Friday, December 26, 2008

Books for All Ages

I've been a fan of Karen Katz ever since we got Where Is Baby's Pumpkin? as a freebie with Emma's Halloween costume last year. We recently borrowed Ten Tiny Babies from our library, and both I and the kids enjoy reading it. The babies are very cute, and one baby gets added on each page - making it a fun counting book as well as a bedtime routine story. Now, if only my kids went to bed as peacefully as these ten adorable tots...

Both Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal are books I remember loving as a child, but I only recently realized they are both written by Robert McCloskey. Living near Boston, it's fun to picture a family of ducklings bringing daily traffic to a halt, and the story of Sal and a baby bear switching mothers comes with wonderfully expressive illustrations.

Newbery Honor book Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt starts right before the American Civil War. The protagonist is a perceptive, intelligent nine-year-old boy named Jethro, and through his eyes Hunt reveals the complexity of war with incredible compassion and sensitivity. I like to listen to recorded books while cleaning the house and playing on the floor or making art projects with the kids, but I find it hard to find interesting stories that don't have language or scenes that are problematic for a two-year-old to hear. This one was perfect - complex characters and a completely engaging plot involving a difficult subject told in such a way that it might instruct, but would not lead to nightmares even if Emma chose to listen. This is definitely a book I'll be reading aloud to my kids when they get a little older, probably more than once.

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