Reading Together

Archive for March 2009

Karen Katz is a prolific author/illustrator of children’ books.  Her books for babies are among my favorite and my daughter’s favorites.  Her folk-art  illustrations of babies are nothing short of cute and adorable.  She has created a series of holiday books for babies and toddlers that feature flaps which are always a hit with little ones.  Flaps in a book are great for babies and toddler because they get your child interacting with a book.  Some of the titles in the series are:

Where is Baby’s Valentine?

Where are Baby’s Easter Eggs?

Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?

Where is Baby’s Dreidel?

Where is Baby’s Birthday Cake?

This year she has already published several new titles.  1The first is Shake It Up, Baby!  featuring again Katz’s charming baby illustrations and a fun, interactive text.  Making it a sure hit with babies and toddlers is the spine filled with tiny beads so when the book is shaken it sounds like a rattle.  The babies in the book are shaking their rattles and clapping their hands. 

Next is a sequel to Princess Baby, which introduced the sweet baby who was called everything else besides what she wanted to be called, “Princess Baby.”  In Princess Baby, Night-Night, Princess Baby is getting ready for 2bed.  As her parents are asking her if she is putting her pajamas on or brushing her teeth, she is preparing her stuffed animals for bed instead of herself.  She ends up on her bedroom floor curled up with all her animals.  This is relatable for all toddlers who love to play pretend with their animal friends.  I hope Princess Baby returns for more.

A Child’s Good Morning Book  is a poem written by Margaret Wise Brown 3which Katz illustrated.  The babies in this book, as in all Katz’s books, are sure to catch the attention of babies and toddlers and make them favorites.  Babies and toddlers can relate to the books as well because the babies are all doing things they do themselves; whether it’s searching for a Valentine, shaking a rattle, putting their favorite toy to bed or as in A Child’s Good Morning Book, waking up and starting the day. 



Most research agrees that TV and DVDs have no benefit to babies and toddlers. DVDs such as “Baby Genius”, “Brainy Baby” or “Baby Einstein” which claim to make your baby smarter actually have no benefit at all according to recent studies.
Best Practices for Parents
Most parents admit to allowing their baby or toddler to watch television. Television is a part of our culture and it is hard to avoid. This is despite the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children under age of 2 should not be in front of a television or computer. If a parent is allowing their child to watch television they must be mindful of the fact that their child is not gaining any benefits from their television watching and put limits on how much and when. They should also stay in the room with their child while they are watching. Parent-child interaction is one way to add some benefit to television watching. A parent can comment on what is happening on the screen and connect it to something in the child’s environment such as a favorite toy or book.

What will Make your Baby or Toddler Smarter?
A child’s first and best teacher are their parents. How can parents help ensure there child will have the best beginning? Try these tips. Please note all three tips require no special equipment or DVDs.

1. Read to your Child
Read to your child every day and begin at a young age. Babies enjoy hearing their mother’s voice and they find it very soothing. They also can bond with their father or other caregivers through the simple act of sitting down and reading a book or two. Have books everywhere in the house and allow your child easy access to them. Reading to your child is the best way for your child to develop language skills necessary to succeed in school.

2. Talk to your Child
Babies love the soothing sound of their mothers voice. Tell your baby or toddler about your day. Talk to him about what you are doing step by step. For example, “It’s time to change your diaper” or “Let’s button up your coat.” Go for walks and point out the cars, trees and birds. Say as much as you can to your child and he or she will develop great language skills later on. Also, sing to your child. Babies love being sung to and toddlers love music. You don’t have to have a great voice but songs and rhymes will also help develop language skills and higher IQ.

3. Interact with your Child
Get down on the floor with your baby or toddler and play. Let your imagination and inner child run wild and see what your child sees. Children learn through play and they learn through interacting with the adults around them. Sitting on the floor and interacting with your baby is the best way for your child to learn from you.

The best thing you can do for your child is give her a piece of you every day. So turn off that television and read, talk and play with your baby or toddler.TV and DVDs offer no benefit to babies and toddlers.


index1I am a strong believer in learning important lessons through books.  This may be because some of my favorite books growing up were The Berenstain Bears.  These days you can find a lot of books to help your child transition through hard times and learn about important events coming up in their lives.  There are great books on toilet training, moving from a crib to a bed, getting rid of the pacifier, or welcoming a new baby for toddlers and preschoolers.

I recently came across a series of board books by Elizabeth Verdick for toddlers that deal with many different issues parents may need a little extra help with.  Each comes with tips for parents and are well illustrated and have simple text toddlers will be able to understand.  They are a great way to help toddlers who are having difficulty with different situations. 

Naptime by Elizabeth Verdick. This is a great book about the importance of naping.  I’ve read it to my daughter because she recently has had some trouble napping. 

Tails Are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick. I also read this to my daughter to teach not to pull our cat’s tails.  This along with some other good books helped her learn that she was hurting the cats and she doesn’t (usually) pull their tails anymore.

Here are other titles by Elizabeth Verdick:

Bye-bye Time

Clean-up Time

Listening Time

Diapers are not Forever

Pacifiers are not Forever

Germs are not for Sharing

Words are not for Hurting

Feet are not for Kicking


The best time to read together with your child is while putting them to bed.   It is a great way to wind down from the day.  If you’ve been too busy to sit down and read all day, make reading at bedtime a habit and part of your child’s bedtime routine.  This way you make sure you are reading to your child atleast once every day.  

 The image of a child nestled snug in their bed while an adult reads to them is classic and may be one of the reasons why I wanted to have children.  Reading a story or two at bedtime to my delightful two year old is my favorite time of day.  I recently discovered a wonderful new bedtime book called Sleepsong by George Ella Lyon.  It has wonderful rhythm and begs to be read in a soft soothing voice.  There is music that the author wrote as well but just reading it aloud makes for a wonderful bedtime experience.    The illustrations by Peter Catalanotto depict a child getting ready for bed on the top half of each full page spread while the bottom half are whimsical  renderings of animals going to sleep. The illustrations set the mood for going to bed each night. 

 Here some of my other bedtime favorites.  Keep in mind that some of these you will be asked to read again and again.  I now have Goodnight Moon memorized because I have read it so much.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Counting Kisses by Karen Katz

Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea

Goodnight, Goodnight Sleepyhead  by Ruth Krauss

I Love You, Good Night by Jon Buller and Susan Schade

Kiss Good Night by Amy Hest

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

SSsssshh! Everybody’s Sleeping by Julie Markes


This is one of the funniest children’s books I’ve read! I laughed out loud when I read it and then read it to my co-worker who was in tears when she heard it.  This is Michael Ian Black’s first children’s book.  I have been a fan of his since The State and Ed and was interested in seeing what he would write for children.  Some parents may not see the humor in it or find it appropriate but I think kids will love it. 

To get right down to it the book is about animal’s rear ends.  From chicken cheeks to deer rear.  They are climbing on top of each other to reach a bee hive.  But unfortunately, they all fall down and the ends go flying. 

I really enjoyed reading it and I’ve shared it with my daughter but I don’t think I could read it aloud to a group of kids especially in a school setting. I think it is a great book for parents to read to older kids, especially boys, who would appreciate the humor a little.  If not the illustrations are cute too and the storyline is easily followed.

I always enjoy reading books about rain this time of year.  Usually it is pretty rainy out and there are some nice books to read aloud.  Enjoy these stories with your children and extend with songs and storytelling. 

Books to Read Aloud:

Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin, Jr.

One of my favorite read alouds.  It has a great stanza that repeats throughout the text.  I also enjoy playing with my voice as I read aloud making it softer at the beginning and louder in the middle and soft again at the end when the rain stops.

Rain Dance by Kathi Appelt

A simple counting book good for toddlers and preschoolers.   

Mushroom in the Rain by Mirra Ginsburg

Great for preschoolers and kindergarteners.  Also has a strong science tie-in. 

Rainy Day! by Patricia Lakin

This one is fairly new and I’ve only read it aloud once so far.  I like to share it with kids because of the “library” message it promotes.

Puddles by Jonathan London

A nice read aloud with a fun story about jumping in puddles.



The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout

down came the rain and washed the spider out

out came the sun and dried up all the rain

and the itsy bitsy spide went up the spout again.

Repeat with big hairy spider and teeny weeny spider going up and down the spout.  The big hairy spider has a deep voice and the teeny weeny spider has a high squeaky voice!


If all the raindrops

were lemondrops and gumdrops

Oh what a rain it would be!

I’d stand outside with my mouth open wide

saying Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah



Flannel story:

Five umbrellas stood by the back door

the red one went outside, and then there were four

Four umbrellas, pretty as can be

The blue one went out, and then there were three

Three umbrellas with nothing to do

The green one went out, and then there were two

Two umbrellas, hoping for some fun

The yellow one went out, and then there was one

Just one umbrella, alone in the hall…

The purple one went out, and that was all!


Cut and Tell Story:

Find the pattern in Paper Stories by Jean Stangl or fold a piece of paper in half and draw half an umbrella on one side.  When you cut out the half and unfold it should reveal an umbrella.  Say the rhyme:

Rain on the green grass

rain on the tree

rain on the house top

but not on me.

Repeat until you are done cutting asking the kids to join in as you say it.  Then ask why is there no rain on me? and reveal the umbrella.


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  • Amber: Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers! You summed up the reason for the name better than I've been able to :) Good luck in the giveaway!
  • Musing: I wasn't able to finish Twilight myself, but I'm always glad to hear of young people being turned on to reading. :)
  • juliannahelt: I forgot about Twelve Hats for Lena. It is a great book! Thanks for mentioning it.