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Whoo boy. I just might have messed up my kid. Just a little.

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(No, not her face. She messed that up herself. Yesterday. At the park. On the asphalt, throwing a tantrum so intense that she BARFED. And then scraped up her face. Yeah. We’re still reeling. Given that the kid has a 50+ word spoken vocabulary, tries to sing along to the ABC song, understands 120% of what we say to her, and has the two most stubborn willful people on the planet as parents, we suspect the Terrible Twos have just begun a little early. My mom claims I started them at 18 months, and we’re close to that.)

This kid is a READER. In an intense way. This kid would rather be read to than watch TV. She’d rather be read to than eat. If she had to choose between oxygen and one more go at The Cat In The Hat…well. Let’s be glad she doesn’t get to make that call.

Here are some weirdo non-classic kids’ books that she totally digs right now:

Here Comes the Cat, Frank Asch and Vladimir Vagin (please be more mature than me and don’t giggle at the authors’ names. They didn’t ask for my immaturity. Or yours). When we got this from the mail from McSweeney’s, I basically grunted and put it way up on the top shelf. The only text in the whole book is “Here comes the cat!”, which a bunch of little mice run around shrilling at each other until, well, the cat comes. Then the cat leaves. Riveting. But to a 17-month-old? This stuff is fascinating. Lucy finds the book especially fascinating if you read “Here comes the cat!” in your shrillest mousiest voice. The pictures are also lovely with lots of detail and movement.

Bink and Gollie: Two for One, Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee, Tony Fucile. I’ve discussed this book before so I will just say that this book has been promoted from “one Dad reads at bedtime because he likes it but Lucy would way rather read The Monster At The End of This Book again” to a book that Lucy slings at us, over and over again, hooting and whimpering until we read it again. Why? I think she likes the part where the woman and the cat “sing” at the talent show. I think she loves understanding the pictures where the Whack-a-Duck man gets honked in the face with a baseball. She loves finding Bink and Gollie in any of the pictures. I’m glad I bought the hardcover, because her ARC is going to bite it any day.

I Must Have Bobo!, Eileen Rosenthal, Marc Rosenthal. Holy cow. We got this book from Amazon on a Thursday. By Friday morning, Lucy was spending half an hour at a time on the floor with this book, shouting “Gibberish burble blub BOBO!!!” She’d hold up her hands, look at me pleadingly, and say, “Bobo?!?” And then she’d shout “EARL!” Seriously. The plot of this one is also simple, but the drawings are line-based, comic-book-ish drawings (think Tin Tin). A little boy, Willy, wakes up missing his sock monkey, Bobo. The prime suspect is the family cat, Earl. Hilarity ensues.

Don’t get me wrong, we do our share of The Bear Snores On, Where’s Spot, and Elmo’s entire literary oeuvre. Lucy’s taught me, though, not to automatically decide she’s too little or too young to understand some more big-kid type books, and she has gotten so much more enjoyment out of these “real” books lately than she has her old board books. I’d encourage any parent of an 18-month-old to branch out. I’m thinking we might even try some poetry with her next?

Any weirdo kids’ books your baby loves that you’d love to recommend? I love buying books other people have enjoyed and raved about.

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