In My Day

I’m sure we will revisit these authors in future posts, but for now we offer a sample of the books from her parents’ childhoods – and earlier – that Zelda has begun to love herself.   Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss Learn important life lessons with Yertle, a bird named Gertrude McFuzz, and a rabbit/bear duo that can’t stop arguing. Yertle might be Zelda’s favorite story in this collection – at least for now – in large part because she loves stacking and counting. She doesn’t yet understand the metaphor, but that’s okay. One of the best things about rereading Dr. Seuss books as an adult is finding the larger themes that we absorbed as children without even noticing that we were learning some of life’s greatest lessons. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak Sendak is by far my favorite author for children, though he didn’t really consider himself as belonging to that category.  This is his most famous book and an excellent introduction into the world of Sendak. Zelda hasn’t seen the movie adaptation yet, but some day we will snuggle on the couch with popcorn and open hearts. Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban “Too…

Bunny in the Grove

Zelda loves bookstores, so when we were in Coconut Grove recently, we headed over to the aptly named Bookstore in the Grove. While browsing the children’s section of this lovely independent bookstore, I stumbled across  Brave Squish Rabbit by Katherine Battersby. Being afraid of the dark is a universal fear; when shadows loom large, the imagination takes over, and the world is a much scarier place. Thinking that a trusted friend is lost in the dark one night, Squish braves the unknown and his own imagination. At the end of his journey, he finds a reason to the beauty of the night sky.  Read this to your little squish when the lights are low and it’s time to brave the night once again.

Mice

Mice make great characters. Remember the one who ran up the clock? And the three blind ones? Everyone likes a good mouse story. (We hear there’s an entire World – and a Land – built by a certain mouse in red shorts.) Here are a couple of our favorite mouse books. Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh Young children are drawn to bright, bold colors, particularly the primary red, yellow, and blue.  This book taps into a child’s playful curiosity about color and teaches a few lessons about how those primary colors combine to form the rest of the spectrum.  The three white mice in Walsh’s story dip themselves in paint jars and begin an adventure in color exploration that will delight young artists and their parents. When I was a kindergarten teacher, we read this book and then used finger paints to learn about color and addition.  Children chose a color for each hand, made a print of each, and then smooched their hands together to create two handprints of the combination color.  For example, one red hand plus one blue hand equals two purple hands.  They loved it.  If you’re at home and want to get really messy, try…

Not Every Post Needs a Theme

  The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster To a little girl, the window in her grandparents’ home is magical.  From the outside, she can peek in and see her Nanna and Poppy in their kitchen with “all kinds of pictures from the olden days.”  From the inside, she can see the world – the neighbor’s dog in the garden, the pizza delivery guy, or perhaps even the Queen of England coming for tea. Raschka won The Caldecott Medal for his playful illustrations full of bold colors and happy faces that seem to be the work of an incredibly talented child.  They fit perfectly with the narrator’s voice, artfully constructed by the great Norton Juster, author of my personal favorite,The Phantom Tollbooth.  Juster knows how children think, which makes this story sound as if a child really were writing it, rather than an adult’s interpretation of a child’s world.  Case in point: “When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up.” The Hello, Goodbye Window reminds adults that children see magic in the mundane.  In my classroom, I read this book to young children and then began a conversation about what…