Saturday, May 26, 2012

Where's My Cow and other fun children's books

Like many people who've read to children...or have read children's books... I have a few favorites.  

One of my all-time favorites is a fairly recent book by Terry Pratchett called Where's My Cow?  It fit's in with Pratchett's other discworld book and is really two books in one.  It's the story of Commander Vimes, who is reading a story to his son....
You have to read it to appreciate it.  If you can't wait to get to a bookstore, here is a youtube version of a man reading to his family.  You can take or leave his micro-sermon at the end of the broadcast.
Interesting sidenote - this is not your average children's book.  There are references to some of the colorful street people and characters featured in Pratchett's adult novels of the disworld.  In fact, there's a thread on a forum about where to shelve this picture book - children's section? adult?  I just put it in the fiction area with the other Pratchett novels.

I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll is a book I've enjoyed in the last few months. This is a book both my granddaughter and grandson has requested almost nightly when they spend the weekend with us.  When we first started out reading it, I tried a few different monster voices - no way.  They couldn't handle the voices.  Of course they were four and three years old, and it's entirely possible at this age, that your grandmother might just turn into a monster and EAT YOU UP!  So I respected their insecurities and after reading this story to them a few times they began to reqeust a few different voices.  So now, there are at least four different voices I use for each of the monsters.  This adds to the whole experience.  Very fun reading with lots of possibilities, this features a rather strange little boy who likes to keep a scary monster under his bed so that he's not tempted to get up at night.  Weird, but whatever works.  Only one night his monster has gone fishing and leaves a note that he'll be gone for a week.  This leads to the boy interviewing a few different monsters who just don't measure up.  After all, it's not every monster who instills the right mix of fear and comfort for sleeping...

Another fun book for changing the fear of monsters into an acceptance of monsters as fiction or fun is No Such Thing by Jackie French Koller.  A little boy keeps hearing things under his bed and keeps calling his mom to check it out.  His mom keeps telling him there's no such thing as monsters.  At the same time, a little monster keeps hearing noises from the area above his place under a bed.  He keeps calling his mom, who keeps assuring him that there's no such thing as boys.  This is a strange little tale that celebrates differences at the same time as showing how much we're all a like.  The grandkids love this one, especially the end, where the two meet and decide to play a little trick on their moms...

Where's My Cow will always be my favorite (the kids don't quite appreciate that one as much as I do) while the two monster books are currently the most requested bedtime book on weekends.  Luckily, I also enjoy these two monster books.  So until the kids find a new book to obsess over (they tend to love to re-read books, sometimes over and over and over and over...etc, throughout the same day!), I Need My Monster and No Such Thing are getting well used, enough that I might have to buy new copies (I have paperback versions).

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