Frances’ Favorite Books: 18 Months

The longer we have been reading to Frances, the stronger her opinions have gotten. To the point that now, there are only some books that are on the Frances Approved list. She still loves to read and would like as many books at bedtime as possible, please, but books that do not meet her standards (those without vibrant or interesting illustrations or too many words) will be pushed away with a (let it be said, whiny) “No” and the demand of “Book. Book.” (as in, a different book please). Here are the books that she will consistently let us read from from start to finish these days.

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond. This book has a secret weapon – it is about a basset hound named Charlie! Now the thing you need to know is that right now all dogs are Charlie to Frances, but the fact that this Charlie dog also looks like her Charlie dog? Definite bonus!

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi. We are on a Poop is Awesome kick at our house. We’ve had several friends whose toddlers went through a poop aversion phase where they would hold it until they made themselves sick, so we are trying to nip any poop negativity in the bud. This book is colorful and fun and a new favorite of Frankie’s. And it gives us plenty of chances to cheer on the awesomeness that is pooping.

The Great Gracie Chase: Stop that Dog! by Cynthia Rylant. If there is one thing that will guarantee a Frances hit, it is illustrations by Mark Teague. She really does have a favorite illustrator! His illustrations are bright and curvy and lush, and she has never yet pushed away a book he illustrated. This one is about a little dog who goes on a solo walk, that ends up with the whole town chasing her when noisy painters take over her house.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. All the books in the “How Do Dinosaurs” series are hits in our house (not incidentally, they are all illustrated by Mark Teague), but this is my personal favorite. It goes through some bad bedtime behavior and then shows how dinosaurs do in fact go to bed very NICELY. Jami and I are very much in favor of little dinosaurs going to bed nicely.

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney. All the Llama Llama books are also a hit in our house. They are geared for the toddler set and definitely hit all the right buttons – bright illustrations, rhyming words, not too much text per page and as a bonus – Toddler With Attitude.

Lola Loves Stories by Anna McQuinn. This is a really cute book about a toddler whose reading inspires her play. (A book about tigers, leads to Lola chasing her friend around the yard, pretending to be a tiger, etc.) I’m glad Frances likes this one, because how could I resist a book in which libraries and books play a prominent role?

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss. Frances got a small, board book version of this book in her stocking at Christmas and it was not a hit at the time. She was much more interested in walking then than in making fun noises. Now though – it’s in heavy rotation, and I really enjoy hearing Frances say the words. Moo, Hoo, Knock Knock, she’s got. She doesn’t say the Z in Buzz, and some of them she doesn’t even try. I’ll say, can you say “Splatt”? and she’ll say, Yeah. And then smile while not saying it. 🙂

Snip Snap!: What’s That? by Mara Bergman. I’ve written about this book before, but I definitely couldn’t do a list of Frances’ faves at 18 months and not include it. Of all the “acceptable” books, this is definitely her FAVORITE. It gets read multiple times a day in our house. Sometimes multiple times in a row. In brief an alligator sneaks into an apartment where 3 kids are staying alone and threatens to eat them. Perfect children’s book, right? 🙂 But it’s funny and bright, with appealing sounds and Frances just can’t get enough!

Frances’ Favorite Books: 18 Months

What I Read: June 2013

I read 7 books in June, 2 non-fiction, 5 fiction, heavy on the children’s/YA. 4 were on Kindle, 3 were in print.

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table by Tracie McMillan. This was described as being like “Nickel and Dimed”, but for food and that’s a pretty accurate description. McMillan works as a farm worker, harvesting crops, at Wal-mart in the grocery section, and at Applebee’s as an expediter. She reports on the hard work, low wages, and the way we the food we eat is produced and distributed. Really interesting.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker. A friend of mine read and loved this book, so I was interested to read it. When her responsible, lawyer father disappears one day without a trace, Julia decides to try to track him down – making her way to his home country of Burma. Really good storytelling.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. This book was fascinating to me – all about how we develop habits and how we can change them, how advertising uses this knowledge of habits to sell us stuff, how we can use that knowledge to develop the habits we want. Really interesting. It’s not often that I tell Jami she should read a book I read, but this was one.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George. Do you like children’s books about smart, strong, independent, sassy princesses? If so, this book (and the sequel below) are for you. So fun, so entertaining. Castle Glower has a will of it’s own – and a tendency to add or remove rooms when it is bored. 11 year-old Celie knows the castle best, and when there are some disturbing developments, she puts this knowledge to good use.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Another YA Fantasy novel (what can I say? It’s summer. I want amusing!) There is an uneasy peace between dragons and humans in Goredd, but on the eve of the 40th anniversary between the two, tensions are rising. Caught up in the intrigue is 16-year-old assistant court musician Seraphina Dombegh, who has a secret of her own. It took me a little while to get into this book, but then it got GOOD. The sequel doesn’t come out until 2014, and I’m already looking forward to it.

Wednesdays in the Tower by Jessica Day George. The sequel to Tuesdays in the Castle. Worth a read. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes by Lauren Child. If you’ve read any of Child’s Clarice Bean books, you know that she has a thing for a mystery series featuring child spy Ruby Redfort – well now Child has written a Ruby Redfort mystery for us all to enjoy (and I very much did)!

Lots of amusing stuff this month, some interesting stuff, not a dud in the bunch.

What I Read: June 2013