For the record, I’m still avoiding brownies and staying (mostly) strictly on the 30-day, clean-eating-challenge plan. And, frankly, that’s pretty much been my week. Well, that, and my beloved (really!) mother-in-law came to visit. I have been blessed abundantly in the in-law arena (#humblebrag), so when I get a “Are you up for a visit this weekend?” text from the husband’s mama, I reply, “GET DOWN HERE!” Or something to that enthusiastic effect.
In literary news, I’ve been trying to enjoy Quiet by Susan Cain for February’s Reading Challenge pick. But, y’all, Mama’s riding the struggle bus. I just struggle with non-fiction! This confession makes me feel like such a literary lightweight. Sigh.
I am continuing on, though. Mostly because my husband told me I can’t fail the reading challenge on month #2. For real.
Since I found myself distracted by my beloved fiction novels, I thought I’d give a rundown of what I’m reading. Oh, and I figured I’d give you a list of what George has on his reading agenda as well.
The Toddler’s Top Three:
It’s Elementary!: How Chemistry Rocks our World by Robert Winston
So, yeah, George is into the periodic table of elements. He loves watching this video and matching a set of periodic-table flashcards with his periodic-table place mat. Will this make him socially successful in middle school? I have no idea, but I’m going to keep playing to his strengths, regardless. Plus, my science-nerd hubby found a wife, so there’s plenty of hope for George’s future too!
I decided to be a good mama and check out a few kid-appropriate periodic-table books from the library, which I knew would be a burden when he discovered them, as I’d be asked to read them over and over. This one, though, isn’t as stick-a-pencil-in-my-eye as other non-fiction kid books (See? I have a problem with non-fiction for any age!). It gives practical examples of many elements, so I don’t have to abstractly try to explain nitrogen to my 3-year-old.
Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum by Lisa Wheeler
Y’all, this one is just fun. The rhymes are quirky, and the pacing is so interesting. George got hooked for about two weeks straight, probably because he’s addicted to gum himself. He loves hot gum (cinnamon), leaf gum (mint), and white, blue, or green gum (the vast varieties of mint). In this book, a number of animals get stuck to bubble gum in the middle of a road. When a truck comes, the animals have to work together to get unstuck and avoid a collision. Cute. Cute. Cute.
Everything is Mama by Jimmy Fallon
Yes, that Jimmy Fallon. Not only is he capable of making A-list celebrities do hilarious things, he’s also a top-notch board-book writer. Who knew? I loved Your Baby’s First Word will be Dada, and this one is just as cute and clever. This one rings especially true as both of my children are in this phase, as evidenced by George’s face being three inches away from mine when I wake up every morning. The two books would make an ideal baby-shower gift.
Bonus! Board book recommendation!
Peekaboo by Giuliano Ferri
OK, this one doesn’t actually have words, but it’s pretty obvious. Each page has an animal face with two flaps covering it. You (or your baby) opens the flap-hands, and you say, “Peekaboo!” Then the baby laughs, drools, and adores you forever. The last page (spoiler!) is baby hands covering a mirror, which, of course, is Olivia’s favorite.
Mama’s Favorite Picture Books
Petra by Marianna Coppo
I found this picture book to be delightful. It’s about a little creature? Rock? Egg? Regardless of what she is or how big she is, Petra is confident in herself and her circumstances. “Petra is a rock, and this is how she rolls” is the book’s tagline. Somehow, the author created an adorable, little (big?) character out of a stone.
Everything by Mo Willems
Notice: There’s not actually a book called Everything by Mo Willems. I’m literally telling you that I enjoy everything written by Mo Willems. Obviously, I’m not alone in this. He has a number of stories about two best friends, an elephant named Gerald and a pig named Piggie. These are easy-reader books, so the pages clip right along.
We currently have Are You Ready to Play Outside?, Happy Pig Day!, I Love My New Toy!, and Should I Share My Ice Cream? in our possession. I read a number of Willems’ books to George about a year ago, but he’s definitely hit a better age to appreciate them. I’m especially pushing Should I Share My Ice Cream? in reference to his little sister…
Roar! by Tammi Sauer
OK, I’m a bit prejudice about this one. I saw the behind-the-scenes making of this picture book at the SCBWI conference I attended. I loved watching how the writing and illustrations morphed into this adorable, finished product. It’s a sweet story of a little boy imagining he’s a big, scary, fire-breathing dragon. But when his (imaginary?) dragon friends contradict these beliefs, he feels he’s “all wrong.” In the end, even though the dragons can do things the boy can’t and vice versa, they become close friends. Presh.
What Mama Reads:
As I mentioned, I’m mostly reading Quiet by Susan Cain, so I’ll give you the full rundown when I finish (potentially on February 28th).
I was distracted by These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. It’s a novel written as the journal of a young woman in the late 1800s in Arizona. The USA Today quote on the cover claims, “Jack and Sarah are as delicious a couple as Rhett and Scarlett,” and I tend to agree. I got caught up in the romance fairly well, but I lost momentum after they got married. In most romances I read, the wedding is the very end of the book. (Spoiler!) This couple gets married in the middle, so it feels odd to see “real life” lived out through this fictional couple. I’ll probably finish it, as it was highly recommended by my favorite literary blogger, but I decided to put it down and be responsible with my reading challenge pick.
I also read Wires and Nerve, Vol. 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer because, frankly, I couldn’t resist. It’s a graphic novel that wraps up the Lunar Chronicles by Meyer, which is, by far, my favorite YA series. I love everything Meyer has written, and I’ll continue to get on the waiting list every time she sends something new into the world.
OK, time to turn Victoria: Season Two back on before bed.
What are you reading? If you’re reading something in a new genre for you (à la the Reading Challenge), let a Mama know!