Thursday, January 7, 2010

What We Found At The Library, #8

First, one GIGANTIC THANK YOU to Lenae for designing this awesome button! I am amazed and proud and excited to be the recipient of such a thoughtful gift. Let's spread its HTML beauty -- or whatever it is that makes up such a thing -- across the interwebs ! Thank you again, Lenae. You're awesome, and for more reasons than this sweet button.

For this week's show and tell, I'm posting about some of our favorite books we got as Christmas gifts, but still within the children's books theme. Justin and I both got some books we're excited about -- Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, and Andre Agassi's autobiography -- but haven't gotten to read them yet. I'll keep you updated, though.

Lauren's Favorite: Madeline Says Merci, by John Bemelmans Marciano

Although Lauren is too small to sit through an entire Madeline book, she quickly grew attached to this one. Written by Ludwig Bemelmans' grandson, this story is a review of simple good manners. From treating pets with kindness to admitting mistakes, it covers everything a Madeline lover needs to know about being polite and kind. And while Lauren hasn't yet paid attention to its lessons, she still loves it. The book is shorter in stature, perfect for cradling in a tiny toddler's lap, and filled with simple artwork in the trademark Bemelmans style. She'll sit with it propped between her hands, turning pages and babbling recognizable phrases: "Twewf yiddle guls in two stwait yines..." We are definitely a household smitten with Madeline, and this gift from our Nana was a welcome addition to our bookshelf.

Another gift from Nana, Belinda the Ballerina is a new favorite of Mia's. We already had one book in this series, and were excited to have discovered this as well. Belinda is a light-footed -- and large footed -- girl who loves to dance. She practices hard to audition for a big ballet recital, but is thwarted by three rude judges who can't see past the size of her feet. Saddened, Belinda quits dancing and fills her time waiting tables in a restaurant. But her graceful dancing feet can't stay still for long, and soon, Belinda's dancing is attracting tables full of customers who love to see the dancing waitress. This is such a sweetly uplifting story, combining lessons about following your heart and having self confidence without being too serious or deep for my tender-hearted Mia; the focus is on comically large feet, not weight or beauty or snobbery -- things Mia doesn't yet need to be concerned with. I feel good about helping her understand that if you love doing something, and follow your heart, the naysayers' opinions just don't matter. As Belinda says, when it came to those discouraging judges, 'she didn't care a fig.'

One of my favorite children's authors is Eileen Spinelli, so I was happy to have found this book to give the girls for Christmas. It's about a mouse family who is supposed to be making vital preparations for the coming winter, but little Moses is always playing instead. He collects pebbles, listens to the wind, and dances with the leaves. His family reminds him, in simple, repetitive verses, that he must make preparations instead of dawdling. It soon gets to be too late, though, and when snow finally starts falling, he worries that he won't have anything useful to contribute to the family's winter supplies. However, it's Moses' playful additions that end up making the long, dull season bearable. Justin especially admired the detailed artwork and the idea that a joyful, playful spirit is as welcome as any pile of provisions -- a sentiment I can heartily agree with.

One of our favorites from a few months ago, Delicious:A Pumpkin Soup Story, inspired me to add this book to our Christmas stack. The adorable trio -- Cat, Squirrel, and Duck -- head to the big city for just a pipkin of salt to complete their delicious pumpkin soup. Poor, distractable Duck wanders away to the pepper shop with visions of all the pipkins of pepper he might be able to find as well, but gets lost in all the bustling city traffic. A search ensues, with Cat and Squirrel trying anxiously to find their lost friend. The whole neighborhood, citizens and police dogs alike, join a teary-eyed Duck in searching for his friends. I love the illustrations, the outlandish story, and the happy ending, but most of all, I love finding serial favorites our whole family will enjoy.

What books did YOUR family find over the Christmas break? Share your recommendations, so we can pillage the libraries (and bookstores) soon with lists full of tried-and-true favorites!


  1. The last two books look like they'd be winners in my house. And I just loved Madeline when I was little, so I might sneak that one for myself! ;) From what I saw at B&, The Lacuna looks fabulous! I need to go check that out...

  2. Have we talked about the Belinda books before? I was once called a bad mother who encouraged my children to be "mean" based solely on the fact that I bought them a copy of Belinda and the Glass Slipper. Personally, I think the Belinda books are great, and Belinda and the Glass Slipper is another must read, so I'm glad to know you like them too!

  3. I love your button! Great job, Lenae! I am jealous of your Madeline and Ballerina book, but I the mouse book looks like a winner around here! Thanks again for hosting,Sarah, this is so much fun!!

  4. Emily - Really? I think Belinda has great messages...? The glass slipper was the first one we got, and we loved it too. I think it clearly DIScourages mean behavior...the bully is very obviously not the hero of the book, while Belinda -- kind hearted Belinda -- is. Interesting. I saw on Barnes & Noble that there's a Belinda in Paris, too. Must see if there's any scandalous behavior in that one :)

  5. What a fun button!

    I swear to you that I'm going to join up in your carnival someday soon -- but mine might be a "grown up" book not a kids book :)

  6. Belinda is a favorite here as well. We have Belinda begins Ballet. I think it's great. . . Belinda and her big ole feet. Belinda who stays strong despite the mean old teacher lady. . . I don't think it encourages teasing but rather faces reality. It is a bit of a difficult subject -- especially since it's an authority figure adult who is Belinda's problem . . . but man. . .look at her self-confidence! Hooray for Belinda!
    Anywho! Just my two cents. I'm not pulling it off of my shelf anytime soon and would give it as a gift without hesitation.

  7. Yay, have finally joined the carnival, post on the linky.
    Thank you so much for hosting!!

  8. Have you tried the Pinkalicious, Purplicious and Goldilicious books by Victoria Kann? They are a favorite of my cousin Mackenzie and several of the kids at school. I have not personally read them, but the kids I know really like them. I just saw them in the book order I sent home yesterday so I was planning to picking out a few soon. Please note that I have not read the "what I found at th library 1-7" so you may have already covered these! I also like the Bear Feels...books by Karma Wilson. They are about Bear and his friends and they are really cute. Let me know what you think!

  9. Amy - You CAN post about adult books! Anything you want, really. If you can read it, you can post it :) Come on!

    Annie - Have I told you how much I love that you're leaving comments?! And you're skipping ahead on me here...Pinkalicious is on next time's list...we got it over the Christmas break, and Mia LOVES it :) But I hadn't heard about purple and gold. They'll be on our list. Also...Karma Wilson makes regular visits to our home. Mucho favorito. We love that big bear!

  10. Hi Sarah! Your post has given me some great ideas for books for my baby. She's only 9 weeks old so we're still pretty basic :) But someday she'll be a little bookworm!


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