Okay, so as far as the 100 Books before Kindergarten goes, we did make it and read all 100 books before Kindergarten started. I just became a giant mess by the time the end of summer came and neglected everything in my life that wan't breathing. I even stopped my own personal reading! I KNOW! It shocked me, too, when I realized. As of this moment, I'm re-reading The Hunger Games series. I find it isn't as confusing the second time around. But I digress.
If you remember my original post, which you probably don't because that was way back in May and I can hardly remember last week, I mentioned that we only owned 12 of the 100 listed. We have since acquired a couple additional books from the list and we only had to buy one brand new! That's right, ONE. Between the library, thrift stores and friends/family, we were able to get our hands on all the other books.
I decided to write out the final 20 in one blog. I know it's long, but it may be months before I get my life back on track again. Actually, I happen to know that my life is going to be an inconsistent mess until next summer and maybe even then since I am anticipating a move. Hm. Maybe I'd better get used to the craziness I call life right now. It may not ever go away.
Anyway, without further ado, the final 20.
21. Eddie’s Garden: And How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland (★★★★) This book was similar to the other book we read by Sarah Garland, Doing the Garden, which I reviewed here. Another sweet story by Sarah Garland, the kids and I enjoyed the simplicity and realism of this story. The simple joys of life never get old.
68. One Some Many by Marthe Jocelyn (★★★★) This was an interesting take on a counting book. The title seemed strange to me before we read it but it was all about words we use to count. One. Some. Many. The pictures were in the style of color block cut outs, bold and clear. Though the book didn't elicit any strong reactions from my kids, I know they were just soaking it up. Of course, I'm always pro-vocabulary. This may be one to buy.
71. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle (★★★★) I love Eric Carle. His books are engaging, quite educational and memorable. This story was tender and a lot of fun. A daughter asks her father to get the moon for her and he goes to great lengths, literally, to get it for her. Several of the pages opened up quite large, which had quite an impact on my kids. It was a little longer than the usual Carle book, but it was just as entertaining.
73. The Perfect Nest by Catherine Friend (★★★1/2) This story is about a cat who wants to make the perfect omelette He reasons with himself that if he built the perfect nest, the perfect chicken will lay an egg on it and his omelette is as good as his. His nest turns out to be a bit too perfect and trouble ensues. The kids loved this silly book and were able to follow the story easily. The pictures were really funny, too.
74. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin (★) Pete the cat is walking along with his white shoes on singing a song. He steps into a pile of strawberries which changes the color of his shoes. Then he steps in blueberries, changing them again (but, oddly, not blending the colors). All along he sings while he continues to step in stuff, changing the color of his shoes again. While this was a cute book, I found it unfortunate the educational opportunities were not taken. Why not blend the colors? Why didn't Pete learn to look where he was going? Is there a moral to this story? If so, it's: Life happens, you can't or don't need to take control. Good thing they're too young to read into it too much. Maybe that's the point?
83. Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey (★★★) Stanley the dog's people go out a lot and he is left home alone. Normally, he is a good dog, but eventually he realizes that he can sit on the coveted couch and they'll never know. One thing leads to another and the dog takes over the whole house. I can still picture my 5-year-old shaking her head at the dog's naughtiness. In the end, Stanley had to mend his ways and his people learned a thing or two as well. Cute story. Beautiful, detailed illustrations. Worth the read!
84. Stella, Star of the Sea by Marie-Louise Gay (★★★1/2) Stella and her brother go to the beach. Stella's little brother, who has never been, is brimming with questions to which Stella always has the answer, right or wrong. But the real question is whether Sam will ever get into the water. This is a sweet story about a girl's relationship with her little brother. I'm a sucker for big sister/little brother stories for obvious reason. What a cute tale!
85. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (★★★★★) I think everyone must know about Ferdinand. I remember watching the cartoon when I was younger. Ferdinand is the gentlest bull you could ever meet. While all the other bulls run and butt heads, he just wants to sit in his favorite spot and smell flowers. The pictures are simple ink drawings but beautifully detailed. This classic story has lasted through the years as a favorite for a reason. May it last through many more generations.
86. Strega Nona: Her Story by Tomie dePaola (★★★3/4) For those of you unfamiliar with the Strega Nona books, she is called a "witch" but is more like the town healer. For those of you familiar with Strega Nona, this is the story of her birth and learning to be a healer. Fun retelling of an old folk-tale with enough humor to keep the kids interested an entertained. Great story.
87. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (★★★★) Sylvester finds a magic pebble that makes all his wishes come true. Unfortunately he makes a hasty wish in a moment of danger that separates him from his family. Miss A was very invested in this story. She was very concerned for Sylvester and was practically yelling at the book when his family was nearby and just didn't recognize him. Any story that engages my children gets a thumbs up from me!
88. Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester (★★★★) Tacky is an odd bird. The other penguins know it an are often perplexed by his oddness. In the end, however, it is Tacky who saves them all because he is different. What a delightful romp this book was. While there are a lot of books out there celebrating individuality, I especially liked that this little bird used his strengths to help others. A message worth reading.
90. The Three Pigs by David Wiesner (★★★★★) This traditional tale literally gets blown away. While the story follows the typical pattern to begin with, the story soon comes to life when the wolf huffs and puffs a little too hard and blows the pigs straight out of the book! This story won a Caldecott award for it's beautiful illustrations and it is well deserved. The twist on the story was refreshing as well. Win, win!
91. The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (★★★★★) I remember my mother reading us this story when I was younger. I've read a lot of story books and it says something for any book that I remember fondly after so many years. This version of the Three Little Pigs tale is told from the perspective of the wolf who paints the pigs in a very bad light indeed. According to him, the real story is about a sneeze and a cup of sugar. I'm glad my children were old enough when we read this to be familiar with the original story so that they understood the humor in this new one. While I don't think my daughter enjoyed the ugly-interesting style of illustrating, I'd say she got into the spirit of the story and had fun, which is exactly the point!
92. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams (★★★★1/2) While this books follows the classic poem/song almost exactly, the pictures are what make the book (as well as the amusing moral in the end). In eye-popping color, the old lady continues to eat what isn't good for her, looking progressively more unhinged with every page turn. Instead of merely drawing each page with the newly added critter in her stomach, this book gradually increases the size of the die-cut hole in the page to include the newest creature. No matter how this story is told, it always amuses children, but this book adds a new dimension with gorgeous illustrations and well-placed windows.
93. Tuesday by David Wiesner (★★★★★+) The unassuming title of this book belies the stunning nature of this Caldecott winner. Every turn of the page brings new wonder to the odd happenings on what should be a normal Tuesday evening. But who wouldn't love the magic of ordinary bullfrogs flying through the air on their lily pads? The expressions on both the frogs and the other creatures they pass just as priceless as the wonder and magic this book brought into my children's lives.
95. A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker (★★★1/2) Bear simply doesn't want company, but that won't stop Mouse from trying in a sweet, polite and gentle way. While Bear becomes frustrated, my children were amazed at all the unusual places Mouse would show up and wonder aloud how in the world he could have gotten there. I will never get tired of a book my children interact with!
96. Wheels on the Bus: A Book with Parts That Move by Paul O. Zelinsky (★★★) The classic song is brought to life by moving parts in this fun book. We enjoyed this book very much, but I would hesitate at buying it myself as my children are not as gentle as I would like. Though, I would recommend this beautiful book to parents with children less inclined toward book destruction!
97. Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox (★★★1/2) This book keeps you turning pages as you try to find the green sheep. There are red sheep, blue sheep, thin sheep, fat sheep. If nothing else, this is a great book for teaching colors, opposites and vocabulary to young children. My five-year-old might have been a bit older than the targeted audience but she enjoyed it anyway.
99. Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill (★★★★) This is the one book I had to buy new because I couldn't find it at either library in my area. As it turns out, it's a good thing because this is one of those lift-the-flap books that certainly would have been in poor condition if I had acquired it any other way. Spots mother is looking for her puppy so that he can have dinner. She searches all through the house, looking in every possible place. My children loved discovering each new place and lifting the flaps to try to find Spot. As it turns out, this book has not left their room since we bought it. They love it!
100. Yoko by Rosemary Wells (★★★★) Yoko's mother sends her off to her first day of school with her favorite food: Sushi! Her classmates, however, are appalled by the unusual meal, branding it "Yuck-o-rama" Yoko's teacher has an idea up her sleeve, however, to help broaden the horizons of all her students! The author of the famous Max and Ruby books sends her adorable little animal characters on a food tasting adventure in the sweet book. If nothing else, it enforced what I always tell my own kids: Don't say you don't like it until you try it!
So that finishes the 100 book challenge. I do have another list somewhere of more books to read, but I'll be darned if I can't find it. Once I get the hang of the school year, I think I'll buckle down and find the list, strike off the ones we own or read this summer and start visiting the library again.
If nothing else, I reinforced my desire for my children to love reading as much as or more than I do! There's a magical world of books out there!