Archive for category Babies & Toddlers

Family Fridays – The Relatives Came

Book: The Relatives Came

Genre: Children – General

Ages: 2-3 on up


In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars.

When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.


Warning: reading this book may inspire phone calls to parents and grandparents or, worse, may cause you to take leave of your senses and go on a long road trip with small children. Proceed at your own peril.

For this Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to recommend The Relatives Came. This is a really sweet book about the love of extended family. It resonated with me as a child because although we never lived close geographically to any of our aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents, whenever we did get the chance to visit, we made up for lost time. It resonates with me as a new mom for much the same reasons. Although fortunate enough to live close to one of my brothers, most of our family is spread out across the country and beyond. When my baby was born, every single member of both my and my husband’s families found space in their schedules and budgets to make the trek out to meet him. All of those visits were so special to me.

The Relatives Came celebrates those people who are willing to leave hearth and home and those people who are willing to host lots of extra people, all in order to maintain and strengthen family bonds. The story and the illustrations both are beautiful. This would be a great book to read with a child before visiting or being visited by family, and would also make a great hostess gift if your family goes a-visiting.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an 11 hour road trip with a five month old to get ready for…



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Family Fridays – Five of my favourite board books

Confession: I love books for babies. When I was pregnant, I wasn’t tempted by baby gadgets, nursery decor, or clothes (well, not TOO badly by clothes – have you seen those tiny little jeans?!?), but books were a whole nother story (pun definitely intended). I acquired a LOT of baby and children’s books as I waddled happily around Barnes and Noble. Plus, because anyone who’s known me longer than about two seconds knows that I love to read, I was given several baby books during my pregnancy. Needless to say, Mr. Baby has quite the impressive library for one whose main goal with books is to gnaw on them. There are so many great books out there for kids of all ages, but here are five of my current favourite board books for very young children, in alphabetical order.

1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Authors: Bill Martin, Jr. and  John Archambault,  Illustrator: Lois Ehlert) – I think every kid should have an alphabet book, and I love this one. It has a fun rhythm, cute little story, and bold, easy to read letters. Because of the high contrast and clearly defined pictures, babies can focus on the pictures from a young age.

2. Little Blue Truck (Author: Alice Schertle, Illustrator: Jill McElmurray) – I had never heard of this book before it was given to me as a baby shower gift. The style of the illustrations (which are lovely) will probably do better with toddler aged children. For what it’s worth, I’ve been reading it to my son almost from day one, but he doesn’t seem to be able to focus on the pictures as well as the other books listed here (he’s 4 months). I’m already looking forward to reading it to him when he’s older and can understand the sweet story and enjoy my attempts at animal noises.

3. Look Look Outside (Peter Linenthal) – This is part of the “Look Look” series. It is designed to appeal to very young babies, with  simple, high contrast pictures. I don’t know the science behind how infants see, but I can say that my son was looking at these pictures much earlier than other books.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that it is VERY short (the whole book is basically a sentence – and not even one of my epic runon sentences, either!).

4.Paddington (Author: Michael Bond, Illustrator: R.W. Alley) – Oh Paddington, how I love you. I have a board book (this version) which covers about the first two chapters in the original, full length book. I love the story and the illustrations, and it’s nice to have a board book that takes longer than 30 seconds to read. If you finally get the baby settled and interested in what you’re reading, it’s annoying to have to switch books frequently.

5.The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle) – I absolutely adore Eric Carle’s work. This was, in fact, the very first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant. The story is fun, the illustrations are beautiful and richly textured, and it’s got different sized pages which will be fun for older babies to play with.

What are your favourite books to read to babies and toddlers?

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