Category: - Stuff I Love
Olivia by Ian Falconer is a favorite in our household.  The kids love the Olivia books because they are colorful, energetic and all about a spunky (and sometimes troublesome) little pig.  I love the books because they remind me that kids will be kids and it's best to look at their antics with a good sense of humor.  When my kids are acting up, it's a headache.  When someone else's kids are acting up, it's good literature.  Olivia's creativity is inspiring for my children, and it reminds me that kids need freedom to be creative.  Even if it lands them in their rooms while Mommy scrubs the walls.  This series is ever expanding as Olivia gets herself into all kinds of new mischief.  We can't wait to see what she's up to next - can you?
Our family can't get enough of the Berenstain Bears.  We read the books, we watch the cartoon, we even play with the decades-old Happy Meal toys.  Not only are Daddy and I nostalgic about the beloved books we grew up with, but our kids are downright crazy about this lovable bear family.  My husband has even wistfully mentioned that he wished we could all move to Bear Country and live down a sunny dirt road. 

The pictures are cheerful and the stories are engaging, but what I love most about these books is their ability to teach a lesson without seeming pedantic.  Instead of feeling like they've just 'learned something' my kids come away laughing at the silly antics of Papa Bear or the temper tantrums thrown by the kids.  But days later I'll catch them saying things like "we shouldn't bite our nails, it's a bad habit" or "we need to be polite or we'll have to do extra chores."  As young as they are, the get it and because they learned from the Bear family instead of from their own Mama and Papa, they are much more likely to incorporate those ideas into their own lives.

We hardly miss a bedtime without reading at least one of these books - and with 0ver 30 years worth of stories to choose from, we haven't grown tired of them yet!  Don't forget to check out the Berenstain Bears' Almanac, Nature Guide and Science Fair to add a little dose of academics to your day as well!  I have a feeling these bears will be handed down to the next generation some day - and maybe many more to come.
Continuing on the train theme, this week's Book Of The Week is Crossing by Philip Booth and Bagram Ibatoulline.  The simple but clever rhymes in the book keep the story flowing and the pictures are breathtakingly beautiful.  This book portrays a train crossing through an absolutely picturesque 1950s town.  The details are stunning, and the descriptions of the cars as they pass will teach the readers (adults and kids alike) a thing or two about the parts of a train. It's already become a favorite in our household!

My children are suckers for rhyme.  They clean up their toys at bedtime because we have a rhyming song.  They let Mommy rock them on her lap for hours if she's singing a rhyming song.  And their favorite library books are rhyming books.  My boys are also suckers for trains.  Especially trains on a journey.

Rob and Amy Spence combine trains and rhyme in Clickety Clack.  This book builds on the clack-track-black-back rhyme sounds and takes us for a ride on the rails with a coach full of crazy characters.  It's as fun for parents to read as it is for children to listen to, and its gentle rhythm will help to lull even the wildest bunch to sleep. 

Full of colorful illustrations, this book is sure to be a bedtime (or anytime) favorite.

My kids have recently discovered a new favorite author.  Dan Andreasen's book A Special Day For Mommy was a must read (and read again) for bedtime for at least a month.  The tender stories and vibrant pictures in his books captivated my kids. 

The Treasure Bath is another favorite in our household.  The kids adore this wordless book's expressive pictures - and they can't wait to hear what new narration Mommy or Daddy will give it each night.  We can't wait to add to our collection of these sweet books.

The Fontenot Four
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Little Miss Nerd Girl
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