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Monday, March 11, 2013

Silly Hats

LO is just finally getting into the concept of dress-up, which is truly an area for an adventurous mind to shine.  Of course, having an impeccable dress-up wardrobe of princess dresses and chef's outfits is fun for a kid....but I think that watching kids create their own dress-up outfits using their imagination is even better.  Lately, LO has been wrapping herself in our big, fluffy blankets on the couch and exclaiming, "Look at my princess dress!"  In her mind, swimming in large swaths of fluffy fabric makes her a princess, whether it is sparkly and looks like Cinderella or not.....and I love that.  Hats do the same magic trick - a good hat can help you imagine that you are anything!

Here are some books about hats that we have been reading lately.  One is a classic that I remember from my childhood, and the other two are classics-to-be with some dark and edgy humor that still goes over great with the kiddos.

Caps for Sale

I Want My Hat Back

 This is the companion piece to the above Klassen "Hat," and the winner of the most recent Caldecott Award for best picture book.  It is equally as popular, funny, and challenging as its predecessor.  The premise is very similar, but told from a different perspective: we are now identifying with the hat thief, who is hopelessly trying to evade the hat owner from whom he just stole.  The ending of this book is equal parts vague and horrifying, and the tale offers chances to explore the issue of stealing and remorse.  The best part about this book is how perfectly the illustrations tell the story:  just a simple change in the direction that eyes are looking conveys the plot perfectly, and gives the reader the opportunity to ask the listener what they think the characters are feeling/thinking before reading the text.  LO really enjoys this hat book, questionable ending and all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Baby's Best Friend: Stuffed Animal Pals

I am always astounded to watch my sweet Little One and her friends play with stuffed animals....what an amazing example of a budding imaginative mind!  These stuffed, soft friends are there for everything, from learning to potty, to being scared of the dark, to having tea parties.  Children seem to project all of their feelings - imagination, fear, joy - onto their stuffed buds.  Is it any wonder that they love books about them, too?

This is in no way a comprehensive list of great stories about stuffed animals and the great place that they hold in your child's adventurous mind.  It is just a list of books that we have read in the last few months that have made my LO smile.  I hope that you will enjoy them, too!

Where's My Teddy?

 Where's My Teddy?

This book incorporates so many great toddler ideas:  big vs. small, scary situations vs comfortable situations, great rhyming text, and of course, the favorite teddy bear.  Our version of this book is a board book, and I'm not sure it it is abridged (as many are), but this has been a favorite.  My LO asks to read about "Eddie and his Teddy," as they embark through the scary, dark forest to reunite. 


Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale 

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale 
Knuffle Bunny has become a standard frame of reference in our household.  When LO is throwing a fit, I tell her that she's "going boneless" like Trixie.  When we are just being silly and laughing, LO says "AGGLE FLABBLE KLABBLE!" and we all have a good laugh.  In short, we adore this series...especially the first book.

Apparently, the author of this book is writing about his own child, Trixie.  Since I'm not really a children's literary expert, I had no idea, until we checked out a video of the first Knuffle Bunny and I saw that it was narrated by Mo and Trixie Willems.  Long after Knuffle Bunny 1 became a beloved classic in our tiny family, we checked out the following two volumes, and the epilogue at the end of book three brought tears to my eyes.  These are books about the love of parents for their daughter, and the love of the daughter for her stuffed rabbit, and how these great loves shape great lives.  The stories are simple, but their simplicity and humor is what makes them so great.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Book 2 of Knuffle Bunny has Trixie grown up, going to Preschool, and learning more about friendship.  This is a sweet tale, and answers the great question:  is it pronounced Kuh-nuffle Bunny, or Nuffle Bunny?

(We always say "Nuffle Bunny" around here...)

Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion 

I Must Have Bobo!

I Must Have Bobo!

Bobo is a sock monkey.  Earl is the cat that likes to capture Bobo.  These funny little books are essentially about a boy who loves Bobo, and his eternal consternation that his cat loves Bobo, too.  The stories are silly and it is slightly irritating to me that the boy dislikes his pet so much...but at the same time it makes perfect sense to me:  we have three furry animals with free reign of our house, and sweet LO loves them all....but like any good "sibling" rivalry, they certainly have their moments.  Let's just say that LO has no problem telling the animals off when she doesn't approve of whatever they are doing.  And that is probably why she cackles with delight.... "Oh, Earl!!!"

I'll Save You Bobo! 

I'll Save You Bobo!
The adventures of Bobo and Earl continue in a couch-fort safari.  A fun sequel in the same spirit as the original.