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Monday, October 15, 2012

books, books, books

I’ve had to change my hiding places this year.

You see, every October I start stocking up on stocking stuff. Christmas stockings, that is. The way I see it, the later I leave the presents, the more desperate I am, the more I spend. And also, once we figure out what is expected, the budget for nice kids’ books goes out the window and that makes me sad.  Rarely is a book going to be near the top of the list but then rarely do we get as much value from an Xbox game as we do from a book that is loved. And also, as the weather starts getting colder and the drudge of homework and making school lunches gets me down, the pleasure of hearing the doorbell and knowing that the postman is going to hand me a few lovely books is wonderful.

And, as the books I’m buying are getting smaller (We are moving away from the big format picture books and onto graphic novels, little series’s and young adult fiction), I don’t have to hide them in the hot press anymore. So I no longer have to wait until the coast is clear to get a clean towel.  These small ones so can mostly be stuffed behind my shoes.

So when I should have been emptying the dishwasher and sorting out the mountain of stuff that has accumulated on windowsills and under the couch, I’ve been trawling kid’s book blogs in search of lovely and different books for my boys. (These blogs are all in my reading list. Don't be deceived by the titles, Dinner A Love Story is a great source for kids book ideas!)

This is what I have come up with;
For my two year old, I cannot justify buying picture books, we have too many as it is. But, then, I came across the Little Golden Books Classic Collection. These are books that were published in the fifties and sixties in the States in a cheaper than usual format, using well established authors and illustrators. They cost me just over €3 each and I am SO happy with them. The titles I chose were the ones that came up when I asked Google which Golden Books were the most popular – The Little Pokey Puppy,  The Sailor Dog, The Happy Man And His Dump  Truck, The Color Kittens and Seven Little Postmen. They’re all available here;

For my seven year old, I’ve gone for the A to Z mysteries (not all 26, just C to F) ( The Bat Poet by Randall Jarrell (, although that might need to be transferred to his Dads stocking. It has a beautiful, classic look to it that may not at first glance, appeal. Also for his Dad, I think I’ll have to get Wolf Story by William McCleery, said to be one of the best read-aloud stories for little boys of five or six and up, ever. ( It’s another one with that vintage look that I love, (it was written in the sixties and has recently been reissued) but will probably have to prove itself to the kids.

For my nine year old who is more into mystical stuff than mysteries, a book of Tashi stories ( will hopefully finally persuade him that there is life after Beast Quest.  And to sweeten the blow, a graphic novel from George O’Connor’s Greek Series (

And for the eldest, who is eleven, Bomb by Steve Sheinkin                                       ( is a non-fiction account of the making of the atomic bomb written for young adults. It seems like as good a way as any to channel the violence that is so popular on the Xbox into factual, written form. And for light relief, Smile by Raina Telgemeier, a graphic novel about a girl (he would never choose a book with a female lead, but if found on his bedside table, he will read it) who has a difficult time with dental braces in high school.
P.s. If any reader can tell me an idiot-proof way of writing a link using just the book title, I would be very grateful! The comment box is below!

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