Bookshelf Recs: The “Reading to Tots” Edition

Common to all writers is our penchant for telling others what to read.

I Love You Sun, I Love You Moon has simple, graceful text and comfy graphics in evocative colors. I found it easy to learn the signs for the nouns and do them while I read. (Can be a little awkward, with the baby on your lap. I sit across with the book between us, and make the signs so the child can see my hands as well as the book.)

Is Your Mama a Llama? asks a young ungulate to the other animals. Llama uses longer sentences that flow so easily, chidlren are captivated even if they don’t understand a word. And boy, is it adorable to hear them say, “Mama a wamma!” as they learn to speak.

Jamberry “One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry.” How could you go wrong with the goofster story of two Alaskans everyone can love.

Goodnight Moon should not even be on this list because, oh, how original! Goodnight Moon in the children’s book category. However, did you know that the rhythmic prose contains every vowel/consonant combination in the English language?

Almost anything by Sandra Boyngton; we especially groove to:

  • The Going to Bed Book
  • But Not the Hippopotamus
  • The Belly Button Book (there is no better title to read aloud)

Speaking of books in series … but first, my all-time favorite for reading to young children:

Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

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Author: allehall

I am a writer. I write to explore childhood: literary essays and short fiction, journalism, and three haiku. My published work expresses my belief that everything which did or did not happen to me as a child is manifesting in everything that is or is not happening to me today. More importantly, it is also manifesting for my children. I believe funny is the new navel-gazing, and that the best funny keeps a penny's worth of serious in an accessible pocket. Little-known fact: I have a completed novel decorating the inside of a desk drawer. Perhaps it is not funny enough.

5 thoughts on “Bookshelf Recs: The “Reading to Tots” Edition”

  1. What about Mo Willems? The Elephant & Piggie books so funny, and yet, so Zen. And the Knuffle Bunny books too. Also, Lane Smith: The Happy Hockey Family. Funny, funny, funny. And I NEVER tire of Dr. Seuss, oh the voices I do…..
    Completely agree about Jamberry, used to know that and Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance by heart so I could just recite them for Henry. But now I’m reading him Great Expectations…. how time flies.

    1. You are so right about Mo Willems. Our family loves ‘Elephant & Piggie’ because Elephant makes faces that Daddy makes (it’s the glasses), and our daughter could play Piggie” in the movie. And ‘Knuffle Bunny’: we all specialize in going boneless around here. THe Knuffle Bunny graphics are so urban and real. I love the comic contrast to the standard “tot” book. I don’t know much about The Happy Hockey Family, except to be glad that as of yet, we are not. Care to elaborate?

  2. As a board book, I also like Blankie, as it describes our life with lovies. In terms of gifts, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and The Keeping Quilt are high on my list.

    1. Thanks for your note JB. I haven’t heard of “Blankie.” Must investigate! I used to work in a bookstore, and I could not get through talking to a customer about “The Keeping Quilt” without choking up; let alone read it. Gorgeous book, and thank you for reminding me about it.

      “Joseph”: I love the little mice at the bottom of the page, reflecting everything going on in the family. My children get confused when I read the book, however, because I do the Yiddishite intonations. As there is no one in our lives who speaks that way, they have no idea what I am about.

      Sounds like you have children slightly older than mine. Any recommendations for the lower-elementary set?

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