Book it in.

Devin has, somewhat recently, started saying, “again!” when I finish reading a book. Sometimes I oblige and read it again, and at the end, once more… “Again!” I have to remind him that he does have other options… Here are a few that have taken our fancy.

Green Eggs and Ham; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Fox in Socks; Hop on Pop – Dr. Seuss was clearly intent on killing me when he wrote these. They are great books, but man – my voice is not my strongest asset. I also have to suppress the urge to speak and write in rhyme after a big Seuss-ing. I also can’t stop myself from pronouncing it ‘Zeus’.

Everywhere Babies, Susan Meyers; Marla Frazee – Devin recently went through a phase in which he was very interested in babies. Two mothers at our library Story Time happened to have newborn babies at the time, and he spent much of the hour each week watching them intently. I started looking for books about babies for him, and bought this one because of the easy rhyming and the realistic illustrations and portrayal of how babies are cared for. He’s not quite so fascinated at the moment, but he can still pick a baby out of a crowd as if it has a flashing fluorescent sign above it.

Itsy-Bitsy Babies, Margaret Wild; Jan Ormerod – This has plenty of actions that Devin (or I) can do, such as “That itsy bitsy baby goes clap, clap, clap” and “All the itsy bitsy babies want to kiss, kiss, kiss”.

Tree Ring Circus, Adam Rex – I mentioned this on this blog before, when I first bought it for a bargain price. It’s still in my favourites. I can recite it by memory now.

Bee-bim Bop!, Linda Sue Park; Ho Baek Lee – A little girl helps her mum make dinner. The pace is hurried but fun, it’s a favourite for all of us. There’s also a recipe for bibimbap/bee bim bop in the back.

Sophie Bakes a Cake, Tina Burke – This is the first book for which there were tears when we had to return it to the library. Sophie is baking a cake with her doll, Scarlett. Sophie’s mum has laid out all the ingredients, but Scarlett has her own suggestions about what should go in the cake. I liked that one of those suggestions is Vegemite – it’s nice to see something blatantly Australian in a picture book. I will have to add it to our Book Depository wishlist (which is already outrageously long).

The Black Book of Colours, Menena Cottin; Rosana Faria – Describes colours without colours. Each page is written in type and Braille, and the pictures – all black on black – are raised from the page so that they can be felt. It’s a really lovely book, and a great way to get seeing kids thinking from a different perspective.

Cork on the Ocean, Mark Sommerset – In much the same way as Dr. Seuss, this is enjoyable to read out loud, though probably too old for Devin at the moment.

Clara Joins the Circus, Michael Pellowski; True Kelley – Neither the writing nor the illustrations are anything special, but it’s colourful and there is plenty of slapstick humour to keep Devin amused. It’s an old book – I found it at a market stall.

A Bit Lost, Chris Haughton – We all find this one rather amusing. A little owl falls off his perch and searches for his mummy, with the ‘help’ of a well-meaning rabbit.

Thomas & Friends mini books (Thomas, Jack, Kevin, Charlie, Stepney) – The picture-to-word ratio in these is too big for Devin’s patience, so we summarise the story as we go through. He tends to latch on to specific pages – a bridge collapse in Jack, Thomas losing his carriages in Charlie, a giant claw about to grab Stepney… The funny thing is, he’s only seen the television show a handful of times. He mostly only knows them from his train set.

Where Is The Green Sheep?, Mem Fox; Judy Horacek – This book must be in practically every household with children in Australia. For valid reasons.

A Bear and His Boy, Sean Bryan; Tom Murphy – Devin seems to either really love a book, or really not care. This, unfortunately, was in the latter category, but I really liked it. A bear wakes up to find a boy on his head. The bear has a long, long list of things to do that day, but the boy eventually makes him stop to smell the flowers. Literally.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy, Oliver Jeffers – Honestly, half of the picture books I borrow from the library are more for me than Devin, and this was one of them. I don’t expect him to be interested in those ones. But he was interested in this one. He actually really liked it. Possibly more than our other Oliver Jeffers books.

Fizz the Fire Engine!, David Wojtowycz – Plenty of onomatopoeia, colour and action. It’s not my favourite, but hey, I don’t read them aloud for me.

Waiting For Mummy, Tae-Jun Lee; Dong-Sung Kim – The first time I read through this on my own, I missed a vital part, and I was heartbroken. I actually got teary. The pictures are the most beautiful I’ve seen in a story book. I just want it in my house. If Devin happens to like it one day, that’s a bonus. It’s not an easy or cheap book to get a hold of, though…

Go Bugs Go!, Jessica Spanyol – I really don’t like this book, but Devin really does. I first borrowed it from the library, and he loved it so much that we felt obligated to purchase our own copy. It’s basically just a bunch of bugs having crazy, deliberate mishaps in their silly vehicles.

Dig Dig Digging, Margaret Mayo; Alex Ayliffe – one of the first books I ever borrowed from the library for Devin, and it’s still one of his favourites. I could also probably recite this one from memory. Each page is a dedicated to a different big machine – diggers, fire engines, garbage trucks, tractors etc. – beginning with what they’re good at. “Cranes are good at lift, lift, lifting…”

I will cut it off there, though I could easily recommended the majority of books on Devin’s shelves – I try to consider additions carefully. When Jene brought up the fact that so few books feature fathers at all, let alone fathers portrayed positively, I spent a few nights trying to find appropriate books to fill that gap. It turns out, it’s a surprisingly large gap in the genre in general, but I did buy two books – Daddy Calls Me Doodlebug by J.D. Lester, and Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand – that make a satisfactory beginning to the ‘dad book’ category. For now.

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