Sunday, January 10, 2010

SaffronTree 2009 Picks - I

I am a huge fan of lists - list of favorite books, movies, graphic novels for the decade, year etc. Lists always do not do enough justice to the books that get left out. As more number of people come up with their own list of favorites for the year, slowly and steadily, we'd have a good list of interesting books for the year. Much like how the top search results of Google are chosen!

We at Saffron Tree decided to present our own list - with a difference. Since, Saffron Tree is aimed at children and most of the reviews by our contributors are ones that are equally enjoyed by them as well as their kids; we decided to ask our kids what their favorites of 2009 were. The choices presented below do not all belong to those published in 2009, rather most of them are those that were enjoyed in 2009 by our contributors. The list below talks about individual contributor and their family's favorite - handpicked for all.

UTBTKids, Under The Banyan Tree and her kids had this to say regarding their favourites -

If I were to go by my children's choice, 'Don't let the pigeon drive the bus' would probably be the numero uno book of 2009, 4.5months/12months this book was at our home! The pictures, are as simple as they can get. Story line is very silly, a pigeon wants to drive a bus. Small is beautiful ain' it?! My kids enjoyed the book from cover to cover. They poured over each picture, laughing out loud for every unreasonable tantrum the pigeon throws. Best part, 'THEY GET TO SAY NO' to the pigeon.

The next best, judging by the endless imaginary play sessions that went on later, would be Seaweed Soup by Stuart J.Murphy. It is a level 1 Math Start book designed to introduce math concepts to younger children. Stuart J.Murphy takes preschool math to the next level and introduces
concepts such as patterning, set theory, comparison - more/less/same, classification/sorting, one to many/many to one relationships with story lines and captivating pictures. Post Seaweed Soup, all soups at
home are now called Seaweed Soup, the only way I can get the kids to taste the soup :)

Meera Sriram and her kids favorites --

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a book in which mommy raccoon reassures baby raccoon as the latter worries and hesitates on his first day to school. Mommy kisses his hand and asks him to take it to his cheek whenever he is reminded of home at school. The baby does the same to mommy while she stays home worrying about him. Now it is our daily drop off ritual:)

Clap your hands by Lorinda Bryan Cauley was a unanimous winner from all the domestic readers, especially the toddler at home. A big hit with my older one when she was young, my boy took to it instantly as well. An action packed book, a great mood-changer. Makes him feel triumphant and ecstatic. And has taught him a lot of verbs in a fun way! Both my kids look at each other and giggle and act it all out as I read it aloud to them!

Vibha Sharma and her kids have some interesting picks as well -

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown - A bulletin board falls on Stanley during one night and now he is only half an inch thick. Just imagine to be this thick and what all we can do and which all places we can reach with that body. Unimaginable things happen to him - his brother flies him like a kite, he is mailed to his friend's place in
much lesser cost than an air-ticket and helps in catching art thieves too. Amazing to read how life would be in that form.

Silly Dilly by Kuntie Ramdat Balkaran - My 6 year old daughter picks up this Scholastic India early science series book over and over again. A silly duckling takes a walk wih her mother around a farmyard one day. From her tiny eyes, she perceives every animal to be something different and dangerous which is enough for her to get frightened and run for her life but then her mother tells her about the actual animal that she has seen. Small notes are added on every page introducing children to different animals. Beautiful illustrations that capture the attention.

Choxbox and her family enjoyed -

What Shall I make? by Nandini Nayar was one of the big hits with my little one this year. It is a simple and totally relate-able story of little Neeraj who takes a piece of dough from his mom and shapes it into different creatures which he imagines will become real. He finally converts it into a delicious hot chapati and eats it up. The yummy illustrations are totally gawk-worthy. We have also regularly been plied with little rotis - shapeless, half-burnt, half-uncooked but incredibly delicious and to quote the book, 'the best chapatis we have ever eaten'! This book was earlier reviewed at Saffron Tree at Flour Power.

The older one enjoyed The Chrestomanci series by Diana
Wynne-Jones. This set of seven books captivated her so much that they traveled with us everywhere we went. Fantasy fiction where entire new universes are created and peopled by fascinating creatures has been the tops since the last couple of years.

MadMomma has another great pair of favorites for the year 2009 -

My two and a half year old the Bean loves - I took the moon for a walk – by Carolyn Curtis.
Written in rhyme it’s a lovely book for a two year old who just began to fear the dark and the night. She loves the rhythm and the rhyme and almost knows it by heart. A hardboard book it’s been through thick and thin with her and survived it, grubby fingers pointing out at the oh-so-familiar illustrations by Alison Jay. The book was also reviewed earlier in Saffron Tree.

My son, the 4 year old Brat is beginning to read and the Sue Graves’ (Fun with Phonics) Learn to read series is his current favorite. Dog in the Fog, Bug in a Rug, Jen the Hen and Ben and Jen are simple small words that he painstakingly spells and reads along with, practicing his phonics, amazed that he doesn’t need mama to read to him!


Unknown said...

My 3 year old loves the 'Fun with Phonics' series too! .. There is 'Sid the kid' too which is her fav!
N I love the list. I'm going to pick up the other favs asap. :) Thank you mommies for coming up with this amazing list.

Sheela said...

Wonderful to see the favorites so far! Can't wait for the rest... Thanks, Satish, for compiling them here!

Fun With Phonics series mentioned here resonates with me because similarly themed Bob Books are so popular in our household.

And what a surprise to see I Took A Moon For A Walk, and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - our faves as well :)

utbtkids said...

'Flat Stanley', 'Took the moon for a walk', here we come.

Choxbox said...

@utbt: Flat Stanley is a series of five. Each is a riot.
Dug it out today and read it with the 4 yr old today - she is hooked!
(One more to you Vibha!)

Also this book set off an interesting project in my friend's circle of pals (they'd apparently borrowed the idea from the net):
One of them mailed a copy to another - they read it and mailed to another friend and so on.(In the first book Stanley is mailed to his friend and back as he is flat and can get into an envelope!)

Vibha said...

There's a project on 'Flat Stanley' in some schools in US. I got my flat nephew(actually a small drawing of him) last year and we had to take him around Bangalore and had to send him back by post with some pictures of him with us.
Interesting project. My children also wanted to go to US as 'flat ...'

Choxbox said...

Wow Vibha and thats where these guys must have borrowed the idea from!

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