Category Archives: animals

Two, too

Swear to God this is two different photos from two different days:

Greyhound dog snoozing in garden sunshine

Sudo in the garden, October 20

Greyhound dog snoozing in garden sunshine

Sudo in the garden, October 22

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What we’ve read so far, week 34

A stack of touch and feel books

We’ve reached the stage where she understands touch & feel books! She still tries to chew the corners sometimes, but is also interested in turning pages and feeling the panda’s soft tummy, the puppy’s shaggy ears, etc. I’m not sure, but I think she might be left-handed, so I make sure to hold the book centered in front of her or a little over to her left so she can reach with that hand.

  • That’s Not My… series by Fiona Watt, illustrated by Rachel Wells: there are a ridiculous number of these and if you’ve read one you’ve read them all, but they’re perfect for this stage.
  • Pat the Zoo is a large sturdy book with lots of different textures – soft fur, wrinkly skin, bright feathers, even a bumpy turtle shell! She likes this one a lot.
  • Noisy Farm has sound as well as texture. She can’t yet press hard enough to trigger the sound effects, but she enjoys them.
  • Rhymoceros has a few pages with textures: bumpy, furry, mossy and glossy.

What touch & feel books do you(r kids) like?

Greyhound Sudo on the couch with That's Not My Owl between her front paws

Sudo enjoys touch & feel books too.

Baby chewing on Pat the Foodie

Hungry for books

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Seven months and crawling

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Enjoying her doorway jumper (thanks, J & H!). This may be the one photo we have of her in it that isn’t blurry.

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Before forward crawling came unintentional backward scootching.

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Playing with her stacking rings.

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Delighting in the dog.

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Happy on her tummy (and still kicking those feet).

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Curious about everything.

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Unfazed by rain (even helps hold the umbrella!)…

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…but sunshine is okay too. (And looks darn cute in a sunhat from great-grandpa!)

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“‘Sup?” Borrowing Dad’s baseball hat on a post-daycare, pre-bedtime visit to see Mama at the library.

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Pleased.

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Onward!

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What we’ve read so far, week 16

Stack of books, spine facing out

I Don’t Want To Be A Frog! is even more fun than I remember it being the first time. Finding Winnie was very good but I think I prefer Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally Walker; I’ll have to get it out again and compare. Mo Willems is funny as always – guaranteed to get a laugh from the baby if the reader includes appropriate sound effects – and Bonny Becker’s Bear books are timeless and lovely with their two juxtaposed characters, big grumpy Bear and small bright-eyed Mouse.

I’m unable to read the award-winning Drum Dream Girl without lots of feminist commentary (“…only boys should play drums…” “that’s some sexist bull****, Lyra! You can play any instrument you want!”), but of course that’s the book’s message too. I loved the award-winning Last Stop on Market Street too for its unique voice and almost geometric illustrations.

Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat doesn’t get old (“Nobody will ever find me”); much of its humor derives from the interplay between the text and the illustrations. Emily Gravett’s Blue Chameleon is also a favorite; I love her soft, skilled pencil drawings and the chameleon’s imitation of those it hopes to befriend (including a boot, a goldfish, and a ball).

Rufus Goes to Sea is lively – I’ll have to get the other Rufus books. Olivia was fine; perhaps it will grow on me with re-reading. Mem Fox’s Let’s Count Goats was fun, but if you actually stop to count, it breaks up the rhythm of the rhyme; I prefer Where Is The Green Sheep?

I Am Small is sweet, and has silvery shiny pages; The Tortoise and the Hare is beautiful, but Lyra was cranky when we read it.

As always, suggestions are welcome! Leave a comment.

And now, the most recent baby photos:

Ben holding a smiling Lyra

Favorite activity: being held by Dad so I can stare at Mama while she eats. Soon that food will be mine!

Lyra in jumperoo

Ooooh, shiny.

Lyra in hedgehog outfit in boppy pillow laughing

Sleep through the night? Good joke!

Lyra holding a green ball

What to do today? Consult the orb…

Lyra in bear suit in carrier outside

“You and me, Little Bear.” “This Little Bear is going to hibernate till spring.”

And one of Sudo because we still love her:

Sudo looking out the window

“When is that baby going to follow my good example and start sleeping 16 hours a day?”

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What we’ve read so far, week ten

Stack of books

“Some are old, and some are new…”

We’ve got a great mix of books on our shelves (and on the coffee table, and the floor…), from some of my own childhood books (Millions of Cats, What Do You Do/Say Dear?, One Woolly Wombat) to library books (Click, Clack, Moo) to gifts from friends (You and Me, Little Bear; You Are My I Love You).

Sudo with one paw on a copy of 13 Words

Sudo’s choice is 13 Words. She has a highly developed sense of the absurd.

 

Stuffed animal cow with a copy of Pat the Foodie

Cow’s choice is parody touch & feel book Pat the Foodie.

We’re eagerly awaiting a few more from the library, including two more from Chris Haughton (of Oh, No, George! fame). And we’re always taking recommendations – what’s your favorite read-aloud book?

See week eight’s reading here.

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Lift the Flap and WTF: Some thoughts on Where’s Spot? and Dear Zoo

Many picture books require a willing suspension of disbelief; to begin with, a staggering number of them feature talking animals. (“Talking animals,” incidentally, is one of the reasons books have been challenged. Sigh.)

Cover image of Dear ZooYesterday we read the classic Dear Zoo, which we’ve read before, and which I always feel the need to preface (or conclude) by clarifying that “that’s not how zoos work.” You don’t write to the zoo and have them send you animals in the mail for free. The postal service would probably not deliver a lion, anyway, not even with correct postage.

Cover image of Where's Spot?Then this morning we read Where’s Spot? In case you’ve forgotten, I’ll refresh your memory: in this “original lift-the-flap book,” a mama dog goes searching through the house for her pup. Is he in the grandfather clock? No, but a python is. Stop right there: if you found a giant snake in your grandfather clock, would you not be thrown for a loop? Spot’s mom is unfazed by this, however – she does not react at all – nor does she bat an eye at the alligator under the bed or a veritable menagerie of large, dangerous animals hidden in unlikely places throughout the house. Kid, if you find a hippo in the piano, come find me and we will leave the house and call Animal Control. Don’t just shrug and go on to check the lump under the rug.

Cover image of Tigger's BreakfastWe read one more book this morning, Tigger’s Breakfast. (You want talking animals? Try Hundred-Acre Wood. And exercise that suspension of disbelief some more, because here, a bear and a piglet are best friends, and for some reason a kangaroo and her joey are hanging out in a British forest. Sorry, Kanga, wrong hemisphere.) In Tigger’s Breakfast, Tigger – which, what kind of animal is he? Unclear. Definitely not a tiger – is hungry because he hasn’t had breakfast. Okay, sure, we’ve all been there. It seems like this is a new and surprising problem for him, though. Anyway, he visits all his friends to see if he likes what they’re having for breakfast. He does not like honey, haycorns, or thistles, but he does like extract of malt (what is that?) so he decides to live with Kanga and Roo and eat all their food. Problem solved! Only, you can’t just wander in and out of people’s houses up and down the block until you find one where there’s a breakfast food you like and then decide to live there.

Fortunately, children understand the nature of fiction; otherwise they would be developing some real misconceptions about the way the world works right out of the gate.

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What we’ve read so far, week eight (ish)

It’s never too early for early literacy! Even if she’s just lying on her back kicking her legs in the air instead of looking at the pages…

Box of board booksThis gift box is a handy way to store many board books. A new favorite is Sandra Boynton’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck, which has a funny ending. We also love Oh No, George!, a gift from a friend.

Stack of books

We received I Love You Through and Through and I Love You As Big As the World and Noisy Farm from some cousins. The first two are wonderfully sweet without being sappy, and the third – and this is key – only makes noise if you press a part of the page. We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Spanish. “…pero aun tenia hambre!”

Not pictured (because I forgot): 13 Words by Lemony Snicket with illustrations by Maira Kalman.

Stack of books

We’re getting a lot of books from the library, too, including three Patrick McDonnell books (thanks to Laura, children’s librarian extraordinaire, for the recommendation). I recognized the art right away – he’s the creator of the Mutts comic strip.

Stack of books in foreground, Sudo sleeping on couch in background

Sudo is bored by all this reading and would prefer to watch Doctor Who. The David Tennant episodes, it should go without saying.

Did you miss the previous “What we’ve read so far” post? It’s here.

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