Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and July. It’s basically like the main November event, but with less rigid rules. You can write nonfiction, you can edit existing novels—you can even set your own word count goal. Because April is going to be an exciting month for our family (Dan’s birthday(!!!), moving(!!!), work training/flea market extravaganza in San Antonio(!!!)), I’m going to set myself a nice, cushy goal of 25,000 words.
It probably looks like I only write during NaNoWriMo events, but that’s purely accidental. The original start date for this novel was January 1, but in November Dan got a UTI, Tom left town for a few days, and Tom and I both got some nasty throat infection. Prewriting got totally derailed as I was dealing with more important things, so I pushed the start date back to March. Thanks to Plague Kid, February was less productive than expected, so I gave myself an extra month and figured I might as well participate in Camp with my writing group.
What am I writing, you ask? I’m terrible at answering that question, especially at this point. Everyone is looking for a different type of answer. The simplest answer is that it’s a YA fantasy loosely based on the fairy tale “Brother and Sister.” I’ve been joking that it’s a story about knitting and thermodynamics, but it’s probably got more knitting and less thermodynamics than anyone really wants. That’s all the description you get because I don’t want to jinx it, but that’s better than my usual answer of, “Um, stuff.”
Anyway, wish me luck, and I’ll try to keep you updated throughout the month.
In other news, I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter!
I’ve been unnaturally exhausted lately, so I dropped the ball on our Easter celebration this year. Dan didn’t get an Easter basket or hunt for eggs. Dinner was leftover enchiladas, and there wasn’t a single Cadbury Mini Egg in the house all weekend. Dan broke out in hives as soon as we got to church and had to be taken home, and I definitely didn’t buy him a cute Easter outfit.
Of course, none of that is the point of Easter. None of these frivolous traditions (or lack thereof) can add to (or detract from) Jesus Christ’s atonement for the sins of mankind, or His miraculous resurrection. His “great atoning sacrifice” has blessed my life and my family more than I can comprehend.
We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles—that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
After getting fewer views on my last post than pretty much any other, I grumpily joked to Tom that if I’d titled it “Fat Dan Reads a Book,” it would have been super popular. I almost reposted it the next day with the joke title, just to see what would happen, but decided that wasn’t the best idea.
“Fat Dan Reads a Book” is just too good of a title to waste, however, which brings us to today’s post.
Dan actually likes books a lot. I try to read to him at least a couple times a day, and he sees Tom and me reading all the time, so he seems to have figured out that books are cool. Every day he pulls all the books he can reach off the bookshelf and examines them one by one, flipping pages and talking to himself like he’s reading. When he can get a-hold of one of our books, he’ll try to carry or drag it out of my line of sight, then play with it silently until I take it away (he usually can’t resist crinkling pages after a few minutes).
Dan definitely has strong opinions about his books, and on Tom’s and my end, some are just more enjoyable than others. Today we’re going to talk about our favorite Dan books!
Most of these are board books, because they’re indestructible and about right for Dan’s attention span, but a few have paper pages. Tom usually reads those to Dan because his arms are longer and can keep them out of Dan’s sticky, destructive hands more easily.
1. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry
This is a fun little book about a friendly blue truck who makes friends with all the animals and helps a grumpy, self-important truck out of a tight spot. It’s one of Dan’s absolute favorites. The illustrations are pretty and detailed, and he loves the colors. He also loves hearing me make animal noises, which are color-coded for reader convenience.
Little Blue Truck isn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but there are enough amusing details to keep the parents entertained.
All in all, it’s just a nice story that teaches kids that being friendly gets you farther than being a jerk to everybody. What’s not to love?
2. Bugs Galore by Peter Stein and Bob Staake
I picked this book up at 2nd and Charles, and I’m glad I did. It’s chock full of good times. Dan generally can’t sit still long enough for me to read it straight through, but that’s partly because he’ll keep going back to previous pages to stare at all the bugs. You can’t really blame him—there’s a lot going on in this book! It helps that there’s not really a plot, so you can just open up any random page and have a good time.
You have to admire the fun details in this book, even if they’re not very entomologically correct. I mean, the “fruit bug” is a pineapple with wings. That’s pretty great.
I just hope Dan doesn’t ever decide real bugs are this much fun and bring them inside to show me. Ew.
3. Pretty much everything by Sandra Boynton
I’d never heard of Sandra Boynton before I was pregnant with Dan, but once we received Happy Hippo, Angry Duck at the baby shower, there was no going back. I love these books even more than Dan does, and I grab them at 2nd and Charles (or Amazon) whenever I can. They’re so quirky and random, and I love the illustrations.
If I can be as cool as Sandra Boynton when I grow up, my life will have been a success.
4. All the Dr. Seuss Classics!
Who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss? Tom is usually the one who reads these to Dan because of the aforementioned arm-length issue, but they’re always a good time. We received a bunch of them from Tom’s grandparents, and we’re so grateful!
5. Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever
The title doesn’t lie—this was one of my favorite books as a child, and I made sure we had a copy once Dan was born. To this day, my family still talks about Couscous, Schtoompah, and I Am a Bunny.
And what Richard Scarry-loving child doesn’t want to visit a castle in Denmark?
This book is full of short, colorful stories that are perfect for an easily-distracted Dan, and he’ll appreciate the experience more and more as he gets older.
6. Parables/Stories Jesus Told by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen
This book gave me my first exposure to the parables, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The authors turned the parables into cute, funny stories that are easy for little kids to remember. I’d highly recommend it.
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This one’s a classic, and the different sized pages and caterpillar holes keep Dan engaged while we’re reading.
Plus, Dan gets to learn about healthy eating!
8. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr, John Archambault, and Lois Ehlert
This one found its way onto one of our wish lists at some point. I’d completely forgotten about it, but once I started reading, I remembered disliking it as a child. We kept reading it in school, and even then I knew that books read in school weren’t as cool as books read with my parents at home. “a” was a smug little jerk. I was suspicious of anthropomorphized letters, and I couldn’t figure out why they kept saying “chicka chicka boom boom.” And then there was this scene, which disturbed Little Elissa greatly:
The book clearly states that these letters were comforted by “Mamas and papas and uncles and aunts.” But there’s only one capital letter for each lowercase letter (a fact confirmed by the inside back cover), so do all of these baby letters come from single-parent families? What about those that only had an uncle or aunt? Were they orphaned? Why aren’t we talking about the sad story of these letters coming from broken homes? How does gender work with anthropomorphized letters, anyway? None of this made any sense to me, and it made me distrust the book even more.
In hindsight, I was probably overthinking things a little.
I’ve had to take another look at this book, because Dan really likes it. The bright, bold colors catch his attention, and he loves pointing at the sun, moon, and coconuts. Maybe the book isn’t so bad.
Let’s just hope Dan doesn’t ask me where baby letters come from.
Do you guys have any suggestions? Which books remind you of your childhood? What do your kids love to read?