The second choice from my series Fantastic Adventures in Family Entertainment, is a Caldecott Award Winner, and you may be familiar with it. It is The Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman.
Sitting down and reading a physical book with our kids seems to be on the way out, as more and more parents are using Kindle Fires or iPads for children’s books. Those are nice alternatives if you don’t want books taking up shelf space in your home, but then your kids can’t draw in the book, hold the book with dirty hands, etc. With Song and Dance Man, I feel it is important to hold the physical book in your hands. It really helps the kids get lost in the world of the book when they can hold it themselves and put it right in their faces.
Why it is a fantastic adventure: There is not much text in this story but what there is tells of a grand adventure. A trunk is discovered in an attic (where all great adventures begin) that contains grandpa’s old vaudeville top hat, cane. The kids learn that their grandpa used to be quite the dancer in his day, instead of the old man he is now. When I was a kid we never went up in the attic, so, of course, my mind went straight to all the possibilities up there. This book only furthers that imaginative lifestyle and gets your kid thinking and creating his or her own world of what could be up in the attic.
The illustrations are also a huge part of this adventure. They take up most of the page and really suck the reader into the world that they represent. I fondly remember staring at these illustrations for hours on end and creating new encounters in my mind every time. “Okay, there’s a radio in the corner. What if I turned it on? What type of music would come on?” This is a great way for your children to start viewing drawings and pictures as art forms. There are such detailed images in this story that your children could spend hours creating new ideas in their heads. Encourage them to draw or write out these new ideas to share with you.