I dropped by the library for mere moments the other day and found a plethora of cute picture books on the "new" shelf. I've read them by bits and pieces all through the week and I have three absolute favorites. All three while different have sort of a connection about imagination and comfort.
Naughty Toes by Ann Bonwill; ill. by Teresa Murfin (2011) Tiger Tales
Chloe narrates this tale about life with her perfect ballerina sister, Belinda. She's not jealous, which is the first thing I noticed and loved. When their mom takes them to the ballet store to pick out leotards and shoes Belinda picks classic pink and white. Chloe picks a wide array of bright colors. The two sisters head to Madame Mina's dance class where Belinda has "good toes" and Chloe "naughty toes" while Mr. Tiempo keeps the beat on his bright yellow piano. Before the next class Dad does their hair; Belinda's hair folds elegantly into a beautiful ballerina bun while Chloe's pokes and struts refusing to be tamed. This illustration is great, showing Dad with bobby pins peeking out of his frown. Back at class Madame Mina gives directions and Chloe continues to flounder. On the day of the big show Belinda gets a bouquet from Madame Mina and Chloe receives a box from Mr. Tiempo- tap shoes with a note that reads..."follow your feet." The message is clear and abundant. Every character in the book celebrates their own path. Chloe's never scolded for marching to the beat of a different drummer. Each parent participates in their own way.
This is a perfect score!
Princess Super Kitty by Antoinette Portis. (2011) Harper.
Simply narrated by a little girl with short cropped dark hair who is pretending to be a kitty. My own children did this often, asking for food on the floor, as they purred and scratched their way around the house. Most memorably my two oldest loved to pretend they were wolves. Oh, those were the days. Such an abundance of imagination! This young girl shifts from kitty to Super Kitty, ready to save the world by rescuing her baby brother. She even delivers his bottle in "zero seconds". Super Kitty quickly morphs into Princess Super Kitty as she marches around the house for her family to adore. Each new character allows her the freedom to make a new choice about doing something helpful like taking a bath or playing nicely with her brother. From the tone we can easily hear that she is not a demanding or shrill princess character. I adore Portis' other books, Not a Stick and Not a Box and this is another one to add to my collection.
Goodnight Dragons by Judith L. Roth; ill. Pascal Lemaitre (love his work!). (2012) Hyperion Books.
This is a "boy" book filled with wonderful imaginative play. This little guy wants to tame dragons so he gathers his tools and fills his wagon. He traipses off to the forest with his trusty "horse" dog. The book at this point hadn't stirred my creative soul just yet but then this line hit me: "With a voice strong as hawksong, I call them to me. Come you heartbreakers. Come, you brokenhearted. Come put your fire with sweet chocolate milk." he repeats peeking through the treetops. That line is magical to me-this little boy in the trees, offering comfort to the dragons, who come swarming for his call. Instead of sword play he offers them blankets, and a sleepy time treat. Magic. Simply shows how little boys can be nurturing and creative as well.
Sprinkle these extremely peaceful stories into your bedtime routine for lots of hugs and love!
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