I was a teacher for a few years before I left to pursue my Masters in Library Science. I’m kind of a geek when it comes to libraries. So, it might surprise you that today when I took my daughter to the library, I had a $3.60 fine and my library card was expired. Also, it had been so long since we last visited that I wasn’t aware of the new summer children’s program schedule which does not offer baby story time, so I was surprised when we showed up 5 minutes before opening time and found the parking lot nearly deserted. Normally, there’s a line of moms with babies waiting to get their names on the list as story time fills up fast.
No biggie. You had the whole children’s department to herself. You played with the toys while I browsed bedtime stories. After a while, you got braver and started exploring new sections, and I was no longer free to browse because I had to keep chasing you down. I didn’t want people to think I was a neglectful mom who just let her 12 month old daughter run around unobstructed. And you were running. Every time I looked up, you were up on your feet, teetering back and forth with your arms bobbing in front for balance, a big grin on your face. You were just so happy to have all this room to move. I think it was better that story time didn’t occur because I never would have realized how much fun you could have just on your own exploring.
I did happen to grab a few books while you were running wild and free. I kind of stuck with the theme of dogs and cats. I wanted books with pictures of dogs for you to look at because you are always pointing them out everywhere we go. You see them on TV, outside, in pictures, everywhere. The other day I was shopping for a vacuum, and you pointed at a box and said “dog.” I started to correct you, that no, there’s no dog, but then I looked where you were pointing, and there was in fact a picture of a dog on one of the boxes. It was small, but you found it.
You’ve never actually seen a cat in person, but I feel like it’s important for you to know what one is, and pictures of them are always cute, so I grabbed a couple of those, too.
These are great because they are photographs, not pictures or diagrams, and there is very little text. The Scheunemann books also rhyme, so that makes them fun to read.
For Ellis, I’m looking for simple, sing-songy text or repetition, and engaging images. The first book on this list, Little Dogs Say “Rough,” was a miss. We haven’t even gotten to the page with dogs yet. But Cat the Cat is a huge hit. She stops what she’s doing to look and laugh. The last one by Bill Martin, Jr. (Brown Bear Brown Bear) is sweet and lulling, so it’s enjoyable for both parents and baby.