Little Miss Clara has started showing preferential treatment for the items on her bookshelf … BIG TIME. Pick something other than one of her favorites for a nighttime reading and she flails, stiffens, slides off your lap and toddles over to her bookshelf to fish out the proper one. She can recognize them by simply the spine. All of this at 14 months. Girlfriend has opinions! We are in for it.
Here’s a look at Clara’s top 5 book pics at 14-months. Enjoy!
Ringing it at #5 is the fabulously interactive Birds of a Feather
by Bernadette Gervais and Francesco Pittau. This lovely, over sized book is too large for Clara’s bookshelf so is stored on top alongside a couple of other over sized tomes. Clara will reach up over her head, look through them all, and then pull this one down and bring it to Mom or Dad for a tour. I say tour because at her age, this book is much more about an experience than it is a read. Every page includes fun flaps and realistic illustrations of all sorts of birds from around the world. Clara especially loves the page where lifting egg-shaped flaps reveals the bird that laid them. The language of the book is simple but scientific. I imagine she will enjoy this book for literally years. Coincidence that one of her first words was bird? Maybe not.
Coming up just behind at #4 is Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Book) by Dorothy Kunhardt. Yes, good ole Pat the Bunny which was originally published in 1940. My girl, like her mother, thinks a good classic never goes out of style. Clara actually owns 2 copies of this little gem but the first we set her loose on is already so tattered and torn that we’ve retired it and we’re on to the second copy. She interacts with every. single. page. My favorite is when she presses her nose against the mirror, leaving a little cloud of condensation behind. Adorable.
Sliding into our countdown list at #3 is the new classic, Llama Llama Red Pajama written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney. This delightful book, with it’s rhythmic rhyme, is a joy for both parents and kiddos. In fact I’m rather fond of quoting it when Clara demonstrates a flair for the dramatic; “Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama.” It’s interesting to watch her expressions as we read this one. I can see her start to tense up when baby llama gets really wound up and start to relax again when mama llama reminds baby of her love. It’s a real page-turner for the one-year-old set in that way.
Garnering deep love at #2 in our top 5 list is Margaret Wise Brown’s The Fish With the Deep Sea Smile. This book has a similar rhythmic rhyme to LLRP (above) and has been updated with fabulous modern illustrations. Clara likes to read this book all the way through once and then go through it again, this time turning the pages herself and pointing to the fantastical fishes that grace each page. Sidenote: did you know that Margaret Wise Brown wrote hundreds of children’s books (not just Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon)? What a fun lady.
And topping our charts is Lots of Lambs by Laura Numeroff and Lynn Munsinger. Clara absolutely adores this book. We read it practically every night. It’s chock full of fun interactive content like flaps to lift, textures to feel, and wheels to turn. The illustrations are light-hearted and clever and it’s got that rhythmic rhyme that makes my gal all giddy. Tonight I had to pull out the packing tape and do a little repair on this fan favorite to make sure it’s part of our bookshelf for many months more. I have books that I remember from my childhood and something tells me this will be one of Clara’s. Memories in the making, folks!
We’re classic new parents. Here’s the evolution of our thinking on the toy situation:
During our pregnancy:
“She’ll have mostly books and classic wooden toys so she can use her imagination and not be so susceptible to ADD like other kids. We’ll tell our families to use restraint with purchases so she’s not spoiled and our house isn’t over-run with plastic. Oh, and no TV whatsoever until she’s 2. La-de-da.”
6 months into parenthood:
“Let’s just take the coffee table out of our den altogether so she has some room to crawl and clear these shelves under the TV for her toys. Did you see how interested she was in that plastic, singing ball popper when we were walking through Target the other day? Yeah, well she really loves her Melissa & Doug wooden grasping giraffe too so we’re cool. I know we said no TV but she’s not really watching it so it’s no big deal to have it on, you know, just at night.”
8 months into parenthood:
“Hey honey, that V-Tech singing, light-up, rolling, uber-plastic toy suitcase that we’ve had our eye on is on sale on Amazon so I ordered it today along with a huge singing, light-up, rolling, uber-plastic walker. Yeah I can try to pare down the toys in the den a little so the shelves aren’t overflowing anymore. Oh did I tell you that Clara watched 45 minutes of Turbo while laying on the couch with me the other day? It was so stinking fun and I’m so proud of her attention span!”
13 months into parenthood:
“She would go bonkers for a ball pit, don’t you think? And she’ll be coloring in just a few months. Man I really wish she had a table on an easel or something so she can get creative. Or even a tent to read in! Yeah honey I can pare down the toys in the den again … they really are overflowing the shelves, you are right. I keep finding the meats and breads from her play kitchen under the damn couch. Speaking of the play kitchen, could you scoot it over a little bit so the remote can reach the cable box?”
Ergo begins the playroom planning fest ergo HOURS spent on Pinterest. We’re thinking of converting our downstairs guest bedroom but retaining the functionality with a built-in daybed. We’re doing this the DIY route so you’ll get to follow along on the blog.
Here’s a sneakity peek of what we are thinking.
Follow Julia Perry’s board Playroom on Pinterest.
Anybody have any advice for playroom organization?
Yes she did! And your kid can too.
Do you know about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library? It’s an awesome program. Your kid can receive a FREE, age-appropriate book, addressed right to them, every month from birth to age 5. Amazing, right?
This is Clara’s library of free books so far.
Any kid can qualify, regardless of their economic status, as long as there is a local organization funding the program. So here in Nashville, the United Way fulfills the books and administers the program. You can check to see if there’s local support for Imagination Library where you live here.
I know you are thinking that these books can’t really be cool. And of course some are better than others … but overall you can count me impressed. So you can get a feel for what you can expect, I’ve included Amazon links to the 11 books we’ve received so far below.
In collecting these links, I noticed that almost all of these books are at least $10. That’s nearly $100 worth of free books (in just one year!) to spark Clara’s imagination, increase her verbal skills, and delight her parents when she toddles over carrying the latest one for us to read to her. Dolly will have sent Clara 60 books by the time she turns 5. According to the website, nearly 700,000 kids are registered for the program in the US alone. That is a boat load of books. Go, Dolly!
Our girl Ms. Parton is from right here in Tennessee, you know. She grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee, quite near to where my grandparents lived for most of their life. It’s beautiful country but poor in places. Dolly started this program in her home county to support literacy and a love for reading, imagination and creativity. Now it has expanded to multiple countries and hundreds of thousands of kids. It’s such a simple thing, providing free books for kids, but so effective and just plain exciting. It won’t be long before Clara starts looking for those books in the mail. Imagine how pumped she’ll be on days they arrive! It’s exciting for me too! Will and I are cultivating a whole new appreciation for children’s books (good gravy they can bring such smiles), in large part thanks to this program.
Check to see if Imagination Library is available where you live today!
If you are looking for a witty and creative children’s book for the early elementary set, The Day The Crayons Quit is a slam dunk. If you are looking for illustrations that will transfix your 1-year old and narrative that charms the pants off adults, I speak from real experience when I write that The Day The Crayons Quit is also the book for you (this one was a Christmas day hit for the whole family)!
In this wildly imaginative book from author Drew Daywalt and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, crayons voice their coloring complaints to their owner, Duncan. Each page is a hilarious, hand-written letter that details the tribulations of life in the crayon box. Red has tired of holiday duty. Favorite Blue has been worn to a nub. Yellow and Orange aren’t speaking due to a disagreement over the true color of the sun.
While the humor will be lost on toddlers, it won’t be lost on you. Buy this book now to enjoy with your family for years to come.
Available locally at Parnassus Books. Also available on Amazon: The Day the Crayons Quit. Subject to availability … this little book is selling like hotcakes!