Children's Books

Children's books have been cluttering my home for about a dozen years now. My family loves reading so it’s no surprise that kid's books clog our shelves. But getting rid of them is much harder than accumulating them.

I remember the day when my daughter decided to clean out her bookshelf and get rid of all of her baby books. I helped her sort them into three piles, throw away, give away and sell. Most of the books, covers dangling, pages torn, pictures supplemented with crayon, landed in the throw away pile. Some were in good enough shape to be donated to the thrift store. A few survived almost unscathed. These were the sad few that rarely got read. They were destined for Half Price Books. I hope they found a child to love them.

But there was a fourth pile. These were the children's books that I rescued from the throw away pile when my daughter wasn’t looking. These were the pieces of babyhood that I couldn’t bear to part with. One of those books was Midnight Farm.

Story Books

Midnight Farm

Imagine you’re five years old. You and your twin brother wake up in the middle of the night to find that all the animals and plants on your farm have put on clothes and are partying outside your bedroom window! That’s just what happens in Midnight Farm by Carly Simon.

With a little field mouse as their guide, Noah and Jules climb out their window and join the fun. Somewhere between the bickering flamingos and the leaping dolphins, Noah and Jules pick up a flute and an oboe and start jamming with the band, much to the chagrin of the stodgy old tulip conductor. But all too soon the moon goes down, the magic ends and the boys must go back to bed.

David Delamare’s darkly colorful illustrations are stunning. The pictures bring the characters to life and add to their quirkiness. You'll enjoy sharing this book with a child.

The Flute Player

Having problems with your flute? Before you take it in for repairs, check to make sure it’s not clogged with butterflies or goose feathers. That’s what happens to the young woman in The Flute Player by Robyn Eversole.

Thinking her flute is broken, the flute player sets out from her fifth floor apartment to find someone to repair it. Along the way we meet her neighbors, the old couple in the drafty fourth floor apartment, the homesick woman on three and the frightened boy on two. But it’s the little girl on the first floor that saves the day. Asking the flute player if she can try her flute, the girl blows with all her might. Out come all of the beautiful things from the songs the flute player has been practicing. And they just happen to be the very things her neighbors need to be happy.

Originally written in Spanish, this book is now published with both the English and Spanish text on each page. When my kids were younger, my husband would read the English and I would follow with the Spanish. The kids found the Spanish extremely annoying, but I thought it was amusing. Oh well, bedtime stories aren’t just for kids, grown-ups are allowed to have fun too. This book is whimsically illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

Berlioz the Bear

Flute players aren’t the only ones that have trouble with their instruments. It can happen to string players too. In Berlioz the Bear by Jan Brett, a strange buzzing sound is coming from the bear’s string bass. Berlioz worries on this as he and his band mates bump along in a wooden cart on their way to the village festival. But a crisis arises when an inattentive Berlioz allows the cart to get stuck in a rut. There’s no shortage of animals willing to lend some muscle to the problem, but the stubborn mule refuses to help pull them out. Finally, Berlioz’s buzzing bass yields an angry bee which motivates the mule to move.

Jan Brett always tells a great story, but her genius lies in the artwork. There’s no need to write about how Berlioz feels, his mood is evident in his ear pulling and anxious expressions. While the main story unfolds on center page, the intricate border hints at the festival preparations taking place in the village.

Be sure to check out Jan Brett’s web page at www.janbrett.com. In addition to information on her children's books, you’ll find games, coloring pages, drawing instruction and more.

Chapter Books

Fiona the Flute Fairy

Jack Frost and his goblins are up to their old tricks in Fiona the Flute Fairy by Daisy Meadows. Jack has stolen the magical instruments from the seven Music Fairies causing music in both Fairyland and the human world to be out of tune. Once again it’s up to best friends Rachel and Kirsty to track down the items Jack Frost has stolen and return them to their fairy owners. In Fiona the Flute Fairy, the girls help Fiona rescue her magic flute.

This children's book series is wildly popular with first and second grade girls. At the height of her fairy fever, my daughter was reading a book a day. We were going to the library twice a week just to keep up. The series has grown to nearly 150 books including color fairies, gemstone fairies and holiday fairies, enough to keep a girl reading for months.

The Rainbow Fairy books are not my favorite stories. The plots are flimsy, the characters shallow and each book is a variation on the last. But girls love Rachel and Kirsty and the cute and fashionable fairies. These children's books are great fodder for the reading mill and girls love them. Read on girls!

Moonlight on the Magic Flute

Jack and Annie, the young adventurers from The Magic Tree House series, are off on another adventure. This time, Merlin has sent them to 18th century Vienna where they arrive at court in crazy period costumes with a magic flute in hand. Their mission: to help bring happiness to millions of people.

Jack and Annie’s efforts to figure out how to make everyone happy are hindered by six year old Wolfie who just wants to have fun. When Jack and Annie realize that Wolfie is missing and all of the animals from the palace zoo have gotten loose, they abandon their mission in order to rescue the boy. In so doing, they save the life of one of the world’s greatest composers.

Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series includes more than forty adventures, sending Jack and Annie to all corners of the earth and even the moon. Each story centers on a famous person, event or time period and includes a mini history lesson.

What's Your Favorite Children's Book?

Do you have a favorite musical children’s book? Any great memories of story time? Please share it with us. If your favorite book did not make my list, I would be happy to read it and consider it for inclusion.


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