LTD is big into science and BB is big into destroying things which kind of fits into the how stuff works category. Engineering: An Illustrated History from Ancient Crafts to Modern Technology, edited by Tom Jackson is a new book that satisfies both boys interests. Part of Shelter Harbor Press’ Ponderables series Engineering focuses on 100 cool inventions and concepts from the ancient world up to now. You have your greatest hits like TV, the Light Bulb and automobile but you also find the Great Wall of China and Bagger 288 (look it up). LTD has been digging the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (this is also helpful since his book of records is really old). BB gravitates to all things with engines. The book comes with a fold out milestones timeline poster. Each item or concept basically gets a page and is written in a way that allows the casual reader to get the gist but also has more details for the truly curious. For me, the fun comes in showing the boys inventions like the telephone which they have been slowly understanding the importance of long distance. Who knows what inspiration they will draw from the book but I get %10 of the patent.
Where LTD goes BB follows and they are both always up for a good adventure. Author and artist Trevor Lai’s new book, Tomo Explores the World is set on a small island that is basically one big fishing village. The titular focus of the tale, Tomo has no great desire to follow the path set by everyone on the island and become a fisherman. After he finds his great-grandfather’s Adventure Journal fate chooses another path for him and his canine companion Captain. His friend Maya joins them as they explore the sea. The art is big and colorful but what I really like which sounds a little sterile is the typeface. The words are in white or black depending on the background and very easy to read. Why should that matter, you ask? Because at bedtime it is pretty dark in their room and I often can’t see the words in many a book (no I don’t need reading glasses). As usual, I won’t spoil the ending but I will say that BB has been digging the baby whale.
We don’t travel as much as we would like and we certainly don’t travel internationally. We frequently field questions about other countries even if the kids keep using state, country and continent interchangeably. In that regard we have been reading, The Barefoot Book of Children by Tessa Strickland and Kate DePalma with art by David Dean. The book focuses on how children around the world live and explores different cultures. In simple easy to understand language (without being patronizing) the book shows the differences in how people look, live and the make up of their families. The hand painted pictures are incredibly colorful and the splash pages really pop. LTD has been locked on the pages about how people communicate by learning the phrase, “Excuse me, do you know where the taxis are? In Grand Central Station. BB is fixated on how kids take baths around the globe. I guess a lot of kids take showers in New Zealand. The book does a nice job of showing the differences but instead of list form the authors have tied things together and show how we are all interconnected.
Occasionally, The Mommy will notice that she lives with three boys. And when you combine that fact with LTD overhearing some nonsense at school about the 2016 election it was time to balance the scales. Jennifer Fosberry’s new book features her star in another adventure, Isabella: Girl in Charge. The tale with art by Mike Litwin centers on main character Isabella waking excited to attend a big event (no spoilers but it has to do with Washington,DC). As her parents explain each time she brings it up, the event hasn’t started yet. The twist is that every time her parents speak to her she is no longer Isabella but a different female advocate or politician including Sandra Day O’Connor and Susanna Salter, the first woman mayor in America. The excitement builds throughout the story until she finally nears the Capital. The end of the book features a timeline of women in politics presented in an easy to digest format. The added benefit for me is that The Mommy has no excuse when the boys ask for a bedtime story and I can go downstairs to chill.
As long time readers know well, BB only eats a few selections out of the millions of choices available. In fact, one can count on one hand the number of things he eats, which brings us to the fact that he will indeed eat pancakes. All this is a round about way of saying that the new book by
As long time readers know well, I am a big fan of books with simple straightforward narratives that work well at bedtime. The new book by Richard Fairgra, Tara Black and Terry Jones is one such book. That’s Not the Monster We Ordered tells the tale of a family getting a monster just like their neighbors but things don’t go quite so smoothly. Keen observers will note that one could substitute the word puppies for monsters and the tale would work seamlessly (which is a big part of the fun). I know what you are thinking and no the monsters in the book are not scary in fact they are more in the vein of Sesame Street characters. However, the central family’s monster does cause a bit of trouble but it is not in the horror style and leans towards Curious George. I won’t spoil the end but I believe you can guess what happens even though the monster is not the one they ordered.
Richard Bryne’s new book has a silliness that speaks directly to BB and his developing sense of humor. Ben visits his friend Bella to show her his new remote control fire truck. However, the remote seems to have strange powers on her dog instead. Wacky adventures aside the tale encourages reader participation which BB is really big into as of late. In fact, it is up to the reader to ensure the story has a positive outcome. The art is big and bright which I have been noticing is more and more important when reading in bed with low light levels to facilitate sleep. The tale is a sequel of sorts to Mr. Bryne’s previous books on malfunctioning equipment. And since the main character and I share a name, BB now knows how to spell my name correctly.
LTD has long been into star voyagers and the study of planets and in that regard has influenced BB and on occasion they will don their astronaut suits and using a large box or the couch as a launch vehicle will head for the far reaches of the galaxy (or really the moon which always seems to be there destination. Speaking of destination Physics professor Dr. Christoph Englert has written a cool new book with the fore alluded to title of Destination: Space. The book with fun illustrations by Tom Clohosy Cole both guys are from the UK which is why I suspect the book has a cool British Invasion vibe. We have a ton of books about space but Englert’s book is perfect for both boys. LTD digs the non-dumbed down writing with sections like, “How do we know a black hole is there if we can’t see it?” and “The Sun is heated by nuclear fusion. Inside its core, hydrogen is continuously melted together to form helium.” The book does a great job of covering a lot of material without feeling like a text book. However, on the section on Sputnik and space travel I have to once again explain what happened to Laika the first dog in space (hint: it isn’t good). Destination: Space ends with the subject on life on other planets which makes for pretty good post reading entertainment as a mini discussion group forms between the two boys. They were not happy when I proposed that it is possible that The Mommy is an alien (She also was not happy),
As long time Beyond the Car Seat readers know well, BB is a lot more hands on then LTD was when he was three and half. That is why the series of books/activity kits featuring Rescue Vehicles, Construction Vehicles and Monster Trucks is totally in BB’s wheel house. The box comes with a set to build, poster, stickers, model and of course fact book. The kits are a little above BB’s pay grade but LTD is happy to help him set things up since he thinks they belong to him and not BB. However, the card stock set pieces also need The Mommy’s help for assembly as I don’t do well with delicate work. The fact book features more mature information that I like instead of a simple child-like explanation of sirens, hoses and bucket lifts. Of course no book will probably ever be able to get BB to say excavator instead of X-Vader, but I will always hold out hope.
LTD gravitated towards less obvious interests when in preschool, but BB has no problem joining the things that move crew. Trains, race cars, buses and construction equipment delight him to no end. In that regard, Stephen Savage’s new book, The Mixed-Up Truck sits in the sweet spot between a story you can read at bedtime and a four discussion beginning with the question what is inside a car? The tale follows a cement mixer on his first day on the job. However, things don’t go quite as planned as he mixes up the cement with flour and then sugar. I won’t spoil the ending as usual, but while the title suggests a mix up, things work out in the end. The story is simple and short and therefore perfect for multiple readings at bedtime. The art is crisp and fun, but I dig that the story doesn’t have the usual bad guy just a few simple mistakes that get corrected, lesson implied.