Mo Willems is our favorite. There are several spots on this blog where I publicly declare my belief that he is a genius. However, when I read this book to my kids, aged 4 to 10 years, I did not tell them that Willems was the author. It is not immediately recognizable as his work. They all still thought it was hilarious. A book that can have a 4 year old and 10 year old laughing at the same time is quite an achievement. It is also a fantastic way to introduce kids to the concept of rhyming.
Nanette’s Baguette Details
This book is an auditory delight. The way the author interweaves word that rhyme with the “ette” ending is a listening pleasure. For example, here is one snippet: “Is Nanette set to get the baguette? You bet!” For preschoolers or kindergartners who are just learning about rhymes, this an effective way for them to really hear that there is something special about these words. Even without a formal discussion of rhymes, this book will get the wheels inside their head turning.
Older kids will appreciate the fun way the author carefully chose his words for maximum impact. There is not a firm rule about rhyming. Rather, some pages have very few rhyming words and some are overflowing with them. In this way, the book models creativity and flexibility in writing.
Best of all, this book is really funny. A little frog is sent to get the baguette for her family, but it is so warm and wonderful that, well, you can guess what happens. Even though the story is somewhat predictable, my kids and I all laughed as we watched it unfold. As an added bonus, the unique illustrations combined with Willem’s talent for conveying emotion through facial expressions adds to the enchanting nature of this story.