Friday, November 14, 2008

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

Okay, it's time for one of those gratuitous dad posts. Our little girl's world has been pretty small thus far, but it's getting bigger all of the time. She's meeting more kids and adults, and she's just beginning to learn how to get along without Mama or Daddy. The little milestones that occur each day make me very emotional. I want to absorb everything for her, but I can't. I'm thankful that I know she has someone bigger than me holding onto her.

I'm talking about this after taking another look at Kadir Nelson's He's Got the Whole World in His Hands. It's such a beautiful book. I'm going to be keeping my eye out for this illustrator.

Amazing scenes of a family interacting with their world accompany the familiar song. We start big with a view of the heavens, then the San Francisco skyline at daybreak, then right to a boy holding a picture he drew of his family. "He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands." It just gets better from there.

I highly recommend this inspiring book to all families.

Here's our little one out in the great, big world. As my grandmother used to pray over me, "Be round about her, Lord." God be round about you, too.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World

Unfortunately, when we lost our camera, we hadn't downloaded the photos and videos of Maya playing in and around our new composter (I call it Darth Vader). It's full of scraps now, so we're probably not going to reproduce those. You'll just have to imagine. But here are Maya and I stealing leaves for Lord Vader from Uncle Wade and Auntie Katie when they weren't home (their trees are leafier than ours).

It's hard to imagine that preschoolers could enjoy a book about green living, but Maya really likes 10 Things I Can Do to Help My World, by Melanie Walsh. Some pages are die-cut to entice page-turners like Maya.

The tips are simple, like turning off the water when brushing teeth or making a recycle bin. There are two levels of text. I'll confess we just read the big "I" sentences. But there are short explanations for older kids.

Say Daddy

I've been noticing that Maya is very good at learning the words we aren't stressing and ignoring the ones we are. For example, I've been stressing the word "book" since she was, oh, two weeks old. My professional pride was riding on that being her first word. Nope. But she will walk up to us and say, "Reeuuuu," which is her version of "read".

Say Daddy!, by Michael Shoulders and illustrated by Teri Weidner, is about just this phenomenon. Each family member reads to the new baby and at the end says, "Say Daddy" or "Say Nana." But baby doesn't comply.

Finally, the baby comes out with "Book." Everyone is pleased, though Daddy just won't give up.

There is a lot of text here, so I'd say this one is a little long for preschoolers.

Here's Maya showing off her reading skills and Mama's first attempt at pigtails.

Where's My Mummy?

I guess it's a mummy theme. Where's My Mummy?, by Carolyn Crimi and illustrated by John Manders, is one of Maya's new favorites.

Little Baby Mummy wants to play hide-and-seek instead of going to bed. So he "tromped, tromped, tromped to the deep, dark woods, the spookery woods..." At each turn he hears scary noises. "Clank clink clank Woo boo woo Clank clink CLOO"

Each time it's a familiar face who tells Little Baby Mummy to get on home because it's dangerous out in the dark woods.

Finally he comes upon a truly frightening creature. A mouse. Luckily Moma Mummy is there.

Lots of great sounds. Even glubbing and gurgling.

Here's Maya raiding her loot. We of course ate her candy, but not before she mushed it up for an hour. Does etiquette dictate that we trade our candy for our neighbors', knowing that we'd be eating theirs? Ah, never mind.

She's a frog, BTW.

Ten Little Mummies: An Egyptian Counting Book

Ten Little Mummies, a not-necessarily-Halloween-book by Philip Yates and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, is so clever and has such a catchy rhyme.

Ten mummies are bored in their tomb so they go out for adventure. One by one they are whisked away by various incidences. "8 little mummies committed hijinks. One was arrested for painting the sphinx."

Eventually one lonely mummy returns to the tomb to find that all her friends are back together.

For your kindergarteners or first-graders, this one will help with counting and Egypt-specific vocabulary when they get to that unit in school. You know they will. Right after pirates.

Boo, Bunny!

All right, I know I'm late for Halloween, but I have to get a few of Maya's first trick-or-treating photos up here. We went to three of our neighbors' houses then came back to hand out our own candy. Patty and I were both off work for Halloween for the first time that I can remember. It was very pleasant meeting some new neighbors. Here is Maya knocking on a door (ours actually). Luckily she had been practicing "Knock knock".

Boo, Bunny!, by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Jeff Mack, is a good introduction to trick-or-treating. It shows the bunnies being a bit scared, but having fun. Good mental preparation for your timid toddler.

The pictures are vibrant, and there is some great onomatopoeia.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Snowy, Blowy Winter

It's another early winter day here in Minnesota. Maya hasn't been that excited about the snow thus far, but once it starts piling up on the ground, I think she'll get into it. Here are pictures of what may have been our last cookout.

Snowy, Blowy Winter, by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Judy Stead, is a fun winter book with an infectious rhyme. The best part are all the adjectives, real or made-up:
"Six more weeks of snowy blowy glowy frosty freezy stuffy sneezy strappy zippery icy slippery...." It goes on and on.
In the back is a recipe for Snowy, Blowy Ice Cream. That's right, a dessert made of snow. I'm a bit wary, but Patty swears she's gonna try it. I did put my foot down on where she gets the snow.
Mayareads got another nod from a website for parents by teens. We're on the list of 50 Best Dad Blogs. Thanks to the teens who chose us. Here's a link to their site: