The Night Before Christmas – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Ted Rand
Published by North-South Books

Sometimes I underestimate Daniel. I would have thought that the length and the often complex and old-fashioned language of The Night Before Christmas would have had him squirming in his chair after just a few pages.

I was so far off, it isn’t even funny; Daniel LOVES The Night Before Christmas. We have read this so many times, now, that he knows the end of every line, and can recite the first few stanzas – not that he gets every word, of course, but most of it makes sense. I’m not sure exactly what it is, sure the Santa part is neat, but that actually seems to be his least favorite. I think it is just the whole Christmas excitement, since he is much more aware of it than he has been in the past.

Don’t be afraid to try this classic with your young children, you may just find that they love it!

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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A to Z – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

A to Z by Sandra Boynton
Published by Little Simon, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

Generally on Saturday Story Spotlight I only talk about books that Daniel and (or) I love. Today, though, I’m going to talk about a book that really isn’t working for us at the moment, that I thought would be amazing.

Typically we love Sandra Boynton, but her alphabet book, A to Z, just does not work for my young toddler. Daniel loves letters (like really seriously loves them), and as such, he loves alphabet books. We read them incredibly frequently, because he’s in a phase where he wants to know words that start with each letter of the alphabet. A to Z starts out strong, with an aardvark admiring, an elephant eating, and some hippos hiding. Eventually, though, it gets to uglybirds being ugly and a xylo xylophoning. In between there is a vicuna violinning, salamanders singing, and iguanas itching.

Here’s the thing when we read alphabet books. Daniel want to say every letter and every THING before I can get to it. The salamanders and iguanas confuse him enough (he calls them all frogs), but the uglybirds and the xylo are invented animals. I love Boynton’s whimsy, but I think it goes a bit too far in this book; I’m all for quirky alphabet books, but complete inventions in an alphabet book that is clearly for young children – as evidenced by the board book format – seem overly confusing.

Not that A to Z is a bad book, per se. It is certainly fun to read, and might be appropriate for much younger children who are not trying to put phonemes to letters and words, and it might be appropriate for older children who have a firm enough grasp and are able to take things less literally, but it is not a good  book at the moment for my letter and language-obsessed child.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Have You Seen My Cat? – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

Have You Seen My Cat? by Eric Carle
Published by Little Simon, an imprint of Simon & Schuster

When a young boy’s cat goes missing, he will stop at nothing to find her. He travels the world in order to to find his poor, lost, feline, asking person after person whether or not they have seen his cat and being directed to numerous other sorts of cats, mostly but not only big cats, instead.

Talk about predictive text.

Nearly every page of Have You Seen My Cat is composed of two pieces of text. The boy asking “have you seen my cat?” and responding to the proffered cats with the response, “that’s not my cat.” Perhaps this isn’t the very most exciting thing for mommy and daddy to read, but fabulous for toddlers. Daniel loves it when I read him the book, sure, we can talk about the attributes of the different cats, but just as much he loves to read the book on his own. He flips from page to page saying, “no my cat! No my cat!”

Best of all, this is a book that can grow with Daniel for awhile. Right now we’re talking about the sizes and colors of the cats, occasionally naming them for his benefit, but we can continue to talk about the different kinds of cats out there. Until then, though, I’ll cherish the calls of “no my cat!”

Highly recommended

Buy this book from:
PowellsIndiebound*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Good Night, Baby – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

Good Night, Baby by Denise Lewis Patrick, illustrated by Barbara Lanza
Published by Western Publishing Company

I have to admit, I was totally biased against this book, mostly on the basis of the illustrations. I really, really hate them. They are just so dated looking, I can’t handle them. I’m sure they looked great in 1993, but in 2o11 they make me crazy.

Daniel, however, loves this book and has for months and months, so I have learned to over look what I think are ugly illustrations to the numerous virtues of Good Night, Baby. First and foremost, is the quotidian routine of the whole thing. There is much for toddlers to recognize, to compare their own bedtime routines to that of ‘baby’. Everything is familiar, and yet slightly different from Daniel’s own routine, it is a book with many things he can already identify, which is comforting, while still providing new things for him to question and ask about.

That’s why Daniel likes the book. Here’s why I like it. First of all, Baby is relatively gender-neutral, as is everything in Baby’s room. There is perhaps a slight hint towards things being blue, but a very light blue, nothing so much that Baby couldn’t be a little girl. Patrick was very studied in not having any gendered pronouns relating to Baby. Secondly, both Mommy and Daddy share pretty equally in Baby’s bedtime routine. I love seeing both parents equally involved, without a big deal being made about it.

So, despite the illustrations needing some serious updating, Good Night, Baby is really quite a good bedtime book.

Buy this book from:
Powells*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Spot’s First Easter – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

Spot’s First Easter by Eric Hill
Published by Putnam Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin

Lift the flap books in general are a huge hit in our house, as are the Spot books in particular. In Spot’s First Easter, Spt and his hippo friend Helen are looking for the eggs hidden by the Easter bunny.

There are lots of reasons to like Spot’s First Easter. Of course, there is the beloved familiar character, and the joy for a toddler of getting to lift the flaps and see what is underneath. Then, there’s the introduction to the idea of searching for Easter eggs, which we’re capitalizing on before a couple of egg hunts this year. Finally, there is a math component that can be added for older kids. We know right away that the Easter bunny hid six eggs, once Spot and Helen find two, how many are left? This is written into the book at the midpoint, but parents can work it in throughout the text to support pre-subtraction skills.

A great book for the secular side of Easter, although I wish it wasn’t Spot’s First Easter, since it probably will  be better for most kids’ subsequent Easters.

Buy this book from:
PowellsIndiebound*

Source: Personal copy
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011