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Mother’s Day Books

This post is dedicated to moms everywhere.  I’ve selected a couple of books that celebrate the superhero qualities so many mothers possess.

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New in 2013 is My Mom is The Best Circus by Luciana Navarro Powell (Robin Corey Books, $7.99, ages 0-3) and if you think you recognize the mom, you’re right – it’s YOU!

“My mom is the best circus,
a one-woman show.
She’s the ringmaster,
a juggler,
and the band maestro.”

Read how this mom’s performance needs no admission ticket and the Big Top she calls home never goes on the road.

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A sturdy, 26-paged glossy board book narrated by a little boy and filled with fun illustrations, My Mom is The Best Circus will lift spirits and get lots of giggles. Children will identify with the kids in the story and their mom’s uncanny ability to sometimes be “a magician, other times, a clown.” While recommended for ages 0-3, parents will likely have to take the time to explain all the circus metaphors. Even so, it’s a great opportunity for some lively interaction, especially if a youngster has been to the circus or seen one in movies.

9781449409722_frontcoverMy Mom is the Best Circus will entertain kids, but this next one is for us moms! Are you a fan of Baby Blues like I am? Scribbles at an Exhibition: Scrapbook 29 (Andrews McMeel, $12.99) by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott features a collection of this King Features syndicated comic strip. Packed with 128 pages of hilarity, Scribbles at an Exhibition will cheer up even the most exhausted superhero mom. Some strips are in color and others are in black and white, but it doesn’t matter because each cartoon is better than the next and they’re all so good.

The award-winning team of Kirkman and Scott have been getting it right since the beginning of Baby Blues back in 1990. Following Daryl and Wanda’s MacPherson’s trials and tribulations at home with kids Zoe, Hammie and baby Wren have always made me feel I am not alone. And I’ve been known to cut out a strip (from the newspaper not the book) and put it on the fridge with a magnet for the whole family to see. Check out the Baby Blues website here for tons of neat facts, a blog, archives, the history of the strip, and things to purchase. And as Daryl says to Wanda:

“I’m sure you had a hard day, but I don’t think there is such a thing as a chocolate I.V.,” to which Wanda replies, “Well, there should be.”  So moms, here’s to chocolate I.V.s, a comfy couch and your very own copy of  Scribbles at an Exhibition: Scrapbook 29 to make Mother’s Day just right.

-Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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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.

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Buy Me! Get Me! I Want! aka The Toddler Chant

Karen B. Estrada reviews Betty Bunny Wants Everything

Although I’m still just on the brink of becoming a parent, my husband and I both try to promise ourselves, however foolishly, that we will not spoil our children. We want to teach them the value of money and that they cannot have everything they want, but neither of us have yet to have the experience of shopping with a clever child who is able to talk her way into getting what she wants. Michael Kaplan’s Betty Bunny is a “handful” who believes this moniker is a compliment. In Betty Bunny Wants Everything ($16.99, Dial Books, ages 3 and up), when Betty’s mother tells her she can get just one item from the toy store, she instead goes wild, filling up the card with oodles of toys. Kaplan perfectly describes a child’s mindset: “She didn’t know what any of these things were or what she might do with them, but she knew she had to have them.” Betty’s mother tries the line all parents have used at some point,“You can’t have everything you want,” but Betty insists it is her mother who does not understand. Betty wants these things, and she does not see why she cannot have what she wants. While feisty Betty’s three older siblings watch in disbelief, each of them having chosen just one toy, Betty continues to pile the cart high with things until her mother finally pays for the toys for Betty’s siblings, picks Betty up, and walks out of the store leaving Betty’s cart full of treasures behind. Betty kicks and screams and cries the whole way home.

Stephanie Jorisch’s bright watercolor illustrations move us through the store to the stages of a toddler’s tantrum as Betty sits sulking in a green chair covered in cloverleafs, hoping her father will see her side and tell her mom that she was mean. Instead, Betty’s parents take her back to the store and give her some money to buy whatever she wishes. I love the way Kaplan interjects subtle sarcasm that only a parent will pick up on throughout the narrative of this book while simultaneously telling the story of a very precocious child who is always trying to outsmart her parents. Betty is not a brat, but a typical lovable toddler who is no longer fooled at her parent’s tricks and has already learned how to work the system; but Betty’s parents are wise as well, and they tailor their parenting tactics in order to continue trying to teach Betty valuable lessons. Betty Bunny Wants Everything is a great read for any parent who has ever taken a child shopping—and what parent has not had to say “no” to his child and risk that unending tantrum which draws the eyes of other shoppers? This book will bring a smile to the face of the parents while teaching a child that lesson we are always trying to get across—things cost money, and money does not grow on trees (at least that’s the line my parents always used). Trying to educate children about financial smarts and the value of money can’t begin too early, so why not take a page from Betty Bunny’s parents and let this book help you in educating your child the next time you take her shopping.

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Why a Baby Needs a Mommy

Instructions: Find Heartstrings and pull

Mom-to-be Karen B. Estrada weighs in on a heartwarming book for new and expectant moms just like her!

Being at the very end of my pregnancy may make me vulnerably susceptible to anything having to do with babies, but Gregory E. Lang’s words of wisdom in Why a Baby Needs a Mommy ($14.99, Sourcebooks, recommended for adults),  pulled at my heartstrings. Adorned with Janet Lankford-Moran’s touching photographs of babies, often with their parents, Lang’s book offers its readers 100 reminders from a baby to its parents such as “I need you to stimulate my mind. I want to be as smart as you are.” Some of the reminders may seem obvious, but many of them are subtle reminders to parents that a baby is not yet capable of reasoning, mechanics, and understanding the way we are, and that it takes patience, compassion, and selflessness to raise a child.

Lang begins his story with a thorough introduction explaining his motivation for writing this book, namely that there were many times in the rearing of his own daughter when he and his wife wished some manual for being a perfect parent existed to assist them in the adventures of parenting. Lang’s hope in writing Why A Baby Needs a Mommy is “to give new parents, and especially moms, most often the primary caregiver, nurturer, and teacher, a glimpse of what they should know about and do for their children.” His words of wisdom, from the innocent lips of a baby, do provide parents with gentle guidance—not so much about what to do or not do, but about what a baby needs and what we as parents may occasionally forget. Why A Baby Needs a Mommy is a book I will leave laying around my home so that, once my baby comes, I can flip through it—particularly on those challenging days when I feel like giving up—and have Lankford-Moran’s charming photography and Lang’s words of encouragement remind me that no parent is perfect, but we are all doing the best we know how. 

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