Thursday, February 7, 2008

This Week's Books

In spite of the fact that we were a little late to story time at the library last Friday, we managed to select a pile of books that included 5 clear winners (from Elise's point of view-the one that matters!)

Bugs in Space
by David A Carter
Who doesn't like a pop-up book? Throw in a hero named Bug Rogers and it's a guaranteed success. I was impressed by the quality/build of this particular one because usually library books with moving parts are trashed and this one is fully functional.

If You're Happy and You Know It!
by Jane Cabrera
This is a favorite song to sing so we were predisposed to like this book. Because of the fun, bright illustrations Elise likes to "read" this one to herself over and over. We like to hear her sing.

The Cat Came Back
by Fred Penner, illustrated by Renée Reichert
Between a newfound love of singing and an ongoing love of cats, this one is a hit. We like listening to Laurie Berkner's version of this song in the car, and we like reading about this particular cat and singing about it at home. Still dealing with the stress of the idea of a cat being "lost forevermore" (even though it does come back).

Beauty and the Beast
A Disney Read-Aloud Storybook
Adapted by Ellen Titlebaum
Does anyone remember how I banned Disney from our house very early in Elise's gestation? We've done a decent job of avoiding that stuff without being all crazed about it. I have to admit to a certain soft spot for the story of Beauty and the Beast, though. We checked the movie out from the library a few weeks ago, and so last week when we went back Elise saw the book and we had to bring it home. And read it over and over again. Overall the book isn't that bad. It's a little disjointed as a story. I like that it introduces some good vocabulary. I dislike that so much page space is given over to describing the violent parts of the film in great detail. Because of this, (and many other concerns,) our ban on all things Disney continues, with the now-that-the-cat's-out-of-the-bag exception of Beauty and the Beast.

My love of this story comes entirely from Patricia McKinley's inspired retelling that my grandmother introduced me to when I was in high school. When Elise is old enough, we'll replace that Disney drivel with a real story!

My First Day of Nursery School
by Becky Edwards, illustrated by Anthony Flintoft
A girl's first day of school is a big deal, and it's a little scary. Luckily, even the kid in this story discovers that school is pretty fun. I think the appeal for us is that Elise has recently made this transition herself, and likes to see how another kid manages it. It's good to revisit those first days of school with a feeling of mastery. I like that the end of the book puts just as much emphasis on the second day of school as the first.


Jaya said...

"The cat came back" always freaked me out as a kid--especially that last verse about the entire world perishing in a nuclear holocaust. (Do they still sing that one?) One of my music teachers even added a sadistic Picardy third at the end when the cat's nine lives were up. Elise is definitely a braver kid than I was.

SWE said...

Oh wow-that is evil! We haven't heard the holocaust verse, probably a good thing...

Anonymous said...

Your grandmother always freaked out about pop-up books. "Books are not toys!" Your library is brave to carry them. Not that I think that they are eveil--they are a lot of fun--but they fall apart so quickly when hundreds of happy children read and reread them making every pop up pop multiple times. Maybe that is what Grammy worried about, the wear and tear.

Jaya, I am so sorry that song scared you. I probably sang it to you when you were little, but, I hope, only the chorus. The book is cute and might reassure you, if you are still traumatized by it.

Jaya said...

It was a pretty traumatic song. I quote:

"The H bomb fell the very next day;
The atom bomb fell in the very same way.
Russia went, and England went, and then the U.S.A.
The human race was finished, without a soul to pray--

I guess we still worried about those things in the mid-80s. Let's hope no one makes up a verse about terrorism.

SWE said...

Now that just sounds like a challenge!

Though I don't think I'd sing a verse about terrorism to kids... Some people just get thrilled that they "know" lots of verses to a song and don't think much about the audience.

I made the mistake of singing "Clementine" to Elise a few months back and now pretty much any time she's looking sad and moody I can ask her what's up and hear, "Mommy, why is Clementine lost and gone forEVER?!"

The only bright spot in this is that she's decided the original song is so heinous that she regularly makes up her own words to the same tune. And I have to say her lyrics are much more entertaining.