Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy 16-Month Birthday, Baby!

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
TODAY'S READING: Jackson is finally ready for Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks and Things That Go and we've been looking at it a lot. He likes asking about all the vehicles and identifying the various funny animals. Carrot car!

TODAY'S MOM HOMEWORK: The free PDF How and Why I Taught My Toddler to Read by Larry Sanger (cofounder of virtually my favorite part of the Internet, Wikipedia). Takeaway so far: Fine, fine, I'll order that Leapfrog Magnet Set to go with everything else I'm doing. I was really hoping to go old-school on fridge magnets, but I think having the alphabet be a talking toy just makes sense.

TODAY'S PROGRESS: I thought for sure Jackson learned his first letter ("O") but then he went and called it "A" when I was trying to show off his mad skillz to his daddy. (A is for argh!) In other news, on the advice of Jen B., I have three baskets of books set up in Jackson's room (as well as the main baby bookshelves in the living room). The baskets of Little Golden Books and Leslie Patricelli books are still getting quite a bit of circulation, but I've noticed that Jackson has all but abandoned the Karen Katz lift-the-flap books, Where's Spot? by Eric Hill and the touch-and-feel book the state of California gives you when your kid is born. So today I swapped those out for his first set of full-size "Seuss." He has quite a few pocket-size Seusses on his board book shelf, but this is the real stuff!

Dr. Seuss's ABC / Beginner Books
There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
Bears on Wheels by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo. LeSieg
The Berenstains' B Book by Stan and Jan Berenstain
He Bear She Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Inside Outside Upside Down by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss's ABC Book

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Quasi-Educational YouTube Baby Playlist

See above for my quasi-educational YouTube baby playlist. This is a very eclectic mix of videos I would let my kid watch, consisting of a weird mix of Looney Tunes and early Disney shorts that are just part of our collective heritage now, e.g. Little Toot, One Froggy Evening; classic Sesame Street segments ("City Alphabet" is a personal favorite); an ASL fingerspell video (see my recent baby signs post); some musical animated shorts (Tubby the Tuba and Disney's Peter and the Wolf); the Animaniacs educational songs; and so on. I'll continue to add to this over time and/or eventually do a spinoff of ABC and phonics vids.

FYI, I've found that YouTube user NantoVision1 has the best collection of vintage Sesame Street clips, if you desire a childhood flashback or two.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thanks, fellow mother!

Lady, I don't know who you are, but I like the cut of your jib. You just cleaned out your book collection, and handed off what I consider to be a treasure trove to the look charity store.

Thank you, fellow mother, for the following:
  • A brand-new copy of David Macaulay's Castle, which I know you just gave away because you got it as a gift, and your kids totally already a copy--because otherwise no one would ever give away Castle, am I right?
  • A Kumon Workbook that's untouched except for the three answers your smart kid filled in before he turned to you and said, "Mom, this is too easy, I know how to do this already!"
  • Bouncing, by Shirley Hughes, the author-illustrator who created the adorable Alfie series, about a bouncy baby and his even bouncier big toddler sister. I especially like the pictures of action verbs (pouting, dancing, counting) on the endpapers.
  • A treasure called The Garden in the City by Gerda Miller that was translated from German and is quickly my second-favorite seasons book after The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen. The dead goldfinch symbolizing the coming of winter and the "to every season turn turn turn" nature of life particularly stands out, as so little death is permitted in children's literature. Also, compost is mentioned, and nature-related craft projects are described in sidebars, whee!
  • Oh, the Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss: "KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!"
  • Two living math books by Marilyn Burns, including the hilarious and startlingly informative geometry storybook The Greedy Triangle. I think I learned that a circle is just a polygon with a bajillion sides. Maybe. I definitely learned about octagons though.
  • How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen (goddess of children's lit) and Mark Teague, which is the first, best and original book in the nine-volume series of how dinosaur-shaped toddlers go about daily life. Also, lots of things end in -osaurus. Good times. 
  • A Hide and Seek ABC book with spinning wheels that reveal new objects that start with the same letter. Not my favorite, but hey, I never turn down a new-fangled ABC book with fancy thingamabobs!
  • Two fabulous books, originally published in Japan, about bodily functions: The Holes in Your Nose by Genichiro Yagyu (boogers) and The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho (farts, duh). "If you fill up the holes in your nose with morning glory seeds, the seeds will swell up and begin to sprout. Your nose will hurt a lot. And that would be terrible!" "Animals such as skunks and stink bugs protect themselves by letting out a smelly fluid from near the holes in their bottoms...This is not farting." I think I left Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi behind somewhere in the book stacks at the store, so naturally I'll go back to look for it tomorrow on the way to the zoo. All three are part of the My Body Science series and my OCD will not permit an incomplete set! (Apparently I'll also have to get All About Scabs--and yes, that's a real book title--and so is The Soles of My Feet, and more understandably, Contemplating Your Belly Button and Breasts.)
  • And then, oh, the baby-oriented board books. Mother friend, you have good taste: Lots of baby faces books, touch-and-feel texture books, a flush-the-potty book with a sound effect button that still has a working battery, a beautiful colors book that combines contemporary photos and great paintings to explain the emotions colors can evoke, plus Boynton's Moo, Baa, La La La (we just read this at the library and loved it), Margaret Wise Brown's Big Red Barn (someone just recommended it to me, I love MWB's poetry, and oh yeah, J is obsessed with farm books), and a baby board book version of the early reader classic Ten Apples Up on Top written by "Theo. LeSieg" and illustrated by Roy McKie.
Thanks for the haul, book mom! I am truly grateful.