phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction

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Horse and Pony Tales

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It took a while for my older daughter to work up the courage for a pony ride, but once she did, both of my girls officially became horse-crazy. The little one learned to sign “horse” and would ask to see those equine beauties wherever we went; after her first carousel ride, she worked out a way to say “neigh neigh go ‘round,” just so we all knew how desperately she wanted to do it again. I’m sure my younger girl will soon be following her big sister around the ring—and both of them are eager to get back in the saddle. In the meantime, we’ve read a lot of horse and pony books, and once more I realize how easily we could study everything through this lens—from science to art to history; this list includes our favorites, from practical care guides to flights of fancy, all focused on our equine friends.

  1. The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle
  2. Bramble and Maggie (part of a series) by Jessie Haas and Alison Friend
  3. Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr and Don Bolognese
  4. Calico the Wonder Horse, or the Saga of Stewy Stinker by Virginia Lee Burton
  5. Chang’s Paper Pony by Eleanor Coerr and Deborah Kogan Ray
  6. Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni and Lynne Avril
  7. A Friend for Einstein, the Smallest Stallion by Charlie Cantrell and Rachel Wagoner
  8. Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett
  9. The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
  10. Horses by Laura Driscoll
  11. Horses Trotting! Prancing! Racing! By Patricia Hubbell and Joe Mathieu
  12. If I Ran the Horse Show: All about Horses by Bonnie Worth, Aristides Ruiz, and Joe Mathieu
  13. Leah’s Pony by Elizabeth Friedrich and Michael Garland
  14. The Mud Pony by Caron Lee Cohen and Shonto Begay
  15. My Chincoteague Pony by Susan Jeffers
  16. My First Horse and Pony Book by Judith Draper
  17. My First Horse and Pony Care Book by Judith Draper
  18. My Pony by Susan Jeffers
  19. Noni the Pony by Alison Lester
  20. National Geographic Kids: Ponies by Laura Marsh
  21. Pony Crazy (part of a series) by Catherine Hapka and Anne Kennedy
  22. Rosie’s Magic Horse by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake
  23. Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse by Meghan McCarthy
  24. The Wild Little Horse by Rita Gray and Ashley Wolff

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The Sweetest Stories








Our family stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World on a recent road trip, and my older daughter soon developed an obsession with the chocolate-making process. Though we’d only spent an hour at the site, the factory tour ride and chocolate milk in the café influenced her play for weeks to come. When I started research children’s chocolate books, I quickly realized how many academic disciplines we could cover through the subject of chocolate—a confection that’s traveled the globe and still makes an international impact on history, the environment, and cultures. The books on this list represent that range; as always, there are works of fiction and non-fiction—and all of them are sweet reads.

  1. Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael B. Kaplan and Stéphane Jorisch features the titular character, a beloved “handful,” who just can’t wait to get her hands on some chocolate cake
  2. Blue Frog: The Legend of Chocolate by Dianne de Las Casas and Holly Stone-Barker tells a trickster tale about how humans learned to love chocolate, the food of the gods
  3. The Chocolate Cat by Sue Stainton and Anne Mortimer shows the transformation of a chocolate maker, his shop, and his village with a little magic and a loyal feline friend
  4. The Chocolate Voyage by Tish Raibe and Dave Aikins takes readers on a trip to learn the process of making chocolate in the delightful Forest of Coco-a-licious
  5. Cocoa Ice by Diana Appelbaum and Holly Meade follows a ship from Santo Domingo to Maine (and back) to reveal the history of the chocolate trade
  6. From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate by Robin Nelson uses facts and photos to illustrate the way chocolate is mad, from bean to bar
  7. Grandma’s Chocolate by Mara Price and Lisa Fields shares a bilingual story of a grandmother, granddaughter, and their shared heritage and love of chocolate
  8. Lilly’s Chocolate Heart by Kevin Henkes keeps it sweet and simple with a little mouse’s dilemma about where to stash her last chocolate
  9. No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart, Allen Young, and Nicole Wong depicts the interconnected plants and animals that support cacao trees and their environment
  10. Smart about Chocolate: A Sweet History by Sandra Markle and Charise Mericle Harper describes the chocolate-making process and the candy industry in a fun format, complete with recipes
  11. You Can’t Eat a Princess by Gillian Rogerson and Sarah McIntyre launches into a silly outer-space story of a determined princess who loves chocolate almost as much as she loves her father

Follow me! @ErinWyble