Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth is my favorite book by well known author/illustrator, Eric Carle. The sloth is a fascinating creature. It lives most of it’s life hanging upside down, living in trees, and sleeping for 15-19 hours a day! It’s certainly a gentle, peace loving creature, moving so slow the animal itself becomes a habitat for moss and insects. In this story all the other rain forest animals want to know why the sloth is so slow. He just hangs there! So lazy! So boring! Finally the sloth defends his lackadaisical nature–he just appreciates tranquility! This book offers a lot for a child to learn: first to stop and smell the roses, simply enjoy life around them, and take things slow, and also facts about the sloth in general, an interesting species threatened by deforestation.
In Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf by Judy Sierra, illustrated by J. Otto Seibold, we discover that the Big Bad Wolf has since retired to the Villain Villa Senior Center. He looks forward to checking the mail every day, but it’s always bills bills bills! But one day he receives an invitation to come the library for a tea party. He doesn’t much care for tea, but he loves cookies. His friend the crocodile informs him of proper etiquette by teaching him a catchy ditty. Mr. Wolf dresses in his best suit and is off to the library. After three cups a tea, he feels a burp coming on. Good thing he knows it’s polite to say “excuse me” when one belches (although he didn’t realize you say it after the fact, not before, and ends up announcing his faux pas to everyone)! This book is a really cute take on traditional characters that your child is sure to enjoy.
Joe Fenton’s What’s Under the Bed? introduces to a cute bespectacled boy named Fred, who would much rather play with toys the go to sleep. After some coaxing, he goes to lie down, but then… what’s that sound? Is there something under the bed? Fred’s imagination runs wild. Perhaps there’s a monster hiding in his room. Is it red? Or green? Fat? Or thin? Does it have sharp teeth? Or long scary nails? What if it’s hungry? Oh dear! We better take a look under there to make sure. There is something under the bed! It’s Fred’s teddy bear! What a relief. If your child has a fear of the dark this book might help put their mind at ease.
Paul Owen Lewis cordially invites us to the most smashing event of the season in P. Bear’s New Year’s Party. It’s black tie of course, so only the most formally dressed of Polar Bear’s friends will be there. An orca, some dairy cows, skunks, zebras, pandas, dalmations, and of course penguins are on the guest list. Help Polar Bear count down to his party, with the aid of a clock on each page and the setting sun and rising moon in the background of each dichromatic illustration. This book is great for teaching your child simple concepts of counting, colors (or lack thereof), and telling time. Plus it’s just great to see a new year’s party with a whale. I wish I was there!
I Can Save the Earth! is from the line of “Little Green Books” teaching children about the environment. In this story we’re introduced to Max, a little monster with some bad habits. Max throws his trash anywhere he pleases. He lets his sink overflow, and clogs his toilet with paper. He leaves every light in his house on, until one day there’s a blackout. Max goes outside to see what caused it and discovers how beautiful the earth is. He hadn’t noticed how much he loves the beach, and animals, and playing outside. Max changes his ways to help the earth. He conserves energy, recycles, reduces and reuses. He’s a green monster now, and you can be too!
The Neighborhood Mother Goose is one of my favorites by the fabulously talented Nina Crews. Crews was inspired by her neighborhood in Brooklyn to create this urban reprinting of traditional nursery rhymes. Each verse is illustrated photographically–pictures of real children with beautiful multi-cultural faces accompany each selection. Every page is a delight, whether it’s Pat-a-cake with two girls in front of a bakery, Georgie Porgie on the playground, to market to market to buy a fat pig at the grocery store, or Mary Mary quite contrary watering her garden. It really modernizes and brings meaning to stories that seem trite and old-fashioned to the new generation. Check this book out for a spicy new taste of Mother Goose!