Monthly Archives: May 2013

books for babies

Picture Books, Songs and Rhymes for Babies

The publishing industry just doesn’t seem to understand babies. Too frequently, books written for four-year-olds (such as Click, Clack, Moo) are reprinted as board books and marketed to parents of infants. Most babies won’t be interested in stories with elaborate plots, because developmentally they can’t follow them. Here is a list of fourteen books for babies that meet my criteria for babies under eighteen months: 1) They are short, like an infant’s attention span. 2) They feature bright colors or high contrast images. 3) They were intended for infants, not older kids. 4) They are fairly sturdy – and I mean fairly sturdy – because I have seen what babies do to books they especially love.

Babies love looking at other babies. The text of these three books, I Love Colors, Baby Faces, and Baby Food, is somewhat besides the point. Even tiny ones will love staring at the adorable faces photographed by Margaret Miller. You will too – at least the first forty times you read them. Ages: 0-2

The Going-To-Bed Book and Moo Baa La La La are two of my kids’ favorite books by the incredible author/illustrator Sandra Boynton. These books, featuring friendly-looking cartoon animals, are funny in a way that very young toddlers (and adults) will appreciate. They also have a great rhythm to them when read aloud. In fact, some of Boynton’s other board books are actually songs that she wrote; for more songs by Boynton, check out the CD/book collection Philadelphia Chickens: A Too-Illogical Zoological Musical Revue. Ages: 0-3

Karen Katz has written many excellent age-appropriate books for infants. Some of my favorites include Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?, Counting Kisses, and How Does Baby Feel? As a one-year-old, my daughter was fascinated with belly buttons, both hers and mine. Whenever we would read Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?, which was very often, she would always have to look at someone’s belly button. During Counting Kisses, she would giggle every time I would kiss her feet nine times or her toes ten times. These are the sweet memories you hang on to when your baby is reading Harry Potter. Ages: 0-3

“Don’t touch that gum on the ground. It’s yucky.” “Eat your peas. They are yummy.” These are the instructions that toddlers hear all the time. Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli drives home these kinds of points in an engaging and humorous way. Yes Yes! A Bundle of Board Books includes this book and two others, Big Little and No No Yes Yes. After all, “no,” “big,” and “yucky” is 50% of what one-year-old kids say anyway. Ages: 6 months – 3 years

Cloth books are great for book eaters, like my son as a baby. Squishy Turtle and Friends and Fuzzy Bee and Friends used to be carried all around the house. They are soft, unbreakable and make great crinkling sounds. There is not much content to them, but I guarantee that your baby will not mind. Ages 0-2

Pat the Bunny has been around for decades, but now the book has been redone and renamed Pat the Zoo for a new generation. This edition features stronger binding and more animals for infants to touch and feel. Ages 0-2

Babies love to be surprised; lift-the-flap books are to babies what junior mysteries are to elementary school students. No matter how many times my 9-month-old daughter flipped through Peek-a-Moo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti, she never ceased to be amazed by the animals she revealed. These books will take a beating, but that is what tape is for. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book and Peek-A Who? are also great choices. Ages 6 months – 3 years

Many little munchkins love looking at animals, especially cute animal babies. ZooBorns!: Zoo Babies from Around the World by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland will mesmerize your future zoologist. Ages 0-3

Additional Picture Books for Babies

Songs for Babies

Baby Mine – Alison Krauss

All the Pretty Little Horses – Hana Bird

Hush, Little Baby – Mae Robertson

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star – Jewel

Rhymes for Babies from my book  Big Book of Animal Rhymes, Fingerplays, and Songs

Round and round the haystack (Have your fingers run round child’s wrist.)
Went the little mouse,
One step, (Have finger climb up arm.)
Two steps,
In his little house. (Tickle baby under armpit.)

Here sits the Lord Mayor, (Touch head.)
Here sits his men. (Touch eyes.)
Here sits the cockadoodle. (Touch one cheek.)
Here sits the hen. (Touch other cheek.)
Here sit the little chickens. (Touch teeth.)
Here they run in, (Open mouth and touch lips.)
Chin chopper, chin chooper
Chin chopper, chin! (Touch chin.)

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Best Books for Babies

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Jul 15, 2013 - - 98
Picture Books, Songs and Rhymes for Babies

Included is a list of 14 books for babies that meet my criteria: short, feature bright or high contrast images, are intended for infants, and are sturdy.

Jul 15, 2013 - - 92
Books for Babies | United for Libraries

Books for Babies

Jul 15, 2013 - - 90
Top 10 books for babies

Originally published Monday, May 28, 2012 at 6:30 AM Courtesy Little Simon Courtesy Atheneum courtesy Candlewick Press Choosing the best books for babies and toddlers is a fun - and important - job. But finding the best books for the youngest readers isn't always an easy task.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 85
Building Baby's First Library: 25 Must-Have Books

Most of us have heard how important it is to have books at home and read them, even to young kids. But how do you know which titles your baby or toddler will love?

Jul 16, 2013 - - 92
The All-Time Best Books for Babies

Check out some of our favorite books for babies.

Jul 22, 2013 - - 98
Must-have Board Books for Early Childhood Collections

The icon means that a Spanish language edition is also available. B oard books are designed to survive the wear and tear of babies' and toddlers' inquisitive mouths and hands and offer a wonderful opportunity to share with a child snuggled on a caregiver's lap.

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children's books about cars and trucks

Picture Books, Easy Readers and Songs Featuring Cars and Trucks

Vehicles are a huge topic for many small kids, especially 3-year-old boys who are not quite old enough for superheroes. This fascination can be a brief fad for some and a lifetime passion for others. Either way, you will probably be spending a lot of time reading about subjects such as construction and firefighting. What is the difference between a front loader and a backhoe? If you don’t know, it’s time to find out. Here are reviews of ten children’s books about cars and trucks, as well as more recommendations.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sheeri Duskey Rinker is one book you probably won’t mind reading a hundred times. The construction vehicles have worked hard all day long and now it is time for them to sleep. As the sun descends in the sky, the pages are imbued with a purple-red color, which gives the scene a certain beauty. One by one the vehicles are named and put to bed. Construction sites are often seen as enemies of rest and relaxation, but this one will have your little one down in no time. Ages 2+

The next morning you can wake up to I Stink!, a hilarious book by Kate & Jim McMullan. This story celebrates everything that is foul and disgusting about your neighborhood garbage truck. Children love it, especially the recipe for Alphabet Soup: apple cores, banana peels, candy wrappers, dirty diapers… Truck lovers will enjoy the scene that shows an X-ray view of the trash being compacted. Ultimately, it pays respect to the sanitation department, pointing out that without them, “you’re on Mount Trash-o-rama.” Ages 3+

Building With Dad by Carol Nevius is an inventive twist on the construction theme. Like Tops & Bottoms in the Rabbit section, it opens vertically, instead of sideways. The highly realistic illustrations play with perspective. My daughter noticed examples of foreshortening and bird’s-eye view – two concepts that she has been learning about at art class. This book takes something you see every day, such as a dump truck dumping gravel and makes it interesting by showing what it would look like from the gravel’s viewpoint. My husband, who likes to walk around the library collecting Dad books, remembered this book and recommended it for inclusion in this list. Ages 3+

Modern children have never heard of, let alone seen, a steam powered digger, but that won’t stop them from loving Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, his steam shovel. Before the late nineteenth century, digging a giant hole would have required scores of manual laborers. Steam shovels changed that, but then they were replaced by more efficient (and less polluting) trucks, which used diesel fuel. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel  by Virginia Lee Burton chronicles the rise and fall of the new technology in a deeply personal way. Desperate for work and appreciation, Mike and Mary Anne travel from the city to the countryside with a mission to dig a foundation for a town hall. They promise to do it in one day and do, except for one miscalculation – they forget to provide Mary Ann an exit. My son was moved by Mary Anne’s plight. “Is she really alive?” he asked. I told him she is real if she is real to him. “OK,” he said, “Then she likes to eat dirt.” Ages 4+

Both my kids laughed hysterically at this next one. Where’s My TRUCK? by Karen Beaumont is a whimsical portrayal of a boy (the littlest one in the family) who has lost his toy truck and tears the house apart in order to find it. As with all excellent picture books, the pictures tell you more than the words. I would recommend this story for families whose lives are regularly turned upside down by the antics of kids and pets. Ages 3+

In The Trucker by Barbara Samuels, Leo is obsessed with trucks. His mother is bored silly of them. They never seem to have the same interests, until a cat named Lola comes into their lives. At first Sam is disappointed that Lola is not a fire truck, but eventually he recognizes that she too is a trucker. Both of my children loved Lola. I liked all of the innovative ways Leo uses his trucks to help him in his daily life. Ages 3+

Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights is similar to Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, but it features more urban vehicles, such as taxis, fire trucks and package delivery trucks. This book is a great addition to any truck lovers collection. Ages 2+

There was a period where I read the story of  Big Frank’s Fire Truck by Leslie McGuire to my son every day. The book chronicles a day in the life of Firefighter Frank and includes some dramatic moments as well as basic fire safety information. I lent this book out to couple of other firefighter-loving kids and they also seemed to relate to Frank. My kids especially enjoyed seeing his young children at the end of book. Ages 3+

My Car by Byron Barton uses bright illustrations and simple words to teach young children about cars and the rules of the road. My kids are now a bit old for this title, but both enjoyed reading it as toddlers. Ages 2-4

The Wheels on the Bus is a favorite childhood song and this version by Maryann Kovalski does it justice. A grandmother and her two granddaughters entertain themselves during the long wait for the bus by singing “The Wheels on the Bus.” I liked how the book includes musical notation near the beginning for readers that might be unfamiliar with the tune. My daughter was amused by the end, when their singing causes them to miss the bus and they have to take a taxi home. Ages 3+

Additional Recommended Picture Books about Cars and Trucks

Easy Readers about Trucks

Songs about Cars and Trucks

Riding in My Car (Car Song) – Woody Guthri

On The Road Again – Willie Nelson

Big Ol’ Truck – Karen K and the Jitterbugs

Wheels on the Bus – Free Sampler

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Jul 15, 2013 - - 118
25 Picture Books About Cars And Trucks

I was never a car person and construction vehicles were not at all interesting either , until I became a mom. My son's first word after Mama was Bama which we soon discovered meant garbage truck, after that Didder which was digger and so on and so on.

Jul 15, 2013 - - 110
Picture Books, Easy Readers and Songs Featuring Cars and Trucks

What is the difference between a front loader and a backhoe? Here are reviews of 10 children's books about cars and trucks, as well as more recommendations.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 135
Top 10 Children's Picture Books About Cars, Trucks, and Diggers

Children's picture books about cars, trucks, fire engines, ditch diggers, steam shovels and other equipment seem to particularly appeal to young children. Some of the children's picture books below are classics, while some of the other recommended books are more recent.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 127
'Construction Kitties' and 'Dig, Dogs, Dig'

As the wildly successful "Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site" has shown, stories about trucks need not be tough. There can be warm, fuzzy elements amid the concrete and scrap metal. Even a teddy bear can find its way in. Perhaps there's just something appealing about the juxtaposition of soft, fluffy animals and heavy-metal loaders, which feature in two new picture books this season.

Jul 17, 2013 - - 129
Children's Books About Bicycles and Cars

ALONG A LONG ROAD Written and illustrated by Frank Viva. 40 pp. Little, Brown. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 6) A terrific debut from Viva, an award-winning illustrator and frequent cover artist for The New Yorker, this sleek and stylish travelogue follows a lone cyclist on a continuous path that runs from first page to last.

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monster books for kids

Picture Books, Rhymes and Songs Featuring Monsters

There is something about kids and monsters. They are repelled by them, yet at the same time they find them exciting and compelling. After all, what are monsters anyway if not reflections of children’s imaginations? Similar to aliens, they can look anyway you want them to. Their behavior is imperfect, to say the least, yet many modern depictions have redeemable qualities. Of course every child has a little bit of monster in them, but not all children are comfortable with the subject matter. These books are all very mild, but may not be a good fit for some younger or more timid children. Use your own judgement. If your child is like my gregarious and somewhat naughty little boy, grab a whole pile of monster books and dig in. Here are ten reviews of monster books for kids, plus more recommendations.

Yesterday I read The Monsters’ Monster by Patrick McDonnell to twenty preschoolers. The kids enjoyed the book and the teachers appreciated the pro-social message. Three kid-sized monsters named Grouch, Grump, and little Gloom ‘n’ Doom live in a monster castle over top a village. They spend their lives arguing and making mischief, until they decide to make the “biggest, baddest monster EVER!” The result is a sweet, caring creature that helps the three terrors learn the value of friendship. This book accomplishes a difficult task: it teaches behavior without becoming moralistic or dogmatic. Ages 3+

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems is another monster that doesn’t live up to the name. He can’t scare anyone and he feels inadequate compared to other larger and weirder monsters. Finally, he searches out the most “scaredy-cat kid” in the world and finds Sam. When he is not even able to scare Sam, he finds another better purpose for his life. As usual, Willems uses his trademark humor to make an appealing book for youngsters. Ages 3+

Don’t Squish the Sasquatch! by Kent Redeker is a great book for teaching children about personal space. Upon embarking on a city bus, Senor Sasquatch tells the bus driver that he hopes it does not become too crowded, because he does “not like to get squished!” Of course, all of the other unusual creatures (Miss Elephant Shark, Mr. Octo-Rhino, etc.) immediately start pushing against him. This prompts the refrain, “Don’t Squish the Sasquatch!!” and eventually an attempt to “smooth” the Sasquatch. Both of my kids loved this bright and breezy book. Ages 3+

The next book, Bedtime for Monsters by Ed Vere, is sure to elicit lots of squealing. What if, this story asks, a monster is coming for you! Maybe he is coming to come eat you up? The silly illustrations build lots of anticipation, before the inevitable amicable conclusion. It is a fun book to read to braver kids. Ages 4+

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor also plays with differing possibilities. Each page gives two options of what could happen until the story comes around full circle. My children both enjoyed reading this book, but they disagreed about their favorite picture. My daughter liked the page with the baby monster; my son liked the page where the mommy and daddy monsters are eating each other. This book has a nice rhythm when read aloud. Age 4+

Maurice Sendak’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, is celebrating its fiftieth birthday in 2013 and is just as relevant today as it was in 1963. My children’s literature professor in graduate school used this book to teach how illustrators of picture books can play with the white space around a picture. At the beginning of the book, when Max is misbehaving, every page is framed with a white border, but after he is disciplined and moves into his imaginary world the borders disappear and the pictures take over the entire page. My children have a love/hate relationship with this story. As a toddler, my daughter used to hate it because the monsters were too scary, now she loves it and fondly recalls performing as a Wild Thing in preschool. My son gravitated toward this book at an early age, but now he claims to not like it, because, Max’s out of control behavior is too frightening. (If ever a kid resembles Max from this book, it is my son.) My husband and I love this book, a poster of a Wild Thing bowing to Max has been hanging in our various abodes for over a decade. Ages 3+

Pete Seeger, from Peter, Paul and Mary has been telling the story of Abiyoyo, a South African tale about a boy, his magical father and a giant named Abiyoyo since the 1960s. This picture book edition includes a CD of Seeger telling/singing the story. My son became interested in Abiyoyo last year after a parent in his preschool class read this book to the class. Since then, he has drawn dozens of Abiyoyos, made a giant Abiyoyo out of construction paper and “played” the Abiyoyo song many times on our piano. Rule of thumb, if your kid loves The Incredible Hulk, he/she will probably love Abiyoyo. Ages 4+

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler, is a story about monster who picks up messes in a little boy room. I found it somewhat odd and off-putting, since if I was a giant insect with multiple arms and legs, this story could be about me. My son does not share my repulsion and was dismayed  when I told him that it would eventually need to be returned to the library. This is a very fast read and the action is simple, so it might be appropriate for some toddlers. Ages 2+

How could you have a group of monster books without talking about beds? What’s Under the Bed? by Joe Fenton is all about things that go bump in the night and how kids’ imaginations go wild in the dark. I like the contrast of the black and white palette and the menacing orange of the monster. This book is not for the fainthearted. Ages 4+

Friends also uses bright colors against a black background, but no one would find this sweet book about friendship frightening. Composed of only thirteen words, this book is perfect for small children who like the idea of monsters or fantastical creatures, but can’t handle the drama. My son was particularly touched by the cuddle page, where a very little monster is hugging a big one. Ages 2+

Additional Recommended Picture Books about Monsters

Easy Readers about Monsters

Songs about Monsters

Abiyoyo – Pete Seeger

The Purple People Eater

Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett

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Children's Books about Monsters

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Jul 15, 2013 - - 122
Picture Books, Rhymes and Songs Featuring Monsters

Kids can be repelled by monsters, but also find them exciting and compelling. Here are 10 reviews of monster books for kids, plus more recommendations.

Jul 15, 2013 - - 116
Monster Picture Books

The Scariest Monster in the World Weatherly, Lee ISBN: 9781906250409 Call Number: JE WEAT 2009 The scary, scary monster stomps through the woods, shouting "Get out of my way!" And all the forest creatures scurry whenever they see him coming. One day the monster starts to hiccup--and he can't stop.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 109
19 Monster Books For Kids

Books about monsters can be useful tools for parents while delighting children. These aren't just books about silly and sometimes scary monsters they are about fear and conquering it. Just like how children use pretend play to test out adult situations and roles books offer kids a chance to test out scary things in a safe place.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 107
The Best Picture Books about Not-So-Scary Monsters

Monsters are scary for young children, but these books star monsters that turn out to be not so scary, after all. Reading them can be a fun way to triumph over the scary monsters at your house.

Jul 16, 2013 - - 92
Fabulous Five: Niamh Sharkey presents five books about monsters

Today I am really chuffed to welcome Niamh Sharkey to Library Mice for a Fabulous Five feature on monsters! We have always been big fans of Niamh's at home and own many of her books: Tales from Old Ireland and Cinderella are amongst our all-time favourites, and Santasaurus, which is still one of our regular reads at Christmas time.

Poem about Monsters

by Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking Glass

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

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