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READING / The ABCs of helping youngsters achieve literacy--the
first skill

Check It Out

November 29, 1998

Books recommended for young readers by Susan Patron, senior librarian, Los Angeles Public Library:

Somehow they endure into adulthood--those worn out, chewed up, tired old books, survivors of household moves, garage sales and the mysterious process of growing up. Good books for children make lasting and deeply treasured gifts.

Babies and toddlers: "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown

A small rabbit says goodnight to each familiar thing in his room as the pages darken to show the beginning of night. Much beloved by generations of restless sleepers.


Preschoolers: "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak

This classic touches the hearts of all children who have needed courage, especially in confronting the wild things of their imaginations.


Kindergarten: "When Birds Could Talk and Bats Could Sing" by Virginia Hamilton

A magnificent storyteller offers eight African American folk tales, with gorgeous and funny illustrations by Barry Moser.


First and second grade: "Henry and Mudge" by Cynthia Rylant

Sucie Stevenson's endearing illustrations of Henry and his enormous dog capture the humor of their many true-to-life adventures in this easy-reading series.


Third grade: "American Tall Tales" by Mary Pope Osborne

Tantalizing yarns about Pecos Bill, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder, Ann Whirlwind and other folk heroes, with dramatic, full-color wood engravings by Michael McCurdy.


Some of the books to be read on KCET's "Storytime," Monday--Friday, 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

* "Tops and Bottoms," adapted by Janet Stevens

A poor hare makes a deal to work a bear's fields while the bear sleeps. The hare offers the bear his choice of tops or bottoms of the different vegetables planted, keeping the better half in each case for himself. The bear learns not to sleep through another season. (themes: resourcefulness, nature)


* "Mirette on the Highwire" by Emily Arnold McCully

Monsieur Bellini, a mysterious retired tight-wire walker, teaches little Mirette to walk the tightrope. But Mirette must help Monsieur Bellini overcome his own fear before they can become a successful new act. (themes: determination, concern for others)


* "The Gullywasher" by Joyce Rossi

While waiting for the gullywasher (a desert thundershower) to pass, Letitia learns of her grandfather's past when he was a vaquero, a cowboy. (themes: family legends, imagination, nature)

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