I am Scary by Elise Gravel- ARC Review

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In this sweet little book, a monster tries to scare a young child. But the child insists the monster is not scary but actually quite huggable. (taken from Amazon)

                                  Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. It will be available on March 17, 202

This book is so adorable! I requested it because I had a feeling my toddler would enjoy it. I read it aloud and he loved it.

The illustrations are charming in their simplicity. Told with very little dialogue, this book is about a monster who tries- and fails- to scare a child. He roars, growls, and shows off his horns and teeth. To the monster’s discomfiture, the child thinks he’s cute. What’s a monster to do?

What I liked best about this book was the ability to prompt my toddler to talk about the pictures and make conclusions based on what was happening. Because there isn’t much dialogue, my “little” made the monster sounds, talked about how cute the monster was, and had a lovely time. The book would probably be even more riveting to a slightly younger child, but my toddler still really liked it.

This would make a great baby shower gift. I recommend it for all little book lovers- in-training.

Books for Littles #3: ABC’S and 1,2,3’s

As a parent to a learning little, I’ve read a lot of alphabet and counting books over the past year. While I’ll read anything that strikes my little one’s fancy, let’s face it: not all learning books are created equal. There are a few things that I look for when I’m picking special alphabet or counting books to read to my toddler:

1. Are the numbers/letters easily visible and recognizable? You’d think it would go without saying that letters shouldn’t be written in a fancy script or in cursive when in an alphabet book, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve seen letters that are indecipherable to a little learner.

2. Is the book engaging? It doesn’t matter how great I think a book is, if my toddler isn’t interested, that kind of defeats the purpose of reading it to him in the first place.

3. Can I handle re-reading this book over and over without wanting to pull my hair out? This last one is a bit selfish, but I try really hard to avoid books that irritate me. Of course, if the toddler loves it, I suck it up.

That being said, these are the recent alphabet winners in our house:

An Annoying ABC written by Barbara Bottner illustrated by Michael Emberly 

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My little one loves the funny pictures and the cute storyline. I love that the letters are highlighted and each sentence flows into the next. It’s super cute and not annoying at all. Double points for using X in a name (Xavier)!

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Agent A to Agent Z by Andy Rash

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This book is hilarious. It keeps both myself and my toddler giggling. I could easily read this multiple times in a row (and I have) without resorting to trying to sneak in a little variety.

Alphabears by Kathleen and Michael Hague 

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Admission: this one is more for me than my little, although he also enjoys it. I read this one was I was small, so it’s a very special reading session when he picks this one

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin JR and John Archambault illustrated by Lois Ehlert 

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It seems there’s a reason this book is such a popular choice. Not only is there a cadence to it, making it easy for little ones to “read” along, this book does something a lot of other alphabet books don’t: it shows lower case letters. I used this book to teach both my kids their lower case letters, and it was easy as…

1,2,3 Books that we love:

The 1, 2, 3s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland 

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Surprise! I’m a huge nerd. My little nerd-in-training loves this fantastic book as much as I do. What makes this one so special? The wonderful illustrations combine to create a mini-adventure in counting. Also- there’s a reference to Raistlin, my favorite fantasy mage, on one of the pages which is awesome. I may have squealed when I saw it.

Star Wars Obi- 1,2,3 by Calliope Glass and Caitlin Kennedy illustrated by Katie Cook 

Hardcover Star Wars Obi-1,2,3 Book
This book has a lot going for it: not only are the illustrations adorable, but the rhymes for each number are fantastic. My favorite thing about this book, however, is that it goes up to 20, instead of stopping at 10.

Marvel Mighty Numbers

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Like most other youngsters, my little guy is obsessed with super heroes. He loves this book; not only can he identify all the numbers, but he happily names all the superheroes too. I love that the numbers are bright and colorful, very easy to see.

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

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My little one loves the bright pictures, and the funny noises I make every time a monkey hits its head. I love that the cadence (again with the cadence) makes it easy for him to “read” along, and that it counts backwards.

And there you have it, the current counting and alphabet favorites. What are some of the winners in your home/classroom?

Books for Littles #2: Read about Reading

When I was younger, I used to watch Reading Rainbow. It was a great show, not because it taught children how to read, but because it showed that reading is fun. Books are magic and I feel that it’s important to teach kids to love books, not just to read the words. Here are a few great books about books.

The Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk: This is all about a mouse named Sam, who lives in a library and starts writing little books and leaving them out for people to read. Eventually, the librarian (who has no idea he’s a mouse) asks the author to come talk to the patrons. What will Sam do? How can a rodent give writing advice? The answer in this book is both sweet and inspiring. With cute illustrations, this is a great book to read to littles learning to write.

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I Can Read With My Eyes Shut by Dr. Seuss: I have to include the classic Dr. Seuss, of course! As with 99% of his books, this one is just fun!

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm: This is a newer one for me. I finally read it for the first time the other day, after my husband had pointed it out (quite a while ago: the youngest was still in the board book phase at the time). While I was reading it to my toddler, I noticed my oldest (who has recently decided he’s too old to be read to), sneaking over to listen. This book is wonderful! All about the wonder of books, it had both kids riveted. The story had me a little choked up by the end, to be honest. Read it and you’ll see why.

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Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library! by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter, illustrated by Steve James: This is based on Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Changed the World, an adult nonfiction book. It’s heartwarming and a great bedtime read.

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Born to Read by Judy Sierra, illustrated by Marc Brown: This book reminds me so much of my oldest when he was young! He taught himself to read at a young age, and would read everything (I remember a certain afternoon where, as we drove in a rather derelict part of town, he suddenly asked, “Mom, what’s the ‘Bottomz Up Club’?” That’s an interesting conversation to have with a four year old). When I read this book to my toddler, I change the character’s name to that of my oldest. It’s super cute and has a cadence that keeps my little toddler tornado interested.

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Have you read any of these with your children? What books about books would you add?

Picture Books for Wiggly Kids: Books for Littles #1

Recently, I was asked to come up with a list of children’s books that are great for little wrigglers. I’m not in any way an expert, and can only go from my experience with my own kids, but I love children’s books and I’m happy to add my two cents.

First and foremost, I would like to say that each child is different. When my oldest was little, storytime had him sitting in my lap, pointing at the pictures and turning the pages. My youngest likes to run back and forth, sometimes even hanging over my shoulder to look at the pictures. And that’s okay. It’s about spending quality time with your child, sharing your love of books. If quality time looks like jumping up and down dancing to Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, well, then, you’re getting exercise. If it looks like a quiet cuddle while reading Peter Rabbit, that’s great too.

But I digress. Here are some books that my wiggly child loves:

Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton: This one is great because it has a little song that can be sung and wriggled to while getting ready for bed. Plus, Sandra Boynton books are always so cute. Jamma, jamma, jamma, pj!

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That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems: You can’t go wrong with anything by this author,but this one is my little dude’s favorite. It’s a bit on the macabre side (Spoiler: the fox is outfoxed and the goose makes delicious soup!), but it’s written in a fun way and the dialogue is simple enough that kids with shorter attention spans don’t have time to get bored.

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Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Scott Nash: This is perfect for getting your child moving. If you’re like me and have zero compunction about looking silly, dance along.

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I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt, illustrated by Cyd Moore: I have to include at least one “I love you” book, and this one is perfect. The hilarious dialogue, combined with the fun illustrations, keeps my little mover interested.

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Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles: a Sound Primer by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Allison Oliver: There are a bunch of board books in this series of “classics”. We love this one and Frankenstein (a body parts book, of course) the most, but they’re all great. This one is filled with fun sounds and cute pictures. It gets a little noisy with my toddler tornado, but it’s a blast.

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While this is in no way a complete list, these are some fun ones that my little wriggler loves to at least slow down for. Happy reading, dancing, singing, and cuddling!