Thursday, April 10, 2008

Return of the Library List

Thanks for your patience and understanding while the library list took a brief hiatus these past two Thursdays. For the first missed week, I was busy packing for a trip to Montana, and the second one I just didn't have a chance to look over the books Andy and Elise got while I was gone. But now we're back!

The Boy Who Wouldn't Go to Bed
by Helen Cooper
In this book, a toddler decides he doesn't want to go to bed because it's still light out and he wants to play. He has lots of adventures in his imagination, but none of the characters he meets wants to play because they're all tired. Finally, his mommy searches and searches for him and hugs him goodnight. This one is very timely for us here because Elise has been dreading bedtime and bad dreams and all the rest.

Dora's Favorite Fairy Tales
adapted by Leslie Goldman, illustrated by A&J Studios
Normally, I'm not a huge fan of these TV character adaptations of stories that were told much better for eons before someone wanted to make a merchandising buck. That said, I really really like this one. The stories are told so that they're scary but not terrifying. I particularly like what they've done with Jack and the Beanstalk.

Cat Up a Tree
by John and Ann Hassett
From our reading of Pickles the Firecat we learned that fire departments rescue cats from trees. It's such a shock when Nana Quimby calls about a cat in her tree and the fire department says they don't want to hear about it unless the cat is playing with matches. She gets similar dismissals from all of the other various official entities in town as the cats multiply in the tree. Elise's favorite response: "'Sorry,' said the library, 'we do not catch cats up a tree. Call back if the cats have an overdue book." In the end, we realize that a lot of people would be better off if they'd have done the kind thing and helped the cats when they needed it.

Please Is a Good Word to Say
by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas
We've liked this book for awhile, and when Elise saw it on the shelf last week she had to have it. The girl in the story talks about what different words mean and how to use them nicely. For example, "please" is a way to "put a smile on your words." It goes into "excuse me" for bodily noises, "I'm sorry" when you do something that makes someone else feel sad, and paying compliments. We haven't read this one in a few months and I think this time Elise has really understood what it's all about.

Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary
by Beverly Donofrio, illustrated by Barbara Mc Clintock
This story is so gentle and sweet. A little girl and a little mouse become friends after discovering one another. A generation later, their daughters renew the friendship. The pictures are lovely and the characters charming. Just a nice book.

And then, I've been reading too. Normally I like to keep this to kid books, but thought I'd throw in what I've read this time too as kind of a make-up for the long absence.

Assassination Vacation
by Sarah Vowell
Every time I hear this gal talk I think I'd like to get to know her. She's very funny, very smart and extremely well-informed on a lot of interesting things. It might sound a little macabre to seek out places associated with presidential assassinations, but this book turns out to be a fascinating history. With a healthy juxtaposition of kitsch and presidential dignity. Her style of writing fits my style of study very well, so I learned a lot more from this patriotic romp than I ever learned in history classes. (with apologies to excellent teachers)

Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline
by Becky A. Bailey
I've just started this one, but it's a winner. To my way of thinking, we've been pretty good with most of Elise's developmental stages so far. Age four is not our milieu, though, and I think life around here has been a good deal harder than it needs to be because of that. Once I got past the mystical-self-help style at the beginning, it became much easier to read what the author writes. Luckily, the writing settles down and is clear and informative. I especially like the examples she gives and the activities she gives for practicing the skills she thinks parents and kids need. I'm sure this one will get its own blog entry when I've read it all.


Anonymous said...

Assassination Vacation is one of my favorites, but as I skimmed and thought you were reading it to Elise, I almost fainted. Give her a couple of years on that one.

I don't know any of the other books on your list. I will have to look into them.

If you want to read a new kids book (upper elementary) that is just plain funny, try Lois Lowry's newest book--The Willoughby's. It is a parody of all the classic old books with orphans and lots of trial and tribulation. I laughed and laughed.

Happy Reading.

Anonymous said...

Oops, that last post is just from me. My fingers slipped. Sorry.