Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Picture Books for Mother's AND Father's Day

At first I wasn't sure about putting these books together in one post. Sure, a couple are about both parents, but don't Dads already get the shaft as it is? Think about it: Mother's Day happens in the spring, when kids are still in school, but teachers are happy to throw in an art project to keep them focused. Father's Day? Beginning of summer, when whoever takes care of the kids is scrambling with a schedule of swimming or daycamp or sports or, of course, summer reading program, and nobody thinks about a craft.
And then there are the sermons at church, as we were joking about in story time last week. For Mother's Day, pastors typically wax poetic about how awesome mothers are, and how they deserve our highest praise and respect. On Father's Day? The message is generally how dads are failing their kids, and need to step up their game. (Hint to such pastors: if the father is in church with his family, he probably doesn't need to hear this particular sermon. And, if by chance this is the first Sunday in ages his wife has been able to drag him in the doors, being attacked from the pulpit is not likely to result in a return visit. Just sayin'.)
As I thought about it further, however, I realized how many parents do double duty, fulfilling both "Mom" and "Dad" functions. Even in a two-parent household, you have those who have to be absent for long periods - and how about those families with two moms or two dads? Not to mention all the kids being raised by grandparents. I think we can handle mixing the titles in one post - feel free to come back to it again in June, or even in September for Grandparents' Day!
Splat the Cat: The Perfect Present for Mom & Dad
With Stickers! So, you know, you can plaster them all over the furniture and Mom can think of you as she tries to scrape them off without damaging the finish.
Seriously, this is a cute story of Splat and his siblings making gifts for Mom and Dad "to show how much (they) loved them".  A rash of one-upsmanship turns into collaboration, which turns into a minor disaster involving seagulls (of course, what else?), and all is well in the end. Bonus: Each of the crafts made by the kittens is completely doable by kids of any age, and may prompt some creativity once you are done reading.

The Berenstain Bears' We Love Our Mom!       The Berenstain Bears: We Love Our Dad!
978-006-207-5475                                     978-006-207-5512

Question: why do all the other animals in Bear Country do animal things, but the Berenstains act like people? Just one of those ramblings my mind has gone on over the years.

Each of the books in this pair begins with listing some of the things Mama and Papa Bear do for their families - never a bad reminder. In each case, the cubs search for just the right gift to show their appreciation. For Mother's Day, it's a photo album, and for Father's Day, a set of coupons to get his chores completed by someone else (with a little help from him, as it turns out.) Traditional gifts kids can complete with help, and nice little stories to read together.

Tiptoe Joe


Tiptoe Joe goes tiptoeing through the woods, inviting his friends, "come with me. I know something you should see!" His friends clomp, thud, and swish along, asking, "What's the secret? Let us know!" Since this is included in our Mother's/Father's Day post, you can probably guess the sweet secret at the end. Children may guess as well, and will probably memorize the repetitive text in no time at all. Warm, happy illustrations make this an excellent choice for lap reading or bedtimes. A natural segue into Mommy or Daddy's joy when their little one was born, and the friends they couldn't wait to tell.

A Special Gift for Grammy


Yay for Grandmas! I shudder to think of the daycare struggles we would be going through if we didn't have Grandma to watch the kids. If your kids are sick, you can't take them to daycare. You can, however, take them to Grandma's, and know they will get plenty of attention and care. Daycare workers may sing to your child on his birthday, but they probably won't spend hours making a busy board for him, because they know how much he likes switches and latches. And, I have no doubt that, by and large, daycare workers love their charges: but, it just isn't the same as the connection between an imaginative youngster and a grandma with time to encourage that imagination. The latter is what is illustrated here, in Jean Craighead George's gentle words and Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher's soft, autumn-hued pictures. Highly recommended for libraries or to be given as a gift.

Thank-you to Harper Collins for all these review copies!

1 comment:

  1. These are great! I look forward to reading to my own grandkids someday, esp Berenstein Bears.