Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sending gifts for a 2 year old's birthday

Today I sent birthday gifts for a charming little two-year-old relative blessed with gorgeous red hair (like mine).  You would think it's easy to choose books for gifts because I have this blog that is all about our recommended favorites, but it took a few minutes to think about what might be nice (and to remember what I've already given!)  I ended up choosing two of our family favorites:

In the Small, Small Pond 
Our family's paperback copy of In the Small Small Pond is tattered and taped.  It has been very much loved.  Honestly I'm not sure why the book is such a favorite.... perhaps it is the bold and beautiful warm colors, the wonderful and colorful animals (with a little frog that appears on every spread), or maybe especially the ear-pleasing phrases.  All good reasons to love this book, which was recognized as a Caldecott honor book.

It's everything I think a perfect children's book should be -- very, very, colorful, beautiful, simple and engaging.  

Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD set
I may risk getting some hate mail from saying this, but here are my true feelings:  The Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD set of the complete HBO series is...  better than the books.  

Yup.  These DVDs are awesome.  Sharon Stone does a fabulous read, the music is wonderful and the animation of Harold creating his many drawings adds a lot to the stories.  I found this series when I was searching for some family video entertainment that is age-appropriate, gently paced and not too scary.  It fit our need perfectly.  

I had not heard of Harold or experienced him in my own childhood.  Harold is a young boy with a fantastic imagination and great artistic ability.  He imagines things, and draws them, and they become real....  he has wonderful adventures, he experiences some dilemmas and challenges along the way and uses his trusty purple crayon to confidently take charge of things. 

We did not experience the book until I picked up a copy at a resale shop.  All I have to say is that after seeing the videos, the book was ho-hum.  We still read the book, and sometimes books are more convenient and appropriate than videos, but given the choice, the videos are the superior media.   And that's the truth.  Hmph! 

I hope baby B loves his gifts!  (Is it right to call a 2 y.o. a baby? He's really a toddler!)


Infant Bibliophile said...

Ha -- I won't send you hate mail, but Harold and the Purple Crayon is probably my favorite children's book from when I was younger! I'm happy to hear about the series. We haven't let our 18 month old watch any tv yet (although we sneak a youtube song or video here and there), but when he's 2, I am definitely going to hunt that one down (if I remember). I often think in movie/book situations, I end up liking whichever I come across first better...

Karen said...

One of the things I love about Harold and the Purple Crayon is the great vocabulary -- it uses a lot of wonderful words that you wouldn't experience in daily conversation. The only phrase I can recall right now is "a very deserving porcupine". That's mommy's short memory for you!

Alicia said...

My son loves "In the Small Small Pond" too. The illustrations are so beautiful.