One of my children has taken on a comparative mindset lately, which isn’t serving her well. Which is why I’m delighted to get “I’m the Happiest” for her. The story offers a clever story which helps kids acknowledge that often everyone’s unique strengths are what’s best for them, and that celebrating those difference strengths is what makes one “happiest.” The story is well written, and the cute watercolor illustrations are a real delight.
I wish some of my former co-workers had read Albert and Sarah Jane to their kids, because they might have learned a few things for themselves. In this story, when a dog keeps eating the cat’s food, the cat stays away from him and their house. Eventually the dog realizes how lonely he is, and apologizes, promising to not be mean anymore. I think this could help children (and a few adults) who are having trouble recognizing the consequences of their less-generous actions. It’s well illustrated and enjoyable.
Near Sighted Giraffe is a really charming book with darling illustrations, which are really fantastic. In the story, a giraffe worries she’ll look goofy wearing glasses, so instead, she started wearing make-shift protective gear to prevent the problems her poor vision causes. She ends up with a pillow tied onto her rear end, a bike helmet on her head, an inner tube around her neck, and (much) more. Eventually all that gear causes more problems than they’re worth and realizes just wearing glasses leaves her only looking smarter than she did before. It’s a perfect book for any child worried about getting glasses, or other issues about their appearance. You do you, Giraffe!
When I remember what it was like adjusting to school when I was young, I worry about my kids going through the same thing. I’ve read research where they found that visualizing going through an experience beforehand helps to reduce stress in the moment itself. This charming book, Gus Goes to School, shows how a little boy, left home alone, plays school with his pets and toys, never explaining all that they did to his family members when they return. When he finally goes to school for himself, he finds that he can easily adjust to all the goings-on at school. It also helps communicate that school involves lots of different activities, which they may — or may not — have happened in day-to-day schooling.
Sometimes learning is more or less automatic, and other times it can take quite a journey to learn all we need to do it easily and regularly. Little Chick and Secret of Sleep helps explain it all. On a mini heroes’ journey of their own, a group of animals grows as they each seek out one another, asking for tips about going to sleep. Soon the group finds themselves asleep, as they’ve mastered the basics: tired, safe, cozy and quiet. I hope these principles will help my kids develop healthy habits, and the understanding required to develop them, at a young age, and that it will be a help to them throughout their lives.
Man versus nature. The eternal struggle of life and death… Unless one learns how to make friends with nature first! In this darling tale, Big Fuzzy, two Inuit children go fishing. As the elder one catches fish, the younger passes them on — to a grateful polar bear. Later, when the two get lost on the way home, they’re helped by the polar bear. It is a simple and gentle parable about how when we care for the natural world around us, it cares for us in turn. My kids enjoy the darling illustrations and this warm tale set in the frozen north, and seem gladdened to learn that when you love the universe, the universe loves you back.