Freekidsbooks.org

Free ebooks for kids!

What a great site!  Dozens of kids ebooks available for free download to tablet, laptop, or smartphone.  Of course, I recommend Matt Ryan’s series, but I also like “How to Draw a Super Cow”–a step by step craft guide for preschool aged kids. Just add a MagnaDoodle and you’ve got yourself a travel friendly activity.

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Matt Ryan and his fantastic ebooks for toddlers

Matt Ryan and Rubbish Books

I have a new favorite author! Matt Ryan. His medium is the ebook.  He’s got a wicked way of combing child friendly topics and humor. His character driven tales of three friends have the momentum that only a picture book with an average of four words per page can muster. Many of his ebooks are available for free at sites like FreeKidsBooks . Kindle also sells his books for $0.99.

His stuff just got cooler though, with interactive stories available on his website RubbishBooks. I just wish I had found this guy a week ago, before I rode for 14 hours in a car with a cranky toddler. For future use, I recommend Patrick Builds a Bird House. Just try and paint siding with a fish, why don’t you?

Meno!

From Tony DiTerlizzi,maker of The Spiderwick Cronicles, and his wife Angela, comes Meno, a quirky, adorable little alien. He’s kind of like The Little Prince meets Calvin and Hobbes. Here’s a reading from the authors:

Let’s review the “What Makes A Book Great for Babies” checklist to see if Meno stacks up.

1. A small amount of text per page? Check.

2. Fun illustrations? Check.

3. Everyday activities with a twist? Double check.

4. Baby size/printing? Errr. Well, the small books fit well in small hands, but the printing is a traditional handback, so only half a check.

5. Interesting for parents? Check. If nothing else, you’ll be mesmerized by Meno’s weirdness. Read a little longer and you’ll start to love him.

Leslie Patricelli and her bold baby board books

Hats off to Leslie Patricelli, who has mastered the art of using pictures instead of words to convey a message.  The first of her books my son and I read was “Yummy, Yucky”, which compares things which are good to eat and things which aren’t side by side with only a few words per page. We’re hooked! I won’t be satisfied until we read every single one.

What makes this so great for babies?

1. Repetative. One of baby’s favorite things in books is text that is repetative. Babies love to get a hang of where a book is going–kind of like adults :)–and text which has a clear and simple repetative formula gives them what they need.

2. Colorful illustrations, simple text–few words per page mean baby doesn’t have time to get bored, and the bright illustrations are captivating for little brains.

3. Size–typical board book size fits well in baby’s hands (FYI: beware of those hefty “lap board books”). The thick pages are just right for turning, with no danger of ripping.

4. Interest–even parents won’t get bored, since Patricelli poses quirky comparisons (spaghetti versus worms? Chocolate sauce versus hot sauce? Oh yeah. )  Even everyday baby activities are interesting with the happy illustrations, and baby will enjoy pointing out familiar objects.