Ever feel like you’re constantly in a cycle of not having enough time? Unfortunately, I realize that most of this stems from my sad lack of time-management skills. When the kids’ bedtime hits, I have this loooong list of things I’d like to accomplish, but some evenings simply fall down the social-media scroll hole. It’s absurd, really.
I did “accomplish” something fun this weekend, though. I attended a children’s picture-book boot camp (sponsored by SCBWI and featuring author Fred Koehler). We spent the day (thankful to my sacrificial and supportive hubby for keeping the kids!) crafting first drafts of completely new picture-book ideas. I came away pretty inspired.
Also, since I had three hours of car time to myself, I finally listened to the entire Hamilton soundtrack, and holy wow. It always makes me a little angry to realize there are people out there with such over-the-top talent. Not that God didn’t bless me with my own little bag of gifts, but still! Just the idea that someone created a rap-musical based on the founding fathers with an all-minority cast. Like, what? And how does it work so well?
Side Note: If you have tickets and are looking for a plus-one, I GUESS I could tag along. You know, since you asked…
I’ve been lax in providing wonderful children’s picture-book recommendations, so I’m picking up some slack tonight. We constantly foster 75-plus library books in our home, and a new batch came in today. Instead of letting George zone out in front of YouTube (he’s currently obsessed with this brilliant piece of entertainment. Yeah, I don’t get it either), I did the admirable mom thing, spread a blanket on the floor, laid down on a pile of pillows, and read book after book to my babies. It’s always fun until Olivia decides she needs to sit her saturated diaper on my face. True story. Yeah. My husband suggested that maybe she’s trying to tell me something…
And so, on the brink of fall (the humidity has been ree-dik-yoo-lus—thank you, Florida!), here is George’s and my top three lists.
The Toddler’s Top Three:
I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett
Hey, Mac Barnett. You and I seem to meet here often. I (mostly) like your style. This one, though, seemed to whizz right by me. Apparently, to love someone “like a pig” is the highest compliment. You can like someone “like a rowboat” or “like a tree,” but to love them like a pig? Hot-diggity! Also, I’m not sure how you can be “lucky like a window,” but there you go. Basically, George reads (i.e. recites from memory) this book to me every night, and, frankly, I can’t get enough of his sweet, little voice saying, “I wuv you wike a pig. Oink! Oink!” The first book I remember “reading” was Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman to my grandma. I’m curious if this will be his first reading memory.
Ten Orange Pumpkins by Stephen Savage
Yeah, we’re still on this bad boy. George almost has it memorized, so he enjoys “reading” it to me as well. I enjoy Savage’s graphic-design skills. This one isn’t quite as insightful and clever as Where’s Walrus?, but it’s perfect for Halloween with a toddler. Plus, the rhyming pattern wraps up the book tidily, especially when my toddler recites, “Happy Hawohween!”
Up! Tall! and High! (but not necessarily in that order.) by Ethan Long
This one has that shiny Theodor Seuss Geisel Award sticker on the cover, which I think it perfect, as it reads like a modern Dr. Seuss. Three separate stories involve birds, flaps (page flaps, not wing flaps), and near-puns. Light-hearted with clever little twists, I agree with George that this one is a winner. It’d be a cute gift for a first birthday.
Mama’s Top Three:
Snappsey the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever! (probably) by Julie Falatko
Please go discover Snappsey the Alligator. I cannot think of a style I like more than an unreliable narrator pulled off very, very cleverly. Hmm, maybe when the characters break the fourth wall (hello, Mel Brooks!). In the original, Snappsey the Alligator (did not ask to be in this book!), Snappsey is going about his normal day when the unseen narrator begins misinterpreting Snappsey’s motives. SPOILER! You learn that the narrator is a chicken who wants to be invited to a party. (My husband advises you to read the original before this one). In this sequel, Bert the chicken has decided that he and Snappsey are BFF, much to Snappsey’s dismay, as Bert is still around after the party and “all the other guests went home WEEKS AGO.” It’s just my jam, y’all.
Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds
You’re stealing my heart, Mr. Reynolds (see: Carnivores). With Creepy Carrots, we saw little Jasper Rabbit torturing a field of helpless carrots, so the carrots haunted him in return. (For more info, watch this dramatic behind-the-scenes). Now, we watch a coming-of-age story as Jasper isn’t a “little bunny” anymore, but a “big rabbit.” He begs his mom to buy one pair of creepy underwear, as opposed to Plain White. I won’t spoil it for you, but, in the end, the underwear saves the day. For real. Cute and ideal for little boys in October.
Pete with No Pants by Rowboat Watkins
Can you tell I’m a boy mom? We’ve moved past underwear and straight into commando territory. (Don’t fret! Everybody Poops will never make this list). Pete is a little elephant who is trying to decide his identity. He’s big, gray, and not wearing pants. This must mean he’s a boulder. Hmm, but he’s also gray, nuts about acorns, and not wearing pants. So, does that mean he’s a squirrel? It’s a conundrum, really. Witty and sweet, especially the relationship between Pete and his mama elephant. And the squirrels, who are the best.
What Mama Reads:
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Yeah, I’m basically just trying to earn some nerd-cred in the fantasy realm, and I say that because this book is a BRICK. At 700-pages-plus, it’s going to take awhile. However, it’s fabulous so far. It’s compared to Lord of the Rings, but I’m not sure if I agree, impression-wise. I can let you know, if you’re interested.
You know the main issue with finishing a book this long? Someone else wanted it from the library, so I had to return my copy. Therefore, I purchased the book. This feels like the kiss of death, as I constantly have a stack of deadline-approaching library books. How can I read a brick of a book with no due date, when I have a stack of supposedly great books that will soon leave my possession? It’s a rough life I lead. Also, it’s apparently a trilogy. What have I gotten myself into?
On Mama’s To-Do List:
How They Choked: Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg – This one was in the juvenile section at the library today, but doesn’t it just sound fun?
Always a Bridesmaid for Hire by Jen Glantz – Apparently this is a real thing?
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – I’ll never get here before I have to return it, but I’ve heard great things!
So, what are you up to, fair reader? Read anything recommendable lately?
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