Every week we have some books that Smarty reads on her own and some that we read together. Some of them are picture books, some are easy readers. A lot of picture books have a much richer vocabulary than average easy reader chapter books that we tried, and Smarty still likes bright pictures and big letters of picture books much better than “boring” chapter books. She is also listening to the audio version of Charlotte’s Web in the car (she asked to listen to the book again as soon as she finished the first pass). She was able to retell the story to me fairly well (I only listened to a couple of chapters since she mostly spends time in the car when I am at work and she is traveling with papa to run errands or to meet friends for playdates). I was worried that she will be upset by the ending, but she seemed to take it in stride and was talking excitedly of Charlotte’s babies and how Wilbur will be raising them.
Clearly as any other child her age, Smarty fell prey to potty humor. She thought that Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea was the funniest book ever. After asking me 10 times in a row what “vs.” means, she started to role play this book and practice her potty dance. She found the story absolutely hilarious, while I found it brightly illustrated and amusing, especially after watching Smarty's take on it. Younger kids (2+) will like this book as well.
In general I am not a big fan of books that retell TV shows. Unfortunately, Smarty begs to differ. She grabbed this I Am a T-Rex book from the library shelf and made both me and my husband read it multiple times. Obviously, it’s the story from the Dinosaur Train show which, ironically, she doesn’t want to watch considering it “too scary”. Now she is convinced that T Rex was yellow with purple spots – ugh! Not my favorite of the week.
This is one book in this review where Smarty and I wholeheartedly agreed – we loved it. How Rocket Learned to Read is written by one of our favorite authors and illustrators Tad Hill. It is funny and touching at the same time. It also rings true for me – sometimes a well selected book and a good teacher can do amazing things for the most reluctant student. Illustrations are beautiful too. I highly recommend this book.
We disagreed again on Earthsong by Sally Rogers. I couldn’t make this song work either as a song or as a rhyme, and I also couldn’t quite understand the random order of numbers used in the text. Smarty, on the other hand, kept sleeping with this book and refused to return it to the library for the third week in a row (I had to renew it). Each spread has one endangered species, and I think Smarty was attracted by the illustrations of mother/babies animals. She did have a lot of questions on the text but was not interested in the last page that gave a summary information on endangered species from the book.
“Honorable mention” goes to I Took A Walk by Henry Cole. The text of the book is pretty simple, but there are four habitats featured in the book – forest, meadow, creek and pond. Each habitat is like a “look-and-find” picture, but it’s not terribly busy. In the end of the book there is a visual clue showing each creature in each picture. It was very useful for me, since I couldn’t identify some of the insects correctly. Smarty was very interested in the book, but she only read it with me.