Thursday, May 10, 2012

Books for This Week

We've been reading so much lately! I think even more than usual. Admittedly, M's selections this week are rather eclectic. But there's a story behind every book.

We started with Pigaroons by Arthur Geisert. M loved his Hogwash and Lights Out book and was eager to listen to this story. The other two books were essentially wordless stories, but this one was different. It starts off with Pigaroons stealing the only large block of ice from the River Patrollers. Pigaroons steal because a) that's what they always do and b) they want to get the first prize at the Ice Festival for their ice sculpture of Hernando de Soto. But clever River Patrollers mess up their plans with a wonderful flying machine and what little ice they have left. Let me just tell you that for a couple of days after first hearing this story M kept making ice blocks and attempting to pretend-"carve" them into the likeness of his favorite toy, Wall-E.

Speaking of Wall-E, M's favorite Wall-E (yes, he has 2) broke down for good. The eyes completely fell off and the wires snapped. Needless to say, M is heart-broken. I feel out of sorts too 'cause even as a toy, Wall-E is extremely lovable. So I did something I don't normally do - ordered another Wall-E. Since it's arriving from the factory in China, we'll have to wait a few weeks. In the mean time, M is asking me all sorts of interesting questions such as "why don't we have a Wall-E-making factory in our country" and "why does it take so long to deliver toys from China". The upside to this story is that now he's very interested in learning more about China. So he was thrilled to see this book, Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Imperial China at the library. Although I think he was a bit disappointed there was no mention of toy factories in it.

It's been so long since we've read any books about space. It seems that we went through all the ones at our library that were elementary-school level. So I was surprised to discover this one, Messages from Mars. I think it's just about the best children's book of facts about Mars. It's non-fiction, but set in a (hopefully, not so fictional or distant) future in which humans built colonies on Mars and the travel is so safe and quick, that even children can now fly to the Red Planet. All the different facts about Mars and Mars explorations are presented as messages children send to their friends and family as they travel to and on Mars.

Of course, the list wouldn't be complete without a few books about garbage M is currently flipping through every single day. The first one is Where Does the Garbage Go. Two things I like (and M loves) about this book. The first one is that it talks about how modern landfills differ from dumps that existed just a few decades ago. The second thing is that it has schematic drawings of all the different recycling facilities - for recycling paper, plastic, aluminum and glass. We've learned that no matter the material that gets recycled, it first has to be crushed or shredded and cleaned. We also picked up the Recycle by Gail Gibbons, but haven't gotten around to reading it this week, all because of this book (see below):

I am so happy I ordered this book! Seriously, Darth Vader and Son was an instant hit with M, myself and some of our friends we've shown the book to. Basically, it's all about the question "what if Darth Vader raised his son, Luke?" The answers, presented as hilarious cartoons, are all-to-recognizable. M usually insists on me reading new books to him right away. But not this one. Instead, he took it from me as soon as I got it out of the box and spent half an hour or so leafing through it and having a chuckle all on his own. Later he told me "you see, Darth Vader loves Luke! I always knew that. He is a good dad."

A while ago I discovered that our library system had 3 of the Dr Suess's books available in Russian. But I could never find them at the library branch we usually go to. Fortunately, I stopped by another library branch and there were not one, but two copies of each book! Hooray! M picked Horton Hatches the Egg. I read it to him before too. I think M loves Horton's awkward resilience plus the picture of an elephant climbing a tree to sit in a nest is too funny! Dr Suess books are among a handful of books that I read to M in English (since not all the stories have been translated into Russian and they are too fun to not read over and over).

Usually on Thursday evenings we join our Russian friends for a Russian story time, followed by чаепитие (tea time), of course. Last week the story time was changed to a puppet theater time. The play, performed by three of the moms (including yours truly rocking the role of the stupidest piglet), was The Three Piglets. Now, I did read this story to M ages ago, but he wasn't too interested. But the puppet theater performance changed all that and he asked to get the book. In the Russian version of the story, the piglets sing a song that has a line "we aren't afraid of the big  bad wolf, big bad wolf, big bad wolf". The very next day I overheard M singing his own version as he played with his garbage trucks: "we aren't afraid of the stinking trash, stinking trash, stinking trash".

And this book has been our bed-time reading for a week already. It's a collection of stories about Paddington Bear, wonderfully translated into Russian (M's birthday gift from his uncle). M loves Paddington and keeps asking when will we be going to London to the Paddington Station. He thinks that Paddington makes regular appearances there (does he? that'd be awesome!) This is our second time reading this book. The stories are very long, so I usually only read one each night before bed time. Needless to say, M's favorite stories in this book are the ones with Mr Curry since they are the funniest. Frankly, I think so too.


  1. that's a lot of books!!! Have to check Dr. Seuss too, so far I got only Russian authors from the North Regional Branch. I heard that stories about Paddington are very nice, but did not get any yet..

    1. Yep, we've been on a reading binge. Paddington stories are very fun, but I suggest starting with a different book. There are books there with just 2-3 short stories in each and lots and lots of color pictures. We started with those about two years ago.

  2. We love Paddington stories (in English). I didn't know that they are translated in Russian. Perhaps it might make sense for my English speaker to pick a simpler story she knows in English and read it in Russian - I have to think about it.