Saturday, November 1, 2014

Other Books We Love


When the idea of 31 Days of Great Books for Preschoolers first occurred to me, I struggled to think up enough titles to cover. Could I really find that many great books???

Of course, not long into my preparations and field research {reading with my darlings}, I realized that I would have the opposite problem. How could I narrow it down?!??

For time would fail for me to tell of Henry and Mudge, McDuff, the Dinosaur books by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, Kermit the Hermit, Mirette, Ben and his trumpet, Fancy Nancy, Wild About Books, The Pout Pout Fish, Little Blue Truck, Guess How Much I Love YouPajama Time, I Love You Through and Through, The Monster at the End of this Book, The Poky Little Puppy, Little Mommy, the Mr. Men books, the Berenstein Bears, Clifford, Amelia Bedelia, the Nutshell Library, Babar, Click, Clack, Moo, Rosie's Walk, Winnie the Pooh, Jamie O'Rourke, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Othello Bach's work, the work of Eloise Wilkin, The Children's Book of Virtues {William Bennet's Book of Virtues for a younger audience}, and all of David Wiesner's exquisite wordless picture books. And for all of this brainstorming, I am certainly missing at least one hundred other titles.

Which annoyingly, will occur to me as soon as I click "publish."

I've loved gleaning new titles from you all- thanks especially goes to Kristen for her recommendation of Drummer Hoff, a new favorite in the O'Neill household.

For Duck Dynasty fans, we just checked out D is for Duck Calls from the library, and it is a hoot. We've been using it to hammer down S's letter recognition. The illustrations are actually gorgeous!

If you walk away from this series with one thing, I would want it to be the realization that there is an overly abundant fountain of quality literature for preschoolers. The only real trouble is that no childhood is long enough to get through them all. Seriously.

Keep reading with your babes. Keep visiting your library and exploring the shelves when your children aren't running {too} wild. Keep asking friends, librarians, and other kids what books they love. Try to remember and hunt down the books you enjoyed as a child.

The memories you are sowing, and the educational foundations you are laying, will last a lifetime. Keep reading, mama!


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Friday, October 31, 2014

All the Other Eric Carle Books


I know that I already touched upon Eric Carle on Day 3 with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and I know that many {MANY!} of the children's authors we've discussed in this series are very wonderful and worthy, but somehow Eric Carle stands out in my mind as the quintessential author and illustrator of kid lit.

Maybe it is the gorgeous bright colors he uses, or his extremely distinct style. Every time you see his work, you know who did it. Maybe its the clever way he takes information from nature {could be blah subject material in the wrong hands} and manages to spin a spellbinding story that educates as well as entertains little ones. For all of the above, I just had to give the man an extra day in our quick survey of quality books for preschoolers.

You've most likely heard of, if not read, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but did you know that Mr. Carle has published well over 5o titles?!? And that he is still actively working? It might be a fun childhood bucket list item to try and read them all.

Here are a few of our less well-known favorites:

Pancakes, Pancakes! {1970}. A little boy asks his mom to make pancakes for breakfast, and she instructs him on how to help her. From growing, threshing, and grinding grain, to collecting an egg from the chickens, to milking the cow, kids get an in depth peek at just how complex the process of food preparation is!

The Secret Birthday Message {1972}. A little boy receives a note the morning of his birthday, with a map of instructions to follow in order to find his birthday gift. The special present ends up being every little boy's dream!

Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me {1986}. A little girl wants to play with the moon and asks her Papa to get it for her. The moon, too large for Papa to carry, tells him that each day it will get a little bit smaller. Finally, Papa is able to fulfill Monica's request.

A House for Hermit Crab {1987}. Hermit Crab has outgrown his shell, and needs to find a new home. With his new shell on, he sets off to decorate it. A fun and vividly colorful introduction to a large cast of sea creatures!

Little Cloud {1996}. Little Cloud has fun forming lots of different shapes in the sky. When he meets back up with the rest of his family, its time to do what clouds are made for: rain.

Mister Seahorse {2004}. Did you know that in several underwater species, the male is responsible for hatching and caring for their young? Yeah, I didn't either until we read this book. Parents and kids alike get a nifty science lesson.

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse {2011}. I was most fascinated by extra information the author shared on the back flap of the book. Eric Carle writes a brief tale from his time as a child in Nazi Germany {who knew???} and tells about the artist he wrote this book in honor of. History and Art lesson for parents :).

Friends {2013}. Classic boy meets girl tale, this title is Eric Carle's newest. It charmed me.

What's your family's favorite Eric Carle book?


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Gaggle of Mother Gooses


I believe that every child ought to be exposed to Mother Goose. These poems and witty rhyming tales have been passed down for hundreds of years, and are an integral part of Western culture. Because they rhyme, they are easy pieces for young children to memorize. Preschoolers really ought to be memorizing as much as possible- their brains are so fresh and capable, and information stored permanently now will assist and benefit them for a life time. Most of the tales present a moral or important truth, excellent education for young minds.

But where to begin? There are many, many options out there. Since the rhymes are practically ancient, texts are all basically identical. Find a copy with illustrations that you and your child love.

Here are a few we like around here.


My Very First Mother Goose, edited by Iona Opie and illustrated by Rosemary Wells. I really like the work of Rosemary Wells {of Max and Ruby fame}, though I understand that not everyone is partial. My daughter loves the bright animal illustrations. We read this one the most frequently at our house.


The Glorious Mother Goose, selected by Cooper Edens. This 1988 edition features artwork from the 1800s and early 1900s, with several different pictures for each rhyme. I love to note the differences in depictions, and old illustrations are just my cup of tea.


The Original Mother Goose, based on the 1916 classic with pictures by Blanche Fisher Wright. I really really like the illustrations in this edition. Ladies in bonnets with quaint and delicate features, pink cheeked cherub babies, old hags with huge noses, and charming victorian printed curtains and bed skirts. My grandmother got it for S one Christmas, and it is a definite keepsake.

For younger readers with shorter attention spans, Mary Engelbreit has put out several smaller board book collections. Funny Mother Goose, Happy Mother Goose, Silly Mother Goose, etc. We've checked several of them out from the library. If you're a fan, definitely grab a copy :)!


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Mo Willems


So you know when an author just really gets kids, but also really gets parents? And while your little one is getting into a story and really enjoying it, you are actually having fun {with the story itself, and not just the act of reading together} too?

You have to read Mo Willems.

A prolific children's author, and winner of several Caldecott Honors, Mo Willems just gets it, if you know what I mean. And he's produced, and is still producing. tons of awesome titles to give you and your kiddos plenty of quality reading material.

His Elephant and Piggie books remind me of a modern day Frog and Toad. Pigeon is hee-larious, Knuffle Bunny is so relatable, Cat the Cat strikes a chord with its off-beat humor, and Amanda and Her Alligator is heartwarmingly adorable. So much good stuff.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Go check out some Mo Willems at your local library today. You can thank me later ;).


Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman {1960}


I can still remember my mother reading Are You My Mother? to me as a little girl. My own daughter loves to read it with me now, and pretty much every construction/utility vehicle we see, from crane to tow truck, is a "snort". We'll see if my son can identify these vehicles more specifically at age three... but my little girl couldn't care less. "Snort" is a technical enough name for her ;).

Plot. When her egg begins to hatch, Mama Bird decides she better quickly run off and get some food for her new baby. While she is gone, Baby Bird is born, and decides to go looking for his mom. On the hunt he meets many different animals... none of which is his mother. Finally he gets scooped up by a digger, and dropped precisely where he belongs: back in his nest. Just in time for his Mother to return!

Author. Philip Dey Eastman was a protege and colleague of Dr. Seuss himself.

Educational Opportunities. Look at pictures of moms and babies. Have your child identify which baby animal goes with a cow, a dog, a bird, etc. Talk about baby birds- how they come in eggs, hatch,  where they live, and what they eat {science}.

Activities. 


Other Resources. You can watch the Random House video of the book here.

Be sure to also check out... P.D. Eastman wrote and illustrated a number of books, Go Dog, Go probably being the second most popular. Look him up in your local library system!



Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!