I love that my older girls play together really well most of the time, I love that I get a lot of use out of any child item I buy, and I really am glad for someone to run and grab a diaper or a pacifier when the baby needs one.
But maybe the best perk was when we went to the library week to pick up a big stack of holds and I discovered that both my card and Ella's card were maxed out.
I marched up to the desk and said, "I'd like a library card for my child."
And just like that
Never mind that I only let her pick two.
Huff and Puff by Claudia Rueda - I basically never get tired of Three Little Pig stories and this is a new favorite. It's very simple and interactive. With each pig, when the wolf arrives, there is a die cut in the page so you can huff and puff to blow the house down. But on the last pig, when you huff and puff, the house doesn't fall down, of course. But what does happen is sweet and delightful.
Waiting by Kevin Henkes - I got an advanced unbound copy of this book, which means I want to frame all the super sweet illustrations and hang them in Star's bedroom. Five toys stand on the windowsill, looking outside and waiting for the moon or rain or wind or snow. Along the way, other toys join them (I died laughing when a ceramic elephant joins them: "He stayed a while, then he left and never returned," accompanied by a drawing of him smashed on the floor with one of the animals looking over the edge at the pieces). This one just came out yesterday, so it is brand-spanking-new.
Leo: A Ghost Story by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Christian Robinson - At this point, I basically believe Mac Barnett can do no wrong (it doesn't hurt that he MCed a Chronicle event I attended with my mom back last summer and he was so delightfully charming). This one is about a little ghost who lives alone in a house. Until a family buys the house, moves in, and are horrified to discover a ghost trying to serve them mint tea and honey toast. So Leo moves on, invisible, in the big city. But then he finds a little girl who seems like she can see him.
Bug in a Vacuum by Mélanie Watt - This story about a bug who gets sucked up by a vacuum and proceeds to go through the five stages of grief. I thought it might be a little beyond my girls, but they LOVE this book, and we've probably read it 20 times in the last two weeks. Mélanie Watt, I never should have doubted you.
Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs by Davide Cali, illustrated by Raphaëlle Barbanègre - Snow White is on the run from the witch when a houseful of kind dwarfs invite her to live with them in exchange for helping out. Of course, packing 77 lunches, trimming 77 beards, and telling 77 bedtime stories (every dwarf wants his own, of course) starts to get pretty wearing. Pretty soon, she decides she'll take her chances with the witch - after all, an enchanted sleep is sounding pretty great right about now. Not only did this version make me laugh, but I especially love the super-colorful illustrations.
The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory, illustrated by Mark Cleary - When a baboon came to take a photo of giraffes, everyone wanted it to be perfect. But Geri is the shortest giraffe that ever lived and they can't figure out how to get him in the photo. After a bunch of failed solutions, a tiny caterpillar offers a suggestion that results in the best photo of all time (assuming you think a photo of giraffes is the best photo of all time, obviously).
Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett - I discovered Emily Gravett when we lived in London and now I can't get enough of her books. This might be my favorite of hers, with a simple bouncy rhyme of a little girl and her monkey who pretend to be different animals. I loved trying to guess what animal they were imitating on each page, and you can imagine that if I enjoyed that, my girls liked it 10000 times more.
Bernice Gets Carried Away by Hannah E. Harrison - Some books I read and it isn't until the end that I think, "Oh, that was pretty good." This one I liked from the first page. Bernice is a grumpy-faced cat at a birthday party on a super gray and dreary day, which is fine by her because her mood is gray and dreary too. She gets a piece of cake with no flower frosting, a warm soda in the most unpopular flavor, and then when it is piñata time, she finds "one lousy gumdrop . . .that someone had stepped on." And the gradual change of saturation and color in this book absolutely delighted me.
P.S. I share more book recommendations every day or two on Instagram, so if you're looking for more suggestions, feel free to follow along! Or check out this super popular list of 100 Picture Books.