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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Christmas Shopping for the Little Bird: What She Got

It’s okay.  She can’t read yet.  My mother-in-law might see this, but aside from that I don’t think I’ll be hurting anyone surprise-wise.

Now that I have an actual flesh and blood child to purchase children’s books for (my niece), I’ve become rather selective in my choices.  The little Bird is 2-years-old at the moment and positively angelic, considering the age.  She gets a veritable landslide of signed goodies each gift-giving occasion, though I found myself actually going out and purchasing more than a few titles.  This year she will be the proud owner of the following:

What’s Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites
by Tad Hills – Can you believe that I only just now got the joke of the cover?  In the foggy recesses of my mind I’m fairly certain that I already gave her Duck and Goose.  And since you cannot have too many Duck and Goose titles, this seemed like a good fit.

A Train Goes Clickety-Clack by Jonathan London, illustrated by Denis Roach – This one begs a little explaining.  To call my father-in-law a train fan wouldn’t be fair.  A mere fan?  The man is a true believer!  And this eye for all things train has been passed down (we can only assume genetically) to his one and only grandchild.  Yet for all that the kid doesn’t appear to have a single train book in her possession.  The solution?  I weighed the pros and cons of various train titles.  My usual go-to stories for patrons tend to run along the lines of Two Little Trains by Margaret Wise Brown or Freight Train by Donald Crews.  But I decided that I wanted something just as bright as Crews but with train sounds as well.  And the London title certainly fulfills that requirement and then some. 

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury – I almost wondered if the little Bird was too old for this one.  But two may actually be a pretty perfect age for this pretty perfect book.  Mind you, I spend a lot of my time handing signed copies to a kid liable to tear out a page or two unnoticed.  And since this one was signed by both Ms. Fox and Ms. Oxenbury, I mildly fear for its fate.   

But Excuse Me That is My Book by Lauren Child – Like much of small totdom, my niece is a fan of the Charlie & Lola series on television.  Yet my brother-in-law recently complained to me that he couldn’t find a single original C&L tale on his bookstore shelves.  Just those pseudo Charlie and Lola stories that aren’t actually written by Ms. Child and are just based on the show.  My own choices were limited too when I visited the Bank Street Bookstore and didn’t see I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato.  So the book story seemed an obvious next choice, particularly with it’s nice library connection.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. have to say (1) ten little finger/toes — I read it to 3-6 year olds, and the 5/6ers LOVE it.) …and also (2) tad hills qualifies for that old hot-men-of-children’s-literature category. have you seen photos or met him?

  2. Met him, yes. Such a sweetie. And, as you say, quite a looker as well. You should see the costumes he makes for his kids for Halloween too!

  3. Mommy''s Favorite Children''s Books says:

    Thanks for spilling the beans on your niece’s presents! We did a lot of books under the tree here as well. These titles look great! We cannot get enough great train books!