Thank you to Zonderkidz for sponsoring this post. All thoughts, opinions and reviews are my own.
When Otto was a sweet little baby in the hospital we felt helpless as new parents. We didn’t know medical terms, we couldn’t hold him a lot and we were still learning about his heart condition and what the future was going to look like. At the hospital after the hustle of rounds was complete and we had settled in for the day, one of the child life specialist came to meet with us. She encouraged Joe and I to read to Otto while he lay there. Not only was it good for babies to hear spoken words from an early age, but it’s calming for him to hear our voices she explained. From that moment forward Joe and I took turns reading him all the books we had collected while we were pregnant with him.
As he has continued to grow we have always loved reading stories with him. When Zonderkiz reached out and asked to send us a collection of books to review we were thrilled for the new reading material. Otto was extremely excited to receive something in the “post” just for him and he excitedly unpacked the books.
The first book he grabbed was “Pugtato Finds a Thing” by Sophie Corrigan. I have to admit this one is my favorite of the bunch too. The illustrations and rhyming is cleaver as each vegetable is an animal, Pugtato the puppy, Brussel Snouts the pigs, Tomatoad the toad and tweetroot the bird.
The story is of Pugtato finding a thing while digging in his garden and searching for answers on what it might be. None of the answers from his friends feel right and when he seeks wisdom from the wise Unicorn on the Cob they tell Pugtato, “Follow your year heart for it holds all the answers and sets you a part.” It’s a sweet story that Otto has had me read probably a thousand times since we’ve received the book. I love that when I’m done reading it to him he wants to read it to me. When Otto flips from page to page he focuses on Pugtato’s expressions and tells the story from that vantage point. I love hearing what he comes up with.
We also received a variety of faith-based books including “Over in a Stable” by Suzanne Nelson. It is difficult to teach a toddler about the meaning of Christmas. Otto is very into Santa this year. He is making Christmas lists and being a good boy but it’s hard to help him understand the other side of the story. We have been using “Over in a Stable” to start the conversation about the birth of Jesus and what Christmas means to us as Christians. The book follows a counting pattern, which helps him stay focused on the story, and he loves all of the animals in the stable just like we have. We have to take a break each page and count all of the animals and name them just like our animals. I am not sure if Otto doesn’t know how to say “Jesus” but we are working on that. He keeps referring to the nativity scene as Mommy Mary, Daddy Joseph and Baby Lisa. It’s one of those toddler quarks that just make you smile when you are watching them learn.
We received so many other wonderful books that we continue to read through. I linked all of them in the gift guide here. There is something special about having quiet time to read together wonderful, thoughtful and educational stories. Reading to Otto brings back such good memories during a difficult time in our lives and it’s a constant reminder of just how far Otto’s progressed.
Thank you so much to Zonderkidz for sending us these lovely stories that will live a long time in Otto’s library.