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Book Reviews

Applesauce Season  by Eden Ross Lipson and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

This book has been on high rotation since it came into our lives (thank you, generous extended family).  It is less plot driven than some of our other books.  Instead, this story is told by a little boy who lives in the city.  His family has a weekly tradition - perpetuated by his spunky grandmother, of course - of making applesauce during applesauce season.  

Three things about this book appeal to me: (1) the narrator is a cute city kid; (2) it underscores the value of family traditions; and (3) the subtext suggests eating local is eating right.  The family gets their apples at the local farmers' market, and they make their applesauce according to the apples that are available each week.

So, for the locavores out there, you will enjoy reading this book with your little one(s) as a way of instilling and reinforcing your locavoracious values.  For the rest of you, I imagine you will also enjoy reading this book simply because it is about a little boy joining a family tradition.

(N.B.  The illustration of their farmers' market bears a striking resemblance to the green market in Union Square except that there appears to be room to run in the illustration.  My experience at the Union Square Saturday Morning Food Hooplah has taught me to be patient because there is no room for turning around, let alone running.)

Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom  by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, illustrated by Lois Ehlert

An excellent book.  It rhymes.  The illustrations and graphics are simple and bright.  All of the lower case letters try to climb up one coconut tree.  Can they all fit?


No.  They do not all fit on one coconut tree.  There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and although they are little, lower case letters, there are simply too many to fit onto one coconut tree.  Obv.

The tree bends down with their weight, drops them all to the ground, and the upper case mamas and papas and uncles and aunts have to help them up.

Baby loves, loves, loves this book.  This morning, I was reading a different (but equally awesome) book to Baby.  He spotted Chicka Chicka, Boom Boom on the cushion next to me, and he promptly rolled right off of my lap, arms reaching out for his dear, brightly colored (and delicious?) book.  If that is not a ringing endorsement, then I don't know what's what.

Jeremy Draws a Monster  by Peter McCarty

We have two Peter McCarty books right now, and Jeremy Draws a Monster is the current favorite.  Jeremy is a little boy who stays in his room and draws - even when he can see other kids playing outside his window.  One day Jeremy draws a monster who begins to rule Jeremy's life.  The monster dictates a long list of necessities, which keep Jeremy inside drawing for him all day, and the monster even takes Jeremy's bed at night.  The monster, who has the number "3" on his belly just as Jeremy has the number "3" on his tee shirt, easily could be Jeremy's fear of making friends.  Will Jeremy let the monster rule his life forever?


No.  Jeremy is a crafty little guy who figures out exactly how to deal with his fear monster.    

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Adorable.  I fell in love with this book the first time I read it to Baby.  It takes place in (Park Slope) Brooklyn, which is nice.  Willems perfectly captures the way parents and babies try to communicate with one another before they share a common language.  Trixie tries to tell her daddy something important but has to make do with only her baby babble sounds, her cries, and her physical expression of distress.  After several blocks of miscommunication, Trixie and her daddy end up back at their door a little worse for wear.  Who immediately knows what's on Trixie's mind?



Set a book in brownstone Brooklyn, mix in some adorable illustrations and pictures, add a pinch of cuteness between a little girl and her daddy, bake until the dialogue between parents (who have words) and babies (who don't) is golden, let cool, and frost with the brilliance of a mommy -- and Voila! a perfect Knuffle Bunny.

What does Baby think of Knuffle Bunny?  He tried to eat several pages this morning, which is one of his highest forms of praise.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Of course The Lorax is great, it is by Dr. Seuss.  It is a wonderful story that reminds us that the world we live in is beautiful, that every living thing is connected, and that we need to conserve our natural resources. But what's more is that it rhymes and offers us awesome words and phrases like "where the Grickle-grass grows," "his Snuvv, his secret strange hole in his gruvvulous glove," the "Whisper-ma-Phone," and "Brown Bar-ba-loots" in their "Bar-ba-loot suits."  Reading this book to Baby is a verbal joy.