Fab Kid Lit (Age 3-4) Part 2

I used to post up FabKid Lit for no reason other than I thought it was fun.   I still think it’s fun.  So I’m channelling my inner Gretchen Rubin (she writes all sorts of lists for no other reason than she thinks it’s fun).   Besides, not every kid book is awesome, but I promise these are.  So even if just one person on the entire inter-web finds a great book on these lists, well, what more could a dilettante children’s literature critic ask for?


91sBwLgP7EL._SL1500_Hairy Maclary Scattercat by Lynley Dodd is probably the best book ever written.  A three year old’s idea of hilarity is pretty much encompassed inside this book.  The dog hides, the cat is unsuspecting…you know the rest.  The delight on a pre-schooler’s face is worth the price of admission.  When I’m an old woman, I will sneak this book out of the closet and reread it just for the memory of that small, beaming face.



919NzUyDEiL._SL1500_Hairy Maclary’s Rumpus at the Vet by Lynley Dodd is next in line for the best book to capture a pre-schooler’s understanding of silliness.  This book is like a mini Three’s Company episode and if you don’t know what that is, that’s ok.  Just take my word for it, in fact, you don’t even have to take my word for it, the word ‘Rumpus’ is in the title.  That should be enough to sell you on this book.  It is a rumpus started by a naughty cockatoo in the vet’s waiting room.  Giggles will ensue.


81ZqLONV4dL._SL1500_What Does the Fox Say by Ylvis is simply the lyrics to their hit song written down with illustrations.  It is very silly and kind of existential in its Swedishness.  The reason this book is special is because it was given to G by his 93 year old GG who saw the video of the song on Ellen and loved it so much she had to get it for her great grand son.  So.  She’s awesome.  In case you missed the fox video:



51SSebQNsGLThe Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams is a beautifully melancholy classic.  I think it’s probably more suitable for a five year old’s grasp of the world, as it opens the conversation about impermanence through an anthropomorphized bunny.  It’s never too early though to begin to understand we all have to say goodbye to so much in life so often.




81i0JDTYmJL._SL1440_Doctor DeSoto by William Steig is a story of survival, yet it is also a story of kindness.  If they say altruism is an unnecessary trait in the harsh and cruel reality of evolution, well Dr. De Soto offers a different approach.  He’s altruistic, but is smart enough to know the true nature of his adversaries.  He helps, but keeps himself protected, a lesson for the ages.  Again, maybe better suited to a five year old, but it’s never too early to cultivate a child’s inner scrappiness.



51TH8hVO7hLGo Dog Go by P.D. Eastman is a fantastic early reader.  The pictures depict the words and an almost four year old gets their confidence bolstered as they grasp the words’ meanings.  Our nephew told us it was the very first book he could read all by himself.  Well done there.





51lhFpuzreLPut Me in A Zoo by Robert Lopshire is silly, rhyming fun.  This crazy animal can do all sorts of fun things with all his spots.  They make him seem magical.  It’s nice to end the day with a little magic.





81mxxohNCyLNow We Are Six by A.A. Milne is…well, what is it?  Perfect?  Classic?  Peerless?  Timeless?  My grandmother read this collection of poems to my mother and my uncle.  My mother read it to me.  My uncle recently asked me if I could remember all the words to the King of Peru (who was Emperor too) and I could.  So when I heard G at only three at the breakfast table one morning quietly say to himself, ‘He would whisper and whisper until he felt crisper…’ I beamed.  I know AA Milne had other plans as a writer that didn’t work out, and I’m sorry about that really, but what would childhood (or life for that matter) be without Christopher Robin and Pooh?


51S90GSKbhLListen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems is just classic Mo Willems.  Just the title makes me giggle.  All of the Elephant and Piggie titles make me giggle.  There’s a Bird on Your Head!  I’m Invited to a Party!  Pigs Make Me Sneeze!  The man is a living, breathing example that intelligence is the ability to distill broad ideas down to their barest essence.  And he’s still funny!  He’s a master.




41+2MpZb-SLThe BFG by Roald Dahl is terrifying.  They say Steven Spielberg is going to make a movie out of it, that’s how terrifying it is.  Honestly it is so scary I just don’t know how Roald Dahl ever got away with it.  I guess it helps he’s simply a genius and has no equal in his ability to weave the most outrageous tales.  As scary as it is and as suited to seven year olds rather than three year olds, we couldn’t put it down.  The BFG is a Big Friendly Giant who helps save the world.  If you like to read stories in crazy voices and maybe want to catch a glimpse of the Queen of England, you will love this book.


UnknownCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl…well, it’s the winner isn’t it?  I didn’t read this story as a kid and I missed Gene Wilder’s version of the eccentric candy maker, but that made it all the more delightful to experience for the first time with our son.  On the cusp of four years old, he was enraptured.  We read it two or maybe even three times in a row.  I don’t know how many times we watched the movie.  There was a little hiding behind couches when Augustus Gloop and Violet Beauregarde received their just desserts, but…that’s ok.  All we have to say is, “Pardon me Veruca Salt?” when G is acting a little princely and he backpedals it right up!


the man—>theexportedfilm.com


You would think after a while a view would be a view.

‘There it is, Big Ben, Parliament,’ or in this case, ‘There it is, the clock tower and that Empire State looking building.’

But as I’ve mentioned in previous posts about Australian views, I am a woman who once loved my NYC view of a brick wall. So every day our Melbourne view still thrills me.


But then look what else it does!


IMG_2485 Hot Air Balloons?

Can you even see the Times Square moon ball in this photo?

And guess how excited G and I were to find this photo at The Melbourne Museum from olden times?


We’ll have much much more about this great city soon.

From the Mouths of Babes

lord business---a bad guy--->aceshowbiz.com

lord business—a bad guy—>aceshowbiz.com

“Mama.  I don’t want to watch The LEGO Movie ever again.”

“Ok, well you certainly don’t have to, but can I ask why?”

“It has too many bad guys.  I wouldn’t want to live in a world with so many bad guys.  Would you?”

GOMA in Brizzy



When I first came to Melbourne on my own about a year ago, I stayed at the Blackman Hotel from the Art Series Group.  They have a few hotels around Australia and each one pays homage to a favorite Australian artist.  The Blackman is swanky and groovy and full of paintings of oblong figures trapped in a world where it seems like gravity quit its job.  Everyone’s pulled heavenward.   Like this…



When we were all the way up in Brisbane, G and I stumbled on this Alice in Wonderland painting one day in the Gallery of Modern Art.  I couldn’t stop looking at it.  It seemed so familiar.  The placard next to it said it had been painted by Charles Blackman.  Hmmmmmmm.  It only took me about three days to put it together. (hello??!!!) Charles Blackman?  The BLACKMAN!  This was the first of many pleasant surprises for us at the GOMA.


We are nowhere near Queensland at the moment…BUT…in trying to navigate the new Mac Photo software nonsense which makes me so grumpy, I unearthed a plethora of photos from the Gallery.  Everyone says all the culture is in Melbourne, but there is no need to look down your nose at the Brisbane Cultural Complex, especially if you have little ones.  They have exhibit after exhibit for kids and not one of them was slap dash. They were all interactive and awesome and might I add…free.  The whole place is free.  You just wander in.



The first exhibit we saw in the Children’s Art Centre was Jemima Wyman’s Pattern Bandits.  It wasn’t just psychedelic, you could leave with your very own spinning color wheel and a bandana you decorated yourself.



please take only what you need so that everyone can have some fun—did you hear that Nestle?

There were even little televised patterns you could insert yourself into.  Who had more fun with these?  Me, or the four year old?  Me.


In the library portion of this cultural complex they had a Monster Field Guide project, where two very serious scientists (not children’s art workers…they swore THEY. WERE. NOT. children’s art workers) guided the children through a series of scientific methods to discover new species of Monsters.  Using various methods like remote control cars and sling shots (!!!) the kids got as much paint on a piece of paper as possible…


THEN…they were given a series of tools to unearth the monsters hidden in the paint.  G’s discovery is here below…


Terrifying.  Here he is explaining his discovery to the art’s workers scientists.


Our personal favorite exhibition which we frequented, because as I said, you can just wander in, was Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room.  They start out with a room that looks like this…



Then they hand each child (and maybe adult) who comes to visit, a sheet of colored dot stickers which they can place anywhere in the room.  The room then starts to look like this…



And then one day it just looks like this…





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