Birthday Books


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We have a couple birthday themed books at home that we like and way more than a couple to choose from if you look on Amazon.  I came across birthday books from some of my favorite authors: Happy Birthday, Little Pookie by Sandra Boynton and Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake? by Karen Katz.  I remember reading A Birthday for Frances by Russell Hoban when I was young as well as The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Birthday.  I think I mentioned Eric Carle’s The Secret Birthday Message.  Did you know there was a Mr. Birthday and a Little Miss Birthday in the Little Miss and Mr. Men series?

It’s My Birthday by Helen Oxenbury looks wonderful.  I haven’t read it, but we love the illustrations in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  The birthday one looks charming and sweet.

At home, we have Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You.  I like almost all Dr. Seuss books, and this one is no exception.  Full of classic Dr. Seuss lyrics, it’s so fun to read.

Lastly, there is a cute one called Happy Birthday, Hamster.  It tells about Hamster and how he is excited for his birthday, but everyone seems to have forgotten about it.  Dog comes to take him on a shopping expedition, but it’s all about what Dog needs, not what Hamster wants.  However, in the background you can see that Hamster’s friends are planning a surprise and getting everything that Hamster really does want.  Of course, there’s a surprise party at the end.  Personally, surprise parties are not my favorite.  But Hamster seems to enjoy it.  Come to think of it, I think there was a book about Miss Spider’s surprise birthday party too.  Must be a popular theme.  (Sure enough–it’s called Miss Spider’s ABC and it’s about her friends throwing her a surprise party.  We have this book too.  I should have listed it under my ABC’s post!)

What are your favorite birthday books for kids?

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature. To read all the posts, click here.


Inspiring Ideas from Around the Blogosphere (#3)



Today I want to share a recent discovery that I have been loving:

It’s a podcast called Read Aloud Revival By Sarah Mackenzie.  What a lovely idea.  She has guest speakers conversing with her about bookish topics and kids sharing their favorite books.  I love it!

I like the idea of encouraging reading aloud as part of a family’s culture.  I think it’s such an important thing to do.  And Sarah gives lots of good ideas on how to accomplish this.

Happy listening!

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature. To read all the posts, click here.


Another Library Stack


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While I would like to make a regular weekly trip to the library, it just isn’t feasible for us at this point.  We do go as often as possible, but sometimes we just go for story time and don’t get any new books.  Or we go for just one or two books that we just thought of or heard of randomly.  But this week we returned most of the last stack of books, and got a fresh new bunch.  Here they are!

Library Selections 10.21The kids picked some randoms to throw into the stroller, plus we are on letter Q for the book list.  And I added a couple extra things: Some new-to-us Margaret Wise Brown books. (I think I’m going to have to do an author spotlight on her.  I can’t resist.)  The library has those “bin books”  I was telling you about.  And when you go into a particular author’s bin for a specific book, it’s hard to not choose some others that are literally at your fingertips.  Also picked up a version of Little Red Riding Hood because that’s who Strawberry wants to be for Halloween.  And also the Little Bear books that a friend recommended for my friend’s favorites post.  I hadn’t heard of them, and there are quite a few, so I chose three of them from the bin.

Others I am looking forward to reading:

Quiet!  There’s a Canary in the Library by Don Freeman.  Somehow, this sounds familiar.  Maybe I read it a long time ago.  It’s very possible because it’s the same author as Courderoy.  It looks like a fun read!

Quack and Count by Keith Baker.  Strawberry must have been looking forward to this one too because she just asked me to read it, so I did.  It’s the same author as LMNO Peas.  And guess what?  More ladybugs to look for!  (We have a fondness for ladybugs.)

Yay for new books!

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.


Our Kid’s Bookshelf


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picmonkey_image (3)So this is a picture of our kid’s bookshelf.  Please tell me we aren’t the only ones that don’t have everything perfectly in order.  The reason it looks like this is because I am trying to train my children to clean up after themselves and this is how they re-shelve the books.  I figure it doesn’t have to be perfect…

This is the main place we keep our books, but in reality they are scattered all over the house.  I do like having them in almost every room, so I don’t make a huge effort to get them all back to this bookshelf.  They wouldn’t all fit anyway.  In fact, they are taking over another bookshelf.  Maybe I’ll have to share that picture another day…

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.

Author Spotlight: Leo Lionni


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Leo Lionni is a new-to-me author.  I just started picking up his books from the library.  They are somehow different. He has an original way of thinking.  The stories by Lionni tend to go in a different direction than I expect.  He expresses things in a way I would never have thought of.  The illustrations are so good that a few of his books have received Caldecott Awards.  I recommend taking a look and see what you think.

Inch by Inch.  A smart worm outwits the birds.  I think this one was our favorite out of the Lionni books and it’s a Caldecott winner.

A Color of His Own.  Another chameleon book about changing colors.  Like the one I mentioned in my post about Eric Carle.

Frederick.  Little Frederick mouse gets ready for winter in his own way.  This one was another of the Caldecott Award books.

Fish is Fish.  A fish and a tadpole are friends and learn that they are different from each other.  I liked this one.

An Extraordinary Egg.  Little frogs discover an egg and speculate about what will hatch. I was laughing out loud at this one!  So funny.

Have you read any books by Leo Lionni?  What do you think?

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.

Picture Books in a Series


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It’s awesome when you discover a good book with fantastic characters.  It’s spectacular when you discover that there are even more books to read about the same characters!  Then you start to get familiar with their personalities and quirks, and then you start to feel like they are your friends, and pretty soon you start to know what they are going to say because at this point you feel like they are part of your family and they’ve just moved right in with you.  No?  Just me?  Ok…

Some of these following books I read when I was a child and enjoyed them immensely.  Some I have found more recently and am thrilled with the discovery.  So, some old friends, some new friends.  Both are welcome in my home!

The Frances books by Russell Hoban: Bedtime for Frances; Bread and Jam for Frances; A Baby Sister for Frances.  Frances the badger is so funny!  Humorous to read.

The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain.  I loved these as a kid.  We had tons of them.  I especially remember the ones about the messy room, the stranger one, the visit to their grandparents’ house, the junk food one.  So many good options.

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish.  Amelia Bedelia; Thank You, Amelia Bedelia; Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia; Amelia Bedelia Helps Out.  Amelia Bedelia is hilarious.  I enjoyed these when I was younger but I haven’t introduced her yet to Strawberry.  But I can’t wait to do so!

The Olivia books by Ian Falconer.  Olivia; Olivia Goes to Venice.  Strawberry loves Olivia.  One year she was Olivia for Halloween.  She still plays dress up in that costume.

The Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans.  Madeline; Madeline in London; Madeline and the Gypsies.  Madeline never gets old for us.  We even have a Madeline puzzle and an activity where you can change Madeline’s outfit.

The Clifford books by Norman Bridwell.  Clifford, The Big Red Dog; Clifford Gets a Job; Clifford’s Tricks; Clifford’s Good Deeds.  The iconic dog with a signature color.  We have a collection of five books bound together that’s really nice.

The Bear books by Karma Wilson.  Bear Feels Sick; Bear Says Thanks; Bear Snores On; Bear Feels Scared.  One of my favorite new finds.  I think I like these books more than Strawberry does.  But she likes them as well.  And Blueberry too.  We can’t get enough of these ones!

What are your favorite picture books that come in a series?

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.

Friend’s Book Recommendations



(Oops, this post is going up just a little too late.  Which just goes to show me that I should not lay down with the kids to get them to sleep and not expect to doze off myself.  But I’ve dragged myself out of bed just to get this done…)

Earlier in the month, I asked my Facebook friends what their most favorite (yes, “most favorite.”  I know…) children’s books are/were.  I thought it would be fun to have some variety in the book suggestions of this series, instead of them all being from me.  Happily, I received some great answers.  Many of them I had never heard of, so (guess what??)–more books to add to my “to read” list!

Here are the recommendations I received:

M’s picks: Someday by Alison McGhee and the Thomas the Train books.  I haven’t heard of Someday, but it looks like a sweet book!  And we have another Alison McGhee book that I’ve already talked about, so I’m sure this book will be well-received by my kids.

M’s picks: Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel; Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett; the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik; the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis; and the Mysterious Benedict Society books.  Frog and Toad was one of the first books Elderberry selected when we were starting our children’s home library.  It was always a favorite of his.  The Little Bear books are new to me, but appear to have been around for a while.  They look like something that would be right up my alley!  We will be giving them a try.

L’s picks: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie;  If You Give a Pig a Pancake; If You Give a Moose a Muffin and all the other If You Give a… books, all by Laura Numeroff; and the Dick and Jane series.  All three Laura Numeroff books listed here are well-loved at our house too!  And I remember Dick and Jane from my childhood.  🙂

T’s pick: The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  I have never heard of this book!  And it was listed twice on my Facebook feed (see below).  Based on this, and the stellar reviews on Amazon, I think this one will be in our next library haul.

H’s picks: The Monster at the End of this Book (again!); The Peculiar Miss Pickett by Nancy Julian; and Mr. Pudgins by Ruth Chistoffer Carlsen.  These selections were all new to me.  More to add to my list!

Isn’t it so fun to see what other people pick?  You can connect over shared favorites and exchange suggestions for great new finds!

Many thanks to my friends who shared their “book loves” with me!

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature. To read all the posts, click here.


Author Spotlight: Eric Carle


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Of course Eric Carle is such a well-loved author and illustrator.  He even has a museum dedicated to his art!   But even with how famous he is, I am still finding new books of his to enjoy.  I always knew about The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  And I’ve mentioned 1, 2, 3 To the Zoo and Pancakes, Pancakes!  But we have recently been enjoying some Carle books that I had never heard about.

The Secret Birthday Message.  Strawberry loves this one.  It has cutouts and a code to decipher and a secret passage.  What’s not to love??

The Mixed-Up Chameleon.  A chameleon discovers that although it seems like it would be fun to be someone else, he is happiest being himself.

The Very Busy Spider.  Blueberry received this one as a gift.  The spiderweb has a textured surface, so it’s kind of a touch and feel book.

The Greedy Python.  Strawberry thinks the ending is funny. 🙂

Little Cloud.  Fun with cloud shapes.

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?  Stories about babies are always a hit with my kids.

10 Little Rubber Ducks.  Based on a true story, ten ducks are thrown from a ship and go their separate ways.

What are your favorite Eric Carle Books?

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.

Inspiring Ideas from Around the Blogosphere (#2)


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A selection of links for your browsing pleasure, all having to do with bookish things.

40 Favorite Audiobooks for Kids from Modern Mrs. Darcy.  Appropos of my post a couple days ago about audio books.

Halloween-themed audiobooks from Catholic All Year.  Another audiobook post.  (Interesting I see both of these after I write a post on audiobooks.)  Note, not all of these are children’s books.  But a couple are.

Some extention activities for Dr. Seuss books from Oopsey Daisy.  I love Dr. Seuss books!

Dragon-themed books from Quirky Bookworm.  The timing of this post was perfect for us because Strawberry went through a dragon phase about that same time.  We went and got all these books from the library.

Happy Reading!

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.

Children’s Poetry


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Poetry is not my strong suit–and I majored in English Literature.  I mean, there are some poems that I like.  Several, actually.  But for some reason, it doesn’t speak to me like regular old prose does.  I think there is a rhythm to regular writing too, that makes it sound beautiful.  However, that’s not to discount the value of poetry, which I think is still important to share with children.  And hopefully as I read some selections to my children, our appreciation for it will grow.

Here’s what we have been reading:

Poems and Prayers for the Very Young selected and illustrated by Martha Alexander.  A compilation of very short poems including ones from Browning, Rossetti, and Emerson.  A great place to start reading poems.

Sylvia Long’s Mother Goose.  This counts as poetry and I like the illustrations.  This particular one was recommended in Honey for a Child’s Heart which I talked about in my first post about finding book recommendations.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  Everybody knows this one, right?  When I was eight, I wanted it so badly for Christmas.  And then I got two copies–one from Santa at my house and one from Santa at my grandmother’s house! I remember memorizing “Sick” for a school recitation.  I just thought it was so funny!  Some of the humor goes over Strawberry’s head, I think, because she’s a bit young.  But she likes me to read “The Crocodile’s Toothache” to her.

The Children’s Treasury of Classic Poetry compiled by Nicola Baxter and illustrated by Cathie Shuttleworth.  “Classic poetry”  I think says it all.  I mean, there’s even Shakespeare in this one!  Among others, of course.  (Speaking of Shakespeare, I just heard a podcast called Read-Aloud Revival where they were talking about teaching your children Shakespeare.  I’ve been enjoying all of these podcasts.  So inspiring.  But the Shakespeare one was appropriate to today’s topic.)

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.  This one is a classic for kids.  And Tudor’s illustrations are charming and delightful as always.  My favorite is “Bed in Summer.”

I have also heard very good things about A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young as well as Now We Are Six.  Of course, they are on my list.  (I feel like this series is starting to be a compilation of my reading wish list!)

What children’s poetry do you like to read?

This post is part of a 31-day series on Enjoying Children’s Literature.  To read all the posts, click here.