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Monthly Archives: December 2011


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In Agostino Traini’s La festa della mucca Moka, Moka invites over all her friends to party, dance, play hide-and-go-seek, eat berries, and drink milk from her udders. The fact that Moka is a cow only makes this narrative slightly less weird. Note the cow’s party hat as she lifts up her leg to fill another glass of milk for her friend.


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Goodnight NOBODY

A naked baby with toilet paper

A baby in a fish tank

Fear of the unknown.

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Multiple members of my family have the classic, much beloved Goodnight Moon memorized (by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Clement Hurd). The book has been parodied and commented on by many, but I have to add that it contains one of the scariest image-word combinations I have ever encountered (I read for a living). The more you say “Goodnight nobody” and stare at that blank page the scarier it becomes. The more you think about it, the more you wonder. You can try to move on quickly and just focus on the mush, but your eyes will drift back to the threateningly blank page. I use to read this to my daughter before she went to sleep, I had to stop because it made it impossible for me to sleep.

Put your clothes on and give me back the toilet paper!

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Leslie Patricelli’s great book, Potty, has inspired my daughter to go potty on multiple occasions, for which I am grateful. I am trying to prevent my daughter by celebrating her, ahem, washroom triumphs by running naked all over the apartment with a roll of toilet paper. We do not look quite as happy as these parents when she does this.

A baby in a fish tank. That’s right, a baby in a fish tank.

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Alexandra Day’s playful book, Good Dog, Carl, features a dog who is left alone to babysit a baby. My daughter loves dogs. She loves dancing. She loves babies. There is nothing better than a book that features a dog dancing with a baby. Carl and baby get into lots of mischief, but Carl cleans up before the mother returns and all is well with the baby. Somehow, though, I still cannot quite get over the baby in a fish tank. I worry my daughter will try to emulate the baby in Good Dog, Carl not only by dancing, but also by taking a swim.

Please do not throw your food!

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Baby Signs, with pictures by Joy Allen, features cutely drawn babies (my daughter really enjoys them) and clear information about signs for babies. Sometimes the pictures are a little too realistic. When my daughter was about fifteen months old, she was in a food throwing phase. I struggled to teach her that “all done” did not mean “fling your plate, regardless of what is on it, as far as you can.” This depiction did not help.

Not again!

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Mo Willem’s We Are in a Book! is a fantastic and fun book (as Mo Willem’s books tend to be). It also caters to a toddler’s natural desire for things to be repeated over and over and over again. The end of the book (spoiler alert) portrays the characters asking the reader (poor reader!) to return to the beginning. I love the book, but by the seventh or eighth “again!” I wish that Piggie and Gerald qualified their statement, “Will you please read us again, just ONE more time?” or “If you have already read us seven times tonight, thank you so much! You are wonderful and appreciated! Your work is done, go to bed!”