While we were in Maine we got together with Zsofi and her family. They kindly brought a picture book, Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith, for Isabelle. It’s an adorable counting book that goes to 20! (It’s hard to find a counting book for young children that goes past ten. I have no idea why this is the case, but I love it when books reach further.) Counting Our Way to Maine (Down East Books) is the story of a family who packs up the entire family for a low-key vacation (like ours) in Maine. Their trip resembles ours: seven ice creams are eaten, eleven sand castles are built, fourteen buoys are seen bobbing on the waves. The language is rich and specific and the illustrations are incredibly detailed. I got so much joy reading it aloud to Isabelle since it is about a place I love. I’m sure this will be a book we revisit again and again since this was the third consecutive summer we vacationed in Ogunquit, Maine.
We arrived home from our trip to Ogunquit this past Saturday evening. Although our U.S. Mail won’t be delivered until later today (Gotta love the Hold Mail Service!), our neighbor kindly collected the packages that arrived on our doorstep while we were in Maine. Quite a few of the packages contained review copies of picture books I will consider featuring as mentor texts on Two Writing Teachers this fall. A couple of them found their way into our laps as we read to Isabelle that night: Olive and the Big Secret by Tor Freeman and Bears in Beds by Shirley Parenteau. Both of these books will be released on August 14th by Templar and Candlewick, respectively.
First, my husband read Olive and the Big Secretto Isabelle as she sat in his lap. It’s an adorable story that reflects the importance of holding a secret close to you once you learn of it. I can imagine this will be a book I return to again and again as I teach Isabelle the importance of trust between friends (and family).
Second, I read Bears in Beds to Isabelle. The characters in this book are the same as the ones from Bears in Chairs, which is one of the board books we keep in a basket in her bedroom. This book is all about the bears and bedtime. The bears snuggle, tumble, and sleep. It’s written in rhyme, which makes it engaging for young ears.