Family Fridays – I Kissed the Baby

Book: I Kissed the Baby (2003) by Mary Murphy

Category/Age: Picture Book (Younger)

Blurb:

It’s so exciting! News of the baby is buzzing from animal to animal, with each one — fish, bird, squirrel, insect, frog — boasting of seeing, feeding, singing to, tickling, and kissing the tiny little thing. With bold, graphic black-and-white illustrations, Mary Murphy’s simple, singsong story captures the giddy commotion that only a baby can bring.

Review:

Because I am a nerd, I love it when books for kids – including babies – have some educational value. This board book is aimed at young babies, with a mostly black and white style, with some pops of color. But, it includes something for each of the five senses, which I think is cool. Plus, when you’re reading it for the 5,000th time (it’s a board book, so you WILL end up reading it approximately that many times) you can add in hand motions or asides talking about the different senses.

Speakin of asides, I think the best boards have enough text that you don’t have to make up your own words (books that have hardly any text at all are difficult to read), but are rich enough image-wise that you can add in your own comments or things to talk about if you can’t handle just reading it straight ONE MORE TIME!

Anyways, this is a cute and charming book, and maybe the best part of it is the page where the momma kisses her baby again – be sure to take full advantage of that, complete with loud kissy sound effects.

Get it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

Family Fridays: Good Night Our World Book Series

This will be the last entry in my impromptu “Travel Month” books for kids. Good Night Our World is a series of board books for very young kids and takes them through a day, and all the seasons, for a given location.

Of the ones I’ve seen, I think they do a fantastic job of picking locations to highlight that are evocative of the place, and I really like the inclusion of the times of day and seasons aspect. The illustration style is fun and bright. One downside is that the writing is really geared towards very young babies, so some of it’s a little on the cutesy side. These are not books I would be able to happily read over and over out loud, but they’re fun reminders of trips you’ve taken or want to take. I seem to pull them out when I’ve got the travel itch. I’ve even given a couple of my hometown one (Good Night Denver) as gifts to family and friends with babies located out of state, generally to try to entice people to come visit.

Here’s a link to their website, which lists all the books they have out, and you can also find more information on the series there.

I think travel is so important for everyone, but especially children. Even if you can only afford to pack up the kids and head to your local downtown, do that. Many museums and zoos and other cultural things offer free days, and you can always find somewhere to eat a picnic lunch.

What’s your favorite trip you’ve taken with your children? Or where do you hope to take them one day?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m not a huge celebrator of Valentine’s Day, but I do love those little conversation hearts, the ones that taste like pepto bismol and have cutesey sayings on them. I can easily eat a package of them by myself – by which I mean, I do eat a package of them by myself, at least twice a year because my husband detests them (he also doesn’t like brownies). The other good thing about Valentine’s Day is that it’s a wonderful excuse to read a sappy romance.

Here are my current favorite romances. Warning: there’s no bodice ripping in any of these, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be disappointed.

  1. Gaudy Night (1935) by Dorothy Sayers (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) – I know, I know! I’m forever going on about it. But I can’t help it if the greatest love story ever written comes packaged in a well written mystery full of great characters and wonderful ambience.
  2. Persuasion (1817) by Jane Austen (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) – While I love Pride and Prejudice as much as the next girl, I think Persuasion slightly edges it out as my favorite Austen. This movie adaptation (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) is excellent.
  3. Edenbrooke (2012) by Julianne Donaldson (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) – I first read this a year or so ago, and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s just fun.
  4. Sorcery and Cecelia (1988) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) – see my review here.
  5. Black Sheep (1966) (Barnes and Noble, Amazon) and Frederica (1965) (Barnes and Noble, Umm…Amazon apparently only carries the Russian edition?) by Georgette Heyer – I couldn’t decide, so I went with both. I went through a Heyer phase when I was pregnant and couldn’t handle reading anything even remotely stressful. Some of them I hated, and some of them I really enjoyed. These are two that are pretty much guaranteed to put a smile on my face.

Ok, so I just realized that all of these are either written or were set a very long time ago. I’m not sure what that says about me, but there you have it.

As a bonus, because it is Friday and I need to sneak in a “Family Friday” bit somewhere, I’ll present you with my favorite love book for children: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram. (Barnes and Noble, Amazon). One of the many things I love about this book is that it features a dad as the loving parent. Moms often take center stage (not that I’m complaining) in these types of books, so it’s great to see a dad trying to explain just how much he loves his child. Sweet without being smarmy, it is a great way to show a kid (or adult!) how much you love them.

What are your favorite romances? What is your favorite love book for kids? How can someone not like brownies?!?

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

 

Family Fridays – The Going to Bed Post

Book: The Going to Bed Book (1982) by Sandra Boynton

Category/Age: Picture Book (Younger), Board Book

Blurb:

This classic bedtime story is just right for winding down the day as a joyful, silly group of animals scrub scrub scrub in the tub, brush and brush and brush their teeth, and finally rock and rock and rock to sleep.

Review:

In our house, this really is The Going To Bed Book. Our bedtime routine with our (one year old) son is to read him a couple of books, then pull this one out. When he sees The Going To Bed Book, he knows the end is near and depending on how tired he is, will either start yawning, crying, or just immediately assume the sleep position (he curls all his limbs underneath him and rolls onto his stomach, which is hilarious when he attempts this while in your lap). Then we’ll turn out the light, sing a song, and put him down. Whereupon he usually screams himself to sleep. This boy does not go gently into that good nap.

Anyways, having a bedtime (and nap) routine has really made the process much easier for all concerned (yes, it’s much better than it used to be – the screaming period is much shorter, and is often just crying), because everyone knows exactly what’s happening, and what will come next. Originally we were just reading him any books, then continuing on, but that meant he started to associate ALL books with being put down in his crib, so whenever you’d pull out a book he’d start to cry. Naturally, I don’t want my son to associate reading with bad things, so we stopped doing any sort of routine for a while. When we started up again a few months later, using The Going To Bed Book as the piece de résistance every time, he quickly learned that books are good, it’s just this book that means he’s going to go to sleep.

Obviously you could pick any book to be your “sleep is coming for you, my friend” signal, but I love this one. It’s short, has a soothing rhythm to read, depicts cute animals getting ready for bed, I can read it 2-3 times per day and not going insane, and most importantly, it’s a board book, which means if your child is trying to escape, it’s in less danger of being damaged.

The bottom line here: consider both bedtime routines and The Going to Bed Book highly recommended.

Do you or your children have bedtime routines? Did you have any books you used as you bedtime books?

Get it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

 

Family Fridays – The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Book: The Snowy Day (1962)

Genre: Children’s Picture Books

Ages: 3+

Blurb:

No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child’s wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.

Review:

I won’t promise that this will be the last wintery book I post, but it will be the last for a while, and we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled programming (whatever that is). I absolutely love this book, and couldn’t miss the opportunity to recommend it. The joy and excitement Peter feels about his snowy adventures are contagious, and will make you and your little ones want to get out and play in the snow, too.

The age categories I saw online suggested 3+ years, but it’s worth reading to younger kids as well. If I catch my wiggly one-year-old in the right mood, we can make it all the way through (it is fairly long for the baby/toddler age range) and I think it’s always worth trying books that are aimed a bit older to stretch their minds. Also, it helps keep you from going insane as you read the same, 5-sentence picture books over and over and over.

This book ranked as one of the “must-buys” for me while I was pregnant, and makes a fun gift for a fall/winter baby shower (or anytime, really). Snuggle up with some hot chocolate and your little ones and read all about Peter’s fun day in the snow!

Is this book part of your library? What are your favorite winter books?

Get it! Amazon, Barnes and Noble

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

 

Family Fridays – Red Sled by Lita Judge

Book: Red Sled (2011)

Ages: 2-5 Years

Blurb:

In this almost wordless picture book, a host of woodland creatures take a child’s sled for a nighttime joy ride. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless tone and classic characters, RED SLED will become a wintertime favorite.

Review:

This is a really fun picture book. It would be perfect for a toddler who loves books, but can’t quite read themselves, as the story is told entirely without dialogue. There is some text, but only sound effects (“scrunch scrunch scrunch”). For that reason, I actually struggled with reading it to my almost-one-year-old, since he isn’t quite old enough to appreciate the pictures and there wasn’t a lot going on for him to listen to. Next year, though, I know he’ll love it. The animals’ expressions are hilarious and it’s just a funny, sweet winter tale. Highly recommended, even for those adults on your list who still enjoy the pleasures of a good sledding!

Get it! Amazon, Barnes and Noble

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m imagining you all reading this post with a cup of tea and a large slice of pumpkin pie, having escaped from the football games for a few moments. 🙂 Even if you don’t celebrate the American Thanksgiving, I’d encourage you to take some time to think about what you are thankful for.

I have more than usual to be thankful for this year.

I am thankful for my son, thankful for my home, and very thankful that as we approach the end of the year, unlike last year, I am not extremely pregnant and still unsure as to whether or not we would be buying a house and moving (we did, and we did, literally while we were in the hospital after my son was born – we went to the hospital from one house and came home to another).

On a more mundane level, I’m thankful for “touchy-feely” books. Mr. Baby is not interested in reading, he’d rather be doing and exploring than sitting still listening to his momma. However, for the last month or so, he’s started to really engage and interact with his touchy-feely books. Things like Pat the Bunny, or the incredible That’s not my… series (we have That’s Not My Dinosaur and That’s Not My Monkey so far), and even The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has some holes he can stick his fingers into, have been a fun way to get him to sit still and practice this whole reading thing. Snuggling with my boy and reading to him while he solemnly sticks his index fingers into all the pages on his books (without wiggling to be free! well, mostly) have been some of my happiest moments as a parent so far.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESWishing you many blessings this Thanksgiving.

P.S. Yes, that’s a plastic popcorn bucket on the floor to our left. It’s one of his favorite toys. Go figure.

What are you thankful for today?

Family Fridays – Winter is Coming

The only thing that I have in common with or even remotely enjoyed about the Game of Thrones (review here) is the whole “Winter is Coming” thing. I absolutely love winter. I wait for it all year. Mid summer I remind my husband that it’s not too early to start planning for Christmas. I love the cold weather, the snow, Christmas, boots, snuggly coats, dairy free hot chocolate (I have an allergy – it’s a curse), dairy free molasses cookies, Christmas, my birthday, the smell of wood smoke in the air, and, most importantly, Christmas.

I won’t say too much about Christmas now (November is fair game though – you have been warned!) but, I do think it’s important to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, especially with children. I missed the first day of fall (Sept. 22 this year), but when I got back to Colorado there was a definite bite in the air and summer is definitely over (finally! It’s been a rough summer for Colorado between forest fires and flooding).

Here are three wonderful books celebrating this time of year:

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead (auth) and Erin Stead (illus) Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Full review here. This sweet, sweet story is one of my absolute favorite children’s books.

The Bear’s Winter House by John Yeoman (auth) and Quentin Blake (illus)  Amazon, Barnes and Noble

You may feel like Bear in this story if you’re hosting family or friends for Christmas!

Frederick by Leo Lionni Amazon, Barnes and Noble

I think this might be the first Leo Lionni book I’ve recomended, which is a shame. Lionni was incredibly talented and created several really wonderful children’s books.

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

 

Family Fridays: I Lost My Kisses by Trudie Trewin

Guest blogger Stori shares one of her favorite children’s books!

Book: I Lost My Kisses

Genre: Children’s general

Ages: 2 to 8

Blurb:

Matilda Rose loves to kiss. But one day, something goes terribly, horribly wrong. She loses her kisses, just before her daddy is going to come home. Matilda goes on the hysterical and thoughtful search to find her kisses.

Matilda Rose learns that you can never really lose your kisses — they will always be there when you need them.

Review:

This book is so cute.  Just precious. No, it’s actually like cute married precious and then gave birth to I Lost My Kisses.  I find that as child reader turned adult reader turned parent reader there aren’t that many new-to-me books that I enjoy reading as a boring old grown up.  So often I find myself only reading my daughter books that I loved as a child because I still love them, but new books have a hard time piercing my cynical shell and reminding me of the way I used to think when I was little. At this point we have joined Matilda Rose on her quest to find her kisses at least a hundred times, and each time we mourn with Matilda Rose when she cannot find her kisses and no one seems to be much help. We get nervous as Daddy’s arrival approaches and she still does not know what kisses look like. And we rejoice when Daddy comes home and gets the big kiss that Matilda Rose has been storing in her heart for him all day. I know you aren’t supposed to say this about a novel not written by Josh Grisham… but I Lost My Kisses is gripping. You should see my nails – they are down to the nubs.

I don’t know anything about art or art appreciation and I have no vocabulary on the subject so I don’t usually notice or comment on drawings. I may embarrass myself here, but I really loved the illustrations. The pictures were exaggerated without being cartoonish, and I loved the minimal-with-the-occasional-bright-splash color scheme.  Toddlers love repetition and they will enjoy and soon be repeating Matilda Rose’s little song that she uses to call for her long lost kisses.  If your child is a little older, consider stopping at each point in the search and asking him or her what kisses look, feel, taste, and sound like.

I think I Lost My Kisses is Trudie Trewin’s only book sold in the USA, and I am hoping that she has more coming. As is typical for her age, my three-year-old goes through those monotonous stages where she wants the same book read to her over and over again, and as her primary reader, I actually enjoyed her “I Lost My Kisses” phase.  It is a very cute book that children and parents will enjoy, and the best part of the story is that you get to end it with your own big smootcheroo!

Get it! Amazon, Barnes and Noble

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

Family Fridays – the Monster at the end of this Book by Jon Stone

Book: the Monster at the end of this Book (1971)

Series: Sesame Street (Grover)

Genre: Babies & Toddlers

Ages: 0-3 years

Blurb:

Lovable, furry old Grover is distressed to learn that there’s a monster at the end of this book! He begs readers not to turn the pages, but of course kids feel they just have to see this monster for themselves. Grover is astonished–and toddlers will be delighted–to discover who is really the monster at the end of the book!

Review:

This was my husband’s favorite book as a child, and when we were expecting our baby, my brother- and sister- in-law gave it to us with a plush Grover. The combo makes a lovely gift (you should be able to find the book for under $5) and as for the book – it’s absolutely great. As mentioned previously, one of the reasons I love the Monster at the end of this Book is that it draws attention to the act of reading and the physical book itself. We’ve been reading it (occasionally assisted by Grover) to our son since he was teeny-tiny. He seems to like it, if you count trying to eat it as liking it. I didn’t really grow up with Sesame Street, so this was basically my first real experience (that I can remember!) with the brand. I’m really impressed and will be looking into some of their other books, and might have to try some of the TV shows too.

Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Have you read this to your kid(s)? Are you a fan of Sesame Street?

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.