Author Showcase

Robert Munsch
I love Robert Munsch books, in large part because they grab kids attention. I have had so many students who were circle time fidgets freeze, listen and enjoy story time when it was one of this author’s books. The way that some authors get kids emotions, Robert Munsch simply gets kids, he understands what will keep their attention , and more so what will make them laugh. I have reviewed many of Munsch’s works below are my favorites.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch is perhaps the classic tear jerking picture book. I read this for years and years to children and had no problem getting choked up, it never bothered me, then I gave birth and I can’t read it without sobbing. The premise is simple, a mom sings this simple song to her son as he grows ” I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as you’re living , my baby you’ll be.” until she can’t sing it anymore and it’s his turn. For days after I read this I tear up as I lay my son in his crib.

Makeup Mess by Robert Munsch . After seeing my son covered in paint this book immediately came to mind. It’s a fun and silly story all about Julie’s desire for make up , she uses all her money and buys $100 worth! Now I do not like to see little girls encouraged to wear make up or made to feel they need it to be beautiful, but don’t worry that is not what this book is about, quite the opposite. It’s a fun book with a good heart!


Moira’s Birthday by Robert Munsch is a silly book, most of his books are, but silly is great! Moira is excited about having her birthday and doesn’t know how to say no to all the kids at school when they beg to come to her party. She ends up with the whole school at her house and her parents don’t know what to do! Luckily Moira does. This book at first look may seem like Moira is a spoiled brat who gets her way but really she is problem solving and when she gives away a present to each child who helps clean up, you can see she just wanted a good party, and isn’t a gift grabbing brat at all! Kids LOVE this book, I have never read it to a class that didn’t laugh hysterically.

Murmel, Murmel, Murmel is on my son’s dresser right now, it’s a current favorite. In the book a little girl finds a baby and quickly decides she needs to give it to an adult. However the adults she finds aren’t exactly suitable. My son loves doing the baby’s part saying “Murmel , murmel, murmel” as I read the rest. The message is about caring for a baby and my son repeats the line about what a baby is for ” loving and hugging and feeding and burping” which warms my heart. The baby eventually finds a loving adult and the little girl’s responsibility is paid off in a very Munsch like way.

Stephanie’s Ponytail is my favorite Munsch book. I feel a little like I am cheating on The Paper Bag Princess but I love Stephanie’s confidence. The story is about Stephanie whose friends, and even teachers start copying how she wears her ponytail. She moves if to the side, to the top of her head even right in front of her face and they keep copying her. So she outsmarts them all with shocking results. I like this book and while reading it to a class I would re-arrange my own hair to match Stephanie’s and have the class in hysterics when my ponytail ended up block my view of the book. The message though is about being your own person, a powerful one for kids today.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.

Zoom! is another of my son’s favorite Munsch books. The little girl in the book is looking for a new wheelchair and isn’t satisfied until she has the fastest wheelchair she can get her hands on. What I love about this book isn’t the absurd humor ( which there is plenty of) it’s the fact that the main character being in a wheelchair is the norm. There is no long explanation about why she has a wheelchair , nothing preachy about children with disabilities. I think it’s important to have books that explain disabilities, and to learn more about them but also equally important to have books like this one that are seamlessly assimilated.

Don’t miss Robert Munsch’s awesome website
www.robertmunsch.com

Books about Bedtime

Reading at bed time is a great way to unwind, connect with your child and end the day on a happy calm note . Kids will often choose their favorite bedtime books over and over and that is not just normal it’s a great way to make them feel connected to reading in a positive way. What we like to do with picture books at bedtime is to have our kids pick one ( or two is time permits ) and parents choose the other. Then we can introduce new books while letting them feel secure by choosing their favorite bedtime books as well.These are my 10 favorite bedtime books for kids .

Looking for Sleepy by Maribeth Boelts is a perfect bedtime book. I really think it’s brilliant. I was gifted it and it probably wouldn’t have jumped off the book shelf to me if I had been browsing at the book store but I am so glad it ended up in our hands. The book is about a little bear and his papa bear getting ready for bed. They go through their bedtime routine, starting by looking for sleepy hiding under toys, in the bath , in his pjs, in the bedtime stories etc… I love the dad in this book. I love how he’s patient and kind and the illustration on the page where they are reading in bed and his toddler’s hand is awkwardly on his head cracks me up. My favorite part though is that when the toddler asks Papa to stay a little longer while he falls asleep Papa does. I enjoy books that are reassuring and provide a sense of security for young children at bedtime and this does that with ease. Awesome book!

Goodnight Moonby Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups I admit I was wrong, this is a gem ! The rhythm and rhymes are perfect to go from a busy day to a calm night. My son chooses this book to read to us often since he knows it by heart and when he’s having trouble sleeping I can lay with him and simply recite it to bring him back down. I say that is pretty great proof of the power of this classic.


Mortimer (Classic Munsch)  by Robert Munsch is a fun bedtime book, it’s not the calmest and is pretty funny so you may want to read this one before some more chill books, but it’s so cute I couldn’t leave it off my list. I can’t remember the first time I read this book, but whether reading it to a group of preschoolers or to my son I have never had a child not sing along with Mortimer who is driving everyone bonkers by not going to sleep! Instead he is singing and making noise and not even the police can stop him!


Otto Goes to Bed by Todd Parr is a really fun and positive book. Otto is a dog who doesn’t want to go to bed, he wants to play, chase his tail and a bath and brushing teeth don’t help. Instead he figures out that there is something he likes about bedtime, dreaming! I like that this book addresses that going to bed feels like missing out on things for kids, I know I felt like that for years. Instead of blankly saying “Sleeping is great” or “You have to go to bed” this book finds something positive about going to bed . The illustration of Otto as a super hero dog makes my son howl with laughter every time.

 

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann has been one of my son’s favorite bedtime books for years. It is an adorable book about a zoo keeper who’s animals follow him home, and snuggle into bed. My son likes to point out mama, dada and he labels the little gorilla snuggling in bed as the baby! There is something very toddler like about that sneaky gorilla and now when my son is being mischievous we call him our “sneaky little gorilla”. It’s very sweet, and a nice calm book to read before bed or nap. Also see if you can find the tribute to Babar in one of the illustrations!

Good Night, Dinosaurs by Judy Sierra is a tongue twister and I love it! I have a hard time pronouncing dinosaur names, but the cute little rhymes she writes to go with each really help. The book is simple, parent dinosaurs tucking in and getting their little dinosaurs ready to fall asleep. Your child will love the catchy “Good Night Dinosaurs, Sleep Tight Dinosaurs, Good Night Dinosaurs, Goodnight!” I know I did.
I Don’t Want to Go to Bed! by Julie Sykes is a story about a tiger who refuses to go to bed. His mom decides to let him stay up. Little tiger goes around to all his friends and asks them to play but they are all getting ready for bed or already asleep. The jungle isn’t nearly as fun at night as he thought and it’s much colder too! He’s getting scared when he finds a new friend who takes him home just in time to fall asleep. My son liked this book and so did I it addresses a child’s feeling of missing out on fun and explains the reality which is that they aren’t missing out on anything at all.
Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright made both my husband and I laugh hysterically my son liked it too, but we loved it. It’s about a little boy who can’t sleep without his parents and they don’t like sleeping with feet in their faces. Can you relate, we can which is why we found this book so funny. What I liked was that Jake wasn’t disciplined for wanting to sleep with his parents, and they tried and tired all different places to sleep, they were just being honest that it wasn’t working anymore! My son loved the page that they were all sleeping in garbage cans and I loved that Jake looked to be about 12 , it gives me hope that my son may sleep alone by puberty.

Good Night, Mr. Night by Dan Yaccarino This is another wonderful and calming bedtime book, Mr. Night quiets the animals , closes the flowers and gets the world ready to go night night! I love this book- I keep meaning to pick up the board book version! Like ” Goodnight Moon” there aren’t too many words, but the illustrations are perfect! My son likes to say “Come here Mr.Night” while getting into bed when we read this one.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague is a beautifully illustrated story about the tantrums and dramatics that dinosaurs put their parents through at bedtime. I really like this book because it asks if dinosaurs do all these naughty things and kids love to point out what the dinosaurs shouldn’t be doing. Of course in the end the dinosaur s remember their manners and go to bed with hugs and kisses and the lights off!

 

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More Transportation Books !

“Freight Train” by Donald Crews is best reviewed by my son who loves it so much he “reads” it to us. This video was taken for grand parents far away but it was perfect for this post. Clearly proof of how many times we have read it, renewed it from the library and genuinely enjoy it as a family.


“My Truck is Stuck”
by Kevin Lewis is a fun book full of great rhymes and funny illustrations from Daniel Kirk. The story is simple a truck is stuck and even though other vehicles come to help, nothing budges until a tow truck arrives. The best part is the cargo of bones in the truck are slowly stolen by hungry gophers while the others work to free the truck. It’s got a great message about helping people and the illustrations make me giggle, especially the guy in the moving van who is blowing bubbles. I have never understood that but it makes me laugh.


“Trucks Go”
by Steve Light is a new find for us. I spotted this board book from across the library during preschool story time today. There were kids everywhere and I was not sure that I would get to it before someone else did. I kept my composure , didn’t have to elbow a single person and popped it in my bag. The minute of worry was worth it , what an awesome book! The illustrations are so beautiful that I would seriously consider framing every page. The book goes through different trucks ( garbage truck, cement mixer, fire engine etc..) and the sounds they make. My son was laughing and repeating the sounds while we read this at bedtime and enjoyed the water color illustrations almost as much as I did. Grab this one like I did.


“The Truck Book”
by Harry McNaught is another favorite in our house, mostly because it has a forklift in it. There isn’t much of a story, instead it’s a collection of labeled illustrations. If your child is like mine and loves , no obsesses over things that move this is a fantastic book. I admit I get bored reading it even if my son doesn’t. To fight that boredom we play I spy and both of us are happy.


“The Mighty Street Sweeper”
by Patrick Moore is a rare book, it’s rare because it is a story about self esteem clothed in a truck book. The street sweeper isn’t the biggest, the fastest or the most powerful truck but it’s still mighty and proud. I really like this book, we read it before nap and again before bed and I liked it even more the second time. The message about being happy with who you are is really touching . I liked that the book says that you don’t have to be the best at everything to still be proud of your hard work. My son really enjoyed this book as well and it was excited to read it again at bedtime.

Books About Dad

” Daddy Hugs” by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband two years ago for his first father’s day and my son hated it. However in the years since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Also like Katz’s “Mommy Hugs” book it grows with your child. Now at 2.5 my son likes to find the number on the page and read it to us before we read him the text.

” The 10 Best Things About My Dad” by Christine Loomis didn’t leave much of an impression with me until I hit #8, which says ” When I am sad he hugs me close . He never says “Don’t cry”. That page won me over, and made this book stand out for me. I love that it’s promoting sensitivity in both the dad and little boy! I think anything that shows such care is worth a look.

“Dad’s Bald Head” by Paul Many made all of us laugh when I read it during a family lunch last weekend. My husband shaves his head so , so much of this book was familiar to all of us.The story is about a dad who decides to shave his head and his son who isn’t so sure about this new development. It’s sweet, funny and realistic about how kids do and don’t transition to our changes. My favorite part was the passionate kiss the mom plants on her husband after he shaves his head. Not just because I thought it was sweet, it is nice to see parents having romantic though appropriate moments in children’s books. I want my son to see I love my husband and I show it in all different ways.

“Daddy’s Song” by Leslea Newman was a big hit with my son. The book is a lullaby that a father sings to his daughter before bed. It’s whimsical and at times down right funny. The illustrations by Karen Ritz keep up with the whimsy and make it all seem like a silly dream. Then the end of the book brings us all back to reality with the most important message, that even if all these silly things did happen and turned the little girls world topsy turvy, that her dad would be there and still love her. Big thumbs up from us for this sweet but not sappy book!

“My Daddy” by Susan Paradis . This book is a look at daddy from a little boy’s worshiping point of view. We see all the things his dad can do, and how the little boy wants to do these things too. In many of the illustrations we see the daddy doing something like mowing the lawn and the son is watching with a toy mower. This book was just ok for me, there was nothing wrong with it , it just didn’t move me the way some of the others have.

“Piglet and Papa” by Margaret Wild. I was so happy to discover that this author wrote a daddy book to compliment “Piglet and Mama” which I reviewed and loved for Mother’s Day. Papa pig and piglet are playing and piglet thinks she may have made her daddy very angry and worries about his love for her. The other farm animals help by reassuring piglet and finally she finds Papa pig and the other animals were right he does love her more than anyone in the whole world.

Beach Books !

Here are some beach books to get you geared up for summer.

“The Seaside Switch” by Kathleen V. Kudlinski is a book packed with information about tides and creatures in the sea. As a child I found nothing more fascinating than a tide pool and all the scurrying crabs and this book captures that. It’s main story is how the tide changes throughout the day and brings with it different animals. The book is too long for most toddlers but my son enjoyed pointing out the animals in the book.


“Just Grandma and Me” by Mercer Mayer is a sweet book. Little Critter and his grandma hit the beach and enjoy an afternoon together. There is something so sweet and touching about this book and the special bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. Mercer Mayer really did a great job at capturing the unique relationship between grand parents and grand children in this book. It also does a good job covering all the beach bases. They swim , play in the sand and have treats. The last page is adorable with Little Critter being carried into his house asleep on his grandma’s shoulder.

 


“The Sandcastle Contest” by Robert Munsch. I gave this book a really bad review last year. While it still isn’t my favorite Munsch book, I am taking back some of what I said. My son grabbed it the other day and after reading it with him ( last year it was over his head) I can honestly say I have had a change of heart. The tantrum the main character has when no one believes him about really making everything from sand was a good teaching tool for my 2.5 year old. We stopped and talked about anger, and deep breaths, and wrecking things when we are mad. I think this book could be a good way for parents to talk about anger and frustration without feeling like you are giving a lecture.

“Otto Goes To The Beach” by Todd Parr was a steal of a deal at the Goodwill last week! I got a hardcover in perfect condition for 70 cents. My bargin hunting aside, I really enjoy this book as did my son. Otto is a dog who goes to the beach but no one wants to do the same things as he does, even the fish swim the other way! In the end after feeling very sad Otto finds a new friend and all his misery is forgotten. I love Todd Parr books, I love the insanely bright colors, the cute simplistic illustrations and I love the messages they send. This book followed his other books perfectly and provided a great final message about not giving up finding a friend who will like all the same things you do!

Scaredy Squirrel : at the beach” by Melanie Watt is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.


“What Lives in a Shell” by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is another great book in the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series. This book is a little long for toddlers but really easy to break into parts. The book starts talking about snails, then moves to turtles and finally sea shells. I read it to my son in parts, and that was perfect for his 2 year old attention span. This book like the others in the series break down facts to a preschoolerslevel without loosing any substance. If you are looking for a non fiction book for your little one, you must check out this series, they are hands down my favorite non fiction for young children.