Monday, December 28, 2015

The Best of 2015: Hawthorne's Picks

Welcome to Day One of My Best of 2015 Reading Round up! As always, my Best of the Year lists cover what I read in 2015, which includes books published in any year. Today, I'm sharing Hawthorne's favorite board books. (Want to look at past year's lists. They're all linked here.)

Hawthorne is sixteen months old and loves to read. He reads by himself a lot, but he also delivers books to your lap and wants to hop up and be read to a lot. Rarely do we make it through a book in the correct order while reading every words. Hawthorne likes to turn the pages himself, and he turns them in either direction, skips pages at will, finished early, and likes to start over at will. We call this remixing. Given this reading style, it's no surprise he prefers books that don't necessarily have a storyline. There are the ones we spend the most time reading.

We have several titles from the BabyLit series, but Pride and Prejudice is his favorite book for someone to read to him. It also delights any adult reader who sees it. It's a counting primer, and I love the way elements of the novel are incorporated in clever ways (1 English village, 2 rich gentleman, 3 houses, 4 marriage proposals, 5 sisters, etc.) He also enjoys Sense and Sensibility (about opposites), Sherlock Holmes (sounds), and Moby Dick (ocean.) The library has very few of these, so I'll be buying a few more in 2016 to build his collection. I discovered this series before I was even pregnant, and it keeps growing. My go to baby shower gift has been a BabyLit and an Indestructible book, which Hawthorne has sadly already outgrown.

I first picked up Global Babies at the library, and Hawthorne loved it so much I bought our own copy. It is Hawthorne's favorite book to read to himself. I still read it to him a lot too. It features pictures of babies from countries around the world. It's text is a single, poetic sentence, so the emphasis here is the pictures, which are lovely and expose him to babies of different colors and customs. We also recently discovered Global Babies Bedtime, which features global babies napping, sleeping and getting read for bed. It's perhaps even more adorable, and we'll be buying that one soon.

I picked up Baby Giraffe from the San Diego Zoo Animal Library at a consignment sale when I was pregnant. It's really informative (I've learned a lot) and oddly hilarious, as it outlines how giraffes enter the world and are cared for as babies. Some things are quite similar and others are not, which was especially amusing in the early months of sleep-deprived parenting. I keep meaning to buy the entire series, but I haven't yet. I think it's the only book we have with pictures of actual animals rather than drawings, so perhaps that is part of the appeal.

Andy Warhol's Colors is one of my favorite books, and thankfully Hawthorne likes it too. It combines many of Warhol's colorful paintings with poetic language about them. It's fun to read, and I even sometimes sing it, and it also exposes him to modern art, which I adore. This book always appears on hipster board book lists (that's where I found it!), and it totally is, but I feel like it's a book he will look back on when he's older and still think it's cool. Hawthorne's Aunt Alison, an artist, gave it to him.

Eating the Alphabet is not as popular at it once was with Hawthorne, but it remains one of my favorites. We have a few food related alphabet books (including My Foodie ABC, which is hipster-tastic), but I love that this one is all fruits and vegetables. We subscribe to a local organic CSA, and it's been fun to work our way seasonally through so many different fruits and vegetables. The artwork is beautiful, and I like that Ehlert doesn't limit herself to only one fruit or vegetable for each letter (P has four pages!) Thus, it covers most fruits and vegetables you're likely to eat (and probably some you're not likely to eat, unless you are a foodie.) I wish I remembered who gave us this book.

The past few weeks, I've been reading Wemberly's Ice Cream Star a lot more, which gives me hope we might read books with storylines more regularly in 2016. This book was a gift, and I love it It's funny, short, and is moralistic without being obnoxiously so. I need to get the other Wemberly books, as it is a little odd to read a book set on a hot summer day in the middle of winter. This book was a gift too, and I don't remember from whom.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb is apparently a quite popular classic, as we receievd three copies as gifts. I'm not sure if Hawthorne loves it or if there's just always a copy around to pick up, but we read it a lot. Except never all the way through. Or in order. It's fine. I like it, but I find it a bit odd. I have spent far too much time thinking it inspired Planet of the Apes because it should be scary to suddenly have millions of monkeys in one place playing drums, right? Or doing anything? Millions of monkeys is TOO MANY. It's baby's first dystopia.

Thanks for tuning in to read about board books. Best of 2015 continues tomorrow with Comics, followed by Mysteries on Wednesday, nonfiction on Thursday and fiction on Friday. 

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