I first went to the local public library with Dylan when he was about 18 months old. But...it didn't go very well. Since then, I bought tons and tons of books for him, most good, some so so. We needed an activity one evening, so I decided it was time to go back.
And I also think it's going to become a new series since I've enjoyed writing other book reviews: Our Favorite Books Toddler Version.
(I'm going to go on a 4 star rating system. 4 = Love it! 3 = Like it. 2 = Meh. 1 = Dislike.
1 - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems ***
I'd heard a lot about Mo Willems since becoming a parent and I knew that Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus was one of his top titles. It's cute that the bus driver talks to the reader so Dylan can answer back, and it's funny listening to all of the ways Pigeon tries to convince you to let him drive, but I just don't love it. Maybe when Dylan is a bit older (and more manipulative) it will hit closer to home.
2 - Knuffle Bunny, Mo Willems ****FAVORITE****
This is definitely my favorite kids book of the moment. In this book Willems draws cartoon characters on top of real black and white photos. It's really nicely done. And there are quite a few reasons it connected with our little family: a laundromat...Dylan loves to go to the laundromat with his Dad. So at the laundromat, the Dad accidentally puts Knuffle Bunny in the washer and he and his daughter leave without it...and she freaks out. She tries to tell him, "Aggle, Flaggle, Klabble!" But she can't talk yet. Dad respond, "Yes, we are going home!" Then she goes into a full on tantrum, at one point "She went boneless." Dylan doesn't get that one yet, but I'm sure all of you parents do! In the end, Knuffle Bunny and the little girl are reunited and she says her first words, "Knuffle Bunny!"
We really enjoy reading this book together, but the funniest part is when Dylan is just doing his thing and then he looks over at me and says "Snurp" with the cutest smile on his face. Or "Aggle, Flaggle Klabble." I'm pretty sure he knows they aren't real words which is pretty fascinating and he knows that it's funny when he says them.
3 - That is Not a Good Idea, Mo Willems ***
This one is a little dark. It's written like a "talky" movie with white letters on black pages after images. A fox seems to court a duck so that he can take her home and cook her in a soup. After each fox and duck page, a little chick says "That is NOT a good idea," "That is REALLY NOT a good idea." "That is REALLY, REALLY NOT a good idea" and so on. But in the end, the duck pushes the fox in the pot and she and her chicks eat the soup. Like I said, a little dark and probably suited for older kids. Definitely good to show irony and/or a reversal of expectations. I think Dylan just likes the "That is REALLY NOT a good idea" pages.
4 - Lemons are Not Red, Laura Vaccaro Seeger ***
This one is great for young kids who are just learning colors. Each page has a cut out of an object that is the wrong color. "Carrots are not purple." And then you turn the page and the cut out is over the correct color. "Carrots are orange." It's cute and clever and simple also with beautiful painted images. Perfect for a toddler mastering colors.
5 - Storm Whale, Benji Davies ****
This is a newer book and it's really sweet, but Dylan didn't love it (probably suited for older kids). A little boy, Noi, lives with his dad on the ocean and one day during a storm, a small whale washes ashore. The little boy puts the whale in the bathtub. Eventually he shows his dad and his dad says they have to take it back to the ocean. His dad realizes that Noi is lonely and gives him a big hug. Sweet, somewhat sad story, with beautiful images.