The Pigeon HAS To Go To School – by Mo Willems (2019)

The Pigeon Has To Go To School

In honor of the first day of school for most kids, I’m featuring this Mo Willems book. It’s about everyone’s favorite cranky pigeon. You know, the one who didn’t want to take a bath. The one who insisted on getting a puppy, only to discover that he was terrified by his new pet. The one who resisted going to bed. And the one who begged and pleaded to drive the bus!

Now the time has come for the pigeon’s first day of school, and the little guy is very nervous. He thinks of everything that could go wrong, and tries to get out of going. Kids of all ages can relate to the pigeon’s mental agony. But in the end, the pigeon decides to dive in and enjoy the experience. This book helps remind readers that on the first day of school, everyone is a little bit nervous, and that’s okay.

Pig The Pug – by Aaron Blabey (2016)

Pig The Pug

This is the first of six books by the Mr. Blabey that feature the pug dog called “Pig”. Each book has a humorous story of Pig acting like the average young child who hasn’t yet learned the art of getting along well with other people. There is another dog in the household – an older dog named Trevor, who patiently bears with Pig.

In this tale, Pig has hogged all the toys. He collects them in a big pile, and refuses to share any of them, despite Trevor’s suggestion that it might be more fun if they can both play. Pig actually ends up hurting himself trying to protect his stash of toys. In the end, he makes the wise decision to share with his friend Trevor.

The storyline is nothing new, but the combination of excellent illustrations with rhyming story-lines makes this a great book to read aloud. Kids from about 3 years old through kindergarten will love having this read to them, and 1st graders can use this as an “easy reader” book.

That Book Woman – by Heather Henson (2008)

that book woman

Recently, I have been learning about the pack-horse librarians of the 1930’s. The mountain communities of Kentucky were so void of libraries that strong young women were hired by the federal government to bring in books on horseback. The books were donated, and the women had to use their own horse, but they were paid for their work, which was a rarity during the depression.

I was excited to find this children’s picture at my local library. The story is told by a young boy, who at first resents the “book lady”, as he thinks that his family will have to trade the berries he wants for a pie, for a book to borrow. But the woman tells his mother that there is no charge, she can borrow a book for free, and she will be back in two weeks to trade one book for another!

Some of the wording may seem unfamiliar to most kids, but it’s easy enough to explain, and gives a mental picture of how different childhood was back in “the old days”. It’s a sweet story that takes only a few minutes to read, but makes me appreciate the libraries we have available to us now.

Another post about the pack-horse librarians:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – by Eric Carle (1969)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar.jpeg

This morning I was at a local store, when a set of pajamas for toddlers caught my eye. Hey, I thought, how cool is that! On display were pajama sets with pictures from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”, classic books written by author Eric Carle.

The Very Hungry Catepiller pajamas.jpg

Eric Carle was born in 1929, graduated from an art academy in Germany, and moved to New York City in 1952. Starting off in advertising and graphic design, he was asked in 1967 to illustrate a child’s book by author Bill Martin Jr., who was writing “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” From then on, Carle fell in love with children’s books and began writing and illustrating his own.

One of his most well-known is “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, which explains to young children how caterpillars morph into beautiful butterflies. The story is quite humorous, as the caterpillar eats and eats and eats, ending up with severe indigestion. I have enjoyed this story with my little grandson dozens of times.

Netflix has a wonderful reading of the book, followed by a few of Carle’s other books for children – “Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me”, “The Very Quiet Cricket”, “The Mixed-Up Chameleon”, and “I See A Song”. All of the stories feature Eric Carle’s unique hand-painted collage artwork. If you want to check it out on Netflix, here’s the link:

Some lucky toddlers will get to wear pajamas with pictures of their favorite stories this winter. If only the manufacturers would make some clothes for older kids and adults with pictures from much-loved novels…

Pete The Cat: Too Cool For School (2014)

Pete The Cat Too Cool For School


Ah yes, it’s the first day of school again! Kids everywhere scrambled out of bed this morning, getting up much earlier than they had for months. They ate their breakfasts with parents, grandparents, or caregivers hovering over them, reminding them to eat everything since it’s a long time till lunch. Then there was tooth-brushing and hair-combing and making sure the backpacks were set by the door. But the big decision of the day was probably what to wear for that all-important first day of school.

Even Pete The Cat had trouble deciding what to wear to school. In this easy reader, he listens as one person after another tells him what he should wear. So he tries to do what everyone says, and ends up looking ridiculous. In the end, Pete just picks an outfit that he likes, and goes with it. This is a great book to read at the end of the day, after your little ones tell you all about their first day at school.
There are a number of people who have read this book aloud on youtube, but I liked this dad’s reading the best:


Kids’ Books For A Snowy Day


Today was a “snow day” for most of the school-age kids in our county, the first this season. Unfortunately, the bitter cold kept them indoors most of the day. What was there to do? Couch out in front of the TV, or play video games on a tablet device? When that gets boring, try reading some snow books! Chances are you’ve got a few around the house from school book orders. Time to dust them off and read them together on a cold winter’s day. Try one of these:

Katy And The Big Snow – by Virginia Lee Burton

The Snowy Day – by Ezra Jack Keats

White Snow, Bright Snow – by Alvin Tresselt

Snow Day – by Mercer Mayer

Owl Moon – by Jane Yolen

Clifford’s First Snow Day – by Norman Bridwell

The Polar Express – by Chris Van Allsburg

Tacky The Penguin – by Helen Lester

Snow – by P.D. Eastman

Tacky And The Winter Games – by Helen Lester

The Snowman – by Raymond Briggs

There Was A Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow – by Lucille Colandro


Corduroy – by Don Freeman (1976)


One of my all-time favorite kids’ books is “Corduroy”. It’s the story of a stuffed bear that lives in a department store. A button has fallen off his corduroy pants, and he tries his best to find it. Eventually the teddy-bear is adopted by a child that loves him, and he gets a new button. It’s a simple story that warms my heart every time I read it.

You just can’t beat a good pair of corduroys. They’re sturdy and warm, and can be worn for most of the year. Men, women, and kids wear them. They wash up well, and don’t need ironing if you pull them straight out of the dryer. Also, they never go out of style.

Today turned out to be a great corduroy day. It’s mid-May, almost summer, but the temperature topped out at a mere 49 degrees. So I wore a pair of gray cords today. Tomorrow I’ll probably grab the tan ones, or maybe the black ones. There’s nothing quite like them…

“Could Be Worse!” – by James Stevenson (1977)

Could Be Worse

When we were kids, every little thing that went wrong was a big deal. As we grew up, we learned that the things that bothered us were just small stuff in comparison to the major problems of adulthood.

In this story, Mary Ann and Louie keep telling Grandpa all the things that are going wrong. To their dismay, he just answers: “Could be worse!” They conclude that Grandpa doesn’t understand their situation because he has a boring life with no problems. When Grandpa overhears their conversation, he cooks up a whopper of a tall tale about his worst day.

The author not only wrote a wildly funny story, but added great illustrations to each and every page. In fact, kids who can’t read yet will be able to “read” you the story just by looking at the series of pictures. If you love this story as much as my family did, there are more books about Grandpa and the grand-kids! But this is the one that started it all.

Other “Grandpa” books:

That Terrible Halloween Night (1980)

We Can’t Sleep (1982)

The Great Big Especially Beautiful Easter Egg (1983)

Grandpa’s Great City Tour: An Alphabet Book (1983)

What’s Under My Bed? (1983)

Worse Than Willy (1984)

That Dreadful Day (1985)

No Friends (1986)

Will You Please Feed Our Cat (1987)

We Hate Rain! (1988)

Grandpa’s Too-Good Garden (1989)

Brrr (1991)

That’s Exactly The Way It Wasn’t (1991)

The Day The Crayons Quit – by Drew Daywalt (2013)

The Day The Crayons Quit


Imagine grabbing your coloring book and crayons, all ready to make that best-picture-in-the world  for Mom to put on the fridge. You open up the crayon box, only to find that every color in the box has gone on strike!

This is what happens to poor Duncan. Instead of finding crayons that are happy to make a masterpiece, he finds a stack of letters, each one with a different complaint about being treated unfairly. It’s absurdly funny, and reminds me of the whining we utter in life. Read it with your favorite small person, and remember that life is not always fair, but we have to color together. A good book to end the Thanksgiving weekend with.

The Journey That Saved Curious George – by Louise Borden (2005, 2010)

The Journey That Saved Curious George

If you love the book “Curious George” and its sequels, you should pick up a copy of “The Journey That Saved Curious George”. You will find it in the children’s biography section of your library or bookstore. It is beautifully illustrated with drawings from Hans and Margret Rey’s books, along with photographs of the authors and scenes from World War II. The Reys, being Jewish, fled Paris on bicycles as the Nazi army invaded the country.

The story was very inspiring to me. The Curious George books are more than just entertaining tales. They are the work of two people who felt passionately about writing books for children, people who considered them important enough to be carried along on their hasty journey while almost all of their possessions were left behind.

Anyone about second grade or older will enjoy this book. You will find out what prompted Hans to choose a monkey as his main character. You’ll also learn what George’s original name was! Even though the book covers a frightening time in history, it is written in a lighthearted manner that keeps it from becoming depressing or heavy. This is an excellent biography for you to read with your young person as they learn about World War II.