Sickness Delay

So, my kids have been sick again (for almost two weeks!), and we haven’t gotten to the library in three weeks (counting the 4th of July holiday weekend), so I haven’t been able to get all my books for this month’s theme! Themed Third Thursday will be replaced by Fun Fourth Friday again this month!

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Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off (and You Can, Too!)

GirlChild sounded like she was talking nonsense when she was telling me about the Amelia Bedelia book she had been reading, but since those books are full of silliness, I figured she just didn’t quite get the jokes, so I had her reread it aloud to me so I could explain the word play. We discussed homophones (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) and idioms (words or phrases that mean one thing literally but another thing to the group of people who use the idiom (“raining cats and dogs” was the example I used)). While she was reading, I stopped her occasionally to have her explain the jokes to me or to predict how Amelia Bedelia (or her Cousin Alcolu in this book) would interpret what was said. Thankfully, she has some background knowledge about cooking shows and baking in general, so she was able to focus on just understanding their misunderstandings! At the end of the book (which can be seen on the Amazon preview if you don’t have the book in hand!) is the 9-ingredient cake recipe that Amelia Bedelia uses for the sheet cake–which she just goes ahead and makes into a bed cake because she’s so tired!–that wins the bake off for her, and GirlChild expressed a great and overwhelming desire to make the cake! (Everything is a big deal these days–lots of six-year-old drama!) Since Grandma and Grandpa are here this week, I told her we could, and she and BoyChild and I made it this afternoon. She desperately wanted to make it into a bed cake like Amelia Bedelia does, but I wasn’t quite up to trying to sculpt and do fondant and all that to make it really look like a bed like she did, so we just iced it using this frosting recipe and tossed on some sprinkles. It was pretty tasty, and–for anyone with allergy issues–is egg and dairy free! (The frosting has butter and milk, but those could be swapped out for whatever substitute suits your fancy, or you can just use your own allergen-free frosting recipe!)Amelia Bedelia's Sheet Cake

Kids’ books featuring tie-in recipes make it super simple to help connect your kids’ reading to a family activity and make it fun for everyone, and this one was pretty simple and doesn’t require a bunch of bizarre ingredients (or even a bowl for mixing–you mix it right in the baking dish!). Make sure you have enough cocoa in your cupboard (I had to make a last-minute run to the store because my container was emptier than I thought it was!), and mix up this easy cake tonight! It’s great with a cold glass of milk (or milk substitute)!

If you’re into book tie-in activities with your little ones, try an activity or recipe from these other posts, too!

Parents magazine: Read, Cook, Love, by Monica Bhide

Themed Third Thursday: Apples

Topsy and Tim’s Peanut Crunchies (aka, Health Cookies by my Aunt Lois)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Be Your Cake!

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Themed Third Thursday: Dabbling in Dinosaurs Edition

I call this “Dabbling in Dinosaurs” because the books I’m featuring–the books BoyChild loves!–are in no way informative or in-depth; they just dabble. Since dinosaurs are his favorite topic right now but he doesn’t care in the slightest about any scientific information about them, these books are right up my three-year-old’s alley!

Inside-Outside Dinosaurs, by Roxie MunroInside-Outside Dinosaurs, by Roxie Munro (2009): This is the closest to educational these books will get. We bought this book for BoyChild after he chose it from the library and wept openly when we had to return it. (Don’t worry–we commiserated with him, returned it anyway, and waited for a gift-giving opportunity to give him his own so he wasn’t rewarded for crying about returning a book!) Several dinosaurs are featured, and many more are shown in the background of the images (and identified in the back of the book). The featured dinosaurs are shown as a skeleton and have the dinosaur’s name and the meaning of the name. The next spread shows that dinosaur as it might have looked in its natural habitat (with other dinosaurs in the background, too). The last few pages of the book feature outline drawings of the scenes pictured in the book, have colored dots to identify each dinosaur shown, and give the pronunciation and some information about the main dinosaur in the image. (BoyChild never looks at this part, but I’m sure that will come with time.)

Dinotrux, by Chris Gall (2009): Dinotrux, by Chris Gall“Millions of years ago prehistoric TRUCKS roamed the earth. They were HUGE. They were HUNGRY. But they weren’t helpful like they are today.” So begins this silly story of how modern trucks came from the smart dinotrux that escaped extinction and civilized themselves to become the helpful vehicles they are today. With silly names like dumploducus and dozeratops and sight gags like the rollodon squashing a lizard and a few dinotrux leaving smelly messes, the book is probably best for slightly older kids who have a bit of background information on dinosaurs and vehicles and what they’re called (because each dinotrux creature is a reptile version of a vehicle and each name is a portmanteau of a dinosaur name and a vehicle name) and like and understand somewhat subtle potty humor, but BoyChild enjoys browsing this book alone (like he does for a lot of books he loves) and looking at the pictures despite not really getting what’s going on at all. To him, it’s just dinosaurs that kind of look like trucks, and that works for him! (There are also a few others in this series.)

Dinosaur Kisses, by David Ezra SteinDinosaur Kisses, by David Ezra Stein (2013): I first saw this book when we were away from the kids on a short trip, and I almost bought it for BoyChild as a souvenir because I knew he’d love it! (I then realized that it had nothing to do with Nashville and could either be bought cheaper elsewhere or checked out from the library for him, so I was wise and left it on the shelf.) Little Dinah, a newly hatched carnivore of some sort (probably a t-rex) tries stomping and chomping, but then she sees a kiss and wants to try that. After several failed attempts (she always manages to stomp or chomp her intended kissee instead!), she finally finds the perfect creature to get dinosaur “kisses.” David Ezra Stein also wrote Interrupting Chicken, a favorite at the grandparents’ house (because some of the granddaughters call my dad Papa): a Caldecott winner and another hilarious read-aloud for kids.

Dinosaur Vs. (series), by Bob Shea (2008-2014): Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, by Bob SheaYou have to really get your roar on when you read these books aloud to kids! BoyChild will have us read these until we’re absolutely hoarse. With copious amounts of victorious roaring and titles like Dinosaur vs. the Potty and the recently released Dinosaur vs. School, how can you go wrong? My personal favorite is probably Dinosaur vs. the Library (where the little dino finally quiets down for story time!). Roar, roar, roar–Dinosaur wins!

How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?, by Jane Yolen and Mark TeagueHow Do Dinosaurs…? (series), by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague (2000-2013): From the first entry in the series, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, to the most recent ones, How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? and How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?, these hilarious books pose rhetorical questions about all the inappropriate ways the dinosaurs could respond to the given situation and then come back and declare all the right ways the dinosaurs actually respond. What could possibly end up being just a humorous, rhyming manners lesson (albeit very charming and not didactic) is made absolutely hysterical by the illustrations of enormous, realistic-but-anthropomorphic dinosaurs in human homes with human parents acting like any young child might! (Also, the name of each dinosaur is incorporated into the drawing somehow, often along the tail, but sometimes as a part of the background picture, like magnets on the fridge.) BoyChild’s current favorite is How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? and GirlChild likes the jokes in How Do Dinosaurs Laugh Out Loud?

These are some of BoyChild’s favorites! If you happen to know of any light-reading dinosaur books for little ones with an early interest or if you know of any good dinosaur books for the very young with more of a scientific bent, leave a comment!

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Themed Third Thursday: Grandparents Edition

My father officially retired at the beginning of this month after about a billion years (more or less–probably less) working for a local John Deere store. (Both GirlChild and BoyChild know that–in our family, at least!–the only real tractor is a stunning green!) In honor of his newly-free grandparenthood, I’m reviewing books this month about grandparents! (Also, this gives you tons of time to find that perfect book about grandparents before Grandparents’ Day in September!)

How to Babysit a GrandpaHow to Babysit a Grandpa, by Jean Reagan, illustrated by Lee Wildish (2012): As every little boy knows, sometimes he will have to babysit his grandfather. (*winkwink*) This little boy gives tips for what to do when a grandpa arrives (hide, then surprise him!), how to entertain him, what to feed him, and what to do during his naptime. Even BoyChild knows that you can’t just wait for a grandpa to wake up–you might have to yell, “Wake up, sleepyhead!” or crow, “Croc-o-dile-doo!” (BoyChild still isn’t great with the cockadoodledoo noise…) so that you can get cleaned up before your parents return! Saying goodbye is made easier when you give hugs and kisses, a picture you drew as a gift, and a request to babysit again soon. Cute illustrations complement the realistic depictions of what might go on in a little boy’s head while a grandpa is babysitting. I just might have to buy this book for BoyChild and his grandpas to read together, especially since my parents will be staying with our kids for a few days next month! (Also recently published by the author, How to Babysit a Grandma!)

Spot Visits his Grandparents, Spot Visits his Grandparentsby Eric Hill (1995): A typical Spot lift-the-flap book, this book follows Spot as he visits his grandparents and gets into some mischief with his grandfather (which they hide from his grandmother) while they are outside working in the garden and playing. Spot happens to find a ball in the garden that had belonged to his mother, and he happily shares his discovery with her when he returns home.

The Napping HouseThe Napping House, by Audrey Wood and Don Wood (1984): The cumulative nature of the story, where everything starts on a rainy day with a napping house and a cozy bed, leads to listener participation and prediction, and the illustrations (gently listing toward the reader as each page is turned, a subtle shift in perspective I didn’t even notice until almost the end of the book) provide comprehension clues and endless detail that make rereadings even more fun. This classic book has aged beautifully–while many children’s books get dated because of the illustrations, these are absolutely timeless! This was actually the first time I read this book to my children (I don’t know why!), and GirlChild was the first to be able to predict which napper would join the pile next, but BoyChild’s sharp eyes were the ones who figured out the flea! (GirlChild also predicted that the bed would break…but she was several pages too early in her prediction. :) )

My Pop Pop and Me, My Pop Pop and Meby Irene Smalls, illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson (2006): Onomatopoeia, repetition, and rhyme characterize this book about a little boy baking with his beloved Pop Pop. The illustrations are brimming over with the joyful togetherness of boy and grandfather, and they even clean up after themselves! The book includes a recipe for the Lemon Bar Cake Bake that they are making together in the book. The author has also written My Nana and Me, but I wasn’t able to find a copy of that title to review!

I'm Going to Grandma'sI’m Going to Grandma’s, by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke (2007): The little girl who is going to Grandma’s is very excited and enjoys time with her grandma and grandpa and the puppy, but she starts to get nervous as bedtime nears. Her grandmother shares with her the story of the patchwork quilt on her bed, how it was made by her grandmother’s grandmother out of pieces of outgrown clothing, and each patch had a story to tell. The little girl then peacefully drifts off to sleep, dreaming of a story quilt all her own. The rhyme scheme in this book has an AAAB, CCCB, DDDB continuing pattern throughout (each page ending with a word that rhymes with “night”), so it would likely make a good mentor text for teaching that sort of continuity in a multi-stanza poem. Mary Ann Hoberman is also the author of the You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You books and several poetry compilations.

Sleepover at Gramma’s House, Sleepover at Gramma's Houseby Barbara Joose, illustrated by Jan Jutte (2010): A little elephant girl is really excited to go visit her gramma because they “love each other so.” She and her grandmother do all sorts of silly and irresponsible things together, and they end the day sitting on the porch swing listening to a summer storm because “the very best way to fall asleep is inside a hug.” I would recommend this as a read-aloud suitable for preschoolers to early elementary, but the unusual vocabulary and flow of the text and the punctuation irregularities might make it difficult for the intended audience to read independently.

Grandpa GreenGrandpa Green, by Lane Smith (2011): Lane Smith may be best known for his illustrations for books by Jon Scieszka (at least to me!), but he is also the author-illustrator of other titles, like The Happy Hocky Family and It’s a Book. This book–a 2012 Caldecott Honor recipient–is very different from his usual bizarre humor, however. It is written as a child telling about his great-grandfather’s life, but the life events are illustrated as topiary trees that the boy is helping tend in an elaborate garden. The great-grandfather apparently uses the garden to help him remember the things that his advanced age would otherwise cause him to forget. The last touching illustration shows the little boy beginning to create his own topiary to help him remember: a life-sized version of his great-grandfather.

What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story, What! Cried Grannyby Kate Lum, pictures by Adrian Johnson (1998): Patrick goes to his granny’s house for an overnight trip, but as Granny tries to send him to bed, he realizes he’s missing one thing after another–from a bed to a teddy bear–and his overzealous grandmother hand-crafts each missing item in this tall-tale of a bedtime delay story. (She actually shears some sheep, spins the yarn, knits a blanket, and dyes it when it becomes clear he has no blanket to tuck under his chin.) In the end, he’s lacking nothing…but it’s already daylight again. Poor Granny. (BoyChild didn’t like that she cries at the end!)

Singing with Momma LouSinging with Momma Lou, by Linda Jacobs Altman, illustrations by Larry Johnson (2002): Tamika doesn’t really like visiting Momma Lou in the nursing home every Sunday. Momma Lou used to be her confidante, but now that her grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, she has to remind Momma Lou who she is every time she comes in. After one particularly unhappy visit, Tamika’s father shares with her a scrapbook of her grandmother’s photographs and newspaper clippings, and Tamika decides to try to connect with her again through these mementos. She starts with the picture of Momma Lou holding Tamika as a baby and ends with sharing the clipping of Momma Lou and fellow protesters in jail after a civil rights demonstration. After that last one, Momma Lou no longer has any lucid moments, but Tamika takes the memory of that clipping and sings “We Shall Overcome,” the song they sang in jail and in the nursing home sitting room as they remembered the event, to make herself feel happier when she’s sad.

Zero Grandparents (A Jackson Friends Book), Zero Grandparentsby Michelle Edwards (2001): Second grader Calliope James is unhappy to find that her class will be celebrating Grandparents Day the next week since she no longer has any grandparents. She struggles with her feelings of embarrassment and exclusion, refusing her friends’ offers to share their grandparents with her. Finally, she finds a solution in sharing about one of her grandmothers, the one whom she most resembles and whose picture and belongings she brings to class with her, and her friends’ grandmothers tell her how proud her grandma would have been of her. The second of three books in the Jackson Friends series.

Whether your child calls his or her grandparents Grandma and Grandpa, Meemaw and Pawpaw, Nana and Papa, Oma and Opa, or any regional, language, or family variation in between, sharing these books about grandparents is a great way to keep their grandparents fresh in their minds and on their hearts! (There are a million other great books about grandparents out there, I know! Share some of your favorites in the comments!)

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Themed Third Thursday: The Green Edition

GirlChild turned six earlier this month, and green is her favorite color. In honor of this fact (and, you know, Earth Day and all that), I did a catalog search for children’s books with the word “green” in the title. Here are some of the eclectic results!

Green, by Laura Vaccaro SeegerGreen, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (2012–toddler to elementary): This incredibly simple book featuring lush paintings and cut-outs to peep from one page to the next defines green in a number of settings and ways. Each page has just two words, an adjective and the word “green,” and the pre-green words rhyme in an alternating pattern (like slow green, faded green, glow green, shaded green, although the first and third don’t always rhyme). Although it’s clearly meant for younger readers, I can see many elementary readers getting engrossed in the art, so it might be a good book to keep in an art classroom, too! It was also a Caldecott Honor book in 2013.

Where Is the Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek Where Is the Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox, illlustrated by Judy Horacek(2004–toddler/preschool): All different kinds of sheep are found, from colorful sheep to sheep doing a variety of different things, but the green sheep remains elusive. In the end, the green sheep is found sleeping, camouflaged behind a bush. Each page contains a simple sentence stating which sheep is being shown. The refrain, “But where is the green sheep?” (repeated every few pages) helps young listeners participate in the reading, and contrasts and opposites are often used. My favorite illustration is the extreme close-up that just says, “Here is the near sheep.” BoyChild chuckled when I zoomed the book close to his face for that one!

Go Away, Big Green Monster!, by Ed EmberleyGo Away, Big Green Monster!, by Ed Emberley (1992–toddler/preschool): Cut-out pages reveal the big green monster piece by piece, then the reader tells the big green monster to go away piece by piece. This book might be helpful for children who have a fear of monsters and who need to be empowered to get rid of their imaginary tormenters. The last lines, “And DON’T COME BACK! Until I say so,” gives children a tool to banish their fears while still inviting imaginative play (including the occasional biddable monster).

Red Green Blue: A First Book of Colors, by Alison Jay Red Green Blue, by Alison Jay(2009–preschool/early elementary): Actually written by Libby Hamilton, this book is not your typical color concept book. On each page, a little boy (the one on the opening page who is experiencing a “dull and gray” rainy day) watches as a nursery rhyme takes place before his eyes, transitioning from one to the next as though he is moving through scenes that blend into one another. Although each page names a color (emphasized by bold, enlarged type), the illustrations do not go overboard on the color, making it more suitable to slightly older children than most concept books. The illustrations have muted tones and a crackled appearance, much like those old, painted wooden or ceramic plaques you might find in your grandma’s house. A picture appendix of all the nursery rhymes referenced can be found at the back of the book.

Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of ColorsGreen Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors, by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by John Parra (2014–preschool/early elementary): Rhyming verse uses colors and some Spanish words to showcase Hispanic American traditions. (Although the CIP data for this book says that this is about children discovering colors in their Hispanic American neighborhood, I’m not sure where in the United States there is a neighborhood that is sufficiently rural and suited to have a monkey climbing the corn stalks…) It references Christmas and Day of the Dead traditions as well as general foods and celebrations, so it might be a good book to share with children to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15 in 2014) or for a study of Central and South America.

The Berenstain Bears Go Green, by Jan and Mike BerenstainThe Berenstain Bears Go Green (2013–early elementary): Not as long as the old Berenstain Bears books (saving paper to go green, perhaps?), this title is still not lacking in the didactic tone that typifies the series. Kids like the series, though, and I doubt this book would be any different…and it might make a good, short read-aloud for Earth Day to trigger discussion about simple ways we can be better stewards of our resources. Because it’s a recent publication, the advice given is up-to-date and at least a few items will be doable for the majority of modern children.

The Green Bath, by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Steven KelloggThe Green Bath, by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Steven Kellogg (2013): Sammy’s mother tells him to stop his adventuring and get cleaned up for his grandmother’s visit, and Sammy tries to make the best of his bath in the new green tub his father just installed. He starts to sing “The Owl and the Pussycat,” and the bathtub gets up and races to the beach where Sammy and the tub have a wild adventure with mermaids, a sea serpent, and a bunch of pirates. The tub and Sammy return to the bathroom just in time for his mother and grandmother to walk on in…then Sammy and grandma set off toward the beach in the endpapers. The book is a little odd, surely, since it implies that the bathtub adventure is real and not just Sammy’s imagination, but that doesn’t spoil the fact that this is what most young kids think when they’re playing in the bath anyway!

How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans, by David LaRochelle,How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans, by David LaRochelle illustrated by Mark Fearing (2013–early elementary): Martha, despite her parents’ proddings, refuses to eat the green beans she is served every Tuesday night with dinner. She knows that green beans are bad, but she only finds out how bad when a gang (crop?) of mean green beans comes to town and terrorizes everyone who has ever eaten or encouraged anyone to eat green beans. They end up kidnapping Martha’s parents, and only Martha’s brave act (eating all the beans that resist her insistence to let her parents go) saves them from a terrible fate. In the end, green beans are never served at their house again…but the salad is starting to look suspicious, too. I don’t know if this book will work more as an encouragement to resistant veggie eaters (would BoyChild eat green beans if he imagined that he was saving Mommy and Daddy by doing so?) or if it would make them more likely to declare a vegetable “bad,” but it’s a pretty hilarious book and probably worth trying on those stubborn vegetable haters!

One Green Apple, by Eve BuntingOne Green Apple, by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Ted Lewin (2006–early elementary): A little girl, Farah, who is a recent immigrant to (what I assume to be) the United States goes on a field trip with her brand new class to an apple orchard. She feels different and isolated by her dupatta (a head scarf) and inability to speak or understand English, but one classmate, Anna, tries to introduce herself and include her even though others are mean because, as Farah’s father says, their “home country and [their] new one have had difficulties.” Farah selects her allotted apple from a small, separate tree, away from her classmates, and it is the only green one that gets added to the cider press. Farah hesitates at first to help operate the press, but Anna and a boy make room for her, so she steps in. She even thinks she can taste her unique apple in the cider when they taste it. On the hayrack ride back, another child introduces himself, but when he belches, Farah notes that the laughter sounds the same as in her home country, and as she thinks about how it is only the language that sounds different and she will be able to learn that, she thinks, “I will blend with the others the way my apple blended with the cider.” Inspired by her understanding that she will learn to fit in but with her own personal flavor, she tries her first “outside-myself” word and speaks “app-ell” aloud, causing Anna to applaud her effort. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful, almost photorealistic, but the real reason I like this book is that I can see my GirlChild being the Anna in it, and I am proud of her and what she can do for lonely people around her!

Ruth and the Green Book, by Calvin Alexander Ramsey, illustrations by Floyd Cooper Ruth and the Green Book, by Calvin Alexander Ramsey(2010–elementary): This book is historical fiction set in the early 1950s and tells the story of an African American family driving south from Chicago to visit family in Alabama and the unexpected difficulties they face as they try to do simple things like get gas, use a restroom, stop to eat, or get a room at a hotel. It is told from the point-of-view of the young daughter who is put in charge of using the Green Book to find the things that her family needs along the way. The titular book–The Negro Motorist Green Book–was a book published from 1936 to 1964 that gave African Americans traveling through the United States (and eventually Bermuda, Mexico, and Canada) lists of places necessary to travelers that would accept their business. See a need, fill a need. The last page of the book gives a brief history of the book and tells that the last edition was published in 1964–the same year that the president signed the Civil Rights Bill into law, making the book obsolete. This would be a great read-aloud during a study of the Civil Rights Movement because of its true but gentle treatment of a very serious subject.

Nature's Green Umbrella: Tropical Rain Forests, by Gail GibbonsNature’s Green Umbrella: Tropical Rain Forests, by Gail Gibbons (1994–elementary): This nonfiction book features a large amount of information in a relatively unintimidating format. A large, labeled illustration on each spread introduces vocabulary and wildlife names. Illustrated maps and diagrams help explain concepts discussed in the text, a few sentences or somewhat brief paragraphs on each page. At the end of the book, different kinds of rain forests are defined and shown on a map if possible.

Do you  have a favorite green book? Share it with us in the comments!

 

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3-Year-Old Boy Humor: The Ravenous Beast and Chu’s Day

These are the books that BoyChild finds hilarious and worth reading and rereading this past week!

The Ravenous Beast

The Ravenous Beast, by Niamh Sharkey (2003): With folksy oil paintings for illustrations, images of cute little bite marks taken out of various edible and inedible things, you might think this is just an adorable book about various animals boasting about how hungry they are. Not so, my friends! Each progressively larger animal says he or she is hungry for one more item than the animal before (although this is not a cumulative book–each list is thematic and unique) until the Ravenous Beast–the first to proclaim his hunger–returns at the end to reiterate that he is the hungriest of all…and eats all the other animals (who appear with looks of shock on their faces as he announces by name each one he will eat). BoyChild said, “He eat all his friends?” Yep. Traumatized? No. “Read Rab’nous Bea’t ‘gain!” Like my mother said when I emailed her about his obsession, “Children are little ghouls.” Obviously, this author knows that and capitalized on it, and BoyChild can’t get enough!

Chu's Day

Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex (2013): BoyChild brings me this book and says (what I always first mishear as “Tuesday!”), “Chu’s Day!” Then he plops in my lap and prompts, “Bad t’ings happen…” If this were a typical Neil Gaiman book, really bad things would happen (like Chu’s parents being kidnapped and locked in a snowglobe by an evil doppelganger with button eyes (Coraline) or there being wolves in the walls or something (The Wolves in the Walls)), but BoyChild is happy to describe all the “bad t’ings” that happen on the few wordless pages in the book: the train’s off its tracks, the balloons escape the blown-away circus tent, and the cars and trucks fall over. (The funniest time was when BoyChild just said, “Oopsie!” (much like Chu’s response to his sneeze) instead of describing the scene on the page where the library and the diner are shown being blasted by the sneeze.) I love the fact that Chu lowers the goggles on his aviator cap every time he thinks he might sneeze; it’s a subtle touch–one that BoyChild hasn’t noticed–but it gives hints of what’s to come for the savvy viewer. It’s a simple book in the vein of the childhood classic “Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!”, and with a baby panda as the main character, the enormous sneeze is just that much funnier!

 

What books are your three-year-olds loving? Share in the comments!

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Themed Third Thursday: I’m a Big Kid Now

BoyChild turned three last week, and we are officially into “big boy” mode now. In addition to being sick, then having a week of birthday celebrations (okay, just two, but they stretched all week!), BoyChild also had his second set of tympanostomy tubes inserted and his adenoids removed this week, so we’re a little short on titles this month…oops! (I tried searching “growth–fiction” and “juvenile” in my local library’s catalog, but there are enough plant books mixed in there that finding enough on-topic books while BoyChild’s attention span lasted in the play corner was a little rough!) In honor of his big day, though, I’m posting a few books about getting bigger that are geared toward the very young.  If you know of any other good titles, let us know in the comments!

Now I'm Big!Now I’m Big!, by Karen Katz (2013): In this book, a little girl talks about different hallmarks of babyhood–wearing diapers, crawling, riding in a stroller–and then proclaims, “Now I’m big!” and explains what she can do now that she’s big. Although BoyChild can’t yet do many of the “big” milestones (using the toilet regularly and self-bathing most definitely among them!), he LOVES this book and gladly chimes in his, “Now I big!” on each page and memorized some of the other phrases as well. In the end, the little girl proclaims that now she’s a big sister and can help her little sister do all her baby things…because she’s big. Even though this is told as though it’s by one child, there are both boys and girls and an assortment of different ethnicities represented as the comparison between baby and big kid on different pages. (Note: The last page shows the little girl jumping on the bed with her baby sister…and BoyChild (because of my comments the first few times we read this) always says, “Dat not safe!” You might want to make sure your “big kid” knows it’s not safe to jump on the bed with a baby, too. :) )

The Growing Story, by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (2007):The Growing Story, by Ruth Krauss Originally written in 1947 (with illustrations copyrighted in 2007 for this most recent edition), the story of a little boy wondering if he’s really growing is pretty much timeless! In his life on the farm, he sees the crops, the livestock, and the pets growing, but he doesn’t feel like he is. He repeatedly asks his mother if she’s sure he’s growing, and she always patiently answers that, yes, of course he’s growing. He remains doubtful until winter comes again and the warm pants and coat they packed away the previous spring are now too tight and too short; then he joyously cavorts about among the animals that have been growing and informs them happily, “I’m growing too.”

Another Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Chris RaschkaAnother Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Chris Raschka (1999): Starting at age one, using rhyming, repetitive text, Brown gives a glimpse into what’s important about life up through age six. (BoyChild is currently in the individuality/self-centered stage: “The important thing about being Three is being ME.” Go figure.) Raschka’s unusual style give the illustrations a kind of retro look, and once again, a variety of differently hued children are represented fairly. In the end, Brown reminds little readers that the most important thing about each age is just “that you are YOU.”

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