Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Were They Appropriate Then? Are they Appropriate Now?

My wife and I would never allow our son to watch the new Grimm tv show that kicked off last year, yet the basis of that show is Grimm’s Fairy Tales, stories that I can remember hearing/reading when I was young. Granted, the versions my mother told me weren’t as grisly as some of the originals, but still, they weren’t the pleasant, sugary stories that we tend to read our little one.

I would be really interested to know how many people do read Grimm’s Fairy Tales to their children, and at what age. Further, I’d like to know what the concensus is regarding the impact of these types of stories on a child’s development. Are such Fairy Tales appropriate? Were they ever?

Are Grimm’s Fairy Tales too twisted for children?

Just to refresh your memories, there are the Disney versions… and then there are the originals. Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White and the like have various versions and the originals certainly aren’t child-worthy. In fact, today most of them wouldn’t garner anything close to a PG rating.

The following article documents some of the original storylines: Top 10 Gruesome Fairy Tale Origins

Christmas 2012. The Haul.

So, we’ve failed. Clearly. We’ve failed in our promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t allow the toy situation get out of control. I clearly remember visiting friends’ homes and cringing at the piles of toy cars and sports equipment that just seemed to occupy every nook and cranny of their previously tidy homes.

We promised ourselves that wouldn’t be us.
We failed in that promise.

As a result of Christmas 2012 I now have a new project on my hands. Identify, review and select Vancouver-based services that accept used toys, kids books and children’s clothing and put them, or their proceeds to good use.

While our situation may not be as bad as most, our little guy certainly has more toys right now than he needs, or frankly than he can manage. More concerning, where prior to Christmas he showed little interest in either presents or the idea of new toys, he now considers anything loosely resembling a present as being something that should be his, and to my dismay he’s asked me if he can have “new cars.”

I figure there’s no time like the present to try and change that attitude and to reduce both the clutter and amount of distraction for him in and around our home.

I’m open to any suggestions for worthy recipients of toys, clothes and books in good to excellent condition. Currently I’m thinking of:
Vancouver Public Library for the books.
Big Brothers for toys and clothes that our friends’ kids won’t be able to use.

The Growing Toddler Book List. Old Favorites And New Additions

The Little Blue Truck series continues to be a favorite with our little guy, with specifically Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way factoring into each evening’s bedtime reading on any given day.

We figured it was time to throw some new material into the mix and after reviewing a number of different sites got the sense that Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny series was worth a shot. Note that we didn’t start with the original Knuffle Bunny book, which might have been a mistake assuming that it served to introduce characters. Instead we started with Knuffle Bunny Free (An unexpected diversion) and Knuffle Bunny Too (A case of mistaken identity). The books are short, funny and interesting in that they overlay the cartooned story characters on photographs of real places and things. While the first read wasn’t particularly well received, we’ve found that Knuffle Bunny Free is now a bedtime favorite and Knuffle Bunny Too has a place in the rotation as well.

I should also mention that Knuffle Bunny books are available in Kindle format on Amazon, as are the Little Blue Truck books which will make them the obvious choice for any coming flights or extended travel.

Best of all we get a bit of a breather from what had become a nightly sequence of two Little Blue Truck books (not that there’s anything wrong with Little Blue Truck books, but daddy needs a breather every so often).

So, what are the top 5 books on our toddler’s reading list in order?
1. Little Blue Truck
2. Knuffle Bunny Free
3. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
4. Super Duck
5. Knuffle Bunny Too

A New Addition To Our Son’s Favorite Book List. The Little Blue Truck Series

So Baby Beluga and Super Duck have fallen out of favor of late, with a new champion taking the forefront. This new champion is Little Blue Truck.

What made him change his obsession? Who knows, but frankly I hope it changes again soon because reading the same book every night is driving me crazy… Did I mention he has it 80% memorized?

Favorite Book Picks For Our 2 Year Old

So we just hit the big two years and man, as we looked back through some of our old photos and video it’s remarkable what has transpired in 24 short months. The size of our toddler’s vocabulary, range of interests and general behavior is mind blowing.

We chalk much of the advancement to his daycare provider and her approach to childcare, as well as the fact that he’s in a daycare environment that consists of only 5 children and so brings consistency and the ability for her to provide close attention to the children. Additionally, there is a range of ages so the younger ones have opportunity to learn from the older ones.

Despite the amount of change, there are also many themes, or areas of consistency. Some, such as our toddler’s infatuation with vehicles, in particular emergency vehicles and garbage trucks persist and are unlikely to disappear from what I see of other children. In the case of books he seems to churn through some, but maintain a love for others. Those children’s that have shown particular staying power are:

Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read) by Raffi.
For a long time this book was a mandatory read, or rather ‘sing’ before bed. Even today if our toddler’s not quite ready for sleep we can hear him singing his version of Raffi’s Baby Beluga over the monitor from his crib. A classic.

Super Duck by Jez Alborough.
This one was new to me, and was given to us by my mother-in-law. Initially skeptical, I soon started to recommend it to friends given how quickly our little one took to it, starting to memorize the lines. This was made easier by the consistent cadence and rhyming used by the author, Jez Alborough. While a short book, this is a fun read and definitely a favorite.

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough.
The second book we have from author Jez Alborough is also a hit. Like Super Duck this one makes use of rhyming and fun pictures to bring your child along on the ride. Good fun. There appear to be numerous other Jez Alborough books available, and while I think we’ll buy a few of them, I will have to update this list if they prove as popular as these first two.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
This book has been much-copied with variants like Good Night Canada, Good Night World
and other books in the Good Night Our World Series series. Very simple, easy to follow and easy to participate this one was a particular favorite in the 1 year through about 18 month period. It’s since been displaced a bit by some of the books above, but still features periodically in our night time routine.

The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton.
Another one that’s slowly falling off in favor of the Super Duck and Tuck in the Truck books, The Going to Bed Book featured prominently until recently. There wasn’t as much memorization that flowed here relative to say, Good Night Moon, but our toddler found humor in the illustrations, as well as the bedtime theme of the volume.

That’s it for now. I’ll aim to provide some additional top picks in the future as our library shifts with our little one’s development. Would love to hear if folks have other books their children particularly liked at this, or any age.

Parenting Links Or Cleaning Out The Bookmarks

forget model planes and trains for your child, why not let them ply the waters in a working supertanker

Spring is turning to summer so there’s no better time than the present to teach your kids about plants and gardening. Don’t have a backyard or proper garden? No worries, check out Inhabitots’ post on Leafy Wonders’ Mini Garden Kit.

We’re all somewhat obsessed about our health and what we eat… often to the point of being unhealthy. UrbanBabyBuzz posted a quick review of “Feed the Belly,” a book of 70 recipes designed to address cravings and satisfy nutritional needs before and during pregnancy. I’m not recommending the book as I haven’t read it, but hey, maybe its worth a look. While on the topic of books, why not take a peek at Momnesia posted via CoolMomPicks.

Elephants and dominoes… born to be together? Via MyMomShops. It seems that Elephants aren’t the only african creatures made out of wood… CoolMomPicks posted about this wooden giraffe toy set not long ago. In fact I don’t see why the two shouldn’t be matched. You could easily haul those dominoes in the giraffe’s slick trailer.

Some kids like sailboats, others lust after canoes or speedboats. Something tells me there’s a kid or two here in Vancouver that might enjoy the chance to pilot one of those huge tankers that anchor out in English Bay… and it seems a lucky few might get a chance. Check out the Replica Oil Supertankers posted over at LikeCool! Man. I’d love to give one of these a shot.

Where The Wild Things Are. Ok For Children?

So I heard that the initial cut of Where the Wild Things Are was deemed too much for kids when the entire theater of children screening it left terrified. Likely a reasonable assessment.

Based on the video below I suspect that the current version may still be a bit much for some children. Spike Jonze. Where the Wild Things Are.

How To Talk To Girls. Not Just For Kids Anymore

Just a quick post… this book is a must-have.

I bought a couple copies over the holidays and gifted them out to stellar reviews. While I’m sure the first impulse is to give this to a youngster you know, let me assure you that it will be appreciated by those single older guys in your circle as well. This kid brings humor to what can be an especially touchy subject with someone who’s recently broken up, or just generally tends to struggle with relationships.

Anyway, use it as you see fit, but next time you find yourself in a book store take a moment or two to have a look at How to Talk to Girls.

I Stole The Site, Not The Items

Babygami and the art of swaddling. What happened to motorcycle maintenance?

I came across via Babyccino and headed straight for the parenting section. Most of the items I found were pretty tongue-in-cheek, but they’re worth a look for sure.

Humpty Who? promises ‘a crash course in 80 nursery rhymes (Georgie Porgie, The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Contrary Mary… wait, what?) for clueless moms and dads.’ I have to be honest, I didn’t realize there were 80 nursery rhymes, so I already have reason to give this one a shot. The only downside I can think of is that the filler included to get to 80 includes all those morbid post-war rhymes that we recite without knowing their history.

The Baby Owner’s Manual includes step-by-step instructions and diagrams on how to care for your baby.

Baby-Gami claims to teach the art of swaddling. Call it what you like, this one’s all about turning yourself into a hippie… with style. I have to admit that I get nervous when I see parents with kids in these contraptions, especially at the grocer. On more than one occasion I’ve been near certain the kid was going to fall on his head when mom bent to pick up some dropped fruit.