Monday, February 23, 2015

Tiny Monsters

What do you see in this picture? Beauty or terror?

For my three-year-old, walking through a butterfly rainforest was terrifying. Anything that moved scared her. Instead of being awed by the colors, she screamed at every butterfly she saw, certain that it was going to hurt her. No amount of reasoning or soothing could convince her otherwise. She finished our brief time in the exhibit in Daddy's arms, squeezing her eyes closed and hiding her face in his shoulder. Which was probably good because we passed a small dog on the lap of an old man in a motorized wheelchair at the end. And we all know how terrifying lap dogs are.

Wait, you didn't know that? In her world, they are. She ran away from a stone turtle on someone's lawn till she realized it was "just pretend." The huge T-Rex skeleton? Cool. Butterflies? Terrifying. She's also very afraid of monsters and wakes up screaming some nights because of monsters (aka shadows on the wall). I've tried telling her that there are no such thing as monsters.

Then one morning she told me that the night before she found tiny monsters on her pillow--so she smashed them! It's made me think. Should I stop trying to convince her that monsters aren't real? Because to her they absolutely are. That strange shadow on the wall at night is without a doubt a monster. And in a different guise, there are monsters that she will face in the world. Maybe it would work better to help her believe that she can beat the monsters in her life. If you see a monster, you face it, you smash it, because you are brave and you are stronger than the monsters you will face, both real and imagined.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Dear Storytime Librarian,

It is possible to read a story and carry your voice so a group of kids can hear you without using a high-pitched nasally half scream that terrifies my baby. I'd love to keep bringing my kids to storytime, but I don't want to scare my baby every week.

Thank you,
Concerned Mom

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Some Favorite Picture Books

To get kids excited about reading, it helps to have books they love. Here's a list of some favorites around our house.

Anything by Mo Willems. If you don't know who Knuffle Bunny is, if you're not friends with Elephant and Piggie, and if you've never had to stop the Pigeon from driving the bus, you're missing out. We love everything by Mo Willems. We always stop at his spot on the library shelf to see if there's anything new by him--or old favorites. A less known Mo Willems that my girls love is Leonardo the Terrible Monster.

King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently is a charming story about a boy who fights off dragons with his brother and friend. One of my girls has chosen this book every single night since we got it from the library.

Press Here by Herve Tullet was another favorite library find. Press the button and fun things happen with the dots on the page. I was surprised at how much my five year old loved reading and playing with this book. In an age where she's familiar with tablets and things really do change with the touch of a button, she had fun imagining along with this book.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. This book is best read by daddy with lots of enthusiasm. When she was only two, my daughter could recite this book along with him.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is my favorite picture book ever. My boy will be Max for Halloween some year.

Other books my kids love:

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Snowy Day by Ezra Zack Keats
Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin
No, David! by David Shannon
Robert Munsch books
Look and Find books

What are some of your family's favorite picture books?