Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 97: Toot & Puddle

Toot and Puddle have to be one of the cutest, most endearing pairs of friends in all of children's literature.  They are the porcine version Frog and Toad; the best of friends with personalities as different as night and day.  Puddle is a homebody who is most content enjoying the simple pleasures of his life in Woodcock Pocket.  Toot loves travel and adventure.  In the first book of this delightful series, Toot sets off to travel the world, sending postcards home to Puddle to share his adventures along the way.   In the year he is away, Toot visits such exotic locations as Egypt, Paris, India, the Alps, Antarctica, and the Solomon Islands, to name a few.  Each turn of the page features a delightful juxtaposition of Toot's postcard to Puddle (with accompanying illustration) and Puddle's own adventures back home.  In March, Toot writes from Egypt -- "The pyramids are the greatest.  Wish you could meet me at the oasis." -- while Puddle is home tapping maple syrup, wishing Toot were there to taste the pancakes.  While Toot is busy diving with schools of fish in the Pacific in April, Puddle is home diving into the baths of mud season.  Finally, by year's end, Toot returns home and the two friends reunite to celebrate each other's adventures: Toot's around the world, and Puddle's right at home.  There are just so many things that I love about this story, and about Toot and Puddle's friendship, in general.  First, of course, there is the travel element:  I love any book that whisks its readers away to different parts of the world.  (We like to look at a map of the world after reading this story to track Toot's route.)  Then, of course, there are Holly Hobbie's magical illustrations, which somehow manage to make me feel happy and warm and cozy just by looking at them.  The details in the images are fabulous, too, from Toot's pastry shop in Italy to Puddle's silly self-portrait with sunflowers.  Most of all, I love everything about Toot and Puddle's friendship.  To me, these charming pigs represent friendship and love at its finest.  Despite having very different interests and personalities, they are still the closest of friends.  They do not try to change to be more like the other, but rather are quite happy being themselves.  They embrace each other's differences and unique qualities, and show that two people (or pigs) do not have to be alike in order to be friends.  The message of this story is one that can be appreciated by children of all ages, and hopefully adults, as well.  This book makes a wonderful gift, too, especially if you know a child whose good friend has moved away.  If you have yet to befriend Toot and Puddle, please do.  Their stories of enduring friendship are simply wonderful in every way. 


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