Posted in Anti-Gift Guide, Uncategorized

Why are most Gift Guides so Arbitrary?: More Books Less Crap 4

Most gift guides seem completely arbitrary, whether it’s a book guide or a toy guide, what do we look for in a guide that’s responsive to kids’ personalities?
I’ve never bought anything my kids liked from an age based gift guide. All Flops. I should’ve asked ‘do my kids like trains?’ Not ‘are they two years old?’ What a waste!
Any guides that distinguish between binary gender are awful. Who are building toys for? ids who like building! Toys have no gender!
Age relation to developmental stage is not universal. Puzzle complexity, for example is about what a kid is ready for, and that is personal. And you might say, but what about choking hazards! Well yes naturally safety is one issue, but skill development is a completely different thing. Also five year olds who put crap in their mouth can choke just as much as a two year old.
If we’re going to use random criteria to assign toy recommendations then we might as well make the categories fun…
Kid’s gift guide based on their Zodiac! Because why the hell not? Gemini Kids gifts!
Or Personality type gift guide?…Am I on to something?
Enneagram Kids gift Guide? Wouldn’t this make more sense?
OK but how do I find a useful guide?

Look for a guide where:

-the writer has tried the actual products and tells you about how their real kids used them. Helpful if you can tell if that kid’s personality aligns with the kid you are buying for.

-the toy company did not pay for a spot on the guide, gift guides in most magazines are paid for spots, and certainly in all junk mailers.

-where you can ask questions to the guide creator and get answers.

consider the actual kid you’re buying for.

-is the criteria for selections on the guide clear? And are they the criteria you yourself value?

-Ask the kid you’re buying for what they like, or ask their care givers and educators, use that as a starting point. If the child is going to daycare or kindergarten, they’re playing with lots of different kinds of toys, and their educator will know what they gravitate towards.

Being a thoughtful gift giver doesn’t mean being a good guesser. Asking shows respect for the child as an individual.

Delightful Funny Stories Your Kids Will Love, Gender and Age is irrlevant: These are all stories that my own children have enjoyed over multiple reads, or in some cases over the past year over and over again. The criteria is humour, enjoyability, good strong story line, likeable characters, excellent art, and that MY KIDS LIKED IT! All of my books are gifted, period, but I have not accepted any money and the links bellow are not affiliate links, I strongly suggest you buy them from your local indie bookstore.

“Leopold’s Leotard” Rhiannon Wallace, Risa Hugo 2021, Orca Book Publishers.

Leopold loves the dance! He doesn’t love his itchy performance costume. What will he do?

“Atticus Caticus” by Sarah Maizes and Kara Kramer, 2021, Candlewick.

A rhyming delightful tribute to a boy’s beloved cat. One of my three year old’s favourite book.

“Off-Limits” by Helen Yoon 2021, Candlewick

There’s nothing like the allure of office supplies, especially when they’re left unattended.

“Cannonball”by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan, 2020, Source Books Kids.

Doing a cannonball is no simple act, it takes courage, it takes chutzpah, has he got what it takes?

“On Account of the Gum” by Adam Rex 2020, Chronicle Kids Books.

A bad situation, and it just gets worse. Don’t sleep with gum in your mouth.

“Lobstah Gahden” by Alli Bridon and EG Keller, 2021, Sourcebooks Kids.

Two lobsters are just trying to win a gardening competition but boats keep dumping garbage on them, read in a Bahstan accent.

Posted in Anti-Gift Guide

ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME YOU HATE ME? A Holiday Anti Gift Guide & 5 Books We Would Strongly Prefer

The expectation that when someone gives your kids something- when they were not asked to do so- you must pretend to be grateful, and then let it collect dust until it finally finds its way onto a donation pile or scrap heap is complete nonsense. And I object. So I’ve created a sample season’s greetings but no thank you letter for you all!


The narrative of forced gratitude for something that is actively inconvenient and wasteful is especially infuriating, to me, when the offending item was purchased for my child without considering my child as a person with preferences and feelings.  (My kids are capable of talking, why doesn’t the person call them up and ask them “Hey what kinda stuff do you like?”)

Extra infuriating when it’s gigantic and noisy.

Can we please start changing the narrative that relatives and family friends need to give flashy toys to demonstrate a relationship?  It’s really messed up, inconvenient, wasteful, and desperately harmful to our environment.

Before you say “well some people can only afford crappy plastic toys and they deserve to enjoy the gift giving time of the year” YES, they do, but can they ask first? Can they ask what the kid actually likes instead of deciding ‘that’s a boy-child and I’m gonna buy them a great big gun thing.’     Can they maybe get a ten dollar bill, go to the convenience store, have it broken into nickels, and give the kid a giant bag of coins? (My brother in law did that one year, and it was such a huge hit with my kid, and it cost him less than ten bucks.) Can they perhaps just buy some nice books, write a nice message in them, and sit down and read to the child?  It’s not hard to make space for books, if they’re good books they get enjoyed way longer than a crappy plastic toy, and its an opportunity to build a relationship.  

So here is a list of 5 love filled Grandparent Books I recommend Grandparents buy instead of getting random crap in the clearance section at Walmart. 

TIME FOR BED, OLD HOUSE Janet Costa Bates, A.G. Ford @candlewickpress  a boy’s first sleep over with his Grandpa, and it’s time to say goodnight to every part of the house.

CARLA AND THE CHRISTMAS CORNBREAD  Carla Hall and Cherise Harris @simonkids a beautiful nostalgic story, with a delightful array of foods, and family traditions.

THE ELECTRIC SLIDE AND KAI Kelly J. Baptist and Darnell Johnson @leeandlowbooks  One boy practices his dance moves in anticipation of finally seeing his grandpa again. A joyful happy family story.

THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang  Absolutely beautiful, would be nice to include your own recipe to pass down when writing a dedication into the end papers.

WE’LL BE TOGETHER AGAIN Lucy Menzies and Maddy Vian @quartokids  this one is unusual, it flips open like two doors, and shows the little girl waiting to be reunited with the grandfather, who is on the otherside.  

THE LONGER THE WAIT THE BIGGER THE HUG  Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar @faberchildrens the third book in this charming classic series about love and affection.

These books were all submitted by the publishers for the #bookstagang _bestof2021  which is currently being judged!