This is the first time I’ve been late on a book post. I was incredibly on top of Christmas organization this year (cards arrived in friend’s homes starting Nov 30!) but getting a post out on the actual day I wanted to get it out was apparently a challenge. Sigh.
We visited the library a few times this month and took out some more fantastic books. So many great books, in fact, that I have to remind myself not to buy them all. “Just because I like it doesn’t mean we need it!” So I put them on our Amazon wish list for Christmas. Easy solution.
Speaking of Christmas (Merry Christmas Eve!), although my daughter would read Christmas books all year long if I kept them out, I don’t, so when I brought them back out this year (and added a few more) those have topped the list of bedtime stories.
I thought last quarter’s list was massive… this one tops it. Phew. Here goes.
Antoinette and Gaston are two cute books by Kelly Dipucchio and Christian Robinson, and there’s just something about them that keeps me coming back. It’s interesting how crudely they’re illustrated – I don’t know if that’s the right word but it looks very simply done – yet they still evoke the emotions needed in the story. The stories themselves are a little complicated for a 3yo to completely understand but my daughter’s favorite part was naming the dogs whenever their names were listed off. “Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston! Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, Antoinette!!” Very cute.
I’m not sure if you know but when they say it’s a BIG Golden Book, they’re not kidding. This thing took me 10 minutes to read aloud cover to cover and that was without stopping, without explaining, without anything except fast reading. Whew. Luckily I know the story of The Little Mermaid well enough to paraphrase when needed. This is one she was upset about returning to the library, so guess who’s getting a similar one under the tree…?
Christopher Denise did a fantastic job of realistically illustrating Baking Day at Grandma’s. Some of these pages look like photographs (bears excluded). The story is of three little bears who visit their grandma’s home to bake some chocolate brownies (or cake?) and head back home at the end of the day. It’s easy and sweet and has a few bits of nostalgia for those who remember wood burning stoves and phonographs.
How To Babysit a Grandma by Jean Reagan is so darn cute and so darn realistic. Cover your grandma in stickers and sequins? Check. “Help” her cook lunch? Check. “Allow” her to keep the lights on when she goes to bed? Check. Very sweet story about grandparent babysitting time. We haven’t read How To Babysit A Grandpa but I’m sure it’ll be just as adorable.
Have You Seen Elephant? is a beautifully illustrated story about an unlikely champ of hide-and-seek. It’s simple, dramatic, and really well done. I especially liked the modern family dynamic. I’d buy this just for the illustrations.
Blue Ethel is a story about a fat old cat named Ethel who accidentally covers herself in blue chalk, thus becoming Blue Ethel. It’s a subtle, but effective, story about accepting changes and differences. It also hit home because one day while we had this book checked out our dog, Blue, rolled in pink chalk and thus became Pink Blue.
The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers is another one of those very well illustrated stories. This one was done by hand in graphite and then colored digitally, and I love the emotion behind graphite drawings. The story is of an orphan (and his neighborhood) who sees intricate topiaries appear overnight, and he soon becomes the apprentice. The book was a surprise hit with my little one.
I had to look to see when this book was written because the illustrations make it look like something out of (what I think would be) the 1950s. The Teacher’s Pet is a cute story about a teacher who is clueless about his new classroom pet’s true species.
The Snatchabook by Helen and Thomas Docherty was a favorite for both me and my daughter. Some books I love to read aloud and others I kind of dread, but I always tried to make sure this was one of the three I read during pre-nap or pre-bed storytime. Plus how often can you do a cute little voice for a character called The Snatchabook?
This is Not My Hat is another great Jon Klassen book. The story is simple with his lovely signature illustrations, and it’s kind of dark (though not noticeably so, if you’re three) in more ways than one.
Beauty and the Beast as retold by Cynthia Rylant was one I thought I’d dread reading as it seems kind of long. But, the illustrations reminded me of Jon Klassen’s Extra Yarn and it made it easier to get through. Meg Park’s digital illustrations are very much in line with what I consider the new Disney “look.” Part retro, part updated. I liked it overall.
Some Spanish language books:
¿Somos Amigos? by Anabel Fernandez Rey is one of the few Spanish books my daughter asks for by name. I really liked it and plan on adding to her library. I learned new vocabulary and verb conjugation, and she learned that being friends means more than having one-sided relationships. Win-win.
La Princesa and the Pea is SO darn cute and so well done. The integration of Spanish is almost seamless (I stumbled over a word here or there in my attempt to read with 100% proficiency on the first try) and I love the illustrations. I plan on buying this one as well.
And for the Christmas stories:
The kiddos were introduced to Charlie Brown this year and I have to say it was a good thing. She was enraptured by the Halloween movie and on November 1st we moved right on to this one. The book of Charlie Brown’s Christmas was supposed to be a Christmas present from Grandma (but was opened early) and has been read many a time in the last few weeks. It’s the 50th anniversary of the story yet Charlie Brown has some timeless nuggets of wisdom still applicable in 2017.
Frosty The Snowman. Another favorite movie and story. Another one with a few decades on it. This one is a bit weird to read now as an adult, especially to look at how the children are dressed in the snow (shorts?), but hey. She loves it, therefore, so do I.
The Night Before Christmas has many iterations but I grabbed the Classic Edition to stick as close to the story and original illustration style as I could. (Marjolein Bastin almost had my money because her illustrations remind me of when I was younger, but I felt the pages were too busy for a toddler.) This one had her attention from the get go.
Duck and Goose, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin, and Duck and Goose It’s Time For Christmas have all been gifts, and the kids love them. Duck and Goose are new to me but they seem like two little mischievous water fowl who are goofy and have some simple fun. Good books all around.
And with that, another quarter has begun. I look forward to seeing the new books under the tree and which will become favorites in the next few weeks.
Merry Christmas to all of you. ❤