Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Reading with Little Miss Muffet and Little Bo Peep, October 2016

As October winds down, it's time to take a look back at what the girls have been reading this past month:

  • Lately I've been trying to make more of a concerted effort to select books specifically for Bo Peep and purposely make time to read them just to her. She's a much quieter child than her sister, and sometimes it really takes that one-on-one reading time to get reactions out of her. Her favorite book, by far, is Baby Faces, which we originally bought used for Miss Muffet. Bo Peep pores over every page of that book, and occasionally even leans down to give the little babies kisses. There's a new 2016 edition, which I just borrowed from the library,  but though she likes it, it doesn't seem to compare to the original. Another baby-themed favorite I recently pulled off the shelf for her is Ten Little Babies by Gyo Fujikawa. Bo Peep gets really excited about this one, and squeals and shrieks and grabs for the book.
  • The grabbing of books is an issue when reading to Bo Peep in general, so, if I want to get through a full story, I often have to put her in the playpen and read from the outside. This has worked especially well with books that are not in board book format, such as Hello, Day! by Anita Lobel, and You... and Sometimes... by Emma Dodd. (Those Dodd titles have different titles in the US, but we own the UK editions.) We also have to keep a constant eye on her, as she has taken to grabbing paper books from the shelves, picking the spines apart, and putting the little pieces in her mouth. (Miss Muffet is great at spotting this behavior, but not as great at gently stopping her sister from doing it.)
  • Miss Muffet is now just a month away from turning three, and she is finally old enough to appreciate some of the classic picture books I've been saving for her preschool years. In one week, I introduced both Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Her reaction to Wild Things - which I believe is the most perfect picture book ever created - was perfect, and I was so pleased with myself for introducing it at just the right point in her development. She loved the "wild rumpus" and asked all kinds of questions about the forest in Max's room, and best of all, she sighed and smiled with contentment when she found that Max's supper was still hot. You can only read that book for the first time once, and it was wonderful to share that experience with her. The Little House also grabbed her interest and she sat attentively through the entire thing. I would bet that she didn't understand everything that happens in that book, but her appreciation of it was enough for me. We'll revisit it in many times in the coming years.
  • Miss Muffet also seemed to develop her first literary crush this month. In the October issue of Highlights High Five, there is a story about a boy named Anthony who is afraid to ride a pony. Anthony's story was not all that interesting to me, so after reading it a couple of times, I forgot about it. Apparently, though, Miss Muffet did not, because my husband heard her talking on her pretend phone (a wooden block) to Anthony. When asked, she said he was just a boy she talked to on the phone. I figured out pretty quickly that he had to be a magazine character, since we don't know anyone named Anthony, and hadn't been reading any Anthony-centric picture books, but it was too funny that of all characters, he is the one who made an impression. Then again, when she was a baby, she had an obsession with the boy in the JC Penney Christmas photo ad in Parents magazine, so I suppose we shouldn't have been too surprised.
  • Finally, we have been using books to help Miss Muffet make sense of Halloween. Thanks to Big Pumpkin, she is now aware of vampires, mummies, and witches, but because of the lighthearted tone with which I read the story, she doesn't realize these are meant to be scary, and she reminds me frequently that they are not real. She has also enjoyed my childhood copy of The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steven Kroll and, my favorite, The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams.

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