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 Post subject: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:42 am 
Nooch of Earl
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I couldn't find a general (please tell me 'general' is not an offensive term to anyone) thread on kids' books we actually DO like. Very few books are perfect in every way, but please note any NOT VEGAN aspects to the pictures or text, and recommended ages are very helpful as well. Personally, we read a lot of books and I am always looking for new suggestions.

Our favorites:

- Jez Alborough's "Duck" series - "Duck in the Truck" is my favorite, but we also have "Super Duck" and "Fix it Duck." It's about four anthromorphic animal friends (Duck, Sheep, Frog, and Goat)...and Duck is sort of inconsiderate/bumbling to different degrees. The negative reading of this would be that it teaches your kid to be a crasshole, but I think it opens a good discussion of 'oh, Duck should've thanked his friends!" We've loved reading "Duck in the Truck" since V was a newborn, and unlike a lot of books with plots she's always been willing to sit for it. Great art, nice rhymes. But I would say it's probably best for the 2-5 set.

- Oliver Dunrea's "Gossie" series - Gossie, Gossie & Gertie, Peedie, and Ollie. Great for 1.5-2.5, maybe? It's got the repetition that younger kids like, and the plots are very simple - looking for a misplaced hat or waiting for a gosling to come out of an egg. The gosling protagonists may live on a farm sanctuary, since there's a sheep around.

- Peek-a-who - This is great for 18-24 months or so, with little cutout windows and you go peek-a... and then turn the page to see a cow (moo) or train (choo choo) or ghost (boo) etc. but it does contain a 'peek a zoo' page with exotic animals. A shame because it's such an otherwise cute, perfect book!

- I'm really torn on "And Tango Makes Three," the book about the two male penguins nesting together. I don't like that it's set in a zoo, but it's such a unique book and there aren't a ton of kids' books that address sexual diversity--I hesitate to call them 'gay penguins' because I think in part that's anthropomorphizing and applying a human social concept inappropriately, but the book handles the idea well. V likes it now, but I'd say it's for a slightly older audience because of all the text - maybe 3-6 or so.

- Todd Parr's books are pretty great. We have 'It's OK to be Different' and 'The Family Book.' "It's OK.." does have pages that say 'I'ts OK to eat macaroni and cheese in the bathtub' and 'It's OK to have a pet worm,' which might be problematic, but it does have good messages that it's OK to have a different appearance or other things kids might get teased about. Meanwhile, I love the Family Book, which is a similar concept but for different kinds of families, and of particular interest to mixed dietary families might be the page layout with: "some families eat the same things" / "some families eat different things" - it's shown with animals, one side is cows grazing in a field all eating grass, the other is a rabbit at the table with a cat and a dog, all of whom are eating different things (carrot, fish, bone).. I think it's helpful for families where not everyone is vegan (like mine, sigh). Maybe ~18mo-3 years, V loves these now.

- Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see - V loves this way more than the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and it doesn't have all the meat in it either. I'm not sure why the teachers and children are in it, but...whatever. Mostly just teaches colors. (18mo-2.5years?)

- Llama Llama Misses Mama - there's a whole series of these, but this is the only one we have. It's more anthropomorphized animals. It would be a great book for those with kids apprehensive about going to daycare or preschool. That's not our situation but V likes the book anyway. I'd say 2-4 would be the target age. The only thing I find vaguely objectionable is that childcare seems to be all Mama Llama's responsibility - if she has a partner, we don't see him/her. Is Mama Llama a single parent or has all the childrearing just been dumped on her? It's a mystery. "Oh My Baby Little One" is another book along similar lines that we have, but the much more figurative language and less appealing artwork make this less of a favorite for me.

- Olivia - we only have the original book, but we read it a lot. I don't think she understands parts of it yet, but Violet likes to name all the clothes, describe what Olivia is doing to wear herself out in each little picture, and chatter about the page with Olivia's cat Edwin. It has a female protagonist not dressing as a princess - yay! probably ideal for 2.5/3 year olds?

- "Spoon" and "Chopsticks" are really cute, but V definitely doesn't pick up on the puns yet, and spoon dives into a lot of nonvegan foods. Otherwise they have good messages about being happy with who you are, that it's OK to do stuff alone... Maybe 3-5

- "Secret Seahorse" - awesome crafty looking art in this one, and it's basically about trying to track down a seahorse the narrator saw. Good for naming underseas animals in a non-captive context, although it's not clear why the narrator is harassing the seahorse ;) V loves this one. I'd recommend to 18mo-3 years. "Have You Seen My Duckling" has a similar plot and likewise little kids will have fun pointing out where the seahorse/duckling is hiding on each page, but it has less interesting text (to put it mildly).

- "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" - Mo Willems - a really fun one to read with different voices. Unlike Leela, Vi doesn't try to say "no" back at each page" but she still enjoys reading it. I would recommend from about 18mo-3years.

- Byron Barton's books are nice for clean lines and simple text. We really like "Trucks," "Boats" less so - it's mostly about a cruise ship docking and pulling away and there are no submarines!!! - and "Airport" is good for kids who are going to take a flight. 12mo-3years, maybe.

- DK Publishing's "All About Me" - cute book with lifting flaps about body parts with rhyming text. V used to love this.. 12-18mo.

- "Waddle" by Rufus Seder. Nice polarization-animated book about animals moving. The gimmick is mostly the animated pictures, but V loves it and went through a phase around 21 mo where she'd move like all the animals in question and that was great. 12mo-3years, but be prepared to take it away when they try to deconstruct the book.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:28 pm 
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Thanks for this! We mostly do board books so far and not a lot of full-on story books, but we are getting there soon I think. I have no idea what the recommended ages are for these, but a few that Sven seems to really like right now are:

- Along a Long Road by Frank Viva - it's basically about cycling and the rhythm of the worlds, so nothing really objectionable I can find! The character does bike by a grocery store with a stylized fish/fish picture in the window but it's subtle I'm not bothered by it.

- This Little Piggy by Tim Harrington (the singer from Les Savy Fav) - there is the reference to eating roast beef (which I always change to Tofurkey), but the book takes off into all the toes on the other foot doing super cool stuff and the toes on the first foot breaking out of their comfort zones. It's cute.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:16 pm 
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The Magician (17 months) will not tolerate non-board books. It is really super weird, because he forking loves being read board books-- ANY board books. His favorite one right now is called "I Spy in the Ocean." I feel like it has a picture of a fishing net in it somewhere but other than that, it's extremely neutral and inoffensive. Also it taught him to shout EEEEEEEEL which is one of the best things.

The Emperor (almost 4) has a huge list of favorites. Lately we've had a lot of demands for Frog and Toad and for Graham Oakley's Sampson & the Church Mice books. Oh, and of course, Go Dog Go! which he loves because he can read a bunch of the words in it himself.

The Church Mice eat a lot of cheese but that's the only non-vegan thing that's coming to mind.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:55 am 
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Re Brown Bear, Brown Bear, we have Baby Bear, Baby Bear, which is similar. I like that it features [real] wildlife: flying squirrel, blue heron, mule deer etc.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:06 pm 
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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Love this thread!

Favourites in our house these day are:

-Octonauts and the Frown Fish. Super cute illustrations. Some pages have fallen out, but Iz still begs me to read it to him.
-The Lorax. Green Eggs and Ham.
-Dad is the Best Playground. (Father's Day present! A super sweet book!)
-Good Night Galaxy. My favourite bedtime book. It's quick, but not too quick. Real facts about the galaxy. Nice illustrations too.
-We've got at least three dinosaur books going right now. For Iz (5yo) we like Dinosaurs A-Z - lots of info in there. All kinds of dinosaurs!
-The Gruffalo. Actually, that one's been a while so I think I may pull it out again!
-Iz also loves the Geronimo Stilton Kingdom of Fantasy books (which are great and kid-friendly, but I actually really dislike reading them. What appeals to kids in books, turns me off from a book. Bah.)
-Z (1yo) loves most board books. Peekaboo ones/lift-the-flap are his favourite.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:04 pm 
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http://www.amazon.com/Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-Soft-B/dp/B005GCZYSK/ref=pd_sim_sbs_ba_3
This version of the Very Hungry Caterpillar eats only fruit. For youngest babies, it's made of crinkly fabric.

Then again, knowing the full version is a meatfest, it might be easier to avoid the VHC altogether.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 11:45 pm 
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The thing that bugs me about the Very Hungry Caterpillar, beyond his salami and swiss cheese diet, is that they say he goes from a cocoon to a butterfly. Isn't this scientifically inaccurate? Isn't it usually moths that come out of cocoons?


We were at the library today and picked up:
- Llama Llama Home with Mama
- Llama Llama Mad at Mama. These two are basically similar to ...Misses Mama, but the first is about being sick and the second is about throwing tantrums at the grocery store.
- Curious George Opposites Book. I wasn't expecting some great plot twist worthy of Dumas or anything, but it was disappointing even by crappy board book standards. The pairs of opposites are just all over the map.
- Dora the Explorer Goes to the Beach. This is actually OK, it does colors on one page, object naming on another. V is a good age for it.
- Kick! Scanimation book.. the main gimmick remains the scanimation, and I think the animal one is slightly better but it's fine.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:43 am 
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annak wrote:
The thing that bugs me about the Very Hungry Caterpillar, beyond his salami and swiss cheese diet, is that they say he goes from a cocoon to a butterfly. Isn't this scientifically inaccurate? Isn't it usually moths that come out of cocoons?

I never noticed that before. I think you're right. I think moths come out of cocoons, and butterflies go through chrysalis.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:05 am 
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Me and my husband like the Little Blue Truck board book. Even though BabyPunk can't understand it yet its got a nice story & message and the drawings are cool. The farm animals help lil blue out and I don't think there is anything non vegan in it.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:06 am 
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bodhi wrote:
annak wrote:
The thing that bugs me about the Very Hungry Caterpillar, beyond his salami and swiss cheese diet, is that they say he goes from a cocoon to a butterfly. Isn't this scientifically inaccurate? Isn't it usually moths that come out of cocoons?

I never noticed that before. I think you're right. I think moths come out of cocoons, and butterflies go through chrysalis.


Caterpillars make big nasty webby things all over trees and eat the trees (ok prolly not ALL caterpillars do this)

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Damn dirty vegan hippies and their carob.~~Moon

It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:21 pm 
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LisaPunk wrote:
Me and my husband like the Little Blue Truck board book. Even though BabyPunk can't understand it yet its got a nice story & message and the drawings are cool. The farm animals help lil blue out and I don't think there is anything non vegan in it.

This book is a favorite over here too! There is also a Little Blue Truck in the city (I can't remember the exact title right now).

I'll have to peak at our bookshelf later and report back with some of our favorites!

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:34 pm 
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yeah we have that one too! it's called Little Blue Truck Lends a Hand i think.
i prefer the first one cause it has the farm animals :-)
i told my husband i want them to make a little blue truck movie. hahahah

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Damn dirty vegan hippies and their carob.~~Moon

It's just funny to think that we could go through years of this, become the president of the damn country, and still, we'd be eating pasta with veggies at every. damn. function.~~Joyfulgirl


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:05 pm 
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So we love the Rotraut Susanne Berner books (available here with four put together as "In the Town All Year Round"). They're picture books but they're scenes with tons of things to find and look at. A few months ago it was good for "can you find the...." type questions, and I just love looking at the illustrations.

So I was excited to see Anne Suess's books on Amazon and ordered a 3-book boxed set of her books. Well, the first, "Mein grosses Wimmelbuch Tiere," is great because it's an animal picture book, but doesn't have any zoo or farm scenes!! But the other two books ("Das Wimmelbuch vom Bauernhof"--which I totally should've paid more attention to and predicted!--and "Das grosse Wimmelbuch") more than make up for it with zoo and farm scenes. Sigh. At least they're beautiful pictures?

Does anyone else have favorite picture books? I also love "The Yellow Balloon" by Charlotte Dematons, though V is still a little young for it.

I actually have a habit that's happened so much it's borderline ridiculous, of ordering Dutch import versions of books that have pretty much no words in them. This happened with the Yellow Balloon and In the Town.. I kept trying to find good Dutch kids' books that weren't just translations of English books. The joke is on me, though, because I'd order a whole ton of stuff, pay the shipping premium from NL, and....the book would have no words. But they're still beautiful, so whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:11 am 
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New York Public Library list of top 100 children's books...

http://www.slj.com/2013/09/books-media/ ... 100-years/


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Oh, I am so glad that Freya is a reader. She frequently sits by herself, particularly in her room, "reading" her books (saying words/bits that she remembers). I know that much of her love probably comes from K and I reading *to* her, but still I worried that she may not be a kid who liked books.

Some current faves:

All of the old Maisy series (the square-shaped ones) and some of the new (rectangular) ones. The older ones are simpler...Maisy goes to bed, has a bath, etc. The newer ones are slightly more mature but she digs the one about the hospital (all of F's stuffed animals get broken legs now!) and the library one.

This is the Way...a picture book of the rhyme, with beautiful illustrations.
Meg and Mog go to the Moon.
The Seaside - a nice picture book without words. This is our go-to book when on the bus. She always chooses it, no matter what the other options are.
Owl Babies - book about mommies coming back :)
Not Last Night but the Night Before - nursery rhyme characters and wonderful verse
Very Busy Spider/Very Hungry Caterpillar
I Love Trucks!
The Animal Boogie (down in the jungle where nobody knows...animal sounds)
The Train Ride (this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Train-Ride-Big- ... 0744554748)
The Alfie series (I'd never heard of these until we moved here, but she loves them, even though they are hideously long for her)
The Snowy Day
Dogs Dogs Dogs...a Boynton book

I haven't done Where the Wild Things Are with her yet, but that was my favorite picture book as a child, annak. I'd also very highly recommend Knufflebunny. One of my nanny girls got it for her birthday when she was two and we read it surely 1000 times since then.

Golly, I know I'm forgetting so many that she loves. We are going to have to take a whole suitcase on holiday with us, just for her reading material!


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Knufflebunny actually has two sequels that are also good. Mo Willems is really popular with kids and I would also recommend his Edwina the dinosaur, goldilocks and the three dinosaurs, and the pig and elephant series. Don't let the pigeon eat a smart dog?

Babynut is obsessed with this cute book I brought home from school that is really for an older kid: Bink and Gollie. She makes me read it over and over again. I'm going to pick up the other ones in the series for her soon.

Her second obsession is Babybug, with is a magazine for 0-3. We just got a subscription and we've only read the first issue (100,000,000 xs) and unfortunately it has some meat and dairy references but she really loves it. I like that its something she can get from the mailbox too.

Since she liked that longer book so much, I tried Madeline (one of my old favorites) and she won't let me read it! She stops me before I even read the second page and tries to throw it across the room! Go figure.

I personally love William Steig books. I haven't read one to babynut yet as they are long and wordy, but I will when she gets into longer picture books. Kevin Henkes, Donald crews, Eric Carle, dr. Seuss, all love. Swimmy and Big Al are cute.

A cute short chapter book series that is fun to read aloud is Dragon and friends by Dav Pilkey.

Annak, if you like to look at intricate illustrations that are better than the story, I recommend My New York. I don't know if you'd be interested in a book about NYC, but i just thought i would throw that out there. I'm sure V would rip it to shreds if she had it independently, actually, but it's a beautiful book with tons of weird details and I love just looking at it.

We also are reading a ton about poop. Where's the poop? Everyone poops (which is out of print, thank god my husband had a copy?!), once upon a potty, and the Dr. Sear's potty book (mentioned in another thread: has pictures of cosleeping, nursing, and cloth diapers). I also have a Mr. Rogers potty book which has really old funny pictures.

I have a collection of poetry books that we like to read but I don't let her read them without me. They are big and I could see her ripping them up pretty quickly. I feel like we are leaving the board book stage in terms of her interest level but she's not ready in terms of being able to respect the book's fragility.

Sorry so long!


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:48 pm 
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We also like "The Very Busy Spider." I personally like that it has a farm animal theme, without mentioning anything about traditional farms--like about milk, etc. So that's a nice thing.

Other favorites here are "Where the Wild Things Are," of course, and "Goodnight Moon," both from the more traditional end. I noticed a couple months ago that tiny wu was really digging rhyme-y rhythmic books, like "Jamberry" and "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom." When we read those she bops her head up and down and sometimes claps her hands too.

Two others that get a lot of love here are Emily Gravett's "The Odd Egg" and Jutta Bauer's "I en skov en hytte lå." (The Danish version of, I think in English the song is little cabin in the woods). "The Odd Egg" is sweet and quirky and tiny wu loves that the last word of the story is "mama." She always says "mama" now when we turn to the last page, before the actual reader can say it! "I en skov en hytte lå" is about a deer living in the forest who shelters a rabbit and a fox from the hunter. In the end the hunter comes by too, and they all decide to be friends, play games, and eat cake together so nobody gets shot. But it's all light and rhyme-y, not preachy or scary. I think it is available in German too, if anyone's interested.

Also, I hadn't realized this before having my own kid, but on Amazon you can find nearly any picture book in a board book format, so you're not limited to truly baby books. I think that's really nice because we read a lot of books and they'd be a lot more beat up if they weren't board books!


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 7:29 pm 
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ScandinaVegan wrote:
"I en skov en hytte lå" is about a deer living in the forest who shelters a rabbit and a fox from the hunter. In the end the hunter comes by too, and they all decide to be friends, play games, and eat cake together so nobody gets shot. But it's all light and rhyme-y, not preachy or scary. I think it is available in German too, if anyone's interested.


I like Sandra Boynton's "The Going to Bed Book" and "Belly Button Book". Watt's "That's Not My Dinosaur" doesn't rhyme, but I like the rhythm, colors, and textures.

Can anyone recommend board books with text in German? (Amazon couldn't seem to find "I en skov en hytte lå"; I'm not sure how the German would be worded.) I keep imagining if I buy one blind, I'll open it up to find "Then for lunch, Hans ate 5 kinds of pork..."

Translations of recommended books are a fine option (if they exist?), but like tinywu, I like rhyme-y, rhythmic stories even better!


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:30 pm 
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For years I read to chompy every single night. Then for a couple (?) years, we stopped doing that. About 6 months or a year ago, he started asking for it again.

We're reading Fellowship of the Ring now.

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:44 am 
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Can we revive this thread? I never tire of talking about children's books. :)

I think my all-time favourite picture book is Mem Fox's Where is the Green Sheep? - 'Here is the red sheep, and here is the blue sheep / Here is the bath sheep, and here is the bed sheep / But where is the green sheep?'. It's got an easy rhyme, the illustrations are both beautiful and (somewhat more importantly) detailed enough that you can point things out each time, and it's substantial enough to entertain a toddler or young preschooler, while still being engaging to a baby. I give it to all of my nanny families when birthdays or Christmasses roll around! No non-vegan content (the sheep are never pictured in a farm setting, they're just chilling out doing their thing).

Runner-up is Don't Put Your Finger in the Jelly, Nelly; not vegan at all, but it's also full of glorious, glorious puns so I love it anyway. The puns will go over young kids' heads, but they'll enjoy sticking their fingers into the holes. I just use it for nannying, but were I to have a vegan child of my own, there's nothing in there that you couldn't pass off as a vegan version (vegan cheese, vegan jelly, vegan milkshake, etc).

My nearly-3-y.o. charge's most recent favourite is Bruce Whatley's Hunting for Dragons, which is about a little girl so obsessed with dragons that she sees them everywhere (in the clouds, on her dinner plate, in crumpled-up sheets, etc). You can read through the book and find all the hidden dragons as you go. Very suitable for my similarly dragon-obsessed little girl. :) Non-vegan content is (iirc) meat on the dinner plate on one page, nothing else.

Has anyone discovered anything great recently? :)

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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:48 pm 
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Oh, we just discovered "green sheep" at the library recently. Freya loves it! She says, with great inflection, "where *is* that green sheep?"

Some other current favorites include:
Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson (all of her books are just amazing, wonderful creations)
Sarah Garland
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Sarah%20Garland&search-alias=books-uk&sort=relevancerank books: decidedly British, but wonderful nonetheless ;)
Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins....about a woodpecker who pecks holes in everything (with holes in the book)
Doggies and All the Hippos Go Berserk, both Boynton books. "All the hippos go berserk" is the most fun thing to say, ever
The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (wishful thinking...our whole family is lusting for snow)

Ah, I know there are more in that pile by the chair in her room, but I can't remember them now. I am so happy that Freya loves books. :)


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:58 pm 
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The Snowy Day is a favorite for us right now, too.

We're still loving Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie series. They are hilarious if you're 3 (and pretty funny even if you're much older).


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:09 pm 
Nooch of Earl
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It doesn't have a lot of words, but right now V's favorite is "Opposnakes." Unfortunately, I find the skinny snake/plump snake a little bit sizeist. (Not just that they have the adjectives, but that skinny snake is working out on a treadmill while plump snake lies back and gobbles baby-flavored donuts)


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:48 pm 
Nooch of Earl
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Thanks for the Green Sheep and Room on the Broom recommendations! They're both great - the former V gets really into the mystery of where the green sheep has gone, and the second I like because it's so well written and drawn. Both held her attention so well!


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 Post subject: Re: And what are we reading to our kids now?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:59 pm 
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Thanks for the peek-a-who rec - Giles LOVES that book - and the "zoo" page doesn't bother me. The baby laughs and laughs at the Peek-a-"Boo" part!


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