Those of you in the Northeast, how ya doin’? I’m a little far south, so all we got this weekend was lots of cold air. I hope if you’re snowed in, you’re at least warm and cozy and the worst you have to worry about is boredom. When Preschooler was about 10 months, we experienced Snowmageddon. Two back to back blizzards, 3+ feet of snow on the ground at one time, and a 10 month old. We have amazing pictures, but it’s also somewhat amazing we came out with our sanity intact.
So if you ARE snowed in, here are a couple of books you can add to your list for when the roads are passable and you can run (not walk) to the library again.
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Derek Anderson
The first of two Yolen books we read this week. I like the “How do Dinosaurs…” series, and this one was cute, too. She takes some liberties with the rhyme and rhythm, which led to some stumbling when I read this around the first time. Still, fun illustrations and a sweet and simple story about dragons preparing for the day.
Wipe their faces, runny noses,
get into their outdoor clothes-es.
Kiss their dragon mom goodbye.
Leap from cave into the sky…
Baby Bear’s Books
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Cute, but fell a little flat for me. Nice positive message about the joy of reading, but there are others out there that have the same message and are just a little more intriguing. I do love Melissa Sweet as an illustrator, though.
I know all the words,
so I’ll say them right out.
I’ll whisper and growl them,
I’ll giggle and shout.
Petunia Goes Wild
by Paul Schmid
Again, a close but not quite for me. I really enjoyed the distinctive voices of both Petunia and her parents. I liked Petunia’s creativity. But the ending just felt a little too neat. I’ve read several much more positive reviews, and Preschooler herself asked to have it read several times. So what do I know?
Thursday Petunia informed her parents that she needed a cace to live in.
She was urged by her parents to “Stop all this nonsense.”
“You are not an animal,” they added.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
by Henry Cole
By FAR, my pick of the week. I didn’t read this one with Preschooler. It’s a wordless picture book, and we’ve read those together before. But this requires some background knowledge she doesn’t have at her age. Author Henry Cole grew up the next county over from where I now lived, so this book had personal, local feel for me, even though there is no specific location mentioned. Amazing images, amazing story, without writing a single word.
Happy Monday, friends!
I know that some of you are a little bleary-eyed from staying up to watch last night’s game, especially if you’re an East-Coaster like me. So I’ll limit the chit-chat and get straight to the books this week.
In general, we’re still on a fairytales/princess kick. You can see a few of our recent favorites here. Also, my mom gifted my daughter with a Fancy Nancy book, and she’s completely smitten. So we’ve read several Fancy Nancy titles this week, too (and I have a feeling there will be many more to come).
Besides those, I’ve got three other books to share.
Stella, Queen of the Snow
by Marie-Louise Gay
I was recently in a discussion about books that show sibling relationships. I had read Stella, Star of the Sea some time ago, but somehow completely missed that there were other Stella and Sam books. When the other titles came up in the discussion, I made a mental note to check them out. On our next visit to the library, lo and behold, this one was on display. Destiny! I actually like it better than Star of the Sea and we’ll have to check out the the titles, because Preschooler likes this brother and sister duo, too.
Sam is experiencing his first snowstorm, and, as usual, is a little hesitant about all this white stuff. Stella encourages his play with her enthusiasm and wild imaginings, but Sam is going to take some coaxing.
” ‘Do snowmen eat green snowsuits?’ asked Sam.
‘No,’ said Stella. ‘They only eat pink ones.’
‘Are you sure?’ asked Sam.
‘Let’s go skating on the pond,’ said Stella.”
by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
We love Wilson’s Bear books, but haven’t read many of her other works. We weren’t disappointed!
Grandma’s birthday has arrived and Granddad has big plans for a birthday cake. I mean big plans. After all, as Granddad says, “You’re heart’s so big…you deserve a Whopper Cake!”
Today is Grandma’s birthday,
and Granddad has an itchin’
to bake a whopper chocolate cake
and traumatize the kitchen.
by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long
This picture book is for slightly older readers. The text is lyrical, almost poetic, and with vocabulary that might stump the younger set. However, once you have the right audience…the book is just gorgeous. And Preschooler enjoyed the story, I just had to clarify some of the words that were important within the context of the text.
Churo’s mother sends him out into the night with just one piece of advice:
” ‘ Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you. Sing, and the world will answer. That is how you’ll see.’ “
See? Told you I’d keep it short and sweet!
Now, what did your week look like?
Does it feel like you have zero time right now? I feel like I keep saying this every week, but December is just crazy. So let’s try something a little bit different this week, shall we? I’ll give you the book and title, and a quotable quote, and when you have more time on your hands, you can click the image for more information, or check the book out or yourself.
Yes, it’s a cop-out.
But it’s something, right?!
There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea
by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Lee Calderon
There was an odd princess who swallowed a moat. Slurped it down her delicate throat.
Light the Lights! A Story about Celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas
by Margaret Moorman
After the holidays, Emma helped wrap the Hanukkah menorah and the Christmas ornaments and put them away for next year. But she remembered the bright winter lights in the dark winter nights for a long, long time.
The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story
by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Katya Krenina
Now a goblin lived at the bottom of the well. He was a peaceful goblin who never bothered anyone. Suddenly rocks began falling on his head.
A Confused Hanukkah: An Original Story of Chelm
by Joe Koons, illustrated by S. D. Schindler
Not to worry, Yossel. You may have gotten things a bit confused, but the confusion in your head is small compared to the wisdom in your heart.
Home for Christmas
by Jan Brett
“No, no, NO!” he whooped, and he grabbed his rucksack, leapt over their heads and ran toward the mountains.
Mama Troll looked at Papa Troll and shook her head sadly.
“The chances of Rollo losing his tail are might slim,” she said.
The Day Before Christmas
by Eve Bunting, paintings by Beth Peck
I close my eyes, too, and let the snow fairies spin and twirl like ice flakes in my mind. It’s nice to be doing what my mom did when she was my age. It brings her close, as if she and Grandpa and I are all here together.
That’s all for this week, friends! Have a wonderful week!
Hello! Baby turns 1 tomorrow (which I guess means he’s not really a baby anymore?), and we had family visiting over the weekend. Which means lots of reading time for Preschooler, but not with me! And because I’m now preparing for celebration #2 this coming weekend, this week’s It’s Monday! will be an abbreviated edition. Here are the titles we’ve been exploring this week. Click on any of the images for more information.
First up, some non-holiday selections:
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Do you ever wish you came up with this story idea? It’s a relatively simple concept, but Numeroff writes this little series so well. We’ve read and enjoyed them all.
by Bruce Degan
To be honest, this story doesn’t do much for me, but Preschooler has selected it from the library several times, both in paper and audio version. To each their own!
Boot & Shoe
by Marla Frazee
This story of two best friends who become separated, and then reunited is cute and quirky.
We also read a few seasonal reads:
by Lita Judge
An almost wordless picture book with a smile-worthy ending.
The Miracle Jar: A Hanukkah Story
by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Lea Lyon
I’ve read this book several times, and love it not only for its Hanukkah message, but also for its message about the love a mother has for her family.
The Night of Las Posadas
by Tomie dePaola
I recently read Tomie dePaola’s newest Christmas book, The Birds of Bethlehem, and was left feeling oddly disappointed. I think the first dePaola book that for which I’ve not given raving reviews. Fortunately, there are many other dePaola Christmas stories to choose from, like this one, about a town’s Christmas miracle.
I’ll be doing several holiday book roundups over the next couple weeks, so more on several of these books later. In the meantime, have a fantastic week!
Aaaaaannnnnndddddd… we’re back! How was your Thanksgiving? Starting this week, there will be alot of winter and holiday books around here. Because when you have a three-year-old, the holiday season starts THE MOMENT Thanksgiving is over. Which, of course, means lots of holiday book reading. This week…
I’m in the middle of reading The Legend of Holly Claus. I’ve read several “origin of Santa Claus” books, some traditional, some unique. But this one has the distinction of being the only middle grades book on the subject I’ve encountered. It’s a bit more dark, but definitely interesting. Do you know of any others? I’m about halfway through, so more on this book next week, hopefully.
Laugh-Out-Loud Baby pairs Tony Johnston with (two-time) Caldecott Honor Medalist Stephen Gammel. I’m familiar with Johnston’s The Quilt Story and Gammel’s illustrations from Cynthia Rylant’s The Relatives Came. This book actually has a similar feel. When Baby laughs out loud for the first time, the whole family comes to a halt to listen. And then they call everybody to come hear. From far and wide, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents come to try and make Baby laugh again. But, in the manner of all babies, this baby holds his giggles inside, despite the everyone’s best attempts to get another laugh. The pictures are humorous, the idea is fun, but the flow was just a little bit off for me. Having said that, I found the note at the back of the book about the Navajo First Laugh Ceremony interesting. What a lovely idea, to celebrate this milestone.
It’s the annual talent show, and all the other animals are busy practicing their skills. Bear juggles, Rabbit does magic tricks, and Fox can burp the alphabet. But Penguin is at a loss. What is his special talent? As the day draws closer, Penguin immerses himself in working behind the scenes, organizing the event. But when the show is over Penguin trudges home sadly, still feeling left out. His friends decide to cheer him up, and in doing so, help discover Penguin’s Hidden Talent. A picture book for slightly older readers (I’d say 8 and up), this book celebrates those whose talents often go unnoticed.
Christmas Wombat is the holiday installment in the Wombat series, which also includes Diary of a Wombat and Diary of a Baby Wombat. Wombat’s life is simple. He likes to eat, sleep, scratch… and eat carrots. So when his nose leads him to a pile of carrots (rudely being munched upon by a couple of large creatures with antlers), Wombat cannot resist. What follows is a wild adventure from carrot to carrot. Small children will love the familiar Christmas images, even while Wombat himself remains ignorant to the import of his adventures. The text is simple, and Bruce Whatley’s illustrations evoke both “awwwws” and giggles.
Santa from Cincinatti is one of those non-traditional “origin of Santa” stories. This version has lots of little twists, from the name “Santa” appearing in a bowl of alphabet soup, to Santa’s college days, to buying his first home. You almost believe that Santa was a little boy hailing from Cincinatti. Almost. Written by Judi Barrett (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea), this is a knockout author-illustrator combination. Preschooler enjoyed it, as she does all things Santa-related, but I can see it being even more popular with slightly older readers.
The Christmas Quiet Book is the companion book to The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. And personally, it’s my favorite of the three. The set-up is the same, but something about this one just lends itself well to the season. Renata Liwska’s illustrations of soft bunnies, cuddly bears, and even friendly porcupines are inviting. And as with The Quiet Book, Deborah Underwood redefines “quiet” to mean not just the good sort of quiet, but also the naughty kind, such as when you are caught searching for presents, or the embarrassed kind, such as when you find yourself in an outrageous Christmas tree costume. My personal favorite was the two-page spread of “Luminaria quiet”, with white snow falling on a dark night lit by soft lanterns. A nice addition to a Christmas collection.
Not a bad list after a week away. Happy Monday!