Sunday, October 7, 2012

what we're reading now...september (rather, what we read...september)

Sunday, October 7, 2012
September was a lovely month for us, full of birthday celebrating, trips to the beach and aquarium, and even an early visit to a local pumpkin patch.  Clearly, not a lot of blogging was happening.  We were reading all the while, of course.

Extra Yarn.  Is it wrong that I coerced by little baby into loving this book?  I took one look and decided that he HAD to like it.  Illustrated by Jon Klassen, the clever genius behind I Want My Hat Back, it is a great little story about a magically voluminous box of yarn that transforms a little town, all at the hands of a young knitter named Annabelle.  Didn't that one brief descriptive sentence make you want to read it immediately?  I thought so.  For the record,  A does actually love it.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk.  I was surprised that A developed such a strong connection to this book at first.  It was a selection on a whim from the library, a classic that wasn't part of our own collection.  We are already on our first book renewal, and I don't know if he'll be able to part with it.  Even though I know that the simple, deep blue pages with single stark white illustrations are exactly the kind of thing a young mind like his can comprehend, I somehow thought he would lose patience with it.  After all, he doesn't grasp rather abstract concepts like a cloud yet.  I know I harp on this all the time with my reading lists, but conceptual books that focus on a repeating pattern like this one are truly great for emerging readers.  Yes, I did just refer to my ONE-YEAR OLD toddler as an emerging reader, but I think it's an apt description.  For those years until a child begins to read, every reading behavior that they practice, from exploring books to choosing them based on pictures is a part of the reading process.

Who Took the Farmer's Hat?  We have a farm obsession going on in our house.  Farm animal puzzles, farm animal magnets, fancy farm animal noise-making toys.  All of this has resulted in baby A's incredible proficiency at imitating the sounds of the biggies (cow, horse, sheep, pig, etc.)  Another farm animal book, especially one as old-fashioned and adorable as this one, can't hurt!

A Visitor for Bear.  I adore this lovely book, which lends itself to reading in a British accent.  The tale of a persnickety bear who doesn't quite realize just how lonely he is until he is worn down by the repeated friendly efforts of a "small, grey, bright-eyed" mouse, I consider A Visitor for Bear to be one of my best new finds of the year.  I was thrilled to discover that there are several other Mouse and Bear titles, and can't wait to get my hands on them.

The Three Little Pigs. Yet again, a Paul Galdone classic haunted our little house for the ENTIRE month of September.  I cannot tell you how completely attached A becomes to virtually all of these extremely traditional fairy tales.  I checked out a cute James Marshall riff on The Three Bears this week and we barely made it through four pages before he shoved it off my lap.

Diary of a Worm.  Another book that I really thought might be beyond A's interest, Diary of a Worm has become a fast favorite.  Doreen Cronin's books are always funny, but these Diary editions (Worm, Spider, and Fly) are especially enjoyable because of the detailed, yet not too busy illustrations.  So far, I haven't won A over to the other books, but I'll happily continue reading this one.  My favorite page, by far, is when the worm tells his vain sister that no matter how much she looks in the mirror, her face will always look like her rear end.  Ha!  We moms and dads need a bit of humor to get through nine million readings of the same book!

Knuffle Bunny.  It took me a while to warm up to this book, and all of Mo Willems' work.  I am all about children's books that subtly showcase adult humor, but I felt like I needed a bit more substance than what these have to offer (Ok, I did totally love the book about Pigeon finding a hot dog, and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, a recent find at the library, is hilarious).  A pulled this book off the shelf one day, and as I opened it (with a sigh, I might add), I found a faded yellow Post-it stuck to the first page.  In my mom's handwriting were the words, "Cute book."  She'd picked up a copy at the elementary school book fair years ago and saved it for my classroom library (not the first or last time she generously assisted me).  It was like finding a little treasure, a little bit of my mom, however small and seemingly insignificant.  A fresh perspective immediately came over me as I started on the first page.  "She thought it was cute," I told myself.  That's good enough for me.
P.S. A has now taken to grabbing the stuffed Knuffle Bunny at our local bookstore and hugging it.  Too bad the $25.00 price tag will prevent him from adding it too his collection.

Coming up in October: holiday books edition!

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