Children's Books

Three Silly Books to Beat Winter Blahs

Hello, readers, and welcome to 2018! What a year 2017 was for our little (big?) family. There were days that had me reeling, but all the hard parts were tied to rich blessings. Some of you may know what I’m talking about when I say I’m coming out of a long newborn fog (baby Lydia is 10 months but I guess new-mother-fatigue is compounded by the number of children). Homeschooling is great but takes time and mental energy. All that to say, I took an unplanned blogging break for the last 3 months and missed it quite a lot, but at least I didn’t take a break from feeding everyone lunch or washing clothes, you know? I’m hopeful 2018 will be a great year of reading and writing.

So now, back to the reading and sharing of books!

Every kid and his or her mother needs a slew of silly books to get them through these cold winter days. The stir crazy is at an all time high here. So today I’m sharing our latest favorite silly picture books in hopes that they might lighten the spirits in your home as well.

25689038We’re all crazy about Nobody Likes a Goblin, especially six-year-old Isaac and three-year-old Violet. It has a fable, Hobbit-ish feel to it (or maybe it does just to us because The Hobbit was Dad’s read-aloud to the kids book in the Fall), and the characters that could be ghoulish simply end up being cute and endearing. The illustrations are surprisingly detailed for a cartoon-looking book and give you a feel that everything is actually moving in front of you. The characters and the setting give so much scope for the imagination. Ben Hatke is the author/illustrator of Julia’s House of Lost Creatures, which we also adore for all the same reasons we love Nobody Likes a Goblin. Basically, we’re Hatke fans here.

22571266We’re also giggling at Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups. This rhyming story about traditional fairy tale princesses who get fed up and walk out of their respective tales into another princess’s is a classic “grass is always greener” story with a twist. I particularly sympathize with Cinderella’s plot line of being too tired to go to a ball and wanting to trade places with Sleeping Beauty. Sign me up for that one. Honestly, we all laugh at this book! It is an added bonus that it’s a friendly reminder that nobody’s life is perfect. And in the end, each princess figures out a way to make her real life work better instead of abandoning it. It’s silly, unrealistic, but fun and a bit philosophical (or maybe that’s just for me…).

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Tiger Can’t Sleep has been in the toddler class at our church for a few years and my kids want to read it every single week. Again, I sympathize with the poor kid who just wants to go to sleep but can’t because the pesky tiger who lives in his closet has way too much energy. Did a mother of a toddler write this book?? The silliness doesn’t stop with the ending, which is the best kind of book when you’re two or three. =)

That wraps up our favorite picture books of this week! We are going to the library today to hopefully stock up on more fun books to get us through the coldest week we’ve seen in years. I hope you and yours stay warm and enjoy some fun books together this winter, as well!

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?

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