What We’re Reading Wednesday

As I sit here, eating an untouched half of Lucia’s pb&j sandwich from preschool this morning, avoiding a to-do list that was probably overly ambitious to begin with (“Treat laundry stains”? For real? “Mail voters registration” — that’s not toooo late, right?) … how about a tour of our kiddie lit library finds that haven’t made me want to gauge my eyes out lately?

Okeedokey.

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I picked up Building Our House solely because I recognized Jonathan Bean’s name from the list of authors who’ll be at the Connecticut Children’s Book Fair next month. (Sidenote: will I fulfill my dream of meeting Tomie de Paola and almost assuredly embarrass myself in the process? We shall see. All I know is, as I told a fellow mom and de Paola fan, if I don’t end up going and he dies before next year’s fair, I’m gonna be mad). 😮

ANYWAYS.  Building Our House is a picture book about the ultimate DIY family: they build their own freaking house. I mean. Come on. Oh, and like 3/4 of the way through, the mom gets pregnant and later on is carrying around a newborn like nobody’s business during moving day. (Just in case arts and crafty blogs and winsome, Montessori homeschool Pinterest boards don’t make you feel inadequate enough).

I kid, mostly. This is a pretty adorable book told from the oldest daughter’s perspective, although it’s based on Bean’s childhood experience of his parents really, truly building their own timber frame house. Even 3-year-old “I want to be a ballerina for the All Saints party” Lucia requests it daily, soaking in illustrations like children gathering stones from the neighbors’ pastures in order to break them up into the concrete mixture used for the house’s foundation. Who knew pictures of a pregnant mom stapling insulation in the dead of winter could be so fascinating?

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The Growing Story, by Ruth Krauss, is another cute one, and the fact that this edition is illustrated by Helen Oxenbury makes it a winner. The prose is a little too repetitive for my taste, and maybe teeters in the balance between simple/flat. (But — what do I know?) Still, the concept is sweet — little boy watches the plants and animals on the farm growing around him and wonders if he’s really growing, too — the end made me smile, and the illustrations totally make it worth it.

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I’m probably the last literate person on the planet to realize this, but — oh my gosh. THIS POOR MONKEY.

Luke was all, “What, you didn’t know George was kidnapped by poachers to be exploited in America?” but yeah, somehow I missed that subtlety as a kid.

Lucia tolerates the books as my attempt to transition her from PBS’ spin-off back to the written word (can anyone tell me why, in the show, George sometimes lives in the suburbs, and other times in a high rise in the city? Hmmm? This is literally something that kept me up at night this week). It amuses me how George’s shenanigans stress her out as much as they did to me as a kid. Same cloth, I suppose.

Go visit Jessica for more book recommendations! And Happy Halloween!

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