Showing posts with label childrens lit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childrens lit. Show all posts

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Let's talk about BANNED picture books!

Happy BANNED BOOKS WEEK, reader friends!  This is one of my favorite reading weeks of the year, and yet again, I am hopping on the "banned" wagon with Sheila from Book Journey for her Banned Books Week event.

Usually I try to read/review an adult fiction novel for this oh-so-special week, but I lost track of time and didn't get around to doing that this year.  Instead, I felt it would be the perfect time to talk about banned children's picture books.

If you're anything like me, you heard the words "banned children's picture books" for the first time and did a double-take.  Picture books?  REALLY?  I disagree with banning books in general, but at least with YA or adult novels, I can see exactly what material the "banners" find objectionable...sexual content, violence, etc.  Still not worth banning, but I at least understand what got their panties in a twist.  But picture books?  What's so wrong with Dr. Seuss and Where's Waldo?

Apparently, a lot of things.  Like teaching our kids to love the Earth.  THANKS, LORAX.

(A California school district banned The Lorax because it would turn children off to the idea of logging.  Stop loving the Earth, kids!  Just stop!)

You know what else sucks?  Liking other people, even if they are different from you.  WTF, TANGO.

(And Tango Makes Three, an adorable book based on the true story of a same-sex penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo, is often banned because it raises the topics of homosexuality and nontraditional families.)

And let's not forget the insidiousness of creativity and imagination!  That's a no-go, Maurice Sendak!

(Where the Wild Things Are, a Caldecott Award winner, has been banned in some schools because it promotes witchcraft and the supernatural.)

I think I am even more bothered by the banning of picture books than I am YA/adult novels, because at least teens and adults can be sneaky and find ways to read the books anyway, if they really want to.  ;)  However, young kids are largely limited to the books that their parents and schools provide to them directly...and if their parents and schools are keeping certain books out of reach, then chances are that they will not get access to them, period.

Plus, these books touch on topics that are SO great to introduce at a young age!  A 5-year-old who regularly reads books such as And Tango Makes Three is going to be much more kind and accepting to LGBTQ peers as he/she grows up, because they will already have relationships like that as part of their mental framework.  (Not to mention, if they later come out as LGBTQ themselves, they may feel more confident knowing that this is a lifestyle they have not only read about, but discussed with family/friends, for a very long time.)

Is it easy to talk to a young child about sexual orientation, or divorce, or bullies, or any other complicated topic?  Of course not.  But don't picture books with relevant messages make it a little easier?  By putting the topics in a format that is familiar to kids, picture books are doing half the work for us!  And a book paired with thoughtful discussion is a far better option than no discussion at all.

So get out there, parents! Aunts! Uncles! Grandparents!  And everyone else buying books for the younger generation.  Pick up a banned picture book for your littlest reader friend, and help them expand their lil' mind.  :)

What's your favorite banned picture book?  Have you used picture books to approach any tough topics with your children?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A life of lovely LIBRARIES.

I've wanted to do this post for a while, because in case I haven't said it enough, I LOVE THE LIBRARY.  I thought it would be worth highlighting the various wonderful libraries that I've had the pleasure of living near throughout my life.

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Some of my very earliest memories are of going to the local library with my mom.  My first local library was the Bill Memorial Library in Groton, CT.  Up until we moved at age 10, "the Bill" was an easy 5 minute walk from our house.  How great is that?
Bill Memorial Library, Groton, CT
I went to countless story times there as a tyke. I remember following my mom through the stacks of the adult section as she picked out books, spending many hours browsing the kids section, and I volunteered there for a period of time in middle school.  This library is super cool, because it's quite old, very small and cozy, and has a lot of history behind it.  There's even an interesting-slash-creepy butterfly collection in the attic.  If there is a place where my love of books began, this is likely it.

We moved across town when I was in 5th grade, and even though we made the drive back to the Bill often, the move put me closer to the Groton Public Library , which is bigger and has quite a few more resources for visitors.  Not as cozy as the Bill, but a great place for studying...I remember spending way too many hours here doing AP English homework and researching colleges in my junior/senior years.
Groton Public Library, Groton, CT
After high school, I headed to college at UConn and had 4 years of visiting the Homer Babbidge Library on campus.  The place is impressive--UConn is a Research 1 institution, so naturally they have a library to match.  However, my memories of this place are less filled with pleasant, literature-filled lazy hours, and more filled with OMG MY FINAL IS TOMORROW HOW DID I FORGET WHAT A COVALENT BOND IS ALREADY (yes, my first all-nighter took place here).  Even so, there are two locations that have more lighthearted memories for me in UConn's library: the Bookworms coffee cafe on the main floor, and 3 North ("study" area on the 3rd floor, north side of the building).  3 North was affectionately nicknamed the Dry Bar.  No work gets done there.  I'm pretty sure that's still the case.
Homer Babbidge Library, University of Connecticut
After college, I moved just north of Albany, NY, and the now-husband and I lived in that area for the next 8 years.  In the first apartment we lived in, the local library was the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie.   These were my early post-college years, when I first re-connected with the library after living in textbooks for 4 years.  I wanted to read ALL THE THINGS and would spend ages just wandering the stacks in wide-eyed wonder.

Then we moved to our first house a few years later, and our new library was about 15 minutes north, the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library .  When we moved to Clifton Park, I realized something wonderful: the Sanford Library is part of the Upper Hudson Library System, which encompasses over 30 libraries around Albany.  And the Clifton Park library is part of a different system that covers 8 counties north and west of Albany.  For two years, my library cards at both places were active.  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY BOOKS I HAD AT MY FINGERTIPS?  The power was great.  I could interlibrary loan literally anything you could think of.  It was amazing.  **geek moment**
Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, Clifton Park, NY
Nerdy stuff aside, I will always have very fond memories of the Clifton Park library, because that is where I took Small Fry to his very first story times as a baby (only 3.5 months old for his first one)!  Awwww, love of libraries coming full circle.  CPH really does an amazing job with their children's area and activities.  Plus, this is where I got attend my first author event, as they hosted Dennis Lehane there in 2012.

Then, of course, we made our big move to western New York in 2013.  First, we had a brief 6-week stint in Batavia, NY as we waited for our house to come available.  Even though we were only there a short time, our rental was just a couple blocks from the Richmond Memorial Library .  Small Fry and pregnant-me took many, many summer walks there in the few weeks that we lived in the area.  Richmond library reminds me an awful lot of "the Bill", with it's older exterior, though it has gotten a facelift in recent years.  This library is smaller in size, but offers a surprisingly large number of programs given the size of the surrounding community (Batavia is fairly rural).  I didn't love living in Batavia, but I will say that the Richmond library provided some of the best memories we have there!
Richmond Memorial Library, Batavia, NY
Finally, on to Rochester.  I was quick to figure out my library options when we got here.  I live on the western side of the city, but my library card is good at any of the 31 libraries in Monroe County, which rocks my socks.  We actually have several of those libraries in close proximity to our house, and make a point of visiting at least one of them each week.  Our current favorite is the Chili Public Library (affectionately referred to by Small Fry as the "train library", thanks to the awesome Thomas the Train table in the children's room).
Chili Public Library, Rochester, NY
It's a small-ish library, but the staff is SO nice, and they put on a ton of fun programs for kids.  (And yes--this is where Tater Tot got to attend his first story time! Memorieeeeees.)  Plus, I suspect that Small Fry has a crush on Miss Jill, one of the children's librarians, so chances are he has an ulterior motive for all our many, many visits here.

Quite the litany of library experiences I've had in three decades!  I look forward to many more years of literary memories, and new libraries to explore.

(And if you haven't gotten the subtext of this post yet--VISIT YOUR LIBRARY!!  So much to see and do...not just books, but often craft programs, book sales, free museum passes, book clubs, etc.  Most of it free, too.  BONUS.)

Tell me about your favorite library memories, reader friends!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Sunday Post #3: Christmas (kids) book haul

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  It's a chance for book bloggers to share what's going on with them this week, any new book-related news, etc.

I am still in recovery mode over here from the holidays, people!  Christmas, as I mentioned previously, was great, if tiring.  Small Fry is 3.5 now, and the "magic of Christmas" is totally in his bones at this age.  He was SO FREAKIN EXCITED about everything.  And Tater Tot was excited that his brother was excited, so that made me happy.

Post-Christmas, we made the mistake of letting Small Fry stay up til midnight for the first time on New Year's Eve, and we are still suffering the consequences.  Please pray for us that someone sleeps in this house soon.

Despite our sleepless state, we have been happily reading to our kiddos the last few weeks, especially from their new Christmas books.  They received several books, both from us and from relatives, but here are their favorites:

A Treasury of Curious George by Margaret and H.A. Rey

Small Fry is TOTES into Curious George right now.  He already owns The Complete Adventures of Curious George, which he adores, but is full of the older stories in which little C.G. smokes a pipe and gets high on ether (not a joke, look that craziness up for yourself).  I was happy to buy him this book of newer stories, in which Curious George is inquisitive, but not on the road to prison.

Duck & Goose 1, 2, 3 by Tad Hills

Tater Tot took a bit longer to get into books than Small Fry did as a baby.  However, around his first birthday, TT started sitting and listening when I read to him (vs. the smacking me in the face that was happening before).  Duck & Goose books have been some of his favorites.  For whatever reason, he goes into a trance-like state when he sees those adorable waterfowl.  This is the newest one in his collection, and he is delighted.

Little Blue Truck's Christmas by Alice Schertle

Small Fry already loved the original Little Blue Truck book.  This one has blinking lights in it.  BOOM.  Both boys are fully entranced.

Llama Llama Mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney

Another new one for Small Fry.  He enjoys Llama Llama books, but I had to special mention this one because my husband laughs so.flipping.hard. every time he reads the part when Llama Llama has his complete meltdown in the grocery store.  SO DRAMATIC, LITTLE LLAMA.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  Any of your kidlets get good books under the tree this year?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Small Fry Saturday #24: My Bus by Byron Barton

Hey there readers!  Small Fry Saturday is back!  WOOOOOO!!

As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 3-year-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

This week's selection is...

My Bus by Byron Barton

Small Fry Saturday should now probably be called "Potato Product Saturday", because I'm considering the reading needs of both 3-year-old Small Fry AND 9-month-old Tater Tot.  This is tough to do, because I like to read to them at the same time, but Small Fry is able to sit through a lot of lengthier picture books now, while Tater Tot is decidedly...not.

However, Barton's My Bus has proven to be a great option for both kiddos.  Small Fry loves it because he is straight-up obsessed with anything bus/truck/car related (he actually picked this one out from the library on his own).  And Tater Tot's attention was held because the book is short, and the pictures are big and bright (perfect for little wandering baby eyes).  I like it because in addition to meeting Small Fry's requirement for involving something with wheels, it also teaches a lot about numbers as the passengers get on and off the bus.

A bonus is that the Goodreads summary for this book describes it as a "preschool tour-de-force".  Summary writer WIN.

Barton has a similar book called My Car that the kids were equally delighted with.  I think it might be time to buy these, rather than just continually borrowing from the library!

Do you have any favorite kids' books that work well for both babies and preschoolers?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Small Fry Saturday #23: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Hey there readers!  Small Fry Saturday is back!  WOOOOOO!!

As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 2-year-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

This week's selection is...

Dragons Love Tacos  by Adam Rubin
(illustrated by Daniel Salmieri)

Now that I'm home with my kiddos full time, I take them to the library at least once a week.  Small Fry is now 2.5, and takes great pleasure in picking out at least 2 books to bring home at the end of every library trip.  However, because his reading skills know, at the 2.5-year-old level, his book selections tend to be pretty random.  That said, I have no idea what compelled him to grab this one a few weeks ago, but WAY TO GO, KID.  Because this book is hilarious.

So, the basic premise of the book is this: dragons love tacos.  But they hate spicy salsa, WITH A PASSION.  However, they do love parties, and obviously, they love TACO parties.  So throw your dragons a taco party, but good God, don't mess it up by serving spicy salsa.  Or you're going to have a lot of really flippin' angry dragons after you.

I know.  It makes no sense, AND YET IT MAKES PERFECT SENSE.  This book is meant to be funny, and kids will definitely see the humor, but adults are going to love the subtleties even more.  Plus, the illustrations match the tone perfectly.

If you're into quirky humor and/or have a kid that is a fan of dragons (or tacos, but not spicy salsa), this book is fantastic.  Definitely the best library find that Small Fry's had in a long time!

What's your favorite humorous kid's book?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #22: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen

Hey there readers!  It has been a LOOOOONG time since I did a Small Fry Saturday.  I am way overdue--so here's a little kid lit to wet your whistle.

As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 2-year-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

This week's selection is...

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?  by Jane Yolen
(illustrated by Mark Teague)

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I volunteered at the Rochester Children's Book Festival, and while there, I had the pleasure of meeting Jane Yolen, the author of the "How Do Dinosaurs..." series of kid's books.  At my baby shower before Small Fry was born, a guest gifted us with a copy of How Do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?, which we've been reading to him since he was but a wee lad.  At RCBF, I finally got to pick up this book as another installment in the series (and get it signed!), and it's been fun reading this one with Small Fry as well.

Why are these books so cool?  Well, the illustrations are a good part of it.  In this book, each page shows a different dinosaur doing something silly before he/she goes to bed.  As you can see from the cover, this usually entails a massive reptile perched precariously on some piece of furniture as a tired parent attempts to reason them into bed.  Young kiddos will like the pictures, and older ones will be able to learn from them too (each page has the species of dinosaur printed somewhere on the page).  Dinosaurs jumping on stuff and throwing tantrums...what's not to love?  Plus, the rhythmic story provides a fun reading experience for the kids as you go along.

If you want a goofy, fun kids read (especially for any dino lovers in your life), any book in this series is a good bet...though I particularly love this one as a before-bedtime pick.

Have you read any other books in the How Do Dinosaurs series?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #21: Roadwork by Sally Sutton

Hey there readers!  Welcome to my newest Small Fry Saturday installment.

As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 2-year-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

This week's selection is...

Roadwork by Sally Sutton

NEW BOOK ALERT!  Small Fry received this book from my friend Cari as a birthday gift a couple of weeks ago, and he is full-on addicted to it.  I knew I had to feature it on Small Fry Saturday right-quick once I realized we were reading it a minimum of 10 times a day.

Roadwork is pretty much the ultimate book for two-year-old toddler boys that love trucks.  The book traces the steps that construction workers have to take in order to mark out and pave a new road.  Each page has the same rhythm and includes some fun sound effects for the adults to act out:

"Load the dirt. Load the dirt. Scoop and swing and drop. Slam it down into the truck. Bump! Whump! Whop!"

Kids love the cadence and the funny noises, and're lying if you tell me you don't think this book is fun to read out loud.

The illustrations (by Brian Lovelock) are clear and colorful.  If you have a tiny truck-lover in your life, this book is a great choice to keep them entertained.

Any other fun toddler-age books about construction that you would recommend for Small Fry?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #20: On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Hey there readers!  Welcome to my newest Small Fry Saturday installment.

As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 2-year-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

In honor of Small Fry's birthday party (which is TODAY!), this week's selection is...

On The Night You Were Born  by Nancy Tillman

This is one of those kid's books that was really made more for the adults.  You know what I mean: they're totally schmoopy and lovey and basically make the adult reading it aloud want to cry ALL THE TEARS while they recite it to their adorable, amazing, never-could-be-more-perfect child.

At least, that's how this book makes me feel.  Basically, it's a story written to kids about all the magical things that happened on the night they were born.  Polar bears danced, the wind whispered their name, geese flew to see them...all sorts of crazy-awesome stuff, because (as the book reminds them) there will never be another kiddo like them, and the world celebrated that on their birthday.

What can I say?  The words are beautiful and poetic, as are the illustrations.  I'll admit that Small Fry is a little on the young side for this one (though he does love pointing out the moon and the "ack-acks" (ducks) on various pages), but we did read it on his birthday night, and if nothing else, it made me hug him a little tighter.  When he's old enough to understand the words, I hope he thinks it's as cool as I do.  And then goes and gets me a tissue.

(Oh, and for the moms out there, this is a great way to mostly forget any of the pain and screaming that you may have actually experienced on the night your kid was born.)

We already discussed Love You Forever by Robert Munsch a few weeks ago (another kid's book that makes the adults cry)...any other emotional kid favorites that you have in mind?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Today is your second guest installment for  The Well-Read Vacay 2013 .  Please join me in welcoming Katie from Words For Worms!   Katie harbors an unusually enormous love for penguins and writes some of the most entertaining book reviews on the interwebs.  Today she's taking us on a fan-flippin'-tastic journey through children's literature.  Buckle your safety belts, kiddos.


Hola, Bookworms!
I'm Katie, and I have taken over this blog. MUAHAHAHAHA! I normally write over at Words for Worms, but, Kelly, our proprietress here at The Well-Read Redhead, is out this week VACATIONING. When she asked if I would write a guest post for her, I was more than happy to oblige. Now. We all love reading. And we all WISH we were vacationing. I'm going to play travel agent for a bit and offer you THE TRIP OF SEVERAL LIFETIMES!
Follow the Yellow Brick Road, dangit!
Follow the Yellow Brick Road, dangit!
We will begin our journey at a farmhouse in Kansas. We'll have dinner with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry before catching the first twister out of town. You know how RV's are always advertised as "taking your home with you when you travel"?! An RV has nothing on us. We're taking the whole dang farmhouse. We may sort of accidentally squash a witch upon landing, but her only family is a disgruntled sister whose case won't hold up in Civil Court (and whose, uh, self? won't hold up to water...) Upon arrival, you'll receive a pair of STUNNING shoes (though not the most practical footwear for a long journey. I hope you packed band-aids.) We will then embark on a walking tour through Oz's countryside and into the EMERALD CITY. Just don't take off your glasses, okay? It will ruin the effect. Oh yeah, we may or may not be detained by flying monkeys. (You'll have to sign a release, it's all there in the fine print...) Once you tire of Oz, you need only click your heels together...
And you'll find yourself back at home. In your bedroom. Bored silly after your Ozian adventure, natch. Luckily, you'll notice a package containing a model tollbooth. (Who plays with a tollbooth? That's a ridiculous question. Nobody when presented with a toy tollbooth refuses to PLAY with it!) It's a good thing you brought plenty of change, because your trip to The Kingdom of Wisdom is going to get a little crazy. From Dictionopolis to Digitopolis, you will encounter miles and miles of idioms and homonyms before you can even hope to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. Luckily, you've got a Watchdog sidekick. Named Tock. Because he's both dog and clock, obvi! After all that rescuing and toying about with the English language, you're bound to be pretty worn out. You decide to turn your car around and head home.
Unfortunately, after your exciting day, you'll have a hard time sleeping. Your next tour guide should arrive punctually, looking for his shadow. All it takes is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust before you're second star to the right and straight on till morning, my friends. Never-Never Land is pretty sweet. You don't age, for one thing, and you have no responsibilities! On the downside though, you're expected to hang out with a bunch of lost boys, a surly gang of pirates, and a bloodthirsty crocodile. Adventurous, sure, but probably not the sort of locale you'd want to set up shop in. Once you get home, I advise you to take a little nap...
Just not a very long one. Or you'll be late for a very important date! You have your choice of conveyance here, you can either fall down the rabbit hole in the yard or walk through the looking glass. Both roads lead straight to Wonderland. You'll visit with the Mad Hatter, March Hare, the Tweedles, and a whole host of other oddities while growing larger and smaller based on the whims of your tea cakes. It's all fun and games until the queen gets all "off with her head." You'd be well advised to skedaddle when you hear that one. Never to fear. Your trip is not quite over.
Now that you've made it back to your bedroom, take three steps to the left. There? Good. Open your wardrobe. Push past the coats. (Do NOT stop to wonder how you acquired so many coats, it will only lead to buyer's remorse.) You should emerge in Narnia, which will be pleasantly covered in snow. You'll see a lamp post and meet a centaur. You'll make friends with some beavers, too. And you'll somehow gain three siblings. Don't ask questions! Then you'll have to fight a massive battle and defeat the evil "Queen." Just make sure you don't eat the Turkish Delight. Trust me. It doesn't even taste good. 

Once you get back through the wardrobe, you'll realize you've only been gone a few hours. And had the adventures of several lifetimes. All this for the bargain price of ZERO dollars. Courtesy of your local library. Thank you for joining me on Storybook Tours. Please come again.

That's right folks. If you don't have the time or money for an official vacation? Take a few hours for a brain vacation. If the reason you have no time or money is your children? All the better. Take them on the trips with you! Now we're all much less jealous of Kelly's vacation, right? Right? Ah well. Distraction only goes so far. Kelly, you'd better be having a REALLY good time. Have enough fun for ALL of us!

(If Katie made you LOL (which she makes me do on-the-regular), check her out at, or on Twitter and Facebook!)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

TWRV and Small-Fry Saturday #19: The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Today is a very SPECIAL edition of Small-Fry Saturday!

Because it's also the kick off for The Well-Read Vacay 2013!
I know, the two pictures don't really go together well. Kids, don't drink and read until you're 21.
As you may remember, Small-Fry Saturday is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 23-month-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

At the same time, I am on vacation this week (I left TODAY! SIYONARA!) and I have a series of travel-related posts lined up to entertain you while I'm gone.  So why not start with a somewhat travel-related kid's book?

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

This book is a classic, published back in 1942.  To refresh your childhood memory, basically Baby Bunny (our world traveler in today's post) is feeling kind of ornery, so he turns to Mommy Bunny and says, "Aye yo, I'm running away, what's up now?"  And Mommy Bunny is like, "Okay, well wherever you run, I will find you."  And Baby Bunny's like, "GOOD LUCK, cuz I'm going to become a boat and sail away."  Mommy Bunny retorts with, "Oh yeah?  Well I'll become the wind and blow you straight home (to time-out, I might add)."

Baby Bunny continues to list all the things all over the world that he will become in order to run away, but every time, that wily Mommy Bunny figures out a way she's going to track him down.  Spoiler alert: Baby Bunny finally gets tired of being outwitted, and decides to stay home.

(This may or may not be a very modern-day summary of The Runaway Bunny.)

The basic message of this book is cute: no matter where you travel to, little guy, Momma's going to find you and love the bejesus out of you.  YOU CAN'T IGNORE MY LOVE.  I will admit that it occasionally strikes me as creepy (stop being such a stalker, Mommy Bunny, srsly), but kids won't see it that way.  (Hopefully.)  The illustrations (by Clement Hurd) are amazing too.  This book may not have the flash and pop-up elements of newer kid's books, but kiddos will be into it anyway because of the happy story and intricate drawings.

Do you have any travel-related kid favorites?  Use the term "travel" in as creative a way as you wish!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #18: Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother, Too? by Eric Carle

It's time for installment #18 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 22-month-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother, Too? by Eric Carle

This post is kind of a week late, I suppose, but I'll tell you why.  Each night before bed, we let Small Fry pick 2 books for us to read aloud to him.  The night before Mother's Day, he chose this one for the first time ever, and all this week it's been his constant favorite.  HOW CUTE IS THAT.  Right on time for Mom's Day.  However, too late to be last week's Small Fry Saturday post, thus I'm featuring it this week instead.

I am familiar with the well-known Eric Carle books (Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc.) but when Small Fry was born, my eyes were opened to the vast library of other books that he's done as well.  Does A Kangaroo Have A Mother, Too? is one of those.  I'd never heard of it until last year, but it's a cute book with a simple concept.  Each page asks "Does a ________ have a mother, too?" (different animal on each page).  And the answer is always, "Yes, of course they do!" before moving on to the next animal. This gets very repetitive for the adult reading aloud, but at his age, Small Fry loves it.  Every time I turn the page, he yells, "YES!" because he knows that this animal does, in fact, have a mother too.

The illustrations are in the typical fun Eric Carle style, very eye-catching.  This is a great one for younger kiddos that will enjoy the repetition on each well as any young animal lovers that you have in the house.

What's your favorite Eric Carle book?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #17: Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

It's time for installment #17 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 21-month-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury

I received this book as a gift for one of my baby showers.  For a long time, Small Fry wasn't really interested in it--I think mostly because the illustrations are in rather muted colors, so when his book "reading" was very eye-catching-dependent, this wasn't a favorite.  However, it is now a nightly read in our house.  He's at an age where he loves pointing out his fingers and toes, AND he loves pointing at babies/kids in pictures ("bay-beeeee").  This book has PLENTY o' that, so he rightly adores it.

One of the things I like about this book is the diversity of kids that it portrays.  Basically each part talks about two kids...for example, one little baby "lives in a tent" and another little baby "born on the ice", etc.  It includes babies that are white, black, Asian, etc. and a wide variety of homes that they grow up in.  But both babies always have 10 fingers and 10 toes.  This is a nice way to incorporate visuals of diversity at a very early age.

This probably isn't a great pick for the itty-bitty newborns due to the lack of pop-off-the-page pictures, but for ages 18 months and up, this is a fun read with a nice message behind it.

What are some of your fave kid's books that illustrate diversity (in any form)?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #16: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

It's time for installment #16 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is a when-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase some of books that my 20-month-old Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
(illustrations by Lois Ehlert)

If you've become a parent within the last 12 years, I'm sure you've heard of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, but I have to review it anyway because it's a BIG HIT in our house right now.  Chicka was not around when I was a kid, but apparently it's blown up hard since its 2000 release.  For those unfamiliar, this is an alphabet story.  Basically, the lower-case letter "a" is throwing his weight around, daring the other letters to chase him up the coconut tree.  So they all go up there, and just as slowpoke "z" arrives at the top, the whole darn tree falls over.  The upper-case letters come to rescue the poor, beat-up lower-case letters, and at the end, (Chicka Chicka spoilers y'all!) "a" dares everybody to do it again (does he learn nothing?).

I have been reading Small Fry this book since he was itty-bitty, mostly because the rhythm of the story is catchy and easily got his attention.  The illustrations are bright and fun for young eyes as well.  However, now I love it because he's actually starting to pick out some of the letters, and it's an excellent book for letter recognition.  He's also chiming in for the parts of the story he remembers (his favorite: when the tree falls down and he gets to yell, "OH NO!"...haha).  A definite advantage to the singsong melody of the book.

Chicka is a modern classic for sure.  There's also Chicka Chicka 123, which we haven't checked out yet, but I plan to soon!

What are your favorite alphabet books for kids?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #15: the Good Night Our World series

It's time for installment #15 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is a whenever-I-feel-like-it meme to showcase books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

The Good Night Our World series, published by Our World of Books

I first noticed this series of books when I was at a Hallmark store in Connecticut, visiting my parents.  My mom and I were out shopping alone, and while splurging on a new Vera Bradley bag for my birthday, I saw the book Good Night Connecticut at the sales counter.  I immediately fell in love and had to pick up a copy for Small Fry.

While the title implies similarities to the classic Goodnight Moon, the content is actually modeled quite differently.  Each book in this series brings you through a day in the title location: so at the beginning, it will start with "Good morning ______" and move through various spots in the given state/locale until the end, when you finally say good night.

Why do I love the series so much?  Because it's really cute to read a book to your kid that's specific to your area!  The Connecticut book makes stops at UConn (yes!), Mystic Aquarium, the Mark Twain house, Essex Steam Train...ah, the memories.  Even though we live in New York now, Small Fry will know many of these places as he gets older because my parents still live in my hometown.  Plus, Connecticut is a small enough state that one book easily sums up all of the major attractions...ha.  (I guess I need to get my hands on Good Night New York State as well.)

It looks like nearly every state has a Good Night Our World book now (check out Amazon/B+N to search for yours).  There are also more general ones, like Good Night Farm and Good Night Ocean (another one that we have and enjoy at home).

Do you have any favorite kid's books that are set in your home town/state?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #14: Press Here by Herve Tullet

It's time for installment #14 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Small Fry received this book for Christmas from his great-aunt and -uncle.  I'd never heard of it before, but all it took was one reading for me to say, "Okay, this book is flipping AWESOME."  SF is a tad young for it right now, but in a year or so, I bet he will think it's a riot.

The book starts by asking the reader to press the yellow dot and turn the page.  From there, kids are asked to shake, blow on, and press the book in all different ways, causing the dots to rearrange themselves on the subsequent pages.
one page example
Interactive children's book WIN.  It's such a simple concept, but manages to be educational (pick the yellow dots out from the other colors!) and goofy at the same time.  Apparently the book even has it's own iPhone app ($.99) with additional games and activities, which I'm planning to check out soon.

What are your favorite interactive kid's books?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Small Fry Saturday #13: SF's Christmas book haul!

Hey, if I can do my own Christmas book haul post, then Small Fry deserves one as well.  We are taking a break from our normal Small Fry review this week, and showing off what SF got from Santa in the book department this year.

My tiny sir has received:

Snuggle Puppy! by Sandra Boynton
My Dad Loves Me! by Marianne Richmond
Thomas Looks Up by Rev. W. Awdry and Billy Wrecks
The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade
Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien
Press Here by Herve Tullet
The Duckling Gets A Cookie?! by Mo Willems
Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter
Sesame Street Starry Sky Songs by Publications International

We bought the books by Boynton, Richmond, and Willems for Small Fry, but we are so grateful to his grandparents and other family members for giving him the others as gifts!  This kid is going to need more book storage room soon (he is already taking over my bookshelves).

We've already given many of these a read, and I can't wait to share some of them in future Small Fry Saturdays.  Some of them are fun (Snuggle Puppy leads to some hilarious singing), others are awwww-worthy (My Dad Loves Me), and some are very interactive (Starry Sky Songs, Thomas Looks Up, etc) I have a whole range of things to review soon.

What books did your small fries receive this holiday season?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Small Fry Saturday #12: Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien

It's time for installment #12 of Small Fry Saturdays!  This is where I do a weekly showcase of books that my Small Fry is currently reading.  Feel free to do a SFS post on your blog (with the graphic above) or leave a comment below about your favorite kiddie reads.

Jingle All The Way by Tom Shay-Zapien

For my last Christmas-related children's book of the year, I'm reviewing a book that Small Fry received as a gift from my mother-in-law this week!

Jingle All The Way is actually an "interactive story buddies" book, which means it comes with a stuffed Jingle the dog.  You turn Jingle on before you start reading, and then when you read key sentences in the book (highlighted in red), the stuffed Jingle will bark/sing/whine/etc with the story.  It's a cute concept!

The book itself is heartwarming.  Jingle roams the streets, but particularly loves hanging out with the children at the local elementary school.  On Christmas Eve night, he is looking for a home to stay in, but can't find one.  He accidentally curls up to sleep in Santa's sack, and Santa delivers him to a little boy's house on Christmas morning.  (Let me hear it: "Awwwwwww.")  The story is great, and Jingle is just so darn adorable (the illustrations of him are almost better than the actual stuffed dog!).

As for the "interactive" part, that is a little less awesome.  You can have literally NO background noise going on when you read, or else Jingle won't play along.  Case in point: the first time my husband tried reading it, the dishwasher was running in the next room, and he couldn't get Jingle to react when he read (or, shouted) any of the prompting lines.  I can only get it to work if I'm sitting in complete silence.  (Just picture me sitting in my living room, screaming repeatedly at a stuffed dog: "And Jingle was a good boy!...AND JINGLE WAS A GOOD BOY!  GAHHHH!")  So the interactive-ness is a neat idea, but definitely not ideal (especially when reading to a busy/noisy toddler).

Even so, I'm glad Small Fry gets to enjoy this book, and he loves squeezing his fluffy Jingle...even if the dog is a little bit hard of hearing.

What new books did your Small Fries receive from Santa this week?
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