All The World Goes Round This Way

             We haven’t done too much traveling since we started having children three years ago. I want my kids to be worldy, in a sense, but don’t imagine we’ll be getting too many stamps in our passports in the near future. So recently, I bought a book called I Like to Play by Marla Stewart Konrad (off of Zulilly), which features different children playing from all different parts of the world. I like it for the diversity it highlights, but also how it shows each group of children playing just with each other outside or with toys they either have made themselves. This morning, my daughter entertained herself with “party” for over an hour, which included playing with my paper plates, coasters and cocktail napkins. She’s usually asleep when I play “party” but somehow she has picked up on this game…
            The other book that addresses the idea that there is a bigger world out there is All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon. A friend gave Eliza this book when our son was born and she loves it! It also has a soothing, Bob Dylan-esque tone:  “Nest, bird, feather, fly; All the world has got its sky.” I also appreciate that this book addresses life’s natural elements. Especially as the seasons change again right now, it’s nice to read about different weather and landscapes but with universal appeal. There is a lot to pick up on with each new read here, so I imagine we’ll be revisiting this one a lot this summer.
What we’re reading today: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Why: I want to take the kids blueberry-picking this summer at some point, so thought I’d introduce the idea…Eliza understands that the little girl belongs to the mother and the little bear belongs to the big bear, so she appreciates the folly when the two pairs becomes mixed up on Blueberry Hill!
What I’m looking for: books about sharing

What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.

A little over a year ago, there was that subtle growth spurt when our younger toddler (who had begun walking and talking) became older toddler (walking confidently and talking clearly). Up until that point, I had been reading Eliza a lot of the baby books with interactive pages as well as books with a lot of repetition: (The Foot Book, Jamberry). Someone had given me We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at my baby shower, and when Eliza became an older toddler she started frequently requesting this one before bedtime. She is still fascinated with the Bear and thought he looked sad at the end as he’s walking back to his cave alone. Now, she always points to the baby on each page, and loves when they take their shoes off—one of her own favorite activities these days.

As a writer, I love this book for its poetic repetition and onomatopoeia (swishy swashy! squelch squerch!). As an adult who spends most of her day with children, I appreciate the story for its existential subtext: What a beautiful day; we’re not scared. If you’re in a pensive mood after a long day, it makes you stop and think. The other book we’re reading together right now that has this affect on me is called The Quiet Book. Have you heard of it? My sister-in-law gave it to my daughter for her special gift when our son was born. The story touches on the quiet moments in a child’s life (when they’re sad, lonely, afraid…example: “others telling secrets quiet,” or “baby sister sleeping quiet.”) it’s also beautifully written and illustrated and has a very calming affect on a sleepy toddler.
What we’re reading today: Bruno Manari’s A B C
Why: She loves finding ‘E’ for Eliza on any surface right now – which has developed into a new appreciation for simple letter books. This one is perfect for its simplicity and clear, bold designs.
What I’m looking for: books about baby brothers or sisters- we are still getting used to this:)

Babies Love Babies

This is what a friend told me when my daughter was about two or three months old and I was trying to figure out what to start reading to her. So I’d been given some Peekaboo Baby by Dawn Sirett books at my baby shower and I started with these. My friend was right. Eliza loved looking at the babies, but more importantly, she loved opening the flaps to see the surprise. In our experience, for the first year and half or so, she mostly loved the books that she could participate in. I quickly learned that board books worked best since she ripped anything softer – but not all babies are so rough with their books. Most one-year-old babies seem to love Elmo and I found Elmo’s Big Lift-and-Look Book by Anna Ross when doing a search for Elmo books at this point. She actually still loves this book two years later – I highly recommend it. Each page features different elements (numbers, shapes, letters, etc.) for them to “find” by lifting numerous flaps.
Other books she loved at that point: Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz, the Farm Animals book, and Baby Loves (published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art –this is one of my favorites. I bought it at the Mary Cassatt exhibit at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont in the summer or 2008 when I was pregnant with Eliza. This is actually not a board book, but she has managed not to rip the pages. The words are so simple: baby hug, baby cuddles, baby drinks, etc. so she has memorized the words and loves to see babies – even if they’re impressionistic babies!
What we’re reading today (from the baby years): Rockabye Farm
Why: She still loves books that put babies or animals to sleep.
What I’m looking for: books about learning to go potty. I have Big Girls Use the Potty and Princess Potty but neither seems to be sinking in