Book Review: Uh Oh!

Mon Cœur (MC) recently picked out Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum and illustrated by Patrice Barton at the library. It is the perfect picture book with minimal language, and lends itself to more dialogue between readers.

Two toddlers take a trip to the beach with their moms and as they adventure in sun and sand they experience many “uh-ohs.” It’s fun to talk about the pictures with Mon Cœur (MC) and talk about the uh-ohs – fallen sunglasses, crushed sand sculptures, wind blown hats, waves sweeping kids off their feet – and how the children react to these uh-ohs.

MC hasn’t been to the beach yet, so this is also a great book to introduce the concept of the beach: sand, waves, seagull, and reinforce vocabulary she is already familiar with: bucket, hat, crab, water.

There’s lots of laughing as we read and discuss the book and I love that the kids’ reactions to their missteps are positive. Something happens – an object falls or the kids are knocked down, and instead of a temper tantrum, the kids laugh about it and then figure out how to fix it and move on.

I continually try to reinforce this with MC – when we fall, we might get tears in our eyes and we might become upset – the important thing is to get back up though. When she gets hurt, we kiss boo boos and move on, and when the uh-oh is injury free then we find some way to laugh at the situation and move on.

Just the other day I was trying to put eyedrops in MC’s eye for her pink eye, and Chouchou, trying to assist, sat down on our old (and ready-to-collapse-any-minute) couch, and it fell right under us all. Boom, boom, boom. Uh-oh. We laughed so we wouldn’t cry and we were grateful it happened to us and not guests at Thanksgiving!

Instead of asking Chouchou to repair it, I decided to fix our uh-oh as best I could, with MC’s help of course…

She saw my hammer, saw, drill, and screwdriver, and right away she was off to find her toolbox. She promptly sat down beside me, as close as I would let her while I worked tracing, cutting, and drilling.

I was able to make a new support piece and attach it to the couch while Chouchou was at work; I had to enlist his help when he arrived home to reattach the new piece to the overall frame of the couch and to reinforce it.

It took patience, teamwork, and some laughter, and at the end of the day, we were able to put it back together before our Thanksgiving guests arrived!

Book Review: Me and You

I am me and you are you.

That’s why we love each other, me and you!

Me and You by Geneviève Côté

One of our favorite recent library reads has been Me and You by Geneviève Côté.

What I love about this book is the exchange between Bunny and Pig as they try to imitate each other. As they try to be each other instead of themselves, they fumble and stumble. In the end, they realize that they like each other best when they are themselves.

The language is playful and simple, with two contrasting fonts to show the exchange in dialogue. The illustrations are cute and whimsical as the animals try to become one another. For example, bunny paints himself pink to be like pig, and pig puts floppy socks on his ears to be like bunny. They continue to change themselves throughout the book until they realize they are better when they are themselves.

It’s a quick read, packing an essential lesson into an amusing story for children. Something that took me a long time to learn – we just feel better and are more comfortable when we’re in our own skin! Celebrate your uniqueness as well as the things that make others in your life individuals and special.

Book Review: Many Moons

Mon Cœur (MC) has recently been very observant of la lune (the moon). Well, tout le ciel (the whole sky), really. I frequently have heard, “Pink sky!” in the mornings as the sun is rising or in the evenings when the sun is setting. And every time she sees the moon, she lets us know, “The moon! The moon!”

I had seen a book at the library but didn’t really pay much attention to it the last time we were there. The title was Many Moons and was written and illustrated by Rémi Courgeon (I’m linking to his blog, although not recently updated, j’adore his illustrations that are there).

This is such a beautiful book for young readers to explore the phases of the moon. There is so much to love, the simple text and monochromatic pages with a burst of yellow for the moon. The different shapes of the moon related to a similarly shaped object (think croissants for the crescent shape). The creativity in associating the different phases to different symbols.

The only part that was a little off for me was the reversal of the shape for the gibbous moons – instead of a shape for the yellow part of the moon, it was for the dark part of the moon. It’s a weird shape to work with, so I get that it was reversed.

Gibbous…think I remembered that term from high school Earth Science? Ha! Luckily, the last two pages in the book have all the phases of the moon – a picture, the name for the phase and a description. Isn’t that handy for your sharing with your little genius?

This has been another perfect bedtime book for MC and lends to a nightly observation of the moon and conversation about the changing shape of it!

We recently completed a craft that went along with the book. I used a sponge to trace circles on it, and then made the different phases of the moon. We made some mini masterpieces by coloring the background with blue and then stamping moons with the sponges…and hand painting too, of course!

Book Review: Dad and the Dinosaur

We recently returned Daddies Do after enjoying it for a month, so I was on the hunt for another book that had the dad as a central figure. Mon Cœur (MC) is at an age where she is more and more active and she loves to play with her Daddy, so I like to find books that include dads in them. Plus it always puts a smile on Chou chou’s face!

MC and I found a book, Dad and the Dinosaur, written by Gennifer Choldenko and illustrated by Dan Santat which turned out to be super cute. It’s a bit longer of a story, not sing-songy like other, more age-appropriate books. But MC loves dinosaurs and she loves her daddy, so…we dove right in.

The story is about a little boy finding bravery by carrying a dinosaur everywhere…until he loses it. I love the part the father plays – even though as adults we know and rationalize that it isn’t the dinosaur giving the boy his courage, the father helps him find it. He is patient and listens to his son and then they go looking for the dinosaur.

I love the images in this book: One of the first pages where the dinosaur is in the boy’s hand, there is a larger than life projection of a dinosaur in the sky, showing the reader just how big and brave the boy is with his dino. Then later in the book, after he loses his dinosaur, we see a dark night with creepy crawly bugs and animals skittering across the page and sliding out of manholes. These images really show the reader the feelings the boy has- immense bravery – with a dinosaur enveloping him and making him feel protected and then a sense of being overtaken by fears – a tentacled arm reaching out to him when it’s just his father.

This is a bit “darker” as far as books we’ve read with MC- there are many night time images and then there’s the manhole eating dinosaurs and the octopi living under said manholes and creepy crawly bugs. Although this was a fun read for her, it’s not something that I would add to our library right away. This is a great book to include dads and for dads and sons (who are maybe five to seven years old).

Book Review: Thunder Horse

My aunt had said my love would keep him for a while.

It did.

And maybe, just maybe, my love is what brings him back.

From Thunder Horse by Eve Bunting

Mon Cœur (MC) has been very interested in horses as of late, and so naturally, the cover of this book caught her eyes. After seeing the author, I had to snag it out of curiosity. Eve Bunting is a fabulous children’s author – we have used her books Fly Away Home and The Wall to read to students before field trips to Washington, DC – and she has a way with her words.

This was a timely book, with All Saints Day celebrated just yesterday.

There are many things to love about this book, and MC has chosen this book over and over to have it read to her.

  • The beautiful, fantastical illustrations by Dennis Nolan (I love the picture of the pegasus being walked on a leash)
  • The theme of impermanence and enjoying something during the duration that it is with us
  • A quirky/artsy aunt
  • Ties to Greek mythology and constellations
  • The vocabulary level – Bunting uses extraordinary vocabulary which not only paints a vivid picture for the reader, it is great exposure for MC: quicksilver, astounded, trotted, flexing his long graceful wings, clouds draped themselves, etc

Most of the reasons why I love it are above MC’s comprehension now, but she gets the gist of the story, and she absolutely loves the illustrations.

We make predictions and talk about how the pegasus is changing. She loves pointing things out on the pages, like the carrot the girl feeds the thunder horse, the leash as they are walking, and the moon when they are flying in the sky.

This is a wonderful, fun book for MC and I to read together, although it choked me up on the first reading. It reminds me to be grateful of any time that I have with people that enter my life, no matter how long, and to look for signs that remind us of them.