who doesn’t love a visit from the tickle monster?

About a week and a half ago it occurred to me that Easter might be approaching soon. I think had something to do with all the rabbits, eggs and candy displayed at every turn. Then, there was the actual calendar viewing which revealed it was a little more than a week away. Ahh – caught off guard again! That’s okay. Fortunately the Easter Bunny knows how to kick things into high gear when the situation calls for it. Target took care of the basics: buckets, grass, cards, some candy (with leftovers for the Easter Bunny and her partner, of course). What was missing was that little extra “something.”

Last week, the clock was really ticking. Luckily I had been too lazy to make my lunch one day and had to venture to New Seasons to retrieve something. The wait for my sandwich meant time to explore the fun section…all the little kitchen, housewares and gift items they sell. Fortunately, they always have cute things for little ones, though it’s more about looking than purchasing given shopping for kids at New Seasons isn’t really the most economical way to go. But when you’re desperate, you’re desperate. I knew this might be my only opportunity to wrap up Project Easter Bunny 2012.

For Ian, I found a nice-looking Paint by Numbers kit and a measuring tape in the form of a duck. He’s really into measuring everything these days, so that in particular seemed perfect for him. For Elena, I grabbed a little purple bunny and a book called Tickle Monster.

I put about five seconds of thought into all four of these gifts. After all, I was already starting to run late for a meeting. (Though, I will say that Tickle Monster caught my attention because I’ve always done a “Tickle Bug” routine with Ian, and now Elena.) But boy did I hit the jackpot! Elena has been attached to that little purple rabbit from the moment she laid eyes on it.

Of course, almost immediately, she was eager for me to read her new book to her. So we sat down for what I quickly realized would become the first of many, many readings of Tickle Monster. What an adorable and fun book this is! The author is Josie Bissett of Melrose Place fame. Aided by wonderful illustrations, Bissett chronicles a visit of the cutest monster from Planet Tickle. There’s clever rhyming, anticipation throughout and plenty of giggling to be had. Elena was laughing hysterically within the first few pages, which of course had me laughing, and then Ian after he came over to join in. Even Jeff, who could hear from across the room, commented that it sounded like a really cute book.

Last night Elena and I read it at bedtime. Our routine is that after I finish reading, it’s her turn to “read” the book to me. (Ian always wanted to do the exact same thing, so I was already familiar with this routine.) Her “reading” of Tickle Monster immediately turned into one big Tickle Mom fest. I was being attacked by my 2-year-old and she was loving it!

We’ve read a lot of books but this one immediately struck me as a standout. You can actually buy it with a special set of Tickle Monster mitts, which would be kind of fun, too. They had them at New Seasons but I didn’t get them. And, I’ve since seen on Amazon that she has a sequel about dancing: The Boogie Monster. Clearly I’ll have to check that one out.

Suffice it to say Tickle Monster has become an instant favorite with both Ian and Elena in our house, and I plan to keep it in mind for gifts (perhaps along with the mitts).

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