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Engaging Methuen Readers


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National Underwear Day

National Underwear Day is here! It might seem like a strange thing to celebrate every year, but if the number of children’s books published on the topic is any indication then its popularity is far more than the adult mind would consider on a daily basis. Underwear is just funny.

It might be something you don’t generally think about, but your child is going to think any book on the topic of undergarments is hilarious. So here are some picture books for kids in K-2 grade that will keep them entertained and you sane:

Image of itemDinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort claims “this book solves the mystery” about how the dinosaurs were wiped out. Cavemen invented underwear for themselves, but then the dinosaurs want in on the product too. They start chasing after the cavemen. Not to eat them–the dinosaurs want their underwear. All while educating about the names of dinosaurs and prehistoric life, the book does swirl into hilarity, the dinosaurs ending up in a massive tug-o-war. The Mighty Underpants War lasts until the dinos are wiped out and the cavemen get their briefs back!

Image of itemApparently Claire Freedman and Ben Cort really like writing/illustrating books about underwear. Rather than prehistoric, they go futuristic this time with Aliens in Underpants Save the World. This tale is also told in rhyme, now with adorable illustrations of the aliens who are saving our world. A meteor is headed straight toward earth and the aliens are worried about the destruction of their underwear supply! In order to save it, they pillage as much underwear as they can find and turn it into one massive pair of underwear to bounce the meteor back to outer space. The use of rhyme and science vocabulary add to the merit of this silly story about underwear.

Image of itemTodd H. Doodler has multiple books about a bear in underwear, but the one that started it all is Bear in Underwear. The illustrations of the woodland creatures are a modern pop-art style. Dichotomous, yes. Incredibly cute, also a yes. Identifying the animals is a central feature to this book, as is explaining the different types of underwear that bear tries on. In the end, all of the animals get their own pair that suits them perfectly.

Image of itemOne Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl and Tom Lichtenheld is a unique counting book that doesn’t just do the traditional one to ten. It goes back and forth between numbers, requiring more numerical competency than the average 1, 2, 3… type story. It all begins with a big pair of underwear and two bears who do NOT want to share. One animal from the many keeps getting the short end of the deal until, all together, the animals learn to count and share because of the big pair of underwear.

Image of itemFor the middle reader (2nd-4th grade), the iconic Captain Underpants cannot be forgotten! The series was started by Dav Pilkey in 1997 and quickly rose to fame among the school-age crowd. These are quick reads for reluctant readers but will certainly be enjoyed by even the most stoic elementary school kid. There are now twelve pseudo-comic/novels about the stinky, smelly villains whom Captain Underpants defeats, as well as Collectors’ Editions and books about Super Diaper Baby. Although the series is often challenged in censorship battles for being unsuitable due to its nature of revolving around all things disgusting, it is worth a try for the laughter which will ensue.


Picture Books for Children’s Book Week

Picture books are a great way for you to get your child engaged in literacy from an early age. When exposed to books from a young age, children are more likely to enjoy reading later on. Reading will be associated with familial bonds, compassion, and love. So come by the library for Children’s Book Week, May 4-10, and pick up a new picture book or an old classic.

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson was one of my favorites as a kid and is still a big hit in storytimes that I run now. A little boy just has a purple crayon and his imagination. The world that he creates from his own mind reflects ours, but with a beautiful simplicity.

Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends is another great choice to bring home. These collected poems are accompanied by black and white sketches that a child could easily try to replicate. The poems are silly, and great for sounding out new and interesting words to improve reading skills.

If we’re going to talk about tongue twisters, then Dr. Seuss must come up. The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, as well as any Dr. Seuss book really, are tried and true. The nonsensical words will make kids laugh out loud at the silliness, all while providing some type of lesson in the end, whether it be a caution against strangers like the famous cat or advocating trying new things even if they don’t seem appealing.

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