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!

Look, book!

Allow me to state the obvious.  Reading is good.  For so many reasons. We read a lot in our house.  I hope that I can give my children the gift of books, and the love of reading.  I remember how important I felt when, each week during one summer, I walked to the library 1/4 mile from my house, and spent afternoons browsing the  young adult books in the library basement.  I still love to bury my nose in a book that smells like must, print, paper, and fingerprints of readers past.  That summer I read the Little House on the Prairie series, and I loved it.

While I’m positive Mr. Pickle will be a reader, Miss Plum?  Who knows.  Baby 2 gets fewer books, it is just the way it is (in my house, at least).  Fingers crossed we will be able to start a real bedtime book routine with her soon. (Actually, fingers crossed that she’ll start sleeping through the night sometime soon, sheesh, but that is a post for another day.)

Here are some of the books that Mr. Pickle has loved in his first 2.5 years:

Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
Some nice repetition, a funny story, and the word “ultimatum” – I’ve read this book at least 150 times.

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever
I remember this book from when I was little! There is so much to talk about on each page. And Kenny Bear eats a remarkable amount of food for breakfast. Honorable mention: Richard Scarry’s Cars Trucks and Things That Go.

Good Night New Hampshire by Adam Gamble and Anne Rosen
We like these. My husband was on some sort of kick and bought 14 different books in the “Good Night Our World” series. They are quick reads, show kids different landmarks in different cities/places and since they’re board books, they’re good for little hands that like to crinkle and rip.

A Potty for Me! by Karen Katz
When my son first started considering potty-training, he liked this book a lot. He especially liked the part where the mom says, “That’s okay!” I think the book has annoying rhymes (together/water, etc) but was a nice little book on the subject.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
I love this book and so does my little boy. The rhymes and rhythm are lovely. It has all of the heavy machinery Pickle loves. I consider it a must-have, and will likely be giving it as a gift this Christmas to a few under-twos.

Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
I adore this book. It is my favorite. The illustrations by Barbara Cooney are so lovely. The story is poetry (not surprising given that the author is a poet who was the American Poet Laureate in 2006) and it is local. For several months we read this book at least once a night. And we always made sure to kiss each other on the nose.

Angelo by David Macaulay
My son recently discovered this book – a signed copy was given to him as a gift. It is way over his head, it is long and is sad, but he likes trying to figure it out. He enjoys hearing about Angelo helping Sylvia. I suspect we’ll be reading this one for years.

What Pete Ate from A – Z by Maira Kalman
This book is quirky, funny, and full of weird characters. It is actually fun to read. I have given this book as a gift before, and it has been well-received. I’m glad my son likes this book because I don’t mind reading it every night.

So tell me, what are some of your favorites?