Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little Bunny's Sleepless Night

I've mentioned in a previous post that reading right before bedtime is a ritual that we cherish in our household. Emmy takes such care in choosing two books that she wants me to read to her. This choice has gone through some changes from the number of books and types of books to who is doing the reading. We now stick to the - two books that Mommy reads to Emmy - rule which, to be perfectly honest, is all that I can handle at the end of the day.

Emmy's favorite bedtime book right now is Little Bunny's Sleepless Night by Carol Roth with illustrations by Valeri Gorbachev. It is an endearing story of a bunny who gets lonely when falling asleep and decides one night that it would be nice to have "the company of a good friend." So off Little Bunny hops to the homes of his friends: squirrel, skunk, porcupine, bear and owl only to find out that his bed is the absolute best place for him.

This book gives a gentle reminder to those children, who often migrate from their room to the room of their parents, that there really is nothing as nice as one's very own bed. As a Mommy to one of these "nocturnal creatures," I very much appreciated Roth's humor and Gorbachev's cozy sketches as I talked with Emmy about how her very special bed is the best place for her. Though I must say that what I love best about these nighttime visits, is the tenderness in her voice as she asks me to accompany her back to bed and give her a gentle back rub. Who wouldn't love that!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easter Favorites

Spring has sprung here on the North Shore of Massachusetts and Emmy and I are ready! We are so happy for the warmer weather to play outside, the sound of the birds chirping throughout the day and the tiny sprouts we see coming out of the ground. We are looking forward to seeing our favorite spring flower - the daffodil.

With Spring comes the anticipation for Easter and this year it is fast approaching! Emmy is determined to get a picture of the Easter Bunny this year and has her camera ready. We'll be sure to post the photo if Emmy is fortunate enough to catch the Bunny in action!

We have decided on two favorite books for Easter. The first one is Owen's Marshmallow Chick by Kevin Henkes (see previous post for mention of the boxed set). Owen is a beloved character in several of Mr. Henke's books. Owen's favorite possession is a fuzzy, yellow blanket that goes with him wherever he goes. "Upstairs, downstairs, in-between. Inside, outside, upside down." (excerpt from Owen by Kevin Henkes). In our house there's a fuzzy, green blanket that goes with Emmy wherever she goes. In Owen's Marshmallow Chick, Owen discovers that the chick is the same color as his prized blanket and becomes a plaything rather than a treat. "My favorite, he said. And he kissed it goodnight."

One of the most amazing things happening in Emmy's world is that she is now the reader and I am the listener. This reading behavior has always been there, but the amazing part for me is how she orchestrates the reading. Now storytime is announced with a flourish and those in attendance must be quiet listeners as she reads aloud with the BEST voice full of inflection. Here is Emmy in her video debut reading Owen's Marshmallow Chick.

Our second favorite Easter book is the newest book by Jan Brett titled The Easter Egg. Amazing! We read it at the bookstore and Emmy so wanted it to come home with her, but she'll have to wait to see what the Easter Bunny has in store for her! Wink-wink!

The Easter Egg is an intricately illustrated story about Hoppi the bunny. Hoppi is old enough this year to join in the egg decorating and hopes that his egg might be chosen by the Easter Rabbit so that he can help hide the eggs on Easter morning. Hoppi is excited, but unsure of his design. "I need an amazing idea, he thought."
As Hoppi goes about Rabbit Town, he notices many dazzling eggs that the rabbits are working on. Each rabbit gives to Hoppi something to help him on his design...a basket to collect flowers, some chocolate squares, pieces of wood and pots of paint. He gains inspiration from all of his fellow rabbits, but thinks to himself, "Making a beautiful egg is harder than I imagined. I guess I don't have to win. I just want to make an egg I am proud of."
As Hoppi sits down to rest and think, a mother robin wildly calls for an egg that has fallen out of her nest. Hoppi knows just what to do and what do you suppose that is? I am begging you to pick this book up to find out what happens and to share it with a special someone in your life.
As you do, be sure to point out the different breeds of rabbit that Jan Brett used as her models for the rabbits in the town (Flora is an Angora, Aunt Sassyfrass is a Lop, Hans Vanderabbit is a Havana and the Easter Rabbit...a Flemish Giant which can weigh as much as twenty pounds!).

May the Easter season bless you with warm winds and sunshine!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato

Every evening after bath, Emmy and I cuddle up and read from the stack of books that can be found on the floor next to her bed. Last night, in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, we read Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola (for a previous post about Tomie
click here). This book really got Emmy excited about celebrating St. Patty's Day. She laughed at lazy Jamie and how the clever leprechaun tricked him out of the pot of gold. I am always in awe of Tomie's illustrations. His style is one of the most recognizable and for good reason. As a reader, you just fall in love with the faces of all of his treasured characters and Jamie is no exception. You will want to read this one again and again. Be sure to look for the dog and cat as they are almost always at Jamie's side.

On the morning of St. Patrick's Day, Emmy was eager to find out if a leprechaun had visited while she was sleeping. We snuck downstairs and this is what we found!
Emmy quickly grabbed the pot of gold and smiled at her own cleverness as she announced, "I outsmarted the leprechaun and took home his pot of gold!"
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

For Just One Day

For Emmy's birthday, she received the wonderful book, For Just One Day, by Laura Leuck. It is a book full of inspiration for imaginative play where the characters pretend to be 'for just one day' a variety of animals beginning with a bumblebee and ending with a whale.

"But what if I could swim the Nile and be a creeping...Crocodile! I'd have the sharpest, snapping smile, if I could be a crocodile."

The book concludes with a sweet and important message to children that even though it's fun to pretend to be something else, the very best thing that they can be is exactly who they are. Emmy loves the attached mirror on the last page where she can see just how extraordinary she is!

Emmy's favorite pretend play is as a princess!