Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson

Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

Rating: 5 stars

What do you do while nursing or feeding a newborn?  "They" (who are they anyway?) say to talk to him, sing to him, read to him.  For me, I can't keep talking.  Either a) the quiet is so peaceful or b) I don't want to add to the crazy array of sounds we are already forcing Kiefer to listen to.  So, when it's just me and him, I read to him.  My husband laughs: "Starting him early?"  You betcha! 

Even Jonathan remembers this book and, if pressed, he could probably recite some of it.  It was Lorelei's bedtime book for months.  I'd read it every night--if traveling, I'd recite it from memory.  Kiefer now gets the same book--amazingly, our original is in tact.  It survived Ben's phase of eating books.

Karma Wilson has produced a book with a great rhyme and sweet message--one that resonates with me, the youngest child: no one wants to be left out!  A bunch of animals gather in Bear's den while he hibernates, and they party all night until suddenly Bear wakes up.  They all think he's mad but in fact he just wants to join in.  They invite him to eat and play with them until Bear is the only one who is not sleeping.

Luckily, Karma Wilson has saved my kids from complete boredom by writing more Bear books: Bear Wants More, Bear Feels Scared, Bear's New Friend. and Bear Feels Sick.  They are all great, but the original is my favorite.  Kiefer will soon agree.  He just has to hear it 7,538 more times.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Elephant and Piggie Books by Mo Willems

There is a Bird On Your Head! by Mo Willems (and all the rest of these Elephant and Piggie Books)

Rating: 5 belly-laughing stars

Where have I been?  How did I not know about these books?  I guess these are two very separate questions...while I mean that in relation to this fantastic series, I guess I should quickly explain why I've been silent for these past months: 

I've been busy being pregnant and having a baby!  Our littlest guy, Kiefer, arrived last week.  He's happy and healthy and already has a good reading list under his nonexistent pillow.  Anyway, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, adjusting to a new and wonderful reality with two young ones and one newborn (and a husband and two crazy hounds).

Back to this series!  Enough about life-changing news! 

Lorelei's pal gave this to her for her fourth birthday a few weeks ago, and I was curious about it.  I had picked up one of the books in the series earlier but had not been impressed.  I don't really know why, because it blew my socks off this time!  Lorelei is starting to read--when she wants to, and whatever words she wants to--and these books are super simple.  They are written in conversation style, with text bubbles coming from the lovable elephant and pig. 

What makes this series so stellar is Mo Willems' wit.  He just gets what makes kids giggle!  Take There is a Bird On Your Head!  A bird lands on Elephant's head, and he isn't thrilled about it, but Piggie finds it pretty funny.  Then the bird falls in love, makes a nest, and lays some eggs.  This makes Elephant less happy and Piggie more happy.  Then the eggs hatch!  Elephant politely asks the bird family to move away, which they do.  Onto Piggie's head. Now the roles are reversed, and Elephant chuckles at Piggie's new nest.  Lorelei cracks up every time, and Ben does, too (though part of his laughter is definitely from my-favorite-big-sister-is-laughing-so-I-am-too-though-I-don't-know-what's-funny).

You cannot go wrong with this series!  I want to buy them all for every 4 year-old I know.  I want Mo Willems to write more of them!  They are appropriately hilarious for the age group, and a fun invitation to try to read a word or two.  Check out all of them, like we did last week!