259. “My Big Boy Bed” by Eve Bunting

Although our son never really slept in crib, even as a baby, for him a big boy bed is the only bed he has known. But for many children, the transition from a crib to a big boy/girl bed is a big deal. Today’s book shows the thrill and excitement as experienced by a little boy.

Together with mom, they bought new bed sheets. They also bought a book for reading in bed, because that’s what big boys do: read in bed. The bed is conveniently big, so it can fit favorite toys and a blankie as well. Whiskers can sleep there too. The boy can jump on it, crawl under it and, the thing that most of the parents fret, get out of it whenever he wants.  And what happened to the good old crib? It is still in the room  and serves well for a little baby brother…

A very warm, reassuring story for a great night sleep in a big bed.  The colorful pictures by Maggie Smith will sweeten the dreams.


258. “What Eddie Can Do” by Wilfried Gebhard

With this book, I am continuing the shoe topic. While the yesterday’s story was mainly for laughs, and actually had a potential to promote walking barefoot, today’s book comes with a useful advice how to teach your child tying up their shoes. What used to be one of the basic life skills, is easy to go around these days, due to numerous options of velcro and buckles. Yet, sooner or later every child needs to learn how to make  a knot, even though not necessarily on their shoe laces.

Eddie’s laces were undone but he had no time to learn how to tie them up. He had to dive in the ocean and explore a sunken ship, discover dark caves, make a trip to the rain forest, fly with birds and ride the prairie with warriors. While climbing on the highest mountain in the world,  he noticed his friend Clara. She was in danger. Eddie had to save her from a double- tailed beast. All he needed to do was to tie the beastly tails of around a tree. But how to do it? Mommy!!!!!!!!! Now it was the right good time for mom to show Eddie how to tie the laces of his shoes, so he could  tie up the monster.

A greatly amusing and imaginative take on the importance of motivation in the process of learning. Every child has different drives and as a teacher and parent it is crucial to find them and exploit them. We all know that  children learn better when the topic interests them.  The first words my son learn to write after his name were the names of … cars.

257. “Centipede’s 100 Shoes” by Tony Ross

Putting shoes on can often be frustrating for a little child. When it’s up to our son, he always chooses slippers or rain-boots. Fast and easy. That was not the way the little centipede was thinking, though.

The little centipede hurt his toe. But which one? After mommy had found the wounded foot and kissed it to expedite the healing process, she also suggested shoe shopping. 100 new shoes with laces it is! A lot of shoes and a lot of hustle to put them on and take them off, as well as painful blisters to boot. Socks helped to ease the pain of walking, but  who could even bother dealing with so many shoes on a daily basis! And so, the shoes made nice gifts to many of his friends with fewer legs.

Greatly entertaining and quite original a story. Outrageously hilarious illustrations. I love tony Ross’s sense of humor. Giggles on every page guaranteed. And if your child ever gets frustrated with putting their shoes on, you can always remind them how lucky they are to have just two feet to deal with. What would they do if they were in the little centipede’s shoes, right?

256. “Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli” by Barbara Jean Hicks

Everyone should know, especially a waitress at the restaurant that monsters don’t eat broccoli. Neither do they eat artichokes and other veggies and fruit.  They would rather munch on redwood trees and “wheely, steely stew”. They chomp, they sing: “Fum, foe, fie, fee, monsters don’t eat broccoli!”  But don’t they? If you ask me, those giant trees look exactly like broccoli, the wheels are just sliced red tomatoes, and the heavy concrete bars are crunchy carrot sticks… LOL

In other words, don’t panic if your monster claims to be on a veggie-free diet. Perhaps you just need to rename certain food items in your fridge or rearrange them on the plate? Forget cucumber slices. Call them wheels. Build a boat out of a lettuce leaf and fill it with yummy cargo. Make edible pieces of art on the plate. What’s more, do it together with the little ones. Add color and fun to their meals. Simple tricks can do wonders to a child’s appetite.  (We sold eating fish to our son by telling him that  sharks eat fish too.)  Enjoy your meal!

And the book is a scrumptious treat on its own. A hilarious take on children’s eternal war with veggies. Lively, rhythmic read-aloud, wildly illustrated by Sue Hendra.

255. “I Want TWO Birthdays!” by Tony Ross

Who doesn’t, right? And three or four birthdays would be even better. Well, that’s what the Little Princess thought as well.

She liked her birthday so much that she wanted to celebrate it as often as the Prime Minister allowed, which ended up to be every day of the year. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Everyday, the Little Princess got to have a party, guests with gifts and a delicious cake. Unfortunately, with time, the cakes became smaller and people stopped coming to the parties, as they could not afford the gifts. Daily birthdays turned out to be not so special anymore. The Little Princess needed a day that was different from the rest of the year. And that’s how she started to celebrate her UNbirthday…

A hilariously written and comically illustrated story about the beauty of waiting for the most special things in life. Birthdays, Christmas, Spring, Summer Vacation… They all happen once in a year for a reason. Waiting makes those things so much more exciting! I realize that to little children waiting plus exciting equals oxymoron, but we should not give up teaching them the art of waiting, so they can learn to enjoy it.

254. “The Happy Lion” by Louise Fatio

What do we think about lions in the ZOO? They would be better off in the wild, right? But this lion was born and raised  in the ZOO and he was as happy as he could be. He had his rock surrounded by moat and numerous friends visiting and greeting him every day. The lion didn’t wish to live anywhere else. But he didn’t say ‘no’ to a little bit of exploring, when he noticed an open gate. The happy lion hit the town. To his amazement, the so friendly zoo visitors, were acting very weird and violent in the streets. People were fainting, screaming and throwing food at the confused lion. They called an entire fire brigade to deal with the dangerous beast at large. The only normally acting person was a little boy Francois. He greeted the happy lion as usual and walked him back to the park.

A powerful reminder that we should never stop looking at things the way children do. Only with the childlike trust and innocence we can see beyond prejudices and into the essence of things.

A beautiful, touching and very, very wise story. Engaging, sketch-type illustrations by Roger Duvoisin.

“WHICH puppy?” by Kate and Jules Feiffer

Do you remember what Barack Obama promised his daughters after he’d won the Presidential Election in 2008? That’s right. The girls were supposed to get a puppy.  But the question was, which puppy would be the lucky one.

There were many candidates, beyond puppies, from all over the country and the world, but nobody really knew which kind was favored by the girls. Shaggy, friendly, tiny, long, short…? According to the oldest Basset hound in Mississippi, there should be held a contest for the most presidential puppy. Unfortunately, the fastest runner, loudest barker and best jumper was… “fighting with another dog”. That wouldn’t do. A Lottery didn’t seem to help select the right puppy either, but suddenly, another big dog had a breakthrough idea… As a result, two puppies and a guinea pig were chosen and left for Washington. But could they be too late to reach the White House?

Your children might be curious to find out the details of the turbulent presidential puppy election process and the surprising finale. “WHICH puppy?” is a delightfully written and illustrated story, with a lively and colorful bunch of tail-wagging characters.

252. “If You Give a Dog a Donut” by Laura Numeroff

I am sure you know what happens when you give a child a donut. In case of our son, the clock stops ticking for a moment. Eating this occasional treat of fried piece of dough with a hole,is a real ritual. Frozen and silent, he is fully focused on every bite. In no time, the donut vanishes in his little mouth leaving his face fully covered with the sugary powder.  Until the next donut.

But what happens when you give a donut to a dog? He might want some apple juice to go with it. So why not to let him pick some? Apples might remind him of baseball, so why not to play a game? The dog might even hit a home run. It is sure worth a celebratory dance, which is bound to end up with a bath. A bandanna-made towel looks like a pirate’s accessory, so how about treasure hunting? Somehow, this might lead to flying a kite, which is likely to get stuck in a tree. An apple tree. Apples lead to juice, obviously. “And chances are, if he asks you for some apple juice, he’ll want a donut for go with it.”

Delightfully amusing, the latest addition to the bestselling “If You Give…” series by the creative Numeroff/Bond duo. Pure entertainment.

251. “Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night” by Carol Roth

Little Bunny fell too lonely in his bed and couldn’t fall asleep. He needed company. Will his friends let him sleep at their places? Squirrel didn’t mind, but Little Bunny couldn’t handle the noise. Squirrel liked to munch on nuts in the middle of the night. Skunk was very generous too, but he sprayed Little Bunny by mistake, so the sleep-over was out of question. Porcupine had good intentions, but his bed was full of quills, and Owl, liked to read at night. Finally, Little Bunny realized that the only way to get some sleep was in his own bed.

Not only is it a greatly amusing story with lovely pictures Valeri Gorbachev’s way, but it also offers a very simple and effective solution for the “I want to sleep in your bed!” issue. If your child ever decides he’d like to sleep in your bed, try to make it as uncomfortable for him or her as possible. If they like darkness, keep the reading light on, if they like soft pillow, make them hard. This is genius! Good luck trying it out.

250. “Oliver” by Syd Hoff

After a long journey across the ocean, Oliver the elephant was ready to join the circus workforce. Unfortunately, the circus owner had to let him go as he was one too many. Oliver tried to find a job at the zoo and at the peanut stand, but without luck. He tried filling in for a pet, but the dog food didn’t agree with him. Perhaps he could compete as a horse? Jumping was not his strength, though. But maybe he could have some fun with children at the playground? His trunk made a perfect slide. As the children were resting and chatting about their future careers, Oliver shared his dream of dancing. Before long, everyone, including the circus owner, was watching with amazement the best dancing elephant. Oliver proved his talent and was hired on the spot!

An uplifting and inspiring story about perseverance and following one’s calling. Oliver had a talent and knew what he wanted to do in life, but it was thanks to hard work, out-of-the-box thinking and a bit of luck, that he was able to make a career as a dancer. Some people like to wait for happiness to find them, but it is up to us to pursue it.

A wonderful story for reading and laughing together. Warm and humorous illustrations.  A Classic by Syd Hoff, worth introducing to this generation of young readers.

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