Thrift shop book haul to get us through the last couple weeks of summer break:
For the kids
Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald
A Year Down Under by Richard Peck
The Mysterious Four by Dan Poblocki
Kate’s Book by Mary Francis Shura
All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor
Freddy and the French Fries: The Mystery of Silas Finklebean by David Balducci
More Help by Nancy Holyoke
Little Mermaid published by Playmore Inc
Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat by Naomi Howland
The Perfect Pony by Corinne Demas
Stormy Weather by Molly Wigand
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Case of the Sneaky Snowman by Carolyn Keene
Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Gunslinger (Dark Tower I) by Stephen King
Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
ALL FOR ABOUT $16.00!! YES I AM YELLING!
I would like to share with you the best spam I have ever received:
Hi!Would you like a cup of tea? The Smiths are my neighbors.This is the most wonderful day of my life, because I’m here with you now.He is taller than I by ahead.There is a chair below the window.There is a chair below the window.Feel better? Don’t let this get you down.Li Bai is one of the greatest poets that have ever lived in China.
Recently my cousin and his wife were talking about how they didn’t love many of the books they are reading to their 16 month old son (actually he is probably 17 or 18 months by now!). I tried to remember some of the great books I read to my kids at that age. Below are some of the ones that came to mind plus a couple recommendations from friends. The thing about reading to toddlers is that it is all about repetition (and this can last all the way through preschool with some kids). That is, they want the same couple of books, or the same book, over and over (and over and over and over) again. Hence the fact that I still have several of the books listed below at least partially memorized.
It is so worth it to take the time to find amazing books to read with your kids. There are countless excellent kids books and sometimes they will move you or thrill you or make you laugh in ways you didn’t think a kids book could. On the flip side, unless the book is utter and total crap, it is not really worth discouraging your kids from reading either. I am all for a library free for all. When they were tiny and even now, I let my kids have free reign at the library (within reason—my oldest is a very good reader so is sometimes drawn to books that are just too mature for her so I do have to be a bit careful*). Stories are stories, illustrations are mind-openers, reading is always a good thing.
Any books you loved when you were a wee one or that you enjoyed reading to your toddler that are not on the list?
Dr. Seuss—the easier ones like Hop on Pop and One Fish, Two Fish…These can be fun to read if you read them in the spirit in which Seuss intended; with wild abandon. I think I still have the ABC book memorized.
Elisa Kleven—sweet stories with fantastic and detailed illustrations. We liked them all and still read The Lion and the Little Red Bird on occasion.
Richard Scarry—these books can be hard to read but the pictures are so much fun. I loved them as a kid and my kids loved them when they were little. I once had a cat I named after Lowly Worm.
Elsa Minarik—Little Bear books. These are so sweet and but not sappy and Sendak’s illustrations are perfect.
Todd Parr—very simple messages and illustrations; bright and entertaining for toddlers.
Peggy Rathman—-The Day the Babies Crawled Away. This was a favorite bedtime story in our house for years. Also, Goodnight Gorilla!
Jan Peck—Way Up High in a Tall Green Tree. Another bedtime favorite.
Olivier Dunrea—My kids liked all the Ollie and Gussie books when they were toddlers.
Laura Numeroff—If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, etc. These are popular with little kids for a reason. They are silly but interesting . In our house If You Give a Pig a Pancake was the one we read again and again.
Crockett Johnson—Harold and the Purple Crayon. Classic!!
Eric Hill—The Spot books. These are not going to be great fun for parents but kids like the puppy character and lifting flaps is always cool for toddlers.
Bill Martin Jr.—Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Fun to read until it’s not anymore but you will read it all the time because your kid will love it.
Ezra Jack Keats—-The Snowy Day. Another classic and this one is so lovely!
Jane Yolen—How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight. For when your little one goes through the dinosaur phase. Funny pictures and sweet narrative.
Bruce Degen—Jamberry. This was often requested by my kids.
Honorable Mentions: Sandra Boynton and Eric Carle. These are really classics at this point and your kids have probably already gotten them as gifts. These weren’t my personal favorites (or my children’s favorites) but they are sweet and generally enjoyable.
- Recommendations from Friends: “Mo Wiilems stories. My kids always acted them out after I read them. “
- “ Also have to mention “Roxaboxen” by Alice McClaren. Not toddler, really more preschool and up, but one of my all time favorites!…”I Know a Rhino” by Charles Fuge; “Bear on a Bike” by Stella Blackstone; “The Tomorrow Book” by Doris Schwerin; “May I Bring a Friend?” by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. Another favorite for slightly older than toddlers: “Jumpy Jack & Googily.”
*I will put together a preschool and elementary school list, too.
Review books tend to arrive in my mailbox in clusters. I get two, three or even four a week. Some are long and some quick reads; some are kids chapter books and others dense non-fiction. Most are novels, though. I tried to read them all carefully and I am honest in my reviews. I am not a critic so try not to get too fancy. These days because I am writing almost exclusively for one place, I don’t even have to think about format or length—it comes easily. Suddenly, all the reviews are done. I have a week, maybe even two where I can read any old book I want with no pressure at all. I love both these kinds of reading: the thoughtful kind where my head gets full of synonyms and I know I will have to explain the strengths and weaknesses of the book to an audience and the kind of reading done for pure pleasure with no agenda or deadline.
Some recent non-review books I have read:
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Someone lent me this short, strange fantasy. I adored it. It was creepy and sad and great fun to read.
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. Having already read the whole series I started reading them all again because 1) I wanted to re-read each to watch the television series, 2) I was getting ready to play a special pub trivia game all about GoT, and 3) I am just that kind of nerd. The first go through, Game of Thrones was my favorite of the series but on re-reading, this one, the third book, is.
Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples. I don’t generally get into comic books or graphic novels though there are some that I really love. A friend lent me this, knowing I don’t generally read comics, thinking I would like this one. He was right—it is great fun with an interesting story and fantastic illustrations.
The other day I finished Nos4a2 by Joe Hill. I do like a good scary story and this one fit the bill. It was long enough to keep me occupied for a few days and was high on the creep-o-meter (more creepy than scary really though because enough of what happens was in the realm of reality and not fantasy, it was scary, too). I loved that the protagonist was a crazy mom and that another hero and all around great character was an obese comic book geek. Because everyone knows Hill is S. King’s son he has done the right thing and totally embraced that with a few cool references to his dad’s work (as well as some Lovecraft references and others—it is a very smart book in that way). It also plays with ideas about reality (are thoughts real, etc) and has just enough humor in it.
Now I am on to The Dog Stars by Peter Heller which is satisfying my post-apocalyptic story itch. The language is choppy and disjointed (for good reason) and though it works, it is challenging to read.
Next time you come by I’ll share some recent reviews with you.
Spring seems to have sproinged today…or something like that. I am busy busy with grading and all the special events that take place at the end of the kids’ school year as well. So, for now, just some links to some reviews:
The Good Nurse –true crime about a killer nurse.
Secrets From the Past—I read a romance novel….
Maya’s Notebook—the new Isabel Allende
I also recently read two books which I really loved: Magnificence by Lydia Millet and The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi. The first is Millet’s brand of strange and natural wonder and tells the story of one woman’s loss and her recovery with the help of a crazy mansion full of taxidermy. It is not a perfect book by any means but I enjoyed it immensely! The second of these two was a harder read for me; also strange and full of natural wonder. It is the spooky story of a young girl tortured by either a spirit, the ghost of her dead twin or mental illness (or maybe all three). It nicely blends the rhythms of modern European life with that of traditional African beliefs.
I live very far from any beaches. Spring Break may conjure images of bathing suits and sunny southern days and that does seem pretty fantastic. For us this year, Spring Break was spent on a three day backpacking trip. Four adults, four kids, one dog, a rapidly rushing river and the beauty of the Gila Wilderness, stark on first glance but revealing a lushness to those who care to look carefully.
Backpacking is not my ideal vacation (that would be a trip to Prague or New York City, taking in museums, architecture, sampling the food and watching all the interesting people) but on this, my second backpacking trip ever, I think I began to see the appeal. The reward for shlepping my essentials on my back (and, granted our hike in was just four miles) was a landscape like no other, a full day of exploration in water and dirt, canyons and riverbanks, birdsong in the morning, a beer in the shade of a tree in the afternoon, the sound of happy kids, moss and rock, bats at dusk and the biggest sky full of stars, planets and a crescent moon at night.
A variety of things as March marches on…
If you are on Facebook you can find me there and lots more links to interesting articles about books, science and the arts as well as whatever music is stuck in my head and much more.
On Pinterest I started keeping track of the books I am reading (on a board oh so cleverly titled, “What I am Reading..”) and recently started noting the month I read the book in as well. This is not that interesting except that it has shown that I am averaging about 4 books a month, not counting kids chapter books I am either reviewing or reading to/with my kids. A lot of 4 monthly books have been fantasy novels lately as I have a friend who has really gotten into the genre lately and lent me some good ones. Here are my 2013 reads so far with either a link to my official review or a one sentence review:
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett—contemporary classic I avoided for years but it turns out this is a great book: beautifully written with a unique premise and some good surprises.
Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde by Rebecca Dana–my review of this short memoir here.
When the Danube Ran Red by Zsuzsanna Ozsvath —a very short, unsettling and interesting memoir about a Jewish childhood in Hungary during the Nazi Occupation.
To The Power of Three by Laura Lippman—I have a soft spot for the crime-mysteries of Lippman and this may be my favorite so far!
The Tommyknockers by Stephen King—I also have a soft spot for King and had never read this hugey huge book about aliens and a small town in Maine: it was a fun and satisfying read.
Fuse by Julianna Baggott—My review of this book, which is Book 2 of the “Pure” trilogy, will be published soon…
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie—the first book in a fantasy trilogy: I am not done yet but will comment on it when I am.
I have some end of 2012 reviews to post as well but I am off to start my Friday with lots of coffee.
Still upset about Sandy Hook (you should be) and the “conversation” about guns, laws and violence? What makes you feel better? What actions are you taking?
I have been trying for a week to get some new pictures loaded up here but the only one that is working is actually this door image which is one of the first pictures I put up here on Citizen Beta version 2. I will keep trying.
Right now, though I am just going to take it easy. Though I am on break I have work to do (both for my regular job and a couple of reviews) but today I am feeling unconcerned. My plan for today is to drink at least one more cup of coffee, watch a movie with the kids (they got a handful of good dvds for the holiday) after watching a magic show (complete with balloon animals) that they have been working on all morning. I am going to read a bit of a fun book a friend lent me and consider going to the grocery store. Maybe I will even take the poor dog for a walk. Who knows. Today is the first day in a long time with no agenda. Meals will be simple, sweatpants will be the uniform and I may keep curtains drawn for that cozy shut-in feel.
And maybe even improved. I am playing around with the style of the site today. I am liking the changes so far: a bit more colorful and dynamic.
Also, am thinking about a book giveaway so stay tuned!
I am NOT grading a stack of student papers. Â Instead I AM offering you this round-up of cool stuff (and eating the Halloween candy my kids rejected: Reese’s peanut butter cups?? Switched at birth they were!!).
This song has been in my head for days, and I am okay with it