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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

My kids have really enjoyed Leslie Patricelli's bright-colored board books, featuring a smiley, almost-bald baby who experiences holidays, helps demonstrate some simple concepts, and expresses love for some popular baby objects (blankie, binky). I can see why these books appeal to toddlers, with the simple words, exuberant baby, and textured color on the pages. Surprisingly, even my four-year-old enjoyed them, when I thought he was "beyond" these kinds of board books. Here are five of our favorites so far (but there are many!):

 

BIG Little compares the sizes of different (often related) things, with the repeated phrase "_____ are big, ______ are little." Things such as heads vs. toes, boats vs. rubber duckies, and ladies vs. ladybugs. At the end is a two-page spread featuring more big things and more little things that a toddler might recognize.

 

Binky is probably one of the books we've checked out of the library the most. It's a very simple search for a lost binky -- the baby looks in all kinds of places, like in a cereal bowl and under the rug, then begins asking family members before having a meltdown. My toddler gets especially happy when, at the end, the baby finally finds the binky in the crib -- "just where I like it best." Even though my kids never used binkies, they can still identify with the frustrations of losing a special object and not knowing how to find it, so they especially like the happy ending. My daughter has even decided that "Binky" must be the baby's name.

 

Quiet Loud is a cute comparison of related things that are quiet and loud. It's fun to read the first part in a quiet voice and then raise my voice a bit for the loud comparison. Some examples are "Snow is quiet. Rainstorms are loud." "Birds are quiet. Airplanes are loud." The last two pages contain several more examples on each page of quiet and loud things. The book doesn't make judgments about whether loud things are good or bad, but if I ever do need to ask my kids to do something quiet, this book helps to give them some examples!

 

No No Yes Yes is a nice, gentle way to demonstrate things that are not good to do, contrasted with the positive, correct way to do those things. For example, one "no no" is running away from Daddy -- the "yes yes" is holding hands while walking. Another "no no" is dumping water out of the tub, while the "yes yes" shows the baby dumping out water in the tub. The illustrations serve as the explanation -- the only words on the pages are "no no" and "yes yes," but I will usually add some explanations here and there. Sometimes these kinds of books make me worry that they'll introduce bad behaviors that children haven't thought of yet, but this one seemed pretty basic and familiar.

 

Again with very simple text (primarily just "Higher! Higher!"), this book introduces what appears to be either a new character or an older iteration of the almost-bald baby. The little girl's father is pushing her on the swing, and the higher she goes, the more amazing heights she reaches -- from as high as a giraffe to a skyscraper, and airplane, and even outer space where she meets an unusual creature. Fantastical, but fun. Along a similar vein is Faster! Faster!.

 
A few other favorites are Blankie, and Potty, and Boo!, but there are many more.
 
Scrounged From: Our local library

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