Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Book and Babydoll Update

So does everyone remember my last post about books and babydolls? They are two of my very favorite things about having little girls. I just love having girls. I love having a boy too. It is almost imperative that everyone have at least one of each (but who can help it?). But having two girls, being a girl, having two sisters and no brothers, and all girl cousins makes me a real girly girl in a lot of ways. Okay, so in high school I went through some grungy phase where all I wore was hunter green and no makeup and totally wanted to be a tom boy, but before that I was a little girl for whom my mom had to buy pants to match all my dresses in winter because I couldn't stand being in anything but a dress, and since then I have been the mom who dresses her own little girl in all dresses with giant hair bows to match. That's me, and that's my girls until they express feelings or desires to the contrary. The thing about Amabel, which I have said, is that she doesn't like dolls. She does, however, love a stuffed pink Hippo named Happy and dresses her in all the latest Build-a-Bear fashions (which are unfortunately often on the hoochie momma side as they are modeled after clothes from the Limited Too if you don't mind my saying so, or really even if you do). Found this picture of Happy on ebay for those of you who have always wondered but never had the pleasure! There are actually quite a few of her on ebay, all for less than $15. I paid $17 for one about a year and a half ago as an "insurance policy." But what's a couple of bucks for a year's worth of piece of mind. I hope nothing will ever happen to the current Happy and I can surprise Amabel with the emergency Happy when she has her own little girl. Anyway, I have high hopes that Elspeth will like babydolls. I am not sure why this is so important to me. I just know that I nearly bought her a doll before she was born so that there would never be a day she had not had a babydoll. In the end, I let her go three months before I bought her her first baby for Christmas. But alas, it is too big for such a small baby. And even when she figured out how to play with things and hold things, her dolly was too big to do much with but just grab and bury her face in. And that gets old. So I had looked for a smaller doll. I came up with the one on the left made by Eden. And while it is darling, it isn't so exactly the one I wanted. It was available so I bought it, both for Elspeth and for a friend's little girl's baby shower. And Elspeth seems to enjoy it. But at the shower my friend got the doll I had really wanted and couldn't find locally from her mother. So I finally ordered the doll off Amazon last week. I was ordering gifts for George and my brother-in-law and figured I might as well throw in the doll and get free shipping. She arrived yesterday and from what I can tell Elspeth likes her a lot. I am enamored with her myself. It is a Corolle baby doll and they always smell of vanilla. What a charming quality for a babydoll!

I decided to go ahead and order a few other things off Amazon while I was at it. Birthdays can sneak up on me as I have a horrible concept of time. And they can often hit when we are flat broke. I decided to go ahead and purchase a few books ahead of time and I was very glad I did when I saw there were very few left in stock of a couple of the ones I was after. I love the Frances books by Russell and Lillian Hoban. A friend of mine gave Amabel a couple of these for her first birthday. Another friend gave Elspeth a different one when she was born. The stories are so sweet and they read aloud so well. I have no idea why I am writing about them because that's not what I bought. But they are darling for little girls and I highly recommend them if you have one. I have also lately learned that Lillian Hoban also did the Arthur books which I have a vague memory of from childhood. They are for early readers and I am excited about checking some of these out for Amabel this summer. These are not the Arthur books like Arthur the television show, in which I think the children can be a little too cutting and unkind, but are about a little monkey named Arthur and his sister Violet. I have not read them since I was an early reader so I really can't recommend them for certain. I will let you know though.

Another book I remember from my childhood is A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor. My sister had this book and I secretly coveted it with its pink cover and dainty illustrations every time I saw it. It is now on the night stand in my old room at my parents' house. Tasha Tudor has written many charming books among which is the popular favorite A is for Annabelle. I have never purchased this one because of my daughter's name so often being confused with Annabelle. I never wanted her to confuse it herself! Ms. Tudor does such exquisite illustrations that I feel I must start a collection of her work for Elspeth. After all, Amabel has gotten almost every book for little girls imaginable! But again, I am writing about things I did not order.

What I did order was a couple of books by Mary Ann Hoberman. I ordered them from memory for Elspeth but I am thinking now that I have gotten them that it will be a while before she can enjoy such long books. They are so fun though and I am glad I ordered them even if I wait to give them to her at Christmas. One of them is called A House is a House for Me and the other is called The Cozy Book (careful, the link is to the paperback edition, the hardcover page didn't have a picture- I tend to think buying paperbacks in children's books is a total waste). A House is a House for Me is about all kinds of houses both obvious and not so obvious and who they are houses for:

A hill is a house for an ant, an ant
A hive is a house for a bee.
A hole is a house for a mole or a mouse
And a house is a house for me!
A web is a house for a spider.
A bird builds its nest in tree.
There is nothing so snug as a bug in a rug
And a house is a house for me!

Check it out; you will love it! The Cozy Book is about all the cozy things to eat and wear and do and play and say and go. It also has a great rhythm like the other book and great illustrations by the same illustrator, Betty Fraser. It is so delightful I can't even pick one excerpt to do it justice. Here's a snippet:

Juicy peaches fat and fuzzy
Sliced bananas, Tapioca-
Sliced bananas? Tapioca?
Well, certain people think they're cozy-
You may not
Some don't
Some do
What you like is up to you
(But everyone thinks cocoa's cozy)
Whipped up frothy orange Jell-O
Chicken soup with spots of yellow
Creamed tomato red and rosy-
Cozy cozy cozy cozy.

Aren't you feeling cozy now? The whole book is just as lovely. One more author to list in this very long (but hoped to be very useful) post. Karma Wilson. Have I mentioned Karma Wilson before? She used to be over there on my profile but my profile was so sparse I deleted it. What can you really say about yourself just in the favorite books and music categories? Whatever, that's beside the point. Karma Wilson. She is our favorite, hands down! She wrote Bear Snores On and the several near as good (which I think is hard to do and very impressive) sequels, Bear Wants More, Bear Stays Up For Christmas, Bear's New Friend, and coming soon, Bear Feels Sick. They are so fun with great rhymes and repeat characters that my sister and I both do voices for for our kids. I have given them as gifts many times over; they are a must have. Ms. Wilson has also written many other must have titles. We have most of her work because it is all so good. One of my favorites is a board book she did called Baby Cakes. It is a sweet book that is really a song for little ones. "Baby Cakes, Baby Cakes, I love you. Baby Cakes, Baby Cakes, Yes I do." It gets better! And another favorite is Mama Always Comes Home. I gave this one to Amabel and August the first time (and only time) we left them for the weekend. It is about how mommies of all kinds of different animals have to leave sometimes but they always come back; lastly it has the child's mommy driving away, but on the last page she comes back. It would be great gift from a mommy who is going back to work or taking a trip or any mommy whose child becomes distressed in the nursery or with a babysitter. Other favorites, and most of these are good and silly (but not too much so): Hilda Must Be Dancing, A Frog in the Bog, Moose Tracks, Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive, Animal Strike at the Zoo, Dinos on the Go, Dinos in the Snow (those two aren't her greatest literary endeavors but they are fun for little boys who love to read as much as they love dinosaurs and vehicles/transportation), and the one I just ordered, I Will Rejoice: Celebrating Psalm 118. Amazon also lists another Scripture based work coming out in September, Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92 as well as Let's Make a Joyful Noise: Celebrating Psalm 100 coming out next February. She appears to have lots of up and coming things and a few I haven't seen that have come out recently. She is thoroughly delightful,her books are both whimsical and smart, and you really should become acquainted with her if you aren't already!

Well, that's about all for now. I enjoy these posts. Let me know if you do and I'll keep them up every now and again if they help you out. Oh, incidentally, the Karma Wilson books and even the Mary Ann Hoberman ones are really for girls or boys. August has a lot of the Karma Wilson ones. They are for any child. Or adult for that matter; even if you don't have kids, you should just go hang out at Barnes and Noble, have yourself a coffee, and read a few Karma Wilson books.


RHB said...

Wow, thanks for all the book recommendations! I love getting those from people who have actaully looked at the books, as I have to order based on just by looking online!

Fittsy said...

We're going on a date tonight to Barnes, and I'll be sure to check out Karma.

Thanks for the recs. Love the posts, but have to skim - so much info. I"m an ADD-blog reader.


jennifer said...

I love Frances books. My favorite is "A Birthday For Frances." I picked up a used copy along with a cassette of the author reading it one time when Mark and I were traveling somewhere. We put the cassette in and listened to it, and just laughed and laughed. I read the books as a girl, and I was so pleased that I could still enjoy them as an adult. Also, A Birthday for Frances is great for teaching practical lessons in any family that has multiple children.

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