skip to Main Content

Rotten Days and Toddlers’ Ways

Rita Zobayan is today’s reviewer.

When I first read My No, No, No Day! by Rebecca Patterson ($16.99, Viking, ages 2 and up), I burst into commiserative laughter. This story rings true for anyone who has raised a toddler or has seen a toddler in full-fledged fit. Bella, l’enfant terrible, is not having a good morning. Her baby brother, Bob, has gotten into her room and licked her jewelry, and that is only the beginning of a very bad day for Bella, Bob and their enduring mother.

Patterson has a talent for capturing the experiences, discontent and language of young children. As one thing after another upsets Bella, she expresses her anger in that special way that only young children can.  Then I came downstairs and I saw that egg. I cried and cried and said, I can’t eat that! And Mommy said, “You could eat it last week. Look at Bob eating his mashed banana.” After the terrible egg I didn’t like my shoes either. So I took them off all by myself, shouting, No shoes! And then we had to go shopping and Mommy said, “Please stop all that wriggling, Bella.” But I couldn’t stop wriggling and in the end I shouted, Get me out!

Patterson is also the book’s illustrator and does a great job of depicting the situations and facial expressions that parents dread: a toddler having a tantrum in public and lying on the floor; the tearful, angry, pinched face of the toddler; the annoyed or sympathetic faces of onlookers; and so on. Patterson does an especially nice job of adding expressions to the plush toys and animals that witness Bella’s bad day.

 I read this 32-page book to my three-year-old daughter while she was in the throes of a tantrum. After a few minutes, she stopped her crying and yelling, and settled down to hear about Bella’s battles. As we read along, I asked my daughter about Bella’s behavior and what she thought of it. Through her tear-streaked face, she replied and recognized that Bella was “grumpy,” and that she was “having a hard day.” We then talked about why my daughter was also having a hard day. The ability of children to recognize other children’s behavior reflected in their own is a wonderful learning tool and My No, No, No Day! does a great job of facilitating that. 

Divorce From A Kid’s Perspective

Living with Mom and Living with Dad (15.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up) written and illustrated Melanie Walsh is a picture book that does such an extraordinary job explaining the delicate subject of divorce from the point of view of a child.

In the book Walsh introduces a little girl who deals with living in two separate houses – one with mom and one with dad, but still manages to call them both home. I love, love, love how Walsh uses insert flip pages in her illustrations to depict life with mom and then FLIP, she depicts life with dad.

She cleverly starts off at mom’s house with the pink door then FLIP, she’s at the top floor of dad’s apartment. She continues to show us her rooms – yellow walls at mom’s house and FLIP, she has flowery wall paper at dad’s. Walsh even addresses the little girl’s fear of the dark and how her needs are met by showing us that at mom’s she has a cute panda night light and FLIP at dad’s she has a string of butterfly lights.

Reviewed by Ingrid Vanessa Olivas.

Life should not end because of divorce. I am proud of the mom and dad in this book and how they still do activities with their daughter – camping with dad and visiting a farm with mom. As a teacher sometimes we are faced with having to ask both parents to attend a school play and seeing them both there is heartwarming.

Finally, Walsh even shows us that it’s okay to miss one parent when with the other. Bringing a backpack with a few favorite toys, looking at photo albums or simply making a phone call can ease that heart ache. At the end of the book readers will find a photo gallery of pictures of different family members who love the little girl. What a cool idea and one that anyone can easily implement at home. I adore this book and I can’t wait to read it to my new Kindergarten class this year because, while it’s sad to say that some of them are going through divorce, it will be nice to show them a simple, comforting storybook dealing with this sensitive subject.

A Mom’s Summer Survival Kit Great Books Giveaway

The kids are home, the house is a mess, and all you hear is “Mommy, mommy, mommy!”  While we cannot provide an escape plan, we can offer you the chance to win some really super books for when you carve out some ‘me’ time (even if that involves reading helpful parenting books) and find the perfect place to relax, kick off your shoes and read, read, read. OR maybe you know a mom who could REALLY use these books. Score points and enter the contest to win the prize for her.

Good Reads With Ronna has teamed up with Andrews McMeel Publishing to offer a “just what I needed” prize package (worth almost $50) of essential reading and a treat for your little ones, too!

Here’s what you can win:

No Regrets Parenting -Turning Long Days and Short Years into Cherished Moments with Your Kids by Harley A. Rotbart, M.D. ($14.99)

Toilet Training Without Tantrums by John Rosemond ($12.99)

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6 ($7.99)

Numbers Caterpillar-Shaped 2-Sided Board Book ($11.99, ages 3 and up)

The giveaway begins today and ends midnight on July 17, 2012.  To enter, send your name and address now in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com and write MOM’S SUMMER SURVIVAL in the subject. Then be sure to leave a comment below for this blog post and LIKE Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook.  You’ll get an additional entry for following us on Twitter @goodreadsronna. For detailed giveaway rules please click here. Good luck.

What we love about this selection of books is that there’s something for everyone which ultimately makes mom very happy. The caterpillar-shaped Numbers book is great in the stroller, in restaurants, and on-the-go. It’s sturdy with an elastic closure, colorful, compact and we’ve discovered there are quite a lot of fun ways to play with Numbers, too. 

Mom’s Pocket Posh Ages 4-6  is an indispensable and handy item for moms to keep in a glove compartment or purse and is filled with 100 puzzles and games to play with your kids at a picnic, waiting in line for a movie or on a car trip. And there’s such a wide variety of Pocket Posh soft-covered books available to choose from. Into Jane Austen? They’ve got one.  A knitter maybe? They’ve got a Pocket Posh for that, too!  There’s even a complete calorie counter and with its gorgeous cover, you won’t mind pulling it out for all to see even if you did just down a 1000 calories-laden piece of cheesecake!

In No Regrets Parenting there are countless gems to take away from every chapter so that time spent with your children can be the best possible experiences ever. We think Rotbart’s idea about family celebrations is one worth noting. For example, he suggests making a half-birthday, the first day of school, a good report card, the first lost tooth or big snowstorm a reason to celebrate. While he clearly states these don’t have to be gift-giving occasions, nor do they have to become big events, they can, however, quite easily become days the entire family will look forward to year after year. These are really what great memories are made of. In another chapter he emphasizes the importance of walking somewhere local with your child rather than driving there. Taking time to just stroll leisurely (if the situation permits), talk and maybe hold hands is an ideal way to be “present” with your child rather than rushing about in the car to get someplace. Be spontaneous and see what happens.  It might be some of the best moments you and your child have shared in a long time. Broken down in main categories such as Basic Principles, Simple Strategies, Epilogue and an Appendix then put into topic chapters, all areas of life with kids is covered.  The brief chapters are well written and packed with ideas parents will refer back to again. In fact you may be surprised to learn that Rotbart even suggests parents keep the book in the bathroom as it was “not written to be read cover to cover.” If you have young kids or those heading off to college, No Regrets Parenting is an invaluable resource to have on hand, bookshelf or bathroom!

Author John Rosemond has written 15 parenting books and his advice is often “the last word” on many topics and it’s certainly true in Toilet Training Without Tantrums. This is a brief book which should come as welcome news to many readers. Rosemond feels that toilet training is a simple process therefore the book should cut to the chase quickly, too.  Rosemond’s sense of humor (which helps enormously when toilet training because it can be so stressful to so many) is evident from page 1 where he even tells readers what chapters they can skip depending on their current situation/predicament. Most importantly parents will discover that Rosemond believes the old-fashioned way of potty-training is the tried-and-true method and that Brazelton’s philosophy of waiting to see the “seven signs of readiness” is not necessarily what works best. After putting into action and seeing results from the recommended approach presented in Toilet Training Without Tantrums, moms can kiss their diaper bags good-bye.

Make Time to be a Kid!

Just the title, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister ($16.95, Flashlight Press, ages 5 and up) made me want to read this book. Written by Linda Ravin Lodding, this is a story written as much for parents as it is for kids.

Ernestine is a typical girl, who likes to play like other kids her age. But Ernestine’s parents have so many activities scheduled for her, that there is no time for fun. Between school homework, sculpting class, ballet, tuba, karate and even yodeling and knitting lessons, Ernestine hasn’t a minute of free time.

One afternoon, Ernestine’s tells her nanny that she is going to the park and refuses to go to her planned extracurricular lessons. What do you suppose happens when Ernestine’s yodeling teacher reports to Mr. and Mrs. Buckmeister that their daughter is missing from class?

In this age of overachieving children and over-parenting parents, this book teaches a valuable lesson – that kids are kids, and they need their playtime. In addition to the wonderful storyline, you and your child will love the fabulously creative and colorful illustrations by Suzanne Beaky as much as I do.

If you are the type of parent who over-schedules your children’s activities, this book will make you see things in a new and brighter light. You’ll want to take your child and run through a park, throw a ball or just sit on a blanket and look up at the clouds together. Ernestine Buckmeister teaches you there’s simply no better way to spend your time.

How To Tame A Wild Queen

Today’s review of The Unruly Queen ($15.99, Candlewick, ages 3 and up) by E.S. Redmond is by Krista Jefferies.

E.S. Redmond’s The Unruly Queen tells the tale of Minerva von Vyle, an unmanageable and impish little girl who refuses to obey any rules or do as she’s told.  Through colorfully detailed illustrations, we learn how Minerva draws on walls and jumps on beds, throws her food to the floor and insists on plates of candy for dinner, refuses to go to sleep and dares to stay up all night. Week after week Minerva exasperates every new nanny that walks through her doors, until nanny number 53 arrives with a Mary Poppins type of demeanor—confident and cunning enough to correct Minerva’s incorrigible ways.

The fifty-third nanny crowns Minerva the Queen of Petulant Peak, donning her knot-filled hair with a lovely crown that Minerva feels truly suits her.  But as Nanny delightfully explains the awful details of ruling such a messy and disruptive place, Minerva begins to protest the idea of being a queen that would be fit for such a kingdom. She insists on brushing her teeth and the knots on her head, putting on pajamas and going to bed, and taking a bath without being led. Minerva does everything she’s expected to do even before she’s told while Nanny simply expresses worry that Minerva is shaping up to be a girl not fit to be queen.  This playful display of reverse psychology is a funny little tale with a pleasant rhyme that any young reader will enjoy. Parents will enjoy it as well, and could possibly discover a few tricks to tame terrifically wild tantrums.  They may even recognize a few techniques they’ve used themselves.

Fun Crafts and Activities From Pottery Barn Kids

With six more nights of Hanukkah and just three more days until Christmas, you might be taking a break from books. Maybe your children are already on school vacation and you’re looking for some new ways to keep them busy.  Try a little togetherness and a you’ll provide healthy distraction from computer games and other electronics. Perfect for the whole family, here are some simple and fun ideas from Pottery Barn Kids for hands-on holiday activities that keep you, and the kids happily engaged and entertained.

Check out these tips for planning a Christmas Cookie Exchange, including recipesinvitations and “how to” videos.

  •         Last-minute wrapping to do? Give your presents that extra little flourish of hand-crafted care, and try one of our creative approaches to gift wrapping. Make your presents even more magical this season with Starry WrapKeepsake Footprint Paper and Rudolph’s Nose Wrap.
  •         Share the joy of Hanukkah! This crafty Menorah is easy to assemble – and best of all, kids can “light” the candles on their own to celebrate each night of Hanukkah. Bring a little sparkle to Hanukkah celebrations with these creative Glittery Dreidel Place Cards. They’re simple for kids to make and add a fun element of festivity to the table – plus, they make great party favors!Plan your own Hanukkah festivities with tips and recipes from Pottery Barn Kids.

For more holiday ideas or for inspiration and advice year-round, visit the Pottery Barn Kids Design Studio.

Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: