Goodnight, Gorilla

Title: Goodnight, Gorilla

Author: Peggy Rathmann

Age Group: 1-3 years old

The plot, in three sentences or less: The zookeeper is saying goodnight to all the animals, but he’s being trailed by a sneaky gorilla who happens to have his key ring! All the animals follow the zookeeper right into his bedroom, and have to be escorted back to the zoo by the zookeeper’s wife. The gorilla, however, sneaks back into bed with them in the end.

The Good:

* This book has so few words, yet is so amazingly captivating. The Grumpkin has loved this one for about six months now.

* The art is colorful and adorable. I love the giraffe!

* The story is peaceful. It’s naturally conducive to going to bed.

* It’s a quick read. Trust me, after the eightieth time (in one night), this is appreciated.

* For the observant ones in the crowd, check out the journey the balloon takes (in the background of each page) while the story progresses. Nice touch!

The Bad:

* Truthfully, I’ve got nothing. This is a great book for the little ‘uns.

My Overall Opinion:

Definitely a super one for bedtime. The Grumpkin will, however, request this book at any point in the day. Her favourite page (by far) is the one where the wife realizes the animals are in the room with her. It’s the surprised expression that gets my gal giggling.

So pick it up. What are you waiting for? 🙂

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Title: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Author: Mo Willems

Age Group: 2-5 years old

The plot, in three sentences or less: The pigeon REALLY wants to drive the bus, but the bus driver specifically asked you NOT to let him. So, you know, even if he asks a LOT (and he will), don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.

The Good:

* Everything Mo Willems does is brilliant. There, I said it. I am a HUGE fan, and I admit: I had this book years before I had The Grumpkin.
* This book is perfect because it allows a toddler to finally take the role of the person who gets to say ‘no’ all the time. The toddler is usually in the pigeon’s shoes, so this is a nice change.
* I love the art. I especially LOVE the “LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!” page. I still giggle at it. And I’ve read the book well over 100 times. So either I’m easily amused, or it’s awesome. Or maybe both.
* The Grumpkin thinks the whole story is just gosh-darn hilarious.

The Bad:

* Nothing to say here. I love the pigeon.

Extend it:
* The best thing about this book is the pigeon’s mercurial moods. We discuss the way he feels and how he has his ‘great big pigeon tantrum’ to get his way. The Grumpkin enjoys the tantrum immensely.

A little anecdote:
I was with The Grumpkin saying goodbye to my BFF at the bus station. As we were parting ways, a pigeon walked through. I pointed it out to The Grumpkin and said, “Look, that pigeon wants to drive that bus!” And I swear, she was delighted. She wouldn’t stop staring at the pigeon until we left. I guess she was either waiting to say no, or waiting for a great big pigeon tantrum.

My Overall Opinion:
No collection of kid lit is complete without this Caldecott Honor book. Get it now! Your life will be 100% richer in pigeons.

Are You A Cow?

Title: Are You a Cow?

Author: Sandra Boynton

The plot, in three sentences: The reader is asked if they are a variety of animals. The answer is, of course, always no. The perceptive penguin at the end of the story realizes that the child is themselves – and that’s just great.

The audience: 6 months-2 years

The Good:

* The pictures are adorable, as they are in all Sandra Boynton books.

* The Grumpkin is a big fan of this one, especially the ending (and especially if it involves a tummy tickle).

* The bear in sunglasses. I’m a sucker for a bear in sunglasses.
The Bad:

* The only ‘bad’ thing is the fact that the chicken appears twice. Why not use a different animal the second time?

 

Extend it:

* We name each animal and discuss its features (“The chicken has white feathers! The bear has brown fur and very becoming sunglasses!”).

* We talk about what noises each animal makes as we read the story.

* We also ask “Is Daddy a cow?” “Is Mama a chicken?” (Only when it comes to the dentist.)

Overall: You need this adorable board book in your collection. Your munchkin will love it.