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.
Since BB has been bouncing off the walls lately it was time to put his energy to good use. The Mommy found him a local soccer club perfect for his age group. However, thanks to the influence of LTD, BB has decided that it doesn’t matter how you play as much as how you look. In other words the kid demanded gear. After tricking him out with cleats (heaven help all of us) and his “soccer” shirt, he wanted to look even cooler. Having just watched the Olympics he suggested a fancy (as he put it) towel. Mission’s Enduracool Cooling Towel fit the bill nicely. Thanks to The Mommy’s genetic heritage BB not only turns bright red when outside in warm weather he also sweats..a lot. The towel actually gets cool when wet which he thinks is magic. Of course in order to activate after getting wet you must snap the towel so I think you can guess how that manifests itself. The headband doesn’t fit just yet but he has demanded its use despite the obvious problems with limited visibility. Now if I can only get him to kick the ball in the right direction I think we will well on our way to the 2028 Summer Games.
It isn’t quite time to play Cat’s Cradle just yet but we have reached a milestone. BB is now in a booster seat and LTD is using a Mifold slim booster seat. This of course means that both boys are out of traditional car seats and ready to take on the world. The whole migration has been a little bittersweet as it means that they are definitely not babies anymore or even toddlers. Hell to hear BB tell out he isn’t even in preschool anymore. And based on both their attitudes one would think I have two teenagers on my hands. Sadly, I tried very hard to find a good home for the car seat but after much research not much can be done with a 7 year old car seat even if it is in good shape. I thanked it for its years of dedicated service and then gave it a viking funeral.
Click here to read an article about stroller accidents.
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),
One of the things that warms my heart is that LTD really enjoys playing board games. Of course we are still working on conflict resolution and breathing exercises when he loses. Some of the board games he chooses are insipid and I simply can not play them. He isn’t quite old enough for Risk and doesn’t really understand the goal of Monopoly as noted during a recent game in which he didn’t want to buy Boardwalk as it meant he would have to cash in his $500 bill and he liked the way it looked. Blue Orange Games consistently has creative games but the main attraction from my point of view is that the game play is incredibly fast and therefore when LTD loses we can quickly play again to avoid any drama. Top That! appeals to his love of magic and helps with his passion for hiding things (like my car keys). The stacking game features a challenge with three rules. “objects printed in color must be visible on the stack, objects printed in grey must be hidden INSIDE objects on the stack, and objects surrounded by stars must be kept empty.” At first he had a little confusion around the concept (and flying the stacking hats across the table) but now he is beating me (only when I’m holding BB as he is always on my team). And yes he has named the rabbits.
Click here to read despite not knowing what it is about.
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.