Puff the Magic Dragon Children’s Book Review

One of my favorite things to with the kids before bedtime is to sing together.  Paired with reading, it really calms them down and is just so soothing.  I love when I find children’s books that I can sing to the kids.  They often learn the words and sing along with me. 
Let me preface this review by saying a) I have a horrible voice and b) my kids will only think this time is “soothing” until they realize how bad my voice is.  I have to cherish these moments of cuddling, sweetness and sibling cooperation while they last! 
Puff the Magic Dragon (the children’s board book by author Lenny Lipton) is by far the most beautifully illustrated children’s book we currently own.  Vibrant, colorful, soft, and flowing imagery blend together to create a captivating experience for little ones.  Filled with lots of visual details, each page has so much to see, and yet beautifully done without being too busy.  Props to illustrator Eric Puybaret.
After singing along to this book for many nights, my kids now both know the words and often sing with me.  This is often Layla’s first choice when she decides to pick a bedtime story.   My son will often smile and say “oh no…not this one”, and yet he sings right along and often asks to read it again.  He has such a sweet and sensitive side, and this book really brings that out.  Available online and at many bookstores, I can guarantee you will cherish Puff the Magic Dragon as much as we already have.

The Underpants Zoo Book Review

Happy Easter!  Today was a busy day.  By the time it was all said and done, my children had completed four easter egg hunts, several meals, and tore through eight easter baskets (we have several generous grandparents and aunts in our big family)!  When we got home they were of course overly tired and it was the ideal night for a quick bedtime read.

The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelbach is a short, silly story about the wacky Underpants Zoo where the animals wear underpants just like us! Except…not exactly like us. Perfect for holding a toddler’s attention, The Underpants Zoo is full of fun and bright illustrations.   My kids laugh through the entire book, and are particularly entertained by  the crocodile’s “bow” underpants and the camel’s underpants full of sand.

You really can’t go wrong with this one…we could probably read it every night and they would still love it!  And who doesn’t want to end the day with laughter?

Contemporary Kids Bookcases from The Land of Nod

There are certain stores where you know you can always find what you are looking for.  When it comes to anything kids rooms, playrooms, or reading corners, I can count on The Land of Nod.  They offer unique, contemporary decor and furniture that is durable and practical.  If you are looking for bright, fun, and functional kids bookcases I have a few recommendations for you!

Good Read Book Caddy in Grey
The Good Read Book Caddy from The Land of Nod keeps your favorite children’s books in reach and at a height perfect for young children.  The angled design allows for books to be displayed either as shown, or with the cover facing forward.  The bottom shelf is great for extra storage – I think it would be perfect for those every-night bedtime reads.  Available in a variety of color options.  And how awesome is the multi-color mosaic rug?  A must have.
On the Grid Bookcase in Lime
Inspired by functional lockers, the On the Grid Bookcase reminds me of my junior high days.  I was so pumped to buy a shelf organizer for my locker, which I was sharing with my best friend because that was the “cool thing” to do!  I think this look is perfect for an older child’s room because a) I can see a toddler knocking this over and b) because of the locker room styling.  I favor the lime option because it adds a nice pop of color against a neutral wall.
Open Book Bin in Walnut
Simple, clean design, and perfect for multi-use all describe the Open Book Bin shown here in walnut.  This piece definitely has a life beyond the children’s room and in addition to children’s book storage could be used in a family room for magazine or book storage.  
Jenny Lind Bookcase in Azure
The Jenny Lind Bookcase gets 5 stars for style, durability, and all around cuteness!  Wouldn’t this look so sweet in a little girl’s nursery with a modern vintage theme?

Someday Book Review {Guest Post!}

I’m excited about today’s book review by an old friend from my high school days!  Kerry Wise is the mother of two adorable toddlers, and the mind behind MyWiseMom.  Be sure to check out her inspiring blog, where she shares her son Finn’s experience with food allergies and her mission to raise organically grown kids.  Kerry has motivated me to be smarter about what our family eats and where we purchase our food.  I can guarantee you will become more “wise” about your food if you follow her amazing blog.  Today Kerry reviews one of her favorite children’s books Someday by Alison McGhee.  Enjoy!

When I was pregnant with my first child years ago, a friend shared one of the sweetest books.  At the time I just thought it was the raging pregnancy hormones that had me curled over in a weepy mess, but I quickly realized that all mothers – no matter how old their children – are deeply touched by Someday.  
Author Alison McGee takes you on an amazing emotional journey through Someday.  She dreams big dreams and hopes sweet hopes for her baby through the pages of this book.  It’s a journey that sees the child through to adulthood.
Her words are simple, but so straight-to-the-heart of what all mothers hope for their children, that they will dream big, feel deeply, laugh often and accomplish greatness.
I took a really deep breath and thought funny things before I read this book to my kids recently.  Prior, I had just cherished the words when I needed a “mom reminder.”  But the message in Someday is so honest and touching, I wanted to share it with my kids.  Finn sat quietly and listened.  When we were all done, he squeezed my neck and said, “I love you, Mommy.”  That’s when I lost it!  Although he’s only 3 1/2, he understood enough from the tone and beautiful illustrations that this was a heartfelt book that reminded him how much he is loved.
No doubt, once you read Someday, it will be a staple gift for pregnant friends and those with young children for years to come.  That is, of course, after you find the tissue box and gain your composure!
Fore more from the author, Alison McGhee, and her journey in writing this book, listen to her interview with NPR.

Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit Book Review

My son was born a baseball fan and of course was super excited when I brought this book home from the book fair last week.

As my son has grown up, (I say that like he’s so old…he’s only four) I try to find books more geared to little boys – because my son is ALL BOY.  Plus he has definitely read his fair share of princess books lately!   Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen is a “hit”, and the perfect children’s book for little boys with big imaginations. 

Randy isn’t the best at baseball, but he does have mad science skills.  When this little genious discovers a meteor fireball is about to crash into Earth, he builds a robot baseball player to blast the fireball right into outerspace.  He may not hit the ball on the field, but saving the planet is the best homerun of all.

The two things I love most about this book are its captivating illustrations and the poetic rythym of the story.  It’s a fun read that usually has my little boy saying “can we read it again?”.   We like it so much, I plan to check out other books by author Chris Van Dusen including The Circus Ship and If I Built A Car.

Can We Read Another Book Mom?

Some nights I am exhausted (ok – most nights), and like many moms, I often have the urge to rush through storytime (as I mentioned in this post about our children’s bedtime storytime routine.  When I feel this way I try to remember this time with them is so precious and won’t last forever.  And seriously, how can I say no when my daughter’s cute little voice says, “can we read another book mom?”.

Tonight I fed the kids dinner, gave them baths super early, and then when my husband got home I ran on the treadmill.  Lately I have been running after the kids go to bed, which stinks because the night is gone before I know it.  I finished running shortly after 8pm and came upstairs to find my husband reading The Rainbow Fish to the kids.  There is something so sweet about seeing a father read to his children.  A dad’s voice is just so soothing and you wouldn’t believe how much better they sat in the chair with him!  Then we read a few more of our favorites including one that will be reviewed soon called Wherever You Are.

There is just something so calming about storytime with the kids.  I think it’s the combination of my daughter’s peaceful room, our cozy reading chair, the stillness of the house with only the words of our favorite book, and my little ones in my lap.  It’s so nice to wind down with them as they get ready for bed.

What does your children’s storytime entail?  Please share your favorite bedtime books and storytime traditions with us!

{Reading Corners} 60’s Tip N Rok Vintage Pod Chair

When I saw this cool & modern mid-century reading corner featured on Apartment Therapy, I was instantly drawn to this awesome bright red chair!  So fun and adds such a bright pop of color to the room.

If you are a child of the 60’s chances are you may have had one of these vintage Tip N Rok chairs in your own room.  Originally made by MTA Design, the Tip N Rock chair is made of red plastic and pod shaped.  Just the right size and perfect for a child’s reading corner.

Let me tell you they are not easy to find!  If you want this look you’ll have to go e-bay or etsy sites like The Vintage Reserve.  If you find a manufacturer that makes a version of this today please let us know!