Last week I posted my Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years. This week I’ve posted my Top 5 Read Alouds for 5-8 Years. I’ve also included some of my other favourite read-aloud picture books (that I couldn’t fit into my top 5) that deserve honourable mentions.
1. Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre
This is my absolute favourite picture book! I always use it to hook kids – a monster who stinks and does disgusting things, what more could you ask for. It’s gross, funny, and the language is great! It’s one of those picture books where the text and illustrations match perfectly and I couldn’t imagine one without the other. Every time I read it there are refrains of ‘Ooooo!’ and ‘Gross!’ but kids absolutely love it, especially the very last page. I’d love to see Giles and Sarah create more picture books together.
2. What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen, written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt
Kids love this book because they think it’s magic (and it’s slightly disgusting). There are lots of things to find in the witch’s kitchen, some of them nice and some of them revolting. Depending on which way you open each flap you could find Strawberry Tea or Goblin’s Wee, some crunch hot toast or a grumpy burnt ghost. I read this book almost every week for a whole school year to different groups of children and I never got tired of it. You can really build the sense of anticipation with each turn of the flap and kids can end up rolling around on the floor laughing.
3. Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Meg Rosoff’s story about four wild boars (Horris, Morris, Borris and Doris) who decide to cook a Massive Pudding, is absolutely hilarious. They’re bossy, selfish, stinky and hungry, so when you put them all together to make a pudding you know it’s not going to end well. They put all sorts of stuff into their pudding, including broccoli and a squid, and I love seeing the kids’ faces when you show them the finished product. Their hunger is never satisfied and they get very whiny, so it’s a great book for doing different voices. Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are great and add to the hilarity of the story.
4. Poo Bum! written and illustrated by Stephanie Blake
I can’t go past a picture book with some good toilet humour. Boys especially love books like this. You can’t read this book without children joining in saying ‘Poo bum!’ It’s about a little rabbit who only says one thing – Poo bum. However, one day he’s eaten by a wolf and then rescued by his father. You start to think that maybe he has changed and learnt some manners, only to be sadly mistaken. I love reading this book aloud to groups of school children, and most of the teachers and parents who have heard me read it loved it as well. Be prepared – children will walk around saying ‘poo bum’ for hours afterwards. This is one of my favourite picture books from New Zealand publishers/translators, Gecko Press. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out.
5. Oh No, George! written and illustrated by Chris Haughton
This book is great for sharing because the illustrations are bright and bold and the kids help you tell the story. They can anticipate what George is going to do and will join in the refrain of ‘Oh No, George!’ It’s a great book for the adults to enjoy too because they’ll get the subtle humour in the story and notice George’s guilty expressions. Some kids that I’ve read this to don’t quite get the ending, especially younger children. They want the story to have an end and don’t want to have to make their own mind up about the story. I think it’s extremely clever and a great way to get readers to use their imagination.