Saturday, October 27, 2012

Toy and Book Pairs

When William was born, our close friends came to watch Natalie.  The woman from the pair continues to tell me how her favorite memory from that day was Natalie tricking her husband into having a tea party with Natalie.  She asked him to read Max and Ruby Tea for Two.  Then, she got excited and said she wanted to have a tea party.  Now 9 months later, their daughter was just born.  Natalie keeps saying she wants to play tea party with their little girl.  This got me thinking about sharing Natalie's enthusiasm and love for tea parties with their daughter.  So, I decided that for Christmas I'll be getting their little girl a copy of Tea for Two and some sort of tea set toy (probably the Fisher Price one since she'll only be six months old, unless I see a really nice sturdy one like the one Natalie uses from when I was a kid).

This experience got me thinking of other toy and book pairings to give children as gifts.  As I think of more, I'll add them to the list.
  • Kohl's already pairs toys and books.  Every few months they get a new book and stuffed animal pair.  Each is $5, so for $10 you can get the book Lorax and a stuffed Lorax, or Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? with a brown bear.  If that isn't cool enough, the money goes towards a charity.  
  • All the big Disney movie toys can be tied into a book.  For example, if you give a Lightening McQueen toy or a Disney Princess doll, there are many books featuring these characters.  My favorites would be the Step Into Reading series, but there are Little Golden Books, vinyl bath books, and big story book collections as well.  They don't all have the same quality of text though.  
  • TV shows have tie-in toys, too.  Some include: Kai-lan, Dora, Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba, Handy Manny, Bob the Builder, Team Umizoomi and Thomas the Tank Engine (which actually started as books).  While these aren't high literature, these shows do have some educational objectives which transfer over to their books. 
  • Other toy and book tie ins include Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Transformers, and My Little Pony.  But beware that these started as toys and are not much more than marketing to get kids to consume the toys and TV shows.  But hey, a book is a book if a child is excited to read it.  Might as well capitalize on a commercialized toy's limited potential as much as you can if you know a child that simply can't live without one of these toys. 
  • There are lots of Sesame Street toys and Sesame Street books.  I personally like the character stuffed animals and figures because the allow for the greatest range of play.  We get all our Sesame Street books at the dollar store or the dollar bin at Target.  
  • Lots of books also have their own toys.  Mo Willems is a great example.  You can by Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and even Piggie and Elephant!  Other authors with toys of their popular characters are Sandra Boynton, Rosemary Wells, and Eric Carl.  
  • There are lots of generic pairs you can do.  For example, there are seemingly millions of books on cars, trains, ballerinas, and animals with millions of toys to couple with them.  Another example would be that construction vehicles and building set to go along with books about construction. 

Here are the pairings I've thought of so far.  I've made the book titles red and the toys purple. 
  • Tea for Two by Rosemary Wells and a tea set (this one by Fisher Price matches the book very closely)
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews and a toy train (such as Fisher Price Peek-a-Boo Train for little ones or  Melissa and Doug stacking train for older ones) or train conductor hat
  • Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carl and bug inspection box, toy bugs (such as Melissa and Doug Delux Bug Jug or these cool pop bead bugs)
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numberoff and play cookies (Melissa and Doug make a wooden and a felt cookie set)
  • If you Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numberoff and a moose (such as Mortimer the Moose)
  • If You Give a Cat a Cupcake by Laura Joffe Numberoff and a stuffed cat and / or Melissa and Doug wooden Cupcake set
  • Pete's a Pizza by William Stieg or Grandpa and Me by Karen Katzand toy pizza (such as by Melissa and Doug;s felt pizza)
  • Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert and play food or food shaped puzzle
  • Pretty much any alphabet book (such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom) and a set of alphabet blocks (check out Uncle Goose), foam bath letters (try Sassy), or alphabet puzzle (Melissa and Doug have several, but here is my favorite)
  • Ten Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle and rubber duckies (ten different ones would be really awesome)
  • No More Monkeys Jumping on Bed by,  Hug by Jez Alborough, or Curious George by H.A. Rey and a stuffed monkey (I like Dangles by Ty)
  • Mouse Paint Ellen Stoll Walsh and Ain't Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont - paint supplies
  • Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough and a teddy bear (giving a really small bear or a really big bear with this book would be extra fun)
  • Dinosaur Train by John Steven Gurney and dinosaurs and a train they fit on
  • Shark vs Train by Chris Barton and a shark and a train!
  • Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky or School Bus by Donald Crews and Fisher Price Little People Bus
  • Big Red Barn by Margret Wise Brown and Fisher Price Little People Farm, farm animal puzzel (this is my favorite by Melissa and Doug)
  • Baby face book or other book about the parts of the face and Mr. Potato Head 
  • Monster books by Ed Emberly (ex. Big Green MOnster Go Away; Glad Monster, Sad Monster) and Melissa and Doug Delux Fuzzy Make Your Own Monster Puppet or Melissa and Doug Monster Plush Bowling
  • I Love Tools by Philemon Sturgis, Tools by Taro Miura, or Daddy and Me by Karen Katz and a tool set, such as Black and Decker, Craftsman, Home Depot, or Melissa and Doug Soft Tools or Wooden Tools

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