Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

Have you found the book yet?

The one that your toddler can’t get enough of– the one he (or she) wants to read every. single. night?

We finally found the book for L (22 months.) We read him Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type and he was immediately hooked. He participates by mooing on cue, pretending to be shocked by the animals’ actions and eagerly (and I mean eagerly) turns the pages to find out what happens next.

The story begins with a disgruntled looking Farmer Brown. He has a big problem– his cows found his old typewriter and love to type. He couldn’t believe it… until he found a note from his cows with a specific request for electric blankets.

Farmer Brown rejected their request– which left the cows no choice but to go on strike.

“Sorry.

We’re closed.

No milk today.”

(The words “No milk today,” grabbed L’s attention like no other– the boy loves milk.)

Back and forth they went with perfectly typed demands. The chickens got involved and still Farmer Brown wouldn’t crack– even after reading “No eggs today.”

Eventually, they strike a deal– the typewriter in exchange for the blankets. Farmer Brown dropped off the blankets in the evening, and Duck was supposed to deliver the typewriter to him the next morning.

After seeing how the cows & chickens got what they wanted… how could he just take it back to Farmer Brown?

There is a good chance Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type will become the book for your kiddo, so go check it out (and then the rest of the Click, Clack series!)

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type (2000)
Doreen Cronin, Illus by Betsy Lewin
Little Simon

Caldecott Honor Book

Bunny’s Book Club

Our four year old B loves to “change the game” if you will. If our plan doesn’t really work for her, she will come up with a Plan B (or even a Plan C.)

I’ll be honest, she’s getting good at occasionally reframing our definite rules/ideas. We’ll find ourselves seeing things her way and you know what?

The girl usually has a darn good point.

Miss “Let’s Make a Deal” became an insta-fan of Bunny. It’s only natural she became a fan of a character with a gift for finding another way.

In Bunny’s Book Club, a clever, book loving Bunny is desperate to read more books. He fell in love with books during outdoor story time over the summer, and now that it’s inside… well, what’s a Bunny to do?

You guessed it– find another way to get his fill of books.

In the middle of the night, he scaled a wall (and about 7 other places.) He jiggled the locked library door. He peeked in the windows and finally discovered the book return. BINGO!

Inside the library, Bunny was thrilled– it was “better than a field full of fresh, crunchy carrots!” He took all of the books he could carry and went home. Eventually, his friends come knocking because he’d been MIA (loving life in his piles of borrowed books.)

They were intrigued.

They all snuck in.

They all got busted by the librarian– they all felt doomed– and they all… got library cards!

This story and its beautiful, expressive illustrations will effortlessly pull kids in– and you’ll all be left wanting more of Bunny and his Book Club.

Bunny’s Book Club (2017)
Annie Silvestro (Illus. by Tatjana Mai-Wyss)
Doubleday


Wanting more from Bunny? You don’t have to wait! New this summer– Bunny’s Book Club Goes To School.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

“Mommy, I’m hungry. I need a snack.”
“What would you like? How about some Goldfish crackers?”
“Yummy!”

*five minutes later*

(Empty bowl in hand,) “Mommy, I didn’t like those Goldfish.”
“…but you ate them all.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t like them, I think I need some applesauce.”
“Okay, but that’s it until supper.”

*two minutes later*

“Mommy, I didn’t like that applesauce.”
“…but it’s all gone.”
“Yeah, but I think I need a cookie… no, three cookies.”

Cue our dear, 50 year old friend, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


The caterpillar popped out of his egg on a Sunday to start his search for food.

“On Monday he ate through one apple.
But he was still hungry.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears.
But he was still hungry.”


The story continues day by day until Saturday– when the caterpillar ate through too many things and ended up with a stomachache.

(Quick– check to see if your hungry one notices the caterpillar’s uncomfortable face– he ate a piece of cake, a piece of pie, a pickle, a cupcake and more!)

After his wild Saturday night, he learned his lesson. He spent Sunday eating through a nice, green leaf and felt much better. After all of that munching and growing, he built a “small house” around himself and transformed into a stunning butterfly.

After all these years, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still a must-read.

A must-read every day because #snacksarelife.

Happy birthday, Caterpillar!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
Eric Carle
Philomel Books

Teeny Tiny Toady (+ interview with the author!)

B is almost 3 years old. *Pinch* WHAT?!

Now, she examines books. She looks deeply at the illustrations and turns the page when she’s ready. She sits still for long periods of time. That’s a story time game changer in this house!

Last night she was desperate to read a superhero book– so a superhero book we picked.

teeny

In Teeny Tiny Toady, you’ll be led through rhyme to the time when Teeny became a hero. Teeny, a little teeny toad (and sister of seven brawny dudes,) witnessed a toad-napping. Her own Mother, captured and put inside a bucket. *GASP* Imagine…

“Hopping faster than she ever
in her tiny life had hopped,
hurry-scurry, wild with worry,
Teeny flopped
and plopped
and slopped,
dodging spiderwebs and mushrooms,
leaping bugs and sluggy mothers,
till she skidded through the door– at last!– to gasp…
I need you, brothers!”

Don’t you feel like you’re there?! Poor Teeny.

She wishes she could be strong like her brothers so she could help save their Mama. After several attempts to free her, the brothers accidentally ploop into the bucket (whoops!) and Teeny is forced to find her strength (hint: she’s a smart little chick) to save the day.

You won’t regret getting this one for your bookshelf. Esbaum’s story + Yamaguchi’s illlustrations = fireworks!

Read on to the very first interview on the blog with my very own Mom, Jill Esbaum. 🙂


What (or who) was the inspiration for Teeny?

Jill: Hmmm. I guess it would have to be the toads and frogs I used to capture while on family camping trips. I’ve always liked the tiniest ones. Thinking about those camping trips must have jogged something loose…maybe regret at the thought that I might possibly have forgotten to release them a time or two? How, I wondered, did the poor toads feel about being stuck in a bucket? 😦

I know there is often a lot of writing (and then re-writing!) that happens before a story is “complete.” How long did it take for Teeny and her family to come to life?

I started the story in early 2011, and Teeny and her dopey brothers sprang to life pretty quickly. By June, it was finished, so I sent it to my agent. A few rejections followed, one that took nearly A YEAR. I kept tweaking, smoothing lines, honing details, adding humor. The lines that never changed at all were the opening ones. I felt like those sort of dropped from the sky, honestly. In February of 2014, the story sold to Sterling. I did a few small revisions and, two years later, it was a book.

Did your visions for the story match up with the world the illustrator created?

Illustrator Keika Yamaguchi created a toady world that was better than anything I could have imagined! I was bowled over by her work. You feel like you’re right there in a lush toady paradise with Teeny and her brothers as they try to get their Mama out of the bucket. Who knew toads could be so roly-poly and adorable?

Which do you prefer? Toads or frogs?

Toads. They aren’t quite so quick to hop away, so they’re easier to catch. Plus, they’re dry, so they aren’t as slippery.

Blech. Next: what is your workspace like?

Neat and tidy, for a change. But that’s because I just went through every. single. paper. that’s been piling up all winter/spring, waiting to be filed or dealt with. Yay! I can see the top of my desk again!

You have several (how many?) published books. Which one was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I recently sold number 40, counting both picture books and the nonfiction books I do for National Geographic. The easiest book to write was I HATCHED! That’s because I dreamed it — in a little birdie voice that rhymed. When I woke up, I ran to my office and started jotting the lines I could remember. There were only TWO, but I remembered the gist of the whole thing, so that was a really fun (and quick) one to piece back together. The hardest … ? Probably I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO because it took me 10 years to find the right story for the main character, Nadine the cow. I wrote two totally different stories starring Nadine during that time, but they just didn’t feel right. So I’d put her story away for a few months or a couple of years before feeling myself pulled back in to try again.

Describe your perfect productive writing day.

A perfect writing day is rare. Like, sometimes-not-for-months rare. It happens when a) there’s nothing on my calendar, b) nobody waiting for anything from me, business-wise, c) my house is clean, and d) I have a manuscript I’m itching to work on. And if it’s raining, that’s even better, because there’s nothing I “should” be doing outdoors. 🙂 Most writing days are filled with other obligations, which is one reason I love writing picture books. I can think about them anytime, jotting notes into a little notebook no matter where I am, then working on them at home for half an hour here, two hours there.

Last one! How does it feel writing picture books that your grandchildren want to read?

Strange, like worlds colliding. But delightful, too. For so many years, my kids were no longer interested in picture books, and I didn’t have grandkiddos. So now, when one wanted to read HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR every bedtime for weeks and the other wanted FRANKENBUNNY or TEENY TINY TOADY? Pretty cool. And surreal. Makes me want to write more books for them, while they’re still little.


Thanks, Mom, for everything.

Be sure to say hello in the comments! You can find more from Jill here:

http://jillesbaum.com/ or http://picturebookbuilders.com/

Teeny Tiny Toady (2016)
Jill Esbaum (Illus. Keika Yamaguchi)
Sterling Children’s Books

Spot Goes to the Park

In our house we have…well, a load of books. Like I say in the About section on Books for Babies, the library in the Beast’s castle is a dream.

Just outside of B’s room is a lonnnng bookshelf, and lately she’s been running to it and yanking a book (or several, since they’re being yanked,) to read before bed. Night after night, the chosen ones are the “monkey book” and Spot Goes to the Park.

How could a kid not like spunky, playful Spot?

img_5366-1

In this lift-the-flap, Spot, his friend Helen, and his mom go to the park to play. Spot is in a big hurry to get there. He “plays” with some pigeons, joyfully plays with his friends around the playground, and then they all play catch with their ball that goes… too… high!

“SPLASH!”

Spot and his pals get to make another friend– a sweet duck who kindly returned their ball after its surprise landing in the pond.

Your little one just might want to read this page turner over and over again… and again. 🙂

Spot Goes to the Park (1991)
Eric Hill
Ventura Publishing, Ltd.

Baby’s First Words

Baby’s First Words by Sassy is one of the first books that 4 month old L has really been able to focus on. The items in this book are made of bright, vibrant colors and designs that are noticeably outlined in black. They *pop*!

There isn’t much to say for how he reacts to me sharing this book with him. He lays there staring and looks at it really hard— soaking it all in. I just know he likes it… so, it’s a winner!

In Baby’s First Words, each spread is home to a different setting filled with things that belong there: animals on a farm, food for a picnic, “things that go”, animals from the forest, and things that one might find in a child’s room– bunny, ball, blocks, etc. The illustrations throughout the book are bound to keep Baby’s attention, and everything has its name printed underneath it English and Spanish!)

Soon enough, your genius, bilingual baby will be paging through books, holding their bottle, trying new foods and demanding more pureed manzanas. 🙂

Baby’s First Words (2014)
Sassy
Grosset & Dunlap
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