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We own a lot of books. Really, we do. Especially kids’ books. But you know what? When I tell the kids to grab a book to read, they almost always go for the library basket.
Not only are the library books free, they rotate frequently, making them just like a shiny new toy each week. My kids love digging through the basket and seeing the gems they and Mommy picked out for the week.
Sometimes I try to do a theme – like two weeks ago I reserved a bunch of pumpkin books – and sometimes I do look for new and recommended books.* But often I just walk through the easy reader shelves, pulling out titles that look interesting and throwing them in my heavy canvas bag to check out. The kids are usually allowed to pick two or three books each. (Unfortunately Libbie doesn’t usually get to come now that she’s in school, but she picks out a school library book and a couple classroom books, too.)
Since I am always looking for fabulous new reads for my kids, I thought I’d share some of the ones we’ve checked out lately that have turned out to be winners!
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis – This book has won several awards, and I saw one plastered on the front of the copy I picked out of the library shelves. I loved how the book itself feels like a cardboard box; on the back it even says, “This side up.” Really cute little line drawings, and my kids loved filling in the rest of what the bunny might be saying.
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White – This is one I reserved for our pumpkin week. It’s about an elderly woman who hates pumpkins, due to the fact that her family ate only pumpkins for a long time during the Depression. She ends up with a yard full, though … and has to figure out the best way to dispose of the behemoths. Very sweet story about community.
I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn – A cute tale of a girl’s dress that she outgrows – which then gets turned into a shirt, a tank top, a skirt, a scarf … and so on. There was one line about how she stopped wearing the skirt because her friend told her skirts weren’t cool anymore that bothered me. But in general, I liked the different fonts, the pretty pictures, and the message about reusing what we have and love.
I’m Dirty! by Kate & Jim McMullan – Nothing appeals to a 3-year-old boy like mud and construction vehicles. David loved this one.
Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower – Lily wakes up and finds the perfect pet in her backyard … a dog! A BIG “dog.” We love a book that gets laughs, and Lily’s ignorance is pretty funny.
Snuggle Wuggle by Jonathan London – This is Joshua’s favorite book in the entire world. (He is 19 months.) I have no idea why. But all we have to do is say Snuggle Wuggle and he will go find the book and insist we read it. Eleven or twelve times. He is an animal lover, so maybe that’s why, or it’s just the simple language and rhyming words.
*Speaking of looking up recommendations, I saw GoodReads’ 2014 book voting going on. They have a section for picture books, so I went ahead and requested several of those from the library, too. This week we were able to get The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak (from The Office) and Sparky! by Jenny Offill. Both are very funny, although the humor in Sparky! is more subtle. (My kids were basically rolling around on the floor hysterical reading The Book with No Pictures. And Ba-doongy-face is now part of our family vocabulary.) Both are winners in my book, and I look forward to checking out the rest of the contenders in the 2014 picture book category. [They’ve taken down the nominees right now, but the semifinals start Monday so you should be able to see them then, I think.]
Your turn: what children’s book should we check out from the library this week? My kids are 6, 3, and 1 1/2.