My daughter is just two years old and possesses quite a vocabulary and grasp of spatial concepts. In fact, at this moment she is singing most of the lyrics to Jingle Bells starting with “Dashing through the snow . . .” She is able to use “actually” correctly in a sentence, and she has a memory like a steel trap. She’s been using five world combinations since she was 18 months old. We often hear, “I want to do myself” from getting into the carseat or zipping her coat. Her independent streak is a mile long. And she loves Hot Wheels just as much as she loves the Disney Princesses.
Almost every night at bedtime, she requests one of these books.
Her favorite request is A Fire Engine for Ruthie by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Cyd Moore. This book takes a look at the social expectation that girls want to play with dolls. During a visit from her granddaughter, Ruthie’s Nana plans several activities, such as a tea party, dress up, and painting flowers. Each day of her visit, Ruthie sees a neighboring boy playing with his toy fire engine, train, and motorcycle. Nana finally realizes that Ruthie really wants to play with car and trucks, so they spend a day playing with Brian at his house, then head to the toy store so that Ruthie can have a fire engine of her own. The artwork is soft and whimsical.
Secondly, she asks for Dirty Joe the Pirate by Bill Harley, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, a jaunty rhyme about a ship-load of boys who loot other vessels for dirty socks. Spying another ship one day, they set out to do their usual pillaging, but it turns out they are about to attack another pirate, Stinky Annie, and her all-girl pirate crew. During the fray, Joe realizes that Stinky Annie is really his older sister, and she doesn’t care if he is family, she’s still going to steal his underwear. This book is written as true poetry and is hysterical funny. The art work is filled with amusing jokes as well. We received the book as a gift when my son was younger, and he still loves to read it now that he’s ten. This book will stay in our family through the next generation.