What the Kids are Reading (in January 2014)

No Pirates AllowedNo Pirates Allowed Said Library LouNo Pirates Allowed Said Library Lou by Rhonda Cowler Greene, illustrated by Brian Ajhar by Rhonda Cowler Greene, illustrated by Brian Ajhar

I already listed this as one of our best-of-the-year books, but it had never made it into a monthly post. Often my children don’t agree on books – one will love a title more than the other, so when I find a book that they both adore it tends to stay in the reading rotation a lot longer. “Library Lou” is one that both of them ask for regularly. They love the story, and they love the illustrations. My son loves picking out words he can read from the text too.

Pirates on the FarmPirates on the FarmPirates on the Farm (The Next Door Series) by Denette Fretz, illustrated by Gene Barretta by Denette Fretz, illustrated by Gene Barretta

They’ve cooled off on asking for this one, but for a stretch there it was a multiple-times-a-day-every-day read. Cute illustrations were their favorite part, and I liked that the overall message was subtle instead of preachy like I initially feared.

Kitten’s First Full MoonKitten’s First Full MoonKitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes by Kevin Henkes

An old favorite that I got out of the library again because my daughter hadn’t seen it since she was old enough to follow the story. I probably should just buy this one instead of checking it out so regularly.

Mary Engelbreit’s Fairy TalesMary Engelbreit’s Fairy Tales: Twelve Timeless Treasures by Mary Engelbreit

We’ve got several fairy tale books, but this one has nice illustrations and a few new-to-them stories included. They also seem to like how the familiar tales are just different enough from book to book.

Lift-the-Flap Picture AtlasLift-the-Flap Picture AtlasLift-the-Flap Picture Atlas

One of our “school books.” Mostly G likes lifting the flaps and discovering what pictures he might find underneath. I can see this one being read for amusement like that right now, and then being reread for information again and again as he gets older.

A note though if you’re wanting an atlas for younger children: this one wouldn’t really work, as not all countries are included on every map (space limitations make it understandable, but I’d still be irritated if I bought it expecting it to truly be an atlas). The fold-out map that is included does seem to have all the countries though, at least as far as I noticed with a quick perusal.

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What the Kids are Reading, vol. 6

Some of the highlights of the books we’ve been reading lately:

The Bee TreeThe Bee TreeThe Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco by Patricia Polacco
We have several trees in our backyard, and two of them my kids call “bee trees.” I think they saw a bee nearby once and made the jump to calling the trees that, but either way it made me speculate that they’d enjoy this book. As soon as I read the title, both kids were enthralled – a bee tree! They loved the story, the action, and the illustrations. Would they have loved it as much without that connection? Probably not, but it worked.

Minnie's DinerMinnie’s Diner: A Multiplying MenuMinnie's Diner: A Multiplying Menu by Dayle Ann Dodds by Dayle Ann Dodds
Fabulous illustrations, and a fun story. The kids liked guessing what came next (hint: it’s always a double.) They didn’t get the math in it at all, but that’s ok – they still loved the book (my son), and liked it (my daughter).

On a FarmOn a FarmOn a Farm (Penguin Young Readers, L1) by Alexa Andrews by Alexa Andrews
My son picked this out on a recent library visit, and was thrilled to discover that he could “read” it. The repetitive structure and picture clues make it so that he can recite the text, whether or not he’s actually reading it. It’s also free for Kindle, so I downloaded a copy and my son was so excited to discover it waiting for him on the one I let him use during quiet time.

Harold Finds a VoiceHarold Finds a VoiceHarold Finds a Voice by Courtney Diemas by Courtney Diemas
I’m not a fan of this book, but my kids adore it. I keep trying to put it in the library bag to return it, and they keep discovering it there and pulling it out – it’s my book! This doesn’t go there! The illustrations are nice, I just find the story line annoying. Mostly the kids look at it themselves now so I’m off the hook for reading it.

Bob booksBob Books, Set 1Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers by Bobby Lynn Maslen
As my son is learning to read, he is loving reading these books. I doubt they’ll remain favorites for long, as he progresses to books with more appealing story lines (Mat sat. Cat sat. Cat sat on Mat. or whatever it is isn’t exactly gripping reading material), but they are working well to let him have the satisfaction of reading a WHOLE BOOK by himself.

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What the Kids are Reading vol. 5

For whatever reason even though I’ve had fresh material from the library, the kids are wanting to reread our own books, and many of them I’ve already written about in earlier posts. So instead, my thoughts on a few of those big compilation books that include numerous stories all in one volume. One I love, one I’m not crazy about, and one other? Completely “meh.”

HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book ClassicsWhat book do I love? HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child’s First CollectionHarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics: A Child's First Collection
I know, you and your kids will probably not love all of them. But there are so many great books in here, I’d be shocked if you ended up not thinking it was worthwhile. The illustrations are still large and easy to see, and my daughter loves it so much she pulls it out all the time, struggling to bring it over to me – “ooo, it’s heavy!” Yes it is sweetie. Please don’t drop it on your foot – that could do some damage.

The kids absolute favorite story in it is From Head to ToeFrom Head to Toe. They copy all the movements, and it is hilarious watching them. Next is probably Harold and the Purple CrayonHarold and the Purple Crayon, but Pete’s a PizzaPete's a Pizza is a real contender for second place. They love CrictorCrictor and If You Give a Mouse a CookieIf You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Goodnight MoonGoodnight Moon is only ignored because we already have it in two board book copies already (which is fortunate, because my daughter adores it, and insists on keeping one copy in her crib with her when she goes to bed.) Neither of them seem to like William’s DollWilliam's Doll or Baby SaysBaby Says. Too slow-paced perhaps? No matter. This book is fabulous. (And I think it’d make a great baby gift. I’m a bit biased towards bookish gifts though.) 🙂

20th Century Children's Book TreasuryIt makes the contrast with the The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read AloudThe 20th-Century Children's Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud all the more striking. This book wins on sheer number of stories included (44 instead of 12), but they get to that count by abridging the stories and illustrations. Some of the stories lose quite a bit of their magic because of the excised material, and I’d much rather them include fewer stories in their complete form. My children don’t really like this one either, and I’ve stopped reading from it, instead using it as a guide to titles to get from the library in their original format.

Eloise Wilkin StoriesWhich one leave us all yawning? Eloise Wilkin StoriesEloise Wilkin Stories. Maybe it’s just that I didn’t grow up with these stories so I feel no connection with them and struggle to read them with any enthusiasm. My kids pick up on my disinterest and have never asked for any of them to be repeated.

Any great children’s book compilations that I’m missing? Preferably ones that include all of the text and illustrations of the original?

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What the Kids are Reading vol. 4

Thoughts on the new books I’ve been reading to my kids this month:

Goodnight Goodnight Construction SiteGoodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
A birthday gift for my son from Grandma. He’s a big fan, and I don’t mind it. That makes it a winner for this family.

Hugs for YouHugs for You
A birthday gift for my daughter from Grandma. I’m not sure that she likes it so much, as she wants her own book read whenever her brother gets his book read. Either way, it’s super quick to read, and we hug after each page, so that’s a bonus for me. 🙂

A is for AstronautA Is for Astronaut: Exploring Space from A to Z
The kids like it, but don’t love it.

Babar's Museum of ArtBabar’s Museum of Art
I liked this one more than they did, as I tried to remember the artists whose paintings have been adapted to include elephants. Fun intro to the idea of an art museum, but a little more text than my kids want to hear. Even the four-year-old, and he’s got a decent tolerance for listening to books.

Museum TripMuseum Trip
Ok, mom confession time. I don’t always like books that don’t have text. This one doesn’t have text, and while I thought the pictures wouldn’t be compelling enough to grab my kids’ attention, I was so wrong. My son LOVES this. The maze pictures are especially appealing for him – he traces his way through each one. I’m on the lookout for a book of easy mazes for him he loves them so much!

Meet Me at the Art MuseumMeet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes
(why yes, we were on a museum-book kick.) Super cute, with just the right amount of text for my kids’ attention spans. I loved how it included some of the museum jobs that aren’t always mentioned. (why yes, I did work in a museum before staying home after having my son.)

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What the Kids are Reading vol. 3

Thoughts on the library books I’ve been reading to my kids this month:

Over in the MeadowOver in the MeadowOver in the Meadow illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
This one is a solid middle-of-the-road book for us. The kids don’t mind it, but they’re not crazy about it, and I feel pretty much the same. It’ll go back at our next visit and I doubt we’ll ever get it out again. I do like the illustrations though.

Roar a Noisy Counting BookRoar!: A Noisy Counting BookRoar!: A Noisy Counting Book
I thought they would love this one – there’s a lion! And lots of different noises! They like it, but they aren’t obsessed with it like I thought they might be. It’s fun though, and the illustrations are nice.

Olivia and the Missing ToyOlivia . . . and the Missing ToyOlivia and the Missing Toy
The favorite of the batch. Olivia is fun, even if this is one of my least favorites of her stories.

Chicken CheeksChicken CheeksChicken Cheeks
Gotta admit that I never even read this one to my kids – it went straight back into the library bag after I read it. The illustrations are great, but I had a clear vision of my son repeating all of the euphemisms in the book and I decided to pass.

Wee RhymesWee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry BookWee Rhymes
My expectations were probably unrealistically high with this one because it’s by Jane Yolen. It seemed fairly blah, and I doubt I’ll ever check it out again.

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What the Kids are Reading vol. 2

We’ve branched out a bit since last month, and aren’t reading alphabet books almost exclusively.

B is for BulldozerB Is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABCB is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC written by June Sobel and illustrated by Melissa Iwai
Our one new alphabet book for the month. Both kids really like it – all the fun illustrations, and how there is an overall story behind the individual letters. The rhymes themselves are so-so, and I doubt that I’ll ever get this one out from the library again.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry StreetAnd to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
I’m assuming I read this classic Dr. Seuss title when I was a child, because some of the illustrations were vaguely familiar, and the title/refrain was extremely familiar. But beyond those hints of “I’m sure I’ve read this way back when,” it was almost a new book. And it was definitely new to the kids. They like it, but don’t love it.

Goodnight MoonGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
An old favorite, but my daughter has recently become obsessed with it. She demands that I read it to her before her nap and before bedtime. She has to point out the mouse on every page (I’m not going to confess precisely how long it took me to notice that he moves around the room). She also has to take it into her crib with her. And she calls it “night moon?” So cute.

The Tall Book of Nursery TalesThe Tall Book of Nursery Tales
Specifically, the Gingerbread Boy tale (read by momma), and the Three Little Pigs tale (read by daddy). The rest of the book? Who cares – Gingerbread Boy and the Big Bad Wolf are where the action is.

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What the Kids Are Reading

I read with my kids all. the. time. My baby girl regularly brings me a book saying “Read books?” Of course sweetie. I may not be the mom who does lots of crafts and art projects with my kids, but I am definitely the mom who is always up for a book or ten.

We do buy books, but I also rely on the library a lot, to keep us in fresh reading material. It helps keep me from losing my mind from reading the same stories a thousand times in one week, and they also love regularly having new stories to discover. My son is always excited on library day to see what books I brought home for him.

So what have we been reading lately? Lots of alphabet books because I love seeing how the same general subject is treated by different authors and illustrators, filled in by other titles as I have room on my library card.

AlphaOopsAlphaOops!: The Day Z Went FirstAlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis.
The kids love this one, and so do I. It’s a funny story, and the illustrations are wonderful. Lots of fun stuff to find on some of the pages as well – this one was such a winner that I bought our own copy.

Alphabet AdventureAlphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood and Alphabet MysteryAlphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood by Audrey Wood.
Both kids love these, although I’m not as crazy about it. They’re fine, just don’t knock my socks off like some others have. My son especially likes finding the missing dot from Alphabet Adventure, and of the two I prefer that one.

Shiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABCShiver Me Letters: A Pirate ABC by June Sobel by June Sobel.
Cute, but not one the kids have asked for again after taking it back to the library.

The Racecar AlphabetThe Racecar Alphabet by Brian Floca by Brian Floca.
Great illustrations, and while I expected my son to love it with all of the car illustrations (because he has been obsessed with cars since he was only a few months old), my daughter does too. I thought the writing was a little bit uneven, but since I’ve returned it they’ve both asked for it again.

The Tall Book of Nursery TalesThe Tall Book of Nursery Tales by Raina Moore by Raina Moore and A First Book of Fairy TalesA First Book of Fairy Tales by Mary Hoffman
by Mary Hoffman.

We read these as a bedtime story, and the kids LOVE daddy’s rendition of the Three Little Pigs. The illustrations are really pretty in both of them, but overall I prefer the First Book of Fairy Tales.

The Easter StoryThe Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith by Brian Wildsmith.
My kids were a little young for this one, and didn’t care about it. We’ll try again next year.

Ducks Don’t Wear SocksDucks Don't Wear Socks by John Nedwidek by John Nedwidek.
Another one where the kids like it more than I do. Why does the duck have to yell all the time? Why is he wearing pants sometimes and not other times? Why does the little girl go from barely smiling to wearing a duck costume so quickly? I know, it’s a picture book, I should just roll with these things, but these are the sorts of issues that keep me from loving a book as much as some others.

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