May 2010

Summer Reading Challenge!

Summertime is reading time for many people. For adults, it’s lying in a hammock, or on a beach blanket, enjoying a good book as often as possible. For kids, it’s often diving into the latest action adventure story (Rick Riordan’s The Red Pyramid, perhaps?) or being read loving stories by their favorite adults. Many libraries have extended summer programs that include story times, movies, crafts, and other events as well.

Free Books Online for Kids

Boy do I miss LookyBook.com! Do you remember that incredibly awesome site? Hailed as one of the best new websites of 2008, LookyBook.com let you read actual full children’s books online. You could click to turn the pages as if they were real books, and they had a massive selection. Every week more books were added to the site—from favorites, like Franklin and Olivia, to classics, to cool new books. We found so many wonderful books there that we went on to purchase later—like Little Pea and Round is a Mooncake. I think I was more depressed to see that site go than I was over my own layoff—both due to the financial constraints of that stressful year.

Review of Tip Tip Dig Dig

Tip Tip Dig Dig, by Emma Garcia, is a simple yet memorable story of the construction of a playground by a few popular construction vehicles. The simplicity of the text, the “mystery” of the story, and the unique construction of the images will make Tip Tip Dig Dig a favorite good night read. For a parent, this story fulfills two unique requirements for a good bedtime story.

Review of Big Red Barn

Most children are familiar with the farm. It’s a default setting for children’s stories, as it provides a place to talk about animals, people, and farm equipment. However, Margaret Wise Brown, in her story Big Red Barn with pictures by Felicia Bond, chose to focus solely on the animals (and one big red barn, of course), starting with a little pink pig. In fact, the only human-esque figure to appear in the story is “an old scarecrow…leaning on his hoe” in a farmer’s field. And it’s better that way.

Review of Two Little Trains

Children often quickly come to understand how confusing that moment between awake and asleep can really be. Sadly, it is often the case that they find out the difference between dreams and the real world the hard way: by waking up, sweat drenched, from a terrible nightmare. But if a parent thinks ahead, they can get their child to think about that line between asleep and awake, or that hazy line between make believe and real. How, you may ask? By reading Two Little Trains, by Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Review of Goodnight Moon

All adults really need to hear is, “In the great green room, there was a telephone, and a red balloon, and a picture of—…” Chances are, they will remember Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, and illustrated by Clement Hurd. Treading through childhood memories, they catch a hint of that fabric softener that their mothers used to use especially for their bedding. They remember how much the stars in the windows looked like those designs on grandma’s highball glasses. But most of all, they recall the quiet and peaceful ending that this indispensible story provides.