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Reading With Shortcake

Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House (My First I Can Read)Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House by James Dean

If you notice a lot of five-star reads in the children’s book category, this is only because Shortcake loves reading as many of the selections on Kindle Unlimited as we can and she’s very generous with her ratings. In fact, she questioned me for hours after I gave a book three stars.

I tend to go in and edit the ratings later when she’s not looking.

We both love the Pete the Cat series — and this one may be one of the best we’ve read together, so far. Pete wants to invite all his friends over to hang out in his new treehouse. In order to entice them over, he adds on a wave-pool, a bowling alley, and several other large room items to make his friends happy. The sheer absurdity of Pete adding all these rooms and things to the treehouse just amused me no end.

As Pete would say, “Groovy.”

Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu!Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu! by Diane Alber

Shortcake loves unicorns, and she loves dancing. So, a story that promises both — much less that a unicorn might wear a tutu can only be a good thing.

Luckily, Never Let a Unicorn Wear a Tutu! is just as much fun as the title promises — and there’s even a lesson lurking in there. The illustrations are what really people this one over the top, though. Colorful an fun, they helped elevate this story to one of our new favorites and sent us down the rabbit hole to read as many other books from this series as possible.

The Cat Who Wanted To Be A Princess: A Children's Book About Manners, Empathy, and Kindness (Perfect For Princess And Cat Lovers)The Cat Who Wanted To Be A Princess: A Children’s Book About Manners, Empathy, and Kindness by Sonica Ellis

“Daddy, we have to read this one about a princess kitty cat,” Shortcake exclaimed upon seeing this cover in my Kindle Unlimited suggestions.

So, we did.

It’s a cute story about (wait for it) a cat who wants to be a princess. She asks her grandmother about how she can become one and her grandmother offers various behaviors that might help. This doesn’t end with the cat in question, Sophia, become a princess. But what she does learn is how to be kind and empathetic to your friends and neighbors. Not necessarily a terrible lesson and something I feel like I (and a lot of people in the world today) need to be reminded every once in a while.

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Reading With Shortcake: Chapter Books, Captain Kirk, & Dinosaurs

Shortcake continues to share her parents’ love of reading. But now we’ve moved from Daddy and Mommy reading to her to her reading to us. Here are some thoughts on a few favorites we’ve enjoyed together.

Junie B. Jones and the  Stupid Smelly Bus (Junie B. Jones, #1)Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With a good ratio of illustrations to text, we decided it was time for Shortcake to graduate up to the Junie B. Jones series of books. And because Daddy is who he is, we started with the very first installment in the series.

Over the course of ten evenings, we enjoyed the adventure of Junie B.’s first day in kindergarten. Of course, things don’t go according to plan between having to ride the stupid smelly bus of the title to the bathrooms being locked after school and Junie B. calling the fire department to school.

Of course, Daddy couldn’t help but recall Ramona Quimby’s first day in kindergarten (we’ve got those and will be trying them soon). Shortcake loved the story and looked forward to a new chapter and finding out more about what would happen to Junie B. next each evening. Continue reading

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Reading With Shortcake

It’s been a while since I checked in on Reading with Shortcake.  But not for lack of reading to her.  If anything, we’ve read a lot of books together — most of them many times.   It’s to the point that she can recite some of them to us and even knows when to turn the pages (which I’ve got to get on video soon, I keep reminding myself).

Here’s some of what we’ve been reading:

Another Monster at the End of This BookAnother Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone

After picking up a copy of the original Monster at the End of This Book for Shortcake, I was both excited and wary of this sequel.

We checked a copy out of our library and I’ve got to admit this one isn’t quite up to par with the original. The concept is the same — Grover is worried about a monster at the end of the book but instead of trying to keep the reader from turning pages, this time he’s trying to keep Elmo from proceeding to the final page with the promised monster.

This book confirms what many of have suspected for years — Elmo is a jerk. He knows Grover is worried about this monster but keeps tearing down every defense Grover throws up to get to the promised monster at the end of the book. All while claiming to be Grover’s friend.

We love the original. This one just isn’t quite as good. Continue reading

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Reading With Shortcake: The Pop Culture Edition

As an avid reader, I wanted to share my love of reading with Shortcake as soon as possible.   Not only are there benefits for her brain development but it’s a special time to bond.

Some of my fondest memories growing up involve read with my parents.  My dad and I used to have a tradition of reading the Sunday comics together (the weekly Spider-Man comic strip was a favorite and the smell of coffee often brings back memories of those Sunday mornings) and my mom read several books onto cassette for me so I could listen to them over and over and over again.

goodnightmoonEarly childhood educators and experts recommend reading 1,000 books to your child before he or she starts kindergarten.  And while that can seem like a LOT of books, our local librarian reminded us that most kids have close to 2,000 days from the time they are born before they enter kindergarten (so you if you miss a day, you don’t have to get too stressed out about it).

She also said that you don’t have to read your child a 1,000 different books before kindergarten, just a thousand total books.  So when your young toddler demands that you read Goodnight Moon every night before he or she goes to sleep, each time you read it counts toward the total.

As a good father, I want to ensure not only that Shortcake reads 1,000 books before kindergarten but that she’s also exposed to some of the classics, including some of my favorite characters and universes from pop culture.  (In other words, I want to sow the seeds of geek-dom early and often).

Thankfully we live in a time when books that celebrate and expose little readers to some of their parents’ pop culture favorites are plentiful.  A few of my favorites include:

startrekoppostiesThe Star Trek Book of Opposites:   Taking images from the original (and still the best) Star Trek, this board book covers things like calm (with an image of Spock) and surprised (with an image of Captain Kirk holding up his hands with a surprised look on his face).  Clever and colorful, this book is designed not only to amuse young reader s but also to the people reading it to them.

Doctor Who Meets Mr. Men and Little Miss series:  This mash-up of Doctor Who and the Mr. Men books is delightful for young and old readers.  Currently there are books with the first, second, fourth and seventh through twelfth Doctor either on shelves or on the horizon.  And since Shortcake will sit up and turn her head toward any television set playing the Doctor Who theme, I imagine these will  be read a LOT in our house.

xfilesThe X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird:  While you may not want your kids to watch The X-Files just yet (it’s kind of dark and scary), you can introduce them to Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with this delightful book.  Young Fox and Dana are camping out in the backyard when they discover weird, wild, possibly alien stuff going on around them and being to investigate.  (If you’re such a nitpicker that you point out that Mulder and Scully never met as children, remind yourself this is just a children’s book and enjoy it.)  Great illustrations and a clever story with lots of homages to the series have made this one of Daddy’s favorite books to read to Shortcake.

DC Superhero Series:  Share your love of superheroes with your young one with these delightful board books, including the heroes and villains of the DC universe.  So far, we’ve only read My First Wonder Woman (which also provides the opportunity to feel things like Wonder Woman’s magic lasso!) but I have a feeling there will be more of these in our future.

Those are just a few of the books/series that I’ve discovered during the first year or so with Shortcake. I’m sure there are others that I’ve either forgotten or overlooked. But I’d love to hear what you recommend we read together on our journey to a thousand books.

 

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Reading With Shortcake

Close to five months ago, we welcome Shortcake into our lives.  Since that time, we’ve watched her grow and develop.  It seems like she changes while napping and I can’t get enough of her sweet smile and her giggles.

One of my privileges of being her Dad is reading to her.

Here are some thoughts on some of the books we’ve read together. Continue reading

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