In My Library Tote: Recent Hits (and Misses) for Mom and Toddler

Here's this month's round-up of what Jona and I have been reading lately. I hope you get an idea or two of what to check out (and maybe what to skip) on your next library visit.

{recent reads for mom}

In my library tote: recent reads |

If you want... 

{to pick your ending} Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Since graduating college, Hannah has moved from city to city and jumped from job to job, never settling down. Her latest move is back to her hometown, Los Angeles, and into the guest room of her best friend Gabby. Her first night back, she and Gabby go out to a bar, where they see Hannah's ex-boyfriend Ethan. From there, the story follows two different paths; in alternating chapters, we see the outcome of Hannah going home with Ethan or leaving the bar with Gabby. 
     Worth the read? Sure, if you're in the mood for something light. 

{a mix of history and present day events} Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Molly has been in foster care most of her life, and she's close to getting kicked out of her most recent home and sent to juvenile detention. However, she's saved from such a fate and instead serves time doing community service in the form of helping an elderly woman clean out her attic. She's surprised to learn that the wealthy woman she's helping has a troubled past of her own, and that she may be able to help her solve a few mysteries in the process. 
     Worth the read? Yes! I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone. 

{a love story that spans time and generations} The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. When Poland falls to Nazi Germany, Alma Belasco is sent to live with family in San Francisco. While living with her wealthy aunt and uncle, she meets Ichimei Fukuda, the son of the family's gardner. Between the two of them friendship, then love, begins to grow. However, they are separated when Ichimei and his family are sent to internment camps after the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Their paths cross again and they find their love still alive, but circumstances continue to keep them apart. 
   Worth the read? Oh, yes. That tiny paragraph only begins to sum up this beautiful story; there is so much more (including a parallel story of Alma's caretaker and her grandson, who both try to find out more about Alma's mystery lover). This is my pick for the month. 

{high school girl drama and a little mystery} The Fever by Megan Abbott. Deenie Nash is the teenaged daughter of a high school science teacher and the sister of a star hockey player. One day at school, one of her best friends collapses in class, suffers a seizure, and is hospitalized. Not long afterwards, another one of her close friends has a similar breakdown. When more and more girls become afflicted, the whole town tries to get to the bottom of the cause of this mysterious illness. 
    Worth the read? No. I found myself frequently rolling my eyes as I read this book, and I was glad when it was over. 

{recent reads for the toddler} 

If you want... 

{a silly story that encourages "reading" along} Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell. It's bedtime and a well-meaning octopus helps his friend get ready for bed by giving him an egg-salad bath and a tuba blow-dry. This one was a favorite from the day I brought it home, eliciting laughs and pleas for re-reads from Jona. 
     Toddler approved? Yes, two tiny thumbs up! This one was the favorite, hands down. 

{an entertaining story about animals and sharing} Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer. Duck's peaceful schedule of solitary lake-swimming is interrupted by some party animals who want to cool off on a hot day. He finally kicks them out, but realizes that peace and quiet isn't all it's cracked up to be. 
     Toddler approved? Yes, but it wasn't on his "most requested" list. 

{a funny fairy tale with a twist} That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems. Reminiscent of a silent movie drama, a wolf encounters a goose and invites her over for a soup dinner. Throughout the story, a group of chicks try to warn about the dangers of such an encounter, but in the end there's an unexpected plot twist. Mo Willems has become a favorite around here, and this one didn't disappoint. 
     Toddler approved? Yes, he loved reading along and repeating the lines. 

{few words but a big story} Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day. Mom leaves and asks Carl the dog to watch the baby. They both get into all sorts of shenanigans while she's away, but Carl cleans up their messes just in time. I never read these books as a child, but I can see why they're loved by so many. 
     Toddler approved? Yes, very enthusiastically. "Carl the dog" was requested nightly.  

{a calming, soothing bedtime story} Go to Sleep, Little Farm by Mary Lyn Ray. As a child is tucked into bed, a nearby farm and all its animals are also preparing themselves for sleep. The soft, soothing words and pictures make this one perfect for bedtime. 
     Toddler approved? Sort of. It kept his attention but it was never his first choice. Calming and soothing tends to get trumped by stories with silliness and adventure. 

What have you (and your kids) been reading lately? Anything you'd recommend? 

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