Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Little Tykes Playhouse Flip

This post combines a few things that I really love: free side of the road junk and spray paint. And of course, my kids! Now that we are onto our second summer in the house, we've gotten through some of the more pressing home fix ups and have a little bit of time for some fun stuff. This summer, we focused on making our yard more kid friendly.  We had our yard fenced in a few months back, and since that was a more expensive project, I've been looking for deals for the little extras I wanted to add to the yard. At the top of the list for this summer was some type of playhouse or structure, and a sandbox. With a little bit of luck I was able to cross all three off early in the summer, yay!

My first find definitely came with a stroke of luck!  My husband and I happened to be driving home late one night after a visit with friends, and just down the street from our house we spotted a great old Little Tykes house out on the side of the road! Despite the fact that it was nearly midnight, I made Hubs pull over because this was a score, no way was I letting it sit until morning.  I'd been stalking a few on the Facebook swap pages, and they can go for upwards of $50, so free sounded pretty good to me, especially since I knew I wanted to give it a little face lift. So there we were, in the dark, on the side of the road disassembling this little house and cramming it all into our Jeep, because just like groceries, we wanted to make it all in one trip.  Luckily, the darkness kept us from seeing the substantial layer of grime (and spiders' webs) that covered the house. It got a nice sudsy bath the next day!  There were also a bunch of random, rusty screws sticking out of the doors and windows, which had to be removed (still trying to figure out their original purpose).

Our house even came with this sign...not *quite* move in ready though

Ordinary, bland Little Tykes house, after its bath

Once my freebie house had a good scrub down, I had to decide what color scheme to go with.  I considered a gray/navy/deep red, but that didn't quite fit with the woodsy setting under our hemlock tree. Instead, I went with a nice mossy green as the base color, tan shades for the shutters and roof, and a pumpkin pop for the door.  I used "Rust-oleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint and Primer".  

The roof and door knob are easy to remove from the house, and the sides can be taken apart.  I believe you *should* be able to take the door and shutters off, but I was nervous about snapping one of the connections, so I didn't fuss with it too much. I've consulted with my personal adviser, Google, who confirmed that most people have a hard time getting the shutters/door to budge, but a few Hulk moms have claimed victory.  Personally, I just took a little time to tape the edges around the windows and door, as I was aiming for pretty good over perfect.  I also used a trash bag to cover up the areas that I was worried about over spraying, but found that I really didn't need it after my first window.  After a little practice I was able to get my spraying pretty accurate.  Unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of how I used the plastic bag to cover the windows, but it should be easy enough to figure out on your own. Of course, I recommend starting with the back window where you'll be less likely to be bothered by any mistakes.  You can easily unscrew the doorknob before painting the door if you'd like it to be a different color. 

The first piece I sprayed was the roof, mainly because it is the easiest to take apart.  The roof has two pieces, and you will also want to spray at least part of the underside.  The underneath edges can be seen from the outside, so mark off the point where you can see them, and spray at least that far on the underside.  I used one can total for the roof, although I did not spray the entire underside.

The roof can easily be removed and sprayed on its own

I decided to spray the sides while the house was still standing.  You could also lay each piece down and spray it on its own, but I didn't see any real benefit to that method.  I was a little worried about paint drips, but the drips I have are minimal. Just remember to spray from far enough away and you should be fine.  I also appreciated that I didn't have to do much bending by keeping the house standing, nor did I have to do much to protect the area.  Also, since I worked on this project during nap times and evenings, the house was still available for E to use while I worked on the project.  The paint is dry to the touch within 20 minutes, and able to be handled within an hour.  It is fully dry in 24 hours.
In progress spray painting
I gave each piece one coat of paint, and then did a few touch ups in some places.  In total, the project took about 4 nap times (7ish hours).  I used 4 cans for the siding/base color, 1 can for the shutters, half a can for the door, and 1 can for the roof (but could use a little more to cover more of the underside). I painted both sides of the windows and door, but left the inside walls unpainted.  The amount of spray paint you need could vary a little depending on the colors you choose and how good their coverage is over the original colors.  I did not use any top coat or extra primer.

London Fog (roof and door knob), Cinnamon (door), Nutmeg (shutters),
 and Moss Green (siding/walls) were our color choices.

As far as wearing goes, there are a few spots that a small amount of paint has scratched off, in the high traffic areas.  E grabs onto the window of the door in one spot to open and close, so there are a few scratches there.  Also, the areas where the edge of the window rubs against the wall to open and close has worn a bit. Other than that, we've had the house outside for almost two months now and it still looks great.  I plan on taking it in before winter and the really harsh weather arrive. 

Small areas on the edges have slight wearing after
 a month of opening and closing.

For finishing touch, we added street numbers and a potted marigold. I'm looking for a good replacement door knob too, and maybe a few other touches to add to the outside.  I'd love to find a nice free side of the road picnic table!

Happy with his house!

Overall, this was a pretty fun and satisfying project.  I have a better appreciation for graffiti artists now, because after a few hours of spraying my wrist definitely was aching! I love transforming my finds with a simple spray painting, and now I get too look at something that is more fresh and my style than the washed out and faded original colors.

Home Sweet Home
Have you done any side of the road redo projects this summer?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Busy, Busy July

Yay for July! July is such a great month, the month that really makes me think "summer".  There's always plenty going on, right from the start with Fourth of July celebrations. Add in a sprinkling of trips to the beach, cookouts, bonfires, tending to the garden, afternoons at the playground or in the pool, and it just seems to speed by.  We also have the added fun of two pretty big July birthdays in our family.  Both my actual first born and practice first born (aka little sister), are July babies, so we really get to pack in some celebrating this month! Clearly there are lots of places where a July book theme could take me, but to me no summer is complete with some time at the beach.

Here are a few of the beach and ocean themed books we will be reading this month:

Beachy Book #shelfie

"Theo at the Beach" by Jaclyn Crupi:

Theo is an adorable little puppy who has lost his sense of smell.  He decides to take a trip to the beach, hoping that some of the seaside scents will awaken his sense of smell again!  As readers follow Theo on his adventure at the beach, they will find that the book includes a few rub and sniff scented illustrations. We have two Theo books in our library, and E is currently loving them! He loves sniffing each page to see if he can find a scent, and its pretty adorable to watch! The stories are cute, however I do wish a few more scent pages were included.  It is a fun book to read when talking about the senses, especially soon after a trip to the beach, when your child has a fresh memory of what sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings they had while at the beach!  If you love Theo, he also has a trip to the park book, as well as a trip to the grocery store!

Sadly, this is only a smelling book, no taste samples included

"Penguin on Vacation" by Salina Yoon:

Salina Yoon's Penguin books are some of our favorites, and following Penguin on all of his adventures is fun! This time, Penguin decides that he needs a break from the cold and snow of his home (who can blame him?), and sets off on a little vacation.  He hits the beach and makes a new friend who shows him how much fun the beach can be.  When Penguin is ready to leave, he is sad that his friend can't join him. But Penguin soon learns he isn't the only one who needs a vacation.

Don't we all, Penguin. Don't we all...

"Duck & Goose Go to the Beach" by Tad Hills

Yet another adorable Duck and Goose tale (tail?).  Duck and Goose are happy in their meadow, until one day when Duck decides they should go on an adventure, see something different.  Goose needs a bit of convincing, but reluctantly follows his friend.  Lots of exciting new sights await them, the biggest being the ocean.  Suddenly, Duck isn't feeling quite as adventurous, although Goose is quite excited!  Although they both end up enjoying part of their adventures, they agree that home in the meadow is where they are happiest.

Meeting the locals is always...interesting...

"Under the Sea" by Redd Byrd:

This simple, interactive book is fun for toddlers.  It features three spinning pieces with different sea creatures.  Each page has a few different questions about the animals and your little one can answer the question by turning the piece to show the correct creature under the question.  The cover of the book clearly says 2+, and I'd agree.  E just turned 2 at the beginning of the month, and we haven't really used the book in it's intended way yet.  There isn't really a story outside of the questions, but this book really is great for practice with identifying traits and asking questions.  The illustrations are bright and colorful, and easily lend themselves to more questions you can make up on your own. 

2 out of 3, not too bad...
Whatever fun summer experiences you and your children have this summer, I hope you are able to find a fun book or two that relates.  The best part of reading these beachy stories was asking E if he remembered our recent beach trip and seeing him smile and nod yes.  I can't  wait until he is smiling and talking about it too!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Dads Read Too!

Sometimes scrolling through my social media accounts it seems like we forget this simple fact-dads read too! There are plenty of images and anecdotes of moms reading with their little ones, but I seldom stubble upon a dad sharing their favorite bookish discoveries or library adventures. There of course be many reasons why dads aren't showing off their story time skills on Instagram and Facebook, but I think it is so important for all of us to realize that dads can read-and they can do a pretty great job.  I'd love to see more kids being read to by all of the important people in their lives-moms and dads, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends...everyone! So in honor of the upcoming Father's Day holiday, I'm sharing a few of our famiy's books about dads, and hoping you will think about shaking up your daily story time routine with an extra read aloud by dad (or another special family member or friend).

There isn't much that makes my heart happier than listening to my husband reading to E. Hubs has an inconsistent work schedule, with some nights only ending well after our kiddos are in bed. It can be a bummer sometimes, but also makes nights when he is here extra special! Usually bedtime becomes a divide and conquer task, since little C still needs some quiet time with me before she is ready to sleep for the night. That means E gets some special one on one time with his Daddy, which includes a good long tubby and a read through three or four of his favorite books, before being tucked into bed (burrito style, like only Daddy can do, of course). I love hearing them reading from the other room as I take care of C. Even though my husband is reading the same books with E that I usually do, the story becomes totally different with his silly voices, expert sound effects, little asides, and always plenty of belly laughs from E. Harvard University even backs me up on this one. They released a study not too long ago outlining the differences between mom and dad reading styles, and why reading with dads can be so important for little ones.  You can read a little about it here. So to celebrate that special energy comes with a new perspective on an old read aloud, here are a few of our books about Dads.

A Daddy #shelfie

"Following Papa's Song" by Giannna Marino:

We received this book through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The illustrations are simply stunning, dreamily depicting the whales' underwater environs. They beautifully transport the reader from dawn to dusk, as the Little Blue travels across the ocean and learns from his Papa's wisdom. When Little Blue strays from his path, he finds that his papa is always waiting to guide him back. This is one of my favorite Imagination Library books thus far. If you have a child under age 5, I highly recommend checking here to see if the program is available in your area (who wouldn't love a free book each month?!)

I want to spend a day swimming in Little Blue's ocean

"I Love My Daddy Because"  by Laurel Porter-Gaylord:

This cute board book shows animal fathers taking care of their babies. Animals are seen building homes, finding food, keeping babies safe, or playing. There are many learning opportunities with this book, ranging from a simple discussion of different types of animals, comparing animal fathers to a child's father (Daddy loves to chase you in the yard, just like the animals daddy plays with him), and even an opportunity to learn some Spanish words. The book includes both Spanish and English text, as well as labels or animal names.

Dads teach lots of good things, but apparently getting laundry into the hamper isn't one of them.

"Your Baby's First Word Will Be DADA" by Jimmy Fallon:

Fallon's popular books is seen on the shelves at many stores year round, and especially near Father's Day. If you haven't checked it out yet and know a soon to be or new dad, it is worth a peek. Very simple conversational text and bold, geometric animal graphics easily capture the eye of 0-2 year olds. Animal sounds are always fun, and E enjoys joining in on the few sounds he knows, which includes Dada...still waiting to really hear Mama over here!

Your baby's first word will be Dada...but Dada will swear it's Mama at 2am

"I Love You Daddy" by Melanie Joyce:

Although this book isn't especially remarkable, it is a sweet read. The story follows bear cub and his daddy through the forest and shows the simple things that bear cub appreciates about his daddy.  It's not a book we read frequently, but it is a nice story to bring out occasionally, especially when feeling a little extra lovey towards Daddy. There is also a companion book geared towards moms.  

Cuddles with Dad are sweet, even for a bear

"When Dads Don't Grow Up" by Marjorie Blain Parker:

This is easily my favorite book on the list. I came across it at a fun little used book store, back when I was pregnant with E. I had actually been looking for some old field guides for a nursery project, but when I spotted "When Dads Don't Grow Up" it immediately made me think of my husband. He wasn't a dad just yet, but E was due just a few days after Father's Day, and this book became my husband's first Father's Day gift. Hubs still gets a little teary when he reads the note I wrote to him on the inside cover...so that's my little emotional connection with this book, but really you've got to believe me that it is seriously cute. It's all about dads who know how to be silly and fun loving, who know how to embrace the messy and the ordinary and make them into memories. It celebrates dads who are kids at heart, even if they are grown ups on the outside.

Bubble wrap dad = my husband

"What Daddies Do Best"/"What Mommies Do Best" by Laura Numeroff:

This fun book is really two books in one. Simply flip over for the second story! That novel aspect makes it pretty neat for little ones. The two stories celebrate all the ordinary things that dads (and moms) do for their children. If you are looking for a book that goes beyond the typical gendered roles of moms vs. dads, this book definitely checks that box (dads can sew buttons, garden, etc). Because really, when you are a parent there's no job you don't do for your child, regardless of stereotypes...sometimes the job just needs to get done. And that's truly what daddies AND mommies do best.
Snowman or snow-hippo?

I'd love to hear from you! Do you celebrate Father's Day with books? 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

For the Birds

This month we are celebrating our feathered friends!  Now that the weather has started to be more consistently on the warm side (despite a chilly, rain filled week here in New England), we are seeing plenty of birds at our feeders, hopping across the lawn, and perching on the telephone wires.  Since E loves pointing out birds and calling "eeeeeee" or "awww awww"to them, its the perfect time to take up his interest in the avian type, and maybe inspire a lifelong bird watching hobby. I'd certainly love to see E as a friend to birds (among other creatures), as it seems to be an interest that runs in the family.  E's great-great grandfather (whom his middle name is after) wrote popular columns for a Boston newspaper about birds.  His great grandmother happily fed and housed all sorts of flying friends, tending to gardens filled with plants to attract hummingbirds, orioles, and others.  E's grandfather can identify pretty much any bird call you hear in our region, and identify even more species.  And I personally am enjoying feeding the birds in our own yard, and hoping to add a few bluebird or wren houses, or maybe a bird bath this spring.

Here's a look at what we are reading this month:

A bird book variety

Notice E's own bird nest on the wall?

"Birds" by Kevin Henkes:

Many recognize Kevin Henkes as the author of the mouse stories (has your child met Chrysanthemum, Owen, Chester, or Wemberly yet?)  You might be surprised that Henkes also has some equally lovely stories that are not about mice.   I love "Birds" because it is light and airy, and the whimsical imaginings of the narrator seem so relatable to young ones.  Filled with simple observations about birds, and childlike questions without any of the "right" answers, this book could inspire many happy talks about birds while taking notice of them all around you.

A rainbow of colors all the time.

"Owl Babies" by Martin Waddell:

Since May is also host to Mother's Day, here is a bird story about an owl momma and her babies.  Mommy Owl leaves the nest for the night to find food, and her three little ones worry about her return while they wait for her, alone in the dark forest.  Each owlet has a different personality, trying to be brave, or in charge, or just plain honestly missing mom.  The sweet story ends with Mommy's return and the owlets' realization that their Mommy wouldn't leave them alone for long.  The story is also reassuring for toddlers or preschoolers who may be dealing with a little separation anxiety of their own, whether it is facing preschool, daycare, or just the night in their own room apart from the person who makes them feel safest.

Whooooo doesn't love owls? 

"Wings on the Wind: Bird Poems" collected and illustrated by Kate Kiesler:

Poems do not get nearly enough love.  I'll admit that I am also guilty of some degree of poetry aversion. Maybe it's from the trauma of middle school poetry units...being forced to create rhyme after rhyme, or having to read your own poems aloud to your peers at a poetry slam, even the  memorizing and reciting boring, ancient poems with points off your grade for each error...there could be a lot of long built up resentment for poor poems, but they really don't deserve it!

This little book didn't even get the love it deserved at the library!
Hopefully it is happy to have found it's home on our shelf.

Honestly, poems are fantastic for younger readers.  A collection of poems can be flipped through, stopping to read just one or a few, as your interest is spiked.  The rhymes, flows, and melodic nature of the lines of a poem appeal to little listeners as well.  After all, so much of early literacy is just about playing around with language, having fun, engaging with words and sounds.

This collection of poems is beautifully illustrated, and  features many different bird species-from the ordinary to the exotic.  It follows birds through the seasons, as they arrive in the spring and fly south in the fall.  I love that it follows that cycle, and it is easy to pick a few poems every now and then, as they are appropriate for the time or what your child is seeing in their own world right then.

Red wing blackbirds are one of our feeder's frequent visitors.

"Birds"by Jill McDonald:

Baby C was just given this book and she loves it! The illustrations are bright and cheery, and she gets the biggest happy smiles on her face while turning the pages.  The brief text introduces you to a handful of birds that may be familiar to little ones, including some which kiddos might find in their own back yards, and others that they would only meet at the zoo.  The book also introduces some opposite concepts, meeting birds who are big and small, fast or slow, like noise or like quiet, and so on. Each page also includes a starred fact, giving it the feel of a very early reference or nonfiction book with the added text feature.


"Garden Bird Facts" by Marcus Schneck:
This is a pretty simple adult reference book, but E loves flipping through it and pointing out the different birds.  Honestly, I am loving the addition of a reference book to our stack, since it can never be too early to expose the littles to a different type of book, varied text features, captions, diagrams. etc. I also believe it is great for the adult to learn right alongside the child.  While I do know a bit about the birds in our area, I could definitely learn a whole lot more.  And it is important for my kids to see this happen, all the time, and without it being any big special occasion.  I like to keep myself thinking, wondering, asking and answering questions.  And while my own babies won't be in school for a few years still, I know that when they do get there, I want them to understand that school isn't the only place where you learn, that the whole world around them has lessons to teach and important things to notice!

Lots to learn if you want to be a birding expert!

Beyond the Books-Bird Activities:

Bird Observers/Bird Detectives:

Watch for birds in your yard, when you are out for a walk, or playing at the park.  Keep a little journal to record which ones you see! Hear a bird singing in the morning-can you figure out which bird makes that song?   Use your reference book (or Google) to identify any bird species you do not know that name of.  Find a feather, egg, or birds nest that you might be able to identify-which type of bird did this come from?  Can you add a feature to your yard to attract more birds (feeder, houses, water)?

Being a bird watcher can incorporate a few senses (sight, hearing, maybe touch with a discarded feather...but please use common sense and don't touch an active nest or wild animal); as well as working on skills such as patience, quiet, and movement! Enjoy the outdoors and make a new feathered friend or two!

E is kind of little still, and I know that he doesn't fully understand what we are doing when I write in his little bird journal, but I am pleased just to have him see his momma writing.  It is so important for the little ones to see adults writing, or reading, and for all different purposes.  I just figure this quick little activity is a way to help get E immersed in that world, and it is a simple and fun activity we can add to and expand upon as he grows!

E's illustration reminds me a lot of the page out of "Birds", above.
Our first few sightings and entries.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

April and Easter Book Shelf

Somehow this first week of April has flown right by.  It was a yucky, rainy week and I'm not feeling in the most spring-y mood, so I've been dragging my feet a bit when it comes to thinking about fun spring things for my book highlight. We also started out the month with a little tummy bug for E, who thankfully recovered quickly, and just in time to enjoy some extra time with his Daddy home on vacation! With those little distractions I am just getting the shelf changed over to highlight some of our Easter books now.  Hopefully I can get my act together and do a better highlight into our next set of books and activities.

E's Easter #shelfie

What we are reading this month:

"The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams:

We have three different versions of this classic!  I truly love this timeless story of a special and loved little bunny and his journey to becoming "real".  It makes me a tiny but emotional to remember the special things that were real to me throughout childhood.  It also causes me to pause and think about the beloved friends that are "real" to my little ones.  

Our three copies of "The Veleveteen Rabbit" include the original, a board book, and an abridged picture book. 

Fun to compare:  The scene where the Velveteen Rabbit becomes Real

"Duck and Goose: Here Comes the Easter Bunny" by Tad Hills:

Another adventure with Duck and Goose that is silly fun for toddlers.  Duck and Goose search for a place to hide in order to catch a glimpse of the Easter Bunny.  They check out lots of silly places, but end up falling asleep before they see the  mysterious bunny!

What came first--the duck, the goose, or the egg?

"Disney Bunnies: All Ears" by Calliope Glass

A quick, fun, interactive toddler read.  With attached flexible, furry ears, to help Thumper express how he is feeling, this book is a cute way to talk about some basic emotions.  Of course, E loves any book with an interactive component.

Hello there, Fuzzy Ears

"Where are Baby's Easter Eggs?" by Karen Katz

This bright and cheery book is perfect for spring and would be so cute in a little one's Easter basket.  It is part of the popular series of Baby's lift the flap while searching adventures.  This time we get to help Baby look for Easter eggs, but find some fun spring surprises along the way!

Kinda jealous that Baby found a garden with gingham and polka dotted flowers...
My goal this week is to do some quick, cute Easter crafts or activities and get a blog up, so stay tuned for that!  And I am excited to share our Easter basket books once that silly bunny delivers them! Cya then!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Rainy Day Play

Today has been one of those early spring, dreary rain type of days.  The type where you wish to cuddle into a nice fluffy pile of blankets, eat warm cookies, and watch movies all day long.  You know it's a lazy day when your high energy toddler sleeps in until almost 10 am! Seriously, that happened.  I had to go check on him a few extra times, because that is seriously not him!

As nice as it can be to picture a lazy rainy day spent relaxing, that often isn't the case with kiddos.  Lots of rainy days can quickly turn boring, when the kiddos and Mom begin to feel a little trapped.  Or when the idea of watching Frozen for the fourth time in a row gets a little old.  Also, I'm aware that we are a little late hopping on the Frozen train, but E wasn't around in the back in Frozen's heyday.  So I love try to keep something different on had for these rainy days.  E loves anything that isn't actually a toy, so I have been coming up with some not toy play ideas for our rainy days. He also loves collecting things, so I figured being able to carry around a bunch of fluffy little pompoms would be fun for him!

Our latest not-a-toy play material are these awesome little pom poms from Target!  There are a few other color assortments if your kiddo has a preference, and of course you could find pom poms pretty much anywhere if you don't have any on hand.  I liked these particular ones because they came in a variety of sizes and shades of blue, so they will be fun for all kinds of sorting activities on another day.

In keeping with our vehicle reading theme, and well, because E loves his trucks, I put out a fun little play set up for E involving his trucks, pom poms, and some kitchen utensils and other tools.  If E can't play with his trucks out in the dirt, he needs something to load them up with!  

Thanks to Dad for the sectioned veggie tray that NEEDED to be reused after a party considering it cost $11.99 for some pretty sad looking carrots and celery!

Loading up the dump truck!

And with that I was chasing pompoms around the house for the rest of the day!  Who has a fun rainy day or indoors, boredom busting activity?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Books on the Move

I've been waiting for March as the perfect time to highlight some of  E's vehicle books!  Here in New England, we can count on March to bring us at least a few good thawing out days.  That is before Mother Nature reminds us that it's never really safe to assume it is spring in New England, until sometime in April.  Regardless, those early sunny days are perfect for getting back outside and into some dirt and mud to play with your trucks! After an entire winter longing to spend the afternoons outside, E is loving every moment of his outdoors time over the past few days.  Since he has been big time loving on his trucks lately, and is bound to become even more enamored in the coming weeks, it is a perfect time to focus on all things vehicular in his reading as well!

Who am I kidding, we play with trucks outside no matter the weather!

Here are a few highlights of what we are reading this month: 



"Digger, Dozer, Dumper" by Hope Vestergaard:

I can already tell that this book is going to be a favorite of E for a long time! A nice rhyming verse with an explanation of each vehicles purpose is accompanied by adorable illustrations of  each vehicle going about it's job.  There are quite a few different vehicles highlighted, including construction vehicles, and others you might see within your community.  E can't sit for the whole book right now, but it is so easy to pick up where we left off previously, or even just let him choose random pages with whichever vehicles appeal to him at that moment.  Not to mention it works as a resource for this momma, who has about zero knowledge of which truck is which.  Seriously, I can identify a dump truck and that's about it.  Thank goodness that I will be able to learn alongside E as we are bound to read this book over and over!

Love the humor in this book!

"B is for Bulldozer" by June Sobel:

This nice little alphabet board book highlights each letter, as they might be used to describe  the sights and sounds of a construction sight.  What I really enjoy about this book, is that rather than a string of alphabet letters with theme related words, it actually tells a complete story.  If the reader pays close attention to the illustrations, you can follow along as the children observe the construction project come along through the seasons, leading up to a fun surprise at the end!  I'm not one to spoil a surprise, but I can give a hint--the construction project ends with something that can ZOOM!  A quick read, perfect for little ones.

"E" happens to be a favorite letter in this house.

"Dig, Dig, Digging" by Margaret Mayo:

This book came highly recommended to me when I was gifted a copy at my baby shower.  It was gifted to me by a coworker, who happily reminisced about her son's love of the book.  My own son definitely enjoys it as well, and it is one that we read frequently.  The pages each feature a different truck, and carry on a predictable pattern and rhyme to describe the tasks the truck does each day.  Little ones watch the busy vehicles work hard all day, and the story finishes with a time to rest message for the trucks, and equally busy little movers.

Bulldozer...another one of the few vehicles I can identify

Side note: While I fully appreciate any gift, and especially books, I really love when people give their personal favorites, and anything a little out of the ordinary. It's so special to be able to think about the giver when enjoying the books with your child.  When the book is one that is a little out of the ordinary, it is just so much easier to connect with the gift giver than when it is the third copy of "Goodnight Moon".  So I encourage everyone to think outside the box a little next time they gift a book to a child-your personal favorite just might inspire a new fan!

"Old MacDonald had a Truck" by Steve Goetz:

This book really is so much fun.  I love that it takes a song most kiddos are familiar with, and adds a different twist to it!   Old MacDonald actually has more than just a truck in this story, he has a whole bunch of trucks.  Preschoolers will love singing along with the familiar Old MacDonald tune and enjoy the surprise at the end of each E-I-E-I-O.  Plus, Old MacDonald has a little something up his sleeve, with all the busy working trucks.  You'll have to check out the book to see what it is!


"I am a Fire Truck" by Josephine Page:

This super cute fire truck shape book is great for toddlers!  E loves to "drive" this book around, and anything that gets him engaged with a book makes me happy!  It's a really quick read, with just a few pages of a sentence or two each, to explain different types of fire department vehicles.  "I am a Fire Truck" is my perfect diaper bar book--I keep it in there for something different to pull out while waiting at the doctor's office, or for E to look at while in his car seat, and it never gets old! Also available are dump truck, train, and garbage truck versions.

How cute is this?!

I really love our little collection of vehicle books, and find that they give so many opportunities for conversations outside of our reading nook. It is great to see these vehicles out and about, doing their jobs in our community, and be able to use or reading time to learn more about them!  And of course, all this truck talk carries right over into playtime as well!

Dump truck or food truck?

What about you? Do you have any favorite vehicle books?