What books to buy kids this Christmas

Now that Halloween is over, Christmas takes over. Decorations come out, carols come on, and kids’ list grow and grow. To help with your gift giving, below are links to our 5 snack reviews from the past several months:

These books are great for boys and girls from birth to preschool. Will you promote literacy this holiday season? Let me know what books you give as presents!


A cupcake a day keeps the whining at bay

Some lessons you just HAVE to teach your kids. Being gentle with babies and small children, waiting for turns quietly rather than screaming and throwing fits, and learning to love reading are three top ones, to me.

Mini-Myths-Holub-1024x789Knowing Max needs to work on these things, I was thrilled to receive for review two board books from Joan Holub’s Mini Myths series, “Be Patient, Pandora!” and “Play Nice, Hercules!”

We started off with Hercules, first because it featured a boy, second because Max loves the Hercules Disney movie, and third because I’ve found myself saying “play nice” quite a bit since May. Luckily my five-month-old is laid-back because his brother likes to play rough. The board book format is perfect because I can read it to both boys at the same time and not worry about the baby ripping or drooling all over the pages; rather, the only problem is the possibility of Max throwing the books at nap time or bedtime because he’s “NOT TIRED” – yeah right – but I digress.

In “Play Nice, Hercules!” the character, just like my toddler, plays a little too rough with his little sibling. Hercules’ father has eyes in the back of his head (or just knows the nature of toddlers) and asks when he walks by, “Are you being nice, Hercules?” This is enough of a reminder to Hercules that he starts to play nicely with his sister without threats from Dad. Perhaps rereading this book a few thousand times will teach Max that lesson!

Next we moved on to “Be Patient, Pandora!” which also fit in well with our household experiences. Little man doesn’t wait well. I’ve been trying to teach him with the mantra “What is being patient? Waiting without whining!”

In the book, the little girl finds a wrapped present that her mom tells her to leave alone. While Pandora keeps herself from straight out opening the box, she gets a little closer to it, nudges it, stands on it, and jumps on it. When she jumps on it, the box opens by itself, and ruined cupcakes fly out. Pandora is worried that her mom won’t love her anymore, but of course Mom banishes that thought quickly. Great lesson, though. Next time Max starts to whine, I just have to remind him that he might ruin the cupcakes!

At the end of each story is a page that summarizes the myth. While it’s a lot of text on one page for my boys right now, I do love the introduction to Greek mythology. It was one of my favorite concepts to learn in elementary school!

Joan Holub’s Mini Myths earn five snacks:

Snacks for Max 5 snacks

Lay off the baby, please!

At bedtime, I always tell my three year old that I will read him two stories, emphasis on the word story rather than book. The reason I have learned to use the word story is because once when I made the mistake of saying book he brought me his copy of Disney Storybook Collection.

“I’m sorry, sweetie, I can’t read you a book with 320 pages of stories,” I told him.

“But you said…”

I know, kid, I know. You’re too smart for me.

Anyway, not only did the Disney Storybook Collection teach me something valuable, but it also has quite a few lessons for my toddler.

disney“Donald’s Campaign Trip” teaches him the value of books; “Pinnochio” shows why disobeying and lying is a bad idea; and on and on. Last night we read the story about Pinnochio. In the story, Geppetto warns the puppet not to let a cuckoo out of its cage, but the minute his father’s back is turned, Pinnochio lets it free. Rather than confessing, the puppet blames the missing bird on Figaro the cat, then tries to get the bird back, telling a lot more lies in the process.

While we haven’t had a problem with lying yet (fingers crossed), we certainly have a problem with obeying Mommy and Daddy, especially since baby brother came home in May. Max gets jealous of the baby and acts out by pulling on Mason’s arms and legs. Mommy says stop; Max doesn’t; and that starts the not minding.

Hopefully, reading Pinnochio a few more times – and other books with a similar lesson – will help us out so poor Mason is stretched and screaming! (Actually, that’s not accurate. Nine times out of then, no matter what Max does to him, all Mason does is smile and laugh, leading Max to say, “But he likes it, Mommy!”)

Long story short, the Disney Storybook Collection earns 5 snacks:

Snacks for Max 5 snacks

It’s a small world this Christmas

Prince Charming Carousel at Disney WorldWe have had a long break from the blog because we went on a special family vacation. Max was able to visit Disney World for the first time!

One of the iconic rides we went on was the It’s a Small World cruise. It was much longer than I remembered, and it was packed with images from cultures from all around the world. At this point, Max was not able to relate many of the imagery to certain countries, but it was fun for my husband and me to tell him which dolls represented which nations. Continue reading

Do you see that Snort?

Last night, Max and I read three books as part of our efforts toward the reading streak.

First, we read his Uncle Cory’s favorite book from when he was little, P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother”. We have a pocket-size, board book edition of the classic that Mom and I found at a yard sale and brought home for 75 cents. I love this story for the memories it always brings: my parents continuing to point out Snorts – still calling them by that endearment – on into their children’s high school years; and my younger brother asking if we could read it again. Max’s Grandma Sherry even bought him a onesie depicting a Snort with the phrase “Grandma Digs Me’. Continue reading