Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Friday Favorites, Ed. 8

It’s Friday again! We had an awesome library trip this week. It was the kind that makes me glad I’ve stuck it out and kept on taking my kids to the library. Because the library is for everyone, even (especially?) children. Here are a few gems in our library basket that we highly recommend.

Five Nice Mice and The Great Car RaceFive Nice Mice & the Great Car Race was a fun read for our family, as we have been in Pixar Planes and Cars craze for several months. The painted illustrations were satisfyingly rich and imaginative. I loved the color palette of deep blues, reds, and yellows. The book features good lessons on teamwork and sharing. It’s a little on the wordy side for such a simple story, but my children both enjoy it. As always, there’s something about little mice in literature that appeals to us.

Princess Patty Meets Her MatchOur other favorite from the week is Princess Patty Meets Her Match. Princess Patty goes on a journey to find her prince, and along the way exhibits compassion, generosity, helpfulness, and just plain good sense. I appreciate that the usual fairy tale words like “beauty” and “happily ever after” are not in this book.  The focus is on meeting others’ needs and being a friend. I think the wording and illustrations will appeal more to the 8-and-under crowd. We’re always battling the Fairy Tale Frenzy with our daughters in this culture, so any princess book that focuses on good character over outward appearances or achievements is a win in my book!

A Bear Called Paddington (Paddington, #1)In the chapter book arena, we are reading A Bear Called Paddington. Thanks to the movie’s debut, this English classic is once again a popular pick. I really can’t believe I’ve never read it before because it is delightful. We may not see the movie, but the book is a new favorite. Even three-year-old Isaac is spellbound by the bear’s adventures. Have you seen the movie? I’d love to know what you think?

And as always, feel free to chime in with what your children are enjoying this week. We are interested in books for all ages here!

May your weekend be filled with books and bliss!

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Random Fun Kids Books: Friday Favorites, Ed. 7

This is a very random group of picture books this week. Nevertheless, these are our favorites to snuggle up under a blanket with on these frightfully gloomy days. They each cheer us up in their own way.

20388087Julia’s House for Lost Creatures is the perfect combination of cute and wild and classic and zany. I don’t usually use the word “cute” because, well, it gets on my nerves, but I have to use it for Julia. She’s adorable. The rest of the book is an imaginative conglomeration of magical creatures and a house on the back of a giant turtle.  Sometimes I am in the middle of reading this book to my kids and I get lost in the drawings. “Read, Mommy, read!” brings me back into my living room, but I would really like to just stare at the pictures for a while. Julia is by Ben Hatke, whose blog is a pretty fun glimpse into the life of someone who lives and breathes drawing and writing while working from home with three young daughters. The only drawback to this book in my opinion is the mermaid in it whose attire is….questionable. But otherwise, I love this book.

My Special One and OnlyAnother fun book in our library basket this week is My Special One and Only, which sounds like it is something about “Love you to the moon and back” or one of those touch-feely books, but is really very comic and off the wall. It’s about Bridget Fidget and Captain Cat. and their adventure in Dinglebang’s Universe of Toys. The illustrations and the words together are quirky and amusing, and because I’m the type who laughs out loud at stuff the kids in Daddy Day Care and Junie B. Jones, this book had me guffawing a few times. We were delighted to discover that there are many other books by Joe Berger featuring the character Bridget Fidget, and plan to pick a few more on our next library trip.

LentilLentil by Robert McCloskey is our more classic favorite of the weekIt features a boy in small-town Ohio, who is completely unable to pucker his lips and, therefore, cannot whistle. He is devastated by his inability to make music, until he gets a harmonica. Lentil’s town is sponsored almost solely by one rich man, Colonel Carter. When the town grump, Old Sneep, tries to ruin a reception for Colonel Carter’s homecoming, Lentil saves the day with his harmonica. Besides being a wonderfully illustrated book with a rolicking, this book can spark some pretty interesting conversations. I was surprised at how much my young children picked up on the themes of jealousy and spite in this book. There’s not much back story to why Sneep dislikes Colonel Carter, but we had a good conversation about how feeling like you’re not as good as someone else can lead to all kinds of problems. The book subtly contrasts Lentil with Sneep. Lentil can’t be like the other kids and whistle, but he can still do something great. He takes action, while Sneep just sits on a park bench and wallows in self pity, clearly jealous that Colonel Carter has made a name for himself. I’m sure my five-year-old and three-year-old won’t remember a thing from the conversation we had about comparisons, but I got a lot of good reminders out of it.

The Adventures of George WashingtonOur read aloud chapter book for the month has been Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Isaac (3) didn’t really get into it, but Ella was pretty amused. Any thoughts on if the movie is a good companion to the book? We’re now in the midst of The Adventures of George Washington. Isaac thinks this one is pretty cool because it’s all about wars and horses, and the chapters are only four or five pages, with several pictures. I very nearly cracked up when Isaac picked up a dollar bill a few days ago and said, “Hey! This looks just like George Washington!” Sometimes I forget how perceptive and smart he is behind his all-action, all the time personality.

So those are some of the books that are keeping us from going absolutely insane in the brain this winter. We’ve also done a bunch of stuff on our Happier in Winter list this past week. What books have you been enjoying with (or without) your children this winter?

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Friday Favorites, Black Friday Edition

Have you had enough holiday advertising yet? I have, and it’s not even December. I feel sad for our American children. It’s so easy for them to be the richest in the world in possessions and the poorest in gratitude. I want my children to know it isn’t the stuff that truly makes us rich. Gratitude is what truly enriches. And it’s an uphill climb to helping our children understand how to be grateful, even though gratitude is pretty simple at a young age: realizing we have good things and thanking God for them.

Elizabeti's DollIf you feel this way, too, check out Elizabeti’s Doll. It’s a story of a little girl somewhere in Africa who doesn’t have a doll. Her mama has a new baby, and she wants a baby to care for, too. She gets creative, and shows that love and imagination can transform anything. The illustrations are lovely and calming, the story is sweet, and the opportunities to discuss another culture are plentiful. If you had the privilege of participating in Operation Christmas Child this year, you can use this book to help your children understand how excited the child who receives the shoe box you filled might be. “How excited do you think Elizabeti would be if she got the box we packed for a little girl?”

This book and the book called Ida’s Doll I read as a girl, combined with how much I loved my dolls, has me always making sure to include a doll in any shoe box we pack for a girl.

What books do you love to read with your children when you want to remind them how much they have to be grateful for?

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Dragon Fever: Friday Favorites, Ed. 5

“Mommy! It’s MORNING! Can we read the dragon books?”

Isaac, my energetic three-year-old, wakes up every morning at the same time – 6:45. He may actually wake up sooner than that, but he has to wait until his bunny clock wakes up to get out of bed. That clock is a lifesaver. To all you mothers with early birds, I feel you. For those of you who have children who sleep til 8:00 or 9:00 (or even 7:00!), I envy you.

If I’m forced to admit it, though, we’ve had some pretty sweet times with just Isaac. Being the second child, he doesn’t get as much one-on-one time as he may need. So even though I’ve been up on and off all night with the baby, and probably an older child once or twice, too, I smile a tired smile as I try my hardest to lift my head off the pillow when Isaac comes bounding in, enthusiastic about the day and about “the dragon books.”

“The dragon books” are very specific. (Actually, one of them is about an alligator. But whatever.) I picked them out last week at the library and I am pretty much sick of them. (You would be, too, if you read them three times a day.) But even now, I can honestly say they are great books for little boys. I’m not sure what we’re going to do when we have to return them to the library. Probably put them on his Christmas wish list.

A Cold Winter’s Good KnightA Cold Winter's Good Knight is another fun book in the Good Knight series by Shelly Moore Thomas. We love them. They are so fun, and a great opportunity to talk about silent K’s with a kindergartner. This particular book is also a good one for a discussion on manners, as the Good Knight’s little dragon friends attend a ball in the King’s Castle and get into all sorts of mischief as they try to figure out what exactly manners are.

King Jack and the DragonKing Jack and the Dragon is one of the most perfect books for preschool boys that I’ve ever seen. I hope my little boy will grow in bravery as he grows in stature, and I think introducing him to gentle ideas of bravery are a challenge. This book does a great job of it, though. The illustrations by Helen Oxenbury truly help little eyes imagine what Jack and his friends are pretending to see, and the rhyming words make it easy for children to memorize. Memorization isn’t required, of course, but Isaac has memorized almost the whole thing already and he is so proud of himself. =)

There's an Alligator under My BedFinally, the dragon book that isn’t a dragon book is There’s An Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer. I’ve seen this book mentioned on many reading lists for kids through the last few years, but I always stayed away from it. I guess I worried it would make my children begin the timeless tradition of imagining that scary monsters live under the bed. But I shouldn’t have worried. The book actually brings to light how ridiculous it is to believe an alligator lives under your bed, without being “preachy” or making fun of children. Besides that, it’s just fun.

So that’s what we’ve been reading this week, along with a few Berenstein Bears books.  We’re looking forward to reading some Thanksgiving themed books in the coming weeks as we approach the best and most under-celebrated holiday in America. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

If you liked this post, check out these!

Books for Little Boys

31 Days of Picture Books

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

All The Words! Friday Favorites, Ed. 4

A few weeks ago, I had an exciting day. I got a whole bunch of awesome books.

bookboom

They’re all great, but Isaac (3) has seized on The Giraffe That Walked to Paris as his current favorite. I thought it was a delightful book…the first time I read it. And the second time, it was pretty good, too. But each page looks like this:

allthewords

Look at all those words! Reading aloud to my children is one of my absolute favorite things to do, but a few days after we brought this one home, I had to start telling Isaac to pick a different book. Like, how about War and Peace?

Still, we read this one pretty often. It’s one of those that’s not my favorite even if it is my child’s. However, I am quite glad that Isaac has the capacity and desire to sit still and listen for a good fifteen minutes at a time. In every other setting, he is a ball of energy. My husband and I were joking yesterday about how many photos we have of our girls, but we have so few of Isaac, even though he is one of the cutest things that ever breathed. He’s also one of the fastest! Too quick for a camera.

Aside from The Giraffe, we also started Charlotte’s Web this week. We’re three chapters in and everyone loves it so far. I’m a little afraid of when we get to the end, though! I think it will be the first book we’ve read that ends on a bit of a sad note.

So that’s what the kids are reading this week! For more Friday Favorites, go here. I am loving writing this series, and I’d love any feedback you have to give! And for a great podcast on instilling a love of reading in your kids, check out the Inspired to Action Podcast! The latest one features Sarah Mackenzie from Read Aloud Revival.

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Friday Favorites, Edition 3

It’s been a bit of a rough week on the home front, so we had to shed some tears and drop all our library books into the book drop without going in. My kids (and I) hate doing that. But there’s good that comes of it. We actually read our own books!

The Courage of Sarah NobleThere are some gems on our own shelves that I’ve collected at library books sales over the years. I’ve been looking forward to reading The Courage of Sarah Noblwith Ella (5), but I had no idea that Isaac (3) would also be enraptured by the story. They both sat completely still and listened to the tale of the eight-year-old Sarah who went on the long journey into Connecticut with her father to build a new farm there. Children love heroes, especially ones close to their own age. I’m searching for another chapter book they’ll both like now. I am totally enamored by the joy of that time when we’re all sitting together, taking in a story that is both beautifully told and meaningful for character building. Give me all your suggestions!

For more Friday Favorites, go here.

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Friday Favorites, Frog and Toad Edition

It’s Friday! And it’s the third edition of Friday Favorites! Each week on this blog, I feature our favorite children’s books of the week.

Adventures of Frog and ToadThis week, my children have been “reading” Frog and Toad stories to each other. Neither of them actually read yet (though Ella is very close), but they have certain favorites memorized and they are almost unbearably cute, reciting the story as best they remember it.

I didn’t grow up with Frog and Toad, those wonderful characters created by Arnold Lobel, but I love them now. The story “Tomorrow’ is my favorite! It’s from Days with Frog and Toad I heard it for the first time a couple of years ago. It was bedtime. It had been a crazy day, a day when I felt like A Seagull in a Parking Lot, lost and unable to get anything of “real value” done. Then my husband started reading the story to my children. It opens like this:

“Toad woke up.

‘Drat!’ he said. This is house is a mess.

I have so much work to do.'”

My ears perked up. This Toad sounds just like me! From that point on, I was laughing, kind of hysterically, in the literal sense of the term “hysterical.” I was a little bit crazed and I was finding solidarity in a story about amphibians. Every time Frog points out a mess that needs cleaning, Toad answers “Tomorrow!” It has become my favorite line to quote to my family. Dishes piling up? “Tomorrow!” No food in the cupboards? Tomorrow! Said jokingly of course! Mostly jokingly.

My children love the story “Cookies,” which is also pretty easy for adults to relate to, as Frog and Toad struggle for self control against eating all the cookies. It’s amazing how these simple stories can dig into deeper themes, like being overly competitive with friends, or trying to be brave when you know you’re not. We bought the Adventures of Frog and Toad treasury when our local bookstore closed and it was worth every penny and more. It’s always awesome when my kids’ favorite books are mine, too!

Honorable mentions this week go to Oliver and Harry and the Lady Next Door. Thanks to Uncle Jordan, those books have become favorites at our house, as well.

Until next week, happy reading!

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books

Welcome to Friday Favorites!

Welcome to the first edition of Friday Favorites! In this series, the blog will feature our favorite children’s books from the week. If you’re looking for more great children’s books, check out the 31 Days of Picture Books series, or click on the category for children’s books on the left of your screen.

And now, let’s jump right in!

Rosie's Magic HorseOur favorite books this week are by different authors and illustrators, but have a similar look and feel. The first is Rosie’s Magic Horse. It is by the famous writer Russell Hoban of the Frances books, and illustrated by Quentin Blake, better known for his collaboration with Roald Dahl. Rosie’s Magic Horse is the fanciful tale of a girl named Rosie and a box of popsicle sticks with ambition. Yes, it sounds totally strange, but it’s just plain fun. After reading it about ten times, my five-year-old daughter decided to make a “cigar box” by taping together pieces of cardboard and decorating it. It’s currently full of about 15 popsicle sticks. She keeps it by her bed. I have no idea why it’s so special to her, but it makes me smile. Maybe she’s dreaming those popsicle sticks are turning into all kinds of things while she sleeps.

4215399Apparently we’re into magic books this week, because my three-year-old son Isaac’s favorite is The Magic Bedby John Burningham. I have mixed feelings about this book, because I can’t figure the family structure and the adults in it are rather lame. Being an adult myself, I prefer not to be painted in such a light, but I don’t think Isaac is too concerned about it at this point. He just likes the adventure of getting into a bed, figuring out a magic word, and soaring off to fight pirates and rescue lost baby tigers.

Both of our favorite books of this week are on the zany, fantastical side, but my children sure do love them and we will definitely balance them out with books more rooted in reality as we go along.

We sure do enjoy children’s books around here. Stay tuned for more as Friday Favorites continues each week!

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