More Claus!

Okay, so it has been far too long. It's because I moved across the country, started going to graduate school, etc. But now I am back because I have a few recommendations that I really want to share.

As we head into the holiday season, if you are looking for a way to introduce Santa Claus to your little one, I have found a Christmas gem by Marla Frazee. Marla (who is a two-time Caldecott honoree and the illustrator of the popular Clementine series) has totally and wonderfully captured the fantasy of Santa Claus. We see Santa's warehouse full of toys on three-story-high shelves, his wall of wrapping paper, his tiny filing cabinets filled with post-it sized notes about children he will be choosing gifts for.... We see Santa testing the pogo stick and the bubbles... We see him in his giant billowing boxers shorts of all sorts of hilarious patterns... And, as my toddler likes to point out, his "Coffee cup!" is everywhere (it starts with one and by the end he has about twenty of them).

The text is actually not particularly stunning, but we can forgive that because we can have so much fun with the pictures. And hey, this text is introducing my toddler to the phrase "99.9% of the time" (this is how often Santa correctly matches the exactly right toy to the exactly right child).

This book is definitely a hit--- Eliza requested this book twice tonight, saying "More Claus!" the second time.

So, anyway, just wanted to recommend this one. I noticed it's on sale at Amazon for $12! Bargain!

Another Side of Richard Scarry

I am a Bunny
by Ole Risom, Illustrated by Richard Scarry

If you are most familiar with Richard Scarry's art from "Busy, Busy Town" and his various books about "things that go," this book will show you a whole other side of his talent. It has lush, painterly nature scenes in which a little bunny, Nicholas, plays with butterflies, watches birds and frogs, and takes in the changes of the seasons.

The trim of the book (tall vertical) gives each scene an a sort of grand theatrical quality. You know how opera scenery can be so big and grand that the actors look small? These tall nature scenes with a little bunny in them have a similar grandeur to them. And yet they are still so sweet. The bunny's expressions and poses are adorably childlike. Here is my favorite:

(I am no butterfly expert, but it seems that he has taken care to depict real butterflies. Same appears to be true of the birds on other pages.)

My baby seems to study the scenes; since Nicholas wears the same bright outfit in almost every scene, I think she is noticing him. Once she develops language it will be fun ask her, "Where's Nicholas?"

The text is very simple-- nothing special, but very easy and sweet to read to a baby. Just one simple sentence per spread. It is really a perfect introduction to the seasons. I can't recommend it enough! (And I thank the colleague who recommended it to me!)