Thursday, January 8, 2009

Picture Books with Letters (as in "mail" not ABCs)

I always find it amusing when picture books include letters. Perhaps the best example is Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type.

Dear Farmer Brown,
The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets.
Sincerely,
The Cows

Letters can be a cute and clever way to convey info. They also provide authors with an easy way to switch points of view.

In Tightrope Poppy the High-Wire Pig Poppy takes a fall from the high wire and emails Mom:

I'm no star. Let's not pretend.
I tried.
I failed.
No more.
The End.

Then, of course, Mom emails back:

My dearest Poppy, Mom replied,
I know you're sad and crying.
You can't lose heart
on one bad start--
some dreams take lots of trying.

Letters can also add variety to the rhythm of a story.

In the hilarious book, My Penguin Osbert, Joe is desperate to get rid of his Christmas present.

Dear Santa,
How are you and Mrs. Claus? We are fine.
Thank you for the great penguin named Osbert.
We take cold baths together and have
creamed herring for breakfast.
I am getting used to spending all day
in the snow.

Plus, it turns out I didn't have frostbite after all.

your friend,
Joe

P.S. One more thing, Santa. If you feel like maybe
I should have asked for a different present,
and you want to swap, that would be OK.

I am going somewhere with this, but I am out of time for now.

So, more on this subject tomorrow!

5 comments:

Katie said...

The kids always love these! How about Dear Mrs. LaRue... I think there are a couple versions of this out now! Can't wait to see where you're taking this!

taralazar said...

Click, Clack, Moo: one of our favorites. It's simple, hilarious and features a surprise ending.

Some of the books with longer letters, however, leave my kids a little bored. They prefer letters when they're sprinkled about to help carry the story, not when they are the entire story.

Corey Schwartz said...

Thanks, Katie! I've seen Dear Mrs. LaRue on Amazon, but I haven't ordered it yet. I'll think I'll get it soon!

Lindsay said...

I LOVE "Thank You Santa" by Margaret Wilde. It contains letters back and forth between Santa and a little girl living in Australia. The book contains one letter for each month in the year starting with a thank you letter to Santa in January.
My mom loves to use this book in her first grade class to enhance student's letter-writing skills.

The Book Chook said...

Corey, do you know The Jolly Postman and Other People's Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg?

I'll write a review of it soon and send you the link. It has actual physical letters tucked into envelopes inside the book that you can take out, unfold and read.