Sunday, April 26, 2009

Animal Round-Up

This week's "Weekly Geeks" assignment asks participants to "share books (fiction or nonfiction) and/or movies which center around an animal or animals." Although I've fallen off the wagon a bit with the Weekly Geeks challenges, when I saw this one, I thought "that is something I can do." I am going to attempt an animal round-up of all of our previously reviewed children's books featuring critters of one kind or another. In each case, clicking the book title will bring you to our prior post containing a review of that book. Holy cow (sorry about the pun), this ended up being a bit more work than I anticipated. But I started it, so I'll finish it!

Children's Books About Dogs

What child doesn't love a good dog book? Our son's favorite children's books about dogs include Matthew Van Fleet's wonderfully interactive Dog (if you buy your child only one "dog" book, this is probably the one to get); Sandra Boynton's Doggies; and the classic Go, Dog, Go! Other, no less wonderful, books we've read in his first 17 months include: Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk, Clifford the Firehouse Dog, Lucky Tucker (for St. Patrick's Day), Snuggle Puppy, and Wag a Tail.

Children's Books About Cats

We have less cat books in our collection, but a charming favorite is Eve Sutton's My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes. And of course, who could forget the Cat in the Hat? The little guy is also quite taken with the Pudgy Peek-a-boo Book, which features some playful kittens, along with bunny rabbits. (We haven't yet read Matthew Van Fleet Cats book, but I hear it is wonderful).

Children's Books About Bunny Rabbits

Speaking of bunnies, our list of 75 Recommended Childrens Easter books contained many books starring rabbits, including Busy Bunnies, Bunny Hops, the Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, the Runaway Bunny, and Guess How Much I Love You. Many young readers love the Max and Ruby series, including Max Cleans Up, but we haven't really gotten into it yet. Babies might love this cuddly Pat the Sleepy Bunny cloth book. I nearly forgot that the baby being lulled to sleep in Goodnight, Moon is a bunny too.

Children's Books About Farm Animals

Books featuring farm animals also seem to grab the attention of pint-sized readers. One of our son's very first favorites was Open the Barn Door. He also loves Moo, Baa, La La La. A fun part game, part book is the Baby MacDonald Magnetic Puzzle Book. And Touch and Feel Farm enthralls little readers. If you like your farm animals to have a bit of spring in their step, Jennifer Plecas' Baby Danced the Polka may be just your thing ("While Papa hauled the water,/And Mama fixed the chow.../Baby danced the cha-cha/With the chocolate-colored...COW.") If the polka is too tame, try Punk Farm and its sequel Punk Farm on Tour. Busy Chickens displays a charming collection of chicken photography. Nancy Shaw's Sheep in a Jeep and Sheep in a Shop are really fun read aloud board books. Little ones might also enjoy Does a Cow Say Boo?, which covers the whole farm animal gambit and their accompanying sounds.

Children's Books About Zoo Animals

After your literary trip to the farm, what child doesn't like a visit to the zoo? Consider Eric Carle's 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo or Adam Rex's clever Pssst. We also love the board book Curious George at the Zoo (a touch and feel book). Dear Zoo (a lift the flap book) was a favorite around here for a LONG time as well. And who could forget Goodnight, Gorilla? Are there any bad zoo books? It seems that all of the ones we've read have been well received.

Although not set in a zoo, our favorite lion book is New Zealand author Margaret Mahy's A Lion in the Meadow.

Monkeys were always a zoo highlight for me. Of course, the whole Curious George series, including the hardcover that started it all, offers monkey adventures galore. In addition to the Curious George books we mentioned above, we also enjoy Curious George Bigger and Smaller and a four board book box set. Another monkey favorite around here is Hand, Hand Fingers Thumb (you just have to love monkeys with sideburns!).

If your little one enjoys seeing llamas at the zoo, Is Your Mama a Llama may delight them. We also recently expanded our llama collection with the fantastic book Llama Llama, Mad at Mama. I plan to check out Llama Llama, Red Pajama next.

Children's Books About Birds

And now off to the aviary. There are many wonderful bird books out there. Our latest favorite is Kevin Henkes' Birds. For slightly older kids, the whole Pigeon series, including The Pigeon Loves Things That Go and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, among others, are wonderfully entertaining. Other excellent series are Duck & Goose and Gossie & Gertie/Gossie & Friends. For the very youngest readers, Fluffy Chick and Friends is a lovely crinkly cloth book (one of only two our son enjoyed), although the chick is only on the cover, and the rest of the animals are not birds, so don't buy it for it's bird content. Older children might also enjoy the classic Make Way For Ducklings, or One Duck Stuck.

Children's Books About Bugs

One of the most well-loved modern classics is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Nonfiction books covering the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly abound; one we've read and reviewed is Scholastic Reader's Caterpillar to Butterfly. Our son really enjoyed the cloth book Fuzzy Bee & Friends when he was younger (and occasionally now); it includes a dragonfly, lady bug, and worm, among others. He also always enjoyed this Itsy Bitsy Spider book.

Children's Books About Ocean Life

Fish also star in many wonderful children's books, including this board book take on a Dr. Seuss classic: One Fish, Two Fish, Three, Four Five Fish. We also love Curious George Visits the Aquarium, which I just realized somehow has never made it onto our blog. Others we've read: Big Fish Little Fish and Into the A, B, C: An Ocean Alphabet Book.

Serendipitous Pairings and Silly Antics

Enjoy reading about elephants and pigs, together? Mo Willems has you covered with his fantastic Elephant and Piggie series (There is a Bird On My Head adds a fowl to the mix). Or hippos? Better yet, hippos that sing about Belly Buttons? Chimps that drive cars? Cows that type? Pigs that eat pancakes? A Mouse and a giraffe in love? A bear, bull, and baboon (in a tutu) riding a bicycle together?

Dinosaurs

If we include dinosaurs in the animal category, then we must mention my favorite childhood dinosaur book, Danny and the Dinosaur, as well as Jane Yolen's fantastic Dinosaur series, with fun titles like How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors.

And a Few Others

If your little reader likes their animals to be of the Disney variety, you might try the Wonderful World of Color: Disney Animal Friends, which features a medley of different Disney animals, including Pumba, Bambi, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp, among others.

Gallop! combines animals (eagle, rooster, monkeys, etc.) with its unique "scanimation" technique to create a truly unique, fun book.

Richard Scarry's word books are also filled with animals (our favorite is Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever, but we also like Cars and Trucks from A to Z and Colors).

And there is always the World of Pooh, starring a lovable (albeit stuffed) bear, kangaroo, rabbit, and donkey.

And a few more books featuring a general medley of animals:

I'm sure we've only scratched the surface of animal books out there, but I hope a few might appeal to your young readers. Do you have others you love? Comment and share them.


I think I'll do a transportation round-up another day. But now I need a rest.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Book sale finds

This week was our local library's annual book sale, and we had a blast.  I let our little man walk around and pull books off the shelf, and he was in heaven (and surprisingly non-destructive).  We even went back later again the same day!  I bought much less than I thought/feared I might, but I'm really happy with every book we bought.  I set up rules for myself before I went, figuring I'd probably ignore them.  I told myself I was "allowed" to buy anything with buses/trucks/trains/cars or anything we have already borrowed from the library and know the little guy likes.  I was allowed to break these rules up to $10.  Once I was there, rules?  what rules?  But as I was walking home, I realized that I had stuck to them anyway.  Here's what we bought:

When I found this one within a couple of minutes of entering the room, I knew the day was off to a good start:

Duck and Goose (Hardcover), by Tad Hills. I was delighted to pick up this charming picture book for $1. It's well worth full-price. The story revolves around best friends Duck and Goose as they discover an "egg," and compete (and eventually join together) to nurture it until hatching. It ends on a funny note. I love the scene where Duck and Goose are imagining what their baby will be like; it rings so true of all expecting parents (see excerpt).

Excerpt:

"They counted the stars in the night sky. 'Let's teach our baby to fly,' said Goose. 'Good idea,' said Duck. 'I'm sure our baby will be a fast learner,' said Duck. 'If it takes after you and me, I'm sure you're right,' agreed Goose."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: I think he is a little young for this now, but he did enjoy flipping through it. When I explained that the cover showed an egg, he looked around the room until he found his plastic Easter eggs to show me that he understood. What a charmer.



Harold's ABC (Purple Crayon Book) (Paperback), by Crockett Johnson. I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon when I was younger. This small paperback follows Harold as he draws his way through an alphabetized adventure.

Excerpt:

"Harold decided one evening to take a trip through the alphabet, from A to Z. / To go on any trip he had to leave home. He started with A for Attic."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: I grabbed this off the shelf and showed him, and he was instantly taken with it. He kept saying "Dada" for the D page. When I was just reviewing it now and looking it over, I thought, "hmm, that's weird, why do they keep drawing the D on every page?" And then I realized, it's the moon. Doh. He hasn't wanted to read it since we got home, which doesn't surprise me, since he won't read the other Harold and the Purple Crayon books yet either, but it only cost us 50 cents.



Bikes, Cars, Trucks, and Trains (Voyages of Discovery) (Spiral-bound), by Jeunesse Gallimard. I really had to hunt to find any car/truck/train books at the library sale, so when I saw the title of this one, I was elated. The book is geared toward children older than mine; the text is fairly detailed and includes historical information.  Apparently the book originally came with reusable stickers, and there are little flaps and pull out pages here and there.

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He likes to flip through this, and especially loves a page near the end that features a mass of yellow taxicabs (he loves to say, "yaya! yaya!"). It even beats out the fire engine page preceding it.



And on my way out the door, when I'd already paid for the others...

Llama Llama Mad at Mama (Hardcover), by Anna Dewdney. What a great book! I probably would have passed this by had I not read so many other bloggers praising the "Llama Llama" series. It was in the specialty priced books section, so a little more than the other books. Llama Llama accompanies his mama on a shopping trip to the Shop-o-rama, where he is bored and fusses. The illustrations of his face (like his one-eye open annoyance at being woken up in his car seat when they reach their destination) are just wonderful, and the rhyming text is so fun to read. The story is one that parents and young kids will certainly relate to, and the ending is cute.

Excerpt:

"Yucky music, great big feet. Ladies smelling way too sweet. Look at knees and stand in line. Llama Llama starts to whine."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He was surprisingly attentive to this, in light of the length of it (really more suitable for an older child). When I pick it up and ask if he wants to read it, he almost always indicates that he does, and we make it through 1/2-all of it. I can see it becoming a favorite later.



Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? (Board book), by Bill Martin Jr.. This follows the style of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?," which was one of the earliest books we bought our son. We read the Brown Bear book often to him when he was very young. It's not his favorite series, but he doesn't dislike it either. The ending in this board book is cute; a dreaming child repeats all of the animals from the previous pages.

Excerpt:

"Macaroni Penguin, Macaroni Penguin, what do you see? I see a sea lion splashing by me."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He doesn't love it or hate it. He hands it to me to read and we get through some of it, but he hasn't asked me to repeat it yet. Of course, it could become a favorite tomorrow.

Parent's Peeve: I admit that I had never heard of a "macaroni penguin" before.



Total cost: $7.50.  The big "splurge" was the Llama, Llama book for $3.50, but I had heard such good things about it and it was a brand new copy.  I'm so glad I bought it because it is delightfully fun to read aloud.  Next week, the last day has a fill-a-bag for $5 (and a second bag for $2), so I may be tempted to go back again.  Filling bags at a book sale is hands down my favorite library memory from growing up, so nostalgia may demand that I go.  I am a little picky about the condition of books I buy, though (no unidentifiable food stains, yellowed pages, missing lift the flaps, chewed corners), so that rules out many of the offerings.

Do you set up rules for yourself at book sales or just go wild?  What's the most you've ever spent at one?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

And still more books about transportation!

Our little guy's obsession with books about transportation continues, so I share with you three more reviews of children's books that we picked up at the library this week:

Look & See: Wheels on the Go! (Board book), by La Coccinella. The first thing about this book that grabs little readers is a unique cutout feature of the wheels. Graduating cutouts (smallest in the back) create a cone effect that just begs for little fingers to explore. Each two-page spread features a mode of transportation, including a few not so often found in transportation books (go-cart, trolley) and a rhyming text that follows the style of the excerpt below.

Excerpt:

"I have no engine, I use no gas, but use your feet, and I'll go fast. On mountain trails, through the countryside, on city streets - let's take a ride! What am I? A BICYCLE!"

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He grabbed this one at the library and kept snatching it up at home all day and bringing it to me. The text is a little long, so I find myself speed-reading or leaving off a line or two, but he certainly doesn't seem to mind.




These next two were picked up at the suggestion of one our commenters, Corey Schwartz (an author herself!). Thanks Corey!

Dig Dig Digging (Board book), by Margaret Mayo. All of the transportation favorites are here - bulldozers, garbage trucks, fire engines - except for a bus, I suppose. Each two-page spread contains a vehicle and a slightly silly rhyme about it (see excerpt).

Excerpt:

"Garbage Trucks / Garbage trucks are good at gobble gobble gobbling, crunching messy garbage bags, squeezing and squashing. Busy busy garbage eaters, always gobbling. They can work all day."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: At first, I feared there was too much text for him, and for some reason, he just didn't take to it very much, not even to the images of the vehicles. But, he must have just been tired, because today the book made a huge comeback, garnering about 10 "more" signs in a row after each repeat read.

Parent's Peeve: The text isn't my favorite (see excerpt), but it's tolerable and kind of fun to reach aloud I suppose.



My Truck is Stuck! (Hardcover), by Kevin Lewis. This cute picture book follows a dump truck full of bones that has gotten stuck, and the parade of characters (in all different types of vehicles - including a bus!) that try to rescue the truck.

Excerpt:

"Drag and draw. Tug and tow. 3 engines roar. But the truck won't go."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: I figured he would be too young for this one, but he is stlll quite entertained by it. I don't know how he knows what a bone is, but he loves pointing at the dumptruck full of bones every time it appears and shouting "buh! buh! buh!"




For additional recommendations, check out all of our previous reviews of children's books about transportation.

Have another transportation book that your children enjoy? We'd love to hear about it!

"Award"

[premiodardosaward.png] Chick with Books was kind enough to pass along to us the "Premio Dardos" award for "bloggers who distinguish themselves for showing cultural values, ethics, great and fun writing skills, as well as individual values, through their creative writing." Thanks!

Here are the rules:
1. To accept and show the distinct image
2. Show the link to the blog from which you were given the award
3. Choose 15 blogs to give the Award (Premio Dardos).

Yikes. 15! Not that I don't have that many in my Google reader... Normally when I pass along awards, I try to pick blogs that I haven't mentioned here before, so that I get to highlight a good variety of different sites. But I'm a little overwhelmed at that 15 number, and my head is muddled with house hunting these days, so I'm going to just name some of my favorite blogs from my Google Reader regardless of whether they've gotten any "awards" here or not:
  1. No Time for Flashcards
  2. Thrifty Craft Mama
  3. PhD in Parenting
  4. Unplug Your Kids
  5. ABC and 123
  6. I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids)
  7. Books Lists Life
  8. Three Silly Chicks
  9. The Reading Tub
  10. The Bookworm's Booklist
  11. Lucky Me!
  12. Confessions of a Book Habitue
  13. Brimful Curiosities
  14. Mommy's Favorite Children's Books
  15. The Miss Rumphius Effect
happy browsing!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Watermelon Award


It's Wednesday, which means it's time that we give a "watermelon award" to one of the bookworm's favorite books.

A Lion in the Meadow (Picture Puffin) (Paperback), by Margaret Mahy. This book came all the way from New Zealand to join our book collection. Although it arrived at a time when he mostly only liked board books, he took to this one right away. It is a lovely little story about a boy who sees a lion in the meadow by his house. He alerts his mother, who gently scolds him for making up stories and plays along with him by giving him a matchbox which she says will release a dragon. He obeys, releasing a large dragon into the meadow, which frightens the lion into the house, where they become buddies.

Excerpt:

""'That is how it is,' said the lion. 'Some stories are true, and some aren't...'"

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He loves to locate the baby in the book and wave his arms frantically practicing his sign language for it. But he also enjoys the whole story. He also likes to make an "H" sound for "hot" when he sees the dragon breathing fire.




To see all of our previous watermelon recipients, look for the books with the watermelon next to them in this complete list of books read.

Happy Earth Day!

I posted some Earth Day children's book suggestions this week.  Here are a couple more.

Eco Babies Wear Green (Board book), by Michelle Sinclair Colman. "Eco babies eat local," explains the text alongside a baby shoving fresh picked strawberries into her mouth. They also compost their cheerios and wear green diapers. This is a cute book that would guarantee a chuckle from any environmentally-minded mom-to-be. Others in this series include Urban Babies Wear Black, Beach Babies Wear Shades, Winter Babies Wear Layers, and Foodie Babies Wear Bibs. Are they baby-friendly? I'd love to hear from other parents who have them.

Excerpt:

"Eco babies love nature"

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: The first time we read it, not only did he shut it on me, he actually cried a bit! Undeterred, I tried again this morning, and he sat through it just fine. I supplemented the text a bit with comments like, "Can you see the baby with the cereal? He's throwing it!" I'd like to try the "Winter Babies Wear Layers" one to see if he can relate to the text a bit more. .



The Lorax (Classic Seuss) (Hardcover), by Dr. Seuss. I didn't realize that Dr. Seuss had written so many "issues" type books until recently (see, for example, my review of The Butter Battle Book, about armament). The Lorax tells the story of the greedy "Once-ler" (through his remorseful voice) who chops down the lovely Truffula trees, driving away the Lorax, who tries to stop him. In the end, hope remains in the form of a single surviving Truffula seed. The whimsical illustrations, trademark silliness, and rhyming text are pure Dr. Seuss.

Excerpt:

"The instant I'd finished, I heard a ga-Zump! I looked. I saw something pop out of the stump of the tree I'd chopped down. It was sort of a man. Describe him? ... That's hard. I don't know if I can. / He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: I didn't really try this one him, as it looks too old for him.



How are you celebrating Earth Day today?  We haven't decided yet, but we're looking forward to getting a free tree at an Arbor Day celebration on Friday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Earth Day: children's book reviews

Earth Day is April 22. Here are a few children's book suggestions. None are suitable for the age of our little guy (17 months), but they'd be perfect for slightly older kids. For younger readers, like my guy, note the books I link to at the end of the post (Carrot Seed and Birds), as well as a really cool stuffed toy.  You can also find two other Earth day book reviews (including a board book) by clicking on the highlighted text.

The Little House (Hardcover), by Virginia Lee Burton. Originally published in 1942, the Little House tells a timely story about a little house in the country that experiences the development of the land around her, as skyscrapers rise on either side of her, elevated trains and a subway appear, and she gradually becomes old and shabby. In the end, she is given a second chance at country life.

Excerpt:

"Pretty soon there were trolley cars going back and forth in front of the Little House. They went back and forth all day and part of the night. Everyone seemed to be very busy and everyone seemed to be in a hurry."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He's too young for this one. I thought he might enjoy the photos, since we've been house hunting, and he likes to point at houses and make an "H" sound, but he wasn't really interested in anything beyond the cover. It's really meant for older kids.




It's Earth Day! (Little Critter) (Paperback), by Mercer Mayer. This cute tale follows Little Critter as he tries to come up with various ways to "stop the ice from melting" after watching a movie about climate change. He sets out on a mission to help by shutting lights to save energy, shutting the water while he brushes his teeth, recycling, donating to charity, planting trees at a park, making signs to educate others, and even attempting the construction of a Climate Control Machine."

Excerpt:

"Today we learned all about Earth Day. It is a special day. It is when we celebrate our planet. / We watched a movie about the Earth's climate. Climate is how hot or cold it usually is outside. The Earth is getting hotter and the ice at the North Pole is melting! That's where the polar bears live. Yikes! I have to help slow down the melting."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He's way too young for this.




Our Earth (Paperback), by Anne Rockwell. Basic earth science concepts pair with fun, colorful illustrations in Rockwell's "Our Earth." Readers learn about the North Pole, volcanos, coral reefs, dinosaurs, glaciers, rainforests, canyons, etc. all in short snippets. The overriding message of the book is that "[o]ur big, round earth is very beautiful. / It is my home and yours."

Excerpt:

"Our earth was shaped by water, fire, ice, and living things. It is always changing -- much too slowly for us to see."

Bookworm's interest at 17 months: He's too young, although we flipped through the pages together.




I am also quite partial lately to the Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Kevin Henkes' Birds. I have just barely resisted buying them so far, but my resolve is breaking down. You can read our reviews of the Carrot Seed and Birds here.

For additional nature-inspired book suggestions, check out this wonderful post on 10 Reasons Why Kids Need a Garden on I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids).

For something non-bookish, I love this stuffed globe (photo and link below) and have bought many of them as gifts for kids. (There are also Mars and Moon versions). It's such a great learning tool, because all of the states, countries, etc. are accurately labeled. Our extended family is a bit spread out around the world now, and I love the idea of teaching children where all of their relatives are. It also pairs nicely with Earth Day.


Did you also post about Earth Day on your blog, with book reviews, crafts, or general musings? Comment and leave us a link!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Review: a couple of baby books

Here are a couple of board books we read awhile back but never got around to posting about. I hope to have some Earth Day related book reviews posted in the next day or two.

Peek-A-Boo! (Board book), by Roberta Grobel Intrater. A short board book featuring a number of photographs of babies, with labels like "pouting," "yelling," and "laughing." This was a freebie courtesy of Reach Out and Read at his 9 month check-up.

Bookworm's interest at under 12 months: He has always enjoyed seeing the babies.




Quiet Loud (Leslie Patricelli board books) (Board book), by Leslie Patricelli. Another opposites book in Leslie Patricelli's fun format -- a two-page spread per opposite, with a baby demonstrating. As the title suggests, this one focuses on contrasting quiet and loud things and activities.

Excerpt:

"Crayons are quiet./Pots and pans are loud. BOOM BAM"

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: He seems to quite like it. Sometimes the cover will make him shake his head "no," but if I open the book up, he then wants to read it.




See all of our board book reviews here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Things That Go (Weekly Unplugged Project, Wednesday Watermelon Award, and some book reviews)


The cat's clearly out of the bag on our son's love for things that go. So when I saw that this week's Weekly Unplugged theme was "transportation," I knew we'd be participating one way or another. I got my idea from a helpful comment from Brimful Curiosities on my post about Ten Ways to Play With Children's Books (Other Than Reading Them!). I had mentioned that my son had developed a habit of setting up book slides in the living room with his oversized books. She suggested he might like using them as ramps for his toy cars. The Easter Bunny bought him his first hot wheels cars last week, so this was a great idea. At the end of the day today, I set up a couple of slides for him and lined up his cars. He had a ball with it. When I got sick of saying "wheeeeee" as the cars slid down, I started to explain things like the fact that a steeper slope makes the cars go faster, or that heavier cars will move more slowly than lighter ones in a race down the same ramp, but at 16 months, he likely absorbed none of that. He had fun moving on from cars to plastic Easter eggs and mommy's iPhone down the ramp though.

Related book reviews

Although it seems we couldn't possibly have any more truck books that we have read and not yet posted about yet, we do in fact have at least three! I'll post those reviews here.

Since it is Wednesday, it is also time for us to award a "Wednesday Watermelon Award" to one of the bookworm's favorites. Since I had planned to give the award to a transportation-related book anyway, I'll just piggy-back on this post. This week is a tie between two books (one I've reviewed here before and will repaste; the other is new to us).

Trucks Go (Board book), by Steve Light. This fun oversized board book was an instant hint. It features eight two-page spreads of different vehicles, along with text describing silly sound effects made by each truck. The drawings are bright and cheerful, with a childlike simplicity.

Excerpt:

"The auto carrier goes rooooor roooor bumpada bumpada honk honk"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: We just got this book today and have already read it about 20 times, at least. He's not usually very into silly sound effects in books, but he just loves this one. He especially likes the fire engine page, partly because the sound is spelled "whee-ooo," which perfectly describes Dad's siren noise (mom's is more like woo-woo!). So whenever we read that page, he shouts, "dada!" He also loves the last page, which stars a truck towing a horse trailer.



and

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z (A Chunky Book(R)) (Board book), by Richard Scarry. All the Richard Scarry favorites are here -- apple car, bananamobile, hotdog car, pickle car -- along with more run of the mill vehicles like ambulance, fire truck, and mail truck, all in a chunky little board book perfectly sized for clutching by infant and toddler hands.

Excerpt:

"watermelon truck...xylophone car.../yogurt car...and a zippermobile!"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He loves this, and it has staying power. He got it in February, and it's now the end of April and we still read it daily. He likes to go upside down when he sees the "upside down car," and he points to certain favorite vehicles on just about every page.

Parent's Peeve: I wish they had included a bus.



Here is one more transportation book from his Easter basket:

Honk! Honk! Beep! Beep! (Sticker Stories) (Paperback), by Norman Gorbaty. When I was little, I had a bunch of sticker collecting books. Pages labeled things like "foods," "flowers," and "animals" were the perfect place to store my stickers and proudly show them off. Our little guy loves stickers, but he generally just sticks them onto a blank sheet of paper, and it feels kind of wasteful. I tried to buy him a sticker collecting book like I remembered having, but instead, the shelves are full of thematic sticker books that come complete with stickers and companion pages on which to stick them. "Honk! Honk! Beep! Beep!" is that kind of book. It contains 75 stickers of cars, trucks, and buses, and roadway scenes with space to apply the stickers. I bought it for his Easter basket.

Excerpt:

"Zoom! Zoom! Make your cars and trucks zip along the highway."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: I have to hide it unless I feel like playing with it all day. I pull it out now and then and he directs me as to which sticker he would like, I bend the page a bit to help him peel it off, and we select a place to stick it down together.



And one that we picked up from the library today. I've read about this series before and wondered if he'd enjoy it.

Melvin Might? (Trucktown) (Hardcover), by Jon Scieszka. This is the first time we've read a book in the Trucktown series (sort of like Thomas the Tank Engine for trucks!). I wasn't sure if he'd like it. I saw a couple of board book versions at our library, so I might try one of those next time and see if they are more at his level of interest. The storyline in this book involves worry-wart Melvin the cement mixer, who overcomes his worries to save a fellow truck when she gets stuck. It's a cute tale that we might revisit in another year or two.

Excerpt:

"Melvin worries, 'I might get dirty!' Melvin worries, 'I might get stuck.' Melvin worries, 'I might get worried.' 'Wow,' says Pete. 'You are making ME worried.'"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He isn't very interested in this one, which isn't too surprising, since it is suitable for older kids. I did notice on the last page, which has a collection of illustrations of all of the different characters, that he would point to the ambulance and fire engines and do his sign for "help." I figured out he's doing it because every now and then when we're strolling and see an ambulance, I say something like, "look, an ambulance! Ambulances help people when they're sick." It's kind of scary how often he listens to me.

Click here to read all of our transportation-related book reviews.

Do you have other books about "things that go" that you think we'd like? We'd love any suggestions!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Catching Up on Our Children's Book Reviews (and a small poll)

I have quite a large pile of children's books amassing here from the library. Some we're ready to bring back, but for the fact that I keep stalling my review of them. So, tonight I'm going to get on with it and post some reviews so I can get those books back on the shelves for other readers in honor of National Library Week.

Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Hardcover), by Mo Willems. This cute little tale features the lovable Gerald and Piggie (elephant/pig best friends) as they share their excitement about going outside to play, their disappointment when it begins to rain, and their joyful reconciliation with the situation. It is a good choice for these days of fickle spring weather.

Excerpt:

"Are you ready to play outside? / Yes! Yes! Yes! / We are going to do everything today! / We are going to run! / We are going to skip! / We are going to jump! / NOTHING CAN STOP US! / PLINK! / Oh, no!/ It is starting to rain."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: I tried it before naptime, so it deserves another go, but he didn't want to sit through the whole thing yet. I'm guessing this is better targeted at age 2 and up (back of the book says ages 4-8).




Big Board Books Colors, ABC, Numbers (Bright Baby) (Board book), by Roger Priddy. Roger Priddy is the king of this type of book, and this is no exception. In addition to pages featuring nine photographs each with accompanying words (like car, cat, tractor, and boat), the book also features pages focused on the alphabet, counting, colors, opposites, and shapes. It has a little of everything.

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He enjoys reading it, although I think the cover style looks so similar to another he has like this that he hasn't been approaching it with the excitement of a new book.




Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk (Board book), by Dav Pilkey. This is a cute, simple board book that follows "big dog" and "little dog" as they go for a walk with their owner (complete with much frolicking) and have a clean-up bath. The text is short and sweet.

Excerpt:

"Little Dog likes to play in the mud. Big Dog likes to eat the mud."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He liked it from the get go despite (or because of!) its simplicity; we usually do a few reads of this at a time.




Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (Hardcover), by Doreen Cronin. This clever book revolves around some typewriter wielding cows that decide to begin negotiating with their farmer. "Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows," they write. The witty back and forth that follows will delight young readers (the jacket recommends ages 3-7) and adults alike.

Excerpt:

"'Cows that type. Hens on strike! Whoever heard of such a thing? How can I run a farm with no milk and no eggs!' Farmer Brown was furious."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: No interest yet. I look forward to trying again when he is older.




Curious George (Hardcover), by H. A. Rey. We have a few other Curious George books (board book and paperback) that our son enjoys, so I thought I would take out the original book that started it all. This story details the capturing of George in Africa by the man with the yellow hat, George's journey by boat (and overboard), to the city, prison!, an escape, a balloon ride, and, finally, to the zoo to live. I felt a little bad for George, being captured out of Africa, but he seemed to have fun in the rest of the book.

Excerpt:

"On the big ship, things began to happen. The man took off the bag. George sat on a little stool and the man said, 'George, I am going to take you to a big Zoo in a big city. You will like it there. Now run along and play, but don't get into trouble.' George promised to be good. But it is easy for little monkeys to forget."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He is way too young for this now. I thought we might just have a little fun looking at the illustrations, but he wasn't interested in that either.




Danny and the Dinosaur (An I Can Read Book, Level 1) (Hardcover), by Syd Hoff. This title has been floating around in my head for about 30 years as a book I remember reading and loving when I was a child, without any recollected details. Although I knew that it would likely be too advanced for our son at this age, I took it out of the library for a read to jog my memory. The story follows Danny and his new-found friend as they spend a fun-filled day around town -- eating ice cream, playing hide and seek, visiting the zoo, and assisting with traffic. It was as charming as I had remembered it, and I look forward to when our little guy is old enough to read it for himself.

Excerpt:

"The dinosaur had to be very careful not to knock over houses or stores with his long tail. / Some people were waiting for a bus. They rode on the dinosaur's tail instead."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: none yet.




Does A Cow Say Boo? (Board book), by Judy Hindley. This farm-themed board book follows the narrator's quest to figure out who says "Boo." Different animal noises are reviewed throughout the pages, until the surprise finale (Peek-a-boo!).

Excerpt:

"But who says BOO? Does a dog say BOO? Oh, no! What does a dog say? / "Woof! Woof! Woof! And sometimes arf! And sometimes grrrr...But I've never heard a dog say BOO - have you?"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He enjoys this book, although it is not a favorite. He will often select it from a pile and happily sit through one or two reads before moving on. He's not really in a farm animal phase right now, so kids who particularly love those animals might enjoy it even more than him.

Parent's Peeve: I just say "hoot" for the owl, as opposed to the author's "whoo - tu-whit, tu-whoo!" and "cock-a-doodle-do" for the rooster instead of "Cock-a-doodle-doo, doodle-doo, doodle-doo!"




Happy National Library Week! How many library books do you have out at the moment? (We're at 25 + 1 hold request. That is a little high for us).

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Baby baby baby books

A Teeny Tiny Baby (Hardcover), by Amy Schwartz. This picture book caught my eye at the library, and I had to keep reading it even after the little guy had shrugged it off and run away. I think it would make a wonderful gift for an expectant mother and a soon to be big brother or sister. The text is written from the perspective of a new baby. "I'm a teeny tiny baby" the first page begins, "and I know how to get anything I want." A crying baby on the bed is met by three racing adults (mom, dad, grandma?), hands outstretched to get there as fast as possible. The text and illustrations follow baby as he feeds incessantly; travels around town in his stroller; sits in his high chair, carrier, bouncy seats, etc;,and, on the last few pages, delights in looking at himself in the mirror. The true-to-life descriptions (see excerpts) made me chuckle. I like that the drawings show the mom breastfeeding (but there are plenty of bottles in there too, and the nursing is VERY subtle. It just looks like a cuddle to an untrained eye). I enjoyed the book enough that I have to include two excerpts instead of the usual one.

Excerpt:

"I like to meet new people when I'm out. 'He's so little!' they say, or 'He's so big!' 'Is it a boy?' or "Is it a girl?' / Or once a big kid stopped and said, 'He has no hair!' Which I didn't appreciate."

"I like to eat when the sun hasn't quite risen yet and then again when I decide to really get up and then a little later and then in the afternoon / and a little while before supper and a little while after and when the moon comes up and a few times later in the evening, / and then again when it's still dark and me and Mom are the only ones up. Except for Dad."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He wouldn't sit still through this one. I think he is too young for it, although I will try a few more times.




And a couple better suited for the younger crowd:

Baby's Day: Easy-Open Board Book (Easy-Open Board Books) (Board book), by Michel Blake. Two things make this brief board book full of photographs of objects in "Baby's Day" stand out -- first, the graduated sizing of the sturdy pages make opening them easier for infant hands. Second, the photographs are black and white, but one object is highlighted (with accompanying text) on each page. As you can see on the cover image, in which the cups are colored, the technique is very effective.

Excerpt:

"Teether / chair"

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He enjoys this one quite a bit now, but it would have also been a very nice one for him when he was younger. This would make a nice gift for a new baby.




Let's Play: Easy-Open Board Book (Easy-Open Board Books) (Board book), by Michel Blake. I accidentally returned this one to the library before I had written the review, but it is in the same series as the "Baby's Day" book reviewed above, and the style is similar. Black and white photos feature colored objects related to playtime.

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He liked Baby's Day better, but would happily read this one too.


Have you read Teeny Tiny Baby with your child?  If so, I'm curious to know how older kids respond to it.  

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Review: Truck Stuck

One more truck book, and then I'm going to try to add reviews of some of the other books I have piled up around here this week. This one was suggested on No Time for Flashcards recently. We picked up a copy today, and it was love at first sight.

Truck Stuck (Hardcover), by Sallie Wolf. This fun book follows a big red truck as it gets stuck under a viaduct, causing quite the traffic jam and general "hullabaloo." The commotion includes a line of trucks, a school bus full of scouts, a television news crew, some musical entertainment, and even an Elvis impersonator, all to the benefit of some enterprising kids with a lemonade stand on the sidelines. The rhyming text is simple but fun, and the illustrations have enough detail to make the book entertaining after multiple reads... And there will be multiple reads of this one at our house.

Excerpt:

"Let us through - we're stuck, too! Jobs to do. / All stuck. Move that truck!"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: Talk about an instant hint. It's not just the fact that we read this one 4 or 5 times in a row (which we did) that impressed me, but the frantic shouting and flailing of arms that went on as he pointed excitedly to every vehicle on every page. This one is definitely a keeper.




You can read reviews of the many books about transportation that we've been reading lately by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ten Ways to Play with Children's Books (other than reading them!)

PhD in Parenting is currently hosting a Carnival of Play for the first half of April. Bloggers are invited to participate by posting their own thoughts on play and its role in parenting and/or childhood.

We certainly play often, but it took me awhile to figure out what I could say about that. As I mulled over the topic of the carnival, it occurred to me how often play can involve repurposing items -- using old measuring cups in the bathtub, playing drums on pots and pans, etc. Books are everywhere in our house - on shelves, off shelves, on the coffee table, the kitchen table, in the bottom of the stroller, my purse, on our bed, probably under our bed, etc. So, they tend to find their way into all kinds of play. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I decided it might be fun (and a bit silly - but isn't all good play a bit silly?) to come up with this list...

Ten Ways to Play With Children's Books (other than reading them!)

Arranged roughly by age of interest...
  1. Peek-a-boo (for our littlest readers). Hiding behind any item delights babies, and it still gets a giggle out of my son at 16 months.
  2. Tummy time target. I wasn't very diligent about "tummy time," but when I did it, I laid him down on a quilt with a favorite book propped open on the floor in front of him - usually a Nina Laden book with a mirror on the last page. It worked like a charm.
  3. Unpacking and packing. I've read a few blog posts about this, so I know I'm not alone. Anyone with a bookshelf and kids has witnessed the demolition of their lovingly arranged array of books. I've met the destruction with mixed emotions, from astonishment, to annoyance, to worry (that the shelf will come down - we're not big child proofers around here), to amusement. Lately, I tend toward amusement. As kid messes go, a bookshelf is pretty quick to pick up afterwards. We're lucky in that the arrangement of our furniture since we moved somehow puts most of our books outside of our little reader's sights, so it is mostly his own books he unpacks. We also bought the Safari Book Display
    pictured above around Christmas-time, and the beauty of that is that he enjoys not only unpacking, but also repacking the books into it as well! All I have to do is sit nearby and cheer him on, and he is delighted.
  4. Prepare companion crafts for your kids' favorite books. The blogging world abounds with parents who excel at this kind of thing, so if you look around, you'll get some wonderful ideas. Some of my favorites are No Time For Flashcards and the weekly Friday Book Project at Just For Fun.
  5. Hide and Seek /Hide and find the book. Self-explanatory.
  6. Build a book castle. I can't take credit for this idea, having read about it on Mother is Not Concerned's post for the Weekly Unplugged Project one week. Doesn't it look fun?
  7. House of books. Less ambitious than the book castle, use all of those old board books to create houses the way you do with decks of cards. They're much easier for small hands to maneuver.
  8. Slides. I don't advocate this one if you care about the longterm health of your books, but our little guy has taken to fashioning his own slides out of his oversized books lately (yes, I get the hint: take me back to the park!). I'm quite impressed with his ingenuity at 16 months. We currently have two propped up in our living room; Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever is up against an ottoman, and a large Animal Kingdom book is resting on a pile of foam alphabet letters for a more gentle slope.
  9. Acting. How about using simple books as a springboard for creating a play or just playing dress-up?
  10. Name that book. For older kids, try quoting lines from their book collections and having them guess the book.
Have another suggestion? Do your kids use books in any bizarre, fun ways? Comment and let us know about it!

Wednesday Watermelon Award (Construction Countdown)


We still have quite a few books that we have read and reviewed, but not yet posted about. But, as I thought about which book to give a "Watermelon Award" to this week, the choice seemed obvious. (What's that? Each week we pick one book that our son particularly enjoys, and give it a virtual "watermelon award," after one of little guy's favorite foods). We've reviewed this book here before, but its appeal has continued to grow, so it seems only fitting to feature it this week. Yes, it is about trucks. I can't make any promises, but I think we'll be able to break out of the truck books stint soon. (In an interesting dietary twist, the bookworm seems rather fond of peas this week. Even more so than watermelon. I think we'll keep the name the same for now, though).

This week's winner is...

Construction Countdown (Hardcover), by K.C. Olson. Apparently I have some learning to do about construction vehicles. I thought knowing what a "digger" and "cherry picker" were would be sufficient, but our little guy's growing affection for transportation vehicles leads me to believe some advance knowledge on my part may be required. But that's OK, because there are plenty of books (like this one) to teach me what earthmovers and payloaders look like. This is a great book, with simple rhyming text to describe each two-page spread of vehicles. The ending is particularly delightful.

Excerpt:

"Ten mighty dump trucks rolling down the road"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He enjoyed this one quite a bit from the first read (and the second, and the third...). A repeat read is the ultimate compliment, right? He likes to point to the trucks while I count them, or to make me point to them, or to point to the people driving the trucks. The cement mixers seem to be his favorite, maybe because we occasionally see them drive by outside.


You can find more books about transportation here, and all of our watermelon award winners here. I've had some interest in other sites also featuring a Wednesday Watermelon Award. If you'd like to do that, feel free to leave a link to your choice in a comment, or just tell us which book is your child's favorite lately, if you don't feel like posting about it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

15 Suggestions for Picking the Best Children's Books for Your Little Readers

For a few weeks, it seemed like our little guy wasn't liking many of the books I picked. As you might have read in yesterday's post, now the opposite seems to be true. It would be a shame if a parent stopped getting books for their kids, thinking they just weren't interested in them, when really they just needed some help picking out the right books.

Sometimes I wonder when choosing books: should I feed the obsessions he currently has (trucks, birds, buses, etc.), or encourage him to read books with words and topics he doesn't yet know? Since he is only 16 months old, should I relegate him to the board book section (as has been suggested to me by at least one very kind librarian), or try picture books (some of which, like Bubblebath Pirates and a Lion in the Meadow, have turned out to be favorites). Do I risk discouraging him if I keep trying books for older kids? Do I risk boring him or holding him back by reading only board books? For the most part, I just try to have fun with it, present a variety of reading material, and follow his lead (with a bit of gentle coaxing here and there).

I was curious, though, what the experts would recommend on this topic. As parents, we know our own children better than anyone else. But are we the best people to pick books for them? Probably, but it doesn't mean we can't use a little help. So, I contacted a few librarian bloggers and asked them to share a few tips for selecting the best children's books for our kids. I hope you appreciate their advice as much as I did.

First, we received some tips from Adrienne (a Children's Librarian at Webster Public Library in Webster, New York) at What Adrienne Thinks About That, about picking books for babies. Here's what Adrienne had to say:
"A lot of people ask me how to pick out books for babies.
  1. First, I recommend books with clear illustrations. Babies’ visual acuity isn’t the same as adults, and babies are most likely to be able to make sense of illustrations with bold lines and contrasts and lots of white space. A lot of babies will respond particularly well to books with photographs of faces, like Valorie Fisher’s My Big Brother and My Big Sister.
  2. Second, you want to look for straightforward texts with relatively few words. Babies’ worlds are relatively concrete and literal, and they’re more likely to respond positively to books that reflect their reality.
  3. Third, share a lot of books with enthusiasm, pay attention to what your baby responds to, and find more books like the ones your baby likes. This advice seems simple on the surface, but I think sometimes parents don’t think babies are getting much out of reading time—but they do! Even when they don’t sit and listen quietly to a whole story, babies are still learning important things, like what a book looks like and how you hold it and how you turn the pages. What’s more important than anything else at this stage is to keep reading light and fun, to create positive associations that will encourage children to turn to books again and again as they grow."
Next, Laura (of Bib-Laura-graphy), a Children's Librarian at a branch of Boston's wonderful public library, offered the following suggestions:
  1. "Involve your child in the process of picking out books at the library or bookstore. Kids love to make their own choices, and the library is a great place to let that happen. Many kids will feel more invested in a book that they picked out themselves.
  2. Ask lots of questions. If your child loves or hates a book that you've read together, try to find out why. Does he always tune out during books that rhyme? Does she only like books that make her laugh? You may discover some surprising things! Use what you find out to guide your book choices. This is also a great way to make your reading experience more interactive.
  3. Let your child read a series heavily or frequently re-read a book. Kids crave things that are familiar, and seeing their favorite characters over and over again is reassuring. Don't fret when your little one refuses to check out anything except the next Magic Tree House book. Let your children read what they love, and in almost all cases they will move on to something else when they are ready.
  4. Don't forget about nonfiction! Many kids, and especially boys, respond well to nonfiction books. If your child is showing strong interest in a topic - trucks, or rabbits, or ballerinas - try a nonfiction book on that topic. There are lots of wonderful picture book and easy reader nonfiction titles available for very young, but remember that it's ok to take home a book that's too hard to read if your child just loves looking at the pictures. Even flipping through the pages can help young readers develop important literacy skills.
  5. Make use of your local librarians and booksellers. They will be happy to help guide you and your child to wonderful new books. We've all gone into this profession because we love connecting books and children, so please don't be afraid to ask for advice."
Last but not least, Valerie, who can be found at The Almost Librarian and is nearing the end of her education to become a librarian, offered the following advice.
  1. "Leverage your local library. This way you can check out many authors and styles of books without having to worry if you've found just the right ones. If you don't love some of the books you chose, then it's nothing lost.
  2. Keep a list of previous favorite titles and authors and ask your local librarian or book seller to make further recommendations for similar titles.
  3. Seek out books that have the same theme as some of your child's favorite activities - these are sure to be a hit! For example, if your little one is into dress-up, go for Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor. Or if your toddler is into trains, try Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis."
So, the experts seem to agree that I can keep getting those truck books!

The point of this post was to offer expert advice from librarians, but I guess I'll use my author's prerogative to throw in a couple of "mom tips" in addition (and to make it to the round number of 15 tips!):
  1. Don't feel bad about having many library books out at once. When I first started getting books for our little guy, I'd get 2 or 3. Now I have 10-20 out at a time. We go there extremely frequently, so we really only have them out for a few days, but it's the only way to guarantee that he'll love some of them. We return the ones he doesn't like right away (once allowing for my next piece of advice...)
  2. Give a book a few tries. If she/he doesn't like it the first time, you might have just tried it at a bad time - when he was tired, cranky, hungry, or in the mood for something different. So I try to give each book a fighting chance by offering it to him a few times (without insisting he read it) before we bring it back.
  3. I'm curious what the librarians think about this suggestion, because I'm not sure if it is out of line, but I now go onto the library request system and put books on hold all the time, even if they are in stock, and just pick them up at the desk when we visit. If I try to hunt stuff down at the library, our little guy is way overstimulated, wanting to just run around and pull down every book, and I can never get the books that I want. This has helped immensely in getting books that he'll love, but it might annoy the librarians a bit.
  4. This suggestion is a little self serving, but: Read blogs with suggestions by other moms on what their kids love! I started this blog because I would always scour the net for recommendations from moms. (No offense to the librarians; I think children's librarians are also great judges, because they see children so often, and run storytimes). Here are just a few of the parent blogs I know of that offer book reviews of what their children enjoy reading (there are so many more. I'm just grabbing a few out of my reader): No Time for Flashcards, Bookie Woogie, Mommy's Favorite Children's Books, Read Em and Leap, and Thrifty Craft Mama
If you're still looking for Easter books for your baskets, be sure to check out my list of 75 recommended Easter books, nearly all of which came from parents suggesting their kids' favorite choices.

Have another tip? Have a site that also reviews books your kids love? Please comment and share it with us!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Transportation books we've been enjoying lately

I'm not sure what has happened lately, but I seem to have the Midas touch in book selection..our little guy is loving every book we have from the library, every one relatives send us, every one I pick out as an Easter present (oops, I tend to give things away early), etc.  Either I'm getting better at picking books that he'll enjoy, or his interests are broadening.  Whatever the reason, we're enjoying it!  Here are a few that have been particularly popular lately.

As usual, he LOVES anything involving buses, cars, trucks, trains, or planes.

Big Dump Truck (WHEELIE BOOKS) (Board book), by DK Publishing. A toy and a book in one, this item was a spur of the moment purchase in an airport gift shop before getting on a plane. The book has large plastic wheels, and the board book pages can be held shut by a small velcro tab for zooming around. The book itself features photographs of various dumptrucks (and a digger), with brief informative text. I think these make wonderful gifts, and I am resisting the urge to get the bus and fire engine versions now that I've seen that they're available on amazon.com. MUST RESIST...

Excerpt:

"Some dump trucks are huge. This one can carry a load as heavy as 15 elephants!"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He really enjoys this, as I expected given the truck focus.



Wheelie Board Books: Digger (Board book), by DK Publishing. This is another toy/book combo. The book has plastic wheels and the pages velcro shut. It is smaller in size than the Dumptruck version, and the text is much simpler (just identification of the diggers).  I don't know why the amazon.com image isn't showing up here, but if you click through to the link, you should be able to see a photo of the book.

Excerpt:

"Little loader / little digger"

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He likes this one too (it has trucks, after all), but the dump truck one a bit more.


Here is the fire truck version I am (just barely) resisting:


And the bus:


The next few books (and the puzzle set) all came in a truck activity box set. I was really impressed with the nice packaging and all that it included: a board book, a paperback book, a sticker book chock full of transportation stickers, and three beautiful beginner puzzles of a fire engine, tractor, and dump truck. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like amazon.com sells the box set anymore (this was going to the top of my list for gift ideas), but some of the individual items are available:

My First Book of Trucks (Paperback), by Veronica Pennycook. Colorful photographs of trucks fill the pages of this paperback book, and just the right amount of text describes each photo. Each two-page spread features 6-10 vehicles.

Excerpt:

"What do trucks do? Combine harvesters cut down wheat. Dump trucks carry soil and rocks. Tractors plow the fields."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He has enjoyed this, requesting multiple reads. The only problem we had was that after I let him play with the sticker book for a long time, he then would get frustrated at this paperback book, because it looks very similar to the sticker book, so he'd be wanting the stickers and be disappointed. You won't have that problem if you're not buying the box set anyway of course.



My First Truck Board Book, by DK Publishing. This is the board book that came in the boxed set. It contains many more images than the typical board book.

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: The first time he read it, I left him with Daddy. I came in to hear Dad saying, "Again? We've already read that book four times."



My First Puzzle: Trucks (Misc. Supplies), by Anne Millard. This one is really a puzzle (not sure why it has an ISBN. I think it's the ISBN that used to be on the whole box set, but I'm not sure how that works).  I'm throwing it in here because it came in our box and would make a great companion to the books above. It includes three simple cardboard puzzles - a fire engine, tractor, and dump truck.

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He enjoys making a siren noise when he picks up the red pieces, but he doesn't really understand or enjoy this kind of puzzle yet. I like to put it together for him, though.


I have many more reviews to catch up on, but I think I'll stop at the transportation books tonight.  You can read more reviews of books about transportation here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Watermelon Award (Diggers)


We're getting our Wednesday Watermelon Award in just under the wire. (The Wednesday Watermelon Award is an award we bestow upon one of our little bookworm's favorite books every week).

Diggers (Usborne Touchy Feely) (Board book), by Fiona Watt. This large touch and feel board book has been a hit at our house this week. I knew our little man liked it when he willingly sat down and read it on the floor of the library surrounded by board books (that he usually just wants to take off the shelves), and signed for "more" when we finished it. Each construction scene features multiple tactile parts, such as bumpy hubcaps, a furry dog, or a mirrored window.

Excerpt:

"This yellow digger has a rusty bucket. / This yellow digger has muddy wheels."

Bookworm's interest at 16 months: He's not really into the touch and feel aspect of the book, but he enjoys every page. He points to the digger on each page, the birds on one page, the dog on another, the dumptruck in the background, etc.

Parent's Peeve: The book feels quite short, because each illustration is a two-page spread, so there are only five scenes.


If you enjoy Diggers, you should also check out our review of Trucks.

Give away winner

We had nearly 75 comments on our give away post, and over 110 entries (since there were ways to get multiple entries). Congratulations to Mommy'shome and Frugal friend, who have won the copies of Busy Chickens and Busy Bunnies. I will email both of you today . Many thanks to Tricycle Press for their generosity in donating the books!