Saturday, January 16, 2010

Good Books

Miss is at a point right now where she wants me to read her books to her constantly. This is fabulous. Some of the books are not. I love reading to her, but man, some of the children's books are just so painful to read over and over and over. And over. Many of the books she loves right now are just the pictures-with-words types of books. A. Airplane. Abacus. Apple. And so forth. These are great if a bit tedious at times. But some of the books are really just bad. Stupid rhymes. Awkward phrasing and tempo. I could go on. But instead, I thought I'd tell you about some of the children's books I've found that are delightful. I love it when Miss picks these books for me to read to her.

The first is a book called "My First ABC" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009). This book has a page for each letter with a word that starts with that letter and a work of art representing that word. "A" has a painting of apples, for example. It has works in it by artists such as Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, and Grant Wood (plus a lot of people I've never heard of, I don't claim to be an art aficionado). Miss loves it and it is a beautiful book. I thoroughly enjoy going through this book with her each time.

Another book I love to read to Miss is "The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear" (Wood & Wood, 1998). This book is just such a cute little story, and I love the way it is written with the narrator having a "conversation" with the little Mouse. The writing is clever and fun and the illustrations are wonderful. The facial expressions depicted on the little Mouse are perfect.

The last book I have to mention is a new nap time staple at our house. It's called "Baby Danced the Polka" (Beaumont & Plecas, 2004) It's about a baby who should be napping but just wants to dance instead. This book has wonderful rhymes and the tempo and phrasing are just perfect. It's the kind of book that repeats itself several times. Here is a snippet, "While Papa starched his long johns, and Mama stitched her coat, Baby boogie-woogied with the frisky little. . . Goat!" (pp. 7-8). Baby does different dances with several different animals and the book has flaps for Miss to open to see which animal Baby is dancing with each time. She loves to turn the pages and open the flaps. And I greatly enjoy reading this adorable book to her.

So there you have it. If you're getting sick of the same old books or tired of reading poorly written books to your kids, I highly recommend these books to get a smile both from your baby and from you.

Beaumont, K. & Plecas, J. (illustrator). (2004). Baby Danced the Polka. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2009). My First ABC. New York: LB KIds.

Wood, D. & Wood, A. (1998). The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear (Board Book Edition). Swindon, England: Child's Play (International) Ltd.

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