The Very Hungry Caterpillar

“Mommy, I’m hungry. I need a snack.”
“What would you like? How about some Goldfish crackers?”
“Yummy!”

*five minutes later*

(Empty bowl in hand,) “Mommy, I didn’t like those Goldfish.”
“…but you ate them all.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t like them, I think I need some applesauce.”
“Okay, but that’s it until supper.”

*two minutes later*

“Mommy, I didn’t like that applesauce.”
“…but it’s all gone.”
“Yeah, but I think I need a cookie… no, three cookies.”

Cue our dear, 50 year old friend, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


The caterpillar popped out of his egg on a Sunday to start his search for food.

“On Monday he ate through one apple.
But he was still hungry.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears.
But he was still hungry.”


The story continues day by day until Saturday– when the caterpillar ate through too many things and ended up with a stomachache.

(Quick– check to see if your hungry one notices the caterpillar’s uncomfortable face– he ate a piece of cake, a piece of pie, a pickle, a cupcake and more!)

After his wild Saturday night, he learned his lesson. He spent Sunday eating through a nice, green leaf and felt much better. After all of that munching and growing, he built a “small house” around himself and transformed into a stunning butterfly.

After all these years, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is still a must-read.

A must-read every day because #snacksarelife.

Happy birthday, Caterpillar!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
Eric Carle
Philomel Books

Ten Little Ladybugs

Looking for a book your little toddler and big kid can both enjoy?

Pick up Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth and take it home.

B (3.5 years) examines the details in the illustrations, inventing personalities for each creature she finds. She counts the ladybugs ten to one (and one to ten,) and listens deeply to the quick story and the beat of the rhyme.

L (14 months) sees it differently. He enjoys discovering the ladybugs on the pages that playfully poke through the holes on the opposite page. He soaks up the bright, glowing illustrations. Heck, he’s captivated long enough to finish the story before “the call of the older sibling” (and the fun she’s having) pulls him away.

“TEN little ladybugs sitting on a vine.
Along came a butterfly– then there were…

NINE little ladybugs skipping on gate.
Along came a caterpillar– then there were…”

(I have to admit– the first time I read this story to B I wasn’t paying much attention… and I thought the ladybugs were being eaten. *covers face*)

One by one, the ladybugs are taken back to their home by their friends. Ten Little Ladybugs has some staying power– little toddlers and big kids will enjoy it in their own special ways.

Ten Little Ladybugs (2000)
Melanie Gerth (Illus. Laura Huliska-Beith)
Piggy Toes Press (Bendon, Inc.)

My No, No, No Day!

We’ve been reading My No, No, No Day! to B every night for weeks. Weeks. It’s hard to mind it though, because with every storytime, B discovers something she missed before– which means we get a chance to talk about it.

“Why is she taking her shoes off on the sidewalk?”

“Hey, that’s just like us at the grocery store… but why does everyone look so mad?”

My No, No, No Day! begins when big sister Bella wakes up to find her cute baby brother Bob in her room and all over her jewelry.

She shouted at him to get out. Breakfast was a flop– she just couldn’t eat it.

She threw a fit at the grocery store becacuse she wanted out of the cart (been there, Bella’s mom,) and everyone around them stared (or glared.)

Play date? Awful.

Ballet class? Too itchy.

Bella just couldn’t be calm or happy about anything. Not even peas! Can you believe that? Who wouldn’t be cheerful about peas?

*slowly raises hand*

Mom never once lost her cool like Bella (go, Mom!) and after storytime, Bella realized how crummy the day was and apologized. Mom replied,

“We all have those days sometimes, but perhaps you will be more cheerful tomorrow!” What a good note to end a bad day on, huh?

I’m thankful for this book giving us all a few valuable lessons

  • Emotions happen
  • Tomorrow is a fresh start
  • Don’t embarrass your mother (Ha!)

You all just thought of a time when you embarrassed your mom (or she embarrassed you,) didn’t you?

A note to my own Mom– you’re thinking about me hanging upside down over the railing in my fancy lace dress, aren’t you? No, wait. You’re probably thinking about me and my pals being really annoying at softball games, right?

Those were good times!

Mom?

Weren’t they, Mom?

Bueller?

My No, No, No Day! (2012)
Rebecca Patterson
Viking

Little Blue Truck

L recently turned 1 (1?! *gulp*) He stopped chewing books (see previous post,) and has a lot more interest in stories and, um, sitting still. As a birthday gift, we finally brought Little Blue Truck home.

L loves this book and given his age… he mostly loves our attempts at making the animal greetings, truck sounds and our versions of a friendly beep. You’ll start to feel like that guy in Police Academy who is the king of sound effects. Remember that guy?

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard Little Blue Truck, too. This book is all over the place– and goodness, the publisher even has a FREE party kit for blue truck lovers to download online!
blue truck

The story begins by introducing the readers to the blue truck whose horn and engine make “the friendliest sounds you ever heard.” On his way (to wherever he’s going,) animals greet him and he takes a moment to greet each of them in return.

All of the sudden, a humongous yellow dump truck forces his way around Blue and his new animal friends– some of them look a little stunned and one (the duck,) looks terrified as he flies out of the way of the speeding dump truck. Close one!

Quickly, the Dump truck finds himself deep in a mud puddle and really stuck. He shouted for help but…

‘”Honk!” cried the Dump,
and he sounded scared,
but nobody heard
(or nobody cared).’

Blue rushed in to help push him out, but when he became stuck, too, he cried for help and allllll of his new animal friends ran to the scene. With their help, eventually, both trucks were on their way again. This adorable story teaches readers a few lessons– on being a friend, being helpful and being kind.

The sweet, blue truck was made for story time.

Little Blue Truck (2008)
Alice Schertle (Illus. Jill McElmurry)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Baby Peekaboo (Indestructibles)

Our son loves books.

More specifically, he loves to chew on books.

Aside from chewing on the bench in our hallway, books are his fave.

Bless you, Indestructibles, bless you.

Baby Peek

You might not be able to see it, but right on the front it says

“Chew Proof – Rip Proof – Nontoxic – 100% Washable”

Chewing baby parents JUMP FOR JOY!

Baby Peekaboo was created by Kate Merritt and her artwork is bright, bold, and sure to capture your little one’s attention. Maybe they’ll be so entranced in the pages and the game of peekaboo that they’ll forget their desire to chew, chew, chew.

Maybe.

Baby Peekaboo (2014)
Kate Merritt
Workman Publishing

Teeny Tiny Toady (+ interview with the author!)

B is almost 3 years old. *Pinch* WHAT?!

Now, she examines books. She looks deeply at the illustrations and turns the page when she’s ready. She sits still for long periods of time. That’s a story time game changer in this house!

Last night she was desperate to read a superhero book– so a superhero book we picked.

teeny

In Teeny Tiny Toady, you’ll be led through rhyme to the time when Teeny became a hero. Teeny, a little teeny toad (and sister of seven brawny dudes,) witnessed a toad-napping. Her own Mother, captured and put inside a bucket. *GASP* Imagine…

“Hopping faster than she ever
in her tiny life had hopped,
hurry-scurry, wild with worry,
Teeny flopped
and plopped
and slopped,
dodging spiderwebs and mushrooms,
leaping bugs and sluggy mothers,
till she skidded through the door– at last!– to gasp…
I need you, brothers!”

Don’t you feel like you’re there?! Poor Teeny.

She wishes she could be strong like her brothers so she could help save their Mama. After several attempts to free her, the brothers accidentally ploop into the bucket (whoops!) and Teeny is forced to find her strength (hint: she’s a smart little chick) to save the day.

You won’t regret getting this one for your bookshelf. Esbaum’s story + Yamaguchi’s illlustrations = fireworks!

Read on to the very first interview on the blog with my very own Mom, Jill Esbaum. 🙂


What (or who) was the inspiration for Teeny?

Jill: Hmmm. I guess it would have to be the toads and frogs I used to capture while on family camping trips. I’ve always liked the tiniest ones. Thinking about those camping trips must have jogged something loose…maybe regret at the thought that I might possibly have forgotten to release them a time or two? How, I wondered, did the poor toads feel about being stuck in a bucket? 😦

I know there is often a lot of writing (and then re-writing!) that happens before a story is “complete.” How long did it take for Teeny and her family to come to life?

I started the story in early 2011, and Teeny and her dopey brothers sprang to life pretty quickly. By June, it was finished, so I sent it to my agent. A few rejections followed, one that took nearly A YEAR. I kept tweaking, smoothing lines, honing details, adding humor. The lines that never changed at all were the opening ones. I felt like those sort of dropped from the sky, honestly. In February of 2014, the story sold to Sterling. I did a few small revisions and, two years later, it was a book.

Did your visions for the story match up with the world the illustrator created?

Illustrator Keika Yamaguchi created a toady world that was better than anything I could have imagined! I was bowled over by her work. You feel like you’re right there in a lush toady paradise with Teeny and her brothers as they try to get their Mama out of the bucket. Who knew toads could be so roly-poly and adorable?

Which do you prefer? Toads or frogs?

Toads. They aren’t quite so quick to hop away, so they’re easier to catch. Plus, they’re dry, so they aren’t as slippery.

Blech. Next: what is your workspace like?

Neat and tidy, for a change. But that’s because I just went through every. single. paper. that’s been piling up all winter/spring, waiting to be filed or dealt with. Yay! I can see the top of my desk again!

You have several (how many?) published books. Which one was the easiest to write? The hardest?

I recently sold number 40, counting both picture books and the nonfiction books I do for National Geographic. The easiest book to write was I HATCHED! That’s because I dreamed it — in a little birdie voice that rhymed. When I woke up, I ran to my office and started jotting the lines I could remember. There were only TWO, but I remembered the gist of the whole thing, so that was a really fun (and quick) one to piece back together. The hardest … ? Probably I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO because it took me 10 years to find the right story for the main character, Nadine the cow. I wrote two totally different stories starring Nadine during that time, but they just didn’t feel right. So I’d put her story away for a few months or a couple of years before feeling myself pulled back in to try again.

Describe your perfect productive writing day.

A perfect writing day is rare. Like, sometimes-not-for-months rare. It happens when a) there’s nothing on my calendar, b) nobody waiting for anything from me, business-wise, c) my house is clean, and d) I have a manuscript I’m itching to work on. And if it’s raining, that’s even better, because there’s nothing I “should” be doing outdoors. 🙂 Most writing days are filled with other obligations, which is one reason I love writing picture books. I can think about them anytime, jotting notes into a little notebook no matter where I am, then working on them at home for half an hour here, two hours there.

Last one! How does it feel writing picture books that your grandchildren want to read?

Strange, like worlds colliding. But delightful, too. For so many years, my kids were no longer interested in picture books, and I didn’t have grandkiddos. So now, when one wanted to read HOW TO GROW A DINOSAUR every bedtime for weeks and the other wanted FRANKENBUNNY or TEENY TINY TOADY? Pretty cool. And surreal. Makes me want to write more books for them, while they’re still little.


Thanks, Mom, for everything.

Be sure to say hello in the comments! You can find more from Jill here:

http://jillesbaum.com/ or http://picturebookbuilders.com/

Teeny Tiny Toady (2016)
Jill Esbaum (Illus. Keika Yamaguchi)
Sterling Children’s Books