Friday, November 30, 2012

Great Picture Books of Numbers and the Alphabet

I adore the playful use of the alphabet and numbers through picture books.  My youngest is still working on learning these.  My oldest, while he knows his alphabet and numbers quite well, is thoroughly invested in these books.

It is so difficult to limit the list of alphabet books, because we love so many.  When I started looking at this list I thought I would have the top five of both categories, but there are just too many great choices.  The best way to learn is through repetition and having many books to pull from can really help.  I try to always have some of these books on hand. 

Great Numbers Books
10 Minutes Till Bedtime
by Peggy Rathmann
From the author of the classic Good Night, Gorilla, comes my children's favorite book about numbers.  My son really figured out numbers using this book.  There are ten hamsters with shirts numbered 1-10.  Each picture can be used as a seek-and-find.  They do some pretty silly stuff while getting ready for bed.  Entertaining and educational - the perfect combination.

Museum 123
by Metropolitan Museum of Art

City 123
Zoran Milich
These are both creative books showcasing the numbers using art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and photography from around New York City.

by Kathryn Otoshi
This book delves into the value of numbers and adding zeros to make 10, 100, 1000....  Great for learning numbers, value and accepting being different. It is amazing that Otoshi managed to fit all of these into one simple, yet beautiful book.

20 Hungry Piggies
by Trudy Harris, illustrated by Andrew N. Harris
Most other books only go up to the number 10, so this book is good to expand upon the early number learning.  The big, bad wolf even makes an appearance, but how the pigs rid themselves of him is so much fun!

Some classic numbers books that we have enjoyed: 
1, 2 Buckle My Shoe
by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3
by Bill Martin Jr and Michael R Sampson, illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Ten, Nine, Eight
Molly Bang
Ten Little Caterpillars
by Bill Martin Jr

Great Alphabet Books
Astonishing Animal ABC
by Charles Fuge
One of our favorite alphabet books is from our beloved author/illustrator, Charles Fuge.  More lovely illustrations of animals and some creative animals.  Some of illustrations show more use of the letters than is in the text, so it is fun to discover more with the kids.  The end is a surprise that it is not a zebra, which was a disappointment to me at first, but the kids love it because it is silly.  

Creature ABC
by Andrew Zuckerman
Gorgeous photography of animals.  

Alphabeasties: And Other Amazing Types 
by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss 
"Beasties" of animals made using type.  Such a fun, creative way for kids to see the letters of the alphabet repeatedly.

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town
by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
A really excellent way to introduce the alphabet. 10 Minutes Till Bedtime engages my children in a way similar to this book.  Each letter of the alphabet is going to sleep and on the final pages we talk about all the letters together and the nearby objects that start with their letters.  The illustration by Melissa Sweet is so adorable and really makes the letters come to life.

by Tom Lichtenfeld
Brilliant play on words - the "E" is down for the count.  Th story gts difficult to rad bcaus all of ths lttrs ar missing.  Fun, but mayb mor so for th advancd :) 

An Annoying ABC
by Barbara Bottner
An awesome use of alliteration and bad, bawdy behaviors make this an entertaining read for kids.  We can talk about manners and the alphabet all in one!

Alphabet City
by Stephen Johnson
ABC NYC: A Book about Seeing New York City
by Joanne Dugan
These are both books of clever photographs in which you can find a letter of the alphabet. Alphabet City is more outdated while the latter is a more modern version, but both are enjoyable to discover where the photographer found the letters.
by Keith Baker
Highlights hobbies and careers using each letter of the alphabet.  Wonderfully illustrated and great use of "pea-ple."

A is for Salad
by Mike Lester
This book is so ridiculous, but so fun. Really should be for older kids who have a grasp of the alphabet already.  All the letters are jumbled - an alligator is eating a salad, so to get the most out of this book the children have to understand that the A is really for the Alligator.

Some classic alphabet books that we have enjoyed: 
Eating the Alphabet
by Lois Ehlert
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin Jr

Dr. Seuss's ABC
by Dr. Seuss
by Gr
aeme Base

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Picture Books for Major Changes (Divorce and Moving)

In my last post I covered loss and this topic sprung from that.  Moving and Divorce are connected to loss, but I like to keep my lists of recommended books concise.  

These two major changes can greatly effect our children without our even realizing it.  As with anything, I believe that reading these books helps us to better communicate with our children.  It helps to spur a dialogue and I often find myself learning new ideas and strategies in how to work with my kids.   

We made a big move ourselves three years ago.  At the time, we only had one nearly two year old.  Some of these books helped us to explain the move to Greysen.  His favorite part of the move was his new room.  It was the first thing that I painted and then I stenciled  the alphabet and numbers around the tops of the walls.  He was so proud, I don't think he missed his old home for long!

by Melanie Watt 
I love this book! Gorgeous illustrations, fantastic story. Augustine deals with the changes in her life through drawing. Her illustrations allude to many famous artists such as Van Gogh, Warhol, Magritte, even the title name comes from Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story about the move is great, but the illustrations alone are worth checking this book out.

A move told through the perspective of the family pet:

by Abigail Thomas, illustrated by William Low

Big Ernie's New Home: A Story for Children Who Are Moving 
by Teresa Martin and Whitney Martin

A New Room for William by Sally Grindley, illustrated by Carol Thompson
A great example of how to make the new home a "home" for kids.  That makes all the difference to William as he begins to accept his new home.

Goodbye House 
by Frank Asch 
A sweet and simple book.

This topic we do not have immediate experience with, but some children that are close to mine are going through this now.  Reading these books helps my kids to understand what is happening to their friends.  On sensitive subjects, we as parents should always read the literature first before sharing it with our children.  

Let's Talk About It: Divorce 

by Fred Rogers 
Mr. Rogers has a wonderful way of explaining difficult situations to children.  That has been extended in the new PBS show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which we love at our house.  This book is great for most children, although visually may seem a bit out of date.

Was It the Chocolate Pudding?: A Story for Little Kids about Divorce 

by Sandra Levins, illustrated by Bryan Lando
Great book for kids and showing them that this is a grown-up issue and not about something the kids did.  Cute illustrations, very engaging.  

It's Not Your Fault Koko Bear: 
A Read-Together Book for Parents and Young Children During Divorce 
by Vicki Lansky
Similar to Chocolate Pudding, this book helps to show that the kids are not at fault.  This book also shows a very amicable family, which is not always the case in these books.

Mama and Daddy Bear's Divorce 

by Cornelia Maude Spelman
A wonderful book that talks about how things may be changing and that some things can still stay the same. 

The Spider and the Bee 
by Michele Shen 
A simple book for even the smallest children.  The spider and the bee are married and find that they can no longer live together. 

And I happened upon this extra book for parents in my research and thought it might be really helpful to some:

Helping Your Kids Cope With Divorce the Sandcastles Way

by M. Gary Neuman, illustrated by Patricia Romanowski Bashe

I'm sure that this short list doesn't even come close to scratching the surface on these topics - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Great Picture Books for Loss

Recently I learned about Bibliotherapy, or an expressive therapy that uses an individual's relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. I think this is at the very foundation of our children's growth into adults. The more they read (and we read to them), the more well-rounded and intelligent adults we hope they will become. This is essentially bibliotherapy, although most may believe it only focuses on life's major events and changes. I believe every one of these topics is essential to creating and nourishing good human beings. Here is a good website for many bibliotherapy topics and related childrens' books:

We are fortunate to not have yet h
ad loss and death come too closely to our family, but we are recently familiar with losing a family dog.  We do often find the children asking us about where are Daddy's grandparents or Grandpa's parents?  These questions can only be answered by discussing death and what that means.  

We also have a precocious five year old who says things like,"When I die, I will come back as a baby."  He is a very deep thinker.  He randomly came out with statements like these long before introducing any of these books to him.  It has been very good for him to have a deeper knowledge of death and life.

The finality of never seeing their cousins' dog again was difficult to explain.  It has certainly been interesting with a 2 and a 5 year old (and my nieces and nephews, ages 2-7).  These books have helped both of my kids to somewhat grasp the topic of loss or death at their own level of understanding.  

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children 
by Bryan Melloni and Robert Ingpen
It begins, "There is a beginning and ending for everything that is alive. In between is living." The book is about the circle of life.  A wonderful, simple way to introduce this subject to young children.  There is even a video on YouTube that reads this book.

Grandma's Gone to Live in the Stars 
by Max Haynes 
Very simple, but wonderful little book told through Grandma's perspective as she says goodbye.

Death in a Nut 

retold by Eric Maddern and illustrated by Paul Hess
A little more abstract and silly book, but it is really about showing kids the importance of being okay with death.  It is based on a Scottish folktale and takes place on a farm.  Beware it has some graphic ideas of how animals may die or be injured.  This is not depicted in the pictures and not really in the text, but some things are implied.  Despite this, I still love this story.

Ghost Wings 
by Barbara M. Joosse and illustrated by Giselle Potter 
A beautiful story about a little girl who loses her grandmother.  This book is of special interest to me because I went to school with the author's daughter.  But it is a wonderful story about holding the memories close to your heart.

Always and Forever 
by Alan Durant, illustrated by Debi Gliori
Another great book about holding onto the special memories.  Told through the perspective of animals: 
Mole, Hare, Otter and Squirrel.

When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death 
by Laurie Krasny Brown, illustrated by Marc Brown
Not really a story, but attempts to answer some very deep and profound questions.  It may be more well-suited for ages 5 and up, but my nearly-3-year-old has asked many of these questions.  And you know the need answers from their all-knowing parents.  Here are the answers. 

And What Comes After a Thousand 
by Annette Bley
Beautiful, playful illustrations won me over (and I think the kids, too).  But the story is even sweeter.

There are also a number of excellent books specifically about the loss of a pet:

Dog Heaven or Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas

I'll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm

The Legend of Rainbow Bridge by William N. Britton

The Tenth Best Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Great Picture Books for Kindness

Such a wonderful thing to share with your children the gift of kindness.  They can learn so many things from this.  Most of these books we have read at some time randomly, but I just recently got them all from the library at the same time.  Now we simply have to remind our kids to please be kind and they actually think about it (and sometimes do it).

This book is by far our favorite:
Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler 
by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa
Fun rhyming scheme and great ideas for how to be kind in so many different ways.

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson
How one good deed from a small girl can change the world.

Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth
A little more subtle tale of kindness, but the kindness is felt just as much as in the other stories.  A panda bear helps three children bestow kindness upon an old woman and she helps them nearly as much as they help her.

How Kind by Mary Murphy
A very simple book for even the youngest of children, but even my five year old enjoys it's simplicity.

One Smile by Cindy McKinley
The kids didn't think the illustrations were anything spectacular, but I just love the idea that one smile can have so much power.

The Spiffiest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
A great story of kindness and generosity, the "kindest giant in town" helps others and his good deed comes back to him.

Fly Free!
by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Eujin Kim Neilan
A little different turn of the pass-it-on kindness.  If you do a good deed, then it will come back to you.

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos
A fun book showing that kindness and peace aren't all that difficult to attain.

Kindness to pets
At our house everyone is very good about this, but we do have children visit on a regular basis that are not from a home with a pet.  So we like to share these stories of how to show kindness to a pet.

Nico and Lola: Kindness Shared Between a Boy and a Dog by Meggan Hill, illustrated by Susan M Graunke
A beautiful story about a boy and an animal.  My kids are madly in love with this book, perhaps because they are madly in love with our dog.

Please Don't Tease Tootsie by Margaret Chamberlain
A silly, silly book, but one with a great lesson.

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Great Picture Books for Jealousy

We have not yet had real problems with jealousy.  Perhaps it is because we read many of these books before our youngest's arrival. Big brother has always been a very welcoming and kind sibling.   

But we do deal with jealousy on birthdays - this year in particular.  Greysen recently celebrated his fifth birthday at a party with all of his friends.  We decided long ago that we would only do family birthdays until the fifth birthday.  However, Camden is about to turn three and is now expecting that she will get the same kind of party.  So we are doing our best to help her understand.  Of course, the usual birthday jealousy comes from one child being jealous of the attention and gifts.  Some of these books are great for kids to learn to be respectful that this is someone else's special day. 

A Birthday For Frances by  Russell Hoban, 
illustrated by Lillian Hoban
For the oh-so-common sibling birthday jealousy.

When I Feel Jealous (Way I Feel Books) by Cornelia Maude Spelman, illustrated by Kathy Parkinson.  This particular book does an excellent job describing a number of different ways that children can feel jealous.  For young children who have trouble finding words to express their feelings this is a great book to teach them.

The Berenstain Bears and the Green-eyed Monster by  Stan and Jan Berenstain
Sister is jealous of Brother's new bike.  Also made into a nice short film.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
All three stories are great tales of humility.  They help to show that jealousy is never good.

A To Z Do You Ever Feel Like Me? : a guessing ALPHABET by Bonnie Hausman, photography by Sandi Fellman.  A great book on many levels - discussing 26 different feelings, the alphabet and seek and find in the border pictures.  This book could have been so much better, some pages rhyme while others do not.  An odd inconsistency in an otherwise enjoyable read. 

Sometimes I Feel Awful by Joan Singleton Prestine
A young girl has a day full of different moods. Although she starts out happy, she begins to feel different throughout the day. She does not want to share with her friend and gets upset when he plays with her toys. She learns what she should have said to make her family and friends understand.

Books that are great for new sibling jealousy: 

Little Monster Did It! by Helen Cooper 
Beautifully illustrated story about Amy, who is not so sure if she likes the new baby.  When odd things happen she blames her toy.

Grumpy Gloria by Anna Dewdney
Gloria has to share attention with her owner's new doll and this makes her grumpy.  The children try to cheer Gloria up (also a wonderful lesson for kids) in this silly story.

Marshmallow by Clare Turlay Newberry
An old classic (Caldecott winner 1943), this is a good one for kids to learn about sharing attention with a new sibling.  The story is about a cat and a rabbit, but the lesson is perfect for children to understand the concept of dealing with jealousy.

Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
Nora makes a lot of noise because she feels neglected.  Her attempts for attention are told very simply and are wonderful for even the smallest of children.

Buzz Bumble To The Rescue by Lynn E Hazen, illustrated by Jill Newton
Fun illustrations with a bit of humor only adults will pick up on, but still a good book for new sibling jealousy.

Howler by 
Michael Rosen, illustrated by Neal Layton. This story is reminiscent of Lady and the Tramp.  An entertaining look at a dog's view of a new baby in the house.

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Great Picture Books for Inkblots and Other Art

Art is a subject quite close to my heart and that is evident in my very long list of recommendations.  I spent my college years frequenting many a museum as an art major.  I adore art and creativity and want to open my childrens' eyes to all of the possibilities at a young age.  We love to do craft/art projects and I even did an  A to Z Animals project with Greysen and his friend last year - soon to start with Camden as she is just learning her ABC's.  You can find those here:

We've recently discovered some wonderful art books that have had us making some very creative projects. We made our own "inkblots" with acrylic paint and fingerprint drawings (although my youngest was against getting her fingers dirty for this!).  Outside of my own pins on Pinterest, this is my favorite resource for art projects related to childrens' books:

Art by Patrick McDonnell 
A simple, but beautiful, ode to art.

Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenfeld
Bridget's beret is her artistic expression - can she still make art without it?  

Not a Box - and -
Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis 
These two books are an excellent way to get kids thinking creatively.  It's not just a box/stick - they magically become so much more with a little imagination.

the dot  - and - 
ish by Peter H. Reynolds
Are both wonderful books about creativity and not being afraid to try something.

Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg 
This is a brilliant book.  About making art out of mistakes.  

Willy's Pictures by Anthony Browne
Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith. I love art museums and love great, historical works of art. It is exciting for me to share these things with my children. Both of these books are incredibly entertaining ways to introduce this to your children.

Inkblot: Drip, Splat and Squish Your Way to Creativity by Margaret Peot
 Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book by Ed Emberley - who has written loads of books, the most popular of which is Go Away, Big Green Monster! Emberley has a number of other art and drawing books, but this is a favorite at our house.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow. If you've ever painted with a pre-schooler, then you will enjoy this book.  You must be prepared for a mess and a mess this child makes - the kids find it hilarious!

Art & Max by David Wiesner
A wonderfully imaginative book!  Art is the artist and he doesn't think that Max can paint, but what Max creates is fantastic.

A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Chad Cameron. This book opened up a great discussion on using other mediums.  Most children are only familiar with crayons, markers, acrylics, but art can be so much more.

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Two very clever books that look at shapes in a new way.

The following three are excellent educational color books - primary and secondary colors, and color mixing.  These have taught my kids so much.

Warthog's Paint: A Messy Color Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker

We also adore the Sesame Street video/song Three Primary Colors that is excellent for teaching children about colors and color-mixing:

Chalk by Bill Thompson
And a late addition - I forgot about this book until I saw it at the library this week.  This book is excellent for art or storytelling.  An extra fun activity - make the book come alive: Chalk Activity 

The iPad also has a great app called Art Circles.  There are multiple circles organized by color or curator or other topics.  Some pieces of art even have a mega-zoom feature.  The kids and I have had great fun exploring art this way.

We love new books at our house - if you love any literature on this topic that didn't make my list, please do share!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Great Picture Books for Having Manners

Manners is a very important topic to emphasize as early as possible.  It is certainly not easy to teach young children how vital manners are, but these books have helped us quite a bit. We are constantly working on manners, but I pick some of these books up regularly from the library and that seems to help with this ongoing message.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by Laurie Keller
Love, love, love this book!  I can not say enough good things about it.  It is silly - super silly.  But it gets us talking about some very important things.

Whoopi’s Big Book of Manners by Whoopi Goldberg, illustrated by Olo

This is another goofy book and some of the things (such as cell phone use) don't really apply to toddlers or early school-aged children.  But it is great fun and there are some great lessons in there.

How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food 
by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
All of the dinosaur books (there are more than these two) from Jane Yolen are subtly teaching lessons.  If you talk about them as reading them, there are so many things to learn from these books.

Emily's Out and About Book by 
Cindy Post Senning & Peggy Post, illustrated by Leo Landry
Great book for introducing good manners and, while not as silly as the previous entries, still great for children.

The following books use animals in such a fun way that kids can't help but enjoy and learn some great lessons about manners at the same time:

Tissue, Please!
Excuse Me! by Lisa Kopelke

Please Say Please! : Penguin's Guide To Manners by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand

Time To Say Please! by Mo Willems

The Nice Book by
David Ezra Stein

The Golden Rule is really hand in hand with manners and these books portray it in a way that is very easy for children to comprehend:

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney 
A breathtakingly illustrated story with no words.  My children will "read" this story to me over and over.

The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper, illustrations by Gabi Swiatowska

The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule by 
Mike Berenstain, Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain

Should I Share My Ice Cream? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems

We love new books at our house - if you love any other literature on this topic, please share!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Great Picture Books for Going To Bed

Not that bedtime is a topic needed to improve behavior or teach morals, but I feel that naptime and bedtime are by far the most important times to read to our children.  We certainly should read books at other times or we run the risk that kids will dislike reading (because it must mean it is time to go to sleep!).  We have a very regular "quiet-time" and bedtime routine and it almost always works.  Last night we even had one fall asleep in the middle of a book!

Some of these books are classics, others are just our favorite finds that I love to share with people.  I love great art - the whimsical animals of Bedtime Hullaballo, the fantastical images of The Tickle Tree and the creative collages of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  

Many of these books we have read so often that we know them word for word, even 2 year old Camden.  We discovered them through our local library.  When we didn't want to take them back, and then borrowed them subsequent times, we occasionally decide to add some of our favorites to our permanent collection.  

By far, our family favorite at bedtime is...

If Animals Kissed Goodnight 
by Ann Whitford Paul, illustrated by David Walker
The rhythm and rhyme make for a great read.  Kids really enjoy seeing how animals may kiss goodnight - they even like to try some of the methods out!  

Ann Whitford Paul must adore a good bedtime story, because she has written other great bedtime books: Snail's Good Night, Little Monkey Says Good Night, and Owl at Night

Of course, I must mention Bedtime Hullaballoo by David Conway, illustrated by Charles Fuge - from our favorite author/illustrator. Also from Charles Fuge: I Know A Rhino and This Is The Way - these and If Animals Kissed Goodnight all are creative takes on childrens' stuffed animal friends. See more about these books in my first post - Our Absolute Favorite Author/Illustrator.

We love Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star by Kate Toms
The hand-stitched illustrations from Kate Toms are so creatively crafted, any of her books are worth checking out.  The added verses to this very traditional tune are wonderful as well.

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
We love alphabet books and this is an excellent one!  Reinforce learning the ABC's while putting them to sleep.  Beautifully illustrated and wonderfully written.

Recent favorite finds: 
The Tickle Tree 

by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Before I go to sleep 
by Ronne Randall and Tony Kerins

Interrupting Chicken 
by David Ezra Stein

by Karma Wilson, illustrated by John Segal

Best Bedtime Classics: 
Guess How Much I Love You 
by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

Goodnight Moon 
by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

The Napping House 
by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood

Some nights when we need extra calming activities we have found wonderful interactive bedtime stories for our iPad: Goodnight SafariGrolly's Animal AdventuresMiss Spider's Bedtime Story, and Nighty Night! HDYou can find more information about these on my page Best Learning Books & App's.  

We love new books at our house - if you love any other literature on this topic, please share!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great Picture Books for Friendship

Friendship is interesting at a young age.  It truly is fleeting, but children learn so many important things from it.  

My two-year-old girl loves nothing more than going to a "friend's" house and trying on all their beautiful princess things.  Although we know she is too young to really play side-by-side with others, we want to teach her to respect and enjoy others as best we can.  

My five-year-old boy wants to make friends with everyone that he encounters.  He enjoys going to his friends' houses and playing with their toys, but when they come to our house to play he wants to hide all of his toys and share nothing.  

The following stories have helped both children understand the importance of respect for others and how wonderful friendship really can be.  

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
One of our favorite books from one of our favorite authors, whom I have mentioned a few times thus far (and more below!).   Leonardo is not a very good monster.  Silliness ensues before Leonardo makes a very important decision.  The kids think this book is a hoot, but the ending is really touching.

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems, illustrated by Jon J. Muth
Not the usual silly Mo Willems fare, but a terrific tale of friendship, loss and renewal.

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
Any of the Elephant and Piggie book series could fall under the friendship category.

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by P. Kahumbu
Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley
Both of these are fantastic friendship stories that actually occurred. Children adore the animals pictured and the true stories can't be beat. 

My Friend and I by Lisa Jahn-Clough
Sharing - the most difficult part about early childhood friendships.  Best for young children, but effective for any preschool or early school age child.

Making a Friend by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
A truly beautiful book about the power of friendship.

Ninja Cowboy Bear presents The Call of the Cowboy by David Bruins, illustrated by Hilary Leung
This is a silly story, but was very influential on my five-year-old.  The Cowboy is not respecting his friends and must learn to do so before they can enjoy their time together.

The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
A wonderful book that shows that friendship is more important than things.

This is Our House by Michael Rosen
Most kids would rather play with a cardboard box than expensive toys, so this book is great because the plot revolves around a cardboard box.  But the story that unfolds is so much more than creativity with a box.  It is a perfect story for a child that is not eager to share.

Sam's New Friend by Thierry Robberecht, illustrated by Philippe Goossens
This simple story has a great message about friendship.

We love new books at our house - if you love any other literature on this topic, please share!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great Picture Books for Eating

There are two very picky eaters living in my house. One will eat just about any vegetable that we put in front of him(his favorites are brussels sprouts and asparagus!), but no meat. The other will eat no vegetables and only some meat. We spend a lot of time trying to hide vegetables in sauces and trying new things in hopes that we will finally find something that they like.

It really must just be a phase that nearly every child must pass through. I was just such a child and now I will eat anything - o
ctopus, pigeon, kangaroo.  All of the difficulty that I gave my parents I am surely experiencing now with my own.  I don't think that we can change them or force them to eat anything.  All we can ask is that they try everything put before them.  

These books have been terribly helpful in teaching our children about food.  That it doesn't just appear on the table.  That other kids are picky, too.  That it is okay to not like something.  But everything is always worth a try, or maybe a few!

Books for Picky Eaters:

The Seven Silly Eaters by MaryAnn Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee
This beautifully illustrated book is an excellent example to teach children to appreciate their food and not be rude.

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban
My parents used this book on me when I was a child.  I would only eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, just like Frances. I'm not sure that this book changed everything, but it sure helped!

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jen Corace

Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise by Leo Landry
The perfect book for kids and parents.  A very familiar scenario for many!

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
A classic that deals with not wanting to try something.  It is really quite silly, so be sure to discuss what is going on.  I think my kids get so taken with Dr. Seuss' goofiness, sometimes they can miss the moral of the story.

Books to Teach About Food:

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert
This is an excellent book to introduce a lot of produce to your kids.  We receive a 20 week vegetable share from a local farm.  Our children have learned a lot from the produce we bring into our home, but this book helped put much of it in a perspective that they can enjoy.

Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie de Paola
Two terrific choices on a familiar staple written by fantastic authors.  Paola's book is wordless, which is always fun for little ones to "read" on their own.

Some cool classics related to our topic of food:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ronald Barrett

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

We love new books at our house - if you love any other literature on this topic, please share!