So today, the first day of Lent, I asked my two older kids if they understood the significance of the 40 days leading up to Easter.

My oldest said: “Yeah – that’s how long Jesus was in the desert. You know, when that naked Satan was pressed up against him from behind.”

Me: “WHAT?!!!”

Him: “The picture… in that white bible. The one where Jesus is in a robe and it looks like Satan is naked.”

Me: (OMG. WTF?)

Him: “He might not be naked though. You can’t see his wiener. He might be wearing a thong.”

Me: (Oh.  My.  God.  WTF? WTF???)

I raced for the Catholic Picture Bible Mini-Me received as a baptism present from her God Mother and sure enough:

Page 114: The Temptation of Jesus in the Desert

Just great.

Let’s create an image for our children of Satan as a nudist sodomite, shall we? Scared straight! Turn away from sin, kids, or naked Satan will bugger you! He looks like he’s totally reaching for a handful there, doesn’t he? Of course the disco era feathered headband isn’t helping. Is that Satan or one of the Village People?

And how does my 11 year old even know what a thong is?

That Catholic Picture Bible is just chalk full of goodies. My kids’ favorite (other than naked Satan) is the story about the beheading of John the Baptist. It’s a gruesome enough tale, unillustrated. But in a picture bible… oooh weee:

Page 150: The Beheading of John the Baptist

Why yes, that IS a decapitated head on a silver platter. Pass the salt and pepper, please.

I don’t know about you, but when my kids are reading books, I don’t like to see facial expressions like these:


Which brings me to this weeks Listography, brought to us by the lovely and talented Kate at Kate Takes 5.

This week’s topic: Books and Babies.  Specifically, five favorite books for toddlers, as opposed to books that frighten and disgust them like my Catholic Picture Bible.

Hmmm. I do loves me some books. How will I narrow it down to five?

Kate makes a great suggestion:

The one piece of advice I wish I had been given when I started buying my kids books was this: Not only does your child need to love the book – you do too – because you will probably be reading it to them six times a night for the next six months. ‘Again mummy, again’!

Kate, my darling, you are so right. But, I’ll take that one further and say that not only do you both have to love the book, but even better if the child can read it by themselves while you are “resting your eyes,” and trying to catch up on the sleep you missed while you were blogging into the wee hours.

So here it is, amigos… my five favorite books that toddlers can read all by themselves:

1. ) Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.

Delightfully funny. Will help your child learn colors, clothing, and comedic timing. Your little ones will be reciting this by heart in no time, thus freeing you up to nap, check email on your iPhone, or paint your nails while they “read” to you.

2.) Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward and Tomie dePaola

Learning the days of the week has never been more fun or easy… and all while Mommy is sleeping off her hangover. Great watercolor illustrations, adorable main character, one sentence per page. Spoiler alert: Cookie falls into a toilet… a gen-u-ine knee slapper for all.

3.) Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

My favorite kind of board book for toddlers… there are only words on the first page and the last page… the rest of the pages are illustrations with no words. Therefore, it is a different story every time you (or your children) tell it! It sounds like more work, but it’s not. Trust me. After you read it twice, the kids knock themselves out trying to make it even funnier than you did. Refill your glass and sit back while the kids do all the work.  By the way, Carl is the best dog ever. He babysits! And he even cleans up before the mom gets home. Take some notes, my bad dog Ike… you suck.

 

4.) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

This might be my favorite of the lot. Again, an almost completely wordless book that is absolutely captivating. The illustrations alone are worth it, but the silliness of this book really captures kids’ (and their parents’) hearts. There is one scene, I swear to God, that is even worth staying awake for. If you or your kids can do a variety of animal impressions, even better. I frickin’ love this book.

 

5.) No, David! by David Shannon.

Nose-picking, playing with food, and toddler streaking… what’s not to like? But in addition, your kid will be able to read this back to you on day one. Funny illustrations and a great message of unconditional love. I always enjoy this one as a peace offering when I lose my cool and strain my vocal chords. Hey, it happens. Why not have a book on hand that helps you all survive it?

How about you? What are your favorite children’s books?

Sincerely yours,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.