A blizzard is coming, so Mother Rabbit bakes carrot cake and knits her beloved Little Rabbit a hat. He loves it and asks her to make hats for their friends too. She happily agrees, they work together on the hats, and the friends (after seeing how warm they are and how special they feel wearing them) are very appreciative. Mother Rabbit and Little Rabbit go home and have carrot cake, warm and secure in each other’s love and being together (“the best gift of all”). The end.
It sounds so simple, but the pictures are so lovely and the rabbits are so realistically warm and their relationship is so caring; it may be the coziest book I have ever read. And both the boys still love it, which always surprises me a bit and also makes me happy each year. Apparently it is the first book in a series about Little Rabbit and Mother Rabbit, but we haven’t read the other books (which are focused on particular issues, like handling cleaning up or crying or nightmares).
Posted onAugust 20, 2015|Comments Off on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is another book that needs no introduction and is utterly wonderful. Though there are many hints of the darkness to come (gulp), the tone is largely playful and the story and setting are as imaginative as ever. And it is here that Ms. Rowling, through Dumbledore, quietly states a message that goes to the heart of the series: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
About a year and a half ago, after we enjoyed reading the first book in this series together, I read half of this second book to my oldest before he lost interest. Now a number of his friends are reading the series and he decided to give it another try. He raced through the rest of the book (mostly by himself) in a matter of days and then hopped straight into the third and fourth books in the series (more on them to follow).
Author: J.K. Rowling
Illustrator: Mary Grandpre
Comments Off on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Posted onJuly 28, 2015|Comments Off on Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life
Unlike most of the books I feature here, this is not a book for reading aloud from cover to cover. Instead, this is a book for dipping in and out of, admiring the extensive illustrations and learning myriad new things. Chapters on land, barns, tools, planting, animals, food, and crafts provide an entry point for just about any range of interests and this book would make a wonderful present for just about anyone of any age.
Randomly opening the book to a section on poultry, in four pages we learned: the anatomy of an egg, how to identify (by their footprints) predators that could attack the flock, the average number of eggs one hen lays each year, two ways to tell how old an egg is, and the type of duck my mother had as a girl (a Call duck).
My oldest loves to read through this book on his own and is lobbying for us to try some of the recipes (especially the maple fudge).
Author: Julia Rothman
Illustrator: Julia Rothman
Comments Off on Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life
Posted onJune 16, 2015|Comments Off on Those Darn Squirrels Fly South
Genius squirrels follow wintering birds to a tropical paradise. Will their grumpy friend Old Man Fookwire be far behind?
Like the first book in this series, Those Darn Squirrels!, it is difficult to read this book once; as soon as it is done, the boys ask me to read it again. Since they are laughing their heads off for much of the book (no matter how many times we read it), I’m happy to comply.
On Market Street, vendors of items from apples to zippers all wear (or are made of) their wares. I’ve loved this beautiful alphabet book from the first time I saw it as a child. The boys prefer The Racecar Alphabet, but this is the week when I share some of the books that I currently enjoy more than they do, in honor of Mother’s Day.
This rhyming book reminds me a bit of The Snatchabook. But just a bit. Instead of one cute little (albeit book snatching) critter flying into a town called Burrow Down, here four million (not at all little or cute) wasps swarm a town called Itching Down. And instead of concluding with understanding and acceptance, this tall tale ends with a mighty squashing. The residents lure the wasps into the giant sandwich of the title and then:
What became of the sandwich? Well,
In Itching Down they like to tell
How the birds flew off with it in their beaks
And had a feast for a hundred weeks.
Author: Janet Burroway
Illustrator: John Vernon Lord
All the birds had laid an egg.
All except for Duck.
Then Duck found an egg!
He thought it was the most beautiful egg in the whole wide world.
Well after all of the other birds’ eggs hatch (in a sequence making clever use of paper engineering), Duck keeps faith in his egg. Ignoring the other birds’ overt skepticism, Duck waits and waits until his very special, surprising, hatchling makes a grand entrance. The boys really enjoy this book; it is sweet, short, and very funny.
While the story of the Frog Princess is not as well known as that of the Frog Prince, it is a classic tale and my youngest has taken to this version like, well, a frog to water. A queen realizes her three rather foolish sons need “sensible wives,” so she has each shoot off an arrow, telling them they will find their bride where their arrow lands. Two of the princes find brides suited to their interests (food and clothing), but the youngest (a dreamer) finds only “a little green frog.” When the queen declares the son with the cleverest bride will become king after her, does the youngest stand a chance? (Of course he does.)
Author: Emma Chichester Clark
Illustrator: Laura Cecil
Posted onMay 11, 2014|Comments Off on Where is the Green Sheep?
The quest for a missing green sheep leads to lots of opposites, colors, and rhymes. The illustrations are cheerful and playful (did you notice the Singin’ in the Rain visual reference above?). And finding out what the green sheep is up to just might inspire a toddler to nap.
(Our copy’s text is just in English, but the version currently in print has Spanish text too.)