Winter Gift Guide: Picture Books

Picture books are my go-to gift. Here are three ideas that follow the Read-Wear-Play magic formula.

 The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett (a heartwarming Inuit variation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; recently published in board book form)
Sea World Polar Bear Youth Slippers
Carter's Footed Pajama Blanket Sleeper 24 months- Polar Bear

Newly Literate+:

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011; 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book)
Melissa and Doug travel-size Flip-to-Win Memory Game (because in the book, the bear "remembers" and "forgets" the rabbit...)

Tween+ (including grown-up mid-century modern fans and Finlandophiles):

Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip: Book 1 (the five books in this series contain comics originally published in London Evening News in the mid-1950s)
Moomin Character Earphone Jack Accessory
Marimekko Tuuli Canvas Pencil Pouch by hannasboutique (use it for pencils/pens, snacks, hygiene/grooming kit, etc.)

I should mention, I got the idea for Read-Wear-Play themed gifts from Gabrielle of Design Mom--Santa brings her six children using that formula. I should also mention that I collected these images and links for fun and for your friendly use, and I am not affiliated in any way with any of the products or sellers.

What's your gifting formula? What books are on your wish list, or gift list?

DIY Book Costume: Flower from The Tiny Seed

This girl has loved Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed for over a year. She can "read" it by quoting and paraphrasing the story. I wouldn't have thought this dramatic, vaguely-anthropomorphized life cycle/season story would hold the attention of a toddler--but it does. Over and over again. It reminds me that she (and other children) should continue to get broad exposure to literature. A picture book "above" or "below" their development level may scratch a curiosity itch we didn't even know they had. And generally, I think two-year-olds are underestimated--they are often absorbing more patterns and cues, social-emotionally, scientifically, and otherwise, than we realize.

If you're curious, here's how my mom and I threw together this Tiny Seed-inspired flower costume in half an hour for $10.  (When I say half an hour, I am minusing hours of deliberation and over-thinking, window shopping, and a failed paper-mache project.)

We free-handed some leaves out of printer paper and wrapped them in duct tape. We ran a "stem" down a black shirt and pants.

We cut eight petals from foam paper. (After I cut the first one, I moved it around the ring to make sure it would fit an even amount of petals. Luckily, I picked just the right width for the bottom of the petal.) We popped out the inner ring of a 9-inch cross-stich hoop and hot-glued the petals onto it.

We hot-glued a plastic headband on an angle (30 degrees?), so that the petal ring would go around her face when the headband was on her head. 

This is the only time she's kept a headband on for more than five minutes. She hates headbands, but LOVES being a flower. 

Did you celebrate Halloween in a book-inspired costume? I'd love to see pictures!

Halloween: Book Costumes and Other Fun

A friend of mine crafted this typewriter (to attach to a cow costume) out of a Cheerios box! Her six-year-old was definitely the cutest union member of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type (by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin).

I love seeing little Halloween costumes based on book characters! Last year, Baby A was Gossie. And I can't decide what she'll be this year--Peter Rabbit? Pooh? Clifford/Emily Elizabeth? Or a fluffy monster? Time is running out! What are your costuming plans? Did you prepare weeks ago, or do you wait until the week before (like me)? I have been pinning book character costume ideas, if you still need them.

Our favorite Halloween book this year has been Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane, illustrated  by Jane Manning. The lyrics come off charmingly without ever trying to "force" a rhyme. It's a counting book, without feeling predictable. And the illustrations are part-lovely and part-creepy--definitely not too scary, but not cutesy, either.

My husband, 2.3-year-old, and I went to see Hotel Transylvania, and we were surprised at how much we all liked it! Next week, we'll be screening the classic It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

What are your Halloween traditions? Or are you trying something new this year?

Mathematic Picture Books

Have you heard of Wumbers? Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote, and Tom Lichtenheld illustrated, a punny book that will stretch your brain!

I've always liked number patterns and words, but when I thought I wasn't "good" at math in 5th grade, I threw myself into the world of words. Now, I don't think in terms of Numbers vs. Words, and I love to see adults and children nurture a love of both.

Here's a list of counting and other math books! And another extensive list of math-related picture books organized by subject!
And here's a list with descriptions of how to use picture books to teach math!

Happy weekend!

Timeless Summer Children's Books

 When I was a kid, there was no summer bucket list. 

If I was in Finland, I knew I'd be picking berries, visiting a cabin in the woods, and running back and forth between the sauna and the ocean. 

If I was in Virginia, I knew I'd be at the pool six days a week, riding my bike to my best friend's house, and devouring a million Otter Pops on my cousin's front porch.

Every summer also included a curl-up with a book in a backyard hammock.

All these summer joys are timeless, don't you think? Do you read in a hammock?

Try these classics to soak up one more month of summer:

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney, is my favorite. McLerran and Cooney capture the magic of imagination that turns a field of broken glass and stones into a lifelong memory of a beautiful society of neighborhood friends.

Amos and Boris by William Steig was just published in 2009, but the enduring tale of friendship and simply sweet illustrations will make it a classic. 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahames was written as a lovely escape from Grahame's difficult life, and it is now a gift of fantasy to everyone who reads each adventurous chapter.

 P.S. last year's summer book picks

first two photos: my childhood
third photo: source
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