Thursday, December 10, 2015

Holiday Recommendations - Little Readers

I'm a big advocate for reading to and with children. My niece's first instinct is always to tell me about the book she's currently reading because for 15 years she's seen Aunt Jen value books and reading, and our special time together as she was growing up was spent reading. So today I'm going to share a few fun children's books that have come my way.

To connect with my love of animals...most people who have connected with me on Facebook know how much I love the comic strip Mutts. This year the Mutts creator, Patrick McDonnell, published Thank You and Good Night. It's the story of Maggie's stuffed bunny Clement having a pajama party. It's a lovely story filled with beautiful illustrations and the most delightful ending.

The text on each of the pages are short, so it's perfect for the antsy small ones. And the art is detailed enough for interactive questions, but not so elaborate as to overwhelm the young senses. It will make a choice bedtime story for any gender!

If you're new to Mutts, I'd recommend any of Patrick McDonnell's books. The Gift of Nothing is an all-time favorite of mine (which I've gifted many times), but I also adore Me...Jane. The strip collections are marvelous as well. I just don't think anyone who appreciates animals can go wrong with Mutts.

Thank You and Good Night is available as a hardcover book from Little Brown (ISBN: 9780316338011). Ask for it at your favorite independent bookstore or check with one of these online retailers:

Alibris Amazon Barnes & Noble 

The next pair of books I have I'm honestly not sure how I came by. They arrived one day in the mail, kind of out of the blue, but they tickled my fancy and I wanted to share them with you. They are two of a larger series of books called the BabyLit books from Gibbs Smith. The two I received are Little Miss Austen: Emma (ISBN: 9781423640233) and Little Master Louis Stevenson: Treasure Island (ISBN: 9781423640202), both by Jennifer Adams, illustrated by Alison Oliver.


Emma is "an emotions primer." The characters of Jane Austen's classic novel all experience emotions. For example, Miss Taylor is "happy" and Mr. Elton is "angry." The art is simplistic and the characters exhibit facial expressions to help identify the emotions as well. Mr. Elton is red-faced with a frown and puffs of smoke coming from his ears while Miss Taylor is smiling alongside her cat who is also smiling. Each of the pages with text is a different solid color, so colors could be worked into the story as well, but I'm sure another of the classic BabyLit books covers colors.

Treasure Island is a "shapes primer." Each left hand page has a shape and the word for that shape. On the corresponding right hand page is a picture related to Treasure Island that contains said shape, or multiple occurrences of the shape in some cases. From your basics of squares and triangles to some more elaborate shapes like stars and hearts, it's a bright, fun way to start introducing your little ones to shapes. And as with the Emma book, the illustrations allow you to easily integrate other concepts like counting and colors. And since they're board books, they're great for the kids to handle themselves.

Poking around on the Gibbs Smith website there's a primer for almost anything: colors, counting, travel, even fairies! I have to admit I'd love to check out the Frankenstein primer of anatomy. And of course we have to call out the Hound of the Baskervilles sounds primer! That sounds so fun. There are other books from the BabyLit series (not primers) as well. You can buy them through the Gibbs Smith website, check with your local independent bookseller or one of these online retailers:

Alibris Amazon Barnes & Noble


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