Grand Books to Share

One of the best perks about being Olivia’s, and now Leah’s, grandmother is luxuriating in children’s books. Here are three recent faves:

Hello Lighthouse
A flea market cutaway illustration of the interior of a lighthouse inspired Sophie Blackall to write this charming tale of a lighthouse keeper and the lighthouse he kept.  The story is straightforward and poignant. The illustrations are clever and felicitiously detailed. This lighthouse keeper brings his wife to the lighthouse. The illustration of them reaching for one another as she is hoisted to him winch by winch is delightful. The author shares her love and knowledge of lighthouses in a bonus section at the end. Lighthouses are now mechanized. Gratitude to Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall for capturing and preserving a bygone way of ilfe.

Grumpy Monkey
A friend urged me to read this hysterical book to Olivia. Jim Panzee, the eponymous grumpy monkey, wakes up “one wonderful day to discover that nothing was right.”  Jim’s fellow creatures try to cajole and exhort him out of his grumps. He’s not having it. I loved this book’s message because it honors feelings (and the monkey feeling them) we so often try to chase away in ourselves and in others. The text is great fun to act out, especially as Jim’s frustrations escalate each time a friend offers a cure. Author Suzanne Lang‘s text rings true and compassionate; Max Lang’s accompanying illustrations perfectly capture Jim’s frustration. We all have our moods. Grumpy Monkey reminds us that we have a right to our mood and more importantly, that they shift.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
I love Kevin Henkes. Just to name a small fraction of this award-winning author’s work: Kitten’s First Moon, Chrysanthemum, Owen, and now Lilly’s Purple Plastic PurseWe all have known a Lilly; indeed we may have been a Lilly once upon a time. Henkes’ Lilly is a darling prima donna. She’s spunky, exuberant, confident and utterly unable to contain herself the day she brings her new purple plastic purse to school.

Mr. Slinger is the kind of teacher who inspires his devoted students to follow in his footsteps.  Especially Lilly. Until the morning he has to curb her irrrepressible urge to share her newest treasure. What follows is a beautiful lesson in confronting our missteps, suffering and atoning for them, and being forgiven. Like I said. I love Kevin Henkes.


Each of the above titles is hyperlinked to their page at

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