So. This is what happens when you try to stand on a piano bench and take a picture of books on the floor while your toddler is awake. I will spare you the ones with the dogs also sitting on the books, looking concerned for my safety. Much composition. So photography. I've got a backlog of summer posts to share (come baaaack, summer!), but I realized today that it has been nearly six months since the last "What We're Into" post, and that's probably unforgivable. Time to check in with that little person of mine and take a look at what he is reading. As opposed to what I want him to read, which is not always the same. No, no.
Many of the books from previous posts are still in heavy rotation, but one of the things that has surprised me about having a two year old, is how sweetly predictable their tastes often are. Prior to becoming a parent, I was sure that if I offered my child nothing but beautifully illustrated, unusual, twee, picture books translated from the French or something, they wouldn't care about Curious George or Thomas the Tank Engine. I thought the popularity of those books was due to exposure rather than content, and HAHAHAHAHAHA. Excuse me while I laugh at my former self for a moment. HAHAHAHAHA. Okay, I'm done now. George and Thomas are universally beloved because they are universally childlike. Curious, fun-loving, and a little naughty. They have the agency toddlers so desperately crave, and yet their stories and endings provide just the right amount of reassurance and love. So yeah. Lesson learned.
I know I previously said I would try to narrow the list down to only a few, but brevity has never been my strong suit. I'm sorry! I blame Ewan, who's preferences have become so pronounced that he has been known to grab a book out of my hand and throw it on the floor if it happens to be the "wrong" book. Two year olds are not known for their manners or impulse control is what I'm saying. But they ARE known for their opinions. So eight books it is.
1. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, by Al Perkins. Monkeys! Drums! Appendages! The MVP of board books, really. Ewan loves any and all books from the Bright and Early Dr. Seuss collection at the moment (The Foot Book, Hop on Pop, etc.), but something about this one makes him, and toddlers in general, go crazy. It was always a hit at my old story-times. And there is not much cuter than watching a small person with questionable rhythm try to keep a beat on their own belly "drum." (Edited: thanks, Sarah!)
2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, by Eric Litwin. The Pete books were also some of my old story-time favorites, so I'm not sure why I never thought to pick one up for Ewan. A friend gave him this copy for his birthday and he promptly lost. his. mind. He memorized it immediately, sings it night and day, and the current pronunciation of "mah four booby buttons!" makes me giggle like an adolescent.
3. Wait, Wait, by Hatsue Nakawaki and Komako Sakai. This is one of the few instances where his tastes and my tastes have aligned, and it makes my heart sing. I have been a Komako Sakai fan for a long time. The text is sparse, but sweet, and the repetition and familiar images are perfect for very little people. I am never not taken aback by the beauty of her illustrations. I sometimes think about how often Ewan must hear the words, "Wait, wait!" each day, while he chases the next thing. It's no wonder he loves it.
4. Freight Train, by Donald Crews. I mean, does this really even need an explanation? The single greatest book for a train-loving child in the history of ever.
5. My World, by Margaret Wise Brown. I think I have the only kid in the world who could care less about Goodnight Moon. My World on the other hand has been a favorite since he was only a few months old. Same goes for Big Red Barn. This really should be a post of its own, but Margaret Wise Brown is one of the few authors who's books he has continued to love with unwavering passion since he was born. And as long as you don't get too caught up in the slightly bizarro world where bunny families eat fish (?!) and own dogs, it's easy to see why.
6. Curious George at the Aquarium, by H A Rey. Again, no explanation needed. Ewan loves all George without question, but especially this one. Because: "Quen-quens." (Penguins.)
7. Off We Go, Kite Day, and Spring is Here, (the Bear and Mole stories) by Will Hillenbrand. These were another surprise. I've always really loved reading them to Pre-K groups, but wasn't sure if Ewan would take to them or not. After a week of reading Kite Day nonstop, I knew he had found a series to rival his love affair with Knuffle Bunny. As a grown-up who sometimes cannot contain her eye-rolls at the many oh-so-sweet picture books out there, I also have to mention how much I love them. Bear and Mole are just so darn CUTE, you guys.
8. Anno's Alphabet, by Mitsumasa Anno. Part alphabet book, part picture puzzle, part are you serious, child, you want to read this again? it's just the alphabet! This was another one of those wonderful flukes, thanks to the sweet daughter of a friend who gave it to Ewan while we were on vacation. I've always thought it was a neat book, but it really never occurred to me that he was ready for it. Oh, who am I kidding. Nothing stands between this child and his love of the alphabet.
And as always, I hope you'll share with me any books your children or the children in your life loved at this age in the comments. We are always looking for new material.