Strawberry has developed a love for reading. It’s not surprising, given the number of books by which she is surrounded. What I’m finding somewhat amusing and annoying is that right now she has a very definite preference for what books we read together: she wants the ones she has read before, and if I try to read something else (to Raisin, for example), she gets very mad and throws a book and has a fit. I suppose this is perfectly normal for 17 months old. (more…)
I am busy beginning to track the books I read with Strawberry now. She’s at an age where she is beginning to love books, and look forward to our reading times together. What a wonderful milestone! On the other hand, Raisin is a proficient reader of chapter books now. I find I must remind myself to sit down and read with him too. I feel reading togehter is an important learning time, even for the proficient readers. Raisin is, after all, only five years old still. Parent-child bonding is essential to developing a lasting relationship.
I’ll begin with a few baby books, and segue in to books for my older reader. (more…)
Friday nights are “fun night” for our family. Usually, this means we watch a family/kid friendly movie. Recently, now that Raisin is five, we’re branching out to board games. (When the favorite board game was Candy Land, I really did not like that option every week.) Today, Raisin requested that we read books together.
Yes, my five-year-old son wanted to spend an hour and a half reading with me. This is why I did my 1000 books project with him, and why I’m doing it all over again with my baby. Reading together as a family truly is fun. I’ve grown my son into what I am certain will be a life-long reader.
Here are some of the books we enjoyed. (more…)
My daughter, Strawberry, is 13 months old now, and she is entering a fun age of reading. She loves books, she loves reading, and she loves eating, ripping, and tearing apart any book-like item that comes near her! The combination means there are lots of reading times with the book just out of her reach. But mostly I’ve been looking for board books that she loves.
Her favorite thing right now is babies. Crying babies, smiling babies, far away on the other side of the room babies. She loves them! She knows she is a baby and loves herself too. It’s so much fun to enjoy this stage once again. My son liked babies, but nothing like this. At 13 months, he was obsessed with cars and trains. Strawberry, then, is total girl. (more…)
Just a few weeks before my second child, a daughter, was born, I stopped at a bookstore with my son and we bought her a book. It was Pride and Prejudice: A Babylit Counting Primer by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver. In just 10 pages, we visited the story of Pride and Prejudice by learning about some of the important countable nouns in it: FIVE sister, TEN thousand pounds. The pictures are modern, and for this particular “primer” the nouns highlighted are lots of fun. Will a baby “get” the plot of the classic novel? No, but it sure is fun for a mama who loves the book!
New to the classics for babies scene is the Cozy Classics series by Jack and Holman Wang (Simply Read Books, 2012). In a similar way, these books share the plot with the youngest people, but these books do with just one word on each page. It’s amazing how they manage to share so much of the story in one word per page! The accompanying pictures are photographs of needle-point felt dolls and scenes. I am not able to sew in anyway so this is very impressive to me too. I read the Pride and Prejudice and the Moby Dick Cosy Classics as digital review copies from the publisher. Does a child need to know “peg leg”? No, but the format is a fun one for the parent who loves the classics!
And then there is a more complete picture book version. I discovered Moby Dick: Chasing the Great White Whale by Eric A. Kimmel and Andrew Glass (Feiwel and Friends, 2012) as a part of the Cybils 2012 fiction picture book judging process. It is a poetic sea shanty retelling of the story of Moby Dick. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I love reading the classics, so I was delighted to see a picture book about a favorite book of mine, although I must admit I was surprised to see Moby Dick, of all classic books, retold in picture book format. The book is so much fun for someone who enjoys Moby Dick. It begins with “Call me Ishmael” and it really does capture the feeling of the book in some respects: the desire to go whaling, the night in the inn with a man with a tattooed head, meeting Captain Ahab, the anticipation of the chase. The illustrations are gorgeous paintings, and one can see the brush strokes in the marvelously rich pages. I really enjoyed seeing the story come to life in the pictures. And yet, there is something odd as a whole about this as a picture book. One of the things I love about Moby Dick is the rich language; so much of my enjoyment of the book depends on the eloquent ponderings of the narrator.
As a whole, the story of Moby Dick is rather gruesome: sailors hunting down a large animal and killing it in a brutal and disgusting way. In the picture book, the language is reduced to a sea shanty rhyme, and the illustrations do the talking. It’s a nice introduction to Moby Dick’s plot but do young children really need the plot? I also took exception to the “moral” added to the end of the picture book. Herman Melville’s creation is certainly not something that ends with a trite moral: it’s far more complicated than the plot suggests, and his purposes in writing it (the “moral” if you will) is something to explore in doctoral length dissertations, not picture books. I don’t believe it was necessary to sum up the book in such a trite way: I believe it detracts from the whole.
In the end, then, I’m rather conflicted about this picture book: I love it since I love the original, but I wonder as to the necessity of it for children. Do we really want to talk about chasing and killing whales with our young ones? Why not wait until children can experience Melville himself?
Note: I received digital review copies of the Cozy Classics books for review consideration.