Tuesday, March 29, 2016

On My Shelf: Our Latest Picture Book Additions

Globes and Maps

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I'm a huge fan of libraries and normally don't buy books. However, I'm a bit the reverse when it comes to children's books. I really, really love buying new children's books as opposed to checking them out. There are several reasons for this:

1.) Kid's books from the library tend to gross me out a bit, especially the board books that have clearly been chewed on and slobbered over by some other germy kid.

2.) My boys are a bit hard on books. It's sad when they destroy books I've bought for them, but far less mortifying than having to return a ripped up picture book to the library and face the disapproving glare (and fines) from the librarians.

3.) Really good picture books are meant to be read over and over and over again. When it's a good book, six weeks is not long enough. After rechecking Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out for the umpteenth time, I knew it was just time to buy and keep that book on our shelf at home.

All that is to say that while I try to show restraint, when a gift-giving opportunity presents itself, I'm all about giving books to my boys (or passing my wish-list off to grandma so she can buy them books too). We've had a few really fun acquisitions since Christmas, so I'm sharing here some of our new favorite children's books that have found a home on our shelves.

The Coolest Map Book Ever

Map Book

Maps by Aleksandra and Daniel Mikiezlinska

Okay, you guys, I could've written this whole post about just this book. My sister gave this book to my son for his birthday, and it is the COOLEST BOOK EVER. If you like maps, that is. And we are huge fans of maps in this family, so this book is absolutely the best. This book is not heavy on words, but it is full of the best drawings and illustrations, and it is completely fascinating. Let me show you just a few pictures from inside (although my poor pictures do not do this gorgeous book justice). 

World Map, Map Books

Tanzania Map Book

Map Books, Flags of the World

My son got this book right before my husband and I left on our trip to Peru and Bolivia, so we were able to show him where we were going and some of the things we would see (at least in Peru, there's no country map for Bolivia, I guess not every country could make the cut). He's still a bit young to fully grasp maps and geography (he's super confused about the difference between states and cities, he talks about how Houston is bigger than Texas), but he still finds maps fascinating in general and loves drawing them and looking at them (especially on my phone, he spends hours surfing Google maps). I'm excited for him (and my other kids) to grow up with this beautiful book.

And, it's really not just for kids. This would make a beautiful coffee table book for adults too. My other sister stole this book for a couple weeks to use in a map unit for her high school students (she teaches social studies). This is just a lovely, beautiful book, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Favorites From My Childhood

Leo the Late Bloomer, Tuesday

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego
Tuesday by David Wiesner

These are a couple of my favorite books from my childhood that I was so excited to get for my children. We bought Leo for my 1 year old for Christmas because he's a little bit of a late bloomer (compared to his brother at least), and because he's young enough to not be offended yet by being given a book about late bloomers, and we wanted the excuse to get it. It's such a sweet little story.

We got our 4 year old Tuesday by David Wiesner. This was the first time I tried a wordless book with him, and I know there are plenty of wonderful wordless picture books out there today, but in my mind this is the original and best. And it was a huge hit with my son. He loved the pictures and figuring out the story. It can honestly take us longer to read this wordless book than other books with words, because he asks so many questions about all the details in all the drawings. What a classic. (Also to note, we generally remove all our dust jackets as soon as possible, because they get removed and torn up anyway, so this cover of Tuesday is just the cover under the original dust jacket.)

Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss, Early Readers

Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

When my mom asked what books she could get for birthday/Christmas, we told her we wanted to stock up on some Dr. Seuss classics, and so she bought him four (well, technically Go, Dog, Go! is by P.D. Eastman, but same vein). I haven't pushed reading lessons with my son yet, but I wanted some good early readers on hand should he decide to let me do lessons with him this year. Well, he already has these memorized (especially Green Eggs and Ham), so I guess now they won't work so well as early readers. But at least he likes them?

New Classic

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

This was another birthday present book for my son from his Aunt Ashley. I eavesdropped as my husband read this one out loud for the first time, and at first I thought it sounded kind of lame? Weird? It wasn't till I sat down to read it later, and saw the awesome fun illustrations, that this one really came alive for me. The illustrations tell a whole story missing from the text, and it's lots of fun. This is another one where my son loves pouring over the details of the pictures and comparing what's different (especially between the first and last page).

Easter Books

I Spy and Doggies
I Spy by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
Doggies by Sandra Boynton

Last year I decided to use Easter as another excuse to buy my kids books, and these were our selections this year. We thought our son would love the I Spy books, considering how into details he is when it comes to pictures. And it did not disappoint. He immediately dove in and wanted to find every item in the book before breakfast (this book also kept him cheerfully occupied through a good chunk of church, so that was awesome).

And my 1.5 year old is really into dogs right now (as most boys tend to be at this age). He makes the sweetest little barking noise every time he sees a dog, so we couldn't help picking this Sandra Boynton board book up for him. We love Boynton around here, so this made a nice addition to our collection.

Sandra Boynton books

We have a ways to go before we complete the Boynton collection, but I'm afraid we'll need to start replacing the earlier ones (can you tell which ones those are?) before we finish. These are well-loved books around here.

I just realized that I forgot one of the board books we got for Christmas (a beautiful flap book from a British publishing company, I'll have to tell you about that one later), but that's enough for now. Basically, we love our picture books around here, and I can't wait for the next occasion that calls for gifts (my kid-lit Amazon wishlist is quite long). Which of these are read/loved in your home? Have you seen that map book before? Isn't it the coolest?


  1. The Maps book is awesome! I used it last year at the library when I was teaching a geography class for Homeschoolers!

    1. I had no idea librarians were so versatile, teaching geography lessons? How fun (and yeah, that book would be perfect for it).

  2. These are great! Yay for new books! :) I'll bet my kiddos would love that map book, too.

    1. Yes, if you ever get a chance, I highly recommend checking it out (or just straight up buying it), because that map book is so cool.

  3. Fun books! I'm glad you liked "Sam and Dave". I think the best picture books are those that you have to see the pictures to get the full story.

    1. It's true, I love those picture books where the pictures tell a more complete story, which makes me wonder why I don't love graphic novels more...