In my former life, back when I was a teacher, I took a year long position filling in for friend who was on an extended maternity leave after having twins. I took over her 12th grade English and elective journalism classes and did my best to fill her very skilled and competent shoes. I must have done a decent job because we’ve stayed close friends and I’ve been able to watch those baby twins grow into smart kids. When we aren’t going on adventures to Sesame Place or building Lego together, our favorite thing to do is to read books. Recently we read Herve Tullet’s Press Here over and over again because it’s just that fun.
Their birthday is in a few weeks and I’m particularly proud of the gifts I’ve carefully wrapped for them. I bought them books. Of course I bought them books! I got them two of my favorite books which I only just discovered in the last few months. Miss Jenn, UDPL’s Children’s Librarian, recently introduced me a short series of books by Emily Jenkins about three unlikely friends. Lumphy is a stuffed buffalo, StingRay is a stuffed stingray, and Plastic is a wonderfully bouncy plastic ball. They belong to the Little Girl who knows that they live a whole other life when she’s asleep. They go on adventures, have gentle arguments, and have deep discussions about important things. They’re the perfect transition from bedtime picture books to bedtime chapter books because they straddle both genres. Each book is long, with many chapters sprinkled with Paul O. Zelinsky’s marvelous illustrations. I adore these books and I’m so excited to give them as gifts.
I love giving books as gifts almost as much as I love receiving books as gifts. If there’s a young reader in your life, Emily Jenkins’ Toys books might be just the gift you’re looking for this winter!