You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Books’ category.
Before his nap today, Jupiter picked out Man Gave Names to All the Animals, written by Bob Dylan and Illustrated by Jim Arnosky, as his story.
This is a book we picked up at the Kirkwood Public Library the other day. I normally let Jupiter choose some books from the shelves, but on this occasion he had already put his full attention into the dollhouse and a new friend he found who was playing with the dolls as well. Instead I, being keen to his storybook tastes, went ahead and picked out a few that I thought he would enjoy.
I was in a bit of a hurry that day since it was getting close to lunch time and I had to bike back home with the boys to make their meals. Because of this, I did not even notice that Bob Dylan was the author until just before reading it to him this afternoon.
The words are the lyrics to the famous Bob Dylan song of the same name. Arnosky’s introduction mentions that he asked Dylan if he could paint what what he imagines when hearing the song and make a children’s book out of it, and that Dylan agreed and this is the result. It also includes a CD with the song on it so that you and your child may follow along with the song as you are reading the book if you wish.
Instead of trying to find a CD player which I have not owned for years, I pulled out my phone and opened the Spotify app to the song from Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” album. I played the song and sang along with it to Jupiter as we turned the pages and enjoyed the painted illustrations.
The result was positive. He seemed to enjoy the lyrics and the pictures, which was no surprise since he loves a variety of animals. He laughed at my singing of the words, which I can understand as I do not regularly exercise my singing voice as dutifully as perhaps I should. Not to say I do not sing to my son regularly, I certainly do. I just do not go the extra mile of singing from my chest as Mr. Ritter often had to remind me to do when I was in Concert Choir and Boys Glee in high school. Nevertheless, I think he would be happy to know that at least some of what he taught me is getting some use as I age.
Jupiter has been taking music courses through a local community college which used various animals as an analogue for different types and lengths of notes while learning about melody and percussion at a three year old level. He told me that he already knew who Bob Dylan is, which he did not clarify whether he had learned in his class or from listening, with his mother, to her beloved Slacker Radio station that I created for her based on the artists listed as favorites on her Facebook profile.
In any event, I recommend this book for both children and adults, particularly those who are Dylan fans. It is fun to have a song to go along with the book once in awhile as a change for the ordinary reading we do.
Today Jupiter picked out Older Than the Stars, written by Karen C. Fox and Illustrated by Nancy Davis, to read before his nap.
This is one of my favorite books of his. It is about how the universe started and how we all got to be here. Every time I read this book to my now, three and a half year old son, Jupiter, he understands a little bit more of it and is completely amazed at how things began.
The illustration in the book is simply beautiful. It is fun to look at and discuss the things that Jupiter sees in this book from the neutrons, protons, and electrons all the way to the plants and animals that formed on earth.
I highly recommend this book for any child or adult who is wondering the hows and whys of our existence.
Sometimes Jupiter likes to read the classic Golden Book tale, The Poky Little Puppy before bed or nap time. This is another of many children’s stories where the intended moral of the story seems to have been surpassed by a message that, I think, conveys the nearly the opposite message.
The Poky Little Puppy is a story about five little puppies who dig a hole under the fence to go out for a walk in the wide, wide world. The fifth, poky, puppy is always behind the others. Eventually the poky little puppy smells the dessert that is prepared for the puppies each night. The four other puppies smell it too and hurry home while the poky puppy takes his time. The four puppies then eat their dinner and are scolded by their mother for digging a hole under the fence with the punishment being that they do not get dessert. Then along comes the poky puppy after everyone is asleep. He is met with no dinner but left over dessert, since the four puppies were not able to eat it.
This scenario takes place twice. The poky little puppy enjoys rice pudding and chocolate custard; a full helping, which was intended for five puppies, all to himself in these first two scenarios. The third time this happens, after the mother scolds the four puppies, they go fill in the hole and the mother then rewards them with the strawberry shortcake dessert while the poky little puppy is locked out of the fence. The poky little puppy squeezes through a hole in the fence and witnesses the other four finishing the dessert and feels sorry for himself for being so poky.
The intended lesson appears to be that being poky and naughty will yield unfavorable consequences. But looking at the story objectively, in this three day period, the poky little puppy has enjoyed eight times the dessert of each of the other puppies divided between two separate occasions. To me, it looks like the poky little puppy is being handsomely rewarded for being poky and naughty. What do you think?
Each chapter is designed in ‘ribbons’ and the images and text move at different paces as you swipe through the app, meaning that each screen brings something new and exciting. They also created a very simple but effective navigation panel that allows the reader to jump seamlessly from one section of the book to another. Subtle animation was added to McKean’s illustrations in the myths section of each chapter, which surprises and delights rather than distracts, and we came up with several interactive demonstrations and games to allow readers to delve deeper into the science.
I would encourage reading the rest of the article for insight on the creative process. It really is the best way to read this great book by Professor Dawkins.
While in the hospital with Chris and Tsunami for the past couple of days, I have been reading and looking through the iPad version of Richard Dawkins’s new children’s book, “The Magic of Reality“. Its literary content is the same as the paper version, which is a great read for anyone aged about twelve through adult. The extra features of the iPad version, though, make this version a very fun book.
When flipping the pages in the “The Magic of Reality”, the page animations are like none that I have seen yet in an iPad children’s book. The way that some of the graphics move at a different speed than the text as you swipe gives it a certain feel of depth. Some of the graphics are subtly animated, though just enough to provide a little extra flare without being annoying.
Some of the chapters have mini games to help illustrate the information found throughout the book. For example, chapter one has a game which demonstrates selective breeding of species. In the game, the player selects the two frogs with the longest legs to breed through five generations. At the end, if the player has bred their frogs well, the frogs will jump off of the lily pad just in time to escape death by snake.
I think that this is a great interactive and informative book which many children will be able to enjoy for years to come. It is available in the iPad App Store for $13.99.
Jupiter has a book called “Good Dog, Carl” by Alexandra Day. It is a classic book that many kids enjoy, and Jupiter is no different here. Apparently Carl has become quite popular too. He has a website and a whole series of books.
This book has very few words. It has a sentence on the first page and another on the last page, but in between there are some pretty great illustrations. The pictures tell the story of a baby and a dog having fun at the house while mom goes to the store. They get into all sorts of shenanigans and turn the house into a big mess. The baby even goes for a swim in the fish aquarium. After all the fun is over, Carl bathes baby and cleans up the house.
When mom comes home, assuming that Carl sat next to the crib watching the baby all day, she says, “Good dog, Carl.”
When I first went through this book with Jupiter, I thought that this was a very irresponsible mother. However, upon further reflection, I realized that maybe I am projecting the irresponsibility of my own dogs onto Carl. I could never leave Bowser to watch a baby. He would probably engage in all the same fun as Carl did, but he would not be responsible enough to clean up the mess, let alone give the baby a bath. So even though Carl’s owner would surely get a visit from child protective services had they caught wind of her leaving a baby alone with a dog while going to the store, I feel comfortable with Carl as a baby sitter in this case. Child protective services seems to concentrate a little bit too much on the protective perception and not enough on the individual child sometimes anyhow.