Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Early Morning Book Review

Both kids were sleeping, and as I was cleaning up the living room, I decided it'd be a great idea to share some of our favorite library books.

Emma & Noah enjoying some early morning reading.

Emma and I checked out eight board books on Friday when we went to KPL Central (after missing Baby LapSit at Washington Square) - four books for Emma and four books for Noah. Here they are in alphabetical order (of course).


A Day at the Market
by Sara Anderson

I first picked up A Day at the Market because I thought it'd be a story about a farmer's market, and I'm jonesin' to take Emma to our local market this summer. But I was VERY happy to realize that the market in the book is not just any market - this amazing book tells the story of a day at Pike's Place market in Seattle. Having been to Pike's Place twice myself, I can tell you that A Day at the Market is a perfect example of the beautiful hustle and bustle this famous Seattle institution.

March 131 "Black-eyed Susans / Sweet Surrenders / Pink Perfection / Golden Splendors."

Sara Anderson's illustrations steal the show, but Noah seemed to like the short rhyming stanzas that tell the story. Of course, it is possible that the reason he was sitting still was because he was so interested in the vibrant pictures. I cannot wait to be able to take Emma to Pike's Place ourselves in a couple of years, but for now this book will be a great substitute.

Verdict: A Day at the Market is definitely on our purchase list.


My Very First Book of Colors
by Eric Carle

My Very First Book of Shapes
by Eric Carle

I am in love with Eric Carle books. If you don't remember, Eric Carle is the genius behind The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We love that book in this house (and all stuff they've spun off of it, like Emma's onesie that no longer fits her and the big stuffed caterpillar we got her for Christmas). So when I saw these books I thought that Noah would probably enjoy them. Each book has a top flap and a bottom flap, which you match to practice colors and shapes.

The books are pretty basic - on the left page is the word (either the color or the shape), on the right are pages to match. Unfortunately there's no story, so to keep Noah's attention I had to walk him through it:

March 142

Circle. Is that a circle? No, that's a triangle.

March 144 Circle. Yes, the sun is a circle!

March 138

Is the umbrella blue? No, the umbrella's black.

March 139

Blue. The bird is blue.

He quickly went back to his tractor book. Maybe he's a bit too young at 22 months. If we borrow them from the library again when he's older, I'll let you know how it goes.

Verdict: Cute books, but not very interesting for this crowd. Maybe when they're older.


The Very Busy Spider
by Eric Carle

Yes, another Eric Carle book. I told you I'm in love with his books. Emma & I read Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? often - I love using the animal signs as I read it. I even had to look up new signs just so I could sign the whole book to her. Anyway, back to The Very Busy Spider. A spider floats into the farm yard on the wind and lands on a fence. She spends the entire book too busy spinning her web to play with the farm animals. At the end, she catches the fly in her web and goes to sleep. I do enjoy this book. The illustrations are beautiful (of course, it's Eric Carle!) and the story is cute. Each page presents a new farm animal and the noise it makes.

"’Cock-a-doodle do!’ crowed the rooster...”

But I do have to confess that my favorite thing about this book is that the web, the spider, and the fly are textured. As the spider weaves her web, you can feel (and see) it growing bigger and bigger. Neither Emma nor Noah were impressed by this, but I have a feeling that someday they will be.

Verdict: We will own this book some day.


Inside Freight Train
by Donald Crews

I obviously had the train-freak in mind when I picked up this book. I knew that it'd be a hit with Noah, who says "Thomas" as soon as he walks in my door. I was right. As soon as he saw it, Noah wanted to read it. Actually, we didn't read it, but we looked at the pictures. Uncle Matt tried to read it him, but by that time I'd shown Noah that the pages opened, which meant that reading the book wasn't high on the kid's priority list.

"The purple box car carries..."

"...toys and books."

Obviously Noah loves this book. He loves everything to do with trains. Opening the trains up to see what's inside is fun, but unfortunately it's very difficult to close the book back up. Noah's gotten frustrated a couple times already and almost had a break-down about it just before nap time. But he still loves the book. And maybe someday he'll let me read it to him.

Verdict: Fun book, but difficult to put back together. It'll be around the house until it's due back at the library. I probably won't check it out again - unless we have a boy. :)


Big Stuff: Tractors
by Robert Gould

This book was built for a boy. What is it about tractors, large equipment, and fire trucks that make little boys so crazy? I will never know. Luckily, I do understand that the phenomenon occurs, and I'll always embrace it. I grew up with a little brother, remember?
So I got this book for Noah. I think I read it to him at least five times in the first 30 minutes he was here. It's the best thing we have here, according to him.

Actually, the book would be so much better if it were only photographs of tractors. Sorry, Robert Gould. I tell it like it is. There's no story, just statements about tractors on every page. It'd be tolerable if it stopped there, but there's also these comments by the kids at the bottom.

Maybe if the kids weren't trying to be such hams, I'd like the book better.

See their crazy poses? I don't know them, but I can't stand them. On one page, they actually say they built the tractor. (And I don't believe for one minute that the girl really cares about these tractors. Sorry. I know that somewhere out there is probably a little girl who LOVES tractors. But I still don't believe the girl in this book.)

Verdict: Just another tractor book. We'll exchange it for something better soon.


Silly Suzy Goose
by Petr Horáček

Oh Silly Suzy. I'll tell you right now, I can't get enough of this book. Silly Suzy is a goose who wants to be different from all the other geese. She wants to flap her wings like a bat or swim under the water like a seal.

"If I were a giraffe, I could STRETCH up high."

Not only is the story great (when Suzy meets a lion, she tries to roar but it comes out "Roarrrrrhonk!"), but the layout of the words on the page is amazing. This is the kind of book that makes me want to teach... something to do with page layout. :) And who doesn't love saying, "Roarrrrrhonk!"?

Verdict: I will definitely check this out again. And it's going on our wish list.


Ten Sleepy Sheep
by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by Susan Gaber

Emma and I first found this book at the Eastwood branch and kept it for a week or so until we went back for Baby LapSit. After that, I added it to her Amazon wish list. This will quickly become a bedtime classic. (If not across America, at least in our house.) It's time for bed for ten lambs, but none of them are tired. They go scampering across the farmyard to play, but one-by-one they lay down to sleep.

"Sleep sheep..."

My favorite part is at the end when the last sheep says, "Mama, I can't sleep," and Mama tells him to try counting sheep. Children's book clichés such as rhyming and counting are skillfully executed here. The only problem is trying to say "sleep sheep" on every page.
Verdict: The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is adorable. The day we brought it home I was scouring Amazon for my own copy. We'll keep checking it out until we have our own copy.

Verdict: The illustrations are gorgeous, the story is adorable. The day we brought it home I was scouring Amazon for my own copy. We'll keep checking it out until we have our own copy.

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