If you have been aware of children’s books for any length of time, you have probably seen or read a “Little Critter” book by Mercer Mayer. These were around back when I was a kid, collecting Berenstain Bear books. So, when I saw it at the library, I thought this one would be cute, per usual, and applicable to Pen Elaine, since she has a 7-month-old little brother right now…but nothing extra special, just classic. Well, it was classic Little Critter, but it was so surprisingly touching and sweet. I recommend this to anyone with a baby boy in the house, for older brothers or sisters! We have read a lot of sibling books lately, and this is most definitely one of my favorites. Little Critter describes all the fun that he and his brother will have, with a few tell-tale pictures of real life (fighting over a toy or having a hint of jealousy), in the midst of his idealistic scenarios of being best buds, on the same team, helping and playing with each other. This story has all the fun of every Little Critter book with extra sentiment and a “surprise” at the end. This is a great bedtime book and appropriate for the youngest listeners while still meaningful for moms and dads.
Pen Elaine is 3-year-old now, which sounds old in my world. She is understanding much more than I realize every day, growing and developing into her own person. She is constantly building and forming a representation of herself and her world. She loves to reenact stories, which means that she is internalizing them, and I know that the books we read are directly impacting her opinions of what is good and acceptable in her own and others’ behavior and ideas. There are plenty of negative influences that I can’t stop from her world, but those will not be nearly so powerful or impacting if I am choosing to fill her up with lots of positive ideas from books that will encourage and speak life to her soul. Reading together and filling her bookshelf with stories of good and lovely ideas are important tools for her to have as she is shaping her worldview. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV