Great Children's Books

Updated on January 04, 2009
C.A. asks from Petaluma, CA
41 answers

I have a daughter who will be 18 months in 9 days. I feel the need for new books for her to look at and "read" to herself as well a new bed time books. I would love to hear what books you and your kids love! Which ones have the best illustrations, best poems, best plot. I'm interested in books for all ages, as well as 18 months. We already have a bunch of books now, but none seem interactive enough, or beautiful enough.
Thank you!

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C.N.

answers from San Francisco on

These are all favorites of my 2 1/2 year old son. They are all fun to read and Beautifully illustrated. Happy reading!

Night Pirates by Peter Harris and Deborah Allwright

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms/ Taback, Simms

Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance by Keith Graves
http://lookybook.com/mainpage.php?name_id=1214 (you can view the entire book here)

Jumpy Jack & Googily by Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall

Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara
http://lookybook.com/mainpage.php?name_id=1694 (you can view the entire book here)

Wave by Suzy Lee

The Ravenous Beast by Niamh Sharkey

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

Dutch Sneakers and Flea Keepers: 14 More Stories by Calef Brown

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H.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi there. Before my 3yold could even talk, her fav. was "Hop pop"
(Hop on Pop) some of her other early favorites:
The Going to Bed Book
Good Night Moon
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Are You My Mother?
Wocket in my Pocket

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T.H.

answers from San Francisco on

We love Ten Minutes to Bedtime, Good Night Gorilla, One Gorilla (a beautiful counting book), Time for Bed, Goodnight Moon, Jamberry, Runaway Bunny, Good Dog Carl, A Hole is to Dig,
all of the original Winnie the Pooh books.

Good Luck

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E.C.

answers from San Francisco on

Lois Ehlert makes some wonderful picture books - eye-catching graphics (some are collage, others are bold geometric shapes) and a nice mix of some simple text and more detail in smaller print or in the back of the book. Some of my favorites include "Growing Vegetable Soup" and "Planting a Rainbow" (gardening ), "Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf", "Pie in the Sky" (follows an apple tree through the seasons), "Waiting for Wings" (lovely graphics and simple info on the life cycle of a butterfly).

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace combines her clever cut-paper graphics with kid-friendly lessons on things like plant life cycles ("Leaves, Leaves, Leaves", "Pumpkin Day", "Seeds, Seeds, Seeds"), kindness ("Valentine Express"), and eco-friendliness ("Recycle Every Day").

Denise Fleming combines bold colorful art with catchy text in books like "In the Small, Small Pond", "Lunch!", "Count!", and "In the Tall Tall Grass",

Jane Hissey writes some sweet stories with lovely illustrations of old-fashioned toy animals in her books "Old Bear", "Little Bear's Trousers", "Little Bear Lost", and "Hoot".

I'm sure I'll think of others later. Happy reading! Discovering great kids books with my kids is one of my favorite things about being a mom!

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R.L.

answers from Redding on

I don't want to just repeat the classics (Seuss, Pooh, Peter Rabbit, Where the Wild Things Are, Polar Express, Eric Carle). I love Animalia and Uno's Garden by Graeme Base--the illustrations are just gorgeous. I also love the Little Bear series by Minarak/Sendak. Blueberries for Sal. Swimmy and Frederick by Lionni. Knuffle Bunny by Willems. The Napping House and others by the Woods. Love you Forever and the Paperbag Princess by Munsch. Doctor DeSoto. A Cow, A Bee, A Cookie and Me (has a recipe for honey cookies as well.) Eve Bunting has a few books that are wonderful for informing about social issues (Fly Away Home, December, Smoky Night, The Night Tree). Big Al by Clements/Yoshi. A Story, A Story. Snowy Day and Whistle for Willie are my favorites of Ezra Keats. The Big Sneeze by Ruth Brown is very cute and simple. Simms Tabak's version of Joseph had a Little Overcoat is very pretty. My son is into the Richard Scarry books and Thomas right now--he's almost 3. I love children's books. I could go on forever. I'm so relieved my son seems to enjoy books, too.

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L.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Try Usborne Books at www.theusbornebookstore.com. They are sold exclusively on-line or through a consultant. I have purchased many Usborne books over the years and my Grandchildren love them. Books are available for all age groups and are made with high quality paper. I believe some of the books for younger readers are interactive. Check them out...they're really wonderful books and stories.

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L.H.

answers from San Francisco on

And do check out your local public library, and ask for help from the librarian. The Santa Clara County Library system has some great booklists.
This first one is classics: http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/kids/lists/50%20classi....
This one is geared toward babies: http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/kids/lists/babiesbooks...
And this is more contemporary favorites (ones that may well become classics): http://www.santaclaracountylib.org/kids/lists/50bestJP.html
And have fun!

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G.B.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter's favorite book was "Are You My Mother?" by Dr. Suess.

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J.K.

answers from Fresno on

One book we read alot was titled I Can Talk to God Anytime Anyplace. I don't know who its by but my daughter liked it. She also like the Dr Suess books especially Handa Hands Fingers Thumb. Thew illustrations are really good in his books.

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D.M.

answers from Merced on

My son is 20 months and loves books. We have 2 Usborne books that are wonderful. There are 6 more I want. They have pics of a situation on one page (ie Firemen, Doctor's office, Vet's office, Farm) and 5 items from the pic on the other page w/ the name of the item (ie Fireman, hose, Doctor, stethescope, x-ray). My son has learned how to id all the pictures, so he can say fire engine, prescription, stethescope, builder, ect. There are big tabs w/ a pic of each situation so the child can easily flip through the book. It's a thick cardboard and a good size for little hands. There are several subjects: Farm, Jobs, Weather, Town, Home, ect. I can't wait to get more, we only have two.
I have enjoyed the library too. We just discovered it a couple of months ago and have already enjoyed 30 books. I love that I didn't have to buy them all.
I was recenly introduced to BareFoot Books. They are amazingly beautiful. And educational. They are having a sale in Janurary. I believe they are sold by individual consultants. Here is the website for a fellow mom who is a preschool teacher who just became a consultant: mailto:[email protected]____.com . I'm sure she can help you find great books for your little one.
Good luck. It's so fun to talk about books.
Enjoy.
D.

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K.D.

answers from Stockton on

My daughter loves books by Robert Munsch. Also, two of her favorites are The Napping House and The Alligator Under my bed.

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S.B.

answers from San Francisco on

It has been awhile, since my kids were little. My kids are now adults and to this day these are the books they remember:

I Will Love You Forever
Good Night Moon
The Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
Green Eggs and Ham

I hope this helps a little. Have a great Holiday.

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K.H.

answers from Sacramento on

My "baby" is now 17 but this is the one I buy for all baby shower or first birthday presents. Get the board book version of "Good Dog Carl". It has less than 10 words in it so the kids can make up the story as they go. My son loved to read me that book over and over. And the story always changed. He's now a wonderful writer and I give Carl a lot of credit for it!

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K.B.

answers from Yuba City on

I applaud you! We at school can always tell which kids have been read to and with-they are "super readers"! I am a grandma now and here are thebooks my kids, grandkid, and I loved BEST:
ChickaChicka BOOMBOOM: Teach her her letters, then their sounds.
Goodnight, Moon-This is a great bedtime ritual book. After many readings, yr child will point out items in the story on the page, as well as fill in the last word if you pause. (Ex: goodnight to the old lady whispering _____ (yr kid will say hush) This works for any "familiar" story.
Also, it goes black and white pic, then color pic. (Kids notice these things).
Mercer Mayer books starring Little Critter. My middle daughter could read these when she was three.(Memorization DEFINITELY can be called reading!)
Any book by Kevin Henkes. My favorite is Owen, but they are all wonderful with mouse illustrations, adorable & pertinent stories as well. His girl titles include Lily and the Purple Purse.
MY ALL TIME FAV: My Little Grandmother Often Forgets by Reeve Lindburg (of the flying Lindbergs incidentally). This is the most special book of all. I will let you discover why for yourself. My granddaughter adores it so much I bought it.
And any and all Dr. Seuss because he teaches SO MUCH through silliness (word families-rhyming words and spelling patterns etc that are crucial to learning to read). Some of his are advanced though (The Lorax etc), so start small.
But make the library a regular place to go! They have books and computers, free and very cool. They have story hours with grannies telling stories. Check out stacks and buy the ones you love online, used at Barnes and Noble, very cheap.
Also the little books for chubby hands are perfect for her now. One word per page-ex: prepositions/opposites like over/under, on/off etc. Or one shape (or color) per page.
And teach that books are NOT toys even though they are so fun.(don't throw them etc)!
And every book is at least a LITTLE GOOD, but some are better.
Instilling a love for the written word starts now, and God bless you. Kids are not exposed to the written word much nowadays, they struggle to read as a result. They can't visualize (too much TV) or imagine, very sad.
So you go, Mom, and don't forget puzzles, they sharpen the math side of the brain. And let her color & cut & glue stick as soon as possible (small & lg motor, hand/eye coordination, nice writing later)
At first they are wiggly listeners but she will love it soon.
When you see the first letter of her name in a story (her name letter), point it out (and then the sound). If you keep doing this, she will read a little before kinder, and MOSTLY, she will know all the letters and their sounds.
If her name letter is c or g, you will have to teach soft & hard sound pretty quick (:....
FYI: By the end of 1st grade your child will be expected to know: title, author, illustrator, table of contents, page #, comma, period, quotation marks, exclamation mark, question mark, etc.
Show her her name as you write it out. PLEASE use capital for first letter only. ex K., NOT all caps, this is almost impossible to correct later and causes discernment issues. Count the letters in her name. My kids could write and spell their name when they were three. I called the capitals the mommies and the lower case the babies.
Good luck!

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E.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi C.,

I have a friend who has a blog in which she most frequently reviews children's books, especially middle grade. Hopefully this will be a good resource.

http://porterjennifer.wordpress.com

Happy holidays,
E.

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M.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi C. A.

I feel like I know you from somewhere! Huh. Anyway. There are really cool pop-up book collections at Costco right now. Also Dr. Suess are always fun!

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S.L.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi C.
my son loved books by Peggy Rathman... they are soooooooooooooo great, ones such as 10 minutes til bedtime, the day the babies crawled away, ruby the copy cat, gloria and officer buckle, and good night gorilla...
10 minutes and good night are for younger children, the others for slightly older, but you ll love her books...

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M.E.

answers from San Francisco on

HI C.~ I have a 21 month old and was sortof feeling the same way you are until this summer when I found Usborne books. I love them! SO much that I decided I will actually become involved with the company and try to get them out to more people because I think the illustrations are amazing , the book quality is exceptional and they are very interactive with lots of different styles to choose from. There are some that help with rhyming and phonics and some with first colors, shapes, etc. They range from board books for babies all the way to high school science. I'd be happy to make recommendations for you more personally if you want to email me. You can look at my web link too:

ubah.com/y2446
I am happy to give you an idea of the best ones for your little ones age group because they have a lot to choose form and I think some are amazing! Of course, goodnight moon, and the big red barn, maurice sendack has some cute ones(old classics), and sandra boynton is wonderful too. Hard to pick.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
M.

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K.S.

answers from San Francisco on

"The Color Kittens" by Margaret Wise Brown.

It's a Little Golden Book reissue from 1949, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen, and it is SO SWEET and lovely to read; great cadence!

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V.C.

answers from Sacramento on

My kids have always loved "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. All of his books are great and have great illustrations, which make them fun for kids even before they can read themselves.

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H.J.

answers from San Francisco on

I have a 19-month old girl who is a serious book lover. Some of her current favorites: "Mama Do You Love Me?", "Green Eggs and Ham", "Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", "There's a Wocket in My Pocket", and "Go Dog Go"

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J.M.

answers from Fresno on

My 19 month old daughter loves flap books right now, and any books that I have read to that she can say some of the same words (home, elmo, 'ho ho ho', dog, cat) This way when she reads to herself, she feels very grown up saying hre mumble jumble and interspersing real words.

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C.T.

answers from Sacramento on

We are a book nook family here. I started collecting children's literature and studied it in school long before marriage and children. Carol Hurst literature web site will be great as she matures..Google it. Also, Turn the Page press is owned by Bev Bos, who also speaks around the world on early devlopment and own Roseville Community Preschool. Her list is amazing! Amazon has some nice reviews. At your daughter's age, my son was into Goodnight Gorilla, David Books, but I introduced him to more sophisticated illustration and writings. Our list is soo long..I should compile it. He just turned 6 and we are reading Despereax together and he likes Not a Box..humourous cartoon. My turning 3 year old daughter still likes books that have flip pages, soft furry animals and more visual literacy than words. I oread her Olivia nd Angelina but am waiting to introduce her to more as her interest grows. She is an active child but her desire to know is bringing her back to the calm of reading each day. Sambuda, Jan Brett, Classic Literarure. Mythology. Biblical stories at Family Christian Stores..Dorling Kindersly for facts and information..When I sift through our stuff after Christmas, I will post a list...

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L.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I know that you have a ton of responses, and I actually took some notes from them so thank you everyone! My daughter is 1 week younger than yours and she LOVES books. Books take up the bulk of our indoor playtime. The books that she is REALLY into right now are the Happy Baby ABC and Happy Baby Colors by Priddy books. You have probably seen them. She also LOVES the Dr. Seuss ABC book. There are also a few books that we bought at a museum that are based on Degas' (called Dancing with Degas), Monet's, and Van Gogh's paintings. She has always really liked those and you can probably find them online. Sandra Boynton books have been popular with her too, especially Snuggle Puppy, because it is a song. Baby Beluga is also a very popular book because it is a song. Of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Runaway Bunny both get read at least twice a day. I hope this helps!

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R.C.

answers from Sacramento on

Any books by Elsa Beskow are amazing, however they are better for a little older kids than 18 months.

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D.Y.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm a big fan of Karen Katz's books. She has a great series of lift-the-flap board books (as well as regular hard cover) that have great artwork and learning lessons. Costco has a collection of her 8 bestsellers for only $14.99 right now - a great deal!

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A.F.

answers from San Francisco on

What a coincidence. I was looking for something for my grandchild that was special and I found this website.

http://www.mychildbook.com/index.php?option=com_frontpage...

They have some good ideas.

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H.H.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi C.,

First off, thank you for posting this. I quickly scanned through the list to get some ideas for new books for my son (30 months). One thing I love to do is browse the thrift store for children's books. On my last trip, I found many classics and Caldecotts for $.25 each. I thought I might pass that tip on just in case you might want to check out the thrift stores.

I'm sure that I'm repeating something that was already on that list, but here are some of our favorites:

Maisy books (any book from the series. My son loved these at 18 months, though he is not as excited about them anymore.)

Olive the Other Reindeer (J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh)

Monkey Business (J.Otto Seibold)

Mr Lunch (any and all from the series) (J. Otto Seibold)

Penguin Dreams (J. Otto Seibold)

Have You Seen My Duckling?

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Burton)

The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton)

Runaway Bunny

Freight Train and Inside Freight Train (Donald Crews)

I Spy Books (very fun and interactive)

Madeline

Drummer Hoff

Spot Books (any of them)

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin

Make Way for Duckling

Good Dog Carl

I just realized that my list is getting pretty long. I'll leave it at that and I'm excited to look at all the posts you get for this one. Thanks again and enjoy hunting for books with your daughter!

-H.

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J.H.

answers from Sacramento on

We like the Eric Carle books. Most of them have a repetitive pattern which helps with pre-reading skills. Also, while having a fun story line, many of them teach academics such as science concepts and concepts of time. The illustrations are different, but after a while they grow on you and they also make his books easily identifiable.

Some title names:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Polar Bear, Polar Bear
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Pancakes, Pancakes
The Very Busy Spider
The Grouchy Ladybug
The Very Quiet Cricket

Another good reason to read these books, your child will continue to see and read them in elementary school.

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W.N.

answers from San Francisco on

Hello C.,

There are so many, I can hardly list them all. One very beautiful and poetic book, which is available in board book form, is Jamberry--I think the author is Bruce Degen. It is a wonderfully whimsical book about the delights of berries of all sorts, and my children loved it when they were small. Another favorite of my children are the Curious George books of H.A. Rey--these are good from preschool to early elementary age. My children also enjoyed the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren as older preschoolers/early elementary schoolers. The book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by Marjorie Priceman, has wonderful illustrations, and is humorous and educational to boot--great for preschoolers. Another one my children have enjoyed is Zoo by Bruno Munari--beautiful, large animal illustrations and simple text on each page--your daughter might enjoy this book now for the pictures. I hope that some of these ideas will help you build your library!

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J.B.

answers from Sacramento on

I am big on reality rather than fantasy, so I love an older series of bedtime stories for older children, I would say 5 and up, called Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. They are a collection of all true stories for Children, and are educational and charactor building stories. I don't know if they sell new, because I have gotten mine on Half.com.

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J.G.

answers from San Francisco on

Some of our favorite books:

Jiggle, Joggle, Jee
Time for Bed
Mommy's Best Kisses
Over in the Meadow
Little White Duck
The Napping House
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Kiss Goodnight
Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See
anything by Margaret Wise Brown

My son always enjoyed books that were based on songs, and we would sing the story.

Have fun with storytime!

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M.W.

answers from San Francisco on

I like Margaret Wise Brown's Big red Barn, and Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann, all of the Dr. Seuss books, and How do Dinosaurs Get well soon? by Jane yolen and Mark Teague. Stellaluna is also well-illustrated.
happy reading!
M.

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S.K.

answers from San Francisco on

I cannot resist responding! Can't find beautiful books... here are a couple:

Where the Wild Things Are
Guess How much I Love You
Olivia (all of them especially for a little girl)
All the Beatrice Pooter books!!!
Babar
Olive the Other Reindeer
Zen Shorts
Little Polar Bear
If you Give A Pig A Party
Little Fox (Marilyn Janovitz)
Little Pea (Rosenthal)
Click Clack Moo Cows That Type
A is for Angry (Sandra Boynton)
Mrs. Wishy Washy

And this is just off the top of my head!

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S.B.

answers from Sacramento on

I love you stinkey face is my daughters all time favorite

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L.M.

answers from Stockton on

When my kids were little, they loved the Shel Silverstein books of poems. (Where the sidewalk ends, Falling up, A light in the attic) They still love to read them. It's like a comfort thing for them now. They also liked the Disney stories and Little Golden Books. We found sets of books at the dollar store too. Sometimes you can find some good books at garage sales too. I started reading all kinds of things to my girls at an early age. By the time they were 3, I read Little Women to them. They LOVED it. I also read a children's illistrated Bible to them. It had little stories and stuff. The possibilities are endless. Good luck!

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A.P.

answers from Fresno on

Our house looks like a book store so I could go on and on but some of our all time favorites are all the Jamie Lee Curtis books. They have fantastic illustrations and a message without being too obvious. My son loves them and I don't mind reading them over and over. My son also likes the Curious George books and we all love the Barenstein ( I am sure I spelled that wrong sorry) Bears and Little Critter books. Two ther good simple books are My Love for You and My Love for You All Year Round by Susan L. Roth. Happy reading!!

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E.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I just wanted to remind you to check out your local library. My kids are now 6 yrs old & I have to say we have probably checked out a thousand books in the past 5yrs. Yes we still have a bookshelf of books but our main reading source has been the library. It seems alot of people forget about their library! Go & check it out, see what appeals to you & ask the librarian for favorites.

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J.D.

answers from Sacramento on

I love Todd Parr. He is my all time favorite. They are vibrant and send very good messages about differences.

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C.B.

answers from San Francisco on

My daughter's very favorite book, from age 12 months on, was Lois Ehlert's Fish Eyes. Great colors, and she adored poking her fingers through the holes every time we read it. We had to buy another one at around age 3 because it was so well-worn! She loved sitting on the floor and "reading" it to herself, too...I even took pictures to prove it to her later!

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