Recently Isabella has acquired a few new favorite picture book read-alouds that I don’t mind re-reading (so far) because the pictures are beautiful and the text isn’t annoying. I’m glad she’s picked some new ones because I was really ready for a change. I know that finding new, interesting books for the toddler set can be a challenge, so I thought I’d pass them along.
I discovered Tim Ladwig, fell in love with his artwork, and bought this book before I had Isabella. (It may have been when I was pregnant.) The text is simply the New International Version of the 23rd Psalm. The pictures follow the day of two young black children, a boy and a girl, living with their grandparents in the inner city. They wake up; eat breakfast (I shall not want); walk to school, stopping to roll down a hill in the park (lie down in green fields), play in a puddle (quiet waters) and in a vacant lot next to a church (with a stained glass window of the Good Shepherd). The neighborhood has some scary-looking areas and tough inhabitants (the valley of the shadow of death); but there are loving teachers waiting at school and a crossing guard who gives the kids a hug (your rod and your staff give me courage). The day ends with dinner, a bath, and grandma sewing up the girl’s stuffed lamb and then the two children tucked into bed beneath another image of the Good Shepherd.
I don’t mind reading this book twenty times in a row because the paintings are beautiful and inspiring, richly full of detail so I see something new each time. And of course reading the psalm is a form of prayer, too. It’s an emotional experience and my voice is usually choking up by the last verse while Isabella is grunting her demands for me to turn back to the beginning and read it again. Gladly.
I also own Ladwig’s book, When Daddy Prays, a collection of poems which would be suitable for older children. I like some of the poems better than others. I would love to own his version of The Lord’s The Lord’s Prayer.
Baby Loves is a collection of Mary Cassatt’s paintings of mothers and children from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
What’s not to like? It’s great art. It’s pictures of babies. You can elaborate on the simple rhyming text: “Baby sits, Baby stands, Baby looks, Baby hands…” or read it as is. Bella’s favorites are “Baby claps” (she claps too) and “Baby hugs”.
Lastly, A Book of Seasons by Alice and Martin Provensen (no image available) is a delightful journey through the year. Bella is captivated and can spend a minute looking at each page. For her that’s an eternity. I’ll confess I don’t read the text every time we flip through this book. But I don’t have to. It’s one of the few where she doesn’t mind if I just turn the pages slowly.