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Find more Classroom Connections
Through the routines and patterns of different kinds of shopping trips, these books introduce the youngest readers to different worlds and experiences.
Recently, my three-year-old nephew began to play Store. “Welcome to Market!” he says. “Can I help you? Beep! Beep! Beep!” He scans each item. Swipe goes the credit card. “Have a nice day!” At a very young age, children absorb the rituals and language associated with shopping. They understand that though a grocery store, a toy store, and a shoe store may stock different items, many of the routines are the same: making lists, getting a cart or basket, checking the items on sale, trying to reconcile needs versus wants, and paying. The titles below endeavor to transform ordinary shopping events into extraordinary retail adventures.
At the Supermarket. By Anne Rockwell. Illus. by the author. 2010. Holt, $16.99 (9780805076622). PreS–Gr. 1.
A young boy is our tour guide through the grocery store. He keeps a steady inventory of the cart’s contents. What makes this trip extra special? Tomorrow is the boy’s birthday and additional items are being purchased to make his cake!
Baby Goes to Market. By Atinuke. Illus. by Angela Brooksbank. 2017. Candlewick, $16.99 (9780763695705). PreS–Gr. 2.
Baby is swaddled to Mama as they both shop at a Nigerian market. While Mama purchases and places items in the basket on her head, the market-sellers, who are enchanted by Baby, offer him additional items that he adds to the basket. Fortunately, they can take a motorcycle taxi ride home!
Bebé Goes Shopping. By Susan Middleton Elya. Illus. by Steven Salerno. 2006. HMH, $7.98 (9780152061425). K–Gr. 2.
Bebé and Mamá shop at a downtown market. Mamá shops for items on her list and Bebé shops for brightly colored boxes and lovely sweets. Spanish words are sprinkled into the rhyming text, and a glossary at the end of the book features a pronunciation key.
Brownie and Pearl: See the Sights. By Cynthia Rylant. Illus. by Brian Biggs. 2010. Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, $14.37 (9781416986379). PreS–Gr. 1.
Pearl and her cat Brownie go for a walk in the snow. They shop for a hats, shoes, and cupcakes, then head home for a cup of cocoa and a nap. The text is simple and the illustrations are bold and colorful.
Bunny Money. By Rosemary Wells. Illus. by the author. 1997. Dial, $7.99 (9780140567502). PreS–Gr. 1.
Ruby has saved money to buy a music box for her grandmother’s birthday. She and her little brother, Max, head to town, where a series of misadventures unfold with unexpected expenditures, alternative gifts, and Grandma to the rescue.
A Chair for My Mother. By Vera B. Williams. Illus. by the author. 1982. Greenwillow, $16.99 (9780688009144). K–Gr. 3.
A little girl earns money doing odd jobs at the diner where her mother works. The family places part of their earnings in a large glass jar to save up for a large comfy chair. Once they have enough money they shop and find just the “right” chair.
The Cookie-Store Cat. By Cynthia Rylant. Illus. by the author. 1999. The Blue Sky Press, o.p. PreS–Gr. 2.
Kitty is adopted by cookie bakers as a kitten and now lives at the cookie store. Each day Kitty has special visitors and seeks out other shopkeepers in the neighborhood, but always returns each night to his beloved cookie store. Cookie recipes included!
Feast for 10. By Cathryn Falwell. Illus. by the author. 1993. Clarion, $15.38 (9780395620373). PreS–K.
Count to 10, then do it again! A mother and her children shop at the grocery store, drive home, and prepare a family dinner. This book of few words visually emphasizes the benefits of a family that cooperates, collaborates, and celebrates being together.
Goat and Donkey in Strawberry Sunglasses. By Simon Puttock. Illus. by Russell Julian. 2007. Good Books, $16 (9781561485727). PreS–Gr. 1.
Donkey doesn’t have time to shop for dinner. Goat reassures Donkey that he has it covered, so skeptical Donkey hands over the grocery list. Goat returns home, but instead of apples, carrots, cabbages, and strawberry ice cream, he has purchased a sun hat, a blow-up octopus, a horn, and strawberry sunglasses. Donkey appreciates the gifts, but decides they will BOTH go shopping now.
Grandpa’s Corner Store. By DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan. Illus. by the author. 2000. HarperCollins, $15.95 (9780688167165). K–Gr. 3.
The shelves of Grandpa’s corner store are well stocked, sandwiches are made to order, and home delivery? No problem. But now there is a problem. A new, grander supermarket is being constructed across the street. Lucy and her grandfather soon discover, though, that sometimes a small neighborhood store is more than just a place to buy groceries.
The Kettles Get New Clothes. By Dayle Ann Dodds. Illus. by Jill McElmurry. 2002. Candlewick, o.p. PreS–Gr.2.
The Kettle family travel to the city to buy new “plain and simple” clothes. The old store is gone and Monsieur Pip ushers the Kettles into his new store with promises of finding just the right outfits for them. Can poor Monsieur reconcile the Kettle’s desire for plain and simple clothes with what is in his collection? Oui!
Kitty Princess and the Newspaper Dress. By Emma Carlow. Illus. by Trevor Dickinson. 2003. Candlewick, o.p. PreS–Gr.2.
Kitty Princess’s selfish behavior has even her fairy godmouse exasperated. When Kitty Princess demands a dress for the ball, she finds she must go to town to purchase one on her own. As a shopper, she is rude, wholly unobservant, and a poor listener. She barks out orders and, in some ways, gets exactly what she ordered. Fortunately, Kitty Princess does learn her lesson. (Look for Fairy Godmouse hiding in many page spreads.)
Mama’s Perfect Present. By Diane Goode. Illus. by the author. 1996. Fine Arts, o.p. K–Gr. 3.
Two children visit numerous Parisian shops in search of the perfect gift for Mama. While the children seek out a present, their dog Zaza seeks out mischief. Each store is turned topsy-turvy, but ultimately the children find the perfect present, and Zaza finds a friend.
Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert. By Stacy McAnulty. Illus. by Deborah Hocking. 2018. Putnam, $16.99 (9781101996447). K–Gr. 2.
Irrepressible Max talks about all the signs indicating that a grocery run is on the horizon; then he offers advice on important preparatory steps, like picking the right cart and choosing the best route. Max is an amiable guide, offering helpful tips on store mastery. Through the simple task of grocery shopping, Max’s and his mom’s personalities charmingly come through in this playful, relatable tale.
Miss Turie’s Magic Creatures. By Joy Keller. Illus. by Richard Watson. 2018. Innovation, $16.99 (9781943147410). PreS–K.
Miss Turie beckons a hesitant boy into her magical pet store. The boy is presented with preposterous pet possibilities that are not quite what he is looking for. Just when it seems that Miss Turie is out of ideas, the little boy spies the perfect pet. A glossary of mythological beasts is featured at the end of the book.
Not So Fast, Songalolo. By Niki Daly. Illus. by the author. 1986. Margaret K. McElderry, o.p. K–Gr. 3.
Malusi and his grandmother Gogo move at their own pace—slow. Gogo and Malusi walk slowly to the bus. In the city, Malusi spies a pair of red sneakers (tackies) in a shoe store window, and he looks down at his worn-out pair of shoes. Gogo buys the new pair of red shoes, and now Malusi walks with a fast and proud stride.
Octopants. By Suzy Senior. Illus. by Claire Powell. 2018. Tiger Tales, $16.99 (9781680100976). PreS–Gr. 1.
Octopus shares an embarrassing quandary with the reader: he can’t seem to find a pair of underpants that will fit him! He has tried shopping in town and even shopped online; no luck. Finally, he comes upon the Under-Sea Emporium and a helpful seahorse assists him to find a solution to his problem.
Polka Dots for Poppy. By Amy Schwartz. Illus. by the author. 2016. Holiday, $16.95 (9780823434312). PreS–Gr.1.
Meet four sisters with different styles. Ava loves dressing like a princess. Isabelle loves the color purple. Charlie Ann loves western wear. Little Poppy loves polka dots. Back-to-school shopping is a success for three out of the four sisters. When it seems that there are no polka-dot clothes for little Poppy, her thoughtful and creative sisters collaborate to make Poppy’s dreams come true.
Potato Pants! By Laurie Keller. Illus. by the author. 2018. Holt/Christy Ottaviano, $17.99 (9781250107237). K–Gr. 2.
When he spots an eggplant who had once given him a rude shove trying on a pair at Lance Vance’s Fancy Pants Store, Potato refuses to rush into the store with his fellow spuds for the big sale. By the time he determines that no other store carries potato pants, the racks are empty. Worse yet, in bursting through the door, he startles Eggplant into ripping his new pants—uh oh! Will it be mashed potatoes?
Shoe Bop!By Marilyn Singer. Illus. by Hiroe Nakata. 2008. Dutton, o.p. PreS–Gr. 2.
A little girl’s old purple sneakers have gone kaput, so she and her mother visit the shoe store in town. This poetry book celebrates shoes as the little girl considers everything from high heels to galoshes. Ultimately, she finds a new pair of sneakers that’s a perfect fit.
Something Good. By Robert Munsch. Illus. by Michael Martchenko. 1990. Annick $13.90 (9781550371000). K–Gr. 2.
Tyya thinks her dad has terrible taste in food and offers to help out by absconding with the grocery cart and filling it up with “good food”—delicious sweets! Tyya’s father doesn’t appreciate this kind of help and insists she stay put and not move. Tyya literally does not move, which ultimately creates a slew of other problems.
Stanley’s Store. By William Bee. Illus. by the author. 2017. Peachtree, $14.95 (9781561458684). PreS–K.
Stanley the hamster runs a neighborhood grocery store. He is very busy shopkeeper; today he is restocking shelves, clearing up after accidents, and helping with checkout and home deliveries. Stanley’s staff is loyal and his customers are happy.
Tooth-Gnasher Superflash. By Daniel Pinkwater. Illus. by author. 1990. Atheneum, o.p. K–Gr. 2.
The Popsnorkle family rolls onto Mr. Sandy’s car lot to buy a new car. Mr. Sandy offers the Tooth-Gnasher Superflash for consideration. The Popsnorkle children are excited, Mrs. Popsnorkle loves the color, and Mr. Popsnorkle is keen on the car’s ability to transform into other things. . . such as a dinosaur!
Uncle Wizzmo’s New Used Car. By Rodney Alan Greenblat. Illus. by the author. 1992. HarperCollins, o.p. K–Gr. 2.
Every year, Uncle Wizzmo heads to Fleeberville to buy a new used car. Turnpike Larry has many cars on the lot: one looks like a bunny, one looks like a bowl of fruit, and one looks like a turtle. Ultimately, Uncle Wizzmo finds a new used car that is just what he was looking for.
The Witches’ Supermarket. By Susan Meddaugh. Illus. by the author. 1991. HMH, $4.99 (9780544323582). K–Gr. 3.
It’s Halloween! Helen is dressed up as a witch and her dog Martha is none too pleased to find herself shoved into a cat costume. Soon Helen and Martha stumble into a most unusual supermarket: Who would buy poison ivy? Apples with worms? Ghoul-Aid? Real witches,of course!
Additional Resources: Web Links
Kristin Rydholm, a frequent contributor to Book Links, is currently working as the instructional assistant at the Library Technology Center of the Joseph Sears School, in Kenilworth, IL.
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