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!