Thursday, May 31, 2012

UppaBaby G-LUXE Stroller

Our umbrella stroller arrived! While doesn't fold quite as compactly as some umbrella strollers, it's as light as most and sturdier and has more features than many. The UppaBaby G-LUXE weigh 11 lbs, has lockable front wheels, a 120 degree recline, a pop-out 50 SPF sun-shade, an adjustable foot rest, an automatic lock, and stands when folded. I love the bright orange color of the seat, which is supposedly stain resistant and has a removable seat pad. It's suitable for 3 months up to 50 lbs.

I purchased it at, which is having a phenomenal retirement sale. (I wish I hadn't already bought our big stroller as it was 20% cheaper than what I paid on Amazon.) Shipping was free and fast. I hope the Blueberry likes its.

Here it is:





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Stocking up

In the coming weeks and days, I hope to post pictures of the Blueberry's nursery, layette, and the many baby accessories that we received at our baby shower and continue to receive or purchase. Before I can do that, however, I have much furniture assembling and organization still to do. Oh, and a little bit of shopping as well. One thing I think we're set on is diapers. What do you think?

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Going from left to right, there is one little package of Newborn, over 200 Size 1, and over 100 Size 2. I'm debating whether or not to buy another package of newborn diapers. However, they only go up to 10 lbs and some babies never fit or don't fit them for long. Thus, unless the Blueberry is born very early (which he better not be!), I doubt we'll need many--that package is enough for about 5 days, maybe more if he goes through less than 10 diapers a day. Plus, we'll likely be sent home with some diapers from the hospital. I think I'll wait and see if there's another sale I can't pass up, otherwise we'll wing it with that stash. Not pictured are the 600+ wipes that I've also purchased.

Here's one last closeup of them all:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race

The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race might be described as a bit of a period piece even though it's more recent than what I'd expect. Perhaps it's a city versus suburb thing, but I definitely associate the child racing (e.g. soap box race cars) with the 1960s suburbs. However, it's not a homemade race car, but a store bough shiny car. Wait, I take that back. I do remember a little speedway where kids could zoom around a race track. Of course, there's also the ride in Tomorrowland at Disney. Thus, maybe it's because I'm not a race fan, or perhaps because I didn't find "putt-putt" cute, but I wasn't overly fond of this one. But many might, so here's the blurb.

It's the classic tale of the underdog, in this case Brother Bear with his smaller less sleek-looking car joins a race which four mean-looking drivers. Naturally, they leave him in the dust. However, one by one the other driver's arrogance gets in their way. From potholes, to dangerous curves, to a snack stand, the other drivers drop out leaving Brother Bear, who never quit, to putt-putt triumphantly across the finish line to cheering crowds.

As always, this story is well-written with a catchy amount of rhyme. The illustrations are detailed and colorful. I'd guess suitable for grades 1-3. Maybe the Blueberry will enjoy it, though it just wasn't for me.

Source: Library Book

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Very Bad Day

If you've been following my blog or know me at all, you know that I'm crazy about teddy bears. They have to satisfy a certain threshold of cuteness, but once they've met that level, I'll read any book, watch any cartoon, and consider buying merchandise. This book was an impulse grab off the shelves simply because there was teddy bear on the cover. I was not disappointed.

The Very Bad Day bears (opps, bears on the brain) some though not significant similarity to the much celebrated Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Immediately, my husband deemed this a knock off. But it's not. There's a very important unique character--a teddy bear. In this story, a little girl wakes up to a series of bits of bad luck beginning from when she falls out of bed. Because she didn't pick up her toys before going to bed, she stubs her toe and bangs her head. Through all of this, teddy looks slightly shocked and appropriately sympathetic. After a bit more clumsiness as she has breakfast, then she's off to find her friends to play with. Sadly, no one is home or at the park. On the way home, she and poor teddy get rained on adding more misery. Then suddenly all is well when she arrives at home to discover that her friends have come to visit her!

Yes, it's a trivial story, but I enjoyed it. The illustrations are detailed, particularly as to the teddy's facial expressions. There's a bit of multiculturalism randomly thrown in as the main character is Asian and her two friends are white and black, respectively. (They even have quasi-stereotypical names). I typically find this unnecessary and annoying when it's done so deliberately, but again, I can ignore a lot when there's a cute bear. Suitable for grades k-1. Recommended.

Source: Library Book

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Berenstain Bears Ride the Thunderbolt

The Berenstain Bears Ride the Thunderbolt is a Step 1 reader by the Berenstains. This means its the easiest level of books to read, intended for the preschool to kindergarten age group. Though the story leaves much to be desired as there are few words per page and huge print, the bears do not disappoint with the illustrations. Who doesn't love the idea of a roller coaster, even if you've long lost your taste for riding them like me? Frankly, you could ignore the words and haven an excellent picture book to discuss. For example, while Papa Bear purchases tickets, Brother and Sister are wide-eyed and as eager as can be. Mama looks a bit apprehensive as she glances up the seemingly endless roller coaster. As the coaster takes its plunge, though Mama has to hold onto her hat, she's clearly enjoying herself as are the kids, while poor Papa Bear looks absolutely terrified. At the end, it's Mama Bear who has to accompany the kids on their second ride as Papa Bear's just a wee bit too green to try again.

I wouldn't recommend this book as a read aloud as it's too short and simple, but definitely a good contender for your beginning readers. I'd check it out at your local library or look for it at garage sales.

Source: Library Book

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boom, Baby, Boom, Boom!

My first thought when reading Boom, Baby, Boom, Boom! by Margaret Mahy was that Ms. Mahy must have been a flower child of the 60s who just hasn't quite grown out of her psychedelic, aided by hallucinogenics days. This is absolutely a crazy story with an ordinary looking mother and baby, and a handful of average farm animals. You could take these characters and create the most mundane story about a mother feeding her baby girl lunch which the baby decides to feed to friendly looking farm animals. Definitely not what Ms. Mahy chose to do. Instead, the mother has quite the quirk about her--she loves to play drums to the beat "boom-biddy-biddy-boom-boom-boom." Thus, after preparing her baby a "lovely lunch" of bread and honey, lettuce, an apple, cheese, and a carrot, she commences to play her tune. Each time an animal sneaks in the door to be fed part of baby's lunch, mother (a) doesn't notice and (b) adapts the song to fit the animal's cry. Finally, the mother stops playing the drums and turns to her baby. Having been absolutely oblivious to all the animals coming and going through her kitchen as she played, she lauds her baby for eating all her lunch. Fortunately, she also gives her a banana so baby actually has lunch.

Somehow, despite this book's craziness, I loved it. I got into a rhythm of saying "boom-biddy-boom-biddy-baa-baa-baa" or whatever the variation was for the animal and even felt a kick or two as I was reading leaving me to wonder if Blueberry was enjoying the book or the sugar rush from the snack I had not too long ago. The colors are vivid and the illustrations detailed. It's definitely a great story for introducing your young one to animals, their noises, and foods in a fun way. I can't really say why I enjoyed this book so much, but it's a keeper.

Source: Library Book

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oh the Thinks You Can Think!

Oh the Thinks You Can Think! epitomizes all I dislike about a good majority of Dr. Seuss books but also why many people might love them. This book is filled with funny imaginary creatures with weird names that just happy to go well with the rhyme scheme. Let me back up as the apparent intent of this story is quite a laudable one--to foster imagination and creativity. The unseen narrator tells the reader of all the fantastic places you can go and neat creatures you can meet if you only "think" which really means imagine. There's even a nod to global travel as certain imaginary spots somewhat almost resemble real places such as a place that reminds me of Istanbul or someplace near the Arctic. That was a nice gesture, but not enough in my opinion.

Despite my objections about what Dr. Seuss really teach impressionable youngsters, children will love the weird-looking creatures and giggle at the made-up names for them such as "Vipper of Vipp," Beft, Da-Dake, and Bloogs. Illustrations are colorful and detailed even though I don't care for them. I'd guess it's suitable for grades 1-3. Not recommended.

Source: Library Book

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mabel the Whale

Wow, I'm nearly two weeks behind on book reviews! Don't worry, we're still reading to the Blueberry. I've just been a bit busy building baby furniture and planning how his room will be decorated to blog.

Mabel the Whale by Patricia King is another book I remember quite well from my childhood. The soft illustrations and coloring--a pale foamy green--are light-hearted and compelling. In the story, Mabel, a whale living in the Pacific Ocean has a very happy life. The water is clean and blue and her days are spent frolicking about with her cousins. One day, men on a boat catch Mabel and take her to an aquarium called Marineland. At first she's miserable at the aquarium where the water isn't blue and she's placed in a small tank. She even becomes sick because she's unable to shield all of her from the sun. Finally, a doctor tends to her needs and they find her a new, much deeper, tank. Soon Mabel's happy again, as are the visitors who come to see her.

Though I was thrilled to recognize another book I remembered fondly, my reaction to this book now is one of puzzlement. This whale is taken away from her family and home to be put on display for others to gawk at. Just because her sunburn is treated and she's put in larger tank, everything's supposedly hunky dory. What about the fact that the water still isn't blue? What about missing her cousins and people to play with? Though the final scene shows a bunch of happy kids smiling at a spouting and smiling Mabel, these children can't play with Mabel like her fellow whales could. There is no reason for her to be so happy other than that her situation is better than it was when she first arrived at the aquarium. It's possible that the moral of this story is to make the best of things, which is a good message for children who are naturally resilient. (It certainly isn't evil aquarium as the staff is portrayed as quite caring.).

This book is a good early reader, I'd say for grades 1-2. As a read aloud, it's a bit long for a younger child, but as I noted the pictures are interesting and even funny--such as when they pad the forklift-type contraption with a mattress. Recommended.

Source: Library Book

Saturday, May 12, 2012

29 Weeks!

Sorry for the silence these past couple weeks. Life got busy. I have a couple more book reviews to write up and post, but that will probably wait till another day. For now, here's a few shots at 29 weeks. I guess there's no doubt now ;)




Thursday, May 3, 2012

My First Book of Nursery Tales: Five Favorite Stories

My First Book of Nursery Tales: Five Favorite Stories is a book of classic fairy tales retold by Marianna Mayer and illustrated by William Joyce. I don't recall whether I had this book as a child or not, but published in 1983 (about the time when I was still being read nursery rhymes and fairy tales) these are the versions of the stories I remember. In this book are: The Three Little Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Little Red Hen, Gingerbread Man, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. While you would think my favorite would be Goldiloks, I think the Little Red Hen was the most well done. It not only contains a clear lesson--don't be lazy and expect to be handed something, but it also features everyday ordinary characters and memorable lines. Deceptively plain on the outside, this book has some quite nice illustrations in warm, muted colors. Ranging in length from 6-11 pages, I can see it being easy to roll through this book in a single evening or two with your little one. I read it over 3 evenings. Highly recommended!

Source: Library Book

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dog and Bear: Two Friends - Three Stories

Dog and Bear: Two Friends - Three Stories by Laura Vaccaro Seeger won the 2007 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award for Picture Books. Using vivid colors, bold font, and friendly sketch lines, this story looks like a comforting book. Plus, it involves a lovably cute bear and a dog, a hot dog no less. (I'm referring to a dachshund, not the food product.)

In the first of the three stories, which really roll together very well, Bear is sitting on a very high chair (imagine bar stool) when Bear comes to visit him to go outside. Bear is apparently afraid of heights and doesn't realize he's made of fluff. Thus, Bear is too scared to jump. Finally, his good friend offers the perfect solution--to make a sort of a ramp using his body so Bear can slide down. Success!

In the second story, Dog really wants to play but Bear is reading a book, ironically about a bear and his friend dog. Like an anxious little kid, Dog brings out every toy imaginable to tempt Bear into playing. Once he reads far enough into the story, Bear realizes learns a bit of a lesson about his friendship with Dog, which makes him want to appreciate Dog and willing to play. Ironically, Dog wants Bear to read to him.

Finally, in the last story, Dog is dissatisfied with his ordinary name. He decides to change it and proposes all sorts of alternatives such as "Fluffy", "Zippy" or "Champ." After imagining what Dog would look like with his new name (e.g., a pink marshmallow for "Fluffy"), Bear remembers how Dog helped him get off the scary high chair. This causes him to suggest "My Best Friend Dog," which is shortened simply to Dog.

In case you couldn't tell, this is a very cute book. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's an early reader, suitable for readers grades k-2.

Source: Library Book

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Cat in The Hat

The Cat in the Hat is obviously Dr. Seuss's most well-known book. Published first in 1957, this early reader tells the story of when two otherwise ordinary children are visited by a mischief-loving extraordinary cat. It's a rainy, cold and boring day. Their mother is out when suddenly the Cat in the Hat walks in. He can do all sorts of things like crazy balancing acts and brings strange friends (Thing One and Thing Two) with kites and other toys of their own to entertain the children. The children alternate between amazement and horror as the Cat and the Hat wrecks havoc on their house. The lone voice of reason is a talking fish in a bowl whom we are led to suspect the Cat in the Hat actually may want to eat.

Though I'm not the biggest Dr. Seuss fan, this book did elicit fond memories of reading it to younger children at a shelter in college and even watching the movie. It's excellent rhyme scheme and ridiculous antics will amuse young readers. Though I object to the weird-looking creatures--the cat, in my opinion looks far from a cat, I'm able to rationalize the story by presuming that the children are simply exercising their imagination and none of this is supposed to be real. This explains not only talking animals, but also a huge gap in time from when their mother is walking down the walk towards the house and when she actually walks in the door. Oh, it also explains how the Cat and the Hat is able to walk out the front door, then back in again all while she is supposedly right outside.

My husband apparently loves this story as he could not wait to read it.

Source: Library Book