But only because of Coleen Salley & Janet Stevens and Mo Willems.
Last week brought Read Aloud Day to the urban school where I volunteer as a tutor. Lots of people came in to read to each class, pre-K through 6th grades, and the book assigned to the first-grade readers was Epossumondas Saves the Day, written by Salley and illustrated by Stevens. Set in Louisiana, the book stars an opossum and resembles a Cajun Three Billy Goats Gruff. Plus, it features a whole heap of wacky Southern expressions. If you haven't tried this one at story time, I highly recommend doing so because it's such fun for a reader to ham it up. What seemed like too much shtick on an initial read-through made a rollicking read-aloud. I enjoyed hearing the first graders guffaw and chant along.
I then moved on to Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, which I'd taken along in case Epossumondas didn't fly. That was far from the case, but why stop when you're on a roll? Willems' book grabbed thirty kids' attention right off the bat and held it until the end. The Pigeon books beg for interaction, talking directly to the listeners, and the kids ate it up, yelling "No!" each time the Pigeon asked to drive. They even wanted to hear it again, so I left the book with their teacher. (And had to buy my son a new copy on the way home.)
I love tutoring, but the first-graders occasionally struggle and get discouraged. Read Aloud Day, though, well, it rocked. Everyone could join in on the fun that reading brings.