be fitting, in honour of Valentine’s Day, to feature a book about love. If you’re a mom with young children, then this book seriously needs to be on your bookshelf! I think it would also make a lovely baby shower gift for any mother-to-be.

Listen to how it starts out: “Who loves the fussy lamb?” Picture a bawling little lamb (aw, poor thing!). Then picture the loving mama sheep (just as she appears on the cover) giving a reassuring hug while she croons, “No more crying, here I am. Mama loves her little lamb.”

The book continues like this, with page after page of different animals in different scenarios showing each mother’s unconditional love for her little one. With David McPhail’s charming illustrations and Lezlie Evans’ tender-hearted rhymes, it’s a perfect read-aloud for bedtime—or anytime, for that matter.

So cuddle up with your own little lambs and take a quiet moment to enjoy this book together. It will remind them (and you) just how much you love them.

Teaching Kids What Books Are For

Sometimes a book catches your eye right away and you can tell from the cover it’s going to be a fun read. Other times, it’s the most inconspicuous book that you happen to pick up out of mild curiosity, not expecting much, that turns out to be a real gem. This is one of those books.

The Wonderful BookThe Wonderful Book by Leonid Gore

First impression: Oh great, another children’s picture book with a cute bear on the cover. Yawn!

But believe me, this one is definitely worth picking up. It had my storytime group giggling from start to finish, and at the end, one little boy blurted, “Read it again!” As any literacy educator knows, finding books that appeal to boys is quite often a challenge, so I took this as high praise indeed.

I decided to make a complete fool of myself when introducing this book. I pulled it out of my storytime treasure box and said, “Oh look! It’s a pillow!” As I pretended to go to sleep with my head on the book, the group erupted in giggles. Grumpily, I knocked on the cover and complained about the hardness of my “pillow”. The kids (in vain) tried to tell me, no, no, that’s not what a book is for!

I proceeded to try a few other silly things with the book, like using it as an umbrella in the rain or a chair to sit on, but each time, the kids insisted that I was mistaken. Finally, I asked them to please tell me what to do with the book. Never before has a group of kids demanded with such passion that I read them a story!

Ok, so maybe the fact that I built it up so much helped… a lot. The kids were highly amused by the animals in the story—from the bear who uses a book as a hat to the mice who use it as a dining table—who were just as confused about books as their crazy storytime teacher.

While there are other books that promote reading in a positive way (and they certainly have their place), this one emphasizes the joy of reading by showing what a book is NOT for. That’s what sets it apart and makes it so funny to preschoolers, who delight in such silliness.