Little KnightTime Reads

Posted on Mar 2 2014 - 2:00pm by Tammy Smith
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In honor or Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Suess, on his special day, let’s talk about books.

I love a good book!

They are an escape from reality – because let’s be honest, we all need to escape our reality every once in a while. 

They are a glimpse into another world and they allow to you go places you may never really visit….. have experiences through the eyes of others….. they are exciting!

I love the way books look and smell and I love to turn the pages. (which is why my Kindle is collecting dust in my drawer).

Yes, I am a book nerd!

I have always loved literature. I even put on red lipstick and kissed Oscar Wilde’s grave when I was in Paris……

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Hey, when in France, right?

Anyway, you get to read a story and create the movie in your head, which is why I have a hard rule in my life that I never break…. I must always read the book (if there is one) before I see the movie.

I love to read on my own and I love to read to my children.

I capture my toddler’s full attention when I read to him, it’s wonderful!

The Hubs swears he is going to secretly record me and send it in to a children’s publisher so I can read for those books on tapes . He laughs at me because I read with such excitement and I make up voices for the characters and I make wild expressions…. when I read to them I try to make the story come to life for them.

He has secretly confessed he likes coming to my story times.

I want them to love reading as much as I do. Here are some of our favorites (click on the title for more information):

     1. Look Look - Babies are never too young for books! You need to start them early. They need their own books, not just those being read to older children.

Stepping down off my soap box…..I got lost in my passion for reading again and how I want every child to love it.

Someone gave me one of these books after The Negotiator was born and he loved it. The inside cover even gives you tips about reading the book to your baby.  

It’s a book……that comes with instructions…..and it’s only 5 pages long….oh, the pressure!

These books (there’s a series) are perfect from birth to 12 months. Most of the pictures are made up of two contrasting colors and they really grab the visual attention of babies.

Look Look

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My little one started paying attention to these books at about  2 months. It really allows you to engage with your baby and start to build their love for reading. I have also given these as baby gifts and parents love getting something besides clothes and diapers (not that there is anything wrong with those gifts).


     2. Charlie the Ranch Dog- This is a book from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, you know the blog queen and envy of many, including me.

I want to live on a large ranch with lots of horses and kids and cook, write books, blog and be on television… and get paid A LOT of money to do all that fun stuff. (said in my most whiny voice)

It’s a cute little tale of Charlie’s Days on the Ranch. The Negotiator got this from Santa for Christmas and he really likes reading about that lazy dog.

He especially likes my voices for the dogs….. oh and when I howl…. he loves that.

I am such a goof ball with him, I wish he knew how much I loved him for bringing that hidden part of me out to play.

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     3. Love Monster - Who doesn’t love a good love story?

This is the tale of a poor monster that searches high and low but just can’t find love because he is not “cute and cuddly”and he lives in Cutesville…..”poor monster” – which is the line The Negotiator can always point to and read.

The illustrations in this book are AMAZING! I am not necessarily talking about the drawings, though they are cute, but the color of the illustrations is amazing.  She uses some special fancy pants technique that just makes the vivid and deep colors jump right off the page.

I am a very visual person and can be easily influenced if you package it the right way.

Yes, I am one of those people that choose wine based on how cool the label is…..

I was thrilled to find out that the story was as cute as the pictures. The author lives in England and has a dog named Elvis and  a cat named Superman…. you just know she has to write a good book.  She even somehow manages to throw a tumbleweed in there.

Every time I just can’t wait for the end….. “and when you least expect it, love finds you.”

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Courtesy of


            4. Give a Mouse a Cookie Series -  Read it and Cook it! 

These books are an open invitation to learn by doing!!!!!

I recently went to a mommy and me cooking class that involved reading a book and cooking a related goodie.

Which  was great in theory but way too uncontrolled for my sanity with multiple kids in a tiny kitchen and 2 stoves and all that station switching. I was a nervous wreck.

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 I found I can do the same thing a lot easier in my own kitchen without 25 other people there. This series is perfect for that….. there’s pancakes for pigs, muffins for the mouse, cupcakes for the cat and so on. With each book it’s a different opportunity to bring the story to life with a hands on experience.

              Go ahead Get messy!!!!! Your kid will LOVE it….. at least mine does.

      5.  Llama llama – Full of life’s little lessons

This little series of books about a Llama and his mama is adorable and lots of fun to read…. though I get a little tongue tied at times when I go to fast.

The Negotiator has several books from this series and I have found each of them to be fun and engaging and they usually have  little underlying message like “don’t embarass your moma in the grocery store”…..

or in plain terms, “act like you’ve got some raising”….. a personal favorite of mine!        

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      6.  Little Blue Truck - Don’t be too big for your pants buddy!!! You might need that small person one day. Perfect for boys, full of trucks and mud and animals. 

To borrow from a famous country song, “I believe she has written the perfect little boy book!”

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       Just make sure you read this BEFORE you have a glass of wine …. it can get a little tricky with all the beep beeps and quacks and sing songy rhythm.

       7.  Amazing Alphabet Adventures  – A personalized little book of adventures that helps teach the alphabet.

The Negotiator’s Aunt bought this one for him and he thinks it is just the coolest thing since sliced bread that his picture and name are in this book and it’s really a story about him.

Courtesy of Shutterfly

Courtesy of Shutterfly

Just send their picture in and Shutterfly does the rest. This makes an awesome gift for toddlers. 

      8. Dick and Jane Books – Talk about a blast from the past!

You can still find them and they really do help your little one start to identify sight words (even though that’s not what they used to call it). The stories are admittedly a little boring, but it is geared to teach them to read not to entertain them with your reading. For that purpose, they are perfect.

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Warning: Don’t be alarmed at some of the illustrations…. use your common sense…

I had to chuckle when I saw Dick, Jane and Sally hiding a ball under a tablecloth that was hanging from an ironing board while their mother ironed….  that would never be pictured today for fear that it would encourage kids to play under hot irons. (insert eye roll)

     9. The Little Pink Pup -The story of an underdog….or underpig I should say.

Just about the cutest little TRUE story ever. I have probably read this about 100 times.

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It’s the story of a runt pig that is too little for his litter and how he finds an unexpected family of dogs to adopt him. It includes real pictures of this remarkable journey. 

       10. Tickle Monster - This makes for lots of snuggles and giggles and yep, you guessed it…..tickling. 

It even comes with special tickle gloves!

Courtesy of barnesandnoble,com

Courtesy of barnesandnoble,com

This book is just pure fun and laughter! The tickle monster from outerspace has come to tickle.

Our favorite part is actually the tickle break in the middle of the book that calls for silly faces!

      12.  Chocolate Bar -

I Saved the Best for Last!

This little book is perhaps my favorite on the list. Not just because of the story in the book but because of the story behind the book.

Chocolate Bar means “awesome” in this 6 year old’s world.

As in, this kid is so “chocolate bar.”

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Everyone just thought it was cute how he used the words interchangeably until he used his unique phrase to change the world for tons of kids with a rare liver condition. He did all this for his best friend that has this rare disorder. 100% of the proceeds go toward research and treatment of this disease.

I am so impressed by this little guy. I just want to support him! Way to go world changer!

And one to grow on, literally -

     Boys of Grit that Became Men of Honor -A conversation starter.

My boys are still too young for this series but they are in the back of my mind for when they are ready. It’s a wonderful series on boys that survived difficult times and went on to become real Men of Honor. 

It is full or wonderful lessons about overcoming obstacles. I hope it serves as a conversation starter for some of those harder conversations I talked about in Dear Son, Hear No Evil  about handling tough times and tough people.

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Through the stories of great men like Booker T. Washington and Andrew Carnegie it shows boys that they too can be great while learning wonderful things about history. All in all it’s win all the way around.

Now go curl up with a good book and your little ones and let your imagination run Wilde (extra credit if you catch that)! 

Don’t forget the voices!

Happy Reading!



For more ideas of books -

Visit Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. It is a wonderful program that promotes childhood literacy from birth to 5 years old by providing (free of charge) one book a month to every child born in an area where this program has been started. Books are chosen by a panel of experts. This program may be available in your area so check it out!!!! – A cute little online shop. Books are searchable by category and age. They also list books by “suggested books”, “award winners” and other helpful categories. I have gotten some really great ideas just browsing around.

What are some of your favorites? Please feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments. I am always looking for titles to add to your collections.

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