8 More Books Please!

8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books Sure, Lila loves to read, but Lucy is becoming quite the reader. It is not uncommon for us to be making dinner in the evening and notice Lucy isn’t in the living room. We’ll find her in the play room, surrounded by a giant pile of books, quietly “reading” to herself. It is not surprising, since birth Lucy has heard us reading to Lila.

Just as Lila has her favorites, Lucy very much does too. What is interesting to us is that her books of choice are very different from what Lila liked at her age. It is fun to see what their individual taste leads them to enjoy reading and fun to celebrate their freedom to choose whatever books they want.

Just a few books Lucy would recommend you (or your favorite toddler) check out:

Ladybug Girl at the Beach – Ladybug Girl is above and beyond Lucy’s favorite book series. Ladybug Girl has a trusty sidekick, her dog Bingo, who bears a resemblance to a certain lovable beagle. Ladybug Girl’s real name is Lulu, which happens to be Lucy’s nickname at daycare. There are many books in the series, including a set of board books. Lucy’s current favorite is Ladybug Girl Says Good Night , in which Lula requests “8 more books please!” before bed. Lucy can barely make it through the line without giggling hysterically.

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise – Lucy has a thing for monkeys. I think that’s pretty common for toddlers. Her lovie is a monkey name RuRu, but she loves Curious George too. She likes to point out the Man with the Yellow Hat and read about his crazy adventures – like when he invited all the dogs into the house to eat the frosting. 8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books

Baby Einstein Alphabooks – These books don’t have much plot. Ok, they have no plot. They are 26 books, one for each letter with 3 words and pictures for each letter. I have little patience for reading these books but A is really good about reading them to Lucy. They talk about recognizing the letter, the words, other things that start with that letter. I have no doubt that it really helps with learning to read and knowing the alphabet. (Lucy can sing her ABCs, in adorable toddler speak.) So I highly recommend these books for helping with pre-reading skills. Just be sure you have someone like A to do the alphabet training with your toddler.

Hands Are Not for Hitting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series) – So this is a weird one but Lucy LOVES it. We bought it after Lucy was born and while going through some big sister adjustment, Lila had a hitting phase. Lucy loves it, she loves to imitate what the kids in the book are doing (waving hello, brushing their teeth, etc) and one of her favorite people’s name appears in the book which makes her very happy. There is a whole series of these books (Teeth are Not for Biting, Tails are Not for Pulling) and we’ve never read the others, but I imagine they may be just as enjoyable.

Toddler books can be exhausting, but we’ve manage to find a good number of books that we can all enjoy. Have you had good luck with toddler books? Any tales of books to avoid so you don’t pull your hair out while reading it for the seventeenth time in a row?


8 More Books Please! Our Favorite Toddler Books


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Learning to Love to Read

Learning to Love to Read: Our Favorite Children's BooksSince Lila was born, we have read to her. Every night we read to her before bed. (We randomly set the limit at 3 stories. Lila is already petitioning that this increase to 4 stories when she turns 4.) It’s been great to share some of our childhood favorites with her, as well as discover new books through her eyes. It is not so great to discover those books that make you want to poke your eyes out instead of reading it one more time but that your child inexplicably loves.

We soon discovered that we could not keep buying new books for the girls. Not only was it not financially sound, we were running out of room. I thought Lila would get a kick out of having her own library card, so last summer we became regular customers of our local library. It has been fantastic. The variety and constant stream of books coming into our home is exciting for the girls. I love that I can request books online and have them be held for me. I review the monthly newsletters from our local children’s book store and Amazon.com to find new books or authors for us to try.Learning to Love to Read: Our Favorite Children's Books

Even though we’ve probably read borrowed over 200 books, there are definitely some favorites that Lila likes to read over and over again, requesting them from the library multiple times. Since I’m always on the look out for new children’s book recommendations, I thought I’d share them here in case others are looking for ideas.

Belinda in Paris – This is one in the series of Belinda books by Amy Young. Belinda is a ballet dancer with very large feet and very large talent. A budding ballerina herself, Lila loves to read about Belinda’s adventures. Her favorite has been Belinda in Paris, perhaps for its worldly feel or just very silly story.

Madeline – In an old house in Paris. . . Lila is a bit of a Francophile, as you may be able to tell by the first two books on the list. Madeline caught her attention with its familiar rhymes and the little girl’s infectious spirit. The older books can be a little wacky – ever read Madeline and the Gypsies where she and the Ambassador’s son are kidnapped by a gypsy circus and to prevent the children from being discovered, the old gypsy lady sews them into a dead lion’s pelt? But Lila has returned to the series many times, now owning many of her favorite titles.

How Rocket Learned to Read – this book is an adorable tale of a little dog who meets a bird who teaches him to read. It is a a good “first reader” book without being an annoying “This is cat. See cat. See cat sit.” It has lots of easy words and incorporates learning to spell and recognize easy words into the plot. That and Rocket is gosh darn adorable.

The Seven Silly Eaters – We own this book, having received it when Lila was born. It is a very silly tale of a large family of picky eaters. Lila likes the rhymes, all the kids, the ever increasing number of cats in the house and now enjoys that one of the siblings is named Lucy. It is one book that I don’t mind when Lila picks it up several nights in a row.

Tallulah’s Solo – Another great series about a little girl who loves ballet. Unlike Belinda who is a “real” ballerina, Tallulah is a little girl with big ballet dreams. Her family is very Seattle hipster – Tallulah and her little brother Beckett, dad wears a beret, mom is fashionably shabby – and Tallulah always learns an important lesson. I think Tallulah’s enthusiasm and resulting adventures are great for our little ballerina, without being preachy.

These are just a few of the amazing children’s books we’ve discovered since Lila’s love of reading developed. We’re lucky that Lila loves to read and that she is free to make the choice as to what books to read. Banned Books Week celebrates all books and the freedom to read them. Did you know Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax has been banned? And Charlotte’s Web? I look forward to sharing both these books, and more, with the girls as they continue to grow and discover more favorites.

What are some of your little ones’ (or your) favorite children’s books? Any ballet books we may have missed? I feel like we’ve exhausted that topic at our library!

Learning to Love to Read: Some of Our Favorite Children's Books

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Llama Llama Guilt Trip Mama

Lila loves reading books and has begun coming home from day care retelling the tales from the books they read that day.  To help feed her love of books, we got her a library card last weekend.  She is pretty excited to be able to ask about a book and that we can find it at the library to read.  Earlier this week she asked for Llama Llama Red Pajama, which we’ll pick up this weekend.  As it happened, they read another Llama book this week at school – Llama Llama Misses Mama.

When Lila starting telling me about the book, she said that Llama went to day care and was sad because Mama left and he didn’t want to play with anything. My working mama ears prickled about the story. I talked to her teacher and she said the kids loved it and could relate to it, the mama comes at the end of the day and it rhymed! (Apparently all the important elements of a good early pre-school book.) I kept asking Lila more about the book – did Llama ever feel better? Did his mom come back? Did she ever get sad like Llama does at school (yes) but she knows that mama will come to pick her up, though it can be hard to wait for mama.  Still feeling unsure about this book, I found a “reading” of it on youtube.

Clearly this book was created by someone who thought working moms do not have enough guilt already. The pictures of Llama clutching his baby llama as he looks out the door while his mom walks away, his unwillingness to play and then the eventual sobbing breakdown because he misses his mama so much, it was really too much for me.  Even then line “Mama, you came back!” at the end of the book broke my heart – did Llama (or Lila) really think that Mama wouldn’t come back? That he/she had been abandoned? By the end of the book, I was crying.  Giant llama guilt trip.

I like my job. I like working.I do not think I am cut out to stay home full time.  I miss my kids every single day. It never gets easier to say good bye to them. I worry I am missing too much of their childhood and I worry about how they feel. I can talk a good game about how much they are learning (a metric ton of stuff), how social they are (extremely), the strengthening of their immune systems (allegedly), but I still worry that I’m making the right choice. I keep waiting for the moment when I know that it’s the right choice for both me and the kids (and A, of course), but it doesn’t seem to come. So really, Llama Llama? You aren’t helping things. You shake me to the core to think about how sad my kids can be and it destroys me to hear Lila talk about how sad she is when she has to “wait for mommy.”  Let’s focus on something more upbeat next time – perhaps Llama Llama Respects Mama and the Difficult Life Choice She Makes. Or you know, Llama Llama Loves Cupcakes.

Story time Rocks

There are so many things to do with kids in Seattle. (Many of them happen during the week so we working moms can’t make it to many, but that is another post.)  One of our new favorite activities is story time at Mockingbird Books in Greenlake.  They read stories, sometimes there is music plus other kids to interact with.  LC has a great time.  We’ve been to two story times with Musikal Magik’s Ms. Katy and those are LC’s favorite.


“ZOMG!  Music and stories!!  Best story time ever!”


  “So what I think you are saying is that you will sing and I will shake this maraca?  Dad, are you following this?”


“Peek a boo!”


“Hi, I’m LC.  Do you want to share jingle bells?”


“Story time rocks!!”

Books of a Lifetime

We recently discovered an adorable children’s book store not too far from our house and we’ve been having a lot of fun bringing LC there.  I have yet to visit without buying something, the last time I bought several books for under the Christmas tree.  Looking through the book shelves, I am reminded of some of the great books I enjoyed as a child.  (A claims he was not read to as a child.  I’m sure this isn’t true, but this is why he does not have any favorite children’s books listed here.)

Panda Cake is one of my all time favorites.  I knew the poem by heart when I was little and remember taking it out of the library over and over again.  (I can still remember on which shelf in the library it could be found.) It is out of print, but my Dad found a copy for me a few years ago and now I can share it with LC.

Make Way For Ducklings is a no brainer.  Every good New England child knows and loves this book. Our trip back East for the holidays will take us through Boston and I will have to take LC to visit the Mallard family statue for sure.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is still a little old for LC, but is one I look forward to her reading.  I remember reciting the title to the book and enjoying how silly it was.  The fact that Alexander’s day wasn’t so terrible was probably lost on me when I was little, but I hope LC enjoys it and sees its many layers :)

The Monster at the End of this Book was my little brother Scott’s favorite book when he was younger.  (He’s 24 now and probably not that into Grover anymore.)  We actually have this book on the iPad and LC loves it.  For such a young baby, it really holds her attention.  I look forward to her understanding the book better and giggling along with Grover’s hysterics as Scott used to do.

Moo Baa La La La is a book we discovered only with the birth of LC.  Friends of ours sent us this and another Sandra Boynton book.  With all the board books out there for children LC’s age, Sandra’s books have become our favorites.  Moo Baa La La La is a big hit with LC and is easy enough that we quickly memorized it.  So now when LC is throwing a fit in the car on the way home at night, we can recite the book’s silly words to her and (usually) she calms down.

Those are just a few of my favorite books that we’ve shared, or look forward to, sharing with LC.  What are some of your favorite children’s books?  With many more trips to the book store in our future, we could always use suggestions.

ETA:  I’ve been informed that A enjoyed A Child’s Garden of Verses and Peter Pan when he was younger, two works I am sure LC will enjoy too.

Perhaps I am still 14

I enjoy reading, but somewhere along the way I decided that reading so that I don’t have to think very hard is a much more enjoyable way of doing things.  Young adult fiction seems just the thing for this type of reading.  You may be familiar with my Twilight phase.  But perhaps not my more recent Hunger Games phase.  Oh yes, I know all about the Fire Starter and the Arena and the odds ever being in your favor.  Which is why I may have been caught watching this at work today.

I may not be 14 anymore but that doesn’t mean I can’t read (and watch movies) like I still am.