Helen Lester has written some of the very best children’s books. A Porcupine Named Fluffy is a truly wonderful book about how silly it can be to try to conform to others’ expectations. The story shows all the absurd ways the world’s cutest porcupine tries to live up to his name and become “Fluffy,” only to realize that it’s fine to be the way you are. In addition to the lovely theme, the book is hilarious, so children adore it, even as the message comes through. Tacky the Penguin follows a similar theme. This very funny book celebrates how a brash penguin happily goes his own way in the face of shock and tsk-tsking from his fellow penguins. Happily Tacky perseveres and proves his worth to his skeptical friends. There is a whole Tacky series, and they are all fun. Fluffy and Tacky can be read again and again, and the humor never grows old. They are both supported by excellent illustrations, too.
Author, A True Story, is a little different. It has humor and it has lovely illustrations, but the point here is the author’s story of how she became a writer. This is a useful, interesting story and it gives children a blueprint to think about how they might become an author, too. I particularly loved the fact that it showed how it all started when she was a child and how she succeeded. It is also nice to see a girl as the star of this realistic, inspirational book.
If you haven’t discovered Helen Lester, you should!