I am a self-proclaimed book fiend. Children's literature holds a special place in my heart - I think it is because my mother is an avid book lover herself and taught me from very early on to love classic, well-written children's literature.
Beautiful, enriching illustrations are just a part of the draw of a wonderful children's story, and so most of the books we review here will have gorgeous drawings.
You will not find any lackluster books on this blog. No vulgar Dora, Spongebob or Disney.
We believe in books that beautify the experience of growing up and learning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustrated by Jane Dyer

Cookies is a book that every children's shelf should posses. The gorgeous illustrations (done by one of my favorite illustrators, Jane Dyer) and child-friendly, life-applicable lessons are a combo made in book heaven.

With lessons like...
How about you add the chips while I stir?


FAIR means,
You get a bite, I get a bite.
You get a big bite, I get a big bite.

UNFAIR means,
You get a bite, and now I get the rest.

It is a perfect way to get the point across without seeming like you're...well...getting the point across.

Cookies is geared toward the younger set. Think ages 3-5.

There are a few other Cookies books (Christmas Cookies and Sugar Cookies) and One Smart Cookie, which is another we have on our shelves. I haven't gotten into that one much yet, it's for children just a bit older than my piggies. Maybe 6 years and beyond. But I've peeked at it and it's just as adorable as the others.

If you desire to raise courteous, thinking children that have a perspective outside of themselves, I would encourage you to pick up one (or all) of these books. Invaluable in your little home library.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baby Dear by Esther Wilkin; Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin

 This little golden book, Baby Dear, by Esther and Eloise Wilkin is one of my all-time favorites. It has been since I was a chubby-handed girl cradling her own baby doll. The copy I have has my name inscribed shakily inside the front cover. It was .89 when my mom (or grandma) bought it for me and now you can't get one for under $15.

Eloise Wilkin is another of my favorite illustrators. I don't even need to explain why. Look at the beauty of her art. Gorgeous.

The piglets, especially Evie, love this story of a little girl mirroring her mother's actions with their brand-new baby with her new baby doll. But for me - as usual - it's all about the drawings.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

I can't review books about winter without including Ezra Jack Keats' The Snowy Day. It is the classic snow book. The clean, simplistic illustrations are so pleasing to the eye.
Little Peter discovers the satisfying crunch of snow under his feet, gives a snowball fight a try and creates perfect snow angels...plus, his red snowsuit is about the sweetest little thing I've ever seen. This is an essential to any little bookshelf.

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins

The Wind Blew is one of those simple, repetitive stories that centers much around the gorgeous illustrations. It's perfect for the toddler/preschool set and gives a good opportunity to dove-tail into a discussion about weather and the fact that though you can't see the wind, you know it exists.

The Mitten by Jan Brett

 I've sung the praises of Jan Brett before and I will not stop singing any time soon. She is a master at her art and I have a lot of respect for her because she shares many of her illustrations in the form of coloring pages at her website here. She's not one of those snobby, stingy, copy wright-y artists. She's generous with her talent. Love that.

The Mitten is a Ukrainian folktale that she has adapted and illustrated. The story of a little boy losing his snow-white mitten and how some sly forest animals use it as shelter from the cold. A calm tale perfect for cozying up on a winter's day.

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel

 Owl at Home is a collection of five early reader stories that keep a smile on your face. Owl is a quirky old bachelor (he kind of reminds me of my neighbor...shhh...) who is a little bit clueless. Scared of his own feet, wanting to be upstairs and downstairs at the same time, makes tea out of his own tears. Quite the opposite of the 'wise old owl' we are so accustomed to meeting in stories.

Beck isn't quite ready to start reading this one on his own but he's really enjoying having it as a read-aloud. It's best read in the cold winter months and you can see why with illustrations like these:

Gyo Fujikawa's A to Z Picture Book

Gyo Fujikawa's vintage-y art has been one of my favorites since I came across her book Babies at my favorite local book shop. Her A to Z Picture Book is one of the sweetest ABC books I have ever seen.

With large (in the hardcover version) alternating color and gray scale art this book keeps the interest of the littlest piggy and the older piggies.