Yours, Mine, and Ours: The Top Three Lists

Grammy (her blog début!) reading to 9-month-old Olivia, who truly only wants to chew on the pages of Karen Katz’s In Grandma’s Arms (written by Jayne C. Shelton).

This has been a very book-filled week. I don’t say this to brag of my benevolence or generosity, as Mama still flipped on some periodic, “educational-ish” screen time (does Peppa Pig count? The little stick animals do speak with a British accent and call checkers “draughts,” so I count it as exposing my toddler to other cultures!). However, we took a serendipitous journey to my parents’ house and let the grandparents shower my sweet babies with literary repetition.

As a result of blog research, I also let Amazon Prime shower me with sweet impulse buys. I do this for you, fair reader. Please fill my coffers with comments so my husband believes me! And so, I discovered a few new beauties today as the Amazon Prime fairy bestowed good favor and cardboard boxes upon my doorstep.

The Toddler’s Top Three:

Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet

George must’ve read my post on interactive books. Or, actually, he discovered the pile of “research” I checked out from the library for that post.

Side Note: Sorry, local readers! I currently have a pile of library books I’ve recommended. I need to return them in case you want to discover one of these gems for yourself. (Our county doesn’t charge late fees, so it’s all pretty loosey goosey here in the heart of Florida, but I try to be very responsible and respectful.)

This book has taught George what happens when you mix yellow and blue (you get green…), as well as other fun color combos. I’m forever grateful to fun outlets (books, puzzles, even TV shows and movies) that actually teach something practical to my kiddo. We’ve read this book for every nap time and bedtime routine this week, and he’s still excited to see what blue and red make (purple…ahem).

Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

I first discovered the Fly Guy series when I determined George’s need for a new hobby. I’d heard how toddlers could begin listening to audio books on their own (i.e. without Mama’s direct supervision and involvement), so I scoured my library’s website for every book-with-CD combo it owned. A few Fly Guys popped up in the tub (the librarians kept the vast number of books I’d reserved in an actual plastic tub because of lacking shelf space and, well, the fact that they have to serve other people. Eye roll). We started with I Spy Fly Guy! and moved on from there. Unfortunately, George hasn’t embraced the listening-on-my-own-while-Mama-schleps-laundry activity yet, but I will try, try again!

Fly Guy chronicles the funny, little relationship between a boy and his pet fly. The fly can say the boy’s name — Buzz! — so it was an immediate connection for the duo. Bonus: The books are easy readers, so very short, and the covers are holographic, as toddlers love all things shiny.

Say Zoop! by Hervé Tullet

Yes, this is the second Hervé Tullet on this list. I apologize for the monotony. Since we’re primarily a library family, I don’t regularly get my hands on brand-new books. However! This book was published on August 1, 2017. That was FOUR days ago! I am clearly on my game here!

“Unfortunately,” I feel like the book is…eh. All four books in this series are creative and fun, but Mix It Up! and Press Here are a couple steps above Let’s Play! and Say Zoop!. The latter two just take a lot of work from Mama, and they don’t click as well with the toddler. When George discovered in Mix It Up! that red and yellow make…orange…he literally jumped up and down. Say Zoop! is about sounds, and he has yet to even stand on his tippy toes in response. Why does this happens?

Mama’s Top Three:

Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

Oh my goodness. This may be on George’s list next week. The Prime fairy bestowed this gift upon us today and with it came magic (OK, that went a bit weird. Let’s blame the week-old Instapot cheesecake I had earlier. Yes, I Instapot now).

Apparently, I also use memes now, but this just seemed appropriate. And true.

OK, back to Apples and Robins. This book popped up when I was researching interactive books. The reviews were (Napoleon) dynamite, so I impulse bought it while purchasing new baby bottles. True story. This is the same French dynamo who wrote Give and Take, which we just love. Instead of removable pieces, there are cutouts that create new pictures. When six small rectangles and one long rectangle (it even teaches shapes and colors!) created a ladder with the turn of a page, George went bananas. It was precious.

Mother Goose Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

It’s actually called Mother Bruce, but I like the little play on words. Here’s a lesson on taking the advice of “Recommended for you” or “Readers Also Enjoyed.” This book kept popping up on GoodReads’ recommendation lists for me, and I kept ignoring it. Mistake, mistake, mistake. My sense of humor is a little sideways, but I literally LOL’d and considered ROTFL while reading this to George.

Basically, Bruce is a grumpy bear who loves eggs — not just raw eggs like most bears, but eggs he cooks “into fancy recipes that he found on the Internet.” He soon becomes a victim of “mistaken identity” and inadvertently becomes “Mama” to four baby geese.

The illustrations line up with the clever words perfectly. I just can’t rave enough about this hilarious, sprightly story. It’s also quick and concise, so I don’t feel like I’m reading and reading and reading. Thanks, Mr. Higgins!

Side Note: Oh! I just discovered that there is a sequel, Hotel Bruce, and a third to be published in September, Bruce’s Big Move. I’ll keep you posted. Ryan T. Higgins also wrote Be Quiet!, which we recently read. Also clever, but a bit wordier.

Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

This one rates up there with Touch the Brightest Star (same author), though I enjoyed Star better because it had the sweet aspect of bedtime. This book has the reader plant the seeds, prune the flowers, shoo away snails, and scatter new seeds. It’s an interactive book about a plant’s life cycle. Pretty, simple, and sweet. George mostly liked finding the ladybug on every page, as he was trained to do in the LMNO Peas series.

What Mama Reads:

The Brainy Bunch by Kip and Mona Lisa Harding

Ever since George picked up and ran with his ABCs at 18 months, we’ve been debating and wondering about homeschooling our little clever clogs. My mom (hi, Mom/Grammy!) gave me this book for my birthday, and it’s sparked many conversations between me and the Mister. This family has 10 children (they’re hoping for an even dozen!), all of whom begin college around puberty.

(I was worried about roll-on body glitter, buying my first bra, and bleaching my hair with Sun-In at this age…ahem.)

They’re supposedly of run-of-the-mill intelligence, but the parents have developed a plan to quit wasting educational time, discover their children’s passions, and hit the road running. I’m still a little leery about homeschooling because it’s so foreign to me, but I’m still learning. Obviously, I’d do more research before I subject my children to that much Mama time for the next 16 years. I’m only about a third of the way through the book, so I’ll keep you posted.

On Mama’s To-Do List:

The Hubs and I are about to have a glorious beach anniversary weekend away, so I’m looking forward to fiction, fiction, fiction.

  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
  • Emma by Alexander McCall Smith (As I was checking this out, the librarian told me it’s not as good as Jane Austen’s original. I’m sure I’ll agree, but that glorious review, it keeps getting shoved under other books.)
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Got any favorite beach reads to recommend before I hit the sand (or, more likely, the balcony on a shady lounge chair)?

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