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!

Children's Books, Reading, Reviews

What The Kids Are Reading These Days

As I sat in my MOPS group this morning listening to a Children’s Librarian speak on early childhood literacy, I realized that it’s been a while since I posted about children’s books we’re enjoying. My oldest daughter is 5 and my son is 3 and we have had a lot of fun reading over the summer. We were kind of slackers on actually going into the library and getting our Summer Reading prizes, but we did manage to finish two days before the deadline. Newborns and libraries are sometimes a great combination…and sometimes not. But our two-month-old Violet is a little more predictable now, so we’re trying to get back in the swing of weekly library trips.

As I’ve mentioned before, I like to let my kids pick some of their own books out. Here are their favorites out of what they chose:

The Princess and the Dragon, by Audrey Wood: A fun story about a princess who is dragonly and a dragon who is princessly. Isaac always picks books with dragons if he can find them. He wants to be a knight when he grows up.

The Princess and the Dragon

A World of Food: Discover Magical Lands Made of Things You Can Eat!, by Carl Warner: This book is so gorgeously fun. My artistic 5-year-old loves it. I like that it introduces new foods we can try, too, and that the poem that goes along with the pictures is actually quite lyrical.

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What I picked out:

Amber on the Mountain, by Tony Johnston: a beautiful book with a sweet and sometimes sad story about an Appalachian girl and her longing for friendship and learning. I’ve been dabbling in the Five in a Row curriculum, a literature based unit study for young children. This book was a fun way to talk about geography near us and some more serious topics like friends moving away. I’ve already said something along the lines of “You need to practice writing so you can write letters like Amber!”

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Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nelly, by Gloria Whelan: Poetic and pretty, this book tells the story of a girl and her mother living in rural Michigan. Holly’s mother Nellie is set on Holly not missing school on account of no coat or boats for cold days. She and Holly spend the summer gathering berries, and Holly finds out how hard work can turn into something valuable. I think it’s great that Holly ends the story by saying her summer memories are what keep her warmest, showing that there was value in the work itself, too. And I love how my daughter says, “A red pepper ant stuck his needle in me” when she gets an ant bite now. The imagery in this book is vivid and nostalgic for anyone who has spent a summer day outdoors in the woods.

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I could write all day about children’s books, but I’ll leave it at four for today. I’m thinking of starting a Favorite Friday series, in which the blog will feature our favorite children’s books of the week. Also, October is coming up, and last year that meant a 31 Days of Children’s Book Series. I won’t be committing to blog every day for a month this year because I can hardly post once a week right now! But if you want to re-read some posts, click here.

Children's Books

At The Beach Library

photo (13)Last week we spent seven days at a gorgeous North Carolina beach. We had great weather for most of the week. Then Thursday came. My kids (and I) are so gung-ho for the beach, we splashed in the waves for a good hour in the morning, but the rain and chilly weather kept us indoors for the rest of the day. My usually cable deprived children discovered a deep love for Looney Tunes, but by lunch time we were all stir crazy. But because we prefer remote, quiet beaches, we were at least an hour away from the closest indoor playground or museum. So where did we go? The local library, of course! We spent two hours reading books and playing with the toys in one of the best children’s rooms I’ve seen in a library. Who would have thought it of a tiny beach library in an old brick house? Here are some fun books we discovered:

A Bad Case of StripesA Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon featured bright, imaginative illustrations and a story about a girl who develops a rare condition all because she won’t admit she really loves lima beans. It’s quirky and fun and has a pretty deep meaning. This one is for children ages five and up. There are some words that throw younger children off track of the plot, such as “specialists.” If you have a little one starting school or some other new adventure and he or she is feeling the pressure to conform and fit in, this is a great book to open up conversations on identity. I liked it, though I couldn’t stop being reminded of Amy Bender’s work, which makes me depressed. But this book will not depress you or your children.

I’m Dirty560016 by Kate McMullan and Jim McMullan is just one in a great series of books about trucks that my little boy loves. In I’m Dirty, a backhoe loader narrates in first person a day of work as he cleans up and flattens a dirty lot. He is very enthusiastic about his job. My children’s favorite book in this series is I’m Mighty, a fun book about a tug boat.

And did you know that the first book about Curious George is not a Curious George book? H. A. Rey Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeysfirst introduced that now famous little monkey to the world in a book about a giraffe named Cecily G. In Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, a homeless giraffe is befriended by a family of monkeys, and antics ensue. Some of their antics are a little too much for me, but it is a fun book and interesting to see the beginnings of our beloved George. Actually, I’m not sure that my kids love George–sometimes I get the feeling they’re kind of annoyed by his constant troubles–but I love him. =)

Also, this particular library had two copies of Ruth Sawyer’s Roller Skates. Why does my library not have even one copy? That is one of my favorite books ever. I should do the smart thing and just buy it. When the kids stopped asking me to read books and played with the cars and trucks on the car mat, I read that. Even Mr. Mia found something to read, a fascinating book about the history of the atomic bomb. Children’s history books are really the best.

Now we’re back to our normal lives, gearing up for a great summer and a new baby. Look for my summer reading list post in a few days!

31 Days, Children's Books

Little Books, Lasting Memories

31daysWelcome to 31 Days of Picture Books!

I’m beginning the series with the two books that started our family’s house of books long before we were even a family. It should be no surprise that they are Little Golden Books. If you don’t have Little Golden Books from the 60s-80s in your home, get to the nearest second-hand bookstore you can find and load up. They are called golden for a reason. Although, they’re more a dull silver after 30 years…

The Store Bought Doll (Little Golden Book)When I was 1 one year old, my parents gave me The Store-Bought Doll for Christmas.  The book is by Lois Meyer and illustrated by Ruth Sanderson (famous for her version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses). It tells the story of Christina, a little girl (dressed in adorable calico) who lives on a farm with her parents and treasures her rag doll and best friend, Lucy. One day, she is given a china doll from the city. The doll is breathtakingly beautiful. Christina spends the day entranced by her new doll. But Christina soon learns that love is based on character qualities instead of appearance, even when it comes to dolls.

Looking back now, I can’t say for sure that this book is the source of my love for dolls, but I think it had something to do with my attachment to my too-many dolls from age 2 into my teens. Oh, who am I kidding, I still have most of them. How can I ever get rid of a doll after reading this book? Some of them my daughter (and son…he’s going to be a great dad one day) plays with now. However, there are two rag dolls in the attic that have been so well-loved, they are beyond playing with. One of them is named Lucy. But she’s not the only Lucy doll in our house. My daughter is 4 and she is a two-doll girl. She has others, but they are high on a closet shelf 95% of the time. However, Lucy and Christina are her constant companions. They play with her every day and sleep with her every night. And yes, she picked those names herself at age 2. Makes my heart sing.

The Boy With a DrumMy husband’s book foundation is a more well known book, The Boy With a Drum by David L. Harrison and Eloise Wilkin. It is a rhyming, sing song book of a little boy who marches off his porch one morning playing his drum. He is the Pied Piper of animals with that drum, collecting quite a parade that stretches from morning to moonlight. I’ve read this book a thousand times, and I’ve yet to read it to a child who didn’t want to read it again. That last image of the boy marching over a hill under the moon makes my mother-heart ache. It’s just a story, but I’d rest easier if that little boy ended up in his little, soft bed being tucked in by his mother.

I am becoming a collector of Eloise Wilkin books.  Her illustrations feel like home to me. My Nana and Grandaddy gave me My Goodnight Book when I was almost one, and my mom always wanted to read We Help Mommy or We Help Daddy (I wonder why? Just kidding. I encourage the reading of those books now, too!). When I see an Eloise Wilkin book in a bookstore for a good price, I snatch it up.

Which books did you read over and over as a child?

Related posts:

31 Days of Picture Books

Books for Little Boys

Camping with Kids

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