a greyhound A GROUNDHOG

Say this out loud:

Blee-ba-la-ba-blee-ba-blu-bla-blay.

Feel that? That feeling like your tongue is discombobulated? That’s how your whole mouth will feel after you read this book aloud to your kid.

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What. a. fun. read! The animals are introduced to the reader, quite calmly, you’ll notice, and when the greyhound delightfully discovers his new little friend…

“Around, brown hog.
Around, grey dog!
Around and around and around and around.
The ground and a hog and some grey and a dog.”

Then… madness.

“A round hound,
a grey dog,
a round little hound dog.
A greyhog,
a ground dog,
a hog little hound dog.”

The illustrations perfectly match the words in this story. These two animals are fast friends and they have a great time romping around (and around) together. They’re having a wild time when suddenly they…stop. Because…

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Can’t you just hear a starry-eyed crowd (or these two little pals) saying, “Oooooh…ahhhhh…”?

You’ll find yourself reading this one slowly, quickly, and magically (I’m calling the “ooh” “ahh” astonished voice magical. It is!)

Trust me, your little one will want this one again and again (and around and around.)

a greyhound A GROUNDHOG
Emily Jenkins (Illus. Chris Appelhans)
Schwartz & Wade Books (2017)

Duck Skates

I’m feeling inspired, awake and determined.

I’m swaying in the kitchen holding L and typing with one hand.

He just spit up on my shirt.

Still determined.

The whole month before Christmas, B was OBSESSED with a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie (the one where Daisy and Minnie aggressively compete on the ice trying to one-up each other until Minnie falls, Daisy feels bad, they make up and they’re best friends again. You know that one, too?)

It was “Ice Skate Minnie” every. single. day. (With newborn L, I wasn’t going to argue…much.) She took to sliding around the house in socks, kicking one foot up in the air for some added flair to her “routine”. Duck Skates was soooo perfect for the month of December in our house.duck skatesIn this rhyming picture book, five ducks awake to a snowy wonderland and can’t help but race outside. They have a ball slipping, sliding and gliding around on their skates at the nearby pond. The mischievous bunch ignores a warning and gleefully crashes into a giant snowbank– which leads to them having a rowdy snowball fight. How fun!

(When was the last time you were involved in a snowball fight? Adding this to my list of things to do this winter. Beware, Husband!)

After calling a duck truce, the lovable group “tramps, stamps and trudges” home (hello, perfect words!) Isn’t that how we all feel (or felt, as children) after a day playing in the snow (or after a day at work, depending on how you feel about that…) 🙂

Perfect for practicing counting, kiddos will love these 5 spunky ducks and their wintry adventure.

Duck Skates (2005)
Lynne Berry/Illus. Hiroe Nakata
Henry Holt

Jammy Dance

Jammy Dance is turning out to be the book of the month in our house. If you saw a bit of yourself and your best dog inside a book, you’d love it, too.

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Reading a lively book like Jammy Dance to B is an experience– and it’s so fun to see her study the pages and figure out all of the ways she can relate to the children as we read.

“Bubbles! Lotsa bubbles. Big towel. Brush your hair. Brush your teeth!” All through the book, she finds similarities to her life. The kids dancing, jumping on the bed, on the couch, but definitely not the part where “Sunny Dog drink toilet… EW.”

With the rhythm of the words, you can’t help but want to do the Jammy Dance with the family in this book. You’ll be wiggling with your little one as you read.

“Snappin’ fingers, stompin’ feet.

Tappin’ toes to keep the beat.

Tossin’ Teddy in the air;

Try to catch him if you dare.”

As the story goes on, you’ll notice the words magically guiding you to s-l-o-o-o-w down as you read…

“Touching hands in sweet ballet,

Holding all the hopes we pray,

Snuggled close inside our beds,

Quiet hearts and sleepy heads.”

As you read that part, I suggest faking a yawn– it might get your little one to realize it might be time for bed, too… unless, of course, they want to do the Jammy Dance one more time. 🙂

Jammy Dance
Rebecca Janni/Illus. Tracy Dockray
Farrar Straus Giroux

Pig Takes A Bath

Last week, I received my weekly BabyCenter email “Your 27 month old.” The emails are filled with things that typical toddlers or babies are up to, about to be doing, or have been doing.

Normally skimmed and deleted, I paused at this one because it was about reading books to your kid. Here are some highlights–

“Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree again?! Oh yes. Reading the same book over and over provides a measure of comfort to preschoolers, who see the familiar characters and plot as an oasis in a world full of unknowns.”

“Re-reading helps your 2-year-old connect the words he hears with the pictures he sees.”

“Hearing the same sentences again and again helps him decode grammar. Your child also gets a rush of confidence when you turn the page and he sees the expected next part of the story…”

And some advice…

“Let your child choose which book to read.” YES. They’re not going to sit still if they’re not interested in that adorable book that you like to read.

“Mask your boredom and read it once again.” Using the same enthusiastic voices over and over can be… challenging.

“He may well want to hear the same story several times in a sitting.”

I thought to myself, “Um… B? Sitting still long enough to do that? Mmm…I doubt it.”

So, the next day we went to Story Time at the library. I grabbed a few books that thought she’d like (because I don’t exist when a train table is nearby,) and once she saw this little fella, the information from the BabyCenter email practically CAME TO LIFE.

pig takes a bath

I kid you not, we’ve read this SO MANY times… and I’m a little freaked out that the email was so perfectly timed, and pleased that she is precisely in line with something a typical 27 month old does.

In Pig Takes a Bath, little ones learn about the steps that are involved for bath time– all thanks to one muddy, clever pig. It’s time for a bath, but where is the little pig? In the mud, of course! When he’s told it’s bath time, he tries to avoid being captured, but quickly finds himself at the bathtub, going through the steps to get himself all clean.

“Little Pig, here’s the washcloth.

Little Pig, wash between your toes!

Little Pig, it’s time to rinse.”

A board book with an ending that will make your pal laugh, this one is a great read for your toddler to memorize, thanks to a little repetition and big, expressive illustrations of things that are very familiar.

Pig Takes a Bath
Michael Dahl/Illus. Oriol Vidal
Picture Window Books

Usborne Very First Words: Animals

The older B gets, the more fun it is to test her and see what she knows the names of (anything and everything really, and she recently surprised me with “ephalent.”) Like elephants, her love for animals is large– and she loves making the sounds they make. My favorite is her impression of a cat.

It goes something like this… *scrunched face* *deep breath*…

“R—e—aowww!” She looks really sad when she does it, but at the same time she couldn’t be cuter.

What’s your favorite toddler-made animal sound?

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Take a second and admire the animals on the front cover of Usborne Very First Words: Animals. How. CUTE. In this board book, your little one will learn the names of many animals, where they live (from the farm to the ocean and around the world,) and even some of the sounds they make. Sprinkled throughout the book are words describing a certain part of the adorable animals– like whiskers, shell, trunk or fin.

Kiddos will love naming (and perhaps pretending to be) all 65 cuddly looking animals and learning the difference between a flipper and a tail. 🙂

Get ready to practice your dolphin noise…

Usborne Very First Words: Animals
Design by Laura Hammonds/Illus. Rosalinde Bonnet
Usborne Publishing

Where Is the Green Sheep?

To those of you who know me, I don’t know where B ever got the idea to hide from someone *cough*, but…

When Kyle gets home from work, she’ll shout, “Daddy home!” run to the window & wave, jump up and down, then urgently whisper…

HIDE.

So, then we hide. It might be in a closet, the laundry room, eyes covered, sitting obviously in the chair, or once (my favorite of her choices)– in the middle of the living room in her new (not fully assembled) wagon covered by a quilt.

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That Daddy of hers, he’s a good sport. 🙂 “Where could she possibly be?”

Where Is the Green Sheep? caught my eye at the library. I knew our happy hider B would be curious and willing to find someone who is missing– especially since we’ve been on many, many missions to find her beloved Duck.

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In this book, your little one will meet all kinds of sheep– scared sheep, brave sheep, sun sheep, and rain sheep. There are sheep playing with sand, sheep doing acrobatics, and even snorkeling sheep (think of all of that wet wool…) and still, your little one hasn’t yet seen the (*hint*) sleepy, green sheep!

Your little one will be entertained and so busy meeting the whimsical sheep through rhyme, that you’ll get a few reminders.

“Where is the green sheep?”

Oh yeah, where is that green sheep?

This engaging picture book (AND board book!) is geared towards ages 0-5.

Where Is the Green Sheep?
Mem Fox/Illus. Judy Horacek
Harcourt