My car is in desperate need of a wash. After too many months of wet weather, muddy feet and the like, this mom taxi has taken quite a beating. Of course, the line at our local car wash has been five miles long lately. If only my imagination could transport to the pages of the latest picture book to cross my desk. Down at the Dino Wash Deluxe is the place to be, especially if you happen to live with anyone who knows his T-Tex from a triceratops. It’s also the center of a make-believe business where these prehistoric creatures come to have their regular scrub-down (where else can these guys fit when a bath tub is out of the question?). If I ever thought the job of keeping two kids clean was hard enough, this book makes me appreciate the fact that I don’t have to clean all those spikes and knobs on an Ankylosaurus; now that’s exhausting! Regardless of whether or not your kid has a love affair with these monstrous creatures, this story will certainly make them a little less scary. A T-Rex who’s afraid to get shampoo in his eyes? Who knew!…
In a Nutshell: How do you keep a dinosaur dirt-free? This silly story turns a car wash into a creative clean-up spot that’s dino-mite.
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.
Our next-door neighbor has been renovating his home for the past six months. Thanks to Superstorm Sandy and some other setbacks, it’s been taking a lot longer than expected. But because he is such a kindhearted guy (and always apologizing for the noise and commotion), we could never truly be angry with him. So when I opened the pages of Wooby & Peep new picture book, I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder–had someone been spying on us these last few months? Did the author see when a tree guy was removing some broken limbs from next door and accidentally knocked over our garden fence? Let’s just say that sometimes neighborly mishaps make for new friends…like they do in this charming tale where a quiet, keeps-to-himself Wooby is suddenly befriended by a boisterous Peep (his name does not do him justice) who practically bends over backwards to get in Wooby’s good graces. And yet, every attempt at kindness–from fixing a broken fountain, to replacing a lost tree (ahem, ahem)–backfires. You might cringe from all this devastation if it weren’t for the hilarious comic-book panel illustrations and tongue-in-cheek asides from resident onlookers. And yet no matter how many times Peep fails, in the end, it’s the sincerity of a simple message–to have a friend, you have to be a friend–that resonates with us all. As for us, we’re looking forward to a housewarming party…any day now.
In a Nutshell: A heartwarming picture book that shows how friendship can sometimes happen when you least expect it.
Last week’s spring break ran a bit little too long for my sanity, so my ever-thoughtful husband offered to take our daughter with him to work for the day. She’d been begging him since Easter, so you can imagine her excitement when his calendar opened up and she was able to trek with him into the Big City (to a 7-year-old, commuting never grows old). While I was never able to accompany my dad to his job (one that required security clearance), I later worked for the same company while on summer break as a college student and was able to ride with him to work. He always let me pick whatever radio station I wanted (a big deal in the pre-iPod-ear-buds-glued-to-your-head days), and we occasionally chatted about stuff we’d otherwise never get around to at home. It’s memories like these that make me smile as I watch my own young daughter experiencing these special moments with her own dad. How apropos then that a new picture book entitled Take Your Mama to Work Today should arrive on my doorstep. Just in time for April 26th’s “Take Your Child to Work Day,” this charming story chronicles a young girl’s day at the office and the many adventures she encounters in the business world. I couldn’t help but chuckle knowingly at some of the very instances that mirrored my daughter’s day; choruses of “You are so cute” are “You have grown so big” are echoed in these pages. Especially endearing are a child’s perspective on the office cultue, like power lunches (or, in my daughter’s case, Chinese take-out) in the conference room and business card exchanges (“networking”). I must say I was secretly relieved that my own kid was on her best behavior compared to the precocious kid in this story (no crazy copy machine tales to tell). An entertaining read, Take Your Mama to Work Today will beg the question, “Just who is driving this bus?” And if you’re like most grown-ups, you’ll be glad once school starts back up again.
In a Nutshell: An enjoyable read to share with your favorite new cubicle mate…even if it’s only temporary.