From Publishers Weekly
This volume by Allyn, director of the literacy organization LitLife, reminds parents that through reading aloud they can teach the beauty of language and joys of rhythm and rhyme and introduce their offspring to the Big Wide World. Part one of this book—a combination of Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook
and Anita Silvey's 100 Best Books for Children
—offers 10 reasons why parents should read to their kids: to develop shared values, to fall in love with language, to build comprehension, among them. Useful, too, are Allyn's Four Keys, revealed in an apt mnemonic, READ: a Ritual of coming together in an Environment conducive to reading with Access to the right book at the right time for a Dialogue. Chapter Four's 14 landmark books, from Pat the Bunny
to Harry Potter
(with Margaret Wise Brown, Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak titles included) will resonate with parents, but the best feature may be a brief section called How to Read Aloud, which teaches parents exactly how and why to read to children in order to elicit interest, engagement and response. The bulk of the book is Part three, all the best books for the moments that matter most, an alphabetical listing of 50 themes, from adoption to New Baby to Your Imagination. (Apr.)
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Targeted principally at parents, Allyn’s earnestly utilitarian guide to read-aloud books for children promises to “help you find the perfect books for the perfect times.” To that end, she offers a potpourri of self-help tools including a “reader’s ladder” of titles for children from birth to age 10, 50 thematic lists of “all the best books for the moments that matter most,” 10 reasons for reading to kids, and four keys for helping children become lifelong readers. All of this material has its uses, but its presentation is often either cloying (especially when the author invokes her own family) or a bit too rah-rah for some readers. Her knowledge of the history of children’s literature is occasionally a bit spotty (she praises Margaret Wise Brown without ever acknowledging the influence of Lucy Sprague Mitchell), and is Stuart Little really suitable for reading to a six-year-old? Nevertheless, the author is at her best when she is discussing the inarguable—almost ineffable—importance of reading to and sharing books with kids. And here her enthusiasm and genuine passion are infectious. One hopes her spirit is catching. --Michael Cart