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!

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Children's Books, Everyday Life, Parenting, Reading

Books for Little Boys

I am from an all girl family. I have two younger sisters, but no brothers. When we found out our first child was a girl, I was excited and, to be honest, rather relieved. Because what would I do with a boy? Being a mom to a little girl came pretty naturally. But then…oh, but then…I was about 85% sure about two months into my second pregnancy that I was having a boy. There were none of those signs you hear about like carrying the baby lower or higher or being sicker than last time or anything at all. The pregnancies were pretty much the same (speaking of weird signs, that one about heartburn being related to babies  who have lots of hair? It’s bogus. Both my babies had dark, thick, brown hair, and I had no heartburn whatsoever. I just had to let all two of you who care know that.).  But I was pretty sure I was having a boy. When the ultrasound confirmed it, I was very excited, but I was also a little apprehensive. How do I raise a little boy? And what’s even more daunting, what do I read to a little boy?

Just kidding, there are many parts of parenting a boy that make me feel more nervous than what books to read him. But it is something I had to figure out! So I thought I’d share what I’ve discovered so far as I read books to my son, Isaac, and watch his love of reading grow.

As a side note, my daughter really enjoys most of these books, too. Little girls like trucks! It was a revelation to me.

Farmer John's TractorI’ll be honest, I may love Farmer John’s Tractor by Sally Sutton more than my children do. It gives me a nostalgic feeling, and I don’t know why because it’s based in New Zealand and I have definitely never been there. Maybe it’s from watching all of those All Creatures Great and Small episodes with my parents when I was little that are set on Yorkshire sheep farms. Whatever the reason for my nostalgia, my kids really do love it, too. Read it on a rainy day and let your kids go out and splash in puddles on their bikes afterwards.

My Truck is Stuck!My friend recommended My Truck is Stuck to me because her two-year-old boy loved it (thanks, Jessica!). I don’t think I would have picked it up otherwise because I always gravitate more to books about people than animals (“How sad!,” some of you are thinking. It’s not a conscious decision, it’s just how I judge book covers, for some reason), but she was right, Isaac definitely loved it. In fact, we often say, “Can’t go! my truck is stuck!” when we’re playing with trucks. It’s a fun book.

Little Blue TruckWe read this book all the time. It’s one of those books that we got from the library and then bought as soon as we saw it in a store. Not only is the book beautiful and the story fun, but it teaches a great lesson about being kind to people (or trucks?) who haven’t been kind to you. It’s a keeper. The sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, has not been quite such a hit with our son, but we’ve only read it once since we got it from the library on Monday, so it may become a late blooming favorite. We’ll see.

Going to the Zoo with Lily and MiloBoth my children love the Lily and Milo books by Pauline Oud. They are fun because the illustrations give you a chance to be observant. Milo does some pretty funny things while Lily isn’t watching, like collecting friends at the zoo instead of paying any attention to the zoo animals. My daughter thinks they’re great and Isaac laughs out loud at them. He’s a laugher (no lie, he started laughing at 5 weeks and hasn’t stopped since), so maybe your kids won’t find them quite so amusing as he does, but they will probably like them. I sure do. =)

Roadwork!Roadwork is another one by Sally Sutton that Isaac loves. It kind of makes me sad because I have to admit, I verge on the tree hugger side of things (understatement), so seeing that beautiful pasture they start out on becoming a lovely highway isn’t so fun for me. But the project progression is pretty fascinating, especially to my little boy. We have gotten it from the library so many times, we really just need to buy it. But then I would be stuck reading it multiple times a day without the excuse that “we had to take it back to the library.”

The Bravest KnightThe Bravest Knight is an awesome book for boys. I really do want my son to think about being brave and chivalrous and all that. This story kind of puts a funny twist on the knight idea, though. My son is always laughing at the cat in the book. I think he may be a little young to really appreciate the story, but he sure does love it.

I’ve only scratched the surface of books I’ve discovered that my little boy loves. And I’m still discovering more. I may have to write a part two very soon. Please let me know which books the little boys you know love, too!

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