We’re sitting down to a delivery pizza dinner–a meal about which I feel an inordinate amount of guilt. Not, as you might assume, because of the calories represented by the pepperoni swimming in greasy cheese, but because we very rarely had pizza when I was a child. And I mean rarely as in, my mother was suffering from the stomach flu, and literally couldn’t get out of bed to prepare her usual fare, such as 10-vegetable whole wheat pasta. Or zucchini pie. This kind of diet also ruled out such childhood delicacies as Mac n’ Cheese, Lucky Charms, and Twinkies. As a kid, I fantasized about eating Jiffy peanut butter on white bread while I struggled to re-integrate the layer of oil that separates from 100% natural peanut butter. And like most kids my age, pizza was number one on my favorite foods list.
So, needless to say, I was nonplussed by my 5-year old daughter moodily picking at her pizza. “Is something wrong?” her dad asks. “I just want some icecream,” she says. “There will be no icecream until you eat your pizza, young lady!” I declare. Wow. Did that just come out of my mouth? Almost as good as my earlier doozie, “Stop cleaning up right now and put your shoes on!”
Though my statements sound wrongheaded, it’s the underlying principles that I’m trying to teach (i.e., “dinner before dessert”, and “listen to your mother the first time”); it’s that universal struggle to get the kids you love to do what you think is best for them.
This universal struggle extends even to the animal kingdom in this month’s featured book, Little Hoot, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, and illustrated by Jen Corace. You and your reader will laugh your way through this unexpected tale about Little Hoot, a happy little owl who enjoys school, playing with his friends, and even minds his mother when it’s time for “pondering practice.” Yet, like all little ones, he does not like bedtime–but for a very different reason than most: “All my other friends get to go to bed so much earlier than me! Why do I always have to stay up and play? It’s not fair!”
Children will enjoy the lovely, yet simple, line drawings and the comic-book-style bubbles revealing Little Hoot’s thoughts. As you BookChat, ask younger readers if they can find four forest friends playing hide-n-seek with Little Hoot, or to point out Little Hoot’s favorite nighttime blankie throughout the book. Older readers will enjoy the ironic reversal of roles as Mama and Papa Owl pull out the familiar stall tactics like “One more story!” and “One more glass of water!” Talk about the stall tactics you used when you were a kid, or ask your readers what they’ll let their kids do when they’re grown-up.
As an extra bonus, you might find that the reverse psychology actually works! Little Hoot’s constant pleas for a little shut-eye and the final relief of his cozy bed may tempt your little night owl into dreamland.
Special thanks to Chronicle Books for making Little Hoot available to lull your loved ones to sleep during the month of January.
If you love Little Hoot, don’t miss Rosenthal and Corace’s other endearing books, Little Pea and Little Oink, also available in the Readeo library!
I can’t wait to get this book with my daughter. She had been so spoiled with candy lately by family and friends and is starting to refuse dinner….ahhh!. So frustrating, it will be nice to be settled after our big move and get some healthy family dinners without candy in site. Thanks for the post, can’t wait to read more.
I know exactly what you mean, Taylor. The holidays definitely wreak havoc on the little ones–their routines, their naptime and bedtime, their usual mealtimes and the foods that they eat. Getting back to normal is hard enough without a big move, too! Once you do get settled, check out “Little Pea” from the Readeo library as well. You may already be familiar with it, but it’s a hilarious tale about a little pea who is forced to eat nothing but candy for dinner, when all he wants is a nice bowl of spinach. Best of luck with your move, and thanks for reading!
I chanced upon Readeo’s website today. Wonderful product! Wonderful blog! And Rosenthal’s book sounds like–well–a hoot! I’ll pass all this along.
Thanks, Linda! We’re so glad you found us! We’d love to keep in touch with you–if you sign up for a free guest account, you’ll receive monthly notifications that include a free book of the month, along with emails about all the new books we add monthly to our library. We’d love to pass along information about the Baby Book Nook on our Twitter or Facebook page. What a great way to help parents and caregivers interact meaningfully through reading with their little ones!