Thursday, September 08, 2005

Beyond Goodnight Moon: Book Recommendations

Lucia is going through some adjustment to her new "big girl bed," hence Bede and I have become bleery-eyed parents once again. If I had a rainbow canopy over my bed, I'd have nothing about which to complain, but since I don't, I have one complaint: parents don't get enough sleep. If we unionize, maybe we can improve our conditions. You do want higher wages, more backrubs and sanctioned coffee breaks, don't you?

In the meantime, here is a small annotated list of recommended books for your Young Toddler. The "YTs" are officially 12-24 months old, but the guidelines are fluid (unless you're trying to enroll your child for a storytime program.) Most of these books are available in board book format. I choose books that have plot. Even books with one word per page should have some sense of story in the pictures.

A, You're Adorable--Buddy Kay, ill by Martha Alexander.
A singable board book of the alphabet. To hear the tune, listen to Sharon, Lois and Bram's "Great Big Hits."

Alphabet Room--Sarah Pinto
On the surface, this is a simple alphabet book with a letter and corresponding object. Lift the flaps for the wordless story that unfolds with each successive letter.

Big Fat Hen--Keith Baker
An old counting rhyme with vibrant illustrations.

Caps for Sale--Esphyr Slobodkina
This story about a cap-selling peddler and the mischievous monkeys provides opportunity for a lot of imitation. For short attention spans, don't spend too much time on the beginning, but get to where the peddler wakes from his nap! As your child learns to anticipate the monkeys, you can read more of the story successfully.

Cat's Pajamas--Thacher Hurd. *
Jazzy cats are wild and woolly until police-dogs with bullhorns send the kitties to bed.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom/ Chicka Chicka ABC (board book)--Bill Martin, Jr., ill by Lois Ehlert
Practice the rhythm-- it's worth it! People have various interpretations of the rhythm too, which is fun.

Daisy Says, "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"-- Jane Simmons.
Daisy the duck is sweet without being cloying. The companion book, Daisy Says, "If You're Happy and You Know It" is good, too.

Dinosaur Roar!--Paul Stickland, Henrietta Stickland
Six million years later, dinosaurs still rule.

Everywhere Babies--Susan Meyers, Marla Frazee
Babies from all different kinds of families are swaddled, rocked, walked, and loved. I like books that show tired parents.

First Book of Sushi--Amy Wilson Sanger
"Miso in my sippy cup/tofu in my bowl/Crab and avocado fill my California roll."

Give Me Grace: A Child's Daybook of Prayers--Cynthia Rylant
Non-denominational, thoughtful prayers that encourage kindness.

Goodnight, Gorilla--Peggy Rathmann
Keep an eye out for gorillas-- they're sneaky! Perhaps this is a story in disguise about the perils of taking all of one's stuffed animals to bed.

Hush: a Thai Lullaby-- Minfong Ho
As a mother sings to her baby, she asks animals such as a lizard, monkey, and water-buffalo to be quiet and not disturb her sleeping child. This is a long book for toddlers, so a few animals at a time will suffice.

Little Gorilla--Ruth Bornstein
Everyone in the forest loves little gorilla, but what happens when he gets big? The answer is joyful and reassuring.

Max's Ride/ Max's Breakfast/ Max's First Word/ Max's Bath etc.-- Rosemary Wells
Beginning board books with plot: bossy older sister Ruby tries to show Max the ropes, but Max ends up teaching her a few things.

Moo, Baa, La La La-- Sandra Boynton.
Three singing pigs say la la la! A silly noise book.

Over in the Meadow--ill by Ezra Jack Keats.
There are many versions of this song, but the one illustrated by Keats is my favorite, perhaps because of the “soft, shady glen” at the end.

Peek-A-Who?--Nina Laden
Who's peeking through the circle? The last page has a mirror.
Also good: Grow Up! and Ready, Set, Go!

Ten, Nine, Eight--Molly Bang
From 10 small toes to 1 big girl all ready for bed, this is a comforting counting book.

Teeny, Tiny Baby--Amy Schwartz
"I am a teeny tiny baby, and I know how to get anything I want," narrates the main character. I confess that this recommendation is really for the grownups, though older toddlers get a kick out of it.

What Shall We Do With the Boo Hoo Baby?--Cressida Cowell
The cow, the cat, the dog and the duck have good ideas, but in the end, there’s just one thing to do...

Put the baby to bed!

*P. S. A truly fun, subversive tale for your older toddlers: Thatcher Hurd's Mama Don't Allow. Lucia enjoys the story of Miles the badger and his Swamp Band having to find an outlet for their loud, raucous music at the Alligator Ball. (Of course, singing, "Mama don't allow no music playing 'round here," holds a certain irony in this household.)


abcgirl said...

what a lovely list! you've hit on many of my favorites and i'll have to check out the ones i don't know yet. i'll add a few;

baby danced the polka by karen beaumont.
if you like books about tired parents and not-so-tired kiddies, this one is really fun and has excellent rhythm!

series by angie sage:
green mug
red ball
yellow ice
blue hat
ok, i don't think i've actually read all of these yet, but my memory of the ones i've read is quite positive. they rhyme, and for just have 1-3 words on each page, they put forth a pretty good storyline. correct me if i'm wrong on this.

one non-board book recommendation:
tanka tanka skunk! by steve webb
ok, no storyline here. it's all about rhythm. but, if you point to the skunk and the elephant during the repetitive chorus and get faster and faster... kids love it. although, if it's for bedtime, i'd recommend ending on the page that says, "quiet now, lie down, time to say good night..." and not go on to "wake up! jump up! bouncy kangaroo!" you'll understand if you read it.

galetea said...

I am seriously jealous of your daughter's bed. I wonder if I could convince the Rock Star that a rainbow canopy is a good idea?

Some of my favorite subversive children's books (for slightly older than toddlers) are by Babette Cole. Dr.Dog, Drop Dead, Princess Smartypants and Mummy Laid an Egg are are completely fabulous. There are also the Doctor Xargle books by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross. Highly recommended!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Okay! ABCGirl, I've ordered Tanka from the library, and placed an interlibrary loan request for Baby Danced the Polka. We received "Blue Hat" as a hand-me-down gift, and it's been popular with Lucia. I'm revisiting Babette Cole at your suggestion, Galatea, and am just itchy with frustration that The Dr. Xargle books seem to be beyond my grasp at this point. Amazon has some Dr. Xargle books starting at $72.98. They're out of print here, but still going strong in the UK. I want to read Dr. Xargle's book of earthlets!

Which reminds me-- do you all know Daniel Pinkwater's Guys from Space? You may (or may not) remember the skit a bunch of us did for a college coffee or chocolate house based upon GFS. I think, however, that the cast of GFS thought the skit was way funnier than the audience did. Wendell as "The Big Space Thing" was marvelously cast, if I do say so myself. That was before he cut all of his long, curly hair off.

Lone Star Ma said...

I adore the bed! It is so beautiful!

We also love A, You're Adorable and Everywhwere Babies and Moo, Baa, La, La, La (as well as all of Sandra Biynton's others).

Other Favorites include The Baby by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (more for the 6 to 12 month set), Owl Babies, Row, Row, Row Your Boat and all those other biggish books with the illustrations of the babies (I think another is called Clap Your Hands and another All Fall Down).

We are also really into shape books right now...there's a cool new matching one out by the (drawing a blank) Very Hungry Caterpillar guy.

Lone Star Ma said...

And we love Babybug Magazine! It's perfect for that age.

Scott said...

I'm a huge fan of "Caps for Sale". My parents used to read that to me all the time as a kid. (It has already been read to Sofia.) I remember being very satisfied by the fact that the main character organized his hats by color and the methodical way he went about it. I despised those lousy monkeys for the havoc they wreaked upon that delicious stack of caps, but without the havoc we could not have the reordering, could we?

Andrew said...

Six million years later, dinosaurs still rule. :O Surely you mean six thousand??

On the gorilla tip, have you seen "Hug"? There's not many words in it (three, I believe), but it's an incredibly good book.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

What I find so infuriating about those monkeys is that they're smiling in the face of the peddler's rage. Don't those monkeys realize that sorting caps is a serious matter?

Do you really want to start me up on another dinosaur rampage?! The last time that happened, I was bouncing off the walls for a whole day. I do know the book Hug (by Jez Alborough, for those interested)-- for awhile, it was Lucia's best friend's favorite book. Her best friend and his mommy would act out the story for us. However, the simian is a chimp, not a gorilla. I don't think Brad would be too put out, though. He just hates it when humans confuse monkeys with apes.

Hey all-
It was great to open my inbox this morning and read the comments people had left on the blog. I like comments. I like conversations. Thanks so much.

Lone Star Ma said...

We really do need to "improve our conditions". Great link!

Andrew said...

Chimpanzees - while not gorillas, you are correct - are, in fact apes, and not monkeys. :)

Andrew said...

Oh, in review I see my reading coprehension was lacking, and I apologize. I would delete my comment but I suspect that would be more shameful still.

I also apologize to Brad for having said "gorilla" instead of "ape" in the first place.

Brad the Gorilla said...

Andrew, I forgive you (especially if you send some Havana Banana cigars my way, to soothe my ruffled fur.) Sometimes humans get the great apes confused. Gorillas understand that. It's just that when they start confusing monkeys and apes that we get very, very angry and throw fits! I didn't throw a fit. But I would still like some cigars.

abcgirl said...

the list grows! i put a few more books on my hold list after reading the comments. i do love babybug as well, it's just so hard to catalog/shelve/define in a library. do we put it with the board books or the magazines? also, i'm having trouble convincing the powers that be to subscribe since it's kinda pricey for a periodical. but it's ad-free! and so lovely! sigh. maybe this will inspire me to fight harder for it.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

I recommend putting Babybug in the children's magazine section. It's a periodical, after all, and the youngest ones will get practice in going to that section on a regular basis. Of course, once they cast their eyes upon Cricket, it's all over! Maybe tell the powers that be that board books have short shelf lives ANYWAY, but are important nonetheless for literacy, etc.

Paul Stickland said...

I am so pleased that you mentioned our book DINOSAUR ROAR! in your blog. I had so much fun drawing the book and I revel in the joy it seems to have given so many children.
I have just returned from the Swansea Children's Book Festival, having done workshops for 151 children today and I don't know what we did but that book seems to be part of so many children's lives.
In return we have just set up our new website , please do visit it and download some of the images and games, we will add much more as time goes by.
Love to hear any feedback
love to you all,