Monday, February 27, 2012

Unique Reads

I have a deep seeded love for books.  All kinds of them.   I still have all my law books - they look pretty sexy after all - and after the half-inch compression to my spine from hauling them around for three years they are badges books of honor and simply can't be parted with.   I have books from when I taught Communication, some books remain from my college course work as well.   Never mind the shelves and shelves full of my favorite fiction.   However, my speed to read through more has now moved mostly to crawl and my attention has been directed other places and as the trend would continue it's toward my kids and children's literature.  

Thankfully, my children have a born desire to read - from the womb they've heard stories repeated over and over again.  Every night at bedtime there is at least one book read.  Throughout the day my children can be caught with a book.  My son has been able to memorize whole books just from the repetition.  My daughter who for the first year of life found books to be more of an appetizer than entertainment, has finally begun to enjoy the joy of reading (listening) to a story.   I love that they love to read and with that I am constantly on the hunt for new books, adventures through pages, and colorful imagery to share with them.   



With that I thought I'd start a series and share with you some of our favorites and what we as a household of ages 3 and 1 are reading these days.   I'll start with a medley of our past and current favorites.

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Cuddle by Beth Shoshan:  Cuddle is about a boy who stretches his imagination about cuddling various animals. "I'd cuddle a whale but I might be too small" The artwork is adorable with all the various imagery of the results of the boy cuddling a shark, skunk, and crocodiles! The words and plot are very simple, but always gives my son a chuckle.  Ace loved this book so much that  it was a staple every night for nearly a year during his second year of life.  It now has moved into the 'occasional' rotation.  Another bonus of  Cuddle from the mom perspective: it isn't so long that I cringe when asked to read it! Which is a huge plus for nightly-repeat books. 


I like fruit by Lorena Siminovich:  I bought this book for Mae's stocking and I couldn't be happier with the simple texture and color based book.   It has a unique collage style artwork that teaches not only colors, but also fruit and various fun textures.    It's a nice change from more traditional learning colors books.   Mae is a fan and so is her big brother even though he already knows his colors and fruit.


Romeo & Juliet by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver: This is a great little counting board book.  Don't expect this book to truly tell a story of Romeo and Juliet though.    It takes some of the staples from Romeo & Juliet and counts them: 1 balcony, 2 loves, 3 people meet, 4 roses, 5 friends, 6 musicians, 7 masks, 8 love letters, 9 streets and bridges, and 10 kisses. Toss in a few of the memorable quotes, character names, and darling artwork and you have a sweet little book.  Far from a retelling, but for true Shakespeare fans it creates an opportunity to introduce the story at your own pace to your kids. There are others as well in the BabyLit series, but at $10 a pop I think we'll be slow to add them to our collection.


In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober:  Far from your traditional board book - this book is a great introduction into some of Van Gogh's classic art pieces.   The pictures are large (for a board book) and the lyrical writing is thematic to the painting. My favorite of Van Gogh's paintings - Starry Night is in this book (a little cliche, I know, but I love the textures and the blues!)  In the back of the book there is a list of the paintings and the museums in which they appear, which is a nice reference for the parents. There are many different artists featured in these Mini Master classics, so your favorite is likely to be found!  Even better is there is a Mini Masters Box Set that contain even more great historical artists for a great price, which is what we own. 

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There you have it some great books, many of them board books for your tough on paper kiddos!   I love that my kids love to read, look at pictures, and explore books all on their own.   I am in the process now of creating a reading nook in my son's closet.  Still waffling on how elaborate and permanent I want to make the nook - but for now he's enjoying a pile of pillows/blankets in his closet with his bookshelf moved in there.  :) A post on that is surely on its way!    Happy reading and memory making with your kids! 

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