|Bruce Colville, 1993|
My love for good children’s books goes way, way back to when I was studying to be a teacher. The assignment was to create a display that would fascinate a classroom of children and inspire them to read the book shown.
I chose Winnie the Pooh, since I really did not know of many children’s books. My display was pretty anemic, as was my re-telling of the story.
After that, the world of children’s books also became my world. A well-written children’s book opens the door for the student to love reading--then to love writing-- and to keep on reading. Without that initial inspiration, students may not reach for the Moby Dick on the high school library shelf.
One of my favorite read-aloud chapter books was Jennifer Murdley’s Toad. It was nominated for a California Award for the Third Grade’s favorite book. A short review goes as follows:
An awkward and homely girl, Jennifer Murdley lives daily with ridicule from other students. She wishes she could be like them. On the way home from school, Jennifer notices an unknown street and a store, Elves Magic Shop. She purchases a big toad from the very odd proprietor. The secretive toad starts talking to Jennifer after she leaves the shop. Through the story, Jennifer learns about his very strange life and the witch out to get him.... Lots of adventures follow.
This book was written by Bruce Coville and was published in 1992 by Harcourt.
It is worth a read, even if you are beyond third grade or graduate school or an old curmudgeon . Good writing is good writing, no matter the audience.
Just a note: I have ordered this book from the local Barnes and Noble and will share it with my granddaughters. Why didn't I use Amazon? I support local business and stores. B & N is a long time friend with a then-novel relaxing approach for customers. I like that.