Reading in our youth

December 21, 2013

It’s almost Christmas and my shopping list includes a little boy that will be 2 years old very soon.

You can bet that his package is going to include a book. I chose a terrific storybook, “Good Night Construction Site,” by Sherry Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichenheld.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a toddler boy who was not fascinated by construction equipment. This particular book uses rhyming sentences to tell the story of how Crane Truck, Excavator, Dump Truck, and Cement Mixer wind down their workday and snuggle in for the night. My little friend will be able to say good night to each of his favorite trucks along with the story, and then snuggle into his own bed.

Have you ever met a toddler that was demanding? He or she might enjoy the “Diary of a Wombat” by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Wombat lives in Australia. He looks like a bear, but he is a lot smaller. He lives in a hole in the ground, sleeps during the day, and comes out at night to eat and explore his world. As he is exploring he gets some new neighbors and he discovers some new treats that keep life from getting boring. Well, as luck would have it, he learns that the neighbors are susceptible to his demands. Wombat’s world gets a little more interesting and your toddler will be giggling at some of the hijinks that Wombat pulls.

Children have great imaginations and in the book “This Moose Belongs to Me” by Oliver Jeffers, Wilfred imagines that Marcel the Moose belongs to him. I admit that it would be awesome to own a moose, especially if the moose would follow the rules of how to be a good pet. Marcel did pretty well with some of the rules, but not so good with Rule 7: “going whichever way Wilfred wants to go.” You can probably imagine how a boy might get off track with a wayward moose, and you might be right. To be sure, however, you would have to get a copy and read it to find out. You will also find that the author’s illustrations are at least as good as the story.

I have found that there are few things in life more satisfying than sharing a delightful book, especially with a toddler. Still, sharing a good book with a friend is nice too. You can find all the books mentioned here and plenty more at the library. Happy holidays and happy reading.

Catie Roche is the sirector of the Robeson County Public Library. You can reach her at In addition to picture books, she is reading “Look Again,” by Lisa Scottoline.