Monday, December 29, 2008

Colors, Kisses, Wheels, and Tools to Use!

This week, four favorites are: Red Is a Dragon by Roseanne Thong, The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, The Wheels on The Bus by Raffi, and a tool-book for parents; Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort. Red Is a Dragon is beautifully and vibrantly illustrated by Grace Lin, and introduces colors with fun and interesting examples all in the introduction of Chinese New Year. The story also rhymes beautifully.

The Kissing Hand is a sweet story of a young racoon going off to school for the first time, and how his Mama helps him with his anxieties about leaving her and home each day for this new experience. After reading it once, Madeline starting kissing my hand every so often, and it seems to be helping with the idea of starting preschool.

The Wheels on The Bus by Raffi is a fun little board book to sing, and one of Erik's favorite songs right now (we sang "The Wheels on The Truck All Through The Snow" on our Christmas Tree hunt a few weeks ago). I couldn't resist this at the library today and E loves it already.

And, last but not least, my favorite "new" parenting book; Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves focuses on what our children (and how we react to their challenging moments especially) can teach us about ourselves... I really love it. I was 54 pages in before I could set it down, and kept reading examples to Joel. I've used a good many tools from the book, and they work. It's full of wonderful examples of real-world situations, great tools for defusing (and avoiding) tantrums, and treating children with respect while teaching them why they should be kind, respectful, thoughtful, honest, etc. (instead of ruling them by fear and authority). Aldort also strongly advocates parenting your own way, and staying true to yourself and your children. A useful and practical read for any parent!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Naughty or Nice?

The kids are loving Lawrence David's Peter Claus and the Naughty List. They want to hear it every time we read books — in the morning, during the day, and at bedtime. And, that's fine by me. We actually own this book, and I like the message: basically, everyone is naughty sometimes, what matters is that you are more often nice than naughty, and when you do something naughty you say sorry.

And, Delphine Durand's illustrations are lively and engaging. Madeline has as many questions about the story that the pictures tell as she does about the story. It's a keeper, and luckily it's already ours! Maybe Santa should bring you a copy too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Is Coming...

I had The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia M. Scarry when I was a kid, and it was one of my favorite books. It's a scratch and sniff book, with pine, apple pie, orange, gingerbread, candy cane and hot cocoa... I might be missing one, but that's from memory. The scents are perfect and delectable.

When I saw this book at Barnes & Noble in December '05, I snapped it up! Madeline was only 4 months old, but I had to get this book for me! And, I knew she'd love it some day. It's one of the kids' favorite holiday books, and I've also given it as gifts to several kids.

The story is of Little Bear waiting for Christmas, and that he knows it's coming and it's "... almost here" by the scents of the holiday that surround him. It's a classic that will become a favorite. Trust me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Erik Might Ask Santa For...

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett is Erik's very favorite new book, and since I sing the book, it's also his favorite new song (and we make it longer by adding our own animals that we'd like to see at the zoo). Since we've got it from the library right now, I'll probably wait for sometime in the future to make this a purchase, but since he also adores his Monkey, I suspect this one will become a personal favorite. He may even ask Santa for it, instead of a "teeny tiny knife" (he loves Joel's pocket knives).

Monkey and me,
Monkey and me,
Monkey and me,
We went to see
, we went to see... some Echidnas! (The echidna is his fave animal - next to monkeys and ducks - because of another great book: Platypus and the Birthday Party by Chris Riddell.) Gravett's animals, are all less unusual (but kids favorites): elephants, kangaroos, penguins, and more...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Magic: A-Book-A-Day for December

Winter, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas... December is a magical month, and the following list of childrens' books (in random order) covers them all, with the majority being Christmas or Winter books since it's what we celebrate in our house. Happy Reading and Happy December! Enjoy this magical season by reading all the selections on this list (or make your own and check it twice!).

And, in the spirit of the season, please share your favorite winter holiday titles in the Comments section below!
  1. The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
  2. Santa's Toy Shop - Little Golden Book (Al Dempster)
  3. Clifford's Christmas - Norman Bridwell
  4. The Sweet Smell of Christmas - Patricia Scarry
  5. Auntie Claus - Elise Primavera
  6. First Snow - Bernette Ford
  7. I've Seen Santa! - David Bedford
  8. Snowmen At Christmas - Caralyn Buehner
  9. Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda
  10. Seven Candles For Kwanzaa - Andrea Davis Pinkney
  11. Our Eight Nights of Hanukkah - Michael J. Rosen
  12. Eight Days of Hanukkah: A Holiday Step Book - Harriet Ziefert
  13. I Spy: Little Christmas - Jean Marzollo/Walter Wick
  14. A Wish to be a Christmas Tree - Colleen Monroe
  15. Jingle Bells - Iza Trapani
  16. The Mitten - Jan Brett
  17. Christmas in the Manger - Nola Buck
  18. Erik and the Christmas Horse - Hans Peterson
  19. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening - Frost/Jeffers
  20. Toot & Puddle: Let it Snow - Holly Hobbie
  21. This Is The Stable - Cynthia Cotten
  22. Five Little Penguins Slipping on The Ice - Steve Metzger
  23. Peter Claus and the Naughty List - Lawrence David
  24. The Gingerbread Girl - Lisa Campbell Ernst
  25. Where did they hide my presents? - Alan Katz/David Catrow
  26. The 12 Days of Christmas: A carol-and-count flap book - Tad Hills
  27. Mortimer's Christmas Manger - Karma Wilson
  28. Counting to Christmas - Nancy Tafuri
  29. The Night Before Christmas - Clement C. Moore
  30. How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss
  31. Mouse's First Christmas - Lauren Thompson

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Heartfelt Thank You

Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 by Karma Wilson is a pretty fun Thanksgiving book, with a faith-based focus. It celebrates Psalm 92: "It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High." and is kid-focused too, showing little folk doing all the things they do on Thanksgiving day with family. Jumping in leaves, eating at the kids' table (with olives on all their fingers), sharing pie with Grampa and stories too, are among just a few examples.

Amy June Bates' illustrations are perfect and sweet, and the faces of the children are so expressive and real.

An excellent book with the added bonus of giving Thanks where it ought to be given: "We all sit down, we all join hands. Our heads are bowed as we say grace. We give our highest praise to God and feel him in this place." Amen. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Snap This Up!!

Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda, is brilliant! Absolutely, charmingly, deliciously, intricately ingenious. I was enchanted the first page-through. The kids LOVE it. LOVE. They both sucked in their collective breaths on page #10, which is a full-blown gingerbread house pop up. One through ten of this counting book features scrumptious cookies, and little mice chefs (it says a lot that the rodents don't bother me... I'm not a rodent fan) on each page of inventive pop-up art. I found this gem on a list of recommended counting books from the library and bought it. It was worth every penny.

My favorites are the fortune cookies (with fortunes), and the Linzer hearts (with heart-shaped cooling rack), oh! and the Pinwheels... one of which twirls on a fork when you turn the page as the mice pull it up with strings. Sigh... I adore this sweet little book that is so delicious you could nearly eat it up.

Buy it. Give it to children you love this holiday season. Make it a part of your holiday traditions — it would make a brilliant accompaniment to any cookie baking / decorating you do every year!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On The List...

I love the book lists for kids that our library publishes. There are several versions, including 50 Best Picture Books for Kids, and lists for Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers, Kindergartners, etc.

This list is 100 Books Every Child Should Hear Before Starting School, and it's full of great titles. I buzzed through it again tonight, and we've done 70% of the list so far. I think we've got a good chance of finishing before Madeline starts school.
To see the list in detail, just click on the image for a closer view!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Illustration Comparison

Three of our new books from the library this week have provided an excellent example of different illustration styles, and they are all great stories.

Cowboy Bunnies by Christine Loomis is illustrated by Ora Eitan with paintings on wood panels. The bunnies and their antics are fun and full of energy. Loomis' rhyming prose is lively and beautiful: "Mamas sing sweet lullabies / Papas softly Harmonize / Stars are twinkling Stars are bright / Cowboy bunnies Say goodnight."

Mr. Gumpy's Outing, written and illustrated by John Burningham is a happy story, full of movement from Burningham's great line drawings and mellow, natural colors. The fact that the kids and animals eventually do what Mr. Gumpy warns them against shows cause-and-effect, but with a nice outcome. It's all good, even if you dump your boat in the river... it's only water, and they have a sun-drenched field to walk home through to dry off. The fact that the story ends with a fine tea at Mr. Gumpy's, and an invitation to come again for another boat ride (see, it really is OK), makes the ending that much sweeter!

And, finally, Underwater Counting Even Numbers by Jerry Pallotta is illustrated by David Biedrzycki with bright, nearly-photographically realistic sea creatures. This book was a draw because of Madeline's love for all things oceanic, but every page-turn elicited an excited exclamation; "Wow! Ooooh!! Look at THAT Mama!!!" And some shhhushing from me (only because the first read was at the library). The illustrations were done in Adobe Photoshop, according to the book, and really are gorgeous. We learned many new types of fish, including the Squirrel Fish (Mads' favorite) from this story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Potty Training Books

When searching for potty training books last year, I browsed many at book stores, read reviews on Amazon, and checked out two different Books To Grow on book kits (on potty training) from the library. None of the options from the library were my style (especially the one featuring a baby duck who takes off his diaper and goes potty in a cooking pot... yeah... my kids don't need any wise ideas in that regard!)

Anyway, I finally decided on two books, purchased them, and they continue to be faves. In fact, Erik now asks for Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi by saying, "I wanna read the one... somebody's poopin'..." and Potty Time by Parker K. Sawyer, "Read me Peein' time, Mama! Please!!"

Potty Time includes hand washing, covers Sesame characters at all stages of training, and has a "flushable" final page. We still remind Madeline that she needs to try to use the bathroom prior to leaving the house, "Just like Zoe always does!" It works.

Everyone Poops is humorous, straightforward and direct (without being too detailed or scientific) and is perfect for kids learning about how their bodies work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Got Votes?

Duck does! On three separate occasions, duck wins out over his running mate for: Farmer, Governor, then President!

Duck for President is another wonderful book by Doreen Cronin (I LOVE Click Clack, Moo, Cows That Type), and Betsy Lewin's illustrations are absolutely wonderful!

In this tale, Duck learns that it's true that the grass is always greener, as he finds that every job (that he thinks is going to be easy) has it's headaches! The book is full of good humor, a great introduction to elections/politics for kids, and some "counting" issues when ballots are re-counted in each race.

The end is a great (and funny) twist! This would be an excellent book to share with the little folk in your life today! Happy Election Day 2008!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Love This Book!!

I do. I love this book. I checked it out last year at Thanksgiving time, and again about a month ago. Of course, now there are holds on it so I had to return it. That's OK, since this is on the "to own" list. It's even got a page in the back for recording what you're thankful for each year at T-day.

Why do I love Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes, you ask? Well, the illustrations are phenomenal. Vibrant, rich, fun, and real (you know, toys on the floor in a house with children; the mom is in comfy clothes, the family scene is full of real characters). And, of course the story is marvelous. It rhymes beautifully, with wonderful things that the kids are thankful for... "Thank you for Fall and gold leaves floating by/Thank you for school I love to feel smart./Thank you for music and dancing and art." and "Thank you for Mommy and warm, cozy cuddles./Thank you for Daddy and rides on a sled." It ends up with, "But most of all, thanks for the family I love." Well said!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Boo!! Halloween Tales for Wee Folk

Georgie's Halloween by Robert Bright is, like most of the Georgie series, a sweet little story. The kids love finding Georgie in several of the scenes, and it satisfies my love of things that remind me of my childhood. Vintage holiday fun.

So far, we've loved all the Froggy series books by Jonathan London. So much so, in fact, that I picked up Froggy's Halloween at Barnes & Noble without even reading it first. Not really something I usually do, but the kids were spending a little money from Gramma and Grampa, and Froggy's pretty dependable. I was a little disappointed in this one though. In three different scenes in the story, Froggy practices, "Trick or treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care—I'll pull down your underwear!" *Sigh* I'd read it before I could change my mind. Now, this isn't the worst thing that my kids will ever learn to chant, but I suppose I just wasn't ready for my 3-year old (and nearly 2-year old) to be walking around the house singing it just yet. Ah, well. I've warmed up to the book, and the kids like it, so it works, and I'll remember to not break my "pre-read before reading to kids (and especially before shelling out cash)" rule. And, OK, it is cute that the kids have changed the end of the rhyme to "... I don't care, I'll pull down your undies! hehehehehe That silly old Froggy!!" It does make me appreciate the sweetness of Georgie the ghost even more though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"There was nothing but pie."

"But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best."

Oh, how we adore Harold And The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. And how could you not love this book? Whenever he gets into a little trouble, Harold either "... comes up thinking fast," or "... kept his wits and his purple crayon." And, I love it when he shares his pie picnic with "... a very hungry moose and a deserving porcupine..." such imagination and whimsy. Pure fun!

And, of course being a pie lover (in a house of pie lovers...) I love to ask the kids, "What kinds of pie do you think Harold likes best?" Erik says, "Rooo-barb" and Madeline says, "Plum, and apple, and cherry, and lemon, and peach, and lettuce! Hehehehehe!"

We'll probably have to buy this one someday too. It's the greatest!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vroom It Up!

I found Erik "reading" ABC Pop! by Rachel Isadora this morning when I went in the kids' room. He loves this alphabet book, and so do I—the illustrations are fabulous, as are the words for each letter. A for airplane (Zoom, Voom, Biz Biz), H for hot dog, G for gas, O for ocean, W for web (with a great spider and web) and Z for Zing! Zoom! Zap! We've only had this from the library for a few days, and E can't get enough of it. It's a possible (future) purchase. I love catching them reading!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

We Are So Glad You've Come!

The birth of our friends' baby today inspired me to read Debra Frasier's On The Day You Were Born. I love this book. I bought it a couple weeks before Erik was born and read it to Madeline, or just aloud to myself, often. It never failed to choke me up and bring tears to the eye. Such a sweet and powerful little book.

There is also a photo journal book available, based on the original, that you can add eight photos to, and write in details of your child's first day on our "...round planet Earth." I got one for E, and have given them as gifts.

Check them out (and buy them) — both books are a wonderful addition to a child's collection, and a great way to say, "We are so glad you've come!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Than 200 Beloved Titles

At the end of August I polled my friends and family, requesting that they share their favorite book titles with me—what they loved from childhood, and what they love reading to young people today. The final list contains more than 167 titles for younger kids (a few "titles" on the list actually include two or more books by the same author) and 28+ excellent selections for older kids (most for 12 yrs. and up). And, I know that I repeated a few things (like listing Bread And Jam for Frances and Russell Hoban's Francis Books #14 and #110, but hey, consider those books extra great).

Almost everyone on the list also had a "favorite collection of fairy tales" in one book or several volumes that they loved as kids, and other folks fondly remember Children's Bible collections or stories. It was really fun to discover all these beloved titles, and to recall my own faves as well.

Following is "the list." I've organized it rather broadly, with board books, picture books and longer kids books jumbled together because I've found that it depends more on the individual child than the "suggested age range" of the title when choosing a book to read. My "older kids list" here contains titles that have more mature content (like for 14/15-year olds in Stephen King's The Eyes of The Dragon) and others are in this category because that's when the person who recommended them loved reading them (like Nancy Drew, but I was reading Nancy Drew in 2nd grade, so again, it depends on the kid).

Enjoy! I've already checked out many of these gems from the library, and we have found a good number of new favorites. I'm so blessed to have such a bunch of book-loving friends! Thanks to everyone who shared their favorites with me! And, if this list brings any others to mind, please share them in the Comments section below (you don't need an account to comment, anonymous comments are allowed, but add your name to the bottom of your comment).

Favorite Kids' Books (Birth—Age 12 or so...)
  1. A Bad Case of Stripes /David Shannon
  2. A Frog in the Bog /Karma Wilson
  3. Alpha Bugs / David Carter
  4. Animalia /Graeme Base
  5. Are You My Mother? / P.D. Eastman
  6. Auntie Claus / Elise Primavera
  7. Autumn Walk / Ann Burg
  8. Baby Bat's Lullaby /Jacquelyn Mitchard
  9. Baby Dance / Ann Taylor
  10. Bear Snores On / Karma Wilson
  11. Before I Was Your Mother / Kathryn Lasky
  12. Blue Hat Green Hat / Sandra Boynton
  13. Blueberries For Sal / Robert McCloskey
  14. Bread and Jam for Francis /Russell Hoban
  15. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go /Richard Scarry
  16. Charlie Parker Played Bebop / Chris Raschka
  17. Charlotte’s Web / E.B. White
  18. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom / Bill Martin Jr.
  19. Chrysanthemum / Kevin Henkes
  20. Cinder Edna / Ellen B. Jackson
  21. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type / Doreen Cronin
  22. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs / Judi Barrett
  23. Corduroy / Don Freeman
  24. Counting Kisses / Karen Katz
  25. Cowboy Small / Lois Lenski
  26. Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa / Erica Silverman
  27. Creatures of the Desert World /National Geographic Society
  28. Curious George books / Margret and H.A. Rey
  29. David and Goliath / retold by Jean Marzollo
  30. Degas And The Little Dancer / Laurence Anholt
  31. Diary of a Spider & Diary of a Worm / Doreen Cronin & Harry Bliss
  32. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus / Mo Willlems
  33. Duck for President / Doreen Cronin
  34. Duck Soup / Jackie Urbanovic
  35. Ella The Elegant Elephant series / Carmela D'amico
  36. Elusive Moose /Joan Gannij and Clare Beaton
  37. Ferdinand / Munro Leaf
  38. First Book of Sushi / Amy Wilson Sanger
  39. Flyaway Katie / Polly Dunbar
  40. Freight Train / Donald Crews
  41. Frog and Toad / Arnold Lobel
  42. Funny Face / Nicola Smee
  43. Georgie and the Robbers / Robert Bright
  44. Giddy Up! Let's Ride! / Flora Mcdonnell
  45. Go Dog, Go! / P.D. Eastman
  46. Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox / Erin Dealey; illustrated by Hanako Wakiyama
  47. Good Night Moon / Margaret Wise Brown
  48. Goodnight Gorilla / Peggy Rathmann
  49. Green Eggs and Ham / Dr. Seuss
  50. Guess How Much I Love You / Sam McBratney
  51. Harold and the Purple Crayon / Crockett Johnson
  52. Helga's Dowry : A Troll Love Story /Tomie dePaola
  53. Hop on Pop / Dr. Seuss
  54. How the Grinch Stole Christmas / Dr. Seuss
  55. Humbug Rabbit / Lorna Balian
  56. If You Give A Pig A Pancake (and Moose A Muffin and Mouse A Cookie) / Laura Joffe Numeroff
  57. If You were my Bunny / Kate McMullan
  58. Is Your Mama A Llama? / Deborah Guarino
  59. Jamberry / Bruce Degen
  60. Jesse Bear What will you Wear? / Nancy White Calstrom
  61. John Paul, George and Ben (illustrated by Lane Smith)
  62. Kitten's First Full Moon / Kevin Henkes
  63. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse / Kevin Henkes
  64. Little Badger, Terror of The Seven Seas / Eve Bunting
  65. Little Black Sambo/Helen Bannerman
  66. Little Green Tow Truck / Ken Wilson-Max
  67. Little House Series / Laura Ingalls Wilder
  68. Little Pea /Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  69. Little Quack's New Friend / Lauren Thompson
  70. Make Way For Ducklings / Robert McCloskey
  71. More Pies! / Robert Munsch
  72. Mouse Count / Ellen Stoll Walsh
  73. Mr. Putter & Tabby series and Henry & Mudge series / Cynthia Rylant
  74. Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree /Robert Barry
  75. My Dog Never Says Please / Suzanne Williams (also comes with a book on CD)
  76. My Many Colored Days / Dr. Seuss
  77. Nature Hide and Seek : Oceans / John Norris Wood
  78. Night of The Moonjellies / Mark Shasha
  79. Nina Laden's board books: Ready, Set, Go!, Peek-A-Who?, etc.
  80. No David! / David Shannon
  81. November / Cynthia Rylant
  82. O is for Orca /Andrea Helman
  83. Officer Buckle and Gloria / Peggy Rathmann
  84. Oh! The Places You Will Go / Dr. Seuss
  85. Old Hat New Hat / Jan and Stan Berenstain
  86. Olivia / Ian Falconer
  87. On Mother's Lap / Ann Herbert Scott
  88. On The Day You Were Born / Debra Frasier
  89. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish / Dr. Seuss
  90. One Watermelon Seed / Celia Barker Lottridge
  91. Over in the Ocean In a Coral Reef / Marianne Berkes and Jeanette Canyon
  92. Owen / Kevin Henkes
  93. Owl Moon / Jane Yolen
  94. Paddington Bear in The Garden / Michael Bond
  95. Peek-a-Boo! and Each Peach Pear Plum / Allan Ahlberg
  96. Pie Rats Ahoy / Richard Scarry
  97. Pigeon books / Mo Willems
  98. Pinduli, Verdi, and Stellaluna / Janell Cannon
  99. Pippi Longstocking books / Astrid Lindgren
  100. Pirate Girl / Cornelia Funke
  101. Puff the Magic Dragon /Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton (comes with a CD of music)
  102. Questions and Answers About the Natural World /published by Parragon Press
  103. Raggedy Ann and Andy and The Camel with the Wrinkled Knees / Johnny Gruelle
  104. Rainy Day Slug / Mary Palenick Colborn
  105. Ramona Quimby stories / Beverly Cleary
  106. Ribsy / Beverly Cleary
  107. Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever! /Richard Scarry
  108. Roald Dahl's books
  109. Runny Babbit / Shel Silverstein
  110. Russell Hoban's Frances books
  111. Sheep in a Jeep / Nancy E. Shaw
  112. Sing, Sophie! / Dayle Ann Dodds
  113. Snuggle Puppy / Sandra Boynton
  114. So Many Bunnies / Rick Walton
  115. Some Smug Slug and Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke / Pamela Duncan Edwards
  116. Stephanie's Ponytail / Robert Munsch
  117. Stuart J. Murphy's MathStart series books
  118. Swamp Angel / Anne Isaacs
  119. Swim, Little Wombat, Swim! / Charles Fuge
  120. Swimmy / Leo Lionni
  121. Tacky the Penquin / Helen Lester
  122. Tails /Matthew Van Fleet
  123. Ten Black Dots / Donald Crews
  124. Thanks for Thanksgiving / Julie Markes; illustrated by Doris Barrette
  125. The Animals Who Changed Their Colors / Pascale Allamand
  126. The Berenstain Bears books / Stan and Jan Berenstain
  127. The Carrot Seed / Ruth Krauss
  128. The Cat In The Hat / Dr. Seuss
  129. The Duchess Bakes A Cake / Virginia Kahl
  130. The Empty Pot and One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale / Demi
  131. The Frog Prince / retold by Edith H. Tarcov
  132. The Froggy series books / Jonathan London
  133. The Giving Tree / Shel Silverstein
  134. The Gruffalo / Julia Donaldson
  135. The Hundred Dresses / Eleanor Estes
  136. The Important Book / Margaret Wise Brown
  137. The Kissing Hand /Audrey Penn
  138. The Lorax / Dr. Seuss
  139. The Mitten / Jan Brett
  140. The Moon Jumpers / Maurice Sendak
  141. The Nose Book and Hand, Hand Fingers Thumb / Al Perkins
  142. The Paper Bag Princess / Robert Munsch
  143. The Polar Express / Chris Van Allsburg
  144. The Snowy Day /Ezra Jack Keats
  145. The Sweet Smell of Christmas / Patricia Scarry
  146. The Tale of Peter Rabbit / Beatrix Potter
  147. The Three Billy Goats Gruff / retold by Stephen Carpenter
  148. The Trumpet of the Swan / E.B. White
  149. The Velveteen Rabbit / Margery Williams
  150. The Very Hungry Caterpillar / Eric Carle
  151. The Wind in The Willows / Kenneth Grahame
  152. Thy Friend, Obidiah /Brinton Turkle
  153. Tikki Tikki Tembo / Arlene Mosel
  154. Time for Bed /Mem Fox
  155. Toot & Puddle books / Holly Hobbie
  156. Trashy Town / Andrea Griffin Zimmerman
  157. Tuesday /David Wiesner
  158. Tumble Bumble / Felicia Bond
  159. Urban Babies Wear Black / Michelle Sinclair Colman
  160. Walter the Farting Dog series / William Kotzwinkle
  161. Where the Sidewalk Ends / Shel Silverstein
  162. Where the Wild Things Are / Maurice Sendak
  163. Who's hiding? / Satoru Onishi
  164. Wombat Stew / Marcia K. Vaughan
  165. Word World : Sheep's Magic Hat /Jacqui Moody Luther
  166. Wow! City! / Robert Neubecker
  167. Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary / Julie Larios
Favorite Books for Older Kids (Ages 12+)
  1. A Wrinkle in Time / Madeleine L'Engle
  2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain
  3. Bridge to Terabithia / Katherine Paterson
  4. Catherine, Called Birdy / Karen Cushman
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Roald Dahl
  6. Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women / Catherine Thimmesh
  7. Harry Potter Series / J.K. Rowling
  8. Heidi / Johanna Spyri
  9. Inkheart Trilogy / Cornelia Funke
  10. Judy Blum books (various ages)
  11. Little Women / Louisa May Alcott
  12. Maniac Magee / Jerry Spinelli
  13. My Father's Dragon / Ruth Stiles Gannett
  14. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry / Mildred D. Taylor
  15. Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness series (4 books)
  16. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Mark Twain
  17. The Boxcar Children / Gertrude Warner
  18. The Eyes of the Dragon / Stephen King
  19. The Hobbit / J.R.R. Tolkien
  20. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe / C.S. Lewis
  21. The Little House / Virginia Lee Burton
  22. The Nancy Drew books / Carolyn Keene
  23. The Secret Garden / Frances Hodgson Burnett
  24. The Sky's the Limit: Stories of Discovery by Women and Girls / Catherine Thimmesh
  25. The Thief Lord / Cornelia Funke
  26. Treasure Island / Robert Louis Stevenson
  27. Watership Down / Richard Adams
  28. Wise Women: Folk and Fairy Tales from around the World / retold by Suzanne I. Barchers

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall...

Who is the cleverest of them all? How about author Virgina Kahl! And her Duchess in The Duchess Bakes A Cake of course! She may be royalty, and she may spend most of her time "reading and writing, walking and waiting," oh, and bearing children (she's got 13 daughters—Holy Cats!), but this heroine also really succeeds in baking a "Lovely, light luscious delectable cake," and is the only one in the kingdom who can figure out how to get herself out of the humorous predicament she gets herself into by dismissing the cook for the day and endeavoring to bake on her own!

This book is humorous, has wonderful illustrations and it is Suess-ian in its fabulous rhyming prose. Read it. Madeline LOVES it. I ADORE it! Well, and one of the adorable little daughters in it is named Madeline, proving that the Duchess has great taste too.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Katie Books

I love buying books for my nieces that feature characters with their names. I've got a couple great ones for Christmas, as soon as I check to see if they've already got them or not. Flyaway Katie by Polly Dunbar, is written and illustrated by the illustrator of Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar, and is a fabulous and fantastical, colorful fun story of a little girl who cheers herself up on a gray day using her own imagination (and some paint). My kids adore it, but as a warning, M's favorite part is when Katie paints her face and arms, which you could play off as silly when reading, but...

Another great "Katie" book, that I gave to my niece Katie for her birthday this year, is Before I Was Your Mother by Kathryn Lasky. I compares a mom with herself as a little girl and shows her grown up with her own daughter sharing stories of her childhood. The illustrations are beautiful, it's easy to follow the back-and-forth (even for a 3-year old), and the mom as a little girl was adventurous and not super "girly" (wears her red cowgirl boots as a flower girl, loves her overalls and her special green bag for hiding treasures, etc). I also loved it because it made me cry. Yep. It's really sweet at the end, and will likely bring a tear to your eye if you're an adult female.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hoyden Heroines

I recently sent out an email to friends and relatives to ask them to share their favorite kid books with me, my plan being to consolidate the list and share it with everyone. I've already received many excellent titles—many of which I'd not yet discovered.

While working on this list, I began my own and discovered that many of the books that I loved as a kid are the classic kid lit, but that I really got hooked in 1st or 2nd grade when my 5th-grade friend, Denise Logsdon, introduced me to the glorious Nancy Drew... I remember pouring through them on the bus to school.

This early love of books that star a hoydenish heroine has obviously influenced many of the kids' books that I own and love to read to my kids too. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch being my number one fave — the story of a beautiful princess who's about to marry a prince when a dragon burns up her castle (and everything but a paper bag) and kidnaps Prince Ronald. Using guts and guile, Princess Elizabeth saves the day, and ends up finding out what Ronald is made of too (unchivalrous is a nice way to put it). The end of the book will leave you smiling and should make you laugh too.

Another fave, that I discovered in the bookstore at WWU while I was a senior, is Cinder Edna by Ellen Jackson. It's hilarious, and compares Cinder Ella and Cinder Edna — neighbors with the same lot in life, and very different ways of handling their circumstances. Of course, the gal with moxie is the one who really ends up living "Happily Ever After."

Two others by Cornelia Funke feature fabulous leading ladies — Pirate Girl and The Princess Knight. Molly, the Pirate Girl gets herself rescued (by her amazing kick-butt Pirate Mama) using her smarts and stubbornness. The Princess Knight practices jousting, etc. and disguises herself as a mysterious prince, winning her own "hand in marriage."

And, a few years ago I hunted down Tamora Pierce's the Song of the Lioness Series (four books), the first of which —Alanna— I'd discovered in junior high. I'd only read the first two books and was thrilled to discover there were two more. I bought all four paperbacks, and hope the kids enjoy reading them someday. Basically, Alanna and her twin brother are supposed to be sent off for apprenticeships as a healer and a knight, except that her brother is a natural at healing, and Alanna is the one who wants to become a knight. So, they swap places and she disguises herself (it's of course fine for her brother to be a healer if he wants, so he doesn't have to bother with a disguise) and the adventure begins!

Last, but not least, we've recently discovered the story of Mulan, who Madeline adores—running around the house shouting "Hi-Ya!!" and working on her fight moves...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Head Over Heels!

I spotted this gem on the shelf at the library today, and grabbed it because of the gorgeous, fun cover and for the title: Shoe Baby. Erik is my "shoe baby". He adores shoes and is constantly stealing one of all of everyone else's shoes in the house!

To my delight, this book is even better than I had hoped. The parents are "Mama and Papa" and the baby has grand adventures in the shoe (one of his Papa's)... flying, sailing the seven seas, having tea with the King and Queen, etc. and always saying, "How do you do?" in each rhyme.

The wonderful illustrations are done by Polly Dunbar, the author Joyce's daughter. It is absolutely magical, and on my list to buy!! Obviously, I LOVE this one. Oh, and Erik and Madeline both LOVED it too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beyond 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe...

The kids are both loving the latest counting books I picked up at the library; How Do Dinosaurs Count To Ten by Jane Yolen and One Potato by Diana Pomeroy.

One Potato has gorgeous potato-print illustrations of fruit and veggies, and instructions in the back of the book on how to do potato prints. Yolen's book is big fun with wonderful colors and dinosaurs doing things that kids would do, making for silly fun counting (plus learning dinosaur names)!

And, Ten Little Rabbits is from our own collection — from Gramma and Grampa's trip to Bryce National Park last summer. It's a gorgeous board book with illustrations that include Southwestern landscapes, and it depicts Native American traditions and includes rich vocabulary (i.e. anglers, nimble, festive, fleeing, mischief, and messengers) while teaching counting. Madeline especially loves the "Nine festive drummers beating on a drum."

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