31 Days, Children's Books, Reading, Reviews

Saturday Picture Book Reading

Today was one of those days when the people in my home were a bit under the (gorgeous) weather, the weight of projects, or just the weight of a boring Saturday with no plans. Therefore, we read books. Here are the picture books we read throughout the day:

Jonathan and the Big Blue BoatJonathan and the Big Blue Boat by Philip C. Stead (We got this from the library two weeks ago and today I found my four-year-old “reading” it almost word for word to my two-year-old. It’s a favorite).

The Lady With the Ship on Her Head by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Ordinary Amos and The Amazing Fish by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes (I never had a pet fish as a child and, thanks to this book, my children probably never will either)

Who Wants A Dragon? by James Mayhew and Lindsey Gardiner

DahliaThe Purple Coat by Amy Hest and Amy Schwartz (to be featured in another post)

Dora The Explorer: It’s Riddle Time (Note: I would be extremely pleased if my children saw a Dora the Explorer book or video at the library, turned to me and said, “Mommy, is it okay with you if we decide we actually don’t like that overly perky, condescending Dora? We much prefer reruns of The Reading Rainbow and books by Robert McCloskey. We hope you don’t mind?” But we are pretty far from that scenario at this point.

Dahlia by Barbara McClintock (I would like to live in the illustrations of this book)

Little Squirt The Fire Engine by Catherine Kenworthy

And on my own I read Wishing For Tomorrow: The Sequel to A Little Princess. It’s a fun read that dives a little deeper into the secondary characters of the original book. If it were by the original author, I’d love it. As it is, I like it pretty well. It has an interesting, 19th century girls-should-be-educated feminism slant. And it brings Miss Minchin out of the stark, a villain-is-a-villain day and age into our let’s-try-to-understand-everyone age. All that’s to say, it has a very different feel, but it’s imaginative and fun.

What did you read today?

This post is part of the 31 Days of Picture Books series. To see all the posts in the series, go here.



31 Days, Children's Books

Our Friends Lily and Milo

Going to the Beach with Lily and MiloPauline Oud writes a series of children’s books about a little bunny named Lily and her mischievous mouse friend Milo. As soon as my daughter discovered these at our library, they became those books that she wants to pick out every time. For a while, she was upset when they were already checked out. There are six books in the series. Our favorite is Going to the Beach with Lily and Milo. What I love about these books is that they subtly teach a lesson about colors, or animals and their habitat, or something along those lines, while telling the story of these two characters whose personalities are very much like my own two children. I can totally see Ella trying to get everything together to go to the beach as Isaac unpacks it and pretends he’s already at the beach. But Isaac is two, so maybe that’s something he’ll grow out of. Or maybe Milo is really only two, as well. =) Anyway, I would be willing to bet your little ones will enjoy Lily and Milo as much as mine do. Isaac has been enjoying them from a very young age.


Isaac reading Lily and Milo at 8 months old

This post is part of the 31 Days of Picture Books series. For the rest of the posts in the series, go here.


Reading, Reviews

The Lost Art of Mixing: A Review

The Lost Art of MixingThe Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister is a beautifully written book about several people whose lives cross and sometimes become intertwined. The story centers around Lillian and her restaurant. Oh, how I would like to go there. I felt like I could smell the food described throughout the book. Bauermeister’s writing is clear yet full of senses. I can grab in my mind what she is describing. I love that kind of writing.

This is a character driven novel; the plot is a little weak at times, but all the characters are well developed. There is lots of talk about life rituals–picking up an empty suitcase and walking around the block, being lifted up on a chair, etc.) that was completely harmless but made me squirm. I’m okay with traditions, but when they turn into rituals…well, I squirm.

I found it interesting that every single character had a background of absent parents. It was as if all of the characters were searching for that anchor they missed in their own families. I especially enjoyed the relationship between elderly Louise and young Chloe; they were a pair of unlikely roommates. Finnegan was a little bit unbelievable, but I can forgive that because he was delightful.

If you like Ann Tyler, or books that feel kind of introverted into the characters’ minds, give The Lost Art of Mixing a try. This is my first book by Bauermeister, but I will definitely read The School of Essential Ingredients as soon as I can get my hands on it. However, I have to mention that this book doesn’t exactly give any answers. I enjoy a book with a little more philosophy mixed in with all the questions. Or a really good plot. One or the other. =) But I enjoy this style of writing, and maybe you will, too.

31 Days, Children's Books

Bing Bong Bang and Fiddle Dee Dee: A Wise Book

One of our family’s favorite quotes actually comes from a children’s picture book. And the picture book has a not so wise sounding name: Bing Bong Bang and Fiddle Dee Dee. But the quote can change your life:

“The morning is wiser than the evening.

And the light is better, too.”

Do you ever lie in bed at 3:00 a.m., worrying about something that you didn’t worry about during the day? Remind yourself that “the morning is wiser than the evening” and go to sleep. You can think about it better in the light.

Who knew children’s picture books are the best self help?

Do you have a favorite quote from a picture book? Share it in the comments!

31daysThis post is part of the 31 Days of Picture Books series. See the other posts in the series here.

And check out the other 31 Days bloggers at thenester.com.

31 Days, Children's Books

Books for Little Ballerinas

Day 2 of 31 Days of Picture Books is all about books for little ballerinas. (To read the other posts in the series, please go here.)

If you’ve been in the children’s section of a bookstore recently, you know it’s not hard to find books featuring fluffy tutus and the color pink. A current favorite with little girls is the Tallulah’s Tutu series. Then there’s the ever popular Angelina Ballerina (that little mouse has been blown way out of proportion). My four-year-old daughter Ella and I like those books, too. There are some others we love even more, though. I appreciate how most ballerina books teach an important lesson along with the tutus and toe shoes.

I had I Wear My Tutu EvI Wear My Tutu Everywhere!erywhere memorized when I was fourteen, thanks to a four-year-old sister who adored it. I re-memorized it when my daughter got her own copy at age 2. I have to admit, the words are pretty catchy. I now really appreciate the mental image it gives of a ripped tutu. When Ella asks if she can wear hers to the grocery store, I say “Remember what happened to Tilly’s tutu on the swing? Yours might rip on the shopping cart.” Works every time. However, we are not above wearing princess dresses to Publix. A few weeks ago, we did our shopping with a Disney Rapunzel riding in our race car shopping cart, replete with hair extensions (attached to a headband from The Dollar Store). I figure she’s only four once.

Harriet's RecitalMy great aunt gave me Harriet’s Recital for Christmas one year. I really related to the main character, a nervous bear-girl who is petrified of performing on stage. I especially identified with the way she said, “Oh, it was nothing” after the recital. I was just like that as a kid. Fortunately, I didn’t make any major mistakes in piano recitals until I was in high school. At that point, there was no use pretending anymore that I didn’t have a serious case of stage fright.

Susan Jeffers’s The Nutcracker is a beautiful book. I love the perspective from which she illustrates. However, I think The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig presents the story in an easy to understand yet more comprehensive way. The book is a great one to read before taking your little ones to see the ballet this Christmas.

Ella Bella Ballerina and CinderellaThe entire Ella Bella Ballerina series are our favorite ballerina books around here. James Mayhew does a great job of telling a story such as Cinderella from the ballet background. The illustrations combine pretty ballerinas with a very cute little girl. And Ella is such a perfect name. =)

Finally, if you as a grown up need a crash course in ballet plots, pick up Of Swans, Sugar Plums, and Satin Slippers. I wouldn’t recommend it to children under ten or twelve (most ballets are rather tragic), but it’s helped me have a fairly decent knowledge of the popular classical ballets, and the illustrations are lovely.

Do you have a ballerina book recommendation? My Little Ballerina is always eager for more, and I can’t deny that I quite enjoy all these ballerina books myself. It’s a stage in Ella’s life that I’m clutching onto while it lasts. =)




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...