Category Archives: What to Read

Story Time at Subterranean Books

Looking for a different and almost magical story time in the St. Louis area? If you haven’t experienced one with Georgy Rock at Subterranean Books at 6275 Delmar Boulevard, you’re missing something quite unique.

YouTube Video of January Story Time.

A favorite storyteller in the region, Georgy Rock (recently named the best storyteller in St. Louis Magazine’s A-List 2010) spins tales, shares stories, warms hearts, sings, and generally captivates kids and their parents on Thursdays from 11:30 to noon at Subterranean Books. She has 30 years of experience telling stories and in 2009, was ordained a maggid, or Jewish itinerant storyteller.

Last Fall, when one of our usual Thursday morning classes was canceled, my daughter and I had a chance to hear Georgy Rock at Subterranean. Up in the cozy second loft like floor of the bookstore, Georgy welcomed all the children by name and sang/spoke her way through four books. She has a beautiful ability for creating a seamless tempo in her readings and integrating song and humor throughout the event. She also sang a couple of songs that involved hand and arm movements which the kids enjoyed. There were only about six children there when we went, infants to preschoolers.


* It is lunch time for most kids at this time, so many of the children ate a few quiet snacks and sucked down milk/juice boxes. Come prepared with some fruit or semi crumb-free snack.
* Parking on Delmar during the week at lunch time isn’t too bad–you can usually find some street parking. There is also a public ramp about a block from the bookstore. Be sure to bring your quarters!
* A few doors down is a great kids store, City Sprouts. They have a lovely play area with trains and kitchen toys, plus plenty of kids clothes, gifts, furniture, and design ideas. City Sprouts also has a pretty extensive selection of Tea Collection clothing.
* Want to spend the afternoon in the area? Nice map of Delmar.


An important note: Subterranean Books is struggling financially to stay afloat, as are many independent bookstores. If you have time, browse the store before or after story time. There are some incredibly thoughtful and smart selections of children’s books. We are library and bookstore junkies and were happily surprised at some of the new titles we discovered. Please remind your kids to be gentle with the books while browsing–this tiny store doesn’t have much wiggle room on their inventory.

Read more about story time from

Three pigs, a sheep, and a wildly happy dinosaur

We are obsessed with visiting our local library and have discovered a few great books over the last month. Here are three favorites that are perfect for your goofy preschooler and ripe for you to try out your funny voices. (Hasn’t your variety of funny voices grown since you had your kid?)

1. The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale |  Steven Guarnaccia
This old standby is refreshed by updating the pigs’ homes to signature houses inspired by Frank Gehry, Phillip Johnson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. The drawings and fonts are smart, funny, and may introduce your child to some new lines and shapes. Perfect for all you Dwell Magazine parents.

2. Baa-Choo! |  Sarah Weeks, author and Jane Manning, illustrator
“I’ve got the ahhh but not the choo. No, no, this sneeze will never do. Can someone help me, help me please, to find the ending of my sneeze?” Follow this poor sheep’s humorous adventure as he tries to recover his sneeze’s lost “choo.” A hen, pig, and goat attempt to help in this well written “I can read” book. What makes Baa-Choo! really stand out is the rhythm and cadence of Sarah Weeks’s rhymes. Makes for fun bedtime reading, sure to make your preschooler giggle out loud.

3. Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct |  Mo Willems
Are you a fan of Mo Willems’s Knuffle Bunny series or the Gerald the Elephant and Piggy books? You will love Edwina. Edwina is a loving, helpful, sweet, and innocent looking dinosaur who lives to play with kids, help others, and bake chocolate chip cookies for friends. No one seems to question that she is a dinosaur living in modern day life–they just seem happy to have her around. Everyone believes in Edwina’s existence except for Reginald Von Hoobie Doobie. Reginald tries to convince everyone that Edwina should be extinct but no one believes him, or even cares to listen. The only one who eventually listens to Reginald is Edwina. This is a wonderful book about believing in yourself, others, and well, the unknown.

Happy reading!

Good Read: Harry and Lulu

A little girl named Lulu desperately wants a new dog. Her parents give her a stuffed toy dog instead.

“Lulu went lulu.”

Author Arthur Yorinks and Illustrator Martin Matje’s Harry and Lulu is a very funny, touching, and subtly moving story about a little girl who wants a dog, gets a toy dog, ramps up her imagination (or ours?), learns to believe, and in the end finds herself loving what may or may not be real.

Harry the dog comes to life over night and begins his journey to convince Lulu that he is real. He declines the offered dog biscuits but opts for Lulu’s pumpernickel bagel instead. They eventually end up in Paris where Harry claims he is from. While in Paris, Lulu tells Harry, “Now go away and do something… I don’t want people to think I’m hanging around with a stuffed animal.” The narrator poignantly fills us in with, “And though she could say and do all the mean things in the world to him [Harry], he still loved her and was loyal to her and, so as not to embarrass her, he walked around pretending not to know her but never once took his eyes off her.”

Sound familiar?

Harry ends up saving Lulu from an oncoming car, lands in the Seine, and Lulu rescues him–finally convinced that Harry is her dog. Whether or not he is real doesn’t really matter anymore.

I love, love, love the great dialogue in Harry and Lulu. The emphasis on certain words, the tempo, and the fun use of vocabulary will definitely delight your preschooler and you. The expressive illustrations are unique too. The artist Martin Matje depicts the body language of an opinionated little girl well, amplifying this perfect story.

Note, the phrase “Holy moly” is used in the beginning of the book. Feel free to substitute when reading aloud to your child… that is if you don’t already say it every day.

Read it again!

There are an enormous number of free story times (or story based events that also incorporate songs, movement, and/or crafts) in the St. Louis region, specially tailored for toddlers and preschoolers. These events are a great way to meet new people, socialize your child, learn about new books, and well, get out of the house. Here are a few resources for this summer and beyond.


St. Louis County Libraries

St. Louis Public Libraries

Kirkwood Public Library (Note: They will open at their renovated location on July 17)

Webster Groves Public Library

Rock Hill Public Library

University City Public Library


Missouri History Museum’s Summer Family Fun Series

Missouri Botanical Garden’s Little Sprouts Classes (class session, not drop-in)


Borders: Sunset Hills

Borders: Brentwood

Borders: Creve Coeur

Borders: St. Louis South County

Barnes & Noble: West County Mall

Barnes & Noble: Crestwood

Subterranean Books

I love you, musical beds, and don’t go

Here are some great library books that I came across recently that smartly talk about parents and kids being “naughty,” the changing of the beds nighttime routine, and separation anxiety. My 3 year old daughter wants to read them over and over and clearly sees how the stories reflect her everyday life (both good and bad!).

1. I Love You, Little Monkey |  By Alan Durant

Sweet story about Big Monkey who is trying to get work done (dinner, bed making), but Little Monkey keeps making trouble. Little Monkey just wants to play and ends up crying when Big Monkey gets mad. Big Monkey and Little Monkey end up apologizing to each other about being naughty and share some hugs and love. Colorful and whimsical drawings by Katharine McEwen.

2. Musical Beds |  By Mara Bergman

Sound familiar? Do you sleep in your own bed or has your child taken over the “big bed?” This book is unique in that the Dad is putting the three kids to bed but of course, all sorts of nighttime fears and worries arise among the children and the changing of the beds ensues. There are a few potentially scary things in the book about shadows, witches, and ghost sounds, so you may want to modify the words a little when telling it to your child. Sometimes these kinds of books end up creating fears that were never there in our little ones. But my daughter actually found the musical beds component of the story kind of funny and is starting to sleep in her bed more. She keeps saying, “Kids aren’t supposed to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed!” Oh the best part of the book from a Mommy point of view, is that at the end, the Mommy comes home and goes to sleep. And she sleeps through the night! Hooray.

3. Mama, Don’t Go!  |  By Rosemary Wells

Have a clingy child who cries when you leave? Rosemary Wells’s book hits home, featuring a little cat named Yoko who doesn’t want her Mom to leave her classroom. The separations between the Mom and Yoko are gradual and a little painful, until one of Yoko’s classmates mentions to Yoko, “Oh, mothers always come back… They just come back and back, and after a while you have to ask them to stay home.” He also says, “I think you should give your mother a day off… Everyone needs a day off.” This beautifully illustrated story softly tells preschoolers how much fun school can be, how Moms need some time to themselves, and how yes, Moms always come back.

Some useful area library resources. Remember, almost all of these library’s local branches host family friendly and free events throughout the year.

St. Louis Public Library

St. Louis County Library

Municipal Library Consortium

The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In

The New York Times

June 10, 2010

“Much of the concern about cellphones and instant messaging and Twitter has been focused on how children who incessantly use the technology are affected by it. But parents’ use of such technology — and its effect on their offspring — is now becoming an equal source of concern to some child-development researchers.”

Read the full article