Saturday, August 11, 2007

Five best: children's books to read aloud

Meghan Cox Gurdon, who reviews children's books for The Wall Street Journal, selected a five best "children's books that are especially enthralling when read aloud" list for Opinion Journal.

One title on her list:
The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend; illustrated by John Manders

This brightly colored picture book for young children has a charming narrative rhythm, a happy ending and that indefinable quality that makes it stand up to many return visits. Here a dastardly, yellow-eyed farm cat named Jack constructs a fabulous nest in order to lure passing fowl to lay their eggs in it, eggs that Jack plans to turn into a fabulous omelet. Alas, he is too successful: The nest is first occupied by three squabbling birds, then, briefly, by three warm eggs, and then, to the cat's dismay, by three damp baby chicks. "Hola, mama!" cries the first, looking at Jack. "Sacre bleu! Bonjour, Maman," cheeps the second. And the third--to the glee of listeners ages 4-7--says: "Great balls of fire! Howdy, Ma." This being a bedtime story, it ends with Jack curled protectively around the three heavily accented babies who have adopted him, all fast asleep in the perfect nest.
Read about Number One on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue