Books So Good You’ll Break The Binding

book-binding

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Today, we’re bringing the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Pinterest to our blogs. I am super thrilled to have Zina from Let’s Lasso The Moon here today while I am over at Not Just Cute sharing a simple and deceptively educational playdough activity ( I swear we can not get enough of it these days).  After you check out my activity there you can follow the tour to the next blog until you end up back here. This group of women fill me with inspiration and if you want a quick glimpse of how rad they are check out our collaborative Pinterest board .

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by Zina Harrington

“Again, Mama” How can you resist the request? A good children’s book not only connects with the child, but also with the parent. These are the books that moms and dads willingly read over and over and over again. These are the books that get dragged around the house, that are bent by little hands, that are treasured. These are the books that make reading with your little one an absolute pleasure.

Below are 20 books that are so good you’ll break the binding.

 Oh, David! A Diaper David Book [Board book] David Shannon

Oh, David! A Diaper David Book by David Shannon is a board book that won over our hearts. No matter what mischief David finds himself in, he is reassured his mother loves him. The watercolor illustrations are true to life. The story has a sing-song appeal that little kids love. They can easily pick-up saying “Oh David!” as you read. The binding was broke, it was sticky, and one of the corners had been sucked on. When it was time to say goodbye to our board books, this one was loved beyond the point of donation.

 Little Pea [Hardcover] Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal was my daughter’s favorite. I am a huge fan of all of Rosenthal’s work. Her utterly amusing stories and simple watercolor illustrations allow the child to enjoy the story without distraction. We read this book to our toddler night after night… after night (and then again). When my daughter was two she had the entire book memorized. One evening I captured her reading the book cover to cover on my iPhone. Click here to see the adorable storybook video created from the recording. Now that my daughter is seven, I treasure this audio even more. This book still holds a special place in her heart as well. She often listens to the Land of Nod author reading of the story [free podcast] when going to bed. She also read the book to her class at first grade show-and-tell this year!

 Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat [Hardcover] Cynthia Rylant

Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat by Cynthia Rylant was a lucky find for our family. Our girls desperately wanted to move-up to read “chapter books,” but they weren’t quite ready. I picked up this early reader at a rummage because it was broken down into three chapters. We immediately fell in love with Henry and Mudge. In this story, Henry’s family takes in a shabby cat. When the owner comes to collect his pet both Henry and Mudge are devastated, but happy to know he’s going back home. Rylant writes in a way that allows children to understand the depth of their conflicting emotions and connect. Of course, the short book leaves children with a happy ending. The entire series is wonderful, but this book is by far our favorite.

Below are other well-loved books from our in-home library:
Brownie and Pearl by Cynthia Rylant
Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki
My First Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse by Leo Lionni
Little Bear by Maurice Sendak
Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn
Have You Got My Purr? by Judy West
Good Night Moon [Board book] by Margaret Wise Brown
Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
The Very Hungry Caterpillar [Board book] by Eric Carle
The Snowy Day by Erza Jack Keats [Board book]*We get a lot of snow in Wisconsin!
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? [Board book] by Bill Martin Jr.
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall

What are your little one’s absolute favorite books? Did you break any bindings at your house? There are so many amazing authors and illustrators out there. My daughters are just getting started with early chapter books. Do you have any book recommendations for us? From your family or from your own childhood? Let’s chat!

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Zina from Let's Lasso the Moon

Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments. Let’s Lasso the Moon and No Time for Flash Cards co-host a Little Book Lovers Pinterest board.

Connect with Zina Online
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Check out the rest of the Top 20 Moms on Pinterest. Click through the images to be taken to their blogs.

20 Moms The Artful Parent No Time For Flash Cards - Crafts, books, and learning for babies and kids. Creative with Kids Red Ted Art Teach Preschool A Mom With A Lesson Plan | add a little learning to your playtime The Imagination Tree Not Just Cute | Intentional Whole Child DevelopmentNot Just Cute | Intentional Whole Child Development Playful Learning Inner Child Fun | What to do with kids | Crafts, Activities, Play Ideas Kids Stuff World — The little things, the big things and all the "stuff" in between Lasso the Moon Lasso the Moon » Making Everyday an Adventure Kids Activities Blog - Fun Learning Activities Kids hands on : as we grow | hands on kids activities for hands on moms » Peanut Blossom 20 Moms Rhett


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10 Books About Easter

10 easter books for kidsWe love chocolate, we love jelly beans but we love books even more. Every Easter we put at least one book in the Easter basket.  Sometimes they are Easter themed like these sometimes they are about cars and trucks, animals or princesses. The important part is that we are slipping books in as treats wherever we can. Here are some great books about Easter to read before and after the bunny hops over to your house. Also pop over to Scholastic Parents and check out my latest post about creating a book hunt . Just like Easter egg hunt only you find books and read them as you go along.

The Golden Egg

The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown is one of those books I have clear memories of from childhood. Thing is I don’t really remember the story so much as the cover. In this case it’s ok to judge a book by it’s cover because although the ending has always seemed tacked on to me I enjoyed this simple and cute book about a bunny and the egg that he finds. My son liked it too, although he was much more into the illustrations of butterflies in the first and last few pages.

scholastic book giveaway

The Best Easter Prize by Kristina Evans is a sweet ( maybe too sweet) book about doing the right thing. It’s Easter morning and after church is a big Easter egg hunt and whoever finds the most wins the prize. At first our heroine can’t find any but then she hits the jackpot only to find a crying friend who has an empty basket. Of course she offers her some of her eggs ( sweet) but then they cross the finish line holding hands ( too sweet). My dislike of sickly sweet picture books aside the story as a whole is cute, my kids enjoyed it and the lesson is valuable.

What Is Easter? by Michelle Medlock Adams was a bit disappointing for us. I love her What is Christmas book and vaguely remember liking this the first time I read it ( and gave it a good but not detailed review) so I grabbed this for my daughter’s Easter basket before re reading it. Ooops. Live and learn sometimes authors you love make books you won’t. This book takes a Christian viewpoint vs the many secular Easter books focusing on egg hunts and the Easter bunny. The book explains the facts about Easter and how it’s the celebration of Jesus’s death and resurrection . It starts out noting all the secular aspects of the holiday and how they are fun but are not the real reason you celebrate. Where it lost my son and I was when it said that Jesus was crucified on a tree. You don’t have to be Christian for that to make you say WHAT? My son interrupted my reading and said ” You are tricking, No he died on a cross!” ( glad he listens in church!) So discussed I it on twitter and while the poetry of it is apparent as a mom and former Sunday School teacher let’s give the kids the basics and then branch out into discussions about interpretations etc… later. If you have this book I’d love to hear your take. * Interestingly as I said I reviewed this book years ago and gave it a positive review and didn’t mention the tree, nor do I remember it being an issue. My only explanation is I read it as poetic language and as an adult it didn’t phase me, and as a toddler my son didn’t stop me reading it like he did today at 4.

Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book) by Olivier Durea is a cute book about friends working hard to dye their Easter eggs, well all but one Ollie who is playing and looking incredibly adorable in bunny ears while the others work hard. However Ollie may have missed out on dyeing the eggs but he makes up for it by masterminding a true egg hunt! My 4 year old son loved this book and how sneaky Ollie was as he snatched the hidden dyed eggs and re hid them! Cute addition to this popular series.

Where Are Baby’s Easter Eggs? by Karen Katz is a great way of having an Easter egg hunt while reading a story. If you aren’t familiar with the ” Where are Baby’s …” series of life the flap books, they are simple books where the reader searches for an item finding other things first before finally finding the title object, in this case Easter eggs. My daughter loves these books and plays with them even when we aren’t reading them together. I love the bright illustrations and the simple holiday theme.

The Biggest Easter Basket Ever
by Steven Kroll is another story about cooperation and how two helpful hands are better than one, and a whole bunch of hands is way better! Clayton and Desmond both want to win the town’s biggest Easter basket competition but after making their own baskets they sneak a peek at the competition and realize they don’t stand out. Luckily as the story progresses they figure out working together is key. My son loved this book but some younger friends ( young 4 year olds) lost interest in the middle. I love this author and I love how working together is presented in a practical way instead of simply because it’s the right thing because I think the former is easier for young kids to grasp.

Peter Rabbit’s Happy Easter

by Grace Maccarone is an interesting tale about how Peter Rabbit became the Easter Bunny. The book has a few loose ends I really wish would be tied up but before I get to that let me give you a quick taste of the book. The story is how Peter wants to make his mom forgive him for being naughty so he steals ( although he doesn’t see it that way) eggs from neighboring farms to give her as a gift. Before he gives them to her paint falls on them and they get colored all different beautiful colors. His mom tells him not to steal and so he returns them at night becoming the Easter Bunny. Ok here are my issues…I don’t mind naughty characters, in fact I usually really enjoy them but sneaking back to return something you stole without apologizing left a bad taste. I know why the author wrote it like that to turn him into the Easter Bunny but it still didn’t sit well with me. The illustrations by David McPhail really stole the show , I thought they were beautiful.

The Story of Easter by Patricia A. Pingry was the text I was expecting and hoping What is Easter would have. I am just glad it will be added to our family library soon. This book does a fantastic job at explaining the holiday of Easter, it’s origins and traditions on the level of kids still young enough to read a board book. It doesn’t hurt that the church in it looks identical to ours and my son was so excited that our church was in the book! I also appreciated the diversity in the illustrations .

Easter books

The Best Easter Eggs Ever!
by Jerry Smath is my favorite book in this pack . The story follows the Easter bunny and his 3 young assistant bunnies as they prepare for their big day. The Easter Bunny is getting tired and a little bored of his polka dot design for the eggs and decides to send out his assistants in search of new designs. The little bunnies head out with one egg and paints to all different places to find inspiration. When one of the little bunnies is captivated by the night sky she doesn’t notice how dark it is and how lost she has gotten. The Easter Bunny and his other assistants find her and in the morning the new designs are celebrated. My son loves an inside look at any sort of secret place like the Easter Bunny’s or Santa’s workshop so he was drawn into this book immediately. I liked the illustrations and how detailed they were , it certainly got me excited about Easter.

easter books for kids

The Night Before Easter
by Natasha Wing is a Easter version of the classic “Twas The Night Before Christmas” . With fun pictures and an Easter Bunny so joyful I wanted to apply for his job this book was a hit at our house. My son was engaged through the whole book guessing at the rhymes and listening intently from one page to the next. Of all the books this was the only one that really engaged my toddler as well. She pointed out animals and loved the little boy in the book. Great Easter book.

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25 Great Picture Books That Rhyme

25 picture books that rhymeRhyming is so important for children to understand and play with language. These books tell great stories and have great rhymes.  March 1st is Read Across America Day and while most people focus on Dr. Seuss books ( his birthday is the 2nd) I thought I would put together a list of great books that rhyme. It’s a sort of homage to Dr.Seuss  and his rhyming legacy.  Do you have a favorite book that rhymes we didn’t include? Tell us about it in comments!

books about being different

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae is a very sweet story about a giraffe who gets laughed at because he doesn’t know how to dance. A cricket gives him some great advice and with new found confidence that different isn’t always bad he starts to dance!  This has been a favorite in our house for years because the illustrations are fun and the rhyming text has the perfect pace to keep the story going.

parts

Parts by Tedd Arnold is so funny. Readers follow along as a 5 year old boy begins noticing things about his body he’d never noticed before like belly button lint, snot, peeling skin and more. His anxious assumptions about his body falling apart will have you in stitches. My 2 year old laughed and got most of the humor but slightly older children will be laughing hysterically at how silly the little boy’s worries are.

HowBigIsAPig

How Big Is a Pig? by Claire Beaton is a favorite in our house and has been for both my kids. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text. My daughter loves taking this one in the stroller while I run and because it’s a board book I can give it to her without worrying that after a few miles it’s ripped and ruined.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!by Karen Beaumont is guaranteed to entertain your child, even my toddler was laughing and anticipating the rhyming text which tickled me to no end! Now I have had some parents in the past not be happy about the use of “ain’t ” and the little boy in the story painting everywhere, I would counter that by saying people do use “ain’t” and kids do paint on things they aren’t supposed to you can use this as an example of what you aren’t supposed to do, and ask your child what they think should happen if they painted all over the house? As far as using “Ain’t” I would play the traditional “It ain’t gonna rain no more” and explain that the author used that song as inspiration for the book.

madeline

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans was a childhood favorite and I remember being a little girl and thinking I want to be just like Madeline because she was so brave. She wasn’t afraid of anything and what always struck me was how proud she was of her scar. Something that little girls are told by society to hide because it makes us less than perfect physically yet Madeline hikes up her nightgown and shows it off. Of my childhood heroines Madeline was right up there with Anne Shirley, Annie and Brigitta from Sound of Music. As a teacher and parent I adore Bemelmans’ rhymes which at times are a stretch but in a way that gets kids thinking about what does and doesn’t rhyme.

Granny Went To Market

Granny Went to Market by Stella Blackstone is a book I got to know very well when writing lessons for Itty Bitty Bookworm preschool curriculum using it. This a a really fantastic book that is filled with language arts, geography and math lessons. Granny is a traveler and everywhere she goes she picks up a number of souvenirs. Not only are a number of countries like Switzerland, Mexico and Peru visited, but the souvenirs she buys relate to the country’s culture and offer even more learning opportunities for interested kids.  The rhyming text will enchant even the youngest world traveler , this is a must for any jet setting family!

moo baa lalala

Moo Baa La La Laby Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and lets me honest if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge plus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough and it’s a book that will grow with her.

big-red-barn

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown is one of my very favorite books to read to my daughter before bed although it took a while before she warmed up to it. I was worried because I loved reading it to my son and couldn’t wait to share it with her.  The story is simple readers see a day in the life of a big red barn and all the animals inside. Each animal is introduced in the seamless text that reads like a melodic poem. It’s  calm , soothing and Felicia Bond’s illustrations are perfect, I love how the sky subtly changes as the night beckons.  A wonderful book for anytime, but especially poignant before bed.

goodnight_moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown isn’t an innovative choice but I make babies who love this book. My son could be “Goodnight Mooned ” to sleep as a baby if we simply recited the words and while my daughter isn’t at that point yet she sits happily listening to our voices as we read it to her. I will be the first to admit I didn’t always love this book but as a mom it’s been more than a book, it’s been a signal to my son that it’s bedtime and I hope that it becomes part of my daughter’s routine soon too.  The story is simple , it’s not even really a story so much as a baby bunny saying goodnight to all the objects in his room including the moon peeking in the window.

book1

Is There Really a Human Race? by Jamie Lee Curtis made me cry. My husband would say that’s not exactly hard , but it is when it’s a book not many bring me to tears. I really like this book and so did my son which surprised me because I thought it would be too long and sophisticated for a 2 year old. The rhyming text was so well written that it along with the adorable illustrations by Laura Cornell kept him happily interested as I read it to him before nap. I thought that the message was going to be about race relations, but instead it was about the rat race, and how it’s more important to try your best, help others and to be bold. The line ” And for those who can’t speak for themselves use bold voices” was when I lost it. I hope that lesson is one I can teach my son, to stand up for others. Okay so maybe I am a softy but this book is great!

Firefighters Speeding Spraying Saving

Firefighters: Speeding! Spraying! Saving! by Patricia Hubbell is a wonderful rhyming book all about the work firefighters do. After only reading it twice my son was rhyming along with the simple but well crafted text. I liked that there was a mix of male and female firefighters, that the text incorporates information about equipment as well as tasks the firefighters complete on a call. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book are the details in the illustrations by Viviana Garofoli, the soot on the faces of the rescued and firefighters, the unique angles used in the illustrations and the fun colors. Great book!

Hush Little Alien

Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song”.

My trucks is stuck

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.

baby says moo

Baby Says “Moo!”by JoAnn Early Macken was a huge hit with my 2 year old. I should warn you that she loves anything with a baby of any sort in it but even if she wasn’t baby crazy I think she would have loved this book. In it the baby and  family go from the city to the farm asking about the sounds the people and animals make around them. No matter what the baby says “Moo” . The text is sweet and rhymes and the bright , colorful illustrations are so adorable. Very sweet book for children learning about animal sounds.

Brown Bear Brown Bear

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a book that can go with a baby from infancy through toddlerhood and into the preschool years. The bold colors of the illustrations by Eric Carle are perfect for catching infant’s attention and will continue to grab it through the years. With the turn of each page the reader is left wondering what’s next, and if the reader is my son he will cut you off to tell you what’s coming next before you have a chance to turn the page. There are other titles in the series , including ; Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See? , and Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? but this one is my very favorite! My daughter actually sits looking at these pages instead of simply trying to eat the book, which in my opinion is a great review from a 6 month old!

chica chica boom boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Anniversary Edition by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of my absolute favorite books ever. Many alphabet books are great tools but this one not only entertains it never gets old. It’s text is musical , it’s premise is brilliant in it’s simplicity and kids love it. My favorite line is ” Skit skat scoodle doot. Flip flop flee. ” I hope I am conveying how much fun this book is to read out loud. I have never had a class who didn’t like it and if you don’t have it, you should!

Everywhere Babies

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee .This  book celebrates all sorts of babies and all the every day things babies do.  My daughter points out all the babies on each page as I read the rhyming text . So maybe you are thinking ” What’s so great about babies and text that rhymes?” nothing, that isn’t what makes this book so awesome. I love this book because of it’s diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of all babies and families.  The illustrations are full of depictions of all sorts of families showering their smallest most precious member with love . What I adore about the diversity of the illustrations is that readers are left to put whatever assumption we wish on the families in the book. What I assumed were two mommies my husband thought was a husband and wife, I thought a lady was a grandma and my son said it was just a older mom. This is why I love this book, my daughter doesn’t see why this message is outstanding, what she does see is all sorts of happy babies in all sorts of  families being the norm and this is the world we want her to know.

Flashing Fire Engines

Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton is a favorite at our house. Normally even after my son and I read the books we review I grab them to do the write up , this is on my son’s shelf where it always is I know the whole thing off by heart as does my son , so no need to grab it for reference. The book is a rhyming masterpiece, somehow keeping up the rhyming pace as it explains how firefighters fight fires and rescue people! Details like what gear they wear, and how hoses and hydrants work are included as well as ladders and sirens. My son loves this book and as an adult who has  read it hundreds of times it’s fun to read,  even over and over again . We also love all the other books in the series like Cool Cars   and Terrific Trains   it’s completely worth checking out anything they do!

Zin Zin Zin a Violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

ten on the sled

Ten on the Sled by Kim Norman is a really fun and educational book. The book is a new spin on the old song ” Ten in A Bed” but instead of squeezing onto a bed these cold weather animals pile on and off the sled one at a time. What is wonderful from an educational sense is not just the obvious counting element but as each animal exists the sled the verb used for each animal begins with the same letter as the animal does. This was fantastic for my son who wanted to sound every animal and verb out.  Add a fun rhyming sing song text and this is a great option for a holiday gift.

one-duck-stuck

One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root looks like an everyday book , but inside you will find a brilliantly repetitive storyline, that promotes teamwork, and mathematical skills! See a duck gets stuck in the muck and while others are eager to help the duck isn’t unstuck until they all work together. My class was nuts about this book a few years ago and my son has greatly enjoyed it since infancy. Don’t pass this book up.

green eegs and ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss . All of Dr. Seuss’s books are worthy of praise, and children really do love the melodic and brilliant rhymes. I love that often you can’t quite tell if a character is a woman or a man, and they have no obvious race which makes them universal and inclusive. I love “Green Eggs and Ham” because of it’s limited wording , there are only 50 words used in the whole book, and easy rhymes make it a great choice for learning about rhyming. Also the words used are so simple that it’s a fabulous book for emergent readers.

Dinosaur Roar

Dinosaur Roar! Board Book by Paul and  Henrietta Stickland and is a board book that I’ve read often enough that I don’t need to look at the book. The premise is simple, using 2 different dinosaurs every page illustrates a pair of opposites. Toddlers and young preschoolers adore this book and I can’t blame them, it’s adorable and a great tool for teaching ! My son loves how funny the illustrations are and clearly enjoys the rigidity of the opposite concepts.

dinosaur books

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!

trashy town

Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha is my favorite garbage truck book , and yes I have read a lot. Mr. Gilly is a hard working garbage man with one task, to clean up Trashy town. The text is so melodic I find myself singing while reading ” Dump it in, Smash it down, drive around the trashy town” . It’s not all trashy time for Mr. Gilly though, after a hard days work cleaning up Trashy town he gets into his bubble bath ! My son loves that this big garbage collector has a bath just like him. Super sweet and colorful book that explains garbage collection is a nice way.

Books About Bedtime Challenges

Bedtime challenges are one thing that most families face from time to time. Reading books about anything that your family may be facing is such a great way to talk about it when emotions are calm. These books make me feel normal and I hope at least one may really help you too!

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!

I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed (Charlie and Lola)by Lauren Child is a story about Lola who will not go to bed easily. Charlie her older brother has been asked to help his parents and get her to bed and Lola makes him work for it. She is full of imaginative ways to stall the inevitable and Charlie plays along all the while trying to stay one step a head of his little sister. Kids love Charlie and Lola because they are absurd and funny and if you can read it to them in a British accent it’s even funnier.

Can’t Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill is an absolutely fantastic story about a little girl who needs to count sheep to get to sleep but there is one big problem the sheep are too tired to jump. They promise her to find  replacements but animal after animal is just not working out. I laughed out loud at many pages of this book  ( especially the chickens) and my daughter loved it even if she didn’t get all the layers of humor. Very sweet book .

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban is a classic. Frances and her very loving mom and dad are struggling with bedtime. She goes to bed but then keeps getting out of bed with reason after reason as to why she can’t sleep. The start of this story is really sweet and her parents were kind and gentle with her trying to alleviate her fears without fixing  everything for her. As the evening wears on and her parents go to bed themselves their patience is tested. Now I am not a fan of spanking and I have never spanked my kids so I had t explain to them what a spanking was and why Frances didn’t want one. I don’t think that you should avoid this book if you are ideologically against spanking I think it’s a great opportunity to talk about different discipline techniques and a chance to talk about frustration and sleep when you aren’t frustrated because your kids can’t sleep.

Snowbaby Could Not Sleep by Kara LaReau is a sweet winter themed story about a little Snowbaby that simply can not get to sleep. He counts snowflakes, his Snowmama gets him extra snow because he was too hot and still he can’t sleep. What finally gives him enough comfort is when his parents make him his very own Snowpuppy to snuggle all night long.  I like gentle books like this because as a child I had terrible nighttime anxiety and as a mom have always been very gentle at bedtime until I knew my kids felt secure enough to handle each new stage of nighttime independence. My toddler who is 2 loved this book .


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.

Creak! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root is hilarious especially if you like me start the night in the bed with just your spouse and wake up with the whole family in your bed.  The family in the book is asleep all in their own beds but as the night wears on each child comes in and when the dog does the bed simply can’t hold. My kids liked this book but I loved it, it spoke to me especially the bit about the dad sleeping through each child waking up and the mom welcoming them with open arms. That is our family exactly. You will all giggle at the funny sleeping positions too.

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea is such a great book for toddlers. Dinosaur is a tornado full of energy much like a 2 year old and attacks each event in his day with serious gusto. When it’s time for bed he roars through bath and toothbrushing and then just roars like mad when it’s time for bed. Much like my little dinosaurs he eventually gets sleepy and unlike the rest of the day bedtime wins and he falls asleep. My kids love all the Dinosaur Vs. books and I do too. They are fun , simple and if you can manage a really loud gruff voice it’s that much more fun to read.

 

 


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 enjoyed the book 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 they were just being honest that it wasn’t working anymore. They tried so many different places hoping a change of venue would be all he needed.  My son loved the page that they were all sleeping in garbage cans and I loved that Jake looked to be about 12 , it gave me hope that my son may sleep alone by puberty.

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15 Picture Books About Friendship

It takes time for kids to understand not only the nuances of creating friendships but also the bigger picture about how to be a friend. Picture books are such a powerful tool and the books below are a mix of how to be a friend and how not to . Cautionary tales are great for preschool aged kids because they are such firm promoters of justice and will often tell you why a character shouldn’t do something before you can spark the discussion yourself. If you have a favorite picture book about friendship we haven’t reviewed please share the title and why you love it in the comments for us and other readers to learn more about it.

Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel is a lovely story about 2 friends who must part ways , in this case because one is a caterpillar who needs to build a chrysalis and the other an earth worm who needs to dig deep into the ground. What I like about this book is that it goes on to explain that the earth worm’s digging is vital for the trees to grow so that the caterpillar can eat the leaves and turn into a butterfly. I like the lesson about how we all play a part!

Pink Tiara Cookies For Three  by Maria Dismondy is a story I think most of us can relate to . It’s about two best friends who’s friendship is challenged when another little girl is welcomed by one friend and not by the other. I know as a young girl I dealt with this and it was heartbreaking. Now as a mom I watch my son and his two closest friends deal with this often. The author does a beautiful job at recognizing the feelings of rejection, loneliness and anger that children feel when this happens. The little girls in the story are probably a little more capable at expressing themselves than our children but that makes this book even more important. As my son and I read it today we took a lot of breaks for me to ask if he’d ever felt like any of the characters and that got him talking, relating and connecting not only to one side of the issue but to both. Oh and please don’t think it’s a girly book, it’s not my son loved it. His exact words were ” This would be really good for teachers to read to classes. ” I agree.


Best Friends (Owen And Mzee) by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff is a board book with real photographs of the friendship of orphaned baby hippo and his 130 year old adoptive tortoise named Mzee. The text is simple and perfect for toddlers, although older children will better understand how amazing the story is. There are so many learning opportunities between these pages from the Tsunami, to learning about hippos and tortoises. The real lesson though is about friendship and I like that it shows animals being affectionate , something rare to see and something that can help foster a true appreciation for animals in young kids.

Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated) by Florence Parry Heide is such a fantastic ( and funny)  fairytale about a little princess who has a very odd problem. She can’t keep her feet on the ground so her parents worried that she will literally float away weigh her down. The problem with being weighed down is that she can’t be herself and one day when she is set free to float she discovers that that is who she is. The only problem left is how does she get down? Luckily a little boy with a big heart and a kite comes to help . He’s not a rescuer coming to fix everything simply a true friend helping . I love this book and the messages of breaking free from your limitations and of being yourself while staying connected to those you love.

Duck, Duck, Goose by Tad Hills is a story about friendship and what happens when a twosome adds another person (or duck) into the mix.  The message is similar to the Maria Dismondy book above but is broken down for younger readers. The author brings these characters emotions to life and children will be able to relate to Goose’s feelings for sure. Cute book for young kids just starting to navigate the complex paths of friendship.

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotion he manages to convey is amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the emotion. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!


Fish Is Fish by Leo Lionni is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way . I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines people as fish with legs! The story of friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way friendships if true can withstand change.

The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen is another easy to read folktale that you are probably be familiar with. It’s such a great opportunity to talk about helping friends,  doing your share and not being lazy!As you may remember  Little Red Hen worked so hard and her friends didn’t lift a finger,  yet were eager to reap the rewards of her hard work. You don’t get to be lazy and entitled! This is a bedtime favorite for my 2 year old daughter right now and we are using it to talk about being kind to friends and doing your share.

Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russel is a calm, beautiful book about two rabbits who find each other and become great friends even thought they are from different places.  White Rabbit is a city rabbit and loves her urban home but is called away by the longing for company. She finds it in a park with Brown Rabbit who is wonderful and plays beautiful music. There is just one glitch White Rabbit misses the city.  I loved this book, my son liked it too but it almost made me cry. My husband and I are from different countries and long distance relationships are so hard , I wanted to jump in the book and tell White Rabbit that . I had to restrain myself  from saying ” The pressure will be too much , the limited time will make them argue and fight.” when my son pointed out that I shouldn’t be sad that White Rabbit leaves the park and goes home because he comes for a visit in the end. But if ever I projected my own experience onto a book it was this , wow. It  really is a sweet tale about friends who can be friends despite physical distance. Oh and the illustrations , they are the very definition of springtime. Lovely.

The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein. This book makes me incredibly sad. I don’t like how horrid the boy is to the tree, how spineless the tree is and I never saw it as a lesson in giving like so many do but a lesson in taking . I read it to my son and we talked, we had a great talk about taking advantage of those who love us, and how it hurts everyone.  Yes  I don’t like this book but it is useful and it can be a great tool for teaching children about what makes a bad friend. I have never hidden that I don’t like this book because it’s so sad but that as lesson it’s worth the sad story.

Amos & Boris by William Steig is a touching story about the power of an unlikely friendship and helping others. Amos is a mouse who is rescued by Boris a whale when he goes overboard in the middle of the ocean. After the rescue they develop a tender friendship despite their obvious differences and go on their separate ways with full hearts. Many years later though it is Amos’ turn to rescue Boris and we are all reminded that size does not equal ability to help a friend.

My Friend the Monster by Elanor Taylor is a sweet and not at all scary look at a friendship between a little fox and the monster who lives under his bed. The monster was left behind by a previous owner of the house that the little fox moves into. This is a sad monster but with a little time and patience the monster and the little fox make new friends and all is well. The monster even gets his own bed in the little fox’s bedroom so he doesn’t have to live under the bed anymore.

Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend is hilarious! I laughed  from start to finish, my son who was 18 months old didn’t get the humor at all but laughed at me laughing! Older preschoolers will get most of the humor though and like my son, will love the pictures ! Here is my favorite line : in very small print on the inside cover it reads ” * Caution: this story not suitable for walruses. ” Oh how I laughed ! The dry humor aside, the book follows an anxious squirrel looking for a friend , but one that is safe and won’t bite! Of course the message is about taking risks and kids will get it! I love this book!

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep. They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love it’s focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!

The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jennifer Wojtowicz is one of those books that stays with you. Rink is a little boy who’s family is strange, Rink is no exception, with every full moon he sprouts flowers , from his head. At school he is an outsider and only when a new girl comes to school does he make a friend. He reaches out to her because she too is an outsider, not at school, in her own family. In the end the kindred spirits celebrate their uniqueness. This odd romantic story will warm your heart and serves as a great lesson about how we all feel different and like an outsider sometimes. The illustrations by Steve Adams will stun you, they were so vibrant and paired so perfectly with the story. Wonderful!

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