The Doll Hospital by Kallie George ; illustrated by Sara Gillingham, 2018
(Ages 3 – 6)
Not only is The Doll Hospital downright adorable, it can be the inspiration for lots of playful learning. Dr. Peg is excited to cross off the only item on her to-do list for the day, sorting buttons. When an onslaught of patients arrive, however, she calls in some help. A group of nesting nurses come to the rescue and they all work as a team to mend the patients.
Immediately I realized this would be a great read aloud to inspire an activity sorting buttons, writing to-do lists, and of course setting up a doll hospital of our own. I was surprised to find that the nesting dolls also became an excellent learning tool.
After reading this with my children, I pulled out my old nesting dolls and was amazed at the learning that occurred unprompted before my eyes. My son and daughter worked together to take the dolls apart and then sort them to put them back together correctly.
To my amazement my daughter then opened the page in the book to the nesting nurses and matched up our dolls to compare sizes. It definitely prolonged our bedtime, but it was well worth it. I just love spontaneous learning!
The Whale in my Swimming Pool and the sequel, The Bear in my Bed by Joyce Wan were on constant repeat in our house this month. In both stories a little boy encounters an unwanted animal guest and attempts to remove it. Luckily, he uses some pretty impressive problem-solving skills to find a solution that makes everyone happy. These books are funny, adorable, and fantastic read alouds!
The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier ; illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, 2018
(Ages 3 – 8)
Filled with a spunky protagonist, lively illustrations, and engaging text, you will not want to miss this fun take on a classic folktale. This updated version of The Little Red Hen stars a small Latina girl named Ruby who invites her brothers to help her build a fort. When they respond that they are too busy, she perseveres and creates an impressive structure. In the end, the brothers make amends by creating additions for the fort and all the siblings enjoy a feast to celebrate their hard work.
Children and adults will love Ruby’s resourcefulness, determination, and self-reliance. They will also adore the last page sharing examples of easy forts to make. This story certainly inspired my own children to build a fort immediately after finishing this story. We had quite an adventure in their chair fort where we read this book several more times.
Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet (Fancy Nancy series) by Jane O’Connor ; illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, 2012
My daughter begged to read this book twice a day for two weeks straight. The nice thing is, I didn’t mind at all. I love the positive messages in this book and was happy to repeatedly expose my three-year-old to ideas of resilience and friendship.
In this installment of this fabulous series, Nancy is ecstatic to be performing in her first ballet with her best friend, Bree. She is devastated, however, when she is cast as a tree instead of a mermaid. After all, how can brown be fancy? Nancy demonstrates resilience as she embraces her new role and makes the best of it. When she experiences jealousy for the first time, her mother gives her some good advice and she learns an important lesson about friendship and herself.
My daughter and I just love this adorable series and can’t get enough of Fancy Nancy’s fabulousness!
Knock Knock by Tammi Sauer; illustrated by Guy Francis, 2018
(Ages 4 – 8)
When my son went through a phase of trying to be funny in inappropriate ways, I read a parenting article that suggested we teach him knock knock jokes, so that he could still be silly, but in a more acceptable way. With his love for jokes, I had no doubt that Knock Knock would quickly become a new favorite.
The story itself focuses on a bear preparing for hibernation, but is continuously interrupted by his friends knocking on the door. The sweet conclusion is the perfect end to this amusing story. The humorous jokes can also be adapted by children to share with their friends and family.
Joke books always flew off the shelf at my library and there is no doubt that this one will be popular among children. Teachers will also love it because it can be used as an entertaining way to introduce a nonfiction unit on hibernation.