117. “No, David! by David Shannon

Whenever young moms get together and talk about their toddlers or preschoolers, as all young moms do, even if they claim they have a life outside motherhood and prefer other conversation topics, there is always a story about a child being in a “NO phase”. Interestingly, although we complain about our children, we, moms, are in that phase too. Most likely, we say the NO word much more often than our children do. No, don’t do this, no, don’t go there, no, there is no dessert before dinner… How often have you used it today, fellow mom?

David’s mom used to say “no” quite a lot. Well, David was giving her lots of opportunities. He would draw on the wall, enter the house in his muddy shoes, flood the bathroom or break a vase as a result of an indoor baseball game. “I said no, David!” But when David’s eyes filled with tears, David’s mom knew that it was a right time for a little “Yes, David… I love you”

Yes… don’t we love our little ones regardless of how many no’s per day we have to say, scream or mumble in their direction. Or perhaps, the more protective no’s, the bigger the yes, for I love you?

On the practical side, apparently the forbidden fruit will always sound tempting, so how about limiting our don’t and mustn’t in favor of positive guidance, which not only might save us from nervous breakdown but also prove more fruitful a parenting method.

Coming back to the book, David Shannon did it again: he wrote a very engaging and entertaining story, which he illustrated with very original art. I really like the warm and bright colors, although I have to admit that  it took me a while to get used to David’s a bit disturbing features.

116. “Mr. Monkey’s Classroom” by Jiwon Oh

The first day of school is certainly an exciting experience, but it can also be a very traumatic one. So many new faces in a new place! It might be overwhelming and it surely was for me. I had always thought that having an older sibling would have eased the pain, but lately, I have been having second thoughts…

Mouse was one day away from his first day of school. According to his friend, Cat, there was a lot to be done, like buying new school gear and getting a good night rest. Mouse played along. Mouse stayed cool. All in all, the school couldn’t be that bad if his friend, Cat, was there too. But was she? After Cat had met her old school friends on the way to school, Mouse basically didn’t exist  anymore. Mouse was alone when  finding his classroom, meeting the teacher and… eating lunch. How not to lose appetite!  Cat noticed Mouse leave the cafeteria and she understood. Mouse needed some explanation. Whatever it was, it worked and it completely turned Mouse’s first day of school around.

If your younger child struggles to decipher the strange acting of his or her older sibling at school, “Mr. Monkey’s Classroom” offers helpful answers. At the same time, it reminds the older siblings, that perhaps helping the younger brother or sister during the first days of school is much cooler than simply cruelly disowning them.

The book effectively deals with a delicate social issue, relevant to many young students, and it does it in a very cute and subtle way. Besides, the book surely stands out thanks to the unique illustrations, which are basically bright, Asian-style collages, filled with humor and engaging details.

115. “Chicken Soup” by Jean Van Leeuwen

You might have other ideas to fight off a nasty cold or flu, but where I come from, a pot of chicken soup is supposed to do the trick. Every time someone would sneeze or cough in our family, my mom would run out to the store to buy fresh chicken, vegetables and other ingredients, and before long the whole house would smell like homemade chicken noodle soup, even though we could barely smell it with our stuffed noses.

At the farm, “Mrs. Farmers has taken out the pot!” as well. Cow told Sheep, which told Pig, which told Goose… And so the scoop reached the chickens, which  immediately raised the alarm: “Run for your lives!” All chickens ran, except for Little Chickie with a cold in his beak. Even though he finally decided to hide, he couldn’t help sneezing and coughing, which quickly gave away his hiding spots. Mr. Farmer found the sick Little Chickie and brought him to the kitchen, where he was greeted with a nice bowl of hot vegetable soup.

“Chicken Soup”  is a wonderful remedy for runny noses and fevers. The laughs you will get from this funny story and hilarious pictures by David Gavril, will speed up the recovery. Guaranteed.  It is literally, a feel-good story.

4. ‘llama llama red pajama” by Anna Dewdney

Although I saw this book in the library many times, I never reached for it. Too weird the title, too weird the book, I thought. Not my kind of weird.  And then I heard the story at the library story time. What a treat! It was awesome. So cleverly written, so amusing, so true!

Baby Llama needs to go to sleep but he can’t really fall asleep without his Mama Llama. So, we get to hear some whining, screaming, calling…  until the busy mama comes back. But Baby Llama, don’t you know that ” Mama Llama always near even if she’s not right here”?( my favorite quote)

I took to the book immediately seeing how much it reflects our reality. A perfect mirror of evenings at our home.   I think reading this book with my son might be the way to improve our good night routine. My son stopped crying when washing his hair after we read about a bunny who washed his ears, so hopefully Baby Llama’s example will be equally effective. All in all, we are in the copy-cat phase.

Once again-  a wonderful good night story: light but loaded with a message.