Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reading with Little Miss Muffet and Little Bo Peep, April 2017

It's been a bit of a crazy month. We traveled to New York for a family trip, then less than a week later I went back to New York alone to help with a family emergency. I came home after two days, but I'm basically "on call" and may need to return again on short notice. So our reading has been pretty sporadic, but we have been reading lots of different things. Here are some of the girls' recent favorite reads:

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca

I requested a review copy of this book based on the author and illustrator, whose work I have previously enjoyed.  I had pretty high expectations to begin with, but I'm happy to say the book completely exceeded them. Princess Cora is an over-scheduled and overly-coddled princess whose entire life is dictated by the desires of her overzealous parents to make her as smart, clean, and healthy as possible. When she writes a letter to her fairy godmother asking for help, Cora isn't quite sure what to expect, but an ill-behaved crocodile with a penchant for biting is definitely not it. After Cora and the crocodile switch places for a day, however, Cora's family is finally willing to listen to what she wants.

What I like about this book so much is that it does not use Cora to teach a very special feminist lesson about spunk and misbehavior and "persistence." Instead, this book adheres to the true conventions of a fairy tale and empowers Cora within that context. This book neither preaches nor promotes misbehavior; indeed, it does not seem to have any agenda at all other than to entertain young readers. How refreshing! There are many laugh-out-loud moments that had me giggling during out read-aloud, and Miss Muffet loved how heavily illustrated the book is. At 3 years 5 months, she's a little young for chapter books, but this one was short and engaging enough that we read it all in one sitting.

Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets

Though both girls have been enjoying this 1956 Caldecott Honor picture book about a little girl who pleads with different animals to play with her, it has become a particular favorite of Bo Peep (19 mos.) She brings it to me frequently, eager to hop into my lap and enjoy a few pages. The full story seems to be a bit too long for what she is willing to tolerate, but we've made it a quarter of the way through a few times. She seems to especially like the frog and turtle.

Gossie & Friends Say Good Night by Olivier Dunrea

We came home from Grandma's house with this touch-and-feel Gossie and Friends book, and both girls love it. Bo Peep especially likes the page where Boo Boo's noodles feel sticky, and Miss Muffet likes to "read" the story aloud based on the illustrations. I haven't even bothered putting the book away in a basket or anything since we've been home since one or the other of them is always reading it. I try to get Bo Peep to let me read it aloud to her, but so far, she hasn't taken me up on the offer. 

Lullaby and Good Night: Songs for Sweet Dreams by Julie Downing 

We bought a used copy of this lullaby songbook a while back after Miss Muffet became obsessed with a library copy, and now it's Bo Peep's turn. All the talk about her becoming a big sister in October has ramped up her interest in babies and there are lots of them in the illustrations. She especially likes the pictures that accompany the songs "El Coqui" and "Golden Slumbers." She makes a big production of shouting "no!" if I start to sing a song she doesn't want to hear, but she will usually let me get through those two. I look forward to both girls singing these lullabies to their new sibling this Fall.

Nope! by Drew Sheneman

In this picture book, a young bird is scared to fly, but his mother persists in getting him to take the necessary leap toward independence. We received a review copy of this in the mail, and because it is mostly wordless, I knew it would be a good one for Miss Muffet. She loves to tell her own stories based on illustrations and after we read it together the first time, I heard her retelling it to her sister throughout the next couple of days. One of Bo Peep's newest words is "bird" so she also enjoys this one and has even been known to echo her sister and me saying, "Nope nope nope."

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