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!
We first checked this delightful story out of the library several months ago after we fell in love with Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo. Given that I had just featured one of her books, though, I decided to wait and come back to Where's My Mom? another time. My son happened to notice this book again the last time we were at the library, so we brought it home and have read it several times since. I am happy to report that he loves it just as much now as he did a few months ago, and I'm glad to have been reminded to feature this adorable story here on our blog. A little monkey is lost in the jungle and unable to find his mom. A friendly butterfly eagerly sets out to help him, asking questions about his mom's appearance along the way. "Hush, little monkey, don't you cry. I'll help you find her," said butterfly. "Let's have a think. How big is she?" "She's big!" said the monkey. "Bigger than me." "Bigger than you? Then I've seen your mom. Come, little monkey, come, come, come." Excitedly, we turn the page, only to find that the butterfly has led the little monkey to... an elephant! Each time the monkey describes some other feature of his mother -- her tail that coils around trees, or the fact that she leaps and springs and lives high in the treetops -- the butterfly is convinced she knows where to find her. And each time, the poor monkey is brought to the wrong animal mother. We love anticipating what animal the butterfly might take us to next, and my son finds the whole series of mistaken identities to be incredibly silly. When the monkey is brought back to the elephant again, we can't help but laugh and feel sorry for him, not to mention wonder why on earth the butterfly keeps leading him so astray! Donaldson has a clever reason why, of course, and once we find out what it is, the story becomes even more charming. Finally, our little monkey friend is happily reunited with his parents, at which point my son usually requests to go back and read the story again. The illustrations are cute and colorful, and the verse flows easily and well, overall. At first I wondered, though, why some of the rhyme schemes seemed a bit off ("Come little monkey, come, come, come. It's time I took you home to mom.") "Come" and "mom" clearly don't rhyme... But then I learned that the American version of the book has been changed ("Mum" is the original word in the British version, which flows much better), as has the title. In the U.S., this book is called "Where's My Mom?", but in the U.K., it is called "Monkey Puzzle." I'm not sure why publishers felt the need to change the title and some of the words, but there you go. My little guy calls me "Mum Mum" anyway, so I just change "Mom" to "Mum" as we read so it sounds nicer. Either way, we both thoroughly enjoy this book and think that you will, too.
As anyone living in New England will tell you, this winter's weather has been particularly brutal. Consequently, my family and I have spent a lot of time cozied up on the couch reading stories and sipping hot cocoa, and have made many trips to our local library. I just love the feeling of discovering a wonderful new story, but often find it is not as easy as it might seem (though perhaps this is because I am usually chasing my 3 year old around the library or trying to keep my 6 month old from chewing on all of the books.) So begins my quest to find a great new book to read to my little ones every day for a year. And I don't mean just any good book. I mean one that I won't mind reading 10 times in a row. One that we'll read so often and love so much that we'll need to go out and get our own copy. My friends have shared their personal favorites with me and I am happy to do the same with you. Thanks for joining our journey!
Busy Mom Disclaimer:
Ideally, my great-book-a-day-for-a-year blog would have one amazing post for each calendar day and be all neat and tidy like that. But I know myself too well. And besides, I'm looking for the best of the best here. I don't want to settle on posting about a book that I don't love, simply to be able to add something new every day. So, my posts will simply be numbered 1 to 365. In the end, we'll still have a year's worth of good books (or so I hope!) Hopefully you'll find my list to be worth the wait. And please, by all means, if there is a book you love that you think should make the list, let me know. Just leave a comment telling me the title and author and I would love to check it out. I'll be sure to give credit where credit is due. Thank you!
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