Books We're Loving
Last night, like every night, Joan and I were reading books in her bed before she fell asleep. Our routine goes like this: Ben gives her her bath and gets her dressed, then once she's in her pyjamas she chooses two books to read. The two of us then snuggle up in her bed and I remain with her until she drifts of. Call me crazy but I hope to keep this up once our baby arrives. In my mind, I'll be able to hand Ben the bub so I can lay with Joan. Easy! Ha. No, I expect it won't go quite as smoothly as my fantasy, and if that's the case we'll figure something out. But I will try to keep our little bedtime routine, because I think it'll be a nice bit of "us time" and help maintain some normalcy for Joan after her world gets turned upside down.
In a previous post, I mentioned how she was requesting to fall asleep on her own. Well, that didn't really go anywhere. A week after I wrote about her burgeoning independence Joan asked for me to lie with her, and was not responding to my attempts to foster independence, so I ended up in a weird sitting/lying position for a few weeks. I then became pregnant and started to feel really sick, so I decided to make us both happy and just lie down. And even though I'm not feeling nauseated anymore, we're still doing the lie down thing. Joan is now (mostly) ok with Ben coming in during the night when she wakes, so I'm taking that as a win and will savour our falling-to-sleep-snuggles while they last.
But back to the books...
Joan had selected two of my favourites to read - The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch and Dogger. As I was telling the tale of Mrs Gringling's mustard sandwiches I thought, "This is such a good book, I hope others know about it". So here I am, sharing our current favourites, along with a quick note as to why Joan and/or I like them so much (note: Joan is two, turning three in August). Many are books I grew up reading, as my Mother kept most things from my childhood - books, toys, clothes, etc. They're from the 80's and 90's, and slightly (wonderfully!) tattered, and it's been really fun to read Joan the stories I remember so fondly. Unfortunately not all are readily available these days, however I still wanted to include them in this list because you may be able to hunt them down or just get a nice flashback to your childhood. The more recent ones we have either been gifted or borrowed from the library. And we loved some of our library finds so much, I decided to buy our own copy.
If you have any favourites you think we'd enjoy, please share them in the comments! I'm always on the hunt for good books - for ourselves and for birthday presents for Joan's friends.
Each Peach Pear Plum - I just adore this book. The illustrations, the rhymes, the "i spy" factor, the pie! I often read this to Joan when she was little and I was sleep deprived, because it made me happy. I really like pie.
Goodnight Tiger - This story is great - a really fun way to talk about getting ready for bed. Joan asks for it night after night. Because of this like to go outside and make hot chocolate out of mud, pouring it into little teacups "like Emily!"
Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch - This one is a firm favourite from my childhood. I think it's because it's about food! Also, it tells the story of a man and a women living such a different life to ours - sending their lunch down the wire... There's something magical about that.
But No Elephants - Another from my childhood. I don't know why Joan and I love this book so much. I think it's the cute animals and Grandma Tildy's impossibly tiny home. It's adorable.
Let's Join In - When I was a young girl I adored the My Naughty Little Sister books, and so when we spotted this book at the library I recognised Shirley Hughes' illustrations at once. We loved Let's Join In so much, I ended up ordering it and gifting it to Joan after our 12 week scan (the book has a bit of a big sister theme). It's a really sweet set of stories about everyday life that ends with the girl going to sleep, which I always appreciate, as it seems to make the act of sleeping more appealing. Sometimes. Ha.
Dogger - Again, we borrowed this one from the library then purchased it for ourselves. Actually, I'm yet to gift it to Joan, as I'm saving it for her birthday. The story is easy for kids to relate to, I think, and again I love Shirley Hughes' illustrations. I believe this was one of my younger brother's favourites growing up.
Jabari Jumps - This is a great book to help kids feel ok about feeling scared when trying new things.
Angelina Ballerina - Joan loves these books. I loved them as a child, too! Occasionally I'll skip over a line (such as when Angelina yells, "I hate little boys!"), but mostly they're pretty harmless. And the illustrations are gorgeous. There's a whole series, though Joan particularly loves the one where they go to the fair. Probably because they eat double chocolate icecream.
The Ballet Class - Staying on the ballet theme, my MIL bought this book for Joan and it's been wonderful for her to read as she starts creative dance classes herself.
Emily the Engine Driver - Another gem from my childhood. I love that this book tells the story of a girl (not a boy!) who is obsessed with trains. Joan really likes it, too.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea - I think the most appealing thing in this book, besides the fact that a tiger is sharing tea and cakes, is all the food! Surprise, surprise. There are so many cakes and delicate tea-time treats, and then they go out for an impromptu restaurant dinner of sausages and chips! What a dream day.
Amy's Place - A story about a daughter helping her father build a treehouse, and the possums that come to visit at night. There's something about this book that kids just love, and so I wish I could find a better link for you.
Peppa's Vegetable Garden - I am not a Peppa Pig fan. Some of the books have really sexist messages (stuff like "women are rubbish at this") and, quite frankly, I think Peppa's annoying. She really needs to learn how to say thank you. Oh, and don't get me started on the show. They're crazy short episodes with bright colours and high-pitched noises that rile her up. Some kids are clearly fine watching Peppa, but I find if Joan watches an episode, most of the time it's akin to giving her IV red cordial for 5 minutes, then telling her she can never eat chocolate again - such highs, such lows. Needless to say, we avoid it. I had to throw a Peppa book in, though, because Joan LOVES them and always finds them at the library. What can I say? This is one of the least bad of the lot. Ha.
Good Morning Yoga and Yoga Bug - Joan loves copying the yoga moves in these books. And I love that she's learning to stretch and move her body in different ways.
Just Awful - Oooh this book is so good! It was my Mum's when she was a kinder teacher. Kids, for some reason, absolutely love it. I guess because it goes through the emotions they may feel when they hurt themselves, which is really valuable.
Green Eggs and Ham - I bought a tiny, ratty copy of this from the op shop and kept it in my bag so I could whip it out when we're waiting in the car or at a cafe. The rhythmic narrative makes Joan giggle.
At my Family Table - We were gifted this book by Mandy, the author, and have really enjoyed it. Joan was straight-up obsessed with it for a while and always wanted to read it while we ate. Occasionally she'll say, out of nowhere, "Lamb on the spit, feta, cucumbers and fish!"
Peter Rabbit - Joan's super into Beatrix Potter at the moment. Specifically, Peter Rabbit and Tom Kitten. I love Beatrix Potter's narrative style, it's such a treat to read - for example, "Ginger is living in a warren. I do not know what occupation he pursues; he looks stout and comfortable. Pickles is at present a game keeper."
David's First Bicycle - This book from the 80s about a boy learning to ride a bike is such a gem. When I whipped this book out for the first time a few months ago, Joan requested it every single night. David totally needs to start wearing a helmet, but the message is great - keep trying, be patient, practice and you'll get there!
Ruby Red Shoes - Joan LOVES these books. And I love the illustrations, so I'm happy to read them again and again. These were the first longer-style books I read Joan, and I made a big deal out of it by telling her I thought she was ready for big girl books, so she thinks they're really special.
Bananas in Pyjamas - There is a whole set of books in this series, but unfortunately I cannot find where to purchase them. I remember absolutely loving them as a child, and Joan clearly feels the same way. There are so many things to see on each page, they provide endless entertainment and make perfect car-reading material.
Kissed by the Moon - This words in this book are so beautiful, they actually make me cry.