Kid’s Corner: Picture books for young children that parents will actually enjoy reading.
I have always believed that instilling a love of reading at an early age is fundamental. My husband and I have read at least one book to our daughter every night since she was a few days old. But I have to admit that there have been some books that are so mind-numbingly awful that each time I read them, I feel a part of my brain dying (e.g. some of the fairy tale adaptations for little kids). Even the good books can get tiring after the 100th time. There was a time when the mere mention of Good Night Moon was enough to evoke nightmares (of giant frolicking kittens wearing mittens, chasing a red balloon and eating a bowl of mush).
This brings me to one of my personal favorite children authors, Mo Willems. Mo Willems writes children’s books that in many ways are really for parents. I have yet to get bored of reading any of his books and we own quite of few of them. So this month’s Kid’s Corner is dedicated our favorite Mo Willems book. Find out which one and read E’s review after the jump (spoiler alert – it’s not a pigeon book).
I have yet to meet a Mo Willems book that I haven’t liked. They are funny and spot on in terms of targeting important developmental issues, whether it be bath time, friendship, jealousy, or need for security. E and I both love the Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny, and Elephant and Piggy but our current favorite is Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Here’s 4-year old E’s review:
Me: What do you think of this book?
E: I liked it very much
Me: What’s it about?
E: It’s about a girl and her name is Goldilocks and she goes into a big house. And when she gets inside there big things that she can’t get at, and then she thinks a little bit and runs out the house because it is a dinosaur’s house. It’s a silly story because Goldilocks is little and there are dinosaurs in it.
Me: What was your favorite part?
E: When Goldilocks gets out of the house.
Me: Was there any part you didn’t like?
E: I didn’t like when the dinosaurs wanted the girl to get out because she was a nice girl. (I think E missed out on the fact that the dinosaurs were trying to lure Goldilocks into the house to eat her).
Me: How many stars do you give it?
E: 4 out of 5 stars.
The wonderful thing about Mo Willems’ books is that while children can enjoy them and relate to them (especially in the pigeon and Elephant and Piggy books), parents can find humor in recognizing aspects of the story that go over their children’s heads. E didn’t really recognize this book as a retelling of Goldilocks and the three bears – a story she loves. We spend some time afterwards talking about how they were similar but she saw them as two very different stories. She certainly didn’t realize that the Dinosaurs were supplying Goldilocks with chocolate because they like to eat chocolate-filled girls.
The illustrations in the book are also clever and include details that adults will find funny but young kids won’t understand. Take this page for instance:
So, not only do we get cameos from other books, but we also get additional humor that is explicitly targeting parents.
If you are sick of traditional retelling of fairy tales and are looking for a book that will make you laugh, then this may be the perfect book for you to read to your little one.
Some of our other favorites books (that parents will enjoy) include:
1. Pretty much any Mo Willems book. We love the precocious pigeon but you really can’t go wrong with any of them.
2. A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton (featured in an earlier Kid’s Corner).
3. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Kind of a dark story but young kids won’t get that part of it.
4. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth. It’s clever and cute.
Have you read Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs? What did you think? Which is your favorite Mo Willems book?