Birds (Hardcover), by Kevin Henkes. This is a large, beautiful book with bright, clean illustrations of a variety of birds. It is not highly scientific (don't expect a page with 20 varieties of birds labeled), but rather is written in the voice of a young girl, as we discover at the end of the book. She tells us about things she's seen: "Once I saw seven birds on the telephone wire. They didn't move and they didn't move / and they didn't move. I looked away for just a second.../ and they were gone." And she wonders aloud: "If I were a bird, I'd ask where all the other birds go when it's stormy and they can't get home to their nest." I loved this book, and I'm so glad I took a chance on it even though I thought it might be too old for my 16 month-old. (Thank you to Nancy Raines Day for suggesting it in a guest post on the I.N.K. (Interesting Fiction for Kids) blog.
"Sometimes, in winter, a bird in a tree looks like one red leaf left over."
Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He was slightly tentative at first, but loves birds, so I used that to rope him in. He needed no extra encouragement after that first read, and has been bringing me this book often. Of course he loves pointing out the birds on every page (and gesturing toward the window, to say that we see birds outside often). This book became a quick favorite.
The Carrot Seed 60th Anniversary Edition (Library Binding), by Ruth Krauss. This book contains a beautiful, simple story about perseverance (and gardening). It is illustrated by Crockett Johnson of Harold and the Purple Crayon fame, and written by Ruth Krauss, who also happens to be his wife. I recommended this book to someone recently, and then thought I might as well try it with our little guy. The plot involves a boy who plants a carrot seed, and is warned by all around him that it will not grow. In the end, he is much rewarded for his patient work.
""His mother said, 'I'm afraid it won't come up.' / "His father said, 'I'm afraid it won't come up.' / And his big brother said, 'It won't come up.'"
Bookworm's interest at 16 months: I didn't think he'd like it yet, because he won't look at my Harold and the Purple Crayon collection (despite my unending enthusiasm for it!). Luckily, I was wrong! We do a couple of reads of it each time we pick it up, and he sits fairly quietly eyeing the pages as I read it. I often wonder, "what is he thinking?"
Parent's Peeve: Since I mentioned it in my In the Town All Year 'Round review, I guess I have to say here too that the father is smoking (a pipe).
Caterpillar to Butterfly (Scholastic Readers) (Paperback), by Melvin Berger. This book tells the story of a caterpillar's transformation from caterpillar to butterfly with large, clear photographs and simple text.
"A caterpillar grows inside each egg. / Fun fact: After it hatches, the caterpillar eats its shell. The caterpillar comes out of the egg."
Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He likes butterflies, but for some reason he hasn't taken to this book yet. I'd suggest it for older kids.