My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Library Book Hoarder: Three books to enjoy with your kids

Quick note: Since my test audience (a.k.a. my kids) are ages 4 and 2, I’d describe all three of these books as being pre-school age appropriate.

A Collection of Six Carl Stories (image from

You’re a Good Dog, Carl by Alexandra Day

For Christmas this year, my brother sent my girls the Good Dog Carl collection. This was after we had kept the borrowed library book for the maximum 9 weeks. Back when Scout was just a baby, we were given the original Good Dog, Carl by a neighbor.  You can see, my love affair with Carl goes way back.

Alexandra Day is the author and illustrator. I say author, but if you know Carl books, you realize that this is kind of a misnomer: Carl books are nearly completely free of narration. I say illustrator, but she actually paints from elaborate photos that she sets up to inspire the scenes she creates for her books. Carl books are filled with the most wonderful illustrations of a Rottweiler taking care of a baby (and alternatively a toddler) while the mother is out. It sounds hokey and weird, but it’s not. Reading a Carl book with your kids is giving them the gift of telling YOU the story. The kids can discover things from the illustrations (sometimes with your help, but often times without). This collection has six awesome books in it, and I love them all. (So do the kids!) Carl Goes to Preschool is a good one, but there’s also Carl’s Masquerade. The illustrations are so fantastic in Carl’s Masquerade, with a room full of costumed party-goers. You will have fun asking your child to describe each person’s costume.

If you have never read any Carl books, then get yourself to the library. Start with any book, there are many. Some do come in board book versions, if that is something that you prefer. Be surprised at your child’s attention span with these books. Likewise, if you are a dog lover, enjoy discovering Carl’s antics. Where is my Carl? My dog does do well with the kids, but I’ve never seen him turn on music to entertain them.

Verdict: Storytelling through gorgeous illustrations works for me

Image from

Sofia’s Dream written by Land Wilson and illustrations by Sue Cornelison

This was another one that we discovered from the library and then put on our Christmas list. I’m just going to warn you that this book has a “liberal agenda,” kinda like the Lorax. Sofia is a little girl that talks to the moon, and eventually dreams a dream that takes her up to the moon. There, the moon confides in her the fears he has about our planet. Sofia learns that she must care for the earth. The illustrations are lovely and they do give a dreamy feel to this book about a dream. The words rhyme and the story has a cadence that I enjoy. For me, the best part is talking to my kids about their dreams and asking them if they’ll dream a dream that takes them to the moon tonight. Plus, at the end of the book there is a page about how this book minimized its carbon footprint. Little Pickle Press is the publisher.

Verdict: This dreamy tale with a message is fun to read and look at

Image from

But Who Will Bell the Cats? By Cynthia von Buhler

This was a recent discovery for us. We brought it home from the library a few weeks ago, and I didn’t even look at it when Scout picked it out. Once we read it, I knew it was special. These illustrations are unlike any that I’ve ever seen. It’s clear there’s some photography involved, as well as some drawing. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that the author and illustrator set up scenes in a doll-house or something like it, and then put her drawings in the scenes like little paperdolls, and THEN took the picture. These are seriously inventive scenes. The story begins with a retelling of Aesop’s fable which you can read more about here. From there on, it’s two parallel stories: the spoiled, fat cats living the life with their princess in the castle, and the sad, pathetic mouse and his friend the brown bat living a life of cold, dank unpleasantness in the basement. But in the end, someone does bell the cats!

Verdict: Imaginative illustrations get me every time—I loved it so much I broke my lenten resolution not to buy something, and bought two of these books on Amazon


4 Comments so far
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I adore the Carl books! I will have to get Sofia’s Dream and But Who Will Bell the Cats. 🙂

Comment by jeandayfriday

Isn’t Carl the best? Did you know that Alexandra Day self-published the first book and it was a success. Subsequently, she was told by several publishers that it was a good thing she self-published because they never would have green-lighted a wordless book like that. Ha!

Comment by jaymers

Oh I love the Carl books!

Comment by mommaandmegan

Aren’t they fun?

Comment by jaymers

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