Dear Aunt Debbie,
I love knowing that Max and Ruby were real kids. I wonder how they feel about the drekky TV show using their names....
You mentioned a few great Mem Fox titles; tonight I'd like to sing the praises of two of them, both of which have been staples in our house for quite some time.
Time For Bed, illustrated by Jane Dyer, is one of our favorite bedtime books: a gentle, lyrical rhyme which says goodnight to all kinds of small animals: "It's time for bed, little mouse, little mouse. Darkness is falling all over the house....It's time to sleep, little bird, little bird. So close your eyes, not another word." The version I've linked to is a lap-sized board book (who knew there was such a thing!), and thus perfect for really little kids who are apt to tear normal pages, but love the large, double-spread pictures of parent and child animals. I'm pretty sure I could recite this entire book from memory. There's also a small-sized board book and a standard paper page hardcover, whose major benefit is that it contains an extra painting of a bear and the night sky. We have all three versions.
Time for Bed was my introduction to Mem Fox, and was one of the reasons I perked right up a year and a half or so ago when I saw you'd sent us
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. The other reason, of course, is that it's illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, whom I adore. It's a lovely multicultural book, listing and depicting a lot of different kinds of babies, each of whom, "as everyone knows/ had ten little fingers/ and ten little toes." Sometimes the text gives a hint to the babies' races ("There was one little baby who was born on the ice/ and another in a tent, who was just as nice"), but more often, the babies are just happily and quietly different colors and ethnicities. It's quite joyful.
In birthday news, both Dog and Maisy's Amazing Big Book of Words were giant hits. Isabel is now obsessed with Dog (which, brilliantly, has a pull-tab that makes a dog's leg lift and shows him peeing), and Eleanor and her friend Martin were super into Maisy yesterday. Here's what we looked like for much of the party (joined here by Eleanor's dear friend Ian):