Happy New Year and 1bookperday in 2014

Happy New Year, Everyone! It’s been a while since my last post and all I have to say in my defense is: I have been thinking about you. Unfortunately, the holiday season and a trip across the time zones was enough to throw my meticulously mastered routine through the window. Even now I am not fully caught up on things (let alone sleep) and getting back on schedule have been pretty painful. But I’m getting there. And as I was thinking about new picture books to read and a new topic I realized that things have changed in the meantime. My older son has opened a new chapter in his reading career and transitioned to chapter books. My younger son, on the other hand, has just discovered the fun of board books. At first I panicked. What am I going to write about? But  then I realized that this to-be-expected change of our reading landscape is actually a great opportunity to redirect my blog in 2014.  As I am putting the picture books on hold, I am not giving up on the parenting theme.  And the book I am going to write about will be the one that is not published yet, but which we, parents, keep writing day by day: “Today’s Parenting at Work. Does it really work?”

See you next time with my first batch of observations!  Feel free to join the discussion.

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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.