09 November 2009

Book Week: Scholastic Picks

The catalogs came home in Buby's book bag last week, and he couldn't wait to dig in. He plopped on his belly and poured over them in meticulous detail. We don't often buy new books, since we are regulars at the village library ~ borrowing 6 to 9 titles a week ~ and we tend to score big in used-book bins. {Like... when we left a parade last month with an arm full of coveted reads for just 25 cents each. Score!}

Still, children's classics are sprinkled throughout every corner of our home, and we love to gift Buby and Bleu with new treasures every now and then. Scholastic's book club is optional each month and doubles as a way for Buby's classroom to earn free books. It's also a fun opportunity for him to partake in some book buying of his own. Our current order combines Nov/Dec, but starting after the holidays My Sweets and I have decided to give Buby a small budget and let him go to town. Scholastic's prices are great, and there are a whole lot of lessons tucked into that.

So. Thursday Buby asked me to reach for a Sharpie and read descriptions aloud. He circled away while explaining why he HAD TO HAVE each one of the titles below. Basically, any book I pointed to he wanted. He's very vulnerable to suggestion at this age. Heehee. I'm turning in the forms this afternoon, so we'll see several of these babies under the tree next month.

01. The Red Book by Barbara Lehman. The description reads, "A magical book. Enchanting wordless story helps develop storytelling skills." It's a 32-page hardcover with a Caldecott Honor for Unique Watercolor Illustrations. I know Buby fancies the fella on the front cover. I'm drawn to the simple images and rich storyline just begging for interpretation.

Before Bleu was born Buby and I would lay in bed at night with a wordless Little People book, and he'd narrate his own stories for me. In wonderful detail. A fantastic springboard for his budding imagination. I can't wait to do that again. Scholastic price: $10.

02. Puff, the Magic Dragon Book & CD by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton. The description reads, "The classic song about a boy's friendship with a magical dragon." It's a 32-page paperback.

Several months ago the wee ones and I were in the kitchen prepping dinner when I had a Honalee flashback from the '80s. Suddenly I was belting out, "Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea..." Buby was instantly smitten. He begged me to finish the song, but I lost the words. He said, "Look it up on You Tube, Mama." {That's our go-to for random songs.} I found a shotty rendition of the original, of course sung by Peter of Peter, Paul and Mary. We danced around to it on repeat for weeks.

We asked our lady librarians if they'd seen a Puff book or DVD, and they said not in years. But they both had fond memories growing up with the friendly dragon and his valuable life lessons. So when Buby flipped the catalog open, saw the green dragon and sounded out the word P-U-F-F we screamed for joy. Both of us. There was no question... it's a must have. Scholastic price: $8.

Oh, and I just found the 1978 movie on Amazon, but don't tell Buby. We're thinking of ordering it for him for Christmas.

03. The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats. The description reads, "Award-winning illustrator Ezra Jack Keats' inspiring version of the beloved carol." It's a 32-page paperback.

This is Buby's song. All last year he HAD to hear the Josh Groban version in its entirety before being dropped off at school. And not just in winter. I think Buby's "Drummer Boy" obsession {from Groban's "Noel" album} lasted a good 8 months on repeat. We listened to it in the house and every time we were in the car.

Buby understands the story and its origins. We're eager to break out the CD again and swoon over this artist's interpretation of the song on paper. Scholastic price: $2 on sale. Can you believe it?

04. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. The description reads, "Harold creates everything in his world with just a crayon! Two classics celebrate the power of imagination." 48 and 64 pages.

We already own a Harold and His Friends Treasury hardcover {from Grandma DJ}, and it's one of Buby's all-time favorite reads. The four stories in that compilation are new to our nighttime reading regime, and I just love everything about them.

I ordered this two-pack for Buby for Christmas for just $8. It will be a thrill to unwrap... for all us. I would def. snag the 50th Anniversary Edition for any lil' book lover on your list.

05. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Tale of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems. The descriptions reads, "It's Dad to the rescue when Trixie's beloved stuffed bunny disappears. Heartfelt humor!" 40 and 48 pages.

Honestly, I don't know much about this series and don't like to buy blind, but Buby seemed so smitten. I am familiar with the work of Mo Willems, so I'm thinking he'll be happy. Initially Buby was drawn to the bunny on the cover. He's in the "Bunny" class at school this year, and his teacher does a lot to play up the theme. Of course all of our bunny books and old stuffed bunnies at home have enjoyed a resurgence since September.

Plus. Buby doesn't tuck in at night without his Baby Bear, Mama Giraffe, Daddy Bear, Moose, Monkey, Rabbit and others at his side. So I'm thinking he'll empathize with the main character. Just a bit. Scholastic price: $12 for the two books. We'll wait to order this one.

06. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Now that I'm sitting down with the forms, I cannot find the catalog page for this one. It's the first one Buby circled, so I'm thinking he ran off with it. If I don't find it before Bleu wakes from her nap, it'll have to go on a future order.

Buby is psyched about the wild animal costumes. He's seen the ads and knows it's on the big screen. Unfortunately the Spike Jonze film adaptation is not age appropriate. My Sweets and I both heard that it's too scary for children under 8. Buby scares easily and is going through an afraid-of-the-dark phase, so we'll wait for the DVD and preview it ourselves first.

But seriously. I can't believe we haven't read Sendak's classic with Buby yet. It's soooo him. Check out this Amazon review.


Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it's been too long since you've attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak's color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.

The wild things--with their mismatched parts and giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious. Sendak's defiantly run-on sentences--one of his trademarks--lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child's imagination. This Sendak classic is more fun than you've ever had in a wolf suit, and manages to reaffirm the notion that there's no place like home.

07. If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond. The description reads, "If you give a cat a cupcake, he'll ask for some sprinkles. And that's just the beginning." It's a 32-page hardcover.

We almost bought this book for Buby last December, since he's all about the "If You Give" series from Numeroff and Bond. We've checked out every Mouse, Moose and Pig tale from the library at least four dozen times. At least. Grandma J. bought him the Mouse Cookies & More: A Treasury for his birthday, and we read it just about daily. The CD inside the cover is a constant in our home. It's a fantastic collection I recommend to anyone.

As anxious as Buby and I are to read this one, we are not going to buy it. Librarian Barbara assured us, as of last week, that it's finally in the system and will be coming to a library near us very soon. Free is cheaper than $16.

08. The last book we ordered was Stuart Little by E.B. White. It's a classic. Buby's never read it. Scholastic price: $2.


Grandma DJ said...

as a kid i would pour over those titles and pick out a few .. i always looked forward to that .. it felt like a reward of sorts!! good for you guys for encouraging his reading and learning to budget on top of that!! love you forever

Allison said...

I should have read this one before I left the Harold and the Purple Crayon on your other post. Sorry. I, too, love doing the book orders.

We have that Puff the Magic Dragon book. The illustrations are stunning. I found it at Sam's Club ages ago...I've lucked out there with some really great books. I'm a Peter, Paul, and Mary fan, too. I actually saw them in concert with my mom and my grandmother. Haven't thought about that in years!

Ezra Jack Keats is one of those classic authors/illustrators. I recommend The Snowy Day and Goggles.

Knuffle Bunny is on our bookshelf. Reminds me of when we lost Baby Shush!

We have Where the Wild Things Are here, too. My baby shower requested guests bring children's classics, so our collection grew substantially that day! It's only in the past few weeks that G wants to read Where the Wild Things Are. I think she wasn't really drawn to the images on the cover, but now it's one of her most requested read-alouds.

If You Give A Cat A Cupcake is here, too. Buby can borrow whenever he'd like!

And Stuart Little!! Oh my gosh. One of MY favorites. I love anything by EB White. We have Stuart Little, too. A few months ago, Jon and I discussed which book to select as G's first chapter book and at the very same moment, we both called out "Stuart Little"!