329. “Bad Habits!” by Babette Cole

When babies are about 3 months old, they start putting their fingers in their mouths. How cute! When children turn 3 years old, they put their fingers in their noses. How disgusting! My son has just been through this exciting nose picking discovery and a booger revelation. As you can imagine, now I have yet another reason to keep him healthy and snot-free. One can keep repeating the ‘no nose picking’ mantra forever, but how do you un-teach children this horrible pastime?

Lucretzia Crum was  a real queen of bad habits. She loved burping, farting, spitting, pigtail pulling… What’s more, her appalling attitude was contagious. Other children in the class started copying her ‘cool’ behavior. Lucretzia’s parents had to take immediate actions. Thanks to Mr. Crum’s knack for mad science, Lucretzia was being tamed in a Blowfart Inhaler Suit,  No Scream/ Kick Tube and with the use of other preventive devices. Unfortunately, their effectiveness was only temporary. Unlike  the ultimate measure Mr. and Mrs. Crum took on Lucretzia’s birthday… It was pretty unmannerly solution, I must say, but it did work and other parents decided to try it too.

Perhaps it’s worth finding out HOW Lucretzia turned into a civilized angel. You never know when some bad habits might sneak under your roof.

Sheer entertainment, wicked humor and a relevant message to all the uncivilized little monsters and their parents. Good manners can be and should be taught and learned, and bad habits should be tackles with WHATEVER works.

 

 

328. “On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman

This book has been with us for over three years now, but it wasn’t  until yesterday, that my son let me read it. He must have matured as a reader in the meantime and developed a new taste for books. The more difficult books, I should add.

“On the Night You Were Born” , in the most lyrical way, pays tribute to the magical uniqueness of every newborn child. There have never been two children that were the same there will never be. With every birth, the whole world celebrates a new wonder of life, that can happen only once. ” You are the one and only ever you.” No wonder, that polar bears and ladybugs alike, stars and the moon, want to “sit at your window awhile, (…) hoping to see you smile.”

Simply beautiful! Poetic and highly expressive in words and pictures. Universal and utterly personal at the same time.  A superb gift for new parents and children of all ages,  in case they ever doubt just how special they are.

 

 

 

327. “A Visit To Grandma’s” by Nancy Carlson

Visiting grandma is always a big event for little children. Whether she lives five minutes away or a five-hour’s flight away, the time at grandma’s is a celebration. For one, just because she is a grandma. But the second reason is, that you always know what to expect at her place. Everything is  in the exact same place,  the routine doesn’t change, and you always know what you are going to eat and it will taste the same great.

Tina and her parents were going to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, as always. However, for the first time,  they were going to see her at new condo in Florida.  To their surprise, not only the place was new. They saw a totally new grandma. She drove a convertible, dressed chic, did aerobic, had a lively social life… There were no cinnamon buns for breakfast, no turkey for dinner, and no home-baked pumpkin pie. At first, the guests were horribly disappointed, but by the end of the weekend, they had to admit that the restaurant dinner and a store-bought pie were not so bad. Actually, they were already looking forward to the next Florida Thanksgiving, the new grandma’s way.

Hilarious and so relevant! Changes are not easily acceptable by children ( and beyond) and it is important to prepare them for “the new” in their lives. Whether it is a new school,  teacher, a new house, or a transformed grandma, a change might come as a shock. But if we approach it well, a change can become a new opportunity and a door to a new adventure.

 

326. “You Can Do Anything, Daddy!” by Michael Rex

At first, I wanted to wait with this book until Father’s Day, but on second thoughts, you might want to hear about it earlier, as this book could make an original Father’s Day Gift and a superb daddy-and-me story time.

Dads have a special place in children’s hearts. Even though I don’t remember much from my early childhood, I do remember how I felt about my father. He always knew what to do, and he was strong and brave. In my mind,  he could always protect us and keep us safe. I am sure you can relate to my experiences and your children will relate to this story, which puts the unique father-child relationship into words.

A boy wonders if his father would save him, if he were kidnapped by gorilla pirates, taken to the jungle, kept in a cave with snakes, and was about to be sent to space. Daddy has a reassuring answer for everything. He would  chase the pirates every step of the way, and then trick them with something that all the pirates can be fooled with. (To find out as you read the story) But the book would not be complete if it was only about dad’s bravery. It is also about his son’s gratitude. “Anything for you, Son” and “Anything for you, Daddy.”

This wild, black scenario adventure and a hero dad, plus the outrageously amusing and engaging illustrations, will keep your child on the edge until the very heart-warming ending. And then it is time for hugging and smiles.

 

 

325. “Pippi Goes to School” by Astrid Lindgren

A few posts ago, I expressed my nostalgia for children classics. In the meantime, I have come across one of my childhood favorites, “Pippi Longstocking” in an abbreviated format. Perfect for my son. It is not a typical picture story as it is quite lengthy, but older preschoolers should handle it. Meet Pippi, a resourceful and independent girl from Villa Villekulla, and her pet monkey Mr. Nillson.

She wears stripy stockings, rides a horse everywhere, lives by herself, eats piles of pancakes for breakfast… She has two playmates, Tommy and Annika, who envy her the extraordinary lifestyle.. She decided to go to school, just to have Christmas vacation…  How is she going to fit in a classroom setting. 

Astrid Lindgren has justly earned her spot among the best children’s writers. Her top-notch story-telling combined with a captivating character, makes Pippi’s school experience as well as her other outrageously funny adventures,  a must-read for every child. Lots of laughter guaranteed.

324. “I Want to Win!” A Little Princess Story by Tony Ross

My son likes games and he loves to win. Partly it is our ‘fault’, as we named him Victor.  The other reason is that he is three. Until recently he let him win and both parties were okay with that, but now we have gradually started teaching our son the rules of “fair game”. The transition has been pretty funny. Lots of pouting, lots of laughs, lots of learning. Two things helped us a lot. Charlie Brown being a good sport ( our son loves this cartoon) and a Little Princess.

She wanted to win by all means. It was easy at the castle, where everyone let her win. The real challenge started at school. There were so many trophies  to win: for poetry, math, science… But only for the best student. Little Princess tried her best, but others were better than her.  She didn’t find it fair. Yet, her effort was rewarded and she got the best trophy of all: FOR TRYING THE HARDEST. 

A smart message from Tony Ross to our children, conveyed in a humorous format. It is not about winning, but about doing your best, about TRYING to win. There is no shame in losing, if you play fair and try the hardest.  But I think, that before a child learns to be a good sport,  it is the parents who need to learn to appreciate their child’s efforts, regardless of the outcome.

 

 

323. “Spoon” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

We all know that there are phrases we should not use when talking to our children. The trick is to know which ones. As me and my husband have recently learned, “I wish…” is one of them. We used it innocently to show our son what great things he has or does. “I wish I had gotten such cool birthday gifts…, I wish I could go to your school… , I wish I could eat your dinner…”.  Now, the whole wishing game comes back to bite us. Our son wishes everything was otherwise.  “I wish we  lived in grandma and grandpa’s house… I wish I had a Porsche…” And I wish we had never mentioned anything!

Luckily, Spoon helped me to straighten things out.

He also wished his life was less about ‘spooning’, and more about cutting and spreading, which was only for Knife to experience. He wouldn’t mind grilling, or rolling in spaghetti like  Fork,  but he was just an ordinary spoon. Nothing as exotic as Chopsticks, for example. However, Spoon didn’t know that his friends were actually quite envious of his life. They wished they could be used for cheerful pot clanging, measuring and going solo, unlike the chopsticks. Only Spoon could relax in a cup of tea and dig in a bowl of yummy ice-cream.  Finally,  Spoon realized all the advantages of being a spoon. Now he could happily spoon with his mom and dad. 

Delightful, smart, inventive, heart-warming… Cute and humorous illustrations by Scott Magoon.

322. “What Sisters/Brothers Do Best” by Laura Numeroff

Yesterday we celebrated our moms, today I have a book that gives credit to our siblings. After all, they can do so many things with us and for us.

They can help us to climb a tree or push us on a swing. They can play tag with us, share a snack, teach skiing, and how to make things out of play-dough. They can also ( very important!) help us to tidy up our room. And then there is all that love that they can give us!

What a cute, little story to help children appreciate their brothers or sisters. I am sure that in most cases, on most days, siblings don’t need any help to love one another, but they might need a gentle reminder on those less affectionate days. And who doesn’t have them? My husband apparently wanted to sell his sister at some point, inspired by “One Sister for Sale!” by Shel Silverstein, even though usually, they were the best buddies.

Enjoy this warmly illustrated, by Lynn Munsinger, book, or should I say, two books in one cover. Open it from one side, and you read about sisters. Start from the other side, and you hear a story about brothers.  What a cute surprise!

 

321. “M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual)” by Doreen Cronin

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope that children, regardless of age, found a sweet way to express their love and gratitude. My preschooler is saying it with pancakes. (His dad is helping. I can’t wait!)   I hope that all mothers in the world have a wonderful celebration, filled with warm thoughts and lots of smile (forget the wrinkles!). And on a daily basis, may your children always know to treat their mom.  Do they still need some enhancement in that area? This M.O.M. offers lots of guidance, so definitely read it to them.

There is a chapter on daily care and maintenance, troubleshooting, reset… Lots of crucial facts and observations, about this weird creature, mom.  Don’t worry about being over-exposed. The more they know about you, the better they will read your signals. They will know how to please you, how to make use of you indoors and outdoors and when they should better avoid you. 

Hilarious! First class wit and humor, typical Doreen Cronin. Simply L.O.L. And the pictures by Laura Cornell are like icing in the cake. What a unique book and  an original way to celebrate moms. A must read! My son is still too little to enjoy it, but I had a blast reading it!

320. “My Mommy Hung the Moon” A love story by Jamie Lee Curtis

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I today I make my recommendation with all the moms, mums, mommies, mamas… in mind.

This frolic rhyme, brightly illustrated by Laura Cornell, is a real love poem. It is a tribute to motherhood and true celebration of the unique bond between mothers and their children. Mothers can do anything for their sons and daughters. In case you don’t know, they are the ones who hung the moon and lit up the sun. They create rainbows and teach birds to chirp. They bake big batches of cookies and make music. They rock! Mommies rule the world.  Moms do everything and whatever they do, they are “good at everything”. 

If you are a mom, this is the book you should read.  It will make you to feel warm, loved, important… It will show you how much the little things you do every day mean for your child. From driving your kids to school and soccer practice, to taking care of them when they are sick, you are the one, mom.  You are the best, mom. Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow and everyday!

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