This month's edition of Reading with Little Miss Muffet is a few days earlier than usual, because I expect to be in labor near the end of the month and I didn't want to miss my chance to post it! (Beginning next month, I'll be reading with Little Miss Muffet and a newborn, which will be really exciting.) Here is what Miss Muffet has been up to in September.
New Book Behaviors
- "Upside down!" Little Miss Muffet recently acquired Rain by Manya Stojic from a used book store. A few pages into the story, the baboons appear, one of whom is hanging upside down. If she is reading this book on her own, she immediately announces "Upside down baboon!" and turns the book over so that the baboon is facing the right direction. She then keeps the book upside down and turns the page, thereby ending up on the previous page of the story, which is now upside down. She announces "Upside down!" again, flips it over, turns the page, and winds up once again with an upside down baboon. Eventually, she either skips a page by accident or I take pity on her and step in to help, but it is fascinating to me how many times she will flip between those two pages, just turning the book again and again. I was talking about her understanding of the orientation of a book all the way back in February, but somehow this is more intense!
- Asking friends' moms to read aloud. As we have been awaiting the arrival of Miss Muffet's sibling, we have been hosting more playdates at home and going out less and less often. The result of this is that Miss Muffet has access to all of her books and to an unsuspecting reader (usually another mom) at the same time. One of my mom friends does voices when she reads (something I have never been able to pull off effectively), and this has prompted Miss Muffet to bring her story after story during our visits, until finally we have to say that books are closed so we can actually have time to chat!
- Rain by Manya Stojic
I have always liked this book as a story time option because it is so versatile. It can fit into a variety of themes, including weather, summer, the five senses, rainy days, and wild animals, and it has really bright and appealing illustrations. Miss Muffet seems to like it mainly because of the baboon on the front cover, but also because the story includes zebras, lions, and porcupines, all animals which she can readily identify and loves to talk about. She also really likes the page where the rain falls and falls - she can basically "read" it word for word.
- When You Were Inside Mommy by Joanna Cole
We are borrowing this book from a mom friend who has three kids and has therefore been through the "bringing home a new sibling" experience twice. I was commenting on the fact that we didn't have a book that talked about babies being born in a hospital, and this one, while not explicitly about welcoming a sibling, has a great illustration of exactly what I had in mind. It's also not as explicit as some of the other books I've seen. It does include the word "uterus," but the creation of the baby is not explained as anything more than cells coming together, and the image to accompany it is a mom and dad holding two halves of a Valentine together, which is kind of sweet. Miss Muffet's favorite part of this book is the moment where the parents hear the baby's heartbeat - probably because she has been to all of my appointments and has had the experience herself!
- Three Ducks Went Wandering by Ron Roy
This is another used bookstore find that has fallen in and out of favor of the past few months. There is lots of suspense in the story, as three unsuspecting ducks wander in and out of danger from creatures such as a bull, a family of foxes, a hawk, and a snake. Each time the ducklings encounter a new predator, Miss Muffet raises her eyebrows in anticipation, and then laughs when the ducks escape. I chose the book originally for the illustrations (we enjoy Paul Galdone) but the appeal now is mainly in the plot.
One Tip from Mom
- Connect books to real life experiences. As Little Miss Muffet becomes more and more verbal, she is able to tell us exactly what catches her attention when we are out and about in the world. When she expresses interest in subjects like birds, dogs, trees, leaves, acorns, squirrels, groundhogs, warm weather, ponds, etc., we try to look for a book, either in our personal collection, or on our next trip to the library, that can provide her with more information connected to these points of interest. This seems to help her remember her experiences, and it increases her vocabulary for talking about specific incidents.