Hello, World! Backyard Bugs

When was the last time you went on a bug quest?

A few days ago, while out in the yard with Sunny during B’s nap, I found a ladybug. A pretty little red ladybug. I haven’t even thought about looking for/capturing anything other than a lightning bug for years. I scurried inside while carrying the crawling critter on my hand. While keeping an eye on it (so it didn’t turn into a fugitive,) I rummaged through the cupboard and created B’s first bug jar.

ZAP! Oh, the childhood memories. I was so excited to show her when she woke up from her nap!

What did she think? *crickets* However, she thought the jar was really cool. She’s a little young (I guess) to fully feel the thrill of trapping a live bug. With the flick of B’s wrist, Mrs. Ladybug was free.

I wouldn’t have even thought of looking for bugs if it wasn’t for Hello, World! Backyard Bugs.bugs

This bright, beautiful, and engaging book was written & illustrated by a woman who’s favorite color is rainbow. Just look at the cover. Don’t you instantly believe her claim? Every color is used, and somehow, the colors make you want to go outside and explore.

In this board book, your little one will learn quick facts about bees, dragonflies, spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, ladybugs, ants, worms, and caterpillars that turn into butterflies! Your kiddo can practice wiggling like a worm (like they need practice,) tracing lines where dragonflies fly, and pointing out familiar objects they’ll find on each spread.

Did you know a cricket chirps by rubbing its wings together? Trust me– this book is just as much for you as it is for your little one. We can’t wait to get our hands on the others in the series!

Hello, World! Backyard Bugs
Jill McDonald
Doubleday

Llama Llama Easter Egg

Spring has sprung! Our tulip tree is sooo close to exploding with beautiful, purple buds. Somehow, our bleeding hearts survived an attack of Round-Up last year and are blooming. Daffodils, narcissus, and tulips are each full of happiness.

B loves the late Anna Dewdney’s llama books, especially Llama Llama Easter Egg. Hearing our sweetie try to say “llama llama” is priceless, baby book, iPhone video gold.
llama (2)Llama wakes up on Easter morning in his red pajamas, naturally, and your little one gets to join him on his day with chocolate, candies, an Easter egg hunt with lots of colored eggs in pastels– there are even some that look like they’ve been left in the dye for minutes. The rhyming text and spot-on llama facial expressions are a joy to experience, and at the end of the book, you & your kiddo will discover a nice little Easter-y surprise.

Llama Llama Easter Egg
Anna Dewdney
Viking/Penguin Young Readers Group

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Every week, the hunt is on for B’s favorite books, or her current “Book of the Week.” She has had a lot of them over her past (almost) 2 years, and sometimes, old favorites come back out to the living room floor. One of her faves (and mine) is a book that I remember so vividly from the library at my elementary school. 20+ years later, I could still probably tell you exactly where it was shelved.

“Mom! Itch itch boom boom!” Thankfully, she wasn’t talking about an itchy owie, but her book that has pizzazz.boomThis board book ended up being the perfect addition to B’s Easter basket last year, when she was only 9ish months old. She loved it then as much as she loves it now.

The rebellious letter a and his lowercase gang (the rest of the alphabet), get a kick out of climbing the coconut tree, and once they’re all up there, their immense weight tips the tree over! As quick as a page turn, they all go boom into a jumbled, colorful pile. Injured, they all need to be helped by their uppercase family members.

The way the illustrator (Lois Ehlert), created this lively, brightly colored world for the alphabet to rule is brilliant, and the rhythm the authors came up with (kind of a “sing-chant”) is sure to keep your kiddo’s attention over and over again.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Bill Martin, Jr., John Archambault/Illus. Lois Ehlert
Little Simon

Meet Sunny!

SunnyShe loves to “go” outside (phew!)

She loves to scamper to a small opening in our fence and stick her head through.

B was bummed that the kennel wasn’t for her.

She loves to play tug-of-war with her rope/ball thing. B loves getting her going!

She wakes up several times a night.

She likes tennis balls– and B likes to take them away from her.

Her ears dip into her water when she gets a drink.

I recently purchased a Swiffer Wet Jet.

She likes socks (the ones on our feet.)

She loves mud (it’s been raining and cloudy for what seems like weeks!)

My new Wet Jet gets delivered today.

She’s afraid of getting a bath, the car, and, of course, she sleeps a lot— which B doesn’t care for. Normally, we’ll find her over by the kennel watching her pup sleep with adoring eyes.

Where’s Spot?

8 years ago, this cool guy was born.
brodieBrodie is his own dog, doesn’t care much for kids, and lives on the farm with my parents. He’s a Border Collie/German Shepherd mix– super smart, sweet, protective & a smidge nuts. When my husband proposed at the farm, we hugged and cried happy tears… and Brodie started jumping at Kyle’s back, punch-pawing him with all of his might. That scamp. Over time, he softened towards my husband when he realized

  1. He wasn’t going away and
  2. He wasn’t going to deal with his antics.

Unlike Brod, who I chose on a whim back in college when one of my pals said, “Free puppies,” my husband & I carefully decided to get an adorable, too cute, Brittany PUPPY! We can’t wait until Saturday, B’s going to freak out.

Anyone have any tips on toddlers meeting puppies? Please feel free to leave a comment below! We’ve been talking about puppies, singing about puppies, playing with my old Puppy Surprise stuffed dog & three pups, and of course, reading books starring this lovable, familiar little puppy. spotOh, the Spot books! I can’t believe it’s taken me so much of B’s life to introduce her to Spot. *slaps forehead*

Where’s Spot? reminds me of childhood library moments and Dear Zoo with its bright white pages. With stand-out illustrations, lift-able flaps and your tot’s eager page turns, they get to help Spot’s mom Sally search everywhere for that goofball Spot.

All over Sally & Spot’s house and hidden behind flaps, Sally finds sneaky wild animals! Among her discoveries, she finds a bear behind a door, a snake inside a clock, and shockingly, a hippo in a piano. As your kiddo grows, they’ll see the silliness of a giant turtle under a rug or penguins hiding in a box and grow to love this book as much as you likely once loved it.

Where’s Spot?
Eric Hill
Penguin Group

Tap the Magic Tree

I’ve learned that toddlers love, love, love to help.

When it’s time to unload the dishwasher…

“I need a big helper!”

In runs excited B, shouting, “Hel! Hel!” (precisely my thought when it’s time to unload the dishwasher) and the task is complete in no time.

So, it comes as no surprise that when I say, “Tap the tree,” or “Shake the tree,” she immediately complies. She love, love, loves to help the magic tree grow flowers and to help its apples plop to the ground. How can a kid resist tapping, brushing, jiggling, shaking, or knocking on a book (reminds you of Don’t Push the Button! doesn’t it?) magictree3 (3)In Tap the Magic Tree, your little one is in charge of changing the tree through all four seasons. From touching the buds to make beautiful blossoms, to gently patting the crispy leaves to make bright fall colors. They’ll clap to make snow, and then it’s all over.

Not! Right when your little one thinks nothing else will happen to the tree, they are told to be patient, count to 10 (with your help, of course,) and suddenly– spring has sprung and with it, bright green leaves for them to tap, tap, tap.

Christie Matheson has a similar books– one being Touch the Brightest Star, that looks adorable for bedtime.

Tap the Magic Tree
Christie Matheson
Greenwillow Books

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!

Have you shopped for board books? Have you been to the children’s section of a bookstore and spent time looking around?

Yes. Yes.

Have you seen Sandra Boynton’s books before?

Yes. Right?

If you answered no (and even if you said yes,) it’s high time you find out about B’s favorite Boynton book.ohmyohmyIn this clever board book full of rhyming opposites, little ones will discover the difference between things like happy & sad, morning & night, and cute & *not so* cute dinosaurs. The illustrations are perfect to help describe the adjective– especially the strong dinosaur that has ripped a tree (and the scared, shaking small dinosaur in the tree) right out of the ground.

And for you– well, you get to experience a questioning look from your tot when you suddenly realize you need to sight read music and sing!

“Dinosaurs singing a dinosaur song!”

Practice makes perfect…

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!
Sandra Boynton
Workman Publishing

Dear Zoo

This one captures B’s attention and holds on tight. With its bright white pages, repetition, and colorful flaps (that serve as a barrier between the wild zoo animal and the readers), it’s bound to keep your little ones engaged, too.

“I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet.

They sent me an…(flap) elephant.

He was too big! I sent him back.

So they sent me a… (flap) giraffe.

He was too tall! I sent him back.

So they sent me a…”

No animal was quite right… too fierce, too scary, too jumpy, etc. Finally, after sending animals to and fro, the zoo sent the patient kiddo a puppy. Of course, the puppy was perfect.

dear zoo

This classic board book was published in 1982 when…

  • 867-5309 happened (and it’s still happening in my head on repeat since I thought about adding it to this post…)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was released
  • Ralph S. Mouse was published (aw, Ralph!)
  • The final episode of The Lawrence Welk Show aired– to the disappointment of unborn me. B loves to watch it on PBS on Saturday nights… the music, the dancing, the costumes! Okay, I love to watch it on PBS on Saturday nights.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Rod Campbell
Little Simon

Hello Ninja

Empty paper towel rolls & empty gift wrap rolls are perfect to use as a ninja stick. I have two brothers, and when we were kids we’d “hi-ya” each other with ninja sticks, so of course, I had to introduce B to the joys of a ninja stick. We’ve tried to use empty toilet paper rolls, but those aren’t very effective if you want a good chop. Gentle jousting and chopping with frail cardboard tubes… oh what fun! fullsizerender-23Ninja has a busy day chopping, shopping, and practicing stealth moves swinging through the jungle. He cuts his cat Louie’s hair ninja style, dances, prances and trains the king of France (lucky Louie). This rhyming board book would be a great addition to your little ninja’s bedtime routine– they’ll be dreaming of chopping and dancing all night long.

It’s also a good addition to your tot’s bookshelf if you have a pet who can relate to Ninja’s patient, go-with-the-flow pal Louie who knows how important it is for his ninja to get a good night’s sleep (so he can get some rest, too.)fullsizerender-24

Hello Ninja
ND Wilson/Illus. Forrest Dickison
Canonball Books/Canon Press