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Book Review: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

When my daughter was 18-months old I took her to her first toddler class. I had high hopes. My daughter was going to learn all about classroom structure. How to sit through story time, play with other kids, and eat her snack at the table. It didn’t quite work out as I planned. Unfortunately my daughter was that kid who NEVER sat still through an entire story. I would watch the other children listen to the teacher with rapt faces. Hiding my embarrassment as I shushed my daughter and returned her to her seat. At 18 months, my little girl just wasn’t ready to sit still. However, there was one book she loved. And sometimes she even stayed in her seat for the entire reading. The book was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr, illustrated by Eric Carle.   Storyline Brown Bear, Brown Bear is a simple book. After all, it’s meant for the youngest “readers”. Here’s how it begins:   Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? I see a red bird looking at me. Red Bird, Red Bird, what do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me.   And so it continues until we reach the part where the teacher sees “children looking at me.” The final page displays all the animals. This gives the teacher the opportunity to have the children name the different animals.   Why We Love Brown Bear, Brown Bear The book works because of its simplicity. Children can easily memorize the words and enjoy the large colored pictures. It’s perfect for learning...

Valentines Day Books and Activities For Kids

  Perhaps you are looking for a meaningful Valentines Day gift. Or something special to enjoy with your little ones.  I know I’ve said it before – Classic Children’s Books make excellent gifts! Here are 5 of our favorite Valentines Day Books for young children.   1. On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman On the Night You Were Born was the first book I received after the birth of my daughter. It also sneaks its way onto most of my book round-ups! I love everything about this book – the beautiful illustrations, the gentle lyrics, and the heartwarming message. Tell your children how much you love them with this gorgeous classic.   2. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney Guess How Much I Love You is another deservedly famous classic. It’s about a father hare and his son. No matter how much Little Nutbrown Hare loves his father. Big Nutbrown Hare loves his son even more. The simple story and sweet illustrations make this a must-have book for young children.   3. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch Love You Forever is a poignant book about a mother’s love for her son. The story takes us through her son’s life. No matter how badly he behaves, his mother sings to him: “I’ll love you forever I’ll like you for always As long as I’m living My baby you’ll be.” I confess this book always manages to choke me up. Especially the ending… It’s simply beautiful!   4. Where is...

Book Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon

    So I admit it – I didn’t think my daughter would enjoy Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. The concept is charming. The story tells of a boy who uses his purple crayon to embark on magical adventures. Yet I thought my daughter would be bored by the simple story and drawings. I was wrong! My little girl adores Harold and The Purple Crayon. She loves hearing about Harold’s escapades. I have even overheard her re-enacting Harold’s adventures during her nap time.   About Harold and The Purple Crayon Harold and the Purple Crayon is the first in a series of books. The books tell of a young boy, Harold, who uses his imagination and purple crayon to create amazing adventures. If Harold thinks of something, he makes it real by drawing it with his purple crayon. My daughter and I relish learning how Harold recovers from various unlikely situations. For example, half way through the story Harold falls off a mountain. The author tells us:   “… luckily he kept his wits, and his purple crayon. He made a balloon and he grabbed on to it.”   The prose is straight forward and there’s a gentle humor that I appreciate. I can’t help liking Harold for his innocence and insatiable curiosity.   Our Verdict Harold and the Purple Crayon is a great stand by book for us. It may not be my daughter’s first choice for bedtime story (she currently favors any Olivia book). But she always enjoys it when we read it...

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What Is A Classic Children’s Book?

  I am the first to admit that I apply the term “classic book” loosely. In this article, I share my definition of a classic children’s book and invite you to do the same.   My Definition So what is a classic book? The definition is much debated. As a good example, take a look at this interesting discussion on Good Reads. I especially like the debate about whether Harry Potter is classic children’s literature. I’ll come back to this question at the end. But first, what is my definition? I believe a classic is any book that stands the test of time. The best children’s classics are loved and remembered well beyond childhood. They make a deep impression on us and are not easily forgotten. For me, this includes books like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and The Hobbit. Yes – I still love fantasy books today! These are the books that I kept going back to as a child. They captured my imagination and defined my love of reading.   Other Classic Book Definitions Now let’s look at some other definitions. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:   “A classic book is a book accepted as being exemplary or noteworthy, either through an imprimatur such as being listed in any of the Western canons or through a reader’s own personal opinion.”   I definitely agree with the first part. A classic book is “exemplary or noteworthy”. Also, this definition suggests that “personal opinion” may determine whether a book is a classic. I like...

Top 10 Classic Books For Babies and Toddlers

  As a Mom to a two year old, I have read (and re-read) a lot of baby and toddler books. But there are some classics that my daughter and I keep coming back to. Here’s my list of top 10 classic children’s books for babies and toddlers. How about you? What are your favorites? Please leave a comment at the end of this post – I would love to hear from you!   Top 10 Classic Books For Babies and Toddlers   1. On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman My sister sent me this book the night my little girl was born. Reading it always brings back special memories. We have the hard cover version, which is beautiful. However, little fingers have torn the pages over time. So the board book may be a better choice for young readers. Read our full review of On The Night You Were Born here.   2. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram This book tells a simple message that will resonate with all parents. No matter how much our little ones love us, we love them more! A wonderful story to make any child feel loved. Check out our review of Guess How Much I Love You here.   3. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd Goodnight Moon has often been called the classic bedtime read. And it is! Babies and young toddlers especially find this book comforting. This book is the ideal baby shower gift.   4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson I first came across this book when visiting friends in England. It’s quirky, imaginative...