Very First Book of Things to Spot

If you have a baby or toddler or know someone who does, sometimes you (or that someone you know,) will be in need of a distraction for that not-so-patient little sweetie.

The Very First Book of Things to Spot has saved us on long road trips. It has also saved us at restaurants when our food has taken a smidge longer than it normally would. Hey, we all get “hangry” sometimes. How would you feel if your applesauce pouch was gone, your baby chair was restricting and the crayons just weren’t cutting it?

Just like our well-loved board book Let’s Count, this giant board book is a keeper. It might even have the power to save the day. usborne things to spot

I remember when I pulled this book out of the box, B was immediately drawn to it because it was much bigger than the rest of her board books. She took to the floor with her brand new book (you know, because she was too little to hold it like a newspaper,) and the discovering began.

The more they know Very First Book of Things to Spot, the more they’ll spot on its adorably illustrated, fun-filled 28 pages. Bright red cars (one missing wheels) zoom across the first page. Your growing tot will be challenged to find two squirrels, a tractor, and a house with a blue roof. They’ll see a colony of penguins doing different things (one is knitting sweaters and scarves.) Through the rest of the book, there will be frogs, turtles, monkeys, bears, robots and birds– and on each page, questions leading you and your curious cuties to find new things.

I’ll admit– I’m still seeing new things every time we look at this book together. I’ll also note that I don’t wear my reading glasses 100% of the time.

Very First Book of Things to Spot
Fiona Watt/Erica Harrison/Illus. Stephen Barker
Usborne Publishing

Splish, Splash, Baby!

meme shark tub

I saw this meme going around on social media a few weeks ago. I laughed out loud when I saw it. Really, I did! For months now, once B is washed up and we’re done with her bath (so we think,) once again, we’re participants in an episode of B’s Splash Zone.

Littles love to splash.splish splash

This splash-time-bath-time board book starts off with a big page-sized flap for your little cutie to lift– behind it, they will discover a baby in the tub. Behind other flaps, they’ll find rubber duckies, a sea worthy tugboat, a friendly frog sponge, a squirty blue whale, and at the end, Mommy– who is is either playing peek-a-boo behind baby’s towel, or using it as a shield (that’s what it’s for in our house, anyway.)

The excitement of lifting the giant bath time themed flaps and the joyful illustrations will have your kiddo wanting more, more, more of this book.

Splish, Splash, Baby!
Karen Katz
Little Simon

Berenstain Baby Bears My New Bed

Friends B needed in her crib these past few weeks: Duck, Duck 2, Elephant, my old bear named Bear, her Bear, and a Bunny. Oh, and a blankie, her pillow, and her quilt. Needless to say, she was in tight quarters filled with some excellent company.

When she moved to her big girl room last year, we left the extra twin bed in there. We’ve napped on it a couple of times when she was sick, and she’s jumped on there many times to escape a diaper change. (Because who has the time to lay down for 30 seconds to get new pants?)

We went to the library last week and picked up The Berenstain Baby Bears My New Bed. Since she’s nearing the old age of 2, we’ve been trying to figure out how to make the whole transition easy on her (and us!)

Fast forward to yesterday (before we even read the book…)

B jumped on the twin bed before her nap and pretended to sleep and “snore.” I pulled the sheets back and joked, “What, do you want to sleep in here today?”

She said, “Yeah.” And she did.

I was left peering through her doorway in awe. “What just happened? Isn’t this supposed to be hard? Is she actually sleeping? Is she tricking me?”

Same story last night! What a big girl! We’re thrilled (and still a bit confused), and we love that she loves the big bed. Imagine having bars and stuffed animals all around you for weeks, and then, suddenly, you can move. Sweet toddler freedom! And for us, no more lifting 30+ lb kiddo over the side of the crib! B won’t be whipping her leg over the side of the crib in an effort to help one of us lift her! Safety! Woot!

When we sat down to read our library book yesterday, I couldn’t help but laugh.my new bedLittle Bear starts out telling his (rhyming) story about how his crib was more than enough– it kept him safe, he could stand, throw his teddy bear and his Mom would come in. He was happy in his crib! Little Bear begins to realize that he’s much bigger, and that his “…crib’s no longer big enough for me and all my toys and stuff.” Little Bear must be B’s spirit animal/book character. Eventually, he noticed a “grand new, brand-new bed,” just for him. Suddenly, he looked smaller & older at the same time. Just like B.

To caretakers of bed transitioning toddlers everywhere… B only looked at the cover of this book before deciding she wanted the big bed, so I’m 90% convinced this book is magic. 😉

The Berenstain Baby Bears My New Bed
The Berenstains
Random House

Open the Barn Door…

Yesterday, B & I went for an adventure out to the farm to try to catch a ride in the tractor with “Pop” (my Dad) who was busy planting corn. When we got out of the car, I noticed two big, cuddly looking orange cats loafing in the sun.

Quietly, we tip-toed around the car (they’re not tame.) As they were approached by a friendly tot with open arms (“Hi tat! Hi!”) the cats shuffled through the grass and escaped right under the barn door. Rats! (Or, more appropriately, “Cats!”)

love taking B to the farm now that she’s a little older. There are so many things to see!barn doorThe farm in this board book has lots of animals for your little one to discover– a cow, a pig, a little chick, a pony, yellow ducklings, a goat (chewing on the laundry!), a happy dog, cats, a rooster, and an owl. Behind each flap, littles will find animals after hearing what they say– maybe it’s “mew-mew” or “cock-a-doodle-doo.”

Open the Barn Door… has long been a fave of B’s. How could it not be? With hiding animals under liftable flaps, soft, pretty colors, and lots of animal noises, I’ll bet the little ones in your life would love it, too.

Open the Barn Door…
Text Penguin Random House/Illus. Christopher Santoro
Random House

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