Father’s Day is Coming Soon…

June 12, 2007

… and this year, my early present is — GUILT.

You see, Friday was Library Day. I didn’t get to go, so it was just Ms. Kaz and our daughter (and our son, but he has no choice but to go where Ms. Kaz goes). They made some great selections, but the one I want to focus on today is Because Your Daddy Loves You, by Andrew Clements, illustrated by R.W. Alley.

Daddy BookMy daughter seems to be really attached to me lately. She loves her daddy. And so, Ms. Kaz thought this would be a great book for us to read together. And it is. The drawings are very nice, and the story is a nice story about how daddies love their little girls. The book is filled with incidents where the daddy could say ______, but instead does ______.

For example, the little girl’s beach ball floats away into the ocean. The daddy could say, “Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves?”. But he doesn’t. Instead, he wades out into the cold water, hurting the little girl’s chances for a baby brother or sister, and retrieves the ball for her.

Or, when the girl wants a piggy-back ride up to bed. Instead of saying, “Oh, I can’t. I’m too sore because I am too old.” Oh, wait, that’s what I would say. Anyhow, you get the idea.

It is a very sweet book, but… It also builds up expectations in kids that their daddies will never say these things, and will always sacrifice for their kids. That’s just not realistic. Not without daddy having a breakdown.

But I do have to admit. A couple times since reading that book, when my instinct has been to tell my daughter, “not now,” or, “maybe some other time”… I’ve gone ahead and done what she’s asked.

(You can purchase Because Your Daddy Loves You at bn.com for just $16.00, hardcover. Guilt and Shipping are free.)

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Book Reviews

June 1, 2007

I haven’t done a book review in a while… so here are a couple we are reading.

No More Water in the Tub by Tedd Arnold

My mother got us this book. It is an autographed copy. She is a retired teacher, so she has a million autographed books. Kids books, at least.

No More Water In The TubThis is a story of an older brother filling the bathtub for his little brother. He turns the faucet too far, it breaks off, the tub breaks free, then “out the door and down the hall [goes] William in his bathtub.” After causing all sorts of havoc in his neighbors’ apartments, we finally learn… well, I don’t want to ruin the ending for you.

My daughter likes this book because (1) it is long, and thus delays bedtime better, and (2) because she is just starting to get into rhymes. For a while there, it didn’t work (“Cat rhymes with frog!“), but now she is starting to get it (“Pig rhymes with… big!“).

I like it because the illustrations are nice, and, although they are a little corny, the rhymes are helping my daughter with, well, rhyming.

The other reason I like it is that there is a scene where a man is fixing a snack and the stove catches on fire. He yells something like, “Everybody run! The apartment is on fire!”. At this point in the book, my daughter says, “The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!!”. I have no ideal whatsoever where she could have learned this from. Ahem.

Bambi by Golden Books

This book was given to my daughter by her previous daycare provider.

BambiIt is a nice, short story about a deer who would one day become king. The story follows his adventures as he and his friends grow up, fall in love, and have children.

Along the way, this unassuming prince helps rescue his friends from a forest fire which threatens to devestate his whole world.

Exciting, I know.

At the risk of ruining the ending, he saves the forest, becomes king, and he and his childhood friend (who became his sweetheart) have a baby fawn of their own.

Strange thing is, they don’t mention much about the happy Grandmother (Bambi’s mother) at the end. I can only assume she is baking cookies, or some other grandmotherly thing.

(You can purchase No More Water In The Tub at BarnesAndNobles.com for $6.99)
(Bambi is available for just $2.99 at the same place)


A Young Eric Carle

March 12, 2007

Thanks, everyone, for the congrats. I actually do have some stories about my daughter, who we actually told a few weeks ago, that I’ve been dying to tell, but had to wait. In the meantime…

My daughter has been getting into “reading”. Oh, she’s only 2 1/2, so she can’t really read. But she knows the stories so well, she’ll sometimes pick up the book and start reading to us. There are two constants to these readings: they always begin with “Once upon a time…” and there is always a character substitution.

This afternoon, she picked up The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle and began reading it to me. It went like this:

Once up on a time, there was a lonely zebra
<flip the page>
The zebra was still lonely
<flip>
The zebra was still lonely
<flip>
The zebra was still lonely
<flip>
The zebra was still lonely

Personally, I think she’s nailed Eric Carle’s style.

(Buy you own copy of A Very Lonely Firefly at bn.com for just $9.59)

[Kaz: Man, I ought to be making money from Barnes & Nobles for all these links!]


What we are reading: Our Favorite Books

March 9, 2007

nothing to doThis month at the library, after paying our late fines, Ms. Kaz and my daughter brought home a bunch of new books. One my daughter really seems to like is Nothing To Do, written by Douglas Wood, and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin.

Nothing to Do is an interesting book about the many fun and interesting ways kids can do “nothing” and about how us adults (“people with big shoes,” as the book calls us) need reminding that nothing is sometimes the best thing to do.

The book is visually interesting, as well, in that, as the illustrator documents in the introduction, the pages are actually a menagerie, if you will, of illustrations arranged in patterns found in nature.

But I’ve learned that this is not my daughter’s favorite book. In fact, prior to reading this book, I didn’t know my daughter had a favorite book. You see, there’s a passage in Nothing to Do about reading your favorite book. And then reading it again, just because it is your favorite.

It is at this point that my daughter always says, “I wanna do that!”

“Sure, sweetie, we can do that,” I tell her, “but what is your favorite book?”

Not expecting an answer initially, and not really sure if she could grasp the concept of a Favorite Book, it surprised me when she said, “Stellaluna!”

stellalunaStellaluna, by Jannel Cannon, is a book about a baby bat who, after his mother is attacked by an owl, winds up living with a family of birds, and learning to behave like a bird.

In the end, Stellaluna ends up back with his mother, happily eating mangoes instead of bugs, and Stellaluna and the birds learn about how creatures can be so different, while at the same time be so much alike.

The illustrations are really nice, and, although my daughter isn’t quite old enough for it year, the authors include a lot (for kids, at least) of information on bats at the end of the book.

(Purchase Nothing to Do at Barnes and Nobles for just $16.99; Stellaluna for just $13.60)


Conversations With…: The Big Bad Wolf

February 7, 2007

PigsOne of the books we read lately is The Three Little Pigs. We even brought it along on our trip. I mentioned previously that my daughter likes to talk to the characters in the book about their behavior, and how they ought to behave…

Me <reading>: Little pig, little pig, let me come in–
Daughter: No, no, wolf! You shouldn’t blow their house down!
Me <as wolf>: But I want to eat the pigs.
Daughter: No, you can’t eat them! You should eat food!
Me <as wolf>: Aren’t pigs food?
Daughter: No.
Me <as wolf>: Then what is food?
Daughter: … Veggies… and meals…

(Image courtesy of PETA2.com)


Little Miss Manners

January 24, 2007

We’ve always worked hard to develop good manners in our daughter.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty successful. We frequently get, often without prompting, a “please”. We tend to get a lot of “thank you”. We get an, “excuse me” when she burps (and an, “excuse you” when we burp). We even get a lot of “excuse me” when we’re talking, and our daughter wants to say something.

I’m very proud of my daughter for being so polite.

However, lately, manners have made reading certain books a real chore.

zaxTake for example, The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss. Particularly, the stories, The Zax, and What Was I Scared Of. The Zax, for those who are too lazy to click the link aren’t familiar, is the story of two stubborn, uh, Zaxes, one who always goes north, and one who always goes south. Well, of course these two run into each other, and neither one will move out of the way. A nice lesson, no?

Well, I get a few pages in, reading in my totally awesome Zax voices, and I get a, “No, no, Zax! You’re supposed to say excuse me! Don’t bump into each other! You’re supposed to say excuse me!” Of course, she expects me to talk as the Zax… what can I say? I can’t agree to say, “excuse me” because then why bother reading the rest of the story? I can’t be rude and refuse to say, “excuse me”. I’m lucky if I get to finish the story.

In What Was I Scared Of, there is a… uh… some kind of Seussian creature who runs into a pair of pale green pants (just pants, no person inside), and is repeatedly frightened until he(?) one day discovers that the pants are afraid of him. Then they become friends. Again, a few pages into the story, I am hit with, “No no! Don’t be frightened! He’s friendly! Don’t be frightened! You be friends later on!” Okay, not necessarily manners, but does still kind of kill the story.

Okay, one last example. We picked up a small “Vintage Disney” book in the dollar bin at Target called, The Clock Cleaners. It features Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck attempting to fix up an old clock. Of course, as the always do, they screw it up. In the end, Minnie Mouse yells at them. Thank goodness it is at the end! At least with this book, I am pretty much done reading by the time I get the, “No no, Minnie! Don’t yell at Mickey and Donald, all right?!?”

So, reading may be a bit difficult these days, but I am very happy with her manners.

[You can buy your own copy of The Sneetches at bn.com, and teach your children some manners, for just $11.96]


1 Sentence Book Reviews: A Trip to the Library

December 11, 2006

We went to the library recently, and picked up a couple gems*

Hand, Hand, Fingers ThumbHand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins, Illustrated by Eric Gurney

A book about a Woodstock for beatnik monkeys.

(Purchase this book for your little hippy for just $8.99 at Barnes & Nobles. Or, if you really are a hippy, just get it out of your local library. Commie.)

Tomie’s Little Mother Goose by Tomie dePaola

Tomie’s Little Mother Goose The author/illustrator of Strega Nona presents a collection of nursery rhymes which starts off with the following gem:

Old Mother Goose,
When she wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air
On a very fine gander.

(Purchase this book of “rhymes” at Barnes and Nobles for just $7.99)

* Honestly, though, I really like these two books. Especially the monkey one. It is a fun read, and, well, it has monkeys. Millions and millions of monkeys.