Jul 042024
Dakshu’s affinity for his family of books! #kbcbookbingo2024 (3-7 years)
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We all have connections in our lives (through blood or otherwise) whom we cherish and uphold dearly. This listicle is a celebration of all our kith and kin who influence us and help us grow in life.

  1. Harris finds his feet by Catherine Rayner

Relation: Grandfather

Harris is a small hare with humongous feet. He is curious about his huge feet and the world in general. With his grandfather he explores the world and learns the different ways in which he can use his enormous feet. His grandfather shares with him life lessons which enables him to navigate the different challenges he faces in the real world. In a subtle way, it also touches upon the fact that our loved ones will not always be around to guide us but their lessons will always help us be independent and move on in our lives. A book to help smallies celebrate their loved ones and cope with their loss. Daksh loved jumping and hopping around as Grandfather and Harris did in the book. 

2. The Berenstain Bears and the Sitter by Stan and Jan Berenstain

Relation: Sitter

If you are looking for a book to acclimatize your children with the idea of having a sitter, take care of them, then this is an apt book. Occasionally, it can be fun spending time with sitters than with family. Though Daksh never had a professional sitter, he enjoyed reading the book. There is a lot of scope for enacting different emotions – grumpy, scared, angry, jolly, curious, worried. We especially loved the language used in the book with words such as “skedaddled” and “bopped”. Bonus was the introduction to the Tiddly-winks game which Daksh started playing after reading the book. 😊

3. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen and Lucia Soto

Relation: Uncle

Who doesn’t have a favourite uncle who pampers you to the core? It is the same for Chloe. Her Uncle Bobby takes her rowing on the river, teaches her different star formations, flies kites with her and does lots of other fun and cool stuff with her. So, when he announces his marriage to Jamie, Chloe is worried that she may lose her favourite uncle to him. I could very much relate to Chloe’s insecurity, since I too have a niece who was about the same age as Chloe when I got married and she was pretty upset when I said “I love you” to my then fiancée during my Sangeet. She didn’t want to share me with him. 😉 You can even use this book to normalize different forms of love in the eyes of your children. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the book to Daksh, and he wasn’t shocked by the fact that two men were getting married. Also, there is a page with different constellations, and we loved identifying them. Daksh has a space explorer activity game in which there are flash cards with different constellations, and it was fun to compare them.

4. Somebody loves you, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz

Relation: Neighbours

This is a beautiful and inspiring book which emphasizes the fact that human relationships and love can change the quality of life for any person. Mr. Hatch is a lonely person who keeps to himself and never smiles. But when he receives a valentine gift from a mysterious sender, his interest is piqued. In search of this mystery sender, his attitude towards the people around him changes. And as his attitude changes, so do his neighbours’ behaviour towards him. Does Mr. Hatch find the mystery sender, or is he in for another surprise? Do read the book to find out.

5. The Perfect Shelter by Clare Helen Welsh and Asa Gilland

Relation: Sister

This book depicts the perfect bond between sisters – how they spend their free time playing together, building new stuff while singing along. It shows the insecurities and vulnerabilities of the younger sister when her older sister falls sick. How she tries her best to cope with the situation but feels angry and frustrated when her sister is not around. How all the materialistic playthings become insignificant to the small toddler as compared to her sister’s health. We are able to see all the different emotions which the younger sister goes through –> confusion, worry, anger, despair, loneliness and then finally hope. It’s an uplifting book which inspires the readers to battle all the storms by being together.

6. Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

Relation: Teacher

There are teachers who teach and then there are teachers who inspire. This book is a dedication to the author’s real life teacher, Mr. George Felker who understood her problem of dyslexia and helped her overcome her learning difficulty. The impact he had on her life was far beyond the confines of any school syllabus. He helped her realize that she was very smart to have spent many years in school without any additional help. He gave her confidence to pursue knowledge and also guarded her from school bullies. Students are lucky to meet even a single teacher like him. The book is a bit text heavy for a picture book so I would recommend it for older children – advanced 6 year old readers or above. 
There are many other books by this acclaimed author.

7. My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco

Relation: Brother

Again, this one is a real-life story about Patricia and her older brother Richard. The book beautifully captures the sweet and sour relationship between siblings. Patricia wants to do better than her brother Richard, but he manages to outsmart her in every situation. Richard keeps teasing her about him being four years older than her, a fact which will never change. Any sibling pair would relate to this wonderful story – the silly fights, the need to one up the other and the teasing. All things said and done; we know that our sibling will always be there for us when we need them the most. I am simply in awe of the illustrations in this book – the emotions on both the children are drawn so well that it seems that you can see them in real life. Also, Patricia in this book is the same as Patricia in “Thank you, Mr. Falker”, another book by the same author. I love the fact that in one of the illustrations, a real-life image is inserted in a photo frame. There are some additional pictures of Patricia and her brother in the end of the book as well. All in all, a perfect book for brother-sister duos.

8. Truman’s Aunt Farm by Jama Kim Rattigan and G. Brian Kara’s

Relation: Aunt

Truman has a witty Aunt called Aunt Fran who has a unique sense of humor and clever ways of teaching life lessons. The bug loving Truman is expecting an ant farm, from his Aunt Fran, as a birthday present but instead gets loads and loads of aunts coming to his house, each bearing their own gifts. How is Truman going to handle so many aunts? Read this delightful story about the unique relationship between aunts and nieces/nephews. P.S. Dakshu giggles and is happy seeing the numerous aunts pampering Truman with their hugs and cuddles.

9. Last Stop On Market Street by Matt De La Pena and Christian Robinson

Relation: Grandmother

This award-winning book, which has been recommended multiple times in KBC, portrays the unique relationship between a child and his grandmother. The child is struggling to come to terms with his impoverished situation. To the unending lists of complaints and queries, his grandma gives him a different perspective which helps him see things in a positive light. His grandma, with her deep laugh, imparts her wisdom, which helps him see the beautiful even in the dreariness. A beautiful book on teaching empathy to kids and being grateful for all the blessings we have.

10. Hair Love by Mathew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison.

Relation: Father

This book is a tribute to all the hands-on dads, who do not shy away from doing anything, to make their precious girls smile. They treat their daughters as princesses whose every wish is their command. Zuri has a huge amount of unruly hair which has a mind of its own. When Zuri wants to look unique on her special day, her dad patiently tries multiple hairstyles to achieve the perfect hairdo. The illustrations are charming. This book is also apt for all the girls with messy, curly hair. 

11. My mum is a lioness by Swapna Haddow and Dapo Adeola

Relation: Mother 

This one is a favourite of Daksh and no prizes to guess why. 😀 From the perspective of a young toddler, not unlike Daksh, this book details all the things a mommy does for her child in a hilarious way. The toddler perceives his mum as a fierce lioness but he would rather cuddle his lioness mum than anyone else. We read this book almost every day since it has come and have a good laugh. 

12. The Susu Pals! By Richa Jha and Alicia Souza

Relation: Chaddi Buddy

We all have had our chaddi buddies in life, and we all have gone through that phase where we have felt insecure about our relationship with our best friend. This cute little book helps our kiddos navigate their feelings about the changing relationships with friends. In my society, I see kids as young as 3-4 years having discussions about BFFs (Best Friends Forever) and who should talk to whom and who shouldn’t. I also see, little girls and boys being upset since their friend started playing with someone else and not them. This book will help these tender hearts accept that friendships evolve, sometimes change, and can also start with unexpected people. Daksh loves the illustrations in this book and has been enjoying it since he was 3 years old when we got it as a gift for participating in KBC Book Bingo 2022.

We at Kids Book Café are Pickle Yolk Books’ Community & Affiliate Partners! So should you wish to buy this book, please feel free to use our Special Promo Code KBC50 to avail an exclusive discount when you purchase from the Pickle Yolk Books Shop (on their website). 

13. My heart by Corinna Luyken

Relation: Myself

A simply written book with minimal words which normalizes the various emotions we feel. Our heart will feel different things at different times (it will not always be hunky dory and that is OK!). We must learn to acknowledge our feelings (whether sad or happy) and accept them. The illustrations are mesmerizing. Using just shades of 2 colours the author has driven home the point. When Daksh was a smallie, he would love to see the hearts in the different objects in the illustrations. Now that he has grown, his perception of the book has changed as well. He especially resonates with this line now:

Somedays it is tiny, but tiny can grow… and grow… and grow.

But truthfully speaking, this book has helped me more than my son. 😊

Hope you enjoyed reading these mini reviews. Also, don’t forget to tell a loved one how much you appreciate them and love to have them in your lives.

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