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Thursday, February 10, 2011

What We're Reading: January and February

From the moment I learned to read, books have been one of my favorite gifts to receive for Christmas and birthdays.

So I was happy Little Ricky received and liked so many books for Christmas!

Here's what Santa, family and friends gifted him with...

This summer when we spent a week at the beach with my family, my mother and Little Ricky started saying "Cha cha cha" to each other. I can't remember how it started but by the end of the week it even had a little dance that went with it. So when my mom found Cha Cha Chimps before Christmas she knew her little Cha Cha Cha pal had to have it.

Little Ricky loves the rhythm and rhyme in this book and I love the hilarious story of little chimps who sneak out to go dancing at the nearby jungle club. Similar to "Five Little Monkeys", one by one something happens so that by the end you just have one little chimp dancing. And then Mama Chimp shows up! Mommies will really love how this book ends!

Thanks, Nan Nan!

Santa knows how much we love Sandra Boynton at our house and left The Going To Bed Book in Little Ricky's stocking. With more of Ms. Boynton's great rhymes and silly storytelling, this book has become a permanent part of our bedtime routine.

And the part where the animals brush their teeth often reminds Mommy and Daddy that, OOPS! We forgot to brush Little Ricky's teeth! So not only is it a great book, it's helping us in the dental hygiene department too!!!

The next two books are from my aunt who always finds great books for Little Ricky.

The bright colors in Lemons Are Not Red have made this book a big hit with my little guy! Each page features a die cut shape on top of the wrong color for that object. When the page is turned the die cut object is now laying on top of the correct color. A fun way to start learning our colors!!

Not A Box pays tribute to the power of little ones' imaginations. A little rabbit is questioned why he is sitting on, in and under a box. Each time he responds "It's not a box!" The next page then reveals what the box is to him--a race car, a robot, etc. The simple illustrations are sweet and I love that the cover even looks and feels like a cardboard box.

These next two books hold a very special place in Ricky's and my hearts. While living in Amarillo, I had a theatre student named Elise who was not only a lovely dancer and actor, but also had one of the kindest hearts I've ever known.. She was also a dancer for Ricky when he choreographed TEXAS: The Musical Drama the summer of 2001. Ricky and I (and everyone who worked with her) adored Elise and were devastated when she was killed in a car accident that summer.

We have kept in touch with her mom (another lovely, kind woman) and were so touched when she sent these books to Little Ricky for Christmas.

The first, The Armadillo from Amarillo, follows an armadillo as he travels the great state of Texas. The illustrations are amazing and really capture the place I still consider home.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb is an adorable book full of silly monkeys teaching about hands, fingers and thumbs. As always Little Ricky loves any book with a fun rhyme and he especially loves all of the drumming these monkeys do with their thumbs! I love knowing that this was one of Elise's favorites when she was little. Makes this gift and book all the more special.

This book was not a Christmas gift this year. My parents gave it to us the Christmas I was pregnant and we've enjoyed reading it to Little Ricky pretty much since day 1. But what makes Goodnight Moon even more wonderful these days is Little Ricky's participation. About a month ago we discovered he has parts of the book memorized! Each night we read it and when we get to "and a quiet old lady whispering..." Little Ricky responds in the sweetest whisper "hush." Awww, breaks my heart every time.

And now on to February. You've probably figured out by now that I love holiday themed books, so here's what we're reading to celebrate Valentine's Day!

Little Ricky's love affair with Elmo continues in the next 2 books. Both Elmo Loves You and My Fuzzy Valentine are sweet, simple stories designed to introduce your little one to Valentine's Day. My Fuzzy Valentine even has flocking on Elmo on each page; Little Ricky loves touching it and saying "COH! ZEE!" (cozy)

Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! is part of the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie series. This sweet story teaches little ones the joy of celebrating our friends. It's our first from this series, but won't be our last!

We LOVE lift the flap books at our house! Little Ricky never tires of going page by page looking behind lamps and inside cupboards in Where Is Baby's Valentine? So far all of the flaps have remained unscathed, but as often as he flips through this book I have a feeling I'll be making some repairs before Valentine's Day is over!

And now for me! I received a couple of books for Christmas and actually made time to read them. So nice; I miss reading.
My Mommy Hung the Moon was my Christmas gift from Little Ricky. I LOVE Jamie Lee Curtis' children's books and this one is extra special with its message of unconditional love between a mommy and her kiddo.

Committed is from the author of Eat, Pray, Love. After escaping a bad marriage in her first book, Elizabeth Gilbert must now decide whether to marry her boyfriend or risk never seeing him again as he's lost his visa. She spends a year researching marriage to help her come to terms with the institution.

I didn't find this to be as fun a read as Eat, Pray, Love (no chapters on gorgeous Italian food, sadly), but I did enjoy learning more about the history of marriage. I especially found interesting the information on early marriage and how it's really not what the anti-gay marriage folks want you to believe it to be. It might behoove them to read this book and discover that waaaaaaaayyyyy back in the day the Christian church was ANTI marriage. (They wanted everyone to be celibate.) So there goes that "that's the way it's always been and the way the church has always wanted it" argument.

Okay, off my soap box.

Another sequel. Cleaving is the follow-up to Julie and Julia which I loved. Cleaving? Not so much. I didn't hate it; in fact, I really enjoyed it. But God! Julie Powell is ANNOYING! I found her whiny and over dramatic in Julie and Julia, but that was NOTHING compared to her in Cleaving!

In this book, she has just ended (not by her choice) an extramarital affair and is learning to be a butcher. As she learns this new craft she also attempts to figure out what it is she wants relationship-wise. And let me tell you, she's a twelve year old. The ridiculous lengths she goes to to try to get her ex-lover to take her back made me want to reach through the page and strangle her. Middle of the night texts, driving past his apartment, sending him gifts when he has made it clear he is done. Is she an adult or a junior high girl?

And notice, none of this was done trying to win her husband back. He's no saint either, but after reading both of her books I think Jesus himself would have problems living with her.

So it sounds like I hated this book, right? I really didn't. It was very interesting and even while hating her, I wanted to know how it all turned out.

So there ya have it. Our current reads. What are you reading? Anything awesome you recommend for me or Little Ricky?

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