Catching Up: Catie’s 5 Greatest Hits

It’s been a week since I returned from Boston and I thought I’d better quickly write down titles we loved before my grandmother brain forgets.


One-year-old Zach is such a cruiser that he didn’t want to stop for books often, but Catie and he and I shared Joyce Wan’s Peek-a-Boo Zoo (Cartwheels, ages 6 months to 2). I read the rhyming clues, Catie named the animals and made sounds as Zach opened the sturdy flaps that showed lions, tigers and more.



Right before I left Chapel Hill,  there arrived the 25th anniversary reappearance of one of Ben and Emmy’s favorite books, Sam’s Sandwich (Candlewick, ages 3-6). The rhyming story tells of a pranking big brother who prepares a special sandwich for his sister complete with a caterpillar filler, tomatoes that disguise a slimy slug he dug.  Catie will have to grow into appreciating the book’s clever sandwich design, the disgust factor, and the evil sibling literary theme.  But she loved unfolding and completing the rhymes.



Several times we read/sang David Carter’s marvelous interpretation of Musical Robot’s If You’re a Robot and You Know It (Scholastic, ages 2-5). Both Carter’s interactive designs and the verses reflect the theme beautifully.  Wish I could figure out the technology to show the film I took of Allie reading and Catie clapping like a robot to” your circuit board will show it.”  Only after I left did I find a youtube of Musical Robot performing in a library (





Catie’s a fan of Llama Llama so I took Anna Dewdney’s newest Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa (Viking, ages 3-5).  The length was right and so was the rhyming and it was emotionally on target as well with the simple plot of Llama Llama visiting his grandparents and losing Fuzzy, his beloved stuffed toy. But we read it as Catie snuggled with me and her adored “Puppy Ghostie” so it wasn’t really a situation she could relate to.  Still I highly recommend this as part of a grandparent’s library of books to have on hand in the horrible situation of a missing love-toy.





Catie’s favorite surprised me.  It was Oliver Tallec’s Who Done It? (Chronicle, ages 3-5).  Each page begins with a question and shows a series of animal and child figures in a line up that you must examine to figure out “who done it.”  Questions range from reading the characters’ postures and emotions (who’s feeling tired shows a character leaning against a couch), to noting effects like “who played with that mean cat” (the victim is covered in red claw marks), and humorous questions like “who couldn’t hold it” ( a child standing over a pee puddle) and “who forgot a swimsuit” (a bear covers his private parts). Catie wanted an immediate re-read and it led to great and varied conversations like what “prank” means and what being in love looks like.  From there we made up questions, how many are wearing red swim suits, for examples.  These questions led to mini-stories about the characters.  Catie wanted to hear it again and again and again and again.



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