We love the public library, so much so that last week, when we went on a rainy afternoon to get some new books to read, we owed $22.50 for all of the books we had taken out the last time (and forgotten to return until they were a week overdue). Now, with overdue fines for books being only $.10/book/day...you can do the math.
After spending a fun-filled hour explaining to my daughter why she was no longer allowed to play in the "farm" playpen (which is for kids under three), chasing her through the enchanted castle, and frantically searching for her in the stacks, we finally packed a reusable grocery bag full of books and went on our merry way. It wasn't until later that week that I realized my mistakes:
Musical Beds by Mara Bergman
I thought this was such a great story--Dad puts each of his three kids to bed, reassures them when they can't fall asleep, but then...one by one, the kids sneak out of their own rooms and into Mom & Dad's bed. For an impressionable three-year-old who is always looking for new and creative ways to delay the going-to-bed routine, this book was a goldmine.
Oliver at the Window by Elizabeth Shreeve
Unless you are divorced (or never married), this is sort of a sad book. I already feel like things are "you go--I go" in our house, and that time spent as a family is precious and difficult to come by. Reading a story about a poor kid who is never quite sure whether he's going to Mommy's or Daddy's house after school wasn't exactly...promising.
Peter and the Talking Shoes by Kate Banks
We really enjoyed some of Kate Banks' other books: Max's Words, Max's Dragon, Close Your Eyes, Alphabet Soup, to name a few. But this one was just plain weird. A boy who gets a pair of hand-me-down shoes that talk to him in strange riddles? Maybe it's out of print for a reason...
On the other hand, we did find a couple of really great books:
The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson
Some of you may be familiar wtih Anderson's YA titles, Speak and Twisted. I had no idea she also had written children's books. A fun story about a girl with crazy, wild, unruly, beautiful, and untameable spirit...I mean hair. Obviously, metaphors abound for the adults...fun illustrations and ideas for kids.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
Mo Willems is probably most famous for the "pigeon" books...but when we first found Knuffle Bunny it was an instant hit with our daughter. She even has her own "knuffle bunny" that she pretends is just like the one in the book. And for those interested in a road trip, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical is playing at the Kennedy Center May 8-23, 2010. We're thinking of heading down...anyone care to join us?
Nobody Notices Minerva by Wednesday Kirwan
A great book about a little dog (obviously, girl) who attempts to deal with being ignored by her family by causing all sorts of mischief around the house. She quickly learns that channeling that mischief into helpfulness gets her noticed for all the right reasons...which makes everyone (obviously, her parents) happy.