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Friday, September 16, 2011

Assorted Half Dozen Books The 3 Year Old Enjoyed

Every once in a while I write a cluster post of books that the kids enjoyed. Sometimes they are a collection of books on a particular topic, sometimes just a random set of recent reads, typically grouping Ana's separately from Og's favorites, considering their age/development and interests.

As always, some books are spectacular and take my breath away, inspiring me and leaving me in awe of the author/illustrator - even as a jaded adult. Some books are just fine, I can see why kids like it. Some books of course, I'd rather not worry about too much.

The six books listed here are Og's recent favorites, not particularly because they are special to him, but just that he liked reading them over and over at bedtime for the last few weeks. I liked a few of them (the animal ones) very much for the illustrations, simple text, and the way it lead into deeper conversations.

Three of the six collected here are animal books and three are about machines/construction/train/bridge and such things that I am yet to start feeling excited about :)

  1. Loon Baby
    Molly Beth Griffin
    illustrated by Anne Hunter

    Thanks to Lang Elliott's Songs of the Wild Birds, the Common Loon is a household name even if none of us has seen one face to face. Perhaps that's a reason why Oggie liked the Loon Baby book.

    A baby loon wades around with his mother who usually dives down to bring him back some food. Once, she dives and doesn't resurface for an unusually long time, which gets the baby loon very worried.

    He wanders here and there looking for her, getting lost in the process. When he must've felt completely abandoned and helpless, of course, the mother Loon finds him and takes him under her wing, safe and sound as always.

    The illustrations are gorgeous (sample at Anne Hunter's studio). The calm blueness of the watery dwelling is idyllic. The panic and rush of emotion when the baby fears he is lost is brought out beautifully well.

    The text, crisp and simple, flows easily for read-aloud sessions. There is plenty of opportunity to talk about what the loon could have done differently when he didn't see his mother come back when he expected her to.

  2. Puffling
    by Margaret Wild
    illustrated by Julie Vivas

    Atlantic Puffin became a favorite, again, thanks to Lang Elliott's Songs of the Wild Birds - it had the most surprising bird call which sounds like the whirring of a chainsaw (audio available here).

    A baby puffin is eager to go out on his own. His loving parents, Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather, tell him, "When you are strong enough and tall enough and brave enough, you'll leave the burrow all by yourself". Meanwhile, they feed him, care for him and teach him what to expect when the day comes.

    Am I brave enough? Am I strong enough? the puffling wonders as he grows impatient waiting for the day when he can venture forth independently.

    The illustrations are beautiful. Puffin is certainly an interesting-looking bird with bright beak and black/white body coloring ("like a toucan and penguin, mama"). The illustrations bring out not just these striking features of the mature birds, but also the fluffy softness of the baby puffin.

    Not surprisingly, very rarely has a picture book captured us minus the gorgeous pictures. Sort of antithetic to have a picture book with humdrum pictures, isn't it?

    Another wonderful book that opens up plenty of things to talk about. When Oggie wonders whether he is ready to drive a backhoe or climb a ladder to the attic by himself, it is nice to quote the puffling's anxiety and how it all works out for him when he is just ready to do all the things he has learned to do.

  3. Chameleon, Chameleon
    Joy Cowley (Author)
    Nic Bishop (Illustrator)

    Madagascar Panther Chameleon.

    Can't say it without feeling a certain something. They are colorful and strange-looking.

    Colour Colour Kamini was perhaps Og's first introduction to chameleons as we had it handy in our bookshelf after a recent trip to India back in 2009. Since then he has liked chameleons and we've read a few fiction and non-fiction about these creatures, including well-beloved Eric Carle's The Mixed-up Chameleon.

    This is a simple non-fiction photo book with a real-life story unfolding through the pictures. A male Madagascar Panther Chameleon wanders around looking for food and enters the territory of a defensive female. Through his friendly body language he convinces her that he is not a threat and she lets him in.

    Therein ends the story. Nothing is mentioned of mating or procreation or life cycle. Just a simple episodic a-day-in-the-life-of style narration. The photographs are awesome. There are some notes at the back about how the photos were taken.

  4. The Bridge Is Up!
    Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz
    illustrated by Rob Hefferan

    A very simple book that excited the resident 3 yo. It is about a draw bridge that is up so one by one as vehicles/animals come in they have to wait to go across. Then, of course, the bridge comes down, and nobody has to wait anymore.

    The cumulative and repetitive aspect is always fun - a bus waits; a car comes, so the car and the bus wait; then a bike comes, now the bus, the car and the bike wait... and so on. The illustrations have a certain kid-appeal, simplistic and funny.

    Our city is blessed with many bridges and Og loves going over them when we go about town. We even have draw bridges and I've waited at times when it was up during the rush hour morning commute. So, it was not surprising that Oggie chose to bring this book home from the library, after I read it to him once when we were there.

    (Link to an author interview)

  5. My Truck is Stuck!
    by Kevin Lewis
    illustrated by Daniel Kirk

    What's not to love about dogs and dump trucks? Better yet dogs driving dump trucks!

    As they truck along, two dogs find their truck's wheel stuck in a pothole. One by one other vehicles come in to help pull it out but without success until who should arrive? The Tow-Truck!

    All's well that ends well and everybody is on their way, happy and moving along. There is a sub-story as well for the observant reader where the gophers who dig the hole make off with the dump truck's load of bones. Perhaps that was their intention in digging the hole?

    The rhyming text and child-friendly illustrations made this a favorite bedtime read.

  6. I am a Backhoe
    Anna Grossnickle Hines

    Bold color illustrations, with a little boy as the protagonist, digging, dumping, rolling and scraping, pretending to be the machines he so loves to play with and read about, this book was much-enjoyed at bedtime, and otherwise.

    I liked that it inspired imitation and movement rather than passive listening - it was nice to see the little arms make the scoop and dig motions, his whole body rolling on the floor like a roller and so on... the rhyming text was easy to read along.

    I dig my hand into the sand, my scooper hand.
    Dig. Dig. Dig. Lift, turn, tip. I am . . . a backhoe.

[image sources:, Molly Beth Griffin's website,,,]

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At 8:47 AM, Blogger Kodi's Mom said...

Thank you, if your 3yo enjoyed it, mine would too! :) all your recos - esp the animal themed books - are major hits here. we loved dinosaur counting, then Graeme base, monkey business (for the older one)
so i will check these out.
we also recently liked some compassion themed stories like - Violet Comes Home, Story of Ping.
I should just post a review!

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Ditto, KM! Any book you rave about, we know we'll enjoy it, so keep those reviews coming :)


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