Thursday, February 23, 2012

Old friends, new favorites

I love watching Sophie discover new books, that rapt wonder on her face as we're reading to her, her bubbling giggles when something funny comes up, and her ernest pleading for us to read the book again and again, and again (sometimes on the same night). And even better than that, I love discovering these new books with her, especially books from authors we've already come to love dearly, like this family's favorites, Eric Carle and Mo Willems.

Every child I know owns one copy (if not more) of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and we are no exception. But Sophie also loves The Very Busy Spider, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and From Head to Toe. So imagine her delight when we picked up another Eric Carle book from the library this weekend. Mister Seahorse is gorgeously illustrated (as one would expect from Mr. Carle) and a "hide and seek" feature with acetate overlays adds that extra something that Sophie really enjoys. It's also the perfect book for her because of her particular obsession with all sea creatures- who knew a two-year-old could get so excited by tilapia and kurtus? More importantly though, Jude and I like it because it's so rare to find good books about dads and fathering. With so many books out there about mothers' love, it's been nice to spend some time (or in the case of tonight, three readings of the book back-to-back) talking about the role of daddies in taking care of babies. It doesn't hurt, of course, that the book is helping Sophie learn a little more about fish reproduction and care-giving... :)

Another current favorite from an old friend is Mo Willems' I Broke My Trunk. We are huge fans of Willems' Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon books, but we've only just recently discovered the Elephant and Piggie books. And I Broke My Trunk is a particular delight. Jude and I actually fight to see who gets to read it out loud because it is HILARIOUS. It doesn't matter how many times we've read it, all three of us laugh uncontrollably every. single. time. In his customary spare prose and expressive illustrations, Willems' has created a wonderfully sweet and silly story about Piggie, her best friend, Gerald, and the "crazy long story" about how Gerald broke his trunk. Sophie has already committed parts of the story to memory and will "read" it to us while laughing uproariously at the same time. In her words, "Is Mo Willems silly, Mama? He so funny! Hahahahahaha..."

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