Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! {Three Book Thursday on Tuesday}

girlreadingjwsmithThree Book Thursday is on Tuesday this Thanksgiving week. This blog feature is all about our favorite children’s books of the week, and celebrating those moments when we can say, ‘Yes, just one more book.’ See all the posts in the category here. And check out the now discontinued series about children’s book’s, Friday Favorites, here

This morning we woke up to frost on the cars and a deep blue sky that makes the few leaves holding onto the trees stand out all the brighter. It seems official now that the holidays are upon us.

I got a brief reprieve from all that last weekend, however, when a hope to visit my sister in L.A. suddenly became a reality. I’m a mom of three, not a woman who jumps on a plane on a whim very often/EVER. But my very loving husband made it all possible and I spent four days in Los Angeles. The first full day was amazing–sere mountains and hot sunshine and Malibu beaches. The second day was wonderful, too, with a hike to Griffin Observatory up a secret staircase in the morning. The afternoon became overcast and chilly, but with a huge bookstore in the heart of your city, gloomy afternoons are not  a problem! The Lost Bookstore yielded some jewels I have been longing for that, yes, I put in my carry on and lugged all the way home with me.  Here’s what I got:

Baby Dear is my favorite find of the week. This is how bookstore shopping goes for me:

~Step One: See vintage book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.

~Step Two: Buy the book. Baby Dear (Little Golden Book)

I’m like Mel Gibson’s character in Conspiracy Theory, impulsively buying Eloise Wilkin books in every bookstore I go to (which is a big improvement on  Catcher in The Rye, I have to say). So far I haven’t experienced a sudden, undeniable urge to find a bookstore immediately at random moments in my day and buy one of her books, but I have some fears. Baby Dear is a book any little girl with a younger sibling will love to get as a Big Sister gift. My littlest one, 16-month-old Violet, simply loves it because it has babies in it and she loves babies. Really, you don’t need a reason to buy a book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Buy it. You will not be disappointed. If I would just remember when I’m having a bad day to go bury my face in The Boy With A DrumMy Goodnight BookWe Help Daddy, etc., there is not a chance the day wouldn’t get at least a little bit better.

Okay. Moving on.

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever is an elusive book that somehow ends up on all Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever!kinds of highly respected reading lists but never in my local library or book sales. For a few years now, I’ve wanted to get my hands on it, but it was just too expensive to buy. I was so excited to find a vintage copy for just $5 in L.A.! And I will now proceed to read myself hoarse for the remainder of my mothering life. Richard Scarry is awesome…and wordy. These big, thick treasuries are so great for rest time, though. If you’re lucky, one such book can offer maybe half an hour of quiet entertainment.


Winter HolidayMike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Curious George rounded out my picture book finds. I was also excited to find one of the books in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons seriesWinter Holiday introduces some neighbors visiting a nearby farm who become friends with the children from the original Swallows and Amazons. These books are great for adventurous kids, especially boys. I didn’t discover them until my husband bought the book after we got married, and I still enjoy this series as an adult. Caution: these books will make you want to take up sailing. And packing giant picnics to eat on deserted islands. There’s your fair warning.

Sadly, I didn’t stumble upon any jewels in the grown up books. Luckily, I’m in the middle of the long overlooked Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. It’s roughly 1168 pages, so that should see me through at least the end of the week/year.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Related Posts:

Little Books, Lasting Memories

Pilgrims and Indians

My Favorite Children’s Books

Jam and Bread and Peanut Butter: Friday Favorites

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books, Parenting, Three Book Thursday

Cookies and Books: Nurturing Yourself and Your Children At The Same Time

girlreadingjwsmithAfternoons are hard. Everyone is tired, and trying their best to transition from morning to evening, from resting to ramping up their energy again, or in my case, from folding clothes quietly to cooking dinner with three kids underfoot. I’ll be honest: some (many) days when the kids get up from their afternoon quiet time, they get to watch TV. I try to keep it to every other day, but it’s kind of a seasonal thing. In the summer it’s less, in the winter, it’s more. But some days, the attitudes are especially shoddy, making me more aware of my children’s need for time with me. And I feel that tug: how do I give these children anything when at this point in the day, I’m running on empty?

The answer? Cookies and books.

One of my favorite book mom mentors, Sally Clarkson, often says it’s important to bring your children into the activities that you enjoy and that feed your soul. I love that concept – we as moms can be nurtured and nurturing at the same time.  Sometimes I remember that, and sometimes I have the wisdom and energy to do things a little differently in the transition hours, more commonly (and accurately) called “the witching hours.” I lay out some real plates and glasses on the table, get some cookies from the freezer and stick them in the microwave (or graham crackers if the baking hasn’t happened in a while!), and pour milk in fancy glasses. Then I go to the kids’ room a few minutes before their quiet time timer dings, and whisper, “Come to the kitchen!” Sometimes we have a IMG_4547little bit of hot herbal tea with honey instead of milk and cookies. Sometimes we’re finishing up some lemonade or cake from a family birthday party. Whatever the food is, along with it is always a book. This time is for a book I choose that I know will feed their minds. Their small hands are busy with their cookies, but their minds are taking it all in. When we come together at the table, all of the bickering, busyness, and mess of the day is suspended for a few minutes. I love these times at the table. They bring the things I like doing – reading books, eating cookies, and spending happy time with my children – all together. We all get what we need, and it’s always worth the few extra dishes or the lost productivity because the children feel loved and cared for and able to cope with the rest of the day, and so do I. I wish I did this cookies and books time every day! That’s not a reality right now. But I cherish the times when we’re able to set everything else aside and pick up a book, a cup, a story, an idea, a love of learning, and a love for each other.

Not everyone likes books and cookies (okay, everyone probably likes cookies). Maybe you love to run. Maybe you like scrapbooking, cooking, walking, or maybe what you love above all else is window shopping. My kids and I sometimes make up silly stories together. Whatever it is you like to do, maybe try doing it with your children? It gets really hard to do the things you love as your children take more of your time, but it helps you all to speak the same language later in life if you share what you love now. Your favorite activity won’t be the same when you bring your children into it with you, but it will be better than nothing! Choose your Cookies and Books – whatever you like to do together- and make it happen once in a while! You’ll be glad you did.

Here are the books I’ve chosen for our Cookies and Books Time this week:

Rachel and Obadiah – We loved Obadiah the Bold, so we had to track down other books by Brinton Turkle about Obadiah. However, this one was more about Rachel. Where Obadiah was great for a little brother, Rachel and Obadiah is great for a little sister who feels the need for some appreciation. The illustrations are so lovely, and it’s fun to read the Quaker wording. Isaac was not as big a fan of it because the girl is the winner in the end, but Ella liked it a lot.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald PartridgeWilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – Mem Fox is an famous children’s author with whom I am sadly unfamiliar. I enjoyed my first experience of her books this week! This book made me want to cry a little, because my kids have a great, great aunt who is exactly the age of the woman in the book. Wilfrid, the little boy, thoughtfully gathers all the things he thinks will help her find her memories again, and the result is very touching. That was my take on it, anyway! When I got done reading it to Isaac and Ella, Ella’s response was, “Well. That was a weird book.” So maybe don’t expect your kids to love it. But it’s a sweet book that could aid in discussion about elderly family members whose memories aren’t what they used to be. The illustrations by Julie Vivas keep things lighthearted and fun.

What books are you reading with kiddos this week?