Dear Aunt Debbie,
I am sorely tempted to grab Jeff right now and rehearse the fights Eleanor and Isabel have with each other so that we can act them out and cure our children of bickering once and for all, a la Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I remember the radish cure well -- one of those images that sticks with you, all those little green sprouts growing out of Patsy's dirt-covered skin.
Summer has brought us some good vacation time, and with it the need for distraction on airplanes and long car rides. I've written before about sticker books, and you've brought up other good kinds of activity books as well. Our current household obsession entered our lives as a gift from my friend (and our guest blogger) Faith. When Will was born, she sent us a package including a present for him and sticker books for Eleanor and Isabel from the Usborne "Sticker Dolly Dressing" series.
Despite their cloying name, these are fabulous books. Each one contains a series of pages of cartoon-style figures standing in scenes in their underwear. The middle pages of each book contain sticker clothing to peel up and apply to each of the figures, so that everybody ends up dressed. In some of the books, each outfit must be put on the correct person; in others, you can choose which clothes to put on which doll.
Sticker Dolly Dressing Action! Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing
Some books follow a few characters through a rough narrative: three bridesmaids get ready for their friend's wedding, for example. In others, each scene stands alone: historical styles of the 1920s, or festivals from different countries. The "Historical Sticker Dolly Dressing" books are drawn in a more realistic style, Tom Tierney-like.
Each book takes hours -- literally, hours -- to complete. Eleanor is deeply into applying all of the stickers the right way, and will work her way through a book until it's completely finished. Isabel is a little more slapdash, but enjoys them all the same. Many of the books are pretty girly, with princesses, brides, and fairies taking up starring roles. A little deeper in the catalog, however, you'll find a nice smattering of multiculturalism, some Dollys of different races, and even a book of pirates.
I've just sent three more books to my friend (and our guest blogger) Cyd, to occupy her three older daughters in the weeks following the birth of her fourth. I have a feeling they won't be the last ones I'm buying.