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On the list of the most wonderful things to hear your kids saying, it ranks right up there with “This is the best dinner ever, Mommy” or “You look so pretty today, Mommy” and, of course, the show-stopper: “I love you, Mommy.”

But whenever I hear my boys say “This is our most favorite book. Thank you for getting it for us,” my heart skips a beat, almost as if they complimented me on my cooking, recent weight loss and told me they loved me, all at once. To hear them take such joy in reading – and to actually be sincere about it – makes me feel like we’re doing something right. All of the hours I guiltily throw them in front of the TV are magically offset when that one little sentence is joyfully uttered.

And when it’s a book that I enjoy as much as they do … well, that’s just icing on the proverbial cake.

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page is simple yet enthralling, even for the adult reader. Beautifully illustrated and cleverly written, the 30-page book teaches children – and their parents – about animals, all sorts of animals, from Joey’s favorite, the elephant, to the creature the boys always ask me to turn to, the bush baby (they like its big eyes).

The book is split up into categories, based on the body parts of each animal being described with a close-up illustration of the eyes, ears, mouth or tail on the first page of that section. The close-up view allows for the child to then guess which animal the eyes, ears, mouth or tail belong to on the next page. The description that follows is simple, practical and to the point, perfect when you’re reading to an audience with attention spans you can measure in nanoseconds.

Some of the best children’s books for preschool ages are the ones that combine attention-grabbing content with interaction. Tail Like This does both beautifully, cultivating communication and curiosity. If you’re looking to change up your story time routine, to perhaps add more of an interactive element to your reading, consider this book as part of your holiday shopping. Believe me, it’ll be a present for you both.

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