Bunny’s Book Club

Our four year old B loves to “change the game” if you will. If our plan doesn’t really work for her, she will come up with a Plan B (or even a Plan C.)

I’ll be honest, she’s getting good at occasionally reframing our definite rules/ideas. We’ll find ourselves seeing things her way and you know what?

The girl usually has a darn good point.

Miss “Let’s Make a Deal” became an insta-fan of Bunny. It’s only natural she became a fan of a character with a gift for finding another way.

In Bunny’s Book Club, a clever, book loving Bunny is desperate to read more books. He fell in love with books during outdoor story time over the summer, and now that it’s inside… well, what’s a Bunny to do?

You guessed it– find another way to get his fill of books.

In the middle of the night, he scaled a wall (and about 7 other places.) He jiggled the locked library door. He peeked in the windows and finally discovered the book return. BINGO!

Inside the library, Bunny was thrilled– it was “better than a field full of fresh, crunchy carrots!” He took all of the books he could carry and went home. Eventually, his friends come knocking because he’d been MIA (loving life in his piles of borrowed books.)

They were intrigued.

They all snuck in.

They all got busted by the librarian– they all felt doomed– and they all… got library cards!

This story and its beautiful, expressive illustrations will effortlessly pull kids in– and you’ll all be left wanting more of Bunny and his Book Club.

Bunny’s Book Club (2017)
Annie Silvestro (Illus. by Tatjana Mai-Wyss)
Doubleday


Wanting more from Bunny? You don’t have to wait! New this summer– Bunny’s Book Club Goes To School.

Little Excavator

Littles love to be helpers. When you’re doing some work around your house, they might just want to be all in. We built a second garden this spring and we had lots of “all in” toddler (and preschooler!) moments.

They’ll want to use power tools (and are sad when they can’t.)

They’ll want to move materials that are more than twice their size (and are frustrated when they can’t.)

There are plenty of jobs they can do, however, so pay attention for when it’s okay to say, “YES! You can do that!”

In come the machines (a Bulldozer, Loader, Dump Truck, Backhoe, Crane and Little Excavator,) to build a park in their town. Everyone starts work on their own specific job, except for the Little Excavator. He can’t figure out what he should be doing. He tries to help the Loader, but

“Little E tries lifting up some junk
junk
junk!

But there goes Little Excavator–
over with a clunk!”

He tips, he flips, he gets in the way. By the end of the day, Little E is feeling pretty low.

Your littles will be rooting for Little E, wondering if he gets his big moment.

He does (and you’ll interrupt the story to shout, “Yay!”)

Little Excavator came in handy this spring. Our little helpers could remember Little E and that everyone has a job that fits them just right.

Little Excavator (2017)
The Anna E. Dewdney Literary Trust
Viking

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

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

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

a greyhound A GROUNDHOG

Say this out loud:

Blee-ba-la-ba-blee-ba-blu-bla-blay.

Feel that? That feeling like your tongue is discombobulated? That’s how your whole mouth will feel after you read this book aloud to your kid.

What. a. fun. read! The animals are introduced to the reader, quite calmly, you’ll notice, and when the greyhound delightfully discovers his new little friend…

“Around, brown hog.
Around, grey dog!
Around and around and around and around.
The ground and a hog and some grey and a dog.”

Then… madness.

“A round hound,
a grey dog,
a round little hound dog.
A greyhog,
a ground dog,
a hog little hound dog.”

The illustrations perfectly match the words in this story. These two animals are fast friends and they have a great time romping around (and around) together. They’re having a wild time when suddenly they…stop. Because…

img_3922

Can’t you just hear a starry-eyed crowd (or these two little pals) saying, “Oooooh…ahhhhh…”?

You’ll find yourself reading this one slowly, quickly, and magically (I’m calling the “ooh” “ahh” astonished voice magical. It is!)

Trust me, your little one will want this one again and again (and around and around.)

a greyhound A GROUNDHOG
Emily Jenkins (Illus. Chris Appelhans)
Schwartz & Wade Books (2017)