Dragons, Dinos, and Colors for Newbies

Hi!  I’m Adrienne.  My husband and I write about geek parenting at Baby Toolkit.  I’m excited to be a guest writer at Dabbled!

There are loads of summer reading lists for adults, teens, and school age kids, so I’d like to offer up a short list of beach (or bedtime) reads for the preschool set.

No Such Thing As A Dragon Cover

Dot’s awesome dragon cake and party brought to mind one of our household’s favorite books: Jack Kent’s There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon.  A friend gave us a copy of this, her (now grown) sons’ favorite book.  She confided that she’s been buying every secondhand copy she could locate since the book went out of print decades ago.

Billy Bixbee (no relation to the Incredible Hulk) wakes in the morning to find a small dragon in his room.  Eagerly, Billy tells his mother about the dragon.  Trouble begins when she insists “There’s no such thing as a dragon.”  Diligently, Billy tries not to acknowledge this figment.  Undeterred, the friendly beast follows Billy to breakfast.   As the Bixbees persist in ignoring the mythical creature, he grows larger and less well behaved.  Eventually he carries off the Bixbee house while chasing a bread truck for snacks.  Eventually, the family acknowledges the dragon and he reverts to his original house pet size and mannerly behavior.

Our 3.5 year old loves this book.  The text is delivered in around 5 short sentences per page and is 22 pages long.  The story is simple, but funny.  It can entertain an older toddler without taxing their attention span.  The dragon and the humor make it appealing material for a beginning reader.

Random House is reprinting There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon, so you don’t have to raid my friend’s stash for a copy (release date September 8, 2009).

When Dinosaurs Came With EverythingGet in touch with your inner actor by reading When Dinosaurs Came With Everything aloud.  Buy a box of donuts, get a box of popcorn at the movies, or visit the barber and receive a dinosaur free.  The child narrator finds errand day dramatically improved with each additional dinosaur.  His mother, on the other hand, grows increasingly stressed out. Writer Elise Broach and illustrator David Small create a charming world.  The pictures and narrative capture a very familiar parent-child dynamic under extraordinary circumstances.

“Mom!” I yelled.  There at the front desk was a stegasaurus.

“What on earth is going on?” my mom cried.

“It’s a special day,” the nurse explained, “Today, dinosaurs come with everything!”

“Yessss!” I said

“Noooo,” my mom groaned.

Did you read that out loud?  It is serious fun, especially with kids to egg you on.  Once she recovers from her initial shock Mom finds smart ways to incorporate the dinosaurs into the family.

When Dinosaurs Came With Everything is also around 20 pages.  It takes longer to read than There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon, but the true-to-life dialog is easy to inhabit.  This book can stand up to any number of repeat performances.

White Rabbit's Color Book

Get a headstart on color theory with White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker.  The vibrantly colored illustrations walk White Rabbit through a series of primary color baths.  The beautifully illustrated bunny takes a swim in “sunshine yellow” then tries on red to find herself orange.  After a wash, she discovers the combinations to make purple, green, and brown.

The simple text averages one sentence per page.  While color mixing may seem mundane to grown-ups, it engages young listeners.

What summer selections are you and your family enjoying?