Monday, April 20, 2009

Pumpkinpie's Picks

I haven't mentioned for a while now what my Pumpkinpie has been enjoying, which I think is a good window into what she and I like, so I think it's about time I pull back the curtain on bedtime at our house once again, especially since I've been buying new books like a mad thing lately. (That's what happens when you have time to browse bookstores while on mat leave...) She's also taken very strongly to some good stuff, surprising even me a little, given that this child has had some dubious favourites in the past. New on the playlist are:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett, ill. Ron Barrett

This old classic was a surprise hit with Pumpkinpie! I thought it might hit her funny bone, but it is a slightly more sophisticated humour than I quite expected from a girl who still loves a good fart joke more than anything. Okay, so her favourite part is the man with a noodle stuck over his head, but still, I'm delighted to have her enjoying this amusing tall-tale of weather gone weird. Being more sophisticated also means that this would work for a child a year or two older till, too. (I'm not sure the forthcoming movie will work, though, depending on how muich they focus on the danger of the storms getting out of control. Will have to preview that one.)

Watch Me Throw The Ball! and I Will Surprise My Friend! (Elephant & Piggie books), by Mo Willems

The Elephant & Piggie series by kidlit superstar Mo Willems is fantastic, and so far all of them have been hits with her. These are the latest two we have been reading, and they crack both of us up every time. The serious and slightly stressed Gerald is balanced nicely by his light-hearted friend, Piggie, and Willems' signature cartoon style makes them quick and easy reads for parent and for emerging readers. We have on occasion taken turns reading parts, which works well with the colour-coded speech bubbles, the two characters, and the simple, short phrases. Yes, I'm fooling my child into reading to me, at least a little. What's not to love?

Pirate Pete's Talk Like a Pirate, by Kim Kennedy, ill. Doug Kennedy

Pirate Pete is looking for some rascals to crew his ship, and when he interviews a few, he finds that while they may be dirty and ready to steal and plunder, might swab the deck and fire a cannon like a pro, it is still hard to find a mate who can talk like a pirate, his prime criterion. After sending all the prospective pirates over the plank, he discovers that he had the prfect crew member on board the whole time - his parrot, who apparently has picked up his speech habits. This one is really funny, but be prepared to have a sore throat from growling in pirate speak night after night after night. (Yes, it was in heavy rotation.)

The Cow That Laid An Egg, by Andy Cutbill, ill. Russell Ayto

Marjorie the cow did not feel special, living with cows that seemed to do circus tricks, so her friends the chickens take matters into their own hands. Things get a little out of control, and it looks like the game is about to be up, when a surprise twist melts Marjorie's heart and makes the silly story sweet. The story and resolution remind me of Dr. Seuss's Horton Hatches An Egg, rendered in a simpler barnyard tale and illustrated in a style that brings to mind Lauren Child, of Charlie and Lola fame. Overall, a fun read with a cute ending that manages not to leave a sappy aftertaste.

Originally posted on Better Than a Playdate.

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