Books I want: The Little Prince Pop-up Book


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I’m a sucker for a special edition of my favorite books.  Recently, my little sister got me a leatherbound edition of The Hobbit that I wanted that is designed to look like it’s Bilbo’s journal.  Not that I didn’t already have a copy, but the moment I saw this one, I knew I wanted Rose’s first reading of the book to come out of this edition. 

So when I first heard about a special pop-up version of one of my favorite childhood books, The Little Prince I knew I needed it!  We do, of course, have a 25-year-old copy of the book in our collection, but the idea of a pop-up version seems to so perfectly incapsulate the what the book is all about.        

I wouldn’t be able to count the number of times I read this as a kid, missing much of the philosophical nature of the book, and not realizing that a lot of it is aimed at adults.  It’s such a beautiful book in so many ways, and just look at what the pop-up version does to the baobab trees! 

How could I not want this for myself Rose?


Spring Break Rerun!


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I’m on spring break this week since my wife’s a teacher, so I’m reposting an entry from very early on in my blogging career. I’ll be back next week!

One of the aspects of reading with Rose that I didn’t anticipate is the number of books that she would try to eat. Of course, when we went to our pediatrician’s office early on I saw the posters talking about how one of the things that babies would do with books would be to bring them to their mouths, but the reality was far more eating than I anticipated. As we would be reading a book, she would pull the book to her mouth, and try to chew on it. I didn’t really mind, but I was kind of concerned that she might actually get a piece of the book in her mouth and choke on it, so I had to try really hard not to let her chew the books. Of course, this didn’t stop her from eating off part of Pat The Bunny.

If you’ve read this book, you know what it took Rose to eat this part.

But what to do? She clearly wanted the books in her mouth, and I didn’t want to discourage her from using all of her senses to discover books, but I also wanted to keep her safe.

As it turns out, there is a great option for just this conundrum called Indestructibles. These books are made for those babies that still have an obsession with putting everything in their mouths. They are “water-proof, tear-resistant, and baby-durable,” and Rose just loved them. You can even wash them in the washing machine if they get dirty! We were lucky enough to get a set of them as a gift from a librarian friend who saw them at a convention, but you can buy them in many stores, or online at

As it turned out, Rose eventually got over her obsession with eating books, at least for the most part, until one day I gave her a book to keep her busy in her car seat, and when I went to get her out, I found this:

So…I guess she got some extra fiber in her diet?

Who else has had a book eater, and what was your take on your baby’s addition to their diet?

Featured Book Friday: Each Peach Pear Plum


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Today’s featured book is Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, published in 1978.  The book is almost Where’s Waldo-esque, as each page has someone you’re supposed to look for.  It is marketed on the inside as  an “I Spy” story, so I assume that there was a whole series of these.

Each of the pages has some fairy tale character or characters, and features a rhyming couplet about who you’re supposed to “spy.”  Characters include Tom Thumb, Cinderella, the three bears, Jack and Jill, and others.










This strikes me as a book that young kids will really enjoy, as they will really have fun finding the different hidden characters.










For now, Rose can enjoy the simple rhymes in the book until she shows more of an interest in finding the characters.



Using Pinterest



Until recently I had no idea what the purpose of Pinterest was.  I knew everyone was using it, I just didn’t get it.  And then, suddenly, it clicked.  I started a Pinterest account, and one of the first boards I made was a “books I want to read with Rose someday” board.  I’m using it to keep track of all of the books that are way too advanced for Rose at the moment, but that I know I want to read with her when she’s older.  Take a look at it here, and I’d love your suggestions for other books I should pin.  I’ll be adding to it a little bit at a time, so be sure to check back every once in a while!

Featured Book Friday!


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I’m starting a new feature this week called Featured Book Friday as an attempt to go through Rose’s bookshelf and find some hidden gems. As you may know, toddlers get fixated on certain books, which means that I’m stuck reading Green Eggs and Ham fifteen times in a row. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t other books on our bookshelf that Rose won’t eventually love.
The first Featured book I’m taking a gander at is:

The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel, pictures by Blair Lent. Publication date: 1972
This is a picture book that I assume is based on a Japanese folk tale, although I couldn’t find the original folk tale anywhere. The illustrations are reminiscent of classical Japanese art without worrying about getting it exactly right. On most of the pages there are both full color and black and white illustrations.

The story follows–you guessed it–a funny little woman who always laughs by saying ‘tee-he-he-he.’ The woman is busy making rice dumplings one day when one rolls away from her and into a crack in the earth. In chasing her dumpling, the woman falls down into an underground cavern. She continues to chase her dumpling, while occasionally stopping to chat with the many statues of gods, who are referred to as ‘Jizo.’ Each of the statues warns her about the ‘wicked oni,’ but the little woman just laughs and continues chasing her dumpling. Eventually she is caught by an oni, who forces her to make rice for all if the oni using a magical rice paddle that fills up a pot of rice with one grain. The woman escapes eventually and makes it home with the rice paddle, eventually becoming the richest woman in Japan because of using the magical paddle to make her rice dumplings.

This is a cute story that is a little bit above Rose’s level right now, but which she will certainly appreciate at some point. It is a Caldecott winner, but my main problem with it is that the funny little woman is illustrated in a somewhat stereotypical style. I suppose that considering the publication date this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Aside from that, I like the illustrations, and I look forward to reading this to Rose at some point in the future.

What to do when you can’t go to the library…


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One of Rose’s favorite things in the world is story time at the library. We go twice a week, and it does an awfully good job at saving my sanity. It’s something to do, somewhere to go, and a way to socialize Rose.
Unfortunately, Rose has been sick since late last week. She’s on the mend, but still hasn’t been fever free for long enough to be around other kids, which means I have to find a way to keep from going stir-crazy today, and possibly tomorrow.
So what to do? Thankfully, it’s not raining, which means I can at least take her out to our fenced in backyard to play, but what else? I’m sure we’ll read quite a few books today. And yesterday I made a batch of oobleck to play with. (If you don’t know what it is, it’s based on the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Do a google search and you can find a recipe) so we’ll probably play with that somewhere.
If I really need to leave the house, I might take her to our little zoo, where there’s plenty of room to avoid other kids.
Next week, I will be more than ready for story time to resume. If you haven’t been to a story time at your local library, I highly recommend that you check it out. I’m not sure that they are all as good as mine, but they definitely support literacy in your rapidly learning child!

Children’s Books in the Public Domain


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We live in an electronic world.  Everybody has iPads, e-readers, tablets, and smart phones.  At the same time, we don’t always want to spend money or make our way to the library just to get a new book that our kid may or may not enjoy.

Luckily, the public domain exists, and thanks to Project Gutenberg, there are plenty of free downloadable options for your kids’ reading pleasure.  Below, you can take a gander at some of these options, but I would also encourage you to do some additional browsing on your own and try out some books you’ve never heard of.  Some of them even have audio books! Here’s a link to the children’s book category to save you some time.

Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris – The classic book of Southern stories.  Please don’t throw me in that briar patch.

Peter Rabbit series by Beatrix Potter – Project Gutenberg has over 25 of Potter’s books, complete with illustrations, if your kids like Peter Rabbit.

The Enchanted Castle and other books by Edith Nesbitt – Classic novels, some with magic, some without.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Who doesn’t love this one?  I don’t remember much about it, but I loved the movie that came out way back in the ‘90s!

The Oz books by L. Frank Baum – Baum wrote a ton of Oz books after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and a lot of them are on Project Gutenberg.  Great for bedtime stories! Read a chapter every night!

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco – Remember the book about the toy rabbit who gets thrown out (maybe because of small pox or some other disease…scarlet fever?) and then becomes a real rabbit?

A Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I’ll be honest, I haven’t read either of these, but they’re supposed to be great classics.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll – Yup, both of these are free to download.  Another one that is perfect for bedtime stories read over the course of a couple of weeks.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving – for your kids who might be a little bit older, pull this one out for a Halloween scary story!

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – If your kids like horses, this is the book for you!

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – The classic adventure novel about pirates!

Scattered Books


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This is where books are in our house:

20130305-075726.jpgIn Rose’s book basket.

20130305-075830.jpgNext to Rose’s book basket.

20130305-075857.jpgOn her book shelf and the floor nearby

20130305-075925.jpgIn a basket on a cart in the living room.

Of course, there are also stray books hidden in various places throughout the house. It’s like she’s a dog with like 15 different hiding places for various bones, but the bones are books and the hiding places aren’t very well thought out.

My Top Ten Dr. Seuss Characters


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Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday! Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! In honor of such an auspicious day, I decided to make a list of my top ten Seuss characters. Keep in mind that this is my top ten. I know that you might disagree with some of these. This isn’t the greatest of all time by overall popularity, or the top ten most well known characters, it’s just the characters that are in my top ten. On to the list…


 10. The Grinch–Yup, that Grinch.  You might be asking why he’s so low on my list.  I alwayliked the Grinch, but could never like him that much, simply because I’m Jewish and this is a Christmas book.  At the same time, I do kind of identifywith him, since I become very Grinch-like every christmas.

 9. The Cat in the Hat–Again, you probably want to know why the iconic character in the Dr. Seuss cannon is so low on my list.  Let’s be honest, the cat in the hat is kind of a jerk.  He’s that guy that’s always making you feel uncomfortable, making jokes that you aren’t sure are jokes, and then saying, “Nah man, I’m just kidding!”  All the same, I had to include him.
 8. Lazy Bird Mayzie–Let me explain.  Mayzie makes my list because you can just imagine her voice.  She spends a very small amount of time in Horton Hatches the Egg bullying Horton into sitting on her egg while she vacations in Palm Beach, and then wants her kid back when the egg hatches.  Still, that imagined voice just sticks with you.
 7. The goldfish–Yup, I put the dour goldfish from The Cat in the Hat higher on this list than the cat himself.
 6. Sam-I-am–If you want to know more about my feelings toward Sam, check out this post.  Sam, like the Cat, may be a jerk, but at least he’s trying to get someone to try something new.
 5. Mr. Brown–Mr. Brown isn’t that memorable, but he can certainly make a lot of sounds.  I put him on this list because Mr. Brown can Moo.
 4. The Lorax–And here comes the character who has made The Lorax one of the most challenged books in libraries across the United States.  A few of Seuss’ books send political messages, but the Lorax is the most obvious character to represent something more than what he is.  He’s a symbol of what happens when we don’t take care of the environment, and it sends the message to our kids to make a change.
 3. Mack the Turtle–Mack is the turtle who disrupts Yertle’s tower of turtles by burping.  He knocks down a bully of a turtle, and reminds us that we shouldn’t just listen to someone because they’re stronger or more powerful.
 2. Little Cindy Lou Who–I know, I know, I said I couldn’t put the Grinch high on this list because of the Christmas thing.  But here’s the thing, Cindy Lou Who is just so adorable, and so innocent, and she also looks like Rose.  So…
  1. Horton the Elephant–How could Horton not be number one on my list?  He’s loyal, he looks out for the little guy, and he’s forgiving.  He gave us two great quotes: “A person’s a person, no matter how small,” and “An elephant’s faithful, one-hundred percent.”  Horton is a great example to follow, and teaches fantastic lessons to our children.  So Horton, in my book, you’re #1!

Some thoughts on Maurice Sendak






Maurice Sendak







I just found out that children’s author Maurice Sendak died way back in May at the age of 83.  Somehow this totally passed me by when it happened, but when I found out this morning, I had a pretty emotional response, so I thought I would write down my thoughts on the subject.  Although he wrote or illustrated over a hundred books in his lifetime, for most of us his most memorable book will always be Where the Wild Things Are.  There was something about that world of wild imagination that changed the children’s book forever.  As a child, I read about Max and his pack of monsters too many times to count.  The idea of sailing from my bedroom to a distant island was fascinating, and the Sendak illustrations were perfect for the concept.  My wife has told me that as a child she would look out into the living room at night sometimes, and would swear that she could see the Wild Things dancing.  The best part of that book, though, may have been the ending, and that realization that it’s awfully nice to be able to come back to your safe little life at the end of such outrageous imaginings.

So here’s to an amazing writer and illustrater.  His Wild Rumpus will never end, as he continues to inspire countless generations of children on into the future.