I’m currently gearing up for what has been forecasted to be a mentally and/or emotionally draining week at work; but that is okay “Ma’ma said there’ll be days like this…” and I know we will get through it. I’ve also been up to some tinkering in the kitchen with some holistic remedies and am waiting to see how they go before displaying them. All that being said I’ve decided to share a collection of my favorite children’s books this week.
I put a lot of emphasis on games and playing to get Baby Bat’s mind engaged and keep the creative and imaginative juices brewing. We play potions regularly which serves not only the imagination but also feeds significantly into science exploration as well as developing her fine motor skills. I have a set of blocks that my brother and I use to play with as kids at my grandparents (castles = Hogwarts, you get the picture…I think it was only this past Vine Moon that she would see any representation of a castle and refer to it as Dumbledore’s House. Then we became acquainted with Frozen and a distinction was drawn between Dumbledore Castles and Princess Castles):
Last week we explored writing with feathers and ink and as the weather turns more inviting I feel the need to put together a Quidditch game. But initially Harry Potter was a series of books which explore not just witches and wizards, magic and fantastic beasts but also a discussion of friendship, family, love, differences, and the morality of good and evil, right and wrong, easy and hard etc. etc.
I really wanted to translate these values to Baby Bat as much as the fun magical atmosphere, and while doing so provide her with knowledge that actually applies to the real world. So how do you do that and keep their interest? I mean you can try to read the voluminous series when they are super tiny and immobile that can be an option (I read Baby Bat Alice in Wonderland two hours after she was born, do I think she retained or even remembers it? No, it was more about bonding and letting her hear my voice). The thing is words on a page aren’t as gripping for little kids as they are for adults, they need pictures to put the story and ideas together. Recently they started coming out with illustrated versions of the books, which is great but still a bit sophisticated for little minds.
So I have been searching and collecting books that go with the Harry Potter theme for awhile now. I keep them out for regular consumption but we read them most when it is a Harry Potter Weekend. There are some books I know about and have yet to check out so my collection is still growing, and I would love any suggestions to add to it.
For the wee ones I think Board Books are a must. You also need to take into account that they are at the very beginning of building their vocabulary so simplicity is key:
Owls are symbols of wisdom, sacred knowledge, the underworld, transitions and messages which syncs up pretty well in Harry Potter as they are predominantly used in the Wizarding World to send correspondence. Luckily owls have been kind of in vogue for awhile now and you can find cute little owl print outfits mostly anywhere for any budget. While I have not come across a board book featuring an owl bearing messages to people these books by Divya Srinivasan have quite captured my heart if only for their illustrations. They also introduce basic vocabulary like numbers and colors.
This book also deals with owls and counting and is one of Baby Bat’s favorites. When she acquired her pink owl she immediately began calling him “Hoot”. My mum tried to correct her since the owl is a beanie baby and comes prenamed, but I put my foot down as this was a big moment for Baby Bat (first time she named a stuffed animal!):
I think dragons and unicorns are the creatures that are called to mind the most when discussing the fantasy genre. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone introduces them almost right off the bat and are continually included one way or another in the rest of the books. While I’ve yet to find a book featuring unicorns, this one is a classic dragon story and the pictures are awesome
Ghosts, cats, toads, witches and wizards, werewolves…pumpkin juice, lots of elements surrounding Harry Potter have to do with Halloween (which is probably why you tend to find more events around that time of year…also December, Yule Ball, you know). Anyways, Halloween is the time to raid the bookstore in search of these kinds of books. These are the ones that we’ve had for awhile:
Witches and Wizards
Often times when there is a witch present in children’s literature and other media they are presented as the antagonist, or bad guy. As part of the pagan community finding books and movies that represent witches and witchcraft in a positive light were far and few between. It even seems to be a thing that witches are more commonly set as the villain then wizards, so there you go gender inequality to boot. Luckily we’ve seen a bit of a turn around as far as content and theme (maybe because of Harry Potter or maybe as a culture we are becoming more open…maybe a little from both).
This one is great because it has one of those buttons that make noise and this one sounds like magic…or like a spell was just cast. We love it but the one foreseeable problem it has a bunch of peek-a-boo flaps, which is great but little hands get busy and all of a sudden you don’t have the flap anymore, they do have a witch version but I didn’t see that until later. I’m sure its just as wonderful:
This book I read as a child and might explain why I turned out the way I did. Though it sort of keeps with the traditional wicked witch look it makes the point that just because some one looks different doesn’t mean we don’t have things in common. It is also by Norman Bridwell and if you aren’t familiar with that name you will probably recognize his popular book series turned PBS television show Clifford the Big Red Dog. There are a few other Witch Next Door books but I guess they didn’t take off as much:
This book is a super cute collection of stories by Georgie Adams and Emily Bolam about three little witches who go to a school that changes location each day, they ride brooms, clean up with spells that go awry and have a multitude of other adventures. Baby Bat and I just started getting into reading this one on Fridays when we get moving early and get coffee or cocoa at the Starbucks around the corner from work.
This one the art is a little lacking and a bit reminiscent of Asterix comics (not exactly but something about it reminds me of those, maybe its the background). The Lonely Wizard deals with the power of friendship and overcoming differences.
This book by Jack Prelutsky is admittedly more Slytherin in nature. The opening lines proclaim that the wizard is plotting his evil deeds for the day…which amounts to a series of transfigurations. While sinister it might seem I love it, the art is amazing (I’m big on art in books) I ask baby bat if she can find certain things in the pictures so it kind of becomes a look and find book. The poem is very imaginative too with the moral at the end of the story noting to be aware how you treat creatures and things as they might have one day been people transfigured by the wizard.
Lastly The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The Wizard and the hairy heart and the tale of the three brothers might be a bit much for some kids but I really want to make some felt board stories for Babity Rabity and the Wizard and the hopping pot. This would have been first if there had been more pictures also I think she needs to add more stories at least the one about the goat she references in the introduction which never made it into the book for some reason.
That’s all for now. If you have any suggestions send me an “owl” or comment. If nothing else have a great week!