Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Old Goodies

Well, the Holiday season is rolling in, and this brings to mind the fabulous "Auld Lang Syne", which reminds us not to forget old acquaintances, and if you are me, old books either.

Here are a couple of very old goodies that if you haven't read, you really should.  Wee Gillis by Munro Leaf is a gem from 1938.  This story is about Wee Gillis, who can't decide which of his clans he should live with, as his mother and father come from different people.  This is great for 4+, but if you can make the Scottish accents, you will fascinate your children even earlier than that.  As an aside, Munro Leaf also did The Story of Ferdinand, the bull who likes flowers. 

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton is great for the younger set that are obsessed with construction sites, but for this story to really shine, 4+ makes it ring clear.  Mike Mulligan and Maryann are rendered obsolete by fancier and newer models, but using heart and hard work, they show that they still have a place in the world.

The Fire Cat by Esther Averill follows the story of Pickles the Fire Cat, who goes from being a menace to kittens and cats everywhere to becoming a fire cat, and a hero.  This has a great underlying message of how great things can still happen to those who have a rough start.  3+

A Fish out of Water by Helen Palmer should be billed as a child's first monster story.  A boy gets a fish and is warned not to feed it too much.  Naturally he does, and the fish won't stop growing.  When it finally exceeds the size of a swimming pool, he has to finally admit his misdeeds to have the situation fixed.  Absolutely captivating, and a great favorite of my girls from 18 months and up.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion is a classic that is so fun!  Harry doesn't want to get a bath.  He goes rogue, and gets as dirty as he can, but will his family be able to recognize him again?  There is so much to look at in this book that while the plot doesn't really pull together for little kids until 2, I started my girls on this one earlier than that.

Kaye, 4 day mom

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brave Hearts

Now that we are nearly past the excitement of Halloween, and headed towards the more comforting lull of fall, let's help all of our kids to dream big, and little.  Encourage heroism in your kids through fantastical brave deeds and everyday heroics with these books: 

Timothy and the Strong Pajamas: a superhero adventure by Viviane Schwarz.  I can't even begin to say how much I love this book, and my children love it too.  Timothy and his sock monkey save their corner of the world when Timothy's mother patches his pajamas so well that it gives him super powers.  Of course, even a hero needs help sometimes.  Perfect for ages 3 and up. 

Part-Time Princess by Deborah Underwood.  Ordinary girl by day, extraordinary princess by night, this royal can fight fires and organize balls.  This is a new and refreshing take on princess culture which may save you the more anemic and pervasive perception of fairy tale nobility.  Ages 3 and up.

Shake to Assemble by Calliope Glass.  This is an interactive story about pulling the Avengers together to fight crime.  It has virtually no conflict of any kind, and kids are amused by doing the actions (tap Bruce Banner to make him turn into the Hulk!).  Ages 2 and up.  

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt.  Scaredy Squirrel is scared of virtually everything, but with good planning, he can distract himself from his distress.  This is good for the worrier in your family.  Ages 4 and up.  A younger child could read it, but may not find it very funny, although you will.

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes.  All of Henkes' books are a treat (yes, really!) but this one is great for your young one who is having school anxiety.  Ages 3 and up.  

Llama Llama Misses Mama and Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney.  With a pleasing rhyming structure and bold, large, and colorful illustrations, both of these Llama Llama titles address the fears of young children.  I read these to my girls probably from 1-3 years old.  The first tackle separation anxiety in the school setting, and the second, bedtime fears.  These newish titles are already a solid classic among the toddler set. 

Kaye, 4 day mom

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Happy Autumn

Happy Autumn, everyone!  As a librarian, I read a lot of books, which means my two young children are also exposed to a lot of books too.  The books that I am going to recommend to you have been tested by my kids in our readings, and perhaps I've even used them for a library story time.  In these posts, I will link the books to the San Jose Public Library catalog when available, and if not, to Amazon.

1.  The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons.  This is a simple story that goes through the seasons of the year, using Arnold's special tree as a focal point.  My four year olds are wild about this simple book.  

2.  Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane is a sweetly illustrated Halloween themed book that uses monsters and smiling ghouls getting ready for Halloween night.  It is designed to be sung to the tune of "Over in the Meadow".  Two and three year olds love this one.  A note on singing to your kids, even if you are shy to do so: they love it.  They think your voice is beautiful.  Commit, and find the pitch that works for you.

3.  Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a Halloween classic.  It follows the same story line as the folktale, The Enormous Turnip, except the witch pulls a pumpkin and needs help from a vampire, a mummy, and other monsters that love pumpkin pie.  This works for littles, and bigger kids who will enjoy the repetition.

4.  And Then Comes Halloween by Tom Brenner does address Halloween, but more than that, it shows all the very best parts of Fall rolling in, but of course, in a more dramatic, non-California way.  
Happy reading!

Kaye - 4 day mom