Wonderful Books to Read to Kids

I loved reading to my kids.  I believe that is all you have to do to instill the appreciation of books and to help them learn to read themselves.  My kids are older now but they still say they enjoyed when Sean and I read to them.  It’s an element of childhood that you should make time for.  You’ll be glad you did.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you’ve never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate.

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The Saggy Baggy Elephant– After a parrot makes fun of Sooki’s big ears, long nose, and wrinkled skin, the “saggy baggy” elephant isn’t too sure of himself. But once he meets some beautiful creatures who look just like him, Sooki celebrates with a joyful “one-two-three-kick.”

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The Bears’ Picnic– The quest for picnic perfection will delight readers in this classic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss. When the Berenstain Bears set out to find the perfect spot for a picnic, Father Bear says he knows just the place. But each ideal location turns out to be a complete disaster, with a train roaring past or hordes of mosquitoes. At last they find a place with no pesky crowds or noisy planes, and nary a mosquito . . . until it starts to rain. With The Bears’ Picnic, literary legends Stan and Jan Berenstain provide a red-and-white-checked tablecloth to enhance a giggle-filled escape.

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The Diggingest Dog– This is about a dog that finally gets a home and learns to dig, which is something he couldn’t do in the pet store.  Find out what happens when he gets carried away.

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Hound and Bear– This is an old book but you can still find it on Amazon.  I added this because it is a story I loved as a child and my kids loved it too.  You won’t forget all the adventures of Hound and Bear!

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The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read– This is about an old toy maker never wanted to learn to read until his wife went away on a visit and he had to do the grocery shopping by himself.

Mickey’s Picnic– Go with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and the rest of the gang on a picnic and find out what they do when their basket is taken.  My kids love this book and so did I!

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 Snow– This classic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss is a delightful ode to winter. Brrrrr! It snowed! From snowball fights and skiing to fort building and snowman making, P. D. Eastman and Roy McKie’s Snowwill have young readers eager for the kind of fun only a wintry-white day can bring. Perfect for enjoying with a cup of hot cocoa!

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The Monster at the End of this Book– By all accounts, this book is a favorite among toddlers and adults alike. Generations will recall their first time reading along as lovable, furry old Grover begs the reader not to turn the page . . . for a monster is at the end of the book! But, of course, the monster is none other than Grover himself.

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Harry the Dirty Dog– Harry is a white dog with black spots who loves everything . . . except baths. So one day before bath time, Harry runs away. He plays outside all day long, digging and sliding in everything from garden soil to pavement tar. By the time he returns home, Harry is so dirty he looks like a black dog with white spots. His family doesn’t even recognize him!

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If you Give a Mouse a Cookie– This book is a great first introduction to Mouse, the star of the If You Give series and a perennial favorite among children. And with its spare, rhythmic text and circular tale, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is perfect for beginning readers and story time!

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Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever– Words, words, words! They define everything and kids want to define their world. Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever is frankly the best word book ever!!! From the Bear’s home to the beach, from the airport to the zoo, verbs, numbers, parts of the body, every oversized spread has hundreds of things  to look at, point to, and identify.

Pigs, cats, rabbits, and bears, all doing what we do every day—playing with toys, driving fire engines, and experiencing life, just like the avid readers of this classic favorite.

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That’s Not My Tractor-This book was a definite favorite.  “Touch and Feel” books are engaging and fun.  It’s a simple concept that goes a long way!

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Crock Pot Roast Beef


This is a meal my family loves!
Place roast beef in a crock pot first thing in the morning, along with uncooked potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Add two packets of Au Jus gravy mix, one can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, a few sprinkles of garlic salt, pepper and two cups of water. Cook on low for the rest of the day till about five or dinnertime. Enjoy!


Tucker Duncan Carves a Pumpkin

When my kids were very little, I began to write stories for them.  They had read all the books we had and since I love to write, it just seemed like a fun thing to do.  They loved the stories and I still have them.  I cherish them because it’s a piece of their childhood.  One of our favorite stories is “Tucker Duncan Carves a Pumpkin“.  I have published it in Kindle form on Amazon.  Please read it and I hope you enjoy it as much as we have.  I’m proud of it!


Sweet Books of Christmas



The Sweet Smell of Christmas– This is such a nice book to have.  I remember it from when I was little and it was fun being able to read it to my children.  It is scratch and sniff and the illustrations are so charming.



Bear Stays Up for Christmas-It’s the day before Christmas, and Bear’s friends have gathered in his lair to wake him up to celebrate the holiday. They get a tree, pop corn and bake fruitcake, and hang stockings and hum songs. The others doze off, but Bear keeps busy wrapping presents, baking cookies, and decorating, unaware that a certain plump, red-suited gentleman is watching from outside the cave. I love this book because I love quilts and I love the illustrations.  My kids enjoyed it.



The Night Before Christmas by Tasha Tudor- My husband and I got this book when we were first married even before we had kids and we read it every Christmas Eve since we have been married.  This book has wonderful illustrations.  I am a big fan of Tasha Tudor.  Of course, the story itself is timeless.


Keeping Hens

We have three Rhode Island Red hens. I picked them because I remembered my parents and grandparents having them when I was little. They have a good temperment and do well in cold and hot weather ranging from the 30’s to the 90’s. They lay brown eggs. I will provide a link to a chicken coop that is I have found to be the best for three hens. You don’t need roosters for the hens to lay eggs. Roosters only fertilize the egg. I got my hens from tractor supply and since they were chicks at the time, I kept them in a plastic storage bin with the top off and a heat lamp overhead. Tractor Supply is great at displaying everything you need for baby chicks. For a family of four, three hens was just right. There is a rule I found that I had to buy no less than six, so go in with a friend who is also wanting chickens. My hen lay one egg each a day so we get three eggs every day. The portable hen house is meant to be moved about the yard. When you let them out, keep an eye on them because foxes, coyotes, cats, dogs, snakes and other birds will prey on them. Raccoons, snake, dogs and opossum will go after the eggs as well. Close the hens back in the coop at night. They automatically go back in when it begins to get dark. They are great about routine. http://www.momtastic.com/life/175461-backyard-chicken-coops/


Brown Eggs
Rhode Island Red

Play Kitchen Fun

When my kids were very little, they loved playing “restaurant”.  We gave them a kitchen set and many different pretend food products.  I took a regular binder and added pages which I created to look like a menu.  We also gave them aprons so they could play the part better. It is quite a nice game in any season. Anything made by HABA or Melissa and Doug is made so well. Learning Resources is also an excellent toy company.  They make toys that last and teach skills while still being completely fun. Here are a few of the items they had to play the game:

Step2 Best Chef’s Kitchen Set  (the kids loved how the stove burner lit up and made cooking sounds)


by Curious Chef  (It was nice to find aprons for boys!)


Haba Half Dozen Eggs (These are just plain charming)


HABA Teatime tin- Play food (These fit in their play tea cups as well as regular size cups.)


Haba Biofino Fried Egg (This is nice for pretending to crack the egg.)


Melissa & Doug Pizza Party (Everyone loves a pizza party!)


Melissa & Doug Food Groups (This is a nice set for covering the basic food groups.)


Fisher-Price Musical Tea Set (This is easy to wash and drink out of.)


Learning Resources Smart Snacks Rainbow Color Cones (This is safe and easy to stack.)


Little Tikes Shopping Cart (This is very tough and long lasting.)


Learning Resources Cash Register (This teaches math and works for real.)



Great Books for Families to Read Together

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library– This is a great mystery and good for kids and adults who like libraries, games, and scavenger hunts.


The Mysterious Benedict Society-This is a wonderful mystery involving an orphan who is also a genius!


The City of Ember-A story about a city where it’s always dark. There’s no sun, no moon, no light at all unless the electricity is on. The electricity is beginning to fail.


Tuck Everlasting-Ten year old Winnie wants to run away.  She runs into a boy who tells her about a spring that grants everlasting life. He forbids her to drink the water.


A Wrinkle in Time-a story about a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract.


Charlotte’s Web-tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as “Some Pig”) in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.


Because of Winn-Dixie– 10-year-old India Opal Buloni has just moved to the fictional small town of Naomi, Florida with her father, a preacher.While in the Winn-Dixie supermarket, she encounters a scruffy dog that is wreaking havoc. Opal claims that it is her dog and names it “Winn-Dixie”. Winn-Dixie becomes friends with everyone he encounters, and so she makes some new friends in the process.


The Giver– It is set in a society which at first appears to be a utopian society, but is later revealed to be a dystopian one as the story progresses. The novel follows an 11 year old boy named Jonas. The society has eliminated pain and strife by converting to “Sameness”.


Fantastic Mr. Fox– The story is about Mr Fox and how he outwits his farmer neighbors to steal their food from right under their noses.