Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther Ehrlich (Random House Children’s Books; published today!) is an emotionally charged novel about a young girl facing stark change after her mother develops a serious disease. Naomi, “Chirp” to her family and friends, is a bird-loving sixth grader on Cape Cod in the early 1970s. Her life is full of nature and her loving family. As her family struggles with her mother’s degenerative condition, she must grow up faster than she intended. Continue Reading

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus

It is always rather dangerous when the Estate of a Favorite Author decides to approve a retelling, remake, or sequel to a Favorite Series.

So I was a bit apprehensive to read Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus (Dutton Children’s Books, 2009). With the Disney movie versions of Pooh, Tigger, and friends, I had reason to be wary. (Many of the modern story lines are simply horrible!)

I needn’t have worried. Author David Benedictus and illustrator Mark Burgess treated the Winnie-the-Pooh legacy much as Mr. Milne and Mr. Shepherd would have done: it featured a rather clever rhyming (although stuffed) bear, a timid and frequently blushing Piglet, a self-centered Eeyore, and all the other characters much as I fell in love with them in Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. The Christopher Robin who joins the friends during summer break is, likewise, English through-and-through, teaching his friends cricket, wearing his blue suspenders, and otherwise bringing imagination, silly confusion, and adventure back to the Hundred Acre Wood.Continue Reading

Tell Me a Story by Elaine Reese

My mom and dad live more than an hour away from us. As we drive home late at night from a visit to their home and as we drive through my childhood home, past my old elementary school, high school, church, favorite playgrounds, and so forth, my son asks me to tell him stories about when I was a little girl.

He loves to hear the story about when I taught swimming lessons at the pool and my car battery was dead afterwords, so I had to call grandpa to come help me jumpstart the car. He loves to hear about the day when I was three years old and I tried to walk from home to the grocery store because I did not want to be left at home with grandma. It helps that we happen to pass by those places, but I believe he’d love the stories even if we did not still live in my childhood hometown.

Tell Me a Story: Sharing Stories to Enrich Your Child’s World by Elaine Reese (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a volume about the benefits your children gain from hearing and retelling stories. I loved how it included tips for sharing stories with all children, from toddler through adolescence. It reinforced the fact that I’m doing most things right as I discuss the picture books I read to my toddler, read aloud to my son, encourage my son to tell me his favorite parts of the day, and tell my children stories from my childhood.

Continue Reading

It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker

When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog, I was startled by the title It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker (Tarcher, 2012). Not share? Isn’t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates? I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book, not because I agreed with it all, but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about relationships, compassion, and dealing with the ups and downs of life.

Continue Reading