published January 2006 by HarperCollins
Based on a Puerto Rican folk song, this is the story of a little boy who has trouble sleeping in his big bed all by himself. His grandma tucks him in and asks if he'll be okay, and he insists that he'll be fine - only to start wailing when she closes the door. To help him sleep, one by one, the animals in the house (and on the farm!) join him in bed, but as soon as the door squeaks closed, the boy and the animals are crying and making noise. In the end, the boy sleeps with his grandparents for a night, grandma fixes the squeaky door, and just the cat sleeps with the boy at night.
This one would be great for a unit on "What are you afraid of?" or paired with a similar book like The Napping House. Or even with more Latin American folktales. There are many directions to go with this one! It is very repetitious and students will definitely want to read along (and make the animal sounds) by the middle of the story. I would use it with K-2 students, depending on the theme.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas
published January 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Silliness abounds in this book, in a slightly sophisticated way. Four dust bunnies are hanging out (Ed, Ned, Ted, and Bob), finding rhyming words because that's what they like to do, but one of them (you can guess who) is never able to come up with a rhyming word. Well, it turns out that he's trying to warn the rest of the group about a monster with a broom ::shudder:: and later a vacuum! The text is sparse, with only cartoon bubbles from the dust bunnies and the illustrations are large, filled in with solid colors. It's a clever little story that could serve as a fun introduction to rhyming words and/or poetry.
published July 2008 by HarperCollins
It's Splat the Cat's first day of school. He's scared senseless and tried everything he can to stay home. Alas, he gets to school, and he finds that it's not so bad. The class greets him with a warm welcome, and he learns that cats are actually pretty amazing creatures. But the one thing Splat learns that he's not so sure of is that cats chase mice. See, Splat likes mice and befriends one in the class, who just so happens to be able to open the milk closet and who changes the minds of all the cats to like mice too. I really loved this book, but the mouse sub-plot was too reminiscent of Despereaux to me. Nonetheless, the illustrations are absolutely fantastic - the furry, fuzzy cats look like they pop off the page. This is a great "first day of school" book that I would share with K-2.