This is a long one, I had no idea how many “F” books I’ve read and loved! Thought this was a good “F” is for “Friday” kind of post.
The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino.
This is an absolutely gorgeous children’s biography of the famed undersea explorer. Dan Yaccarino’s whimsical style of illustration suits the story of this oceanographer and inventor perfectly. It’s a fanciful book, with just enough of a taste of Cousteau’s life to have kids asking for more books about him and the sea. This is a great one for any little person obsessed with underwater creatures and exploration.
Farm by Elisha Cooper.
I like quiet, pastoral stories, and this one is as quiet and pastoral as they come. Cooper’s books are always beautiful, and I love that he takes everyday things and elevates them to full-on experiences with his art. Instead of focusing on the farm’s animals, which children’s books about farm life often do, this one focuses on the family that actually runs the farm. And the hard work that’s involved, the much-appreciated time relaxing, the real animals that live and work there. It’s a slice-of-life, and it’s beautiful.
Farmer Duck, written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
Here is another book about farm life, this one centered on a duck. A put-upon saint of a duck that does all the work while the lazy farmer sits around eating and relaxing. The duck never complains, just quacks when the farmer asks him if all the chores are finished. And then the other farm animals decide enough is enough, they are going to help their hard-working friend Duck once and for all. And they kick the lazy farmer off the farm and live happily ever after. Shades of “The Little Red Hen” make this a great story to pair with it and talk about the importance of sharing the workload.
Fine As We Are by Algy Craig Hall.
This is a very cute book for any little person who is expecting a new sibling…and is none too happy about it. Little Frog thinks life with just him and his mom is absolutely perfect. He doesn’t want to share her, and he doesn’t see why the two of them need anyone but each other. But when a whole lot of little tadpoles appear in the pond, it’s obvious that more little frogs are, indeed, on the way. Little Frog doesn’t know what to do, but in the end he figures it out. It’s absolutely delightful.
The First Bear in Africa! by Satomi Ichikawa.
You can tell from the cover that this book is made of win, right? That little boy holding up that teddy bear proudly for the giraffes to investigate tugged at my heartstrings from the start. Meto meets a little tourist girl when her family comes to visit his small African village. He is taken with her teddy bear, an animal he’s never seen on the savanna. When she leaves the bear behind as her family’s Jeep drives away, good-hearted Meto is determined to get it back to her. He chases after her, encountering various African animals along the way. All of them are so curious about this new creature, they follow Meto on his quest to give it back. When they finally find the small plane her family is boarding, she cries, “My bear!” All of the animals are delighted to have met “the first bear in all of Africa.” FTW.
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown.
Ah, Flat Stanley. Most of us know him. Some of us have even sent him around the world. Such a great book about a little boy who wakes up one morning to find that he is perfectly flat. All of a sudden, just flat as a pancake. And a fallen bulletin board is the culprit. If you haven’t read this book before, you can just imagine the story opportunities for a boy adjusting to his new, flat life. And Jeff Brown takes advantage of most of them. Sliding under doors, hiding in paintings, and getting mailed to California. So much fun.
Fleabag by Helen Stephens.
Look at that face. If there’s a little kid out there that doesn’t stop dead in his or her tracks at the sight of a puppy, I haven’t met them. Real or illustrated, doesn’t matter. This is no different. Fleabag is a homeless little mutt who really does have fleas jumping around him at all times. Most kids are forced to keep their distance from the critter, but a lonely little boy finds him at the park. And, of course, they are soulmates. But the boy doesn’t bring him home, they meet up at the park. Until the crushing news that the little boy is moving away. But, this one does have a happy ending.
Follow the Line by Laura Ljungkvist.
Hypnotic, that’s what this one is. Follow the line through each colorful page of shapes and landscapes, watching the images take form and change into something else. Super creative, super cool, very graphic. This is the kind of children’s book you can imagine hip, visually-inclined artistic parents to keep right on their coffee table with the tomes on Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, Pucci, and good design.
Forever Friends by Carin Berger.
I love Carin Berger. Really, I do. I’ve read The Little Yellow Leaf with my younger students every fall since it was published (which was also my first year teaching). I also did Behold the Bold Umbrellphant, Jack Prelutsky’s poetry with her pictures, for National Poetry Month 2 years in a row. I love OK Go. Get the idea? Her subdued, subtly Japanese-inspired art is just gorgeous, and this story of animal friends who meet in the spring and stay together through the winter is just charming. And so is their reunion the next year.
The Fox and the Hen by Eric Battut.
The ditzy Henrietta Hen trades her egg to the fox for a worm. But her friends are horrified, and they explain to her why she can’t just go around trading her precious eggs for worms. Henrietta is mortified, and she begs the fox to give the egg back. But nothing Henrietta and her friends offer the fox is as appealing as the egg. Until they play a great trick on him and get the egg back. And the chick is born, and everyone’s happy. But if it were me, I’d have Child Services keep a close eye on that clueless hen.
Frankenstein Takes the Cake by Adam Rex.
This is the sequel to Rex’s Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, which I must admit I have not read. This was the one that drew me in, with that cover illustration of Frankenstein’s monter and a wedding cake. What on earth? This book begins and ends with the misadventures of Frankenstein’s wedding, and in between are lots of gross, funny, kid-magic stories of the other monsters in Frankenstein’s life. All told in various forms, too (the Headless Horseman blogs, there’s a comic strip, most of the stories rhyme). Very fun for Halloween.
Franklin’s Big Dreams written by David Teague and illustrated by Boris Kulikov.
Ever have a child ask you how dreams are made? Give them this book. Construction crews come into Franklin’s room at night and create epic, fantastic structures just for his nighttime imagination. Then they break them down before daybreak and start again the next night. No one knows how it works, but whatever Franklin can think up they can make. A very fun bedtime story.
Frederick by Leo Lionni.
I adore Leo Lionni. And Frederick the mouse has the soul of a poet. He doesn’t spend his time gathering food and shelter supplies for the winter. He sits on a sunny rock gathering the warmth of the sun to help him through the winter. Then he collects things like colors. And he keeps the minds and hearts of his fellow mice warmed all through the winter. This is a book for daydreamers.
Fred Stays with Me! written by Nancy Coffelt and illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
Here’s another one about a beloved dog. The heroine of the story, a little girl, is a child of divorce. She splits her time between Mom and Dad’s, but her dog Fred goes where she goes. Except Fred isn’t so well-behaved, and pretty soon he makes both of her parents crazy. But the displaced little girl holds tight to her one constant in life, declaring, “Fred stays with me!” And she works with her family to fix his bad habits and make everyone happy.
The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka.
What exactly happens when the spell is broken and the frog becomes a prince? Hilarious things, according to Jon Scieszka. As it turns out, the grass is not necessarily greener for the frog prince in Scieszka’s now classic story of what happens next. You can take the frog out of the pond, but you can’t take the pond out of the frog. The prince and princess are both miserable, so the frog prince sets out to find a witch to turn him back. Things don’t go as planned, but there is a happy ending after all.