Daddies Do It Different

With Father’s Day coming up, I thought that this was a great book to share since it’s perfect for dads and daughters to read together.  In his fun-loving picture book Alan Lawrence Sitmore celebrates how dads do things a little differently than moms.  In the story, a little girl explains what her mom does in a variety of instances.  She then says “But daddies do it different” and describes what her daddy does in the same situation.  One of our favorites, because it is so true for us, is when she says,

“At the market, Mommy straps me into the cart, reads lots of different labels, and uses coupons to save our family money.  But daddies do if different.  He gobbles down free samples, drives our shopping cart like a race car, and puts bananas up his nose to try to make me laugh.”

One thing I really liked is how positive the book is.  Despite doing things differently, both the mom and dad are both shown in a good light.  And at the end of the story, they say good night and love their daughter exactly the same.

We also enjoyed how funny the story is.  All four of us–dad, mom, and the girls–all laughed out loud during it and have continued to enjoy it every time we read it together.  After all, it’s funny because it’s true–at least in our family.  🙂 

The Gruffalo

Fabulous book! Did you want more details than that? 🙂 Ed actually discovered The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson when he was TDY in England last year and it quickly became a family favorite.

In it a mouse tries to take a stroll through the deep, dark wood but keeps getting interrupted by animals–a fox, owl, and snake–who invite him home for a meal (with the mouse being the meal).  To get away from each of them, the mouse says he already has plans to eat with an imaginary beast, the gruffalo.  Unfortunately the gruffalo isn’t imaginary and the mouse is his favorite food.  But the clever mouse is able to trick the gruffalo just like he tricked the other animals.

While the premise might sound frightening, the story really isn’t scary.  Donaldson handles it all with such humor.  And the book is very lyrical with a great rhythm to it.  The girls love it and we love doing all the different voices.  (In honor of Donaldson’s homeland and Ed’s trip, I give the mouse a British accent).

We have also really enjoyed the sequel, The Gruffalo’s Child.  It is especially hilarious if you are familiar with the first book because this time the story follows the gruffalo’s child who is afraid of the big, bad mouse.  The fox, owl, and snake all make an appearance again and the mouse uses a different trick this time on the baby gruffalo.

And since we are so obsessed with The Gruffalo we also have the animated movie, which I highly recommend (after you’ve read the book a few hundred times, of course).  Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from Harry Potter) are in it.  It adds on the story but really captures the spirit and uses some of the same repetition in the book.  I really like how you can really tell that the mouse is making up the description of the gruffalo on the spot.

Finally, if your children are like mine and are playing hide’n’seek with imaginary gruffalos, you might want to check out the official website with coloring pages, crafts, recipes, and info about other books by Julia Donaldson.  It’s aptly named www.gruffalo.com.

A Bad Case of Stripes

I just finished reading this book to Mia and Zoe and had to share since it’s one of our favorites right now.  We’ve read it many times. David Shannon is famous for his fabulous illustrations and capturing the world of children–and he doesn’t disappoint with A Bad Case of Stripes.

Camilla Cream loves lima beans but won’t eat them because she doesn’t want to be laughed at.  In fact she cares so much about what people think of her that she comes down with a bad case of stripes while not being able to choose an outfit for school.  Her skins becomes colored in stripes, then changes to fit whatever people tell her. It’s a good message about being yourself. While the girls are still young to fully understand the message, it’s never too early to introduce it to them.

Some other great books from David Shannon:

City Dog, Country Frog

Talking about loss with a little one can be very hard.  This picture book by Mo Willems is very simple but very powerful and a good way to prepare a young child to say good-bye to a loved one.  It tells the story of a city dog making friends with a frog out in the country.  Each season they do something different–frog games, dog games, and remembering games. Then in the winter the frog is gone, leaving the dog to eventually meet a chipmunk in the spring.  The beautiful watercolor pictures really capture each season both literally and metaphorically.  The text is subtle but opens the door for the discussion of losing someone you love–a family member passing away, a dog dying, a friend moving away.  I’ll be honest, I still cry sometimes when reading City Dog, Country Frog, because it captures the cycle of a relationship so well, especially the winter of grieving and the spring of moving on while keeping their memory alive.

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