Read Aloud Roundup (Sep 2017)

When it comes to books the children brought to me to read and re-read and re-read again, board books won the day this month.

Welcome by Mo Willems

Tirzah Mae and Louis read "Welcome" together

This was the hands-down winner of the “most-frequently-read” award. It’s a user’s manual of sort for new babies, telling them everything they need to know, from
This is YOU.”


Papa reads "Welcome" by Mo Willems

“You are loved
right here,
right now…
while we read this book together.”

It has droll moments (“Many activities are available for you to enjoy, including, but not limited to: sleeping and waking, eating and burping, pooping and more pooping.”) and serious moments (“We regret to inform you not everything is as it should be. There is unkindness and fighting and wastefulness and soggy toast. You will not be exempt from any of these things.”) And all of it is illustrated with icons that look rather like buttons or badges or maybe traffic signs.

Louis looks in the mirror at the back of "Welcome"

The children loved the mirrors at the front and back, as well as the repeated refrain (“while we read this book together”) that occurs at the end of almost every page. I loved the humor (“Your log-in code” reads one page. “Do not worry. You do not need to know any log-in codes, yet. Lucky you.”) and the opportunity to delight in my children “while we read this book together.”

All the Ways I Love You written by Susan Larkin, illustrated by Jacqueline East

Mama reads "All the Ways I Love You"
A sweet little enumeration of… all the ways mother animals (and humans) love their children. “I love you with warm-hearted giggles and happy wiggles…playtime laughing and bathtime splashing.” Louis especially enjoyed snuggling with his mama while listening to this lyrical book and pointing out all the different animals found within (a doe and a fawn, a mama bird with her chicks, a squirrel with her kittens, and many more.) Louis generally listens to most books while doing something else (climbing, usually) – but this one consistently keeps his attention and keeps him in my lap from cover to cover.

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

Tirzah Mae and Louis read "Tap the Magic Tree"

Do your kids love Herve Tullet’s Press Here or Let’s Play? Then, chances are, they’ll enjoy this “magic” board book. The text gives instructions a la Tullet (press here, shake gently, etc.) – but the illustrations show a tree growing leaves in the spring, budding, hosting a nest, bearing apples, and dropping its leaves before the winter snowfall comes. This ended up dovetailing nicely with our not-entirely-intentional apple unit in our “Prairie Elms Preschool”. Not only did I read this aloud dozens of times, I often caught Tirzah Mae “playing” it by herself.

Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington

"Apple Farmer Annie" by Monica Wellington

My plan for Tirzah Mae’s “preschool” was that we would read through the Read Aloud Revival booklist for the month during our daily read-aloud time. But then we got the books for September’s list out of the library – and read them all within the first few days of doing “school”. So we ended up branching out quite a bit from the apple theme the RAR booklist prescribed.

Apple Farmer Annie got read at least every week, if not more frequently, until we had to return it to the library (with much weeping on Tirzah Mae’s part.) Tirzah Mae loved reading all about the things Apple Farmer Annie did to prepare for market day in New York City. Louis loved pointing out all the pictures of apples. Both listened intently while I read out loud – and then fought over who could have possession of the book for private perusal afterward.

Where is Catkin? by Janet Lord, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

"Where is Catkin?" by Janet Lord and Julie Paschkis
We ended up with this lovely book quite by accident, but ended up loving it. Catkin (the cat, imagine that!) hunts for a variety of animals, all of whom evade his pounce, until Catkin finds himself up a tree. After each unsuccessful attempt at hunting, the reader is asked to hunt down the chased animal, who is now in hiding. The story ends with Catkin as the lost one – but his human friend Amy searches him out and finds him.

Tirzah Mae enjoyed searching for the various animals within the colorful illustrations. I enjoyed the illustrations (which remind me a bit of Americana folk hooked rugs or wall hangings) in and of themselves. Both of us spent plenty of time reading and re-reading this little story.

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Roundup at Hope is the Word.

Read-Aloud Roundup (March 2017)

We’ve been reading a fair number of board books this month, with a few regular picture books thrown in for good measure. Tirzah Mae and Louis have been enjoying the board books equally, while I’ve been keeping the regular picture books away from Louis because of his fondness for ripping and chewing :-)

I checked out Anita Silvey’s 100 Best Books for Children and we’re reading through her list. The first section was five board books, most of which we enjoyed and which I wrote about here.

Otherwise, we’ve read…

Babies on the Go written by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Jane Dyer

A gentle little tale of how different animal babies get around (via mama-power, of course!) We enjoyed the pictures of all the baby animals with their mamas, and the quietly rhyming text. Our favorites are the sloth “swinging in a belly sling” and the kangaroo “tucked inside a private sack” – since that’s the way Garcia babies get around too. I enjoy reading this aloud to Louis. Tirzah Mae loves listening along. And Louis loves eating it. Naturally.

Louis eats "Babies on the Go"

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Tirzah Mae must have decided she likes this classic tale, because she brought it to me and to grandma (who has been staying with us this last weekend while papa was gone with grandpa) to have us read it to her over and over and over again.

Tirzah Mae reads "Freight Train"

Baa, Baa Black Sheep
Old King Cole
and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star written and illustrated by Iza Trapani

After our good success with Penny Dann’s Row, Row, Row Your Boat at the end of last year, I knew I was interested in some more books I could sing to Tirzah Mae. Somehow, I fortuitously happened upon the sheet in my reading log that recorded Iza Trapani’s picture books and decided to check a few out again. We enjoyed these singable variations on the songs, with multiple verses telling a story. For instance, in Old King Cole, King Cole wears himself out preparing for a fancy ball – and falls asleep for the ball itself. Everyone tries to wake him, with no success until Queen Cole brings out a good-smelling tart. That wakes him up right away, to everyone’s delight.

"Caps for Sale"

I intended to write more about the half dozen other board books we’ve been reading and re-reading (Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy is in the rotation again!) and the several dozen children’s picture books Tirzah Mae’s been cycling through (We’re currently loving Herve Tullet’s Press Here and Let’s Play), but it’s already the afternoon and I’ve got several things to do before our foster care class this evening – so you’ll get what I’ve already written – which happens to be the books we’ve loved that I’ve had to return to the library in the past month. Some of the books we’ve read but that I haven’t written about yet are included in the pics above :-)

Some recent favorites

We’re linking up with Amy’s Read Aloud Roundup to see what other parents (and kids) are reading aloud this month!

Read Aloud Thursday (October 2015)

While we’ve started reading some paper-page picture books together, this month we happened to like a selection of board books best.

For reading together, that is.

If Tirzah Mae’s reading to herself, she prefers to turn paper pages – just like the pages she sees her mama reading as mama reads to herself :-)

Little Green by Keith Baker

Little Green by Keith Baker

A fortuitous find in the library’s board book baskets, Keith Baker’s Little Green has a little boy painting as a little green hummingbird flits this way and that outside his window. There are lots of motion words and lots of words describing the little bird’s path: zigging, zagging, coming, going, stopping, starting, going in curliques. The colorful illustrations are fun to peruse, and the faint white path of the little bird is fun to follow with one’s finger. Tirzah Mae and I enjoyed all the “-ing” words piled on top of one another, the illustrations that lend themselves well to action, and the bright colors which lighten the already-starting-to-get-dark-too-early days.

Freight Train by Donald Crews

Freight Train by Donald Crews

This little board book was recommended by the authors of Baby Read-Aloud Basics for Tirzah Mae’s “babbler” stage – and we are sure glad it was.

The freight train is rainbow-colored, starting (at the end, which was weird) with a red caboose and working its way to a purple boxcar right before the black tender and steam engine. We learn the names of a variety of different train cars – and then the train starts moving. We see the rainbow colors blur into one another as the train goes past cities and over trestles and…

This is a very simple book, but elegant – and fully deserving of the Caldecott Honor it received in 1979.

Boats Go by Steve Light

Boats Go by Steve Light

This atypically-sized board book was probably Tirzah Mae’s and my favorite book this month. Each two-page spread contains a boat – and how it goes (that is, what sound it makes). It starts with the fireboat “Whee whee. Whee-whee. Whee-whee.” and ends with a gondola, which sings “O sole mio” :-) The author does a terrific job of writing the onomatapoeia so that a mother (who doesn’t feel particularly confident about replicating the sounds cold) can read them with a reasonable facsimile of the real deal. The illustrations are varied and beautiful, with lots of bright colors (I really enjoyed how the water was represented differently in almost all of the pictures, which I believe were painted with watercolor.)

Of course, moms who don’t want to simply make boat noises have plenty to talk about here. There are tugboats and cruise ships and submarines (a yellow one, which always causes this mama to burst out into unscripted song) to talk about, and even more.

I highly recommend this particular book.

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.

Read Aloud Thursday (September 2015)

Tirzah Mae and I continue to read board books – I’ve gotten another dozen or so by Sandra Boynton out of the library (since we’ve enjoyed several of hers in the past) and I picked up a couple of new-to-me authors from the library on my last visit as well. But we’ve also branched out, rather accidentally (on my part), into regular picture books.

I’ve generally been inclined to think that regular picture books are outside of our abilities, mostly because Tirzah Mae is majorly into oral exploration and because it’s hard enough to keep her from ripping board books. But when Alice gave some recommendations on our last Read Aloud Thursday post, I dutifully requested them from my library, not realizing until I picked them up that they’re normal picture books!

I tried (unsuccessfully) to read one to Tirzah Mae as we both laid on the floor. And then we went on vacation, taking the board books and leaving the picture books. But when we got back and I was casting about for things to do at the kitchen table while Tirzah Mae kept on eating second breakfast (I’m thinking she must be going through a growth spurt – she can steadily eat for an hour, consuming maybe two cups of food over that period.) Anyway, I was looking for things to do when I noticed Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee on the bookshelf. I got it out and read it and… what do you know? It worked wonderfully.

This Month’s Favorite Regular Picture Book:
Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee


A cat asks a horse for a ride, which the horse gladly gives – then a dog asks for a ride. Before long, there are four different animals on horse’s back, begging Mr. Horse to go faster and faster. When Mr. Horse finally stops, the animals fly off into a haystack. Mr. Horse is a little worried, but the four voices crying out “Again!” reassure him. It’s a delightful tale with wonderful rhythm. We’ve read it now three or four times, laughing and thoroughly enjoying it each time.

This Month’s Favorite Board Book:
Fuzzy, fuzzy, fuzzy by Sandra Boynton

Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Fuzzy!

A touch-and-feel book with simple language, this one captivated Tirzah Mae and she won’t let it go. There’s a “fuzzy, fuzzy, fuzzy” cow’s nose, a “rough, rough, rough” dog’s paw, and an “incredibly soft” duck’s belly. Tirzah Mae delighted in touching the different textures. But what she liked most of all were the lift-the-flap eggs at the end. The book asks “Do you want to start over with the fuzzy fuzzy guy?” Depending on which flap you lift, the little chicks inside answer either “Yes” or “No”. Tirzah Mae thinks these are hilarious. So much so, that all we need to do to send her into paroxysms of laughter is to say “Yes” and then “No” in the voices we generally do when we’re reading. So, so funny. She likes this so much we’re buying it for her (I think I’m going to call it a birthday gift.)

Tirzah Mae lifts the flaps

This Month’s Favorite New Author:
Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni’s What?, Where?, and When? feature torn-paper mice illustrations demonstrating different words. In Where?, the copy asks “Can you guess where the mice are?” before showing them “Up high” in a tree, “Popping out” of a shoe, etc. When? asks “When does it snow?”, leaving reader or listener to respond “in the winter”. What? asks readers to guess what the things on the pages are. Readers once again have to supply the noun, while the text of the book supplies little comments like “Do you see what I see?” as the mice peek out from behind a giant set of eyeglasses. Even if I weren’t planning on reading every book in my library, I’d still be picking up whatever else I can by the author on my next library trip.

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.

Read Aloud Thursday (August 2015)

One of the major difficulties of writing up what we’re reading aloud is that we read A LOT. And since mama is picking the books at this point (without Tirzah Mae showing much preference), we read a new book (almost) every time. Which means there are a lot of books to talk about.

Since we’ve been reading a number of series books or books by the same author, I’m going to try to group them a bit (we’ll see how that works!)

BabyLit! Books

Little Master Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Jennifer Adams

Little Master Baum: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Daniel heard about the BabyLit! books when Tirzah Mae was a newborn, and requested the Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility ones from the library. The gist of these is that they introduce characters or plot points from classic books. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a “colors primer”. One layout is Dorothy’s blue dress and the blue munchkins. Another is the yellow brick road with a variety of yellow signs. Some of the colors seemed a bit contrived: pink had Glinda’s castle and rubies and socks while the scarecrow was “tan”. But it may be that the reason I didn’t like Oz as much as I enjoyed the Austen adaptations is simply that, well, I don’t like Oz anywhere near as much as I like Austen. The series is a solid one, and I’ll be looking for more of these – but I wouldn’t be buying the Oz one.

Mini Myths

These are very loose adaptations of ancient myths, set in modern day preschoolers’ worlds. (Why does everything for children have to be about themselves?)

Brush Your Hair, Medusa and
Make a Wish, Midas! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli

Mini Myths: Medusa and Midas

Medusa has crazy curly hair, but she’d rather do somersaults than brush it. Grandma arrives before the hair is brushed, and summarily takes Medusa for a haircut. The only similarity with the myth is how Medusa’s hair looks.

Midas’ favorite color is yellow. He only wears yellow clothes, only eats yellow foods, and he wishes that EVERYTHING was yellow. But when he tries painting his pet dinosaur yellow, he gets his wish, but discovers that a yellow Dinoboo just isn’t the same. This one is closer to the myth, but I had a hard time figuring out why exactly painting Dinoboo yellow made Midas cry. It’s not as if his daughter had turned to gold.

Be Patient, Pandora! and
Play Nice, Hercules! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli

Mini Myths: Pandora and Hercules

Pandora has been instructed not to open the wrapped box – but curiosity gets the better of her and she touches it, sits on it, stands on it, bounces on it. The bouncing is the last straw and the box bursts open, sending cupcakes all over everywhere. All the cupcakes save one are ruined. I thought this myth was actually quite well done.

Hercules is a strong little boy who likes to beat up bad guys (signified by toys) and to break down castles. Unfortunately, the castle he broke down is his little sister’s and she’s none too happy. Hercules has to make up for his error by rebuilding her a castle (which she summarily knocks down herself.) The myth is present in this one to some degree, but even if it wasn’t, this story and its accompanying illustrations are a cute description of family life, I think.

Books by Boynton

I am, in general, a fan of Boynton – but I actually managed to find a book or two I wasn’t so fond of in this go round.

Little Pookie
and What’s Wrong, Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton

"Little Pookie" and "What's Wrong, Little Pookie"

Boynton introduces us to Little Pookie the pig as Pookie’s mother shares ten (oh wait, make it eleven!) things she knows about her Little Pookie. A sweet little story that I imagine moms and little ones can identify with quite a bit (especially item 11: “You like reading books. And oh! I do, too!”) In What’s Wrong, Little Pookie?, Pookie’s mother tries to guess what’s wrong, giving more and more outlandish guesses each time – until Pookie has rather forgotten what got him so upset. These are precious little tales.

Dinosaur’s Binkit by Sandra Boynton

Dinosaur's Binkit

This one’s a lift-the-flap, touch-and-feel type book – and Tirzah Mae loved it. The narrator tells Dinosaur that it’s time to get ready for bed, so he begins the process, but does so very sadly (escalating to a full-fledged meltdown) because he couldn’t find his “binkit”. Dinosaur’s boy finds him crying in the closet and offers him a handkerchief – that happens to be the lost fuzzy Binkit. It’s a relatable story for many, I’d imagine (although, while Tirzah Mae definitely goes to sleep better with her “lovey”, she dosn’t meltdown if she’s missing it.) What made it fun for us was that this was the first time Tirzah Mae really got into the touch-and-feely part,

The Bunny Rabbit Show
Opposites and
Fifteen Animals! by Sandra Boynton

"The Bunny Rabbit Show" and "Opposites"Fifteen Animals

In The Bunny Rabbit Show, a chorus line of bunny rabbits sing and dance across the pages. I sang freestyle, with no tune in particular, but moms who are more particular can look up a recording of the bunny rabbits’ song. Maybe I’d enjoy the official version more – the book didn’t really do it for me.

The little protagonist in Fifteen Animals (which is also a song) has fifteen animals, all of which have their own special name: Bob. (Okay, they aren’t ALL named Bob. There’s a surprise at the end – don’t tell your child!) This is a silly, totally relatable little story.

Opposites is a pretty typical opposites book – with pairings of opposite words set amidst illustrations. It did have a few novel opposites that were well illustrated: “hello” and “goodbye” were fun.

Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton

Happy HIppo, Angry Duck

A Bear? asks “Hello, Little Person! How are you today?” and then goes through a list of possible moods, each of which are paired with an animal (Happy as a Hippo, Angry as a Duck.) This wasn’t my favorite of Boynton’s books, probably because there isn’t anything inherently angry about a duck and the cartoon-style illustrations didn’t strike me as crystal clear about what each mood “looks like”.

The Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton

The Belly Button Book

I think some people would find this book of bathing hippos showing off their belly buttons hilarious. I’m not really a fan of belly-button-baring-bathing suits, though, so I was less impressed.

Other Books by Familiar Authors

Black & White by Tana Hoban

Black & White

These are the same black and white outlines that can be found in Black on White and White on Black, except that they’re in an accordian fold that folds and snaps into the dimensions of a normal board book. I wasn’t a huge fan of them as separate books and I’m not too fond of them in this form either.

Hide and Seek Harry at the Playground by Kenny Harrison

Hide and Seek Harry at the Playground

The last of Harrison’s Hide and Seek Harry books (that my library owns). We continue to enjoy this simple series where Harry the Hippo hides out (not so secretly) in a variety of settings.

Mommy Hugs by Karen Katz

Mommy Kisses

Katz has been a mixed bag for me – but I think this one goes on the “like it” list. The mama in the book counts up ten different types of “Mommy hugs”, from one “nuzzle-wuzzle wake-up hug” to ten “I love you,”(x10) “goodnight hugs”. I don’t know that Tirzah Mae looked at the illustrations much, but she sure enjoyed the hugs :-)

New Authors This Month

Chicks by Laura Ellen Anderson


A sweet little book with multicolored chicks going about their days – from hatching in the morning to snuggling together at night. Tirzah Mae enjoyed looking at the pictures. I enjoyed the one sleepy little chick who came out with her nightcap on – and kept it on all throughout the day, catching naps whenever she could (I wonder why I enjoy that so much – perhaps because I am *definitely* a fan of sleep and my daughter is definitely NOT?)

Summer by Chris L. Demarest


Simple two to three word sentences describing things you’ll see at the beach in the summer. The pages are cut into odd shapes to allow continuity from one page to another (because the skyline, for example, is from the previous page). Overall, though, this book was an “eh” from both Tirzah Mae and me.

A Circle Here, A Square There by David Diehl

A Circle Here, A Square There

A simple book in which shapes are found in a variety of everyday objects – a triangular piece of pizza, an oval egg, a diamond-shaped kite. The text is simply the name of the shape – but the simplicity of this one is charming. I think we’ll be taking a look at this again as Tirzah Mae gets a little older.

Baby Animals Spots and Stripes by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Baby Animal Spots and Stripes

This black and white wordless book is just delightful. The detail of the animal drawings remind me of plates from an old nature guidebook. There’s a spotted rabbit, a raccoon with a striped face and tail, a spotted box turtle, a striped king snake, etc. Tirzah Mae liked looking at these pictures as I showed her the stripes and the spots – she also liked the surprise color illustration on the last two-page spread!

Who Says That, Cat the Cat? by Mo Willems

Who says that, Cat the Cat?

A simple animal sound book in which Cat the cat goes around asking different animals “What’s your sound?” “Hound” the hound and “Cow” the cow and all the other animals answer with their respective sounds – until they get to Bunny the bunny, who answers with a worried look and a little scribble in her speech bubble. Cat the cat answers with “Sounds like somebody needs a hug!” and all the other animals hug the nervous bunny. Cute.

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.

Read Aloud Thursday (July 2015)

For the most part, Tirzah Mae and I have been reading board books by the same authors as we read last month – because, of course, her mother intends to read every book at our local library and working systematically from where we started seems the best route to take :-)

Clare Beaton’s Farmyard Rhymes
and Clare Beaton’s Garden Rhymes

Clare Beaton's Farmyard RhymesClare Beaton's Garden Rhymes

These are just like Clare Beaton’s Nursery Rhymes (which we read last month.) They have the same type of lovely embroidered and appliqued artwork accompanying familiar and unfamiliar rhymes. I would love to own copies of Clare Beaton’s books – Tirzah Mae likes the rhymes and I love the artwork.

Hide and Seek Harry Around the House by Kenny Harrison

Hide and Seek Harry around the House

I believe this is the first of the Hide and Seek Harry books – we read Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach last month. Just like last month, we found plenty of things to point out as Harry the Hippo “hid” in each of the rooms of a house.

Baby Bright

Baby Bright

I found Baby Shine asinine last month, but I wouldn’t skip reading a book my library owns for such a small beef – so I requested Baby Bright to finish out the series. Baby Bright is green and yellow (Baby Shine had blue instead of yellow), black and white, but with gold leaf instead of Shine’s silver leaf. Tirzah Mae enjoyed the shimmering (again), and her mother found this title slightly less annoying – since at least every two page spread has a theme of sorts (mouse/cheese and owl/moon). Still. Ugh.

Planting Seeds by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace

Planting Seeds

A simple counting book in which a family of brown bunnies take a garden from digging to eating. The illustrations are in cut paper and there are generally at least two different objects to count the appropriate number of (six bunnies, but also six visors and six dragonflies). I can see this one being quite a bit of fun once Tirzah Mae is ready to start learning to count – and once she understands what we’re doing when we’re gardening. For now? She isn’t tremendously impressed.

Princess Baby, Night-Night by Karen Katz

Princess Baby, Night-Night

This book takes the prize for most annoying book read this month. A parent asks “Princess Baby” if she’s completed each step of her bedtime routine (always starting with “Princess Baby, did you…” The little girl replies that she has and the illustrations show her doing each step with her stuffed animals and dolls. Finally, the little girl falls asleep among her toys and her parents put her into her bed. Of course, she does all of this while wearing a glittery golden crown.

Where do I start? Can you think of any more annoying moniker than “Princess Baby”? I’m personally not a fan of calling little girls princesses. Yes, all little girls dream of being princesses, and it’s fine for parents to let them play that – but better that they know that isn’t who they actually are. Teach them that they’re valuable as who they are, right now. Anyway, I don’t like the “princess” thing. And that’s probably the bulk of why I don’t like this book. Yep. Just prejudice against princessing. You may think otherwise.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button?
and How Does Baby Feel? by Karen Katz

Where is BabyHow Does Baby Feel?

In Where is Baby’s Belly Button?, each double page spread asks where a certain body part of baby’s is – and then the reader lifts a flap to reveal that body part along with a few more words. So “Where is baby’s mouth?” has a fold down sippy cup with the words “Behind the cup!” on the opposite side of the flap. Tirzah Mae loved the repetition of this book, especially since she’s familiar with the cadence of mama’s voice playing peekaboo. I enjoyed reading it to her, but didn’t exactly enjoy trying to keep her from ripping the flimsy cardstock weight flaps.

How Does Baby Feel? describes a picture on one page (“Baby is yawning”) and asks “How does baby feel?” When the reader lifts a flap, she reveals that baby feels… “Sleepy.” I had the same complaints about flimsy cardstock with this one – and it had less cadence and familiarity, so Tirzah Mae didn’t enjoy it as much as Where is Baby’s Belly Button?

Up Close by Gay Wegerif

Up Close

A bigger than usual board book, this one has a format similar to that above except that instead of lifting flaps, one turns the page. The first two page spread states “Up Close, I see your [body feature]. You are a…” and the second declares what the animal is, accompanied by a zoomed out graphic of that animal. Problem is, the simple geometric shapes making up both the “up close” and the zoomed out images are so simplified as to be unrecognizable (most of the time.) This is an artsy book, but not one that’s particularly worthwhile for kids (in my opinion.) Tirzah Mae liked the shapes and colors though.

Black on White and
White on Black by Tana Hoban

White on Black/Black on White

Also in the artsy realm, these two wordless books contain black and white outlines of familiar and unfamiliar objects. A bib. A leaf. A bucket. A sailboat. A necklace. A bird. They’re visually interesting but don’t have a whole lot to talk about.

Baby’s First Words by Sassy

Sassy: Baby's First Words
We got this book thanks to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and enjoyed talking about all the things we saw inside. A farmyard complete with animals and tractors and barns and haystacks. A highway running along a canal with a train track nearby and planes flying above. A picnic with a variety of food items. This was a hit with both Tirzah Mae and her mother.

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.

Read Aloud Thursday (June 2015)

We’ve been reading to Tirzah Mae since she’s been born, but even now she still isn’t tremendously interested in paying attention while we’re reading.

Erm… she’s not tremendously interested in paying attention while *I* am reading.

Papa was quite capable of keeping her entertained by reading The Wind and the Willows to her, complete with distinct snuffly mole and rat voices, while I was making dinner one night. I can already hear our children’s voices down the line, “Why don’t you read it like Papa does?”, to which I will be forced to reply that I simply haven’t the skill Papa does.

Tirzah Mae and I read board books checked out of the library.

Baby Shine A Tiger Tales Book

Baby Shine

I thought this the biggest dud of all the books we checked out at the end of last month – pages contain a single word with a graphic or two, all in white, black, blue, green and metallic green. The words have little to do with one another, the book has no apparent theme except its color scheme.

But Tirzah Mae loved it. The metallic green caught her eye and fascinated her, especially when our distorted reflections showed up on its smooth surface. Go figure.

Opposites by Brian Wildsmith

Brian Wildsmith's Opposites

This was a smaller-than-usual board book with one or two pairs of “opposite” illustrations (and the corresponding “opposite” words) on each double page spread. Wildsmith is known for his nature illustrations, and these are delightful. In addition to the opposite words, there are plenty of things to point out – many different animals to name, certain animal behaviors to point out as normative (two young tigers wrestling) or as NOT (a pelican with a hippopotamus in his bill).

I will probably be checking this one out again when Tirzah Mae is older – I think she’ll enjoy it better when she can understand what we’re talking about. For now, the muted colors of the illustrations mean she frequently looks away while I’m reading.

Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach by Kenny Harrison

Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach

A plot. Oh how I enjoy a plot, however simple!

Harry is a hippo, playing hide and go seek with his human friends at the beach. Being quite large, he never quite manages to hide completely (just as many toddlers and preschoolers have a hard time hiding themselves completely) – so he’s easy to spot.

Toddlers will no doubt enjoy the gentle silliness of this tale; and moms can also point out the various beachside gear found within the pages. Tirzah Mae, of course, was not quite so amused as a slightly older child would be.

Clare Beaton’s Nursery Rhymes

Hide and Seek Harry at the Beach

Familiar and unfamiliar rhymes, one to a double paged spread, are accompanied by lovely appliqued and embroidered illustrations. I loved the illustrations (if I had the time and energy, as well as fewer projects already in my queue, I’d stitch up some similar pieces to ornament the nursery walls.) Tirzah Mae loved the cadence of the nursery rhymes (and that I played “This Little Piggy” on her toes when we got to that rhyme – one of her favorite games.)

Baby Loves to Boogie! by Wednesday Kirwan

Baby Loves to Boogie

This psychedelically colored book asks the question “Who likes to boogie?” before introducing a variety of animals who love to do a variety of dances (apes that orang-o-tango, moles who “dig it”). I enjoy dancing and think puns are fun, so I thought this was terrific. Tirzah Mae loves it when her mama rocks her about or dances with her, and enjoyed it when I drew out the “WHOOO likes to boogie” while squeezing her tight. Of course, we learn at the end that BABY likes to boogie.

For us, this book is just right. I find it enjoyable, Tirzah Mae finds it enjoyable, and it has just enough potential to keep it interesting as Tirzah Mae grows (learning about all the different animals, naming the different background colors on every page, learning about and maybe even doing each of the different dances – EELectric slide, anyone?)

Check out what other families are reading aloud at Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.