Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Pumpkin and Petunia Are Reading

I'm just going to add Petunia's books on to this post... it seems excessive to have two book list posts. Petunia's book preferences start at the entry for when Pumpkin is 3 years old.

One of the potential advantages of blogging is that it provides a more detailed record of Pumpkin's babyhood. One of the things I suspect I'll enjoy remembering is which books Pumpkin liked. I realized that I am putting the "What Pumpkin's Reading" information in a non-permanent sidebar rather than in a post, so I've decided that I'll also keep a running post listing what she's reading. Here are the early entries, which I'm recovering based on the cover photos that I have saved:

Bunny and Me, by Adele Aron Greenspun and Joannie Schwarz. This was her first favorite, and it has never really fallen out of favor. It reappeared on the "What Pumpkin's Reading" list at least once.

Max's First Word, by Rosemary Wells. I remember thinking that Pumpkin was smiling at the punchline, which is that instead of "yum, yum" (what his sister Ruby is trying to get him to say), Max says "Delicious!"

10 Little Rubber Ducks, by Eric Carle. I wasn't sure if she liked this one so much because she was really into ducks, or because it was the tallest book on her shelf.

Seek and Slide in the Desert, by Debi Ani. She still enjoys this one quite a bit.

A Cat and a Dog, by Claire Masurel and Bob Kolar.

I realized that there are a couple of close second-favorites, at least some of which I've written about in other posts:

Down the Back of the Chair, by Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar and Brown, Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Of the two, I think reading Down the Back of the Chair is more fun. It has a good cadence, rolling rhymes, and is a really cute story. Pumpkin really enjoys pointing out the red bird and yellow duck in Brown Bear, Brown Bear, though.


When Pumpkin was about 14 months old, her favorite books were Zachary Quack Minimonster, by Lynley Dodd and Are You My Mother?, by P.D. Eastman. Both were gifts from the grandparents. It is wonderful having two sets of grandparents who send us good books for Pumpkin. We rarely have to buy anything!

At 18 months, Pumpkin's favorite book was Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, also by Lynley Dodd. She writes good kid's books! Pumpkin also likes Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Christmas, by Joy Cowley. My parents gave her this book last year. She has recently been picking it off the shelf and bringing it to us to read. I think she likes it because the cow says "moo, moo, moo", and she likes to do that part.

One of my favorites of the books in her current rotation is The King's Bubbles, by Ruth Paul. This was a gift from Hubby's parents, and doesn't seem to be available here in the US. That is a shame, because it is a lot of fun to read. I love how it describes bubbles: "Perfect and round, a sigh without sound, a circle of air, simple and spare..." and "Happy and whole, a whisper of soul, a breath, a nought, a blossoming thought."


At 19 months, Pumpkin is into another book from the Brown Bear, Brown Bear
series. This time, her favorite is Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?. She asks for it by saying "mama", because this is the book with the mama bear in it. I know these are cute books, and clearly they speak to Pumpkin, but I have to confess that I get tired of reading them sometimes!


Pumpkin got lots of great books for Christmas 2008 (i.e., when she was about 21 months old). Her favorites are:

  • Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems. This is a very cute story, which I still like to read a month later. Pumpkin asks for this one by saying "Fuffle Bunny", and calls all stuffed rabbits "Fuffle Bunny".
  • That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. This is another cute story that stand up well to repeated readings. Pumpkin asks for this one by saying "Emy Bwown", and sits through the entire story, even though it is fairly long.
  • Who Is Driving?, by Leo Timmers. I think this book is originally from Austria. There is a New Zealand publisher (Gecko Press) that specializes in translating kid's books into English, so we get a lot of foreign literature for Pumpkin. It is fun. This particular book doesn't stand up so well to repeated readings- at least not for the adults. But Pumpkin loves to tell us who is driving each car. And she is awfully cute when she makes the sound the fire engine makes ("wheeoh, wheeoh").
  • Who's Hiding?, by Satoru Onishi. Another import. Pumpkin likes to identify the animals for us. At one point, while we were still in Hawaii, I hid this book because she made me read it so many times in a row. It is back out of hiding now, and still much loved.


Pumpkin's 25 months old now. She's currently really enjoying a couple of books she got for her second birthday, both of which have longish stories without that many pictures. Hubby and I were surprised by how well she sits for these stories. Once again, she's growing up faster than we care to admit!


Pumpkin's two and a half years old now. In the last few months, we read a lot of books about becoming a big sister. Her two favorites were:

  • I'm a Big Sister, by Joanna Cole.
  • The New Baby, by Fred Rogers (yes, Mr. Rogers! My Mom found this at a used bookstore, and Pumpkin loves it.)

She has also been enjoying:

Pumpkin's 3 years old, and is only getting more fun to read to. It is almost impossible to keep up with all the books she likes, but her absolute favorite right now is The Wonky Donkey, by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley. This one goes to day care almost every Friday for share day. She (and all her classmates) particularly like the page where the donkey toots on the bird.

Petunia's first favorite book was I Kissed the Baby! by Mary Murphy.  As she got a little older, she started liking Bunny And Me, by Adele Greenspun and Joanie Schwarz just as much as Pumpkin did when she was a baby. I wonder what it is about that book? Her current favorite is probably Where Is the Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox.


Pumpkin is 3.5 years old right now, and it is hard to pick favorites- she cycles through books so quickly. One book that we got from the library that she requests frequently is Snakes!, by David Greenburg.  Petunia's current favorite is Miss Spider's Tea Party: The Counting Book, by David Kirk. She is also fond of any book with flaps, like Baby Says Peekaboo! from DK Publishing.


Pumpkin is 4 years old now, and princess-obsessed, so her favorite book is Princess Bedtime Stories. I don't care for the book at all, but she loves it. It was a birthday gift (from one of her classmates). Luckily, we also got a lot of great New Zealand books for her birthday. Fierce Little Woman and the Wicked Pirate, by Joy Cowley and The Beasties by Jenny Nimmo and Gwen Millwar  are two of our favorites.

Petunia is 19 months old, and still very decisive about which books she will consent to listen to. Her favorite is Where's My Mom?, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schleffer. I like this one, too- which is a good thing, since I have to read it every night.  Since I haven't updated this in awhile, I missed at least one other favorite: Hippos Go Berserk, by Sandra Boyton. She has also finally warmed up to a book I bought her a few months ago called When the Elephant Walks, by Keiko Kasza. I picked it up when Pumpkin and I went to the zoo for her special day, and Petunia refused to read it for at least three months. Now I read it to her almost every night.


Petunia is 21 months old, and recent favorites are:
  • Llama, Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney.
  • What a Wonderful World, by George David Weiss, Bob Thiele, and Ashley Bryan. This is an illustrated version of the song Louie Armstrong made famous, and it is really a quite charming book. My sister gave it to her for her first Christmas, and it is indeed a great "welcome to the world" gift.
  • I Am the King, by Leo Timmers. 
Pumpkin doesn't fixate on books quite so much right now, but she loves Richard Scarry. We have his Silly Stories book, which was mine as a kid. She loves it as much as I did.


Petunia is 27 months old. We just finished a period in which she loved Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems. She also really liked Baby Brains, by Simon James and Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam, by Juliet MacIver.

Her current favorite is Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. She points to each "hidden" character and say "right there," which is unbelievably cute.

Pumpkin is 4.5 years old, and has been learning to read on her own for the last few months. The first book she read on her own was The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss. She's also read Hop on Pop and Ten Apples Up On Top!, also by Dr. Seuss. Other early favorites have been Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book), by Mo Willems and Sam Sheep Can't Sleep, by Jenny Tyler.

She's currently enjoying Green Eggs and Ham, another Dr. Seuss book. She's also starting to be able to read some of Petunia's board books, and is trying to read some of her other story books. It is fun to watch.


  1. This is a great idea! I should put up my little one's favorite books, too. They really do get attached to specific books, don't they?

  2. the milliner7:46 AM

    Stealing this idea too! Hippos Go Berserk! was a great hit around here at that age too. We (the adults) always laugh when we read Sandra Boynton books (like The Going To Bed Book - a big hit for us) with the word 'pajamas', as Canadians use the British spelling 'pyjamas', with a slightly different pronunciation. You've gotta find your humour somewhere when you're reading a book for the umpteenth time!


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