From the same series of updated classics as How it Works: Surfing for Porn, My First Joint, and People At Work: The Benefit Cheat, it’s aimed at very young children. Well, let me be more specific: it’s aimed at very young children who are, or would like to become, seriously twisted. Put it on the shelf between your collected works of Samuel Beckett and your back copies of McSweeney’s.
Books are already magical, and pop up books seem somehow even more special. There is no better way to get your child hooked on reading than by introducing them to pop up books. Children (and adults too!) are completely fascinated with three dimensional pictures that are, in essence, individual sculptures. Yes, little hands can be grabby and close supervision necessary, but pop up books are also a wonderful way to teach young ones to appreciate and respect books.
Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up by Robert Sabuda Special note must be made of Robert Sabuda, as he is widely viewed as the best pop up book illustrator out there. This is not the first time you will see him on this list.
Mommy? by Maurice Sendak, Arthur Yorinks, Matthew Reinhart A classic Sendak book, which is slightly scary but has the protagonist outwitting all the monsters as he searches for his mom in a haunted castle.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation by Lewis Carroll Yet another story illustrated by Sabuda, this is a retelling of the classic. But with totally cool pop up pictures.
Winter’s Tale: An Original Pop-up Journey by Robert Sabuda A story about animals who live in the snow, this visually stunning book ends with a Christmas cottage lit up by real lights.
My dear friends, you’ve no idea how brutal this world can be to an artistic soul. One by one, it eats them alive. Raymond Chandler. Dashiell Hammett. Dorothy Parker. Damon Runyan. Anita Loos. Ernest Hemingway.Mother Goose.
Yes, for is there any soul as fragile and artistic as that of a child’s storyteller? And yet as each tender Easy Reader, picture book, or pop-up manuscript is born, it is ruthlessly wrenched from its creator’s loving embrace and cast upon the heaving black waters of the heartless book market, there to sink or swim as its now-helpless progenitor can only clutch pearls or fedora and gape, wreathed in cigarette smoke and sheer terror (and then write about it on the Oprah forums). Oh! The Humanity!
Here, thanks to Kids in the Hall, perhaps the greatest sketch comedy troupe in history, is archival footage of one such writer’s brutal struggle through the long, dark, teddy bear’s picnic of the soul.
I was going to use their Teddy Bear’s Picnic skit, but that’s too dark even for me.
I am convinced that fostering an early love of the outdoors, plants, animal life, and gardening is essential for a child. Engaging in growing live things, digging in the dirt, and experiencing all of the life outside of the house can only be beneficial in helping them understand how to care for the earth, and by extension, other people as well. As the current stewards of the planet, we are only as good as what we teach our children.
Here is some great stuff to get you started, if you haven’t already.
Butterfly Garden– This kit has all you need to grow caterpillars into beeyootiful butterflies before their very eyes!
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children– From a detailed resource list to craft ideas to how to grow a “moon garden,” this book gives parents and children a great start on working together in the garden.
Kid’s Tote with Gardening Tools– This adorable tote with three gardening tools is sure to get them excited!
Kid’s Gardening Tools– This pint-sized tool set will make them feel all grown up!
Seymour Mfg Co #WB-JR Junior Wheelbarrow– Because what kid doesn’t want to dump stuff from a wheelbarrow?
Gardening Wizardry for Kids– Focusing mostly on indoor projects, this book helps kids to understand gardening fundamentals. Contains crafts and experiments, too!
Alex Toys Garden Apron– An apron is a must for all kids mucking around in the dirt, and this one is from a favorite manufacturer of mine.
A Kid’s Herb Book– Want to grow an edible herb garden with your child? This book is the perfect guide.
Sunday Afternoons Kid’s Play Hat UPF 45– Functionality wins out over looks with this hat. It has that essential neck flap as well as those all-important vents. But at least it comes in lots of colors!
Some of the most enjoyable times spent with my son have been the two of us baking in the kitchen. We chat, I try to teach math concepts, he tries to crack eggs without pieces of shell falling into the batter, it’s all good. I have been thinking that it is perhaps time for my budding little chef to fly a bit more solo, and that means a good kids cookbook.
Simple recipes, easy prep, and most of all, recipes that taste good are prerequisites for a cookbook that will be utilized for a long time. As always, I’m here to do the heavy lifting and here are some of the best cookbooks that I could find.
Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual. For younger cooks, easy to follow recipes and great illustrations help out the beginner. And measuring spoons, too!
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up. 17 easy recipes for your preschooler. Each recipes is printed twice, once in writing and once in pictures. An instant classic.
Honest Pretzels: And 64 Other Amazing Recipes for Cooks Ages 8 & Up. Vegetarian recipes make this book stand out. Recipes that are nutritious and easy to make will have your child wanting to make all of them!
Pink Princess Cookbook. If your little girl is enamored of all things princess-y, then this book filled with yummy tea-time snacks should do just the trick!
BatterUp Kids: Sensational Snacks!. This cookbook is great for kids just getting into the whole cooking thing.
Everything Kids’ Cookbook: From Mac ‘ N Cheese to Double Chocolate Chip Cookies-All You Need to Have Some Finger Lickin’ Fun. A little light on the pictures so better suited for children 9-12, this book has everything from lasagne to smoothies. Also has games and craft ideas.
New Junior Cookbook (Better Homes & Gardens). When I was a youngster, I had my own Better Homes and Gardens Cookie Book, and it was awesome. This one has lots of recipes, you’re covered from breakfast to to dinner. Also has a Cooking Basics chapter which explains about everything from cutting up vegetables to how to read nutrition labels. Also has diabetic exchanges.
Kids Cook!: Fabulous Food for the Whole Family. Detailed instructions, “real” food, also gives nutritional info for the over 150 recipes featured. No color illustrations, but the cook can color while the food is cooking!
Working as I do for the Manolo I am perhaps hypersensitized to the semiotic power of the shoe (and I may or may not be PMSing additionally but that is neither here nor there and nothing a little Merlot won’t put right) and yet I defy anyone to view the Guardian’s slideshow of magical realist Isabel Allende‘s mementos and remain stonefaced when they see these.
“My son is my soul. These were his first shoes. I have a splendid relationship with my daughter-in-law and we work together in the foundation. Today there are 27 million slaves in the world, mostly women and girls. I know for the rest of my life that this is going to be my mission and my struggle”
If that doesn’t get you, A) see your doctor and B) click on to see the next image… (more…)
There is a lot of great literature for older girls, ranging from Junie B. Jones to Pippi Longstocking to Ramona the Pest. For younger girls under the age of 8, it’s a bit harder to find good books with strong female protagonists. With all the Disney Princess and Strawberry Shortcake and whatnot, there’s quite a bit of fluff to wade through.
And that’s where I come in to help. All of these books feature female protagonists who don’t need rescuing, thank you very much.
Well do they?
Chrysanthemum is convinced that her name is perfect, until she goes to school.
JoJo must advance in her tae-kwon-do class. Does she have what it takes?
This poem by Ogden Nash tells the story of Isabel, who isn’t afraid of anything.
I don’t need to tell you about Eloise, do I? For starters, she lives in a hotel.
Marisol really wants a dog, even though her Abuelito is against the idea.
A modern American tall tale about Angelica Longrider, who grew up to be the greatest woodswoman of Tennessee.
The Magic Tree House (Series Books 1-4)
The first four of the popular series, Annie and her brother find a magical tree house.
Her brother has been captured, and she must find him.
What happens when Lilly’s purse is confiscated by her favorite teacher?
Set in Paris, Mirette does not know that her teacher is famous.
Cassie Louise Lightfoot takes a magical ride over the city.
Geekdom is in mourning, ladies and gentlemen: Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons and Dragons, the granddaddy of all role-playing games, has failed his saving throw against death and not so much as a Resurrection spell will bring him back. The geek world is a little smaller and a lot less interesting today.