Things I Like Thursday

We’ve found some new favorite children’s books at our house.  Thank you Chris Van Dusen!

Fun, bright illustrations, interesting stories, fantastic rhymes my tongue doesn’t stumble over and big, lovely words – no dumbed down stuff here!  – words like kismet, unforeseen, rivulet, and adoration!

The three we’re loving right now are: If I Built a Car, King Hugo’s Huge Ego and Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit.  Boys are probably the intended audience for these books, since they are the main characters, but themes like humility, the value of intelligence, and creativity are gender-less, for sure.

This is one annoying king, that's for sure.  But he is shown the error of his ways in a most terrific way.  Critiques?  The ending kind of rubs me the wrong way - girl falls for former jerk after one apology and promise to mend his ways. But it is a fairy tale after all, and we try to talk out that part of the story.

This is one annoying king, that’s for sure. But he is shown the error of his ways in a most terrific way. Critiques? The ending kind of rubs me the wrong way – girl falls for former jerk after one apology and promise to mend his ways. But it is a fairy tale after all, and we try to talk out that part of the story.

This book showcases imagination, and fun.  Critique?  There isn't much of a narrative - it is mostly just a cool list of the features the main character would include in a car if he got to design one.  But the book encourages kids and adults to think about all the neat features they'd put in their cars or houses if they were not limited by cost or the laws of physics.

This book showcases imagination, and fun. Critique? There isn’t much of a narrative – it is mostly just a cool list of the features the main character would include in a car if he got to design one. But the book encourages kids and adults to think about all the neat features they’d put in their cars or houses if they were not limited by cost or the laws of physics.

Celebrating the value of different talents and abilities!  Randy is terrible at baseball, but really good at other stuff.  The guy with the brains saves the day!

Celebrating the value of different talents and abilities! Randy is terrible at baseball, but really good at other stuff. The guy with the brains saves the day!

Images are the book covers, and are from Chris Van Dusen’s site.  Please click on a cover to link to his site and purchase the books through his Amazon links.

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Books: Mom and Kid Approved

Our library of children’s books overfloweth!  Hooray!

Plum has adopted the very cute habit of insisting – INSISTING! – that you take the book she is handing you, sit on the floor cross-legged so she can climb in your lap and read to her.  RIGHT NOW.  The girl is persuasive.  She loves to “read” to herself too – sitting, flipping through pages, and babbling expressively.  Hooray for books!

As I read Caps for Sale to Pickle last night, I started thinking about the books that I loved as a child that he now loves, too.  There are several.

Here are our favorites:

Lovely, silly repetition, monkeys and strange illustrations. What's not to like?!

Lovely, silly repetition, monkeys and strange illustrations. What’s not to like?!

My 1st Edition, received on my 1st birthday is starting to fall apart, but we still "read" this one regularly.  There are no words, but we love talking about the pictures.

My 1st Edition, received on my 1st birthday, is starting to fall apart, but we still “read” this one regularly. There are no words, but we love talking about the pictures.

I challenge you to find a child who DOESN'T love this book.  It is silly, a bit magical and forces parents to attempt the Grover voice. I cannot count the number of times we've read this one.

I challenge you to find a child who DOESN’T love this book. It is silly, a bit magical and forces parents to attempt the Grover voice. I cannot count the number of times we’ve read this one.

Alas, this sweet little book (no words in this one either) is out of print. I love that the monster in this book is sensitive and lonely, and that you can see the little girl's bellybutton on every page (even through her pajamas!)

Alas, this sweet little book (no words in this one either) is out of print. I love that the monster in this book is sensitive and a little lonely, and that you can see the little girl’s bellybutton on every page (even through her pajamas!)

An absolute classic.  I am thankful we just received a board book version because my copy (received on my 2nd birthday) isn't going to stand up to repeat readings very much longer.

An absolute classic. I am thankful we just received a board book version because my copy (received on my 2nd birthday) isn’t going to stand up to repeat readings very much longer.

I've written about this one before. The local setting, the changing season, hard work, simple pleasures (wintergreen peppermint candies!) and the sweet gesture when he kisses his ox on the nose - I love this book.  If it reads like poetry, that is because it is.

I’ve written about this one before. The local setting, the changing seasons, hard work, simple pleasures (wintergreen peppermint candies!) and the sweet gesture when he kisses his ox on the nose – I love this book. If it reads like poetry, that is because it is.

 

I am so looking forward to chapter books and sharing more of my favorites.

PS – I don’t get anything from Amazon for linking to them, it’s just easy.  Of course, I’d encourage you to buy these books from your local independent bookseller! Shout out to Gibson’s!

Baby Favorites (Giveaway!)

As I switched on the quiet whhhiiiirrrrr of the white noise machine Mr. Pickle’s thumps and yells instantly became background noise.  Plum closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

I have my own white noise machine, Plum is a light sleeper, Pickle is loud, and our house is small.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get her her own white noise machine.  She has slept better, and longer with it.  (Of course, the ear tubes and her age could have something to do with that, too.) Add that magical machine to my list of favorite baby things!

What follows is a partial list of my didn’t-want-them/didn’t-know-I’d-need-them/had-no-idea-how-much-I’d-love-them items for newborns/infants/toddlers.

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

Dohm-DS Dual Speed Sound Conditioner by Marpac

There are cuter ones, but I love this white noise machine.  It creates a whoosh of air, so there are no strange electronic loops.  You can change the tone and speed (volume).  It is very portable and does exactly what it is advertised to do.  The only negative? No bells, whistles, music, lights if that’s what you’re looking for.

Carter's One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Carter’s One-Piece Microfleece Zip-Up Sleeper

Cozy, comfy and inexpensive. I love these. We have all sorts of one-piece sleepers and these are my favorites.  When you’re doing a squirmy-wailing-middle-of-the-night diaper change the zipper is a lifesaver – who decided 15 snaps was a good idea?  These wash well and my little ones seem to think they’re great.  Thank you Carter’s! The only negative?  Pickle has big feet, and sometimes his feet outgrew the sleepers before the rest of him did. Also, they aren’t ideal during potty training.

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

The Happy Frog mobile by Flensted

I like old-fashioned mobiles. I don’t want big fluffy, chunky animals, music, plastic.  I like airy, elegant, whimsical, floating mobiles. I like mobiles that dance, and balance.  Thankfully, I found Flensted mobiles. LOVE.  I’m considering getting more of them – like the bunnies (BUNNIES!), or the cycling elephants (CYCLEPHANTS!). I want to put funky Danish mobiles all over my house.  The negatives? A little expensive for paper and wire, and sometimes I fear the mobile will get wound up up up when the ceiling fan is on and it circles in same direction over and over and over.

"That's Not My Donkey..." by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

“That’s Not My Donkey…” by Fiona Watt and Usborne Publishing

It is hard to find books for little bitty ones. Attention spans are short and there are much more exciting things to do, like eating things they should not, sticking fingers in outlets, and tormenting the cat.  However, the “That’s Not My…” series by Usborne has proven to be a huge hit among my under-2 set.  They are short, sweet, tactile, and colorful.  Negatives?  My husband and I disagree about the appropriate emphasis. Is it, “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy” or “That’s not my donkey, its tummy is too squashy“?  Also, is “squashy” a word?

Giveaway!  Post a comment here and be in the running for two Usborne books and two Carter’s Microfleece sleepers!  Winner will be chosen at random, and can specify age and size of recipient(s).  (No, you don’t have to have kids/grandkids to win! These make great shower gifts, or donations!) (Update: ends at noon EST on 1/22/13!)

Note: I don’t know anyone at Marpac, Carter’s, Flensted or Usborne.  I just think these baby-related items are great.