Monday, February 13, 2012


When Finn was gifted Animalia for his birthday a few years ago, I was not familiar with Barbara Berger's work. I soon became familiar because I was so impressed with this collection of animal stories with breathtaking simple, yet complex, illustrations.

Each story is pulled from the legend of a saint or from a traditional Chinese or Buddist tale. The stories are short enough for the attention span of young children without sacrificing the authenticity of the tales. Perfect for sharing when you want your children to have a love of good fables without the silliness or watered down stories found in so many children's books today.

Then there is the stunning artwork. And you know what a sucker I am for beautiful artwork in children's books!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scholastic's First Discovery books

I don't remember where or when I first stumbled across this little ladybug book, but I'm guessing Elizabeth was 3-4 years old. She was immediately taken with the occasional clear pages that would hide then reveal the underside of a ladybug or show you the inside of a ladybug pupa. Once she tired of the book, Philip discovered it, then eventually Finn.

Somewhere along the way, another of these books entered our home, this one about castles. Now you weren't just looking at the impressive, imposing exterior of the castle, but you could see inside to the various rooms and people working various jobs inside.

I stumbled on 2-3 more of these books at our local used bookstore and always snatched them up when I found them so when our amazing next door neighbor carried over a whole stack that used to be loved by her, now mostly grown, children. Finn was so thrilled and he has read little else, or requested little else read to him, since this stack of exploration and learning arrived.

I think he convinced Paulie to read 5 in a row on Saturday morning before they even ate breakfast and I'm sure I saw Philip snuggled in his bed on Sunday morning while he begged for "just one more" before they came downstairs for the day. His favorite of the new stack, I think, is the penguin book with the sweet little birds walking on ice floes and diving into the water.

In keeping with the beauty of these books, he also gets to see the penguins swimming in the Antarctic and the bottom of the glacier.

Not only can he see underwater in the Antarctic, but the inside of a chicken, bees and butterflies pollinating flowers, the rainforest floor, and the various holes, tunnels, animals and bugs found under the ground.

What an amazing and attention-capturing way to present information to little ones!

PS. Some of these books are still in print, but many are not. However, you can find lots of used ones on Amazon and probably your local used bookstore.