When both of my girls were younger, Goodnight Moon was our go-to read. No matter whether they’d been angels all day, or if my nerves were frazzled by nightfall, this classic bedtime tale was a constant in our home, one whose repetitious verse and soothing imagery offered them as much comfort as it did me. So naturally, when we were given the opportunity to review the latest Margaret Wise Brown treasury, we jumped at the chance, and when we found out the origin of its publication, it made the experience all the more special. Goodnight Songs is a collection of previously unpublished lullabies, unearthed by a children’s book editor and fellow fan. Presented in an engaging format that includes a musical CD, each lullaby is replete with gentle lyrics and lush imagery awash in muted watercolors that seek to send listeners/readers off to Dreamland. Among our favorites are “Sleep like a Rabbit,” “Sounds in the Night” and “The Mouse’s Prayer,” each offering their own tribute to bedtime that makes going to sleep less of a chore (and reading that same story over and over, less of a snore). And for that alone, any parent will be grateful.
In a Nutshell: A welcome addition to any young child’s bookshelf, this treasure trove of lullabies offers plenty of reasons for snuggling, and ensures a good night’s sleep for all.
What kid doesn’t doesn’t long to be big? When I was little, I envied my older sister who got to stay out late and wear Bonne Bell Lipsmackers (lips that smelled like 7-up…alright!). I remembered my dad telling me not to rush my life away, and thought he was a bit mad (today I can only look back and smile at my naivete and his sage advice). As my own daughters try to push the envelope–the older one begging for her own iPod and the younger one crying over the fact that I won’t let her wear one of those stick-on tattoos–I refuse their demands with my own version of “’cause I said so,” while I smile knowingly at their inherent need to spread their wings. For now, we can still settle down with a good book that understands that familiar tug of a child wishing to be all grown-up. Oh So Tiny Bunny is just that book, and its timeless message resonates with readers big and small. Author David Kirk, best known for his Miss Spider line of children’s books, brings a sense of whimsy to his creatures, and this bunny is no exception. With each page, we see Oh So testing his boundaries, as he steps out into the great unknown with his sense of adventure to guide him. Sure, a world of carrots as big as railroad cars and lettuce fields as wide as oceans sound delightful theoretically…but when he soon realized that life on a grand scale isn’t always so…grand, our hero happily returns to the life that had more meaning than he realized. In a world of grande lattes and super-sized meals, we sometimes forget that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. A delightful springtime read, Oh So Tiny Bunny ends with a telltale message for your favorite little bunnies.
In a Nutshell: Who says size matters? This charming story salutes the child who yearns to be all grown-up, but who still has a lot of dreaming left to do.
My 4-year-old has a definite sweet tooth, and her latest sugary obsession is Pez (remember those candies that come in their own dispenser?). Because she covets her Hello Kitty Pez like it’s gold, she has a hard time sharing with her big sis (who also loves Pez, but not nearly as much). During a recent battle at the dinner table, my little one reluctantly agreed to give her sister some of her treats…but the biggest surprise came the following day when her sister graciously brought home some leftover coloring sheets for her art class. As my girls have come to learn, a kind gesture like sharing something with others–especially something you love–doesn’t go unnoticed and sometimes yields its own reward. This is the perfect lesson for a young animal in Little Raccoon Learns to Share, a delightful new picture book by Mary Packard. Looking at the cover alone, I knew there was something utterly familiar, and once we delved into the story, I realized just what it was. The adorable animal drawings by illustrator Lisa McCue were instantly recognizable, as she has illustrated many of the Corduroy stories my girls and I have read over the years . Also familiar was the story line of the title character desperate to hold on to her treasured berries, even at the expense of her friends. As she ponders what might happen if her generosity costs her more than she bargained for, I couldn’t help but smile at my own daughter’s propensity to over-think a situation (wonder where she gets that from?) and potentially miss out on the fun. Luckily, thanks to a wise suggestion from the raccoon’s mom and the acceptance of her peers, she learns as my 4-year-old did: that sharing with others makes it’s all the more likely that they will share with you. That’s a lesson learned that can last lifetime. Little Raccoon Learns to Share will be available in April.
In a Nutshell: No one ever said sharing was easy. With charming illustrations and a gentle subtext, this new children’s book helps little ones understand that giving a little can go a long way.
Hide-and-seek is one game my 4-year-old never tires of. Come to think of it, her 8-year-old sister will often join in on the fun, no arm twisting required. Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase or the excitement about the unexpected…whatever the reason, it’s a guessing game that always ends in laughter. It’s this universally appealing peek-a-boo concept on which a new lift-the-flap book is based, and one that’s bound to captivate curious preschoolers. Spot the Animals brings the outdoors inside with carefully concealed animals on each page, waiting to be uncovered. Even the youngest tot will be enticed by the slightly visible creature whose identity must be revealed by solving the preceding riddle. Pre-readers have a chance to reinforce what they may already know (their colors), while learning something new (who knew that penguins could be blue?). An engaging, entertaining read, this novelty book is as colorful as it is charming.
In a Nutshell: Can you spot the purple butterfly? This delightful book takes the guesswork out of how to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office, on the grocery store line, etc.