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…

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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)

Duck Skates

I’m feeling inspired, awake and determined.

I’m swaying in the kitchen holding L and typing with one hand.

He just spit up on my shirt.

Still determined.

The whole month before Christmas, B was OBSESSED with a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie (the one where Daisy and Minnie aggressively compete on the ice trying to one-up each other until Minnie falls, Daisy feels bad, they make up and they’re best friends again. You know that one, too?)

It was “Ice Skate Minnie” every. single. day. (With newborn L, I wasn’t going to argue…much.) She took to sliding around the house in socks, kicking one foot up in the air for some added flair to her “routine”. Duck Skates was soooo perfect for the month of December in our house.In this rhyming picture book, five ducks awake to a snowy wonderland and can’t help but race outside. They have a ball slipping, sliding and gliding around on their skates at the nearby pond. The mischievous bunch ignores a warning and gleefully crashes into a giant snowbank– which leads to them having a rowdy snowball fight. How fun!

(When was the last time you were involved in a snowball fight? Adding this to my list of things to do this winter. Beware, Husband!)

After calling a duck truce, the lovable group “tramps, stamps and trudges” home (hello, perfect words!) Isn’t that how we all feel (or felt, as children) after a day playing in the snow (or after a day at work, depending on how you feel about that…) 🙂

Perfect for practicing counting, kiddos will love these 5 spunky ducks and their wintry adventure.

Duck Skates (2005)
Lynne Berry/Illus. Hiroe Nakata
Henry Holt

Jammy Dance

Jammy Dance is turning out to be the book of the month in our house. If you saw a bit of yourself and your best dog inside a book, you’d love it, too.

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jammygirl

Reading a lively book like Jammy Dance to B is an experience– and it’s so fun to see her study the pages and figure out all of the ways she can relate to the children as we read.

“Bubbles! Lotsa bubbles. Big towel. Brush your hair. Brush your teeth!” All through the book, she finds similarities to her life. The kids dancing, jumping on the bed, on the couch, but definitely not the part where “Sunny Dog drink toilet… EW.”

With the rhythm of the words, you can’t help but want to do the Jammy Dance with the family in this book. You’ll be wiggling with your little one as you read.

“Snappin’ fingers, stompin’ feet.

Tappin’ toes to keep the beat.

Tossin’ Teddy in the air;

Try to catch him if you dare.”

As the story goes on, you’ll notice the words magically guiding you to s-l-o-o-o-w down as you read…

“Touching hands in sweet ballet,

Holding all the hopes we pray,

Snuggled close inside our beds,

Quiet hearts and sleepy heads.”

As you read that part, I suggest faking a yawn– it might get your little one to realize it might be time for bed, too… unless, of course, they want to do the Jammy Dance one more time. 🙂

Jammy Dance
Rebecca Janni/Illus. Tracy Dockray
Farrar Straus Giroux

When your toddler picks out a book that has 192 pages…

…and she sits on the floor and starts flipping through, you go with it. Right?

She whisked this gem off of the bottom shelf this morning at Target. Our Daniel Tiger super fan just had to have it.

192 pages of 12 of her favorite (side note: they’re all her favorite) stories, written so that each one only lasts 5 minutes… catered to busy, busy kiddos?

“Okay, Mug. You can read it in the cart.”

And she did, for the rest of our shopping trip. Win!

(Yeah, I call her Mug. A long line of lovey nicknames warped into that *cough* affectionate, lovingly picked word.)

Knuffle Bunny

We’ve been so lucky not to lose B’s Duck. There have been a handful of times that we’ve left Duck at home because “She doesn’t need it,” or “She’s a big girl,” and paid the price…

Flashback to a couple weeks ago when Kyle & I decided it’d be nice to go out on the nearby lake with the fishing boat. We decided, (correction, decided,) that it wasn’t worth going upstairs to find Duck after B was already in her car seat. (Note: I’m very close to hitting the mark of “third trimester” with Baby #2 and, after all, she’s a big girl… right?)

Oy.

That. was. a. terrible. decision.

Huge tears! “My Duckie! My Duckie!”

Screams! “Duck!” “Where Duck go?!”

Bigger, huger tears!

6-7ish miles later, she saw the lake and decided that she’d temporarily forget about her our betrayal, and focused on going to ride the boat. Phew.

Either this story makes you chuckle and remember a time when your own kids had a dear, stuffed friend, or you’re thinking, “Nah, we won’t do that to our kid.”

Just wait– it will happen to you.

knuffle bunny 2

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems is so relatable. Sweet Trixie is off with her Dad through their neighborhood to do their laundry while Mom sits on their steps and waves goodbye. She has a good book in hand, and a big smile on her face (I totally understand, Trixie’s Mom.)

Dad & Trixie are having such a good ol’ time at the laundromat that Dad doesn’t notice he snags Knuffle Bunny and puts him in the washing machine (let’s face it, Knuffle Bunny could probably use a good washing anyway…)

*gulp*

Poor Dad.

After experiencing one gargantuan toddler tantrum, Dad & Trixie get home and Mom immediately notices that their friend Knuffle Bunny has gone missing.

Never fear, Mom, Dad AND Trixie end up having a better day– after a race through their neighborhood, of course.

See? Totally relatable.

This Caldecott Honor book is filled with photographs of Booklyn, New York, where Trixie’s funny cartoon family lives.

Knuffle Bunny
Mo Willems
Hyperion Books for Children
*Caldecott Honor

DINOSAUR vs. THE LIBRARY

Have you seen the movie Elf?

If you’re not familiar with it (or need a quick reminder), here’s a link to a clip on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Eto6DU_2oI.

This moment in the movie makes me think “toddler.” Buddy, the enthusiastic, cheerful elf is trying to convince his new friend that anyone can sing whenever & wherever they want. He demonstrates by singing very loudly in the department store where he “works.”

“I’m singing! I’m in a store, and I’m singing!!! I’m in a store, and I’m singing!!!”

Well, our 2YO B has Buddy the Elf tendencies. “Shh… inside voice please,” we’ll request at church, stores, and the library… with practice, her inside voice is lasting longer and longer.

In DINOSAUR vs. THE LIBRARY, our familiar dinosaur friend has the same problem.

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Dinosaur is on a mission to roar his way to Story Time at the library. On his way, he meets some friends and shares his roars with them. A cow (who gives him some chocolate milk), some chipper baby chicks, a shy (turned not-so-shy) turtle, and an owl happily join Dinosaur on his trip to the library.

As he’s stomping along…

“Now dinosaur will roar where no one has roared before… the library!”

Of course, Dinosaur does it.

“ROAR! ROAR! ROAR!”

“No, Dinosaur! Use your inside roar!”

Dinosaur is challenged to keep his roar to an inside level, and (lucky for the library), he keeps it hushed. But then, it’s time for Story Time… *gasp*… and he’s just so excited… well, do you think he’ll be able to not roar?

Like a good little dino, he sits– happily roarless through the whole story.

I think I’ll be reminding B to be like Dinosaur next time we need to use our “inside roar.” 🙂

This picture book is geared towards little dinos ages 2-5.

DINOSAUR vs. THE LIBRARY
Bob Shea
Disney/Hyperion Books