Apparently it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the books we’re reading these days. Here are six months worth of kids book we’ve taken from the library. Yes. There are 28. No, not all of them are good. Just want the good stuff? Look for the * proceeding the title!
5 Minute Berenstain Bears’ Stories
Stan, Jan & Mike Berenstain
Can I just say that Mike ruined this franchise? Oh well, C doesn’t seem to mind. I love these 5-minute story type collections because they introduce us to stories that we may not have otherwise picked up. All the stories in this collection are available individually, which may be the way to go with Berenstain bears, as this collection skips the foreshadowing moral at the beginning which is one of my favourite parts. And so you can skip all the Mike Berenstain ones.
Chicken Soup With Rice
Does anyone else remember this from roughly grade 2? Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Chicken Soup With Rice are two books I can remember so clearly. We read one poem from this book at the beginning of each month and got to colour it. Turns out with out the colouring aspect, it’s not so much fun. Even buying chicken soup with rice didn’t seem to make this book any more fun.
Chu’s First Day
Neil Gaiman & Adam Rex
We had to pick up Chu’s first day, between starting pre-school and enjoying Chu’s Day. Gaiman box are oddly written. He also allows the pictures to tell part of the plot, which I find unsettling, but the comic book / graphic novel reading father in our household isn’t quite as put off by that.
Jon Klassen illustrated this book, and so I was looking forward to this one, since he illustrated and wrote my favourite kid’s book, I’ve Lost My Hat (plus the fact he’s from Winnipeg? That’s pretty great too). I was a little worried this would encourage C’s latest “fear” stage but obviously it’s been written with kids in mind so maybe it’s more reassuring that I thought?
*A Garden Of Opposites
I like picking up one book “for M”. While she likes flipping through board books at random, I usually get one concept book for me to try to read to her. Usually C just ends up getting far too attached to it, and I read it to her more than M. This one was simple and clear, with bright coloured, bold graphics.
Good Night Owl
I liked the illustrations of this book, but can we just discuss the elephant in the room? Owl has a rage problem. Is it really acceptable to destroy your house because of one mouse? Maybe owl is sleep deprived. Also, why is an owl going to sleep at night? But the illustration are pretty good.
*Good Night Yoga
Mariam Gates and Sara Jane Hinder
You know a book knocks your socks off when you buy it… and it’s companion Good Morning Yoga. C loves yoga, and so this book was a great option for a bedtime book. She can get a little riled up and I’m never sure if it really calms her down, or whether I just think it does. It does bug me that they’ve taken some liberties on the names of some poses, but all in all, it’s a solid book.
How I Became A Pirate
A little boy goes to the beach and ends up on a pirate ship. This book had some touching moments (there was a slight catch in my throat when I read the part of where he misses his teddy bear, his bedtime stories and his bedtime kisses. C liked this one because it ended at soccer practice.
*I am Jim Henson
This was a throw in one week at the library, and it was definitely worth it for the number of times we read it. C loves the Muppets, and while this was definitely aimed at kids older than her, she studied this book like no other I’ve seen.
If You Give A Cat A Cupcake
Considering it was about 6 months ago, C couldn’t make it through If You Give A Pig A Pancake, I shouldn’t be surprised that she could make it through this one a million and a half times. It’s a good standby, but nothing revolutionary on its own.
*Is There A Dog In This Book?
Lift the flap books make me nervous because I’m afraid I’m going to rip them. Lift the flap library books? Ya, I don’t know whose idea it was to get this one! It was a cute book with flaps within flaps.
It’s Picture Day Today
Megan McDonald and Katherine Tillotson
Pretty sure this is my least favourite of the 28 books we’ve read in the last six months. It was such a quick read, I can only imagine it being geared at toddlers, but the “plot” was too vague. This is such a hard pass.
Just A Little Luck
Once we figured out the pages had been taped back in the wrong order, this story improved. C still sometimes pulls out “Sometimes, you just need a little luck”. It’s not one of the strongest Little Critter stories.
Little Critter Storybook Collection
While I usually love collections like this, we read this forwards and backwards so many times, I don’t think I could read another Little Critter book as long as I live! That being said, most of them are pretty good in here. Especially the one that explains why it’s a good idea to eat vegetables and exercise!
Since we’re in a “I don’t want to finish my meal” stage, I thought this might help. Nope. Turns out there are no alligators to eat lunch in our house. It’s cute, though.
M.O.M (Mom Operating Manual)
We didn’t quite make it through this one. It’s a touch above C’s head, as most parodies are for toddlers.
*Magic School Bus: In the Time of the Dinosaurs
Can you think of a better book for a kid who loves Magic School Bus and Dinosaurs? I was surprised she let this one go back to the library. Then again, I am pretty sure after the yoga book,s he thinks if she likes something enough, we’ll just buy it for her. It was a little weird that the parents didn’t think the video tape of the dinosaurs was strange, but let’s not knitpick everything!
Mosquitoes Can’t Bite Ninjas
Jordan P Novak
Prerequisites for this story: having your kid know both what a mosquito and a ninja is. I guess we got this book a little too early in the summer (and it was a strange year for very low bug counts up here!) It was cute, but nothing super lasting.
Mr. Tweed’s Good Deeds
We’re getting close to the Where’s Waldo Age, so the seek and find books are starting to get fun. Of course, it’s mostly C’s razor sharp memory that is being exercised here, not her seek and find skills. The hidden objects are spread in a logical pattern (ie. if there are 8 objects on a two page spread, four are on each page). The plot is a little stiff.
Olivia The Spy
I really liked the original Olivia book. After being steered astray with Olivia books not written by Falconer, I was looking forward to this. It’s not quite as good as I wanted it to be. It should tell the story that eavesdropping is wrong, but it has this weird zag where suddenly Olivia is on stage?
Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes
James Dean and Kimberly Dean
I hate Pete the Cat. And this one is probably one of the worst I read. That being said, C liked it. And there was counting, so not completely irredeemable.
Pirates Don’t Take Baths
C doesn’t hate baths, so she didn’t care for this story. It was cute. Maybe it could be persuasive a time or two for a bath resisting kid?
The Pout-Pout Fish Goes to School
Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
This story. On repeat. I think it helped with the first day of school nerves. How couldn’t a rhyming, rhythmic story of a fish finding his way in school help a kid nervous about starting preschool? That being said, it wasn’t gripping enough to pick up any other pout-pout books.
*Stella Brings the Family
Miriam B. Schiffer and Holly Clifton-Brown
I like that stories are tackling non-traditional family models. This book focuses on a little girl who has two dads and doesn’t know who to bring to the Mother’s Day party at school. It’s a sweet look at all the different people who fulfills a parental role in raising a child.
*Three Triceratops Tuff
It’s the three little pigs of the dinosaurs! Only no triceratops are hurt in the reading of this book, and every gets to munch on fresh greenery, except the big bad t-rex who is never heard from again.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with this book, but other than the sloppy kisses at the end, it doesn’t really resonate with me, nor really C. I do like the colours of the illustration.
Who? What? Where?
While this book probably teaches problem solving skills, some of the details needed to answer the question (which is always who, and never what nor where, which is irritating) are very subtle, even for adults. Fortunately, the answers are at the back, so you can come up with the reasoning once you know the “who” of it all, but that seems like a tall order for kids.
Your First Word will be Dada
I have never been so disappointed in a book. Sure, it’s aimed at children younger than I expected (though really, that makes sense, given its about verbal development), but it’s more interesting to read to yourself in your head than aloud.