Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pumpkinpie's Picks

Pumpkinpie has found a few new faves this month, and discovered some old classics that speak to her, too. I love a blend of old and new, because while children's literature has certainly taken off and produced some wonderful new stuff, the really good stuff from long ago has endured for very good reason, too. Here are some current bestsellers in our story chair.

McDuff and the Baby and McDuff's Wild Romp, by Rosemary Wells, ill. Susan Jeffers

Pumpkinpie loves dogs, and recently has been pretty nice to other people's babies, so I brought home McDuff and the Baby, which seemed a good combination. I really love the retro feeling of the illustrations (and totally covet all of Lucy's shoes!), and the story is sweet and simple. She loved it, too, and asked for more McDuff stories. I'll bring home more as I find them, but this second book, about McDuff and a cat tagnling over a dropped meatball, is pretty funny.

How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?, by Jane Yolen, ill. Mark Teague

I'll post about this whole series at some point, but this month we are loving this early etiquette book for its silliness. It's backfiring somewhat, because now she's trying to figure out just how one would bubble one's milk, but we never get past sticking beans up the dinosaur's nose without a good shared giggle. Which I love. (And, to be honest, kind of encourage with huge exaggeration and a funny voice. Shh! Don't tell Emily Post!)

Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans

Pumpkinpie has suddenly discovered the appeal of Madeline, perhaps because she is so into peers right now and it seems pretty neat to live with twelve little girls, even if it does mean being in two straight lines. She is also oddly fascinated by books that involve the hospital (Curious George, Miffy, and so on). I don't think she's connected it with the lovely, velvety My First Madeline doll that's been hovering around in her room since birth, though, strangely enough. For my part, I am happy enough to share the familiar pleasure of simpler pictures and the nice metre of the rhyming (although I admit, slightly stunted rhymes in spots) tale.

Pancakes, Pancakes, by Eric Carle

So Jack waked up and informs his mother that he would like a big pancake for breakfast. And she replies that she is busy and he has to help, and sends him on errand after errand, coincidentally showing us where all the ingredients come from. Finally, he has it all assembled and helps cook it. Pumpkinpie loves pancakes, and now Pancakes, Pancakes, too. (Plus I love how the mom shows Jack just exactly what is involved in his "simple" request and makes him do it himself!)

Clara and the Bossy, by Ruth Ohi

I brought this home after enjoying The Couch Was a Castle, by the same author. Truth be told, I don't love it, though I thought the theme would be a good one, with Pumpkinpie negotiating some new terrain in terms of friendships these days and trying out her own bossy voice, too. I think it kind of misses out on the bossiness, and goes more into mean girl territory, while neer really mentioning how the kids involved are feeling. don't get me wrong - I hate a book with an earnest, heavy-handed Message. But I do think if you are going to talk about being bossy... you might want to talk about being bossy. Still, Pumpkinpie picks it time after time. Perhaps she's getting the scenarios that are presented, perhaps she just likes Clara's purple dress. Whatever, right? She's into it.

Angus and the Cat, by Majorie Flack

Before Pumpkinpie was born, a friend threw a book shower for me, and everyone brought their favourite books from childhood. One of my best friends brought the Angus books, lovely old gems illustrated in a bold and slightly hallucinogenic style. They are funny in a very dry fasion, employing Upper Case Letters to great effect. In this one, Angus is affronted by a new member of the household, but comes to find it welcome in the end. As predictable as it might be, it's a storyline kids seem to love over and over again. The other Angus tales are pretty amusing, too.

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes

Yes, I'm slowly feeding her the whole Henkes oeuvre as she grows into them. She's loved every one so far, though there are a few I think might be a little ways off, still. This book is especially near to my heart because I am obssessed with names, and this is all about a little girl who loves her name until she gets teased, and then learns to love it all over again. Sweet and sad and funny and just pitch-perfect in that familiar style that I love so very much. Sigh. Have I mentioned before that I heart Kevin Henkes. I think I may have...

Find these and other great story-chair reads at your local library!

Originally posted on MommyBlogsToronto/Better Than a Playdate.

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