Category: Kidlit with my Kidlet

Jun 24

What’s Sammy Reading? Kid Lit with my Kidlet!

Kidlit with my Kidlet 4

Howdy Bookworms,

I only finished one book this week (The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon- it’s super cute!) so I thought instead of a normal weekly update I’d talk about that book in next week’s roundup and focus on some of Sammy’s current favorites this week.


Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessie Sima- My friend Jenny from Reading the End turned me on to this one! I think it was Christmas time and I was flooding her DMs with book recommendations for her toddler godson. Suddenly she was like “KATIE! Someone sent me this rec and it’s the Katiest kid book EVER!” She was, as usual, 100% correct. Harriet is a little girl living in NYC who looooooooves costumes. One day while prepping for her birthday party (a costume party, naturally), she wears her penguin costume to the store with her parents and runs into a flock of REAL penguins buying ice. She gets, as they say, carried away, and ends up hopping a hot air balloon to head home with the penguins. It’s so cute! It’s so full of imagination and fun. The other night Jim was reading it to Sam and did a quick double take- “wait does she have two dads?” And I was like “yup.” And he shrugged and carried on reading. I love when representation is so casual like that. It’s not a book about having two dads. It’s a book about a kid being a kid and the parents are in the background like they are in every other book ever. They just happen to both be men. Also one of the dads is Black and one is white. Harriet herself is either Black or biracial, but again, it’s just… There. Being normal. Issue books are super important, but so are Black kids having adventures with penguins with their two dads in the background. Normalize the joy!

You Don’t Want a Unicorn! by Ame Dyckman, Illustrated by Liz Climo- Remember when my friends threw me that excellent baby shower? This book was a gift from the co-hostess behind the color coordinated photo op. Angie is one of my favorite people in the history of the universe and she happens to love unicorns, hence this book. It’s only been in the last few months that Sam has REALLY gotten into the more complex story books, and he loves this one. A kid tosses a coin in a fountain, and despite the advice of a benevolent voice begging him to reconsider, he wishes for a unicorn. (Yeah, the protagonist is a little boy. In a unicorn book! BOYS CAN LIKE UNICORNS. Take several seats, toxic masculinity.) Then he suffers the consequences. It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s occasionally kind of gross, all of which mean that my kid LOVES it. There’s also a unicorn with what has to be an intentional Rainbow Brite vibe, which my 80s born self very much appreciates.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T Higgins- This one is HILARIOUS. Penelope Rex starts school only to discover that her classmates are NOT other dinosaurs like she expected, but tasty, tasty children. Penelope’s learning to control her impulse to eat the kids in her class is an excellent lesson in impulse control for little kids. Plus it’s really funny AND it’s got the added gross-out factor of the kids being covered in drool after Penelope spits them out. The real villain is Walter, the nefarious goldfish. I for one have never trusted fish. I will wade in the ocean near the shore, but otherwise will pass on swimming in any body of water containing fish. Give me chlorine or give me dry land. Since I’ve been pointing it out in the other books, Penelope’s classmates are a very diverse group of kids, which, even in characters who are continually getting eaten, is nice to see.

Sunny’s Tow Truck Saves the Day! by Anne Marie Pace, Illustrated by Christopher Lee- A family of four sets out for a picnic at the park, only to have their plans derailed by a flat tire… And a flat spare. They need to call a tow truck for help, and Sunny’s Tow Truck eventually comes to the rescue. Sunny, the titular tow truck driver is a woman, and she gets the family (that happens to be biracial) and their car troubles all squared away. The rhyme scheme is on point, and even though the family ate their entire picnic while they waited for roadside assistance, Sunny helps out by pointing them to an ice cream stand so they can still have their picnic experience in the park. It’s my personal “fan” theory that Sunny is getting kickbacks from the ice cream stand… Gotta respect that hustle though.

Trucks Galore by Peter Stein, Illustrated by Bob Staake- Reading this one over and over will get you to that giddy stayed-up-too-late point of having a word start to lose all meaning feeling. You know that middle school sleepover 3 am moment where everything is hilarious and weird? It’s like that, but with the word “Truck.” This is a really fun rhyming book, and for kiddos who are extraordinarily fond of things with wheels (like a certain Samuel I know) it’s a big hit.

Reading with my kiddo is pretty much my favorite thing ever! Classic kids books are all well and good (well, usually, anyway), but there’s SO MUCH EXCELLENCE out there in kid-lit now. Branch out. Give yourself a break from Dr. Seuss for a minute and try something new. You and your kids (or students, nieces, nephews, niblings, friends, neighbors, pets, or plants) will benefit from new, fun stories. Yes, I did just recommend reading to your pets and plants. Why not?

Alright, Bookworms, I’d love to hear about your adventures in kid lit. What are some of your favorites?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 


Apr 30

Kid Lit with my Kidlet: Sammy’s Current Faves

Children's Books, Kidlit with my Kidlet 1

Howdy Bookworms,

I can’t tell you how much it thrills me that Sammers enjoys reading stories with me. I mean, sure, I’ve been reading to him at least nightly since infancy, but he’s reached an age where he can actively choose the books we read and interacts with the stories. It’s so stinking cute. If you need book recs for the kiddos in your life, read on, friends!

Yes, that is a Llama Llama Red Pajama shirt. Of course my kid has book swag.

We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems: We have a decent collection of Mo Willems on our shelves, but so far We Are in a Book! is the hands down favorite. This book makes Sammy laugh SO HARD. It’s probably at least partially because I’m overly animated in recreating Elephant and Piggie’s laughter, but I shall never apologize for my over-the-top read aloud style. Like most (if not all) Mo Willems books, this book is heavy on audience recognition and participation. The self awareness is taken to a new level when Gerald (the Elephant) and Piggie (the, uh, Piggie) realize that they are, in fact, in a book. This is such a fun read! Now, Sam will occasionally shout “Banana” out of context and start cracking up. That’s the sort of thing everyone could use more of, no?

A Place for Pluto by Stef Wade, Illustrated by Melanie Demmer- This book was a gift from my husband’s “Fairy Godmothers.” They still live in the small town my husband hails from, and among its claims to fame is that it’s the birthplace of the dude who discovered Pluto. The Pluto love is big in this little town, and they were responsible for many a letter-writing campaign trying to keep Pluto’s status as a planet once it was declassified. So, naturally, this excellent children’s book about the demotion of Pluto to “dwarf planet” landed in one of Sammy’s many book packages. The book is fantastic- very scientific with cute and clever illustrations. Frankly, it’s kind of a tricky one to read aloud because of the vocab- when you’re used to simple rhymes at story time, trying to get your brain and mouth around “asteroid” and “meteoroid” and “Kuiper Belt” can be a challenge. But Sammers loves the book, so I put my astronomer voice and read the same story over and over and over again. No lie, he made me read this 6 times in a row the other night. The recommended age range on the cover is 4-8 years, so if you have older-than-toddler kiddos with an interest in space, this would make a great addition to your bookshelves.

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola- A classic for good reason! Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot has been delighting children since the 1970s, and shows no signs of slowing. I read it to Sam one bedtime, and at the following nap time, he specifically requested “Big Anthony” (he thinks the unfortunate fellow’s tummy full of pasta is high comedy.) He’s since started calling the book by its actual title, but it remains a staple of bedtime and nap time reading. I purchased our copy from Book Outlet which is a GREAT resource for inexpensive kids books. They usually have a mark on them or might be a little scratch-n-dent-y, but when you’re buying for a toddler, it hardly matters. The poor things will get banged up anyway.

On a side note: if you’re interested in seeing regular Sam Spam (IE, lots and lots of pictures) you’re welcome to check out my Instagram. Yes, it’s set to private, but only because I was creeped out by a few random dudes who started following my feed which is 99% toddler pics. I’m happy to approve anyone who looks like a real person, is bookish, and/or I recognize from other social media. I’m always cheered up by cute kiddo pics, so if you’re in need of that kind of joy, welcome to my Instagram!

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links above direct to Amazon, but if you’re in a position to do so, please consider purchasing through a local, independent book store. Websites like IndieBound and make it easy to support your local book shop even when you can’t physically shop there. 


Apr 17

Kid Lit with my Kidlet: Penguin Problems and Reading with Voices

Kidlit with my Kidlet 0

Hiya Bookworms,

This pandemic is wild. It’s so awful on so many levels, and even though we’re faring better than I might have expected in our household, I still have the occasional breakdown. I mean, I’m human. I also have a strong-willed toddler. It’s all A LOT. But I’m trying really hard to document the good things, because there have been many good things, mostly surrounding all the extra time we’ve been spending as a family.

This year, Easter was different, seeing as we’re in quarantine and all. Luckily, thanks to my husband’s clearance shopping after Christmas, my own impulse purchases, and some souvenirs we picked up from our trip to Disney World, we had enough stuff in the “Sam Stash” that didn’t need to worry about what we’d be using to fill Sammy’s Easter basket.

One of my impulse purchases had been a book and a stuffed animal from the Kohl’s Cares for Kids collection. They publish nice editions of popular children’s books and coordinating stuffed toys for $5 a pop, the proceeds of which go to a charitable foundation. Over the years I’ve purchased oodles of the things. Sam’s got a whole slew of the books and stuffed characters, which is great, because unless your child’s favorite book ends up being made into a TV show or movie, it can be pretty hard to track down merchandise. My love of Salina Yoon’s Penguin books can be traced back to a purchase I made for my “niece” a few years ago- I loved the books so much that I bought myself copies waaaaay before Sammers was in the picture. Kohl’s isn’t giving me anything for saying nice things about these books and toys, I just happen to adore them. All of this is to say that on a trip to Kohl’s after the holidays to exchange something, I picked up a copy of Penguin Problems by Jory John (illustrated by Lane Smith) along with the corresponding plush because they were adorable.

Fast forward a few months and one pandemic later, and the book and penguin appeared in Sammy’s Easter basket. He LOVES them. It’s one of those books that once we finish it, he immediately demands that we read it again. And, in a fun twist, he’s actually named the stuffed penguin “Mortimer.” The name is mentioned in the book, but isn’t the main character or anything, but he now insists on taking Mortimer with him on our daily wagon rides. Mortimer wears a seat belt, like a responsible penguin.

What’s really funny about the book, though, is apparently the way I read it. The whole story is a penguin whining about their problems. Cold beaks, being chased by predators, you name it. Penguin life can be tough. (It’s got a Mo Willems pigeon vibe going on.) As I was reading it to Sam, my husband pointed out that I sounded “like the Lottery Dream Home guy.” He meant David Bromstad, of HGTV fame, and once it was mentioned, I couldn’t unhear it. For some reason, my complaining penguin voice shares uncanny similarities in cadence and tone with the upbeat TV host/designer. It’s weird. But it gets weirder. Further into the book, a walrus appears to drop some wisdom on our penguin friend. My walrus voice? It sounds just like Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny. Why do I sound like two completely different dudes on TV while reading children’s books to my son? I haven’t the slightest. But I can’t stop… And I wouldn’t want to, because it’s fun. And right now, we all need extra fun.

I’d make a video of my read aloud, but I’m pretty sure that would be copyright infringement. Plus, I wouldn’t be making the video in any sort of educational capacity, as I’m not a librarian or teacher or daycare provider or anything. I’m just an overly theatrical read aloud parent. You’ll have to take my word for it, though- it’s ridiculous.

That all for now, Bookworms. I hope you’re finding joy in unexpected places. And, if you do happen to have kiddos in your lives, I sincerely hope you read aloud to them… With voices, of course.

You can totally still purchase Penguin Problems and plush from Kohl’s! The book selection changes seasonally, but as of today, the penguins are still out there. I believe Kohl’s is doing curbside pickup in a lot of places, but you can always order it to be delivered. I won’t make a commission, but who cares? *Technically if you click on the photo above it’ll take you to Amazon which would get me a commission, but that would cost you more and donate nothing to charity. It was just the easiest way I had to get a nice picture of the book into the post.*



Mar 25

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twelfth (With Bonus Kid Lit)

Kidlit with my Kidlet, Personal, Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hey Bookworms,

Life comes at you fast, huh? Two weeks ago coronavirus was scary, but not panic inducing. Today it’s changed just about everything. I used to LOVE reading fictional accounts of plagues and pandemics. Now? Not so much. Two weeks ago I started writing a listicle of some of the great plague books I’d read over the years, but I just don’t have it in me to finish that right now (I assume most of you aren’t interested in plague books right now either, but if I’m wrong on that, I’ll finish up that post because I wouldn’t want you to run out of reading material, even if your tastes are macabre in the current moment.) In case you were wondering, I finished ZERO books this week. I can only listen to audio books in fits and starts, and by the time I get to bed (which is where I normally do the bulk of my reading) I’m so mentally exhausted by the news and our new reality that I make it a chapter or so before I’m out. Sammy’s sleep has been crappy as well, which I assume is due in part to the fact that he can feel our anxiety, even if he doesn’t totally understand what’s going on. He’s been extra clingy and working from home with a toddler is really, really hard. I don’t want to be all gloom and doom, but I don’t necessarily want to put a shiny, happy face on all of this because it sucks. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And I’m really angry. For so many reasons. On so many levels. And yet, literally, the only thing I can do to help anyone is stay home. I can’t even sew so I can’t occupy myself by making masks or anything (but honestly, is anyone else getting SERIOUS wartime vibes? I can’t even count the number of WWII books I’ve read that discuss the women on the home front knitting socks for soldiers. Now we’re making masks for soldiers- because let’s face it- our healthcare workers have become war heroes.)

For my own mental health, I cannot wallow for long. I’ve got stuff to do. I still have a job! One that I can do from home! SAKES ALIVE do I ever miss my childcare, but I’m still going to be able to pay my bills… I just won’t look at my 401K for the foreseeable future. As far as stuff I’m grateful for, I’m glad I live in Illinois right now. I know, it’s a pain in the butt to have a stay-at-home order, but I know it’s saving lives, and I wish the rest of the country would get on board so this won’t drag on as long. I’m finding it extremely comforting to have a competent local government- who would have thought we had it in us? Also, since you can’t actually isolate yourself from a tiny human that you have to take care of (and I wouldn’t want to) I am reveling in all the extra hugs and snuggles. Those little hits of dopamine are doing my anxious brain a world of good. And, since I didn’t finish a grown-up book this week, I thought it might be a good time to look at some of the books on Sammy’s heavy rotation list right now.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: We have such an extensive library that books we haven’t read in a while often feel like brand new. It had been a while since I pulled these off the shelves, but I’m glad I did. Sam demands that we read “the taco book” over and over and over. If you ever want to make friends with a dragon, remember that tacos are key. And ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT on your salsa, because spicy things are a no-go for dragons. Unless you want your house incinerated. (We’ve learned from some of our other books that spicy foods also give penguins hiccups, so if you’re feeding foods to animals and/or mythical creatures, go easy on the spices.)

Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri: For those of us who have dabbled in time travel fiction, this book is even funnier than the first. Also, tacos grow on trees. I wish tacos did grow on trees, particularly because we are currently running low on tortillas so we’re going to have to wait until we really need groceries to procure more. And, IDK what the tortilla situation is- bread products are scarce, but are tortillas? I digress. I put these books on my baby shower registry because I was constantly craving tacos during my pregnancy, and a very wise friend of mine with her own children purchased them for me.

Diggersaurs by Michael Whaite: This book combines two of Sammy’s favorite things: dinosaurs and construction equipment. It’s got a nice rhyme scheme and charming illustrations. We have read this book ELEVENTY BILLION TIMES. It’s actually starting to show some serious wear- anybody have advice on repairing children’s paper backs whose pages are coming loose?

Boom Chicka Rock by John Archambault Illustrated by Suzanne Tanner Chitwood: After having several conversations with my MIL about Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and both of us being confused, she realized that the book she thought I’d been talking about wasn’t at all the same book she’d been discussing. Apparently Boom Chicka Rock was a favorite of my husband as a kiddo, so she bought a copy for Sammers. It’s very cute and revolves around a team of sneaky mice trying to abscond with a birthday cake under the nose of the house’s cat. Sam thinks this book is hilarious and fun because it’s chock full of word play. There are a couple of instances within the book that I find a little awkward to try to get the rhythm right, but all in all, it’s a really fun read.

101 Trucks: And Other Mighty Things That Go by April Jones Prince, Illustrated by Bob Kolor: Have you figured out that my kid is a fan of trucks? And construction equipment? This book is a delight for him. Right now, he’s particularly fixated on the page that showcases all the different types of “movers,” buses in particular. Everything is a bus. The Duck Boat is a Duck Boat Bus. The Trolley is a Trolley Bus. The Articulating Bus, impressively, is an Articulating Bus. Big words are also Sam’s jam.

As for what I’m reading, I try to listen to Miracle Creek during Sam’s nap time (when he deigns to nap, oof), and I’m really starting to get into the groove of Magic for Liars– I anticipate to have finished at least one of them by next week’s update.

I’d like to give a shout out to all the folks driving trucks, delivering things, providing takeout orders, stocking grocery shelves, and keeping things running enough so the rest of us can hunker down. And, obviously, healthcare workers. I’ve seen meme after meme about nurses and doctors not wanting to be hailed as heroes and that they just want everyone to stay the heck home, but I don’t see why I can’t do both. Hang in there, friends.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re able, please consider purchasing books for delivery from your local independent book store by clicking the links below:

Dragons Love Tacos
Dragons Love Tacos 2
Boom Chicka Rock
101 Trucks
Miracle Creek
Magic for Liars


Feb 06

Penguin Books for Every Occasion: Kid Lit with my Kidlet

Bookish Baby, Children's Books, Children's Fiction, Kidlit with my Kidlet 2

Hiya Bookworms!

Y’all know by now that I’m an avid penguin enthusiast, and that I shamelessly roped my child into the obsession (check out his first Halloween and nursery if you require proof.) Sammy has a MASSIVE book collection, and a large swath of that is dedicated to our flightless feathered friends. I know what you’re thinking. “How many penguin books can there possibly be? And on how many subjects? There are only so many cutesy rhymes one can make with ‘waddle’!” But you, my bookish friend, would be incorrect. Lo, there is a penguin book for EVERY occasion and learning opportunity. Lest you doubt me, I’ve complied a list (which is by no means exhaustive) of some very excellent children’s books featuring penguins. Prepare yourselves: it’s unbearably cute.

Penguins Teach Science: I wish I could find my copy of If You Were a Penguin by Wendell and Florence Minor (review)! I misplaced it long before Sammers was born, sigh. It’s such an adorable book full of rhymes and penguin facts. I’m sure it’s packed away in a box somewhere that will turn up eventually, but for now, I am bereft. Luckily, we have another great option for fun penguin facts and science tidbits on hand: Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere! by Bob Barner. The illustrations are bright and fun, though I confess I prefer the illustrations in If You Were a PenguinCurse my absent-mindedness!

Penguins Whose Parents Take Business Trips: Love, Mama by Jeanette Bradley is a sweet little story featuring a young penguin whose mother goes away on a business trip. I love that the mama penguin appears to be a scientist- the illustrations suggest she’s on some sort of research expedition. I also love that this book portrays the mama penguin as the one on a work trip while the daddy penguin holds down the fort. And, while the baby penguin and mama penguin miss each other, they’re reunited at the end. This would be a great addition to the library of any toddler with parents who travel for work! (I do not have to travel for work, but Jim occasionally does. Sam and I like to read this one when he’s out of town. I think it would be helpful for kids who are anxious about being away from their parent/caregiver for any length of time.)

Penguins Teach Basic Skills: Sarah Aspinall has a charming series of books tackling basic toddler skills including Penguins Love ColorsPenguins Love Their ABC’s, and Penguins Love Counting: Let’s Make Snowmen (I can’t find a shopping link for this anywhere, sorry! I bought it at a Scholastic book fair- what a rush!) There are six penguins (one named Broccoli!) who get up to all sorts of shenanigans while learning. Sam’s particularly fond of Penguins Love Colors, and really digs that the book sort of breaks the fourth wall (is that a thing in books the way it is in TV?). It encourages audience participation- these would make AWESOME choices for library/daycare story times.

Penguins Have All the Feels: Grumpy Pants by Claire Messer follows a penguin who has had a particularly rough day. We don’t know why the penguin is so upset, but neither does the penguin. This is a great book to help teach toddlers about moods and feelings. It also encourages them to take baths to wash away the grumpiness, and that’s never a bad thing. A nice bubble bath has been known to lift my spirits too!

Penguins Offer Companionship: Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton is adorable. I highly recommend looking up the song before reading it- if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up sing-reading. The premise of the story is that a penguin desperately wants to become BFF with a hippo. Because why not? The penguin spends the book trying to convince the hippo that they should be platonic life partners. As an added bonus, the song was performed by none other than everybody’s favorite Monkee Davy Jones (RIP) so it’s bouncy and cute.

Penguins Teach Manners: Penguin Says “Please” by Michael Dahl, Illustrated by Oriol Vidal teaches the little ones how to ask for things, rather than demanding. The Mama penguin in this book is very patient, but she’s not going to be ordered around. This little penguin needs to say “please!” And so does my toddler. He’ll say “please,” but it’s often in a heart wrenching and plaintive wail. Like “pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease don’t make me go to bed, you absolute monster of a mother.” Or, um, something like that.

Penguin Moms Who Just Need a Minute: Baby Penguins Everywhere!and Baby Penguins Love their Mama by Melissa Guion are super cute books and both of them feature an overwhelmed Mama penguin taking a time for herself. In one, she even takes a NAP! It’s wonderful! I think it’s great for kids to see that their caretakers are human too and might need a little rest from time to time.

Penguins Teach About Adoption and/or Same-Sex Parent Families: I couldn’t make a list of penguin books for all occasions without bringing up the one about the same-sex penguin couple who want to have a family (oh, my soft, squishy heart!) The two male penguins fall in penguin love and try to hatch a rock. When the zookeepers see this, they give the couple an egg that’s been rejected by its parents to raise and, voila! And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (review) is often banned and challenged which irks me for a number of reasons. I mean: It’s a true story, LOVE IS LOVE, and while parents can (and should) monitor and approve what their own children read, they have no business denying access to other people’s children. But I digress. I haven’t read this one with Sammy yet simply because it’s a lot more text-heavy than most of the others on this list. He’s got a pretty good attention span for 2 and a half, but this one’s geared toward more of a kindergarten crowd, I think. Still, it’s a wonderful and penguiny way for kids to learn about adoption and same-sex parent families.

Would it surprise you to know that this is not an exhaustive list of our penguin literature? I could write so many penguin kid book posts. And I reserve the right to do so. There is a zero percent chance of me parting with any of these books once Sammers outgrows them. I shall be the curator of my own private penguiny library and it will only be, like, medium weird.

One day, he may not want to wear penguin PJs, but today is not that day.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links within the above text direct to Amazon, but if you prefer to shop through local, independent book stores, please see the links below*

If You Were a Penguin
Penguins, Penguins, Everywhere!
Love, Mama
Penguins Love Colors
Penguins Love Their ABCs
Grumpy Pants
Your Personal Penguin
Baby Penguins Love Their Mama!
Baby Penguins Everywhere!
And Tango Makes Three


Dec 05

Holly Jolly Toddler Books

Kidlit with my Kidlet 2

Greetings, Bookworms!

One of my favorite humans just asked me for book recommendations for her Toddler Godson and I could NOT have been more excited. I sent her about 20 disjointed Twitter DMs, but I thought pooling some of that knowledge into an actual blog post might help someone else out. Sam’s library is so extensive, thanks in large part to family members with elementary education backgrounds, that I sometimes take for granted that I rarely have to hunt these treasures down myself. I thought I’d share a few Christmas-specific books that Sammers has been enjoying lately. If I can help one bookish Auntie with her holiday shopping, I’m happy to do it!

  1. Penguin’s Christmas Wish by Salina Yoon: I love this book. Truly, I love all Salina Yoon’s books, but the Penguin series has a special place in my heart. This book has adorable illustrations and a very sweet message. It encourages imagination and overcoming adversity, as well as the importance of spending time with the people you love. I’d recommend getting Penguin and Pinecone to go along with this book, in case you’re wondering why a penguin and a pine tree are long lost buddies. I’d recommend the entire Penguin series, actually, and the Bear series too. They’re all wonderful stories with heartfelt sentiments.
  2. 10 Trim-the-Tree’ers by Janet Schulman, Illustrated by Linda Davick: I made a list of Halloween books Sammers really liked last year, and the Halloween version of this book was included. What can I say? Countdown books with fun illustrations and clever rhymes are a joy in all seasons. I’d highly recommend this one.
  3. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner, Illustrated by Mark Buehner: I’m a sucker for good rhyming book, but I think what takes this one over the top for me is the illustrations. I love the misty quality of the snowmen celebrating Christmas. It hits that perfectly magical Christmas note for me, and Sammy seems to dig it too.
  4. Elmo’s Christmas Snowman by Naomi Kleinberg, Illustrated by Tom Brannon: I cannot express just how thrilled I am that Sam took an interest in Sesame Street early on. Reliving something from your own childhood with your kid is such a great feeling. In this book, Elmo is desperate to build a giant snowman, but there isn’t enough snow on the ground, so he recruits his pals to help. Elmo, dude, I’ve never felt so seen. I remember rolling larger and larger snowballs for a snowman as a kid only to decide that it wasn’t big enough and that the enormous roll I’d made simply had to be the head. I rarely finished constructing a snowman, so I feel an intense kinship with this story. Sam is more of a Cookie Monster guy these days than an Elmo guy, but he still enjoys this book.
  5. How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace, Illustrated by Andy Elkerton: I’m not going to lie, I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. The rhymes are clever and the illustrations are funny, but I think it’s kind of creepy that these kids are setting elaborate traps to catch an elf. Creepiness doesn’t seem to translate when you’re 2, though, and Sam thinks this book is the bee’s knees. He laughs and laughs and demands that I read it multiple times in rapid succession. It’s hard to argue with that kind of adoration. Sam hasn’t yet shown any interest in setting traps, so I think it’ll all be okay.

Maybe I should be more worried about mischief…

Happy Holidays to all the tiny readers on your shopping list! The links within this post will take you to Amazon, but if you’d prefer to shop through your local independent bookstore, check out the links below:
Penguin’s Christmas Wish
10 Trim the Tree’ers
Snowmen at Christmas
Elmo’s Christmas Snowman
How to Catch an Elf

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*


Oct 19

Kid Lit with My Kidlet: Halloween 2018

Kidlit with my Kidlet 5

Greetings, Bookworms!

‘Tis the season for pumpkins and candy, so I thought I’d share a few of the seasonally appropriate books I’ve been reading with Sammy lately. My son has a very impressive library, and, like his very impressive wardrobe, it has little to do with my own shopping. We’ve got some very astute children’s literature aficionados in our orbit who like to spoil the young sir. As a result, Sammers literally has entire stacks of books dedicated to different holidays, and Halloween is one of the best represented.

I LOVE Halloween. Always have. Of course, my love for it never evolved past a child-like infatuation with costumes and trick-or-treating. I abhor haunted houses (jump scares are the actual worst), and don’t much care for horror movies or literature (though there are some exceptions). I just want to hand out lots of candy while wearing a giant pajama onesie that doubles as a costume while I watch Hocus Pocus for the fafillionth time. Thus, books aimed toward young children hit the sweet spot of everything I love about Halloween. It makes for magical bedtime reading. Here are some of my (and Sam’s!) current favorites:

ONE: 10 Trick-or-Treaters by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Linda Davick. This one is Sammy’s favorite. It’s an adorable rhyming countdown book in which Trick-or-Treaters are frightened off one by one (that sounds like it might be scary, but it isn’t at all. It’s just cute. It’s very clear to the reader that all the things startling the children are either benign or just people in costumes.) When they get down to 2 Trick-or-Treaters, there’s a scene with a person in a mummy costume coming out of an elevator that makes Sammy giggle. Why that particular illustration appeals to him, I do not know. But who can argue with a delighted 1 year old? And why would you want to?

TWO: Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This one is MY favorite. It isn’t strictly Halloween related, which is good because I’ll be reading it year-round. A witch on her broom keeps adopting animals to adorable effect. The rhymes are such fun, and the illustrations are so cute. I actually saw a cartoon version of this before we got the book- it must have been on PBS Kids because where else would that sort of thing happen? Anyway, it’s delightful for parents and kids. Fabulous to read aloud!

THREE: Little Vampire’s Big Smile by Rose Von Feder: In this super cute little book, a young vampire looses his tooth while bobbing for apples at a Halloween party (let’s just ignore how unhygienic that activity is. I’m not even super skeeved by germs and ew.) It all ends well of course, when the Tooth Fairy (who is a bat, duh) delivers a gold coin and a new tooth to our dear Bertie. This book is exceptionally appropriate at the moment for my child whose canine teeth have just erupted. (It’s a bit ridiculous, really. Of all the things my child could have developed early, it’s teeth. He’s got 16 teeth at not quite 14 months. Probably why he’s not walking yet. Teething is distracting, yo.)

FOUR: Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon: OK, this isn’t strictly a Halloween book, it’s more fall, but I absolutely ADORE Salina Yoon’s Penguin books. They’re so sweet, and, obviously, PENGUINS. We actually do have a Halloween specific Salina Yoon title, Where’s Boo?, and while it’s adorable, it doesn’t have much of a story. That’s a thing with baby books. It’s important for babies to have access to simple books full of pictures and just a few words that they can get handsy with- bonus if there are sensory aspects, like in Where’s Boo? It’s just that they’re not as much fun for ME to read at bedtime, whereas Penguin has the most delightful adventures. I’d recommend ANYTHING by Salina Yoon for your little one, but Penguin will always hold a special place in my heart.

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface of our Halloween book stack, but since a lot of them fall into the sensory/flap lifting/not so much story category, I’ll keep it short. I may tackle those another day. I’m going to leave you with this pic of Sammers (and me) that was taken just after his first hair cut (cue Mom sobbing.) His hair was growing into a weird rat tail situation, and since it’s not 1991, I thought we should nip that in the bud. He’s wearing some sweet Halloween duds, though!

Photo credit goes to my husband, who, while he hates having his own photo taken, is an excellent documentarian of important moments. Also, I’m really not that blonde. There was some weird lighting or filter action going on here. And yes, that is Sam’s middle finger. That’s how he points at things. And pushes buttons. Social graces may not be his strong suit.

What are some of your favorite kid friendly Halloween reads, Bookworms?

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Apr 24

Kidlit with my Kidlet

Children's Fiction, Family, Kidlit with my Kidlet 22

Howdy Bookworms!

I’ve been reading and listening to oodles of books lately, but oddly, all I want to write about are my favorite books to read with Sam. Since I rarely write anything these days, I thought I’d just run with it. Sammers is 8 months old (already?! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???) but since he’s still, you know, a baby who can’t actually say intelligible words, I get to choose our bedtime stories every night. Thanks to our extremely generous friends and family (and occasionally Mom’s impulse shopping) Sammers has a very impressive book collection. Still, there are a few that I choose to read over and over again simply because I happen to love them. (Don’t worry, I’ll do another post specifically featuring our large collection penguin books one of these days, but today we’re penguin free.)

Soon we’re going to have to move the toys off the top shelf to give the books more space.

The The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, pictures by Dan Hanna: This is the MOST fun to read out loud. Remember when Ludacris rapped Llama Llama Red Pajama? (If not, check it out HERE) That’s an amazing book and a super fun rap, but I’d love to see what a rapper would do with The Pout-Pout Fish (specifically, I’d like to hear what Lin-Manuel Miranda would do with The Pout-Pout Fish) – it’s got creative vocabulary and great rhythm. “Kaleidoscope of mope” is practically a Shakespearean insult. I’ve seen all kinds of statistics that say kids should be exposed to a certain number of words by a certain age, and I can’t help but think The Pout-Pout Fishshould be on every kid’s book shelf simply because the vocab is such a treat.

I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt, Illustrated by Cyd Moore: If you’re familiar with the old standards, this book’s structure is very similar to the classic The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (of Goodnight Moon fame, natch). A little kid being tucked into bed asks his mother if she’d still love him under a number of rather outlandish circumstances, namely if he were a skunk so stinky that his name was “Stinky Face.” I’m rather prone to using such nicknames as terms of endearment (my poor son is often called “Stinky Pete” or “Grumpy Gus” depending on his mood or the state of his diaper) so I found the book’s title especially appealing. Plus, it gives me the opportunity to do different voices for the mother and son. It’s just plain fun to read.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin: This book will hit you right in the parenting/aunting/caregiving feels, a la Oh, the Places You’ll Go! The illustrations are beautiful and the message is so, so sweet. “When you were too small/ To tell me hello,/ I knew you were someone/ I wanted to know.” Just pass me the box of tissues, okay? This book is an awesome choice for a baby shower gift or a graduation present. Our copy came from one of our showers, and I’m going to have to go back and check the inscription to see who sent it so I can send another thank you note.  Because reasons.

This is just a tiny sample of the many excellent books on our shelves, but they’ve been in heavy rotation for bedtime stories of late. What are some of your favorite children’s books, Bookworms? This dude is always interested in new recommendations!

One of Sam’s daycare teachers took this picture and I can’t get over it. HOW DID I PRODUCE THIS PERFECT CREATURE?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*