Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Literary Advent Count Down!

Our Advent Calendar is up, and one of the treats each day (in addition to an adventure or other fun activity) is to choose a book from our new Scholastic holiday collection to read (including a few with read-along CDs), or from our family's holiday library.

We have a few favorites, like the beautifully illustrated This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten (illustrated by Delana Bettoli), and The Christmas Song Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire by Mel Torme and Robert Wells (illustrated by Doris Barrette). And my personal favorite; the wonderfully lyrical Runaway Dreidel! by Lesléa Newman. Our list features a stock of Easy Readers this year since Madeline is in Kindergarten and reading on her own! Now that's the best Christmas gift I can think of—I love that she adores reading!

I'll add our reviews as we go...

  1. Spin the Dreidel by Alexandra Cooper
  2. Tyrannoclaus by Janet Lawler
  3. The Year Without a Santa Claus by Phyllis McGinley
  4. Runaway Dreidel by Lesléa Newman
  5. Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright
  6. The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup
  7. The Littles Have a Merry Christmas (1st Readers) by John Peterson
  8. Follow the Star by Rachel W.N. Brown
  9. Snow by Cynthia Rylant
  10. Snow Day! A Winter Tale (1st Readers) by Joan Holub
  11. The Christmas Cub by Justine Korman Fontes
  12. The Christmas Penguin (1st Readers) by Mary Packard
  13. I Love Christmas! (1st Readers) by Hans Wilhelm
  14. Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas by Cynthia Rylant
  15. Can You See What I See? Christmas Read-and-Seek by Walter Wick
  16. I Spy A Candy Cane by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  17. Clifford Helps Santa by Sonia Sander
  18. Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear! by Don and Audrey Wood
  19. Erik and the Christmas Horse by Hans Peterson
  20. Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani
  21. This Is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten (illustrated by Delana Bettoli)
  22. Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson
  23. The Christmas Song Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire by Mel Torme and Robert Wells (illustrated by Doris Barrette)
  24. The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry
  25. This Is The Star by Joyce Dunbar
Want more great holiday titles? Check out our Book-A-Day for December from 2008.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I adore...

I adore My Name is Not Isabella!

I adore the fact that the author, Jennifer Fosberry includes great brief biographies of five amazing women who changed the world, and includes "Mommy" as the sixth.

I adore Fosberry's definition of mother: "A mother is a person who uses love and wisdom to raise children to be caring, accomplished adults." Amen!

I adore how Fosberry deftly weaves the personas of Sally Ride, Annie Oakley, Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, and Elizabeth Blackwell into Isabella's imaginative day.

I adore that my five-year-old, Madeline, adores this book and that she wanted to hear me read all of the biographical information over again. Especially Elizabeth Blackewell's.

I adore that Isabella's mommy rolls with her daughter's brilliant imagination. I have to do this often with my bunch and it works well to go with their tales!

I adore all the new words my daughter learned from this book, including "vittles."

I adore the illustrations by Mike Litwin.

I adore the "bookplate" printed on the first page that reads "This book belong to... (space for your little gal's name) the sweetest, kindest, smartest, bravest, fastest, toughest, greatest girl that ever was."

And, I simply love that Fosberry is a self-proclaimed "... science geek turned children's book writer." We love this book (in case you couldn't tell.) I'll likely be ordering several copies for my brilliant nieces for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another Petrifying Parody

Michael Rex provides a fabulous parody of Goodnight Moon in his "petrifying" picture book titled Goodnight Goon. Our kids love the sweet little goon, and all the monsters, witches, and other ghouls in the story, so it's no surprise that they are also big fans of Rex's second parody... The Runaway Mummy.

Just like in The Runaway Bunny, we see the child testing their independence and the Mama professing her unconditional love and devotion. The Runaway Mummy is a funny, sweet parody of Margaret Wise Brown's classic tale, and even includes a cameo illustration of the goon from Rex's other parody.

Just in time for Halloween, check out The Runaway Mummy, and Goodnight Goon — both are really fun when read with the books that they are parodies of! And, just a note to Mom and Dad... neither of Rex's parodies are really petrifying, despite his tag line.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Bag: October

Now that the school schedule is settling down, we are back to the library regularly, and enjoying some great new books! Some of our favorites are about seeing France through a child's eyes, finding your voice with a little help, an alphabet of occupations, and some Step 1 easy readers for the little Kindergartner in our midst! Enjoy!! ****Faves are noted as usual.

  1. How to be a friend : a guide to making friends and keeping them / Brown, Laurene Krasny
  2. Click, clack, quackity-quack : an alphabetical adventure / Cronin, Doreen
  3. LMNO Peas ****These "pea-ple" are so fun to study, and they introduce an excellent array of occupations for littles to learn about! Love!!
  4. Tall / Alborough, Jez
  5. Brownie & Pearl step out / Rylant, Cynthia****This cutie and her kitty go to a birthday party, solo, and are happy to have braved it. Fun.
  6. Everybody Bonjours! / Kimmelman, Leslie****Crêpes, anyone? This fun, rhythmic story show a very fun side to Paris.
  7. Doo-Wop Pop / Schotter, Roni****A classic do-wop fave of ours that shows some quiet kids singing out!!
  8. Leaving the nest / Gerstein, Mordicai
  9. Lost! / Moran, Alex
  10. Popcorn / Moran, Alex****M's fave Level 1 easy reader so far...
  11. The mystery of the missing tooth / Hooks, William H.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Need a Smile?

We love The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and Marla Frazee. Frazee's illustrations are perfect for this story, and I love her style. I need to seek out other books that she's drawn.

In addition to the gorgeous pictures in this book, the story flows like music when read aloud, and is delightful in a Seuss-like way.

And, who doesn't love a tale with seven babies? Makes two seem like cake, although it's pretty fabulous in the end that this Mama gets to eat her cake too, and we all get to share some smiles with these silly, fussy eaters and their loving, fabulous parents.

Pick it up! It's a joyful story that will make you smile!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ivy & Bean... Absolutely Fabulous!

The Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall, are a big hit with our 5-year old, and while they are excellent chapter books to step up to, she likes to listen to them in one sitting.

Ivy (who tends toward being reserved) and Bean (who is more of a hoyden heroine), bring out the best in each other, as is usually the case with the best of best friends, and Barrows writes with a fun and creative flair that easily draws in the reader. I enjoy reading these clever stories to Madeline.

Check them out — our household highly recommends these two fascinating friends.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Finding Their Voice

"Madeline is so bright and does such wonderful work, I'd love her to build her confidence and be able to share her ideas with the class more easily," says M's teacher. Of course, I want her to feel confident enough to stand up and speak her mind—to share her amazing self with the world, but I also know that her personality tends to be more observant, cautious, and quiet in large groups. In small groups and with friends, that isn't the case. I don't consider her occasional reticence to be a problem. I was mid-way through 5th grade before I was brave enough to speak out when in the spotlight (and then my natural bossiness, er... leadership was shared easily), but like M, I never had a problem speaking up when it was necessary or important. I easily defended myself and others, and she does too. Basically, I want her to be able to stand strong in the spotlight, even if she doesn't choose to seek it out, and so... I'm on a quest to find some children's books about kids finding their voice.

Louder Lili by Gennifer Choldenko shows Lili, the quietest girl in the class, being mistaken for absent by her teacher, having louder/bossier kids take credit for her ideas, and being pushed around. All things that do happen to quiet kids. However, it's fun to see her speak her mind when it counts! And, she makes a new (true) friend in the process. It's a great story.

Doo-Wop Pop by Roni Schotter
is a marvelous story about a retired jazz musician, turned school janitor, who literally helps a handful of quiet kids find their voices. His "carrots" as he calls them, finally "jump in the stew" and wow their classmates as a great new a cappella singing group. And, reading this book is a delight as the prose be bops off the page like a song!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book Bag: September

September's book bag was all about Back-to-School this year, since we had a big milestone in our house... the first day of Kindergarten for the first kid! These four books were our very favorites!Kindergarten Diary / Antoinette Portis – A fun journal-style story from the perspective of a slightly wary first-time Kindergartner, that shows that her class is all alright... Love this one! Compares fears and reality is a funny, light-hearted manner. We bought this one.

Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? / Audrey Vernick Sweet and silly. Perfect.

The Night Before Kindergarten / Natasha Wing nice rhyming tie-in to the classic "Night Before..." and a good intro to going off to Kindy. M's preschool teacher even gave a copy to us as a "graduation" gift.

First Day Jitters / Julie Danneberg – Fabulously funny, especially as you follow the main character through her whole morning (reluctantly getting ready), before you discover that she's a teacher at a new school! This made the kids laugh out loud! We bought this one in our Scholastic order.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Magically Delicious!

Cake Pops... Although I've not yet attempted any of these beauties, I've been following Bakerella's blog for more than a year now, and I love her recipes. Her pancake muffins are great, as are many other tips and tricks for baking and decorating. But, this new book of hers... it is a joy to look at. Whimsical, magical, full of joy and promise. And, today I had two preschool boys absolutely enthralled by this book. You should buy it, heck, I bought two. Give one away to someone who could use a little joy in their day. I did!

The instructions are very clear, and although the pops look intricate, Angie Dudley's tips make them sound like a breeze. A fun, time-consuming breeze, but still... A fairly easy and fun little project to amuse and delight. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. You could try checking it out at the library — good luck! It's a very good price on Amazon. Just sayin'.
And, for our household, these pops alone are worth the price of the book... Erik shouted "Ernie's Baby!" and hugged the book. He loves Koalas. I predict that I'll be making these dudes very soon. Oh! And there are clown pops. I have to say that I don't really even like clowns (they're in the creepy realm in my opinion), but Bakerella's are so seriously adorable that I think I may just be OK with clowns. At least the small, cute Cake Pop variety.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Creative Seasonal Inspiration

While this is not technically a book, the Rhythm of the Home online publication has inspired me to head to the library in search of many things this Summer. I learned of this amazing site from a friend at the beginning of June, and have been reading it (and blogs of all the contributors) ever since.

In this Autumn's edition, among those that I've had time to read (there are so many great articles!) I especially love...

Finding Balance and Keeping Rhythm

Love With Intention

Cooking with Children, Autumn Spiced Scones
and, Learning in the Kitchen

Take Apart Science
(Hello, his was written for Erik!)

Flower Pounding (I did this with red Japanese Bloodgood Maple leaves several years ago)

Life in a Viking Village (Traveling vicariously to Sweden...)

The Sugar Sprite
(A clever idea for an over-abundance of Halloween candy)

And, most relevant to the Lieberry List... Lessons from the Library! You can check out articles from other seasons right here. All the articles are a fairly quick read (handy for busy moms) and they're all written by amazing women (there may be male contributors, I've just not come across any articles by dads)!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book Bag: July/August

Getting ready for Kindergarten, having fun in the kitchen and the garden, and discussing anatomy have made up our library choices the last couple months. As usual in the Summer, we ended up reading mostly from our personal library, out in the hammock or on the lawn with a picnic. Happy Back-to-School! **As ever, our faves are marked below**

  1. How to be a friend : a guide to making friends and keeping them / Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown **Great practice for making new friends with the new school year
  2. A place for everything / Sean Covey
  3. Amazing you : getting smart about your private parts / by Gail Saltz **This one served its purpose well. It's concise, clear and age-appropriate, although my 3-yr old overheard the story and reacted like any boy in 6th-grade health class... snickering and giggling.
  4. The bus for us / Suzanne Bloom
  5. Beach is to fun : a book of relationships / Pat Brisson
  6. The handiest things in the world / Andrew Clements
  7. Click, clack, quackity-quack : an alphabetical adventure / by Doreen Cronin
  8. Katie and the British artists / James Mayhew **Love this - may have to get some of these for my amazing niece, Katie.
  9. The very clumsy click beetle / Eric Carle **Eric Carle, sound effects, and a story about this Summer's garden nemesis! Perfect!
  10. Tall / Jez Alborough **M loves to read this to E.
  11. Miss Nelson is missing! / Harry Allard, James Marshall **They both LOVE this!
  12. I'm your bus / Marilyn Singer **Friendly, fun illustrations and a cheerful introduction to riding the school bus!
  13. Is your buffalo ready for kindergarten?
  14. Transformers animated : how to draw / by Sadie Chesterfield ; illustrated by Carlo LoRaso **Erik is over the moon about this one!
  15. What's new, cupcake? / Karen Tack and Alan Richard **More fun with cupcakes! This may be one of the books I give to my niece Maggie for her birthday (I have a couple others too - great ideas for cake/cupcake decorating with kids)
  16. The pirate of kindergarten / by George Ella Lyon **Madeline's favorite by far - about a Kindergartner (girl) with double vision, and her fix. Very well done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Bag: May/June

Cooking with kids, making mud pies and going on nature rambles, dealing with death, fitting in, and turning the classic fairy tale on its head... we did it all in May and June, and below are our **faves!**

Parents:

Playful parenting : an exciting new approach to raising children / Lawrence J. Cohen
Mama Zen: Walking the crooked path of motherhood / Karen Maezen Miller **LOVE this one!

Kids:
Goodbye, Mousie / by Robie H. Harris
The fall of Freddie the leaf : a story of life for all ages / Leo Buscaglia
Salad people and more real recipes : a new cookbook for preschoolers & up / Mollie Katzen**Fave
Pretend soup and other real recipes : a cookbook for preschoolers & up / M. Katzen & A. Henderson**Fave
Lifetimes : a beautiful way to explain death to children / Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen**Wonderful book
Little Mouse gets ready : a toon book / by Jeff Smith **3-yr old Erik giggled at this one
Buddha at bedtime : tales of love and wisdom for you to read with your child to enchant, enlighten, and inspire / Dharmachari Nagaraja**Madeline adores these stories and they all illustrate a great lesson
I love dirt! : 52 activities to... discover the wonders of nature / Jennifer Ward
Odd Velvet / by Mary E. Whitcomb
The princess knight / by Cornelia Funke
Cindy Ellen : a wild western Cinderella / by Susan Lowell **Spunky, fun story — this is a second check-out for us!
The Outspoken princess and the gentle knight / edited by Jack Zip **LOVE
The Toon treasury of classic children's comics / edited by Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly **A keeper!
Mama, is it summer yet? / Nikki McClure **A very sweet book

Videos:
Max & Ruby. Summertime with Max & Ruby [videorecording] / Nelvana Limited
Max & Ruby. Super Max's cape [videorecording] / [presented by] Treehouse

Monday, June 28, 2010

Punk-Proof Your Kid

Kids can be mean. Even your kid. I mean really, it's easy to think of a kid who picks on your kid as "a bad seed" or a "bully," but honestly, all kids can have a bad day, bad moment, lapse of judgment, or yes, a bad decade, but that doesn't mean they can't change someday. Hopefully. And, with all those kids out there, learning to play nice, how do you make sure your kid/s are part of the solution, rather than the problem?

I recently had occasion to need some good advice on this subject, so of course, I asked my sister-in-law (who is a school counselor) for book recommendations and tips. She came through with some great book suggestions, and I stumbled upon another in looking for her picks...

Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell is adorable, and made both of my kids giggle with delight. Molly Lou is tiny, bucktoothed and strange-voiced, facing a new school, and a big kid who's bullying her, but by following her gramma's advice to believe in herself and stand up tall and proud, she handles herself well. They love it, and requested the book again and again.

Becky's second pick was The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, and they loved it too. The sassy Katie Sue who stands up to "Mean Jean the Recess Queen" was an instant favorite. In this one, the queen of mean is de-throned by sassy Katie Sue inviting her to play. Fairly simple, and funny rhyming text, and since a mean kid of this magnitude realistically might not be "cured" by kindness alone, it's a good one to discuss. Five-year-old Madeline thought that "Katie Sue should ask a teacher or other grown up for help if Mean Jean kept chasing her and bossing her, and maybe gettin' madder!"

The third book that I found is King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, which shows a boy named Kevin trying to play at the playground which is the "realm" of Sammy—King of the Playground. Each time Kevin tries to go to play, Sammy tells him that he can't, and threatens him. Each time, Sammy goes back home and his dad chats with him about the threats until he (Kevin) sees a solution for each (finding each threat silly or impractical in the end). Knowing how to take command of the situation himself, eventually helps Kevin screw up his courage enough to stand his ground. Sammy is still truculent in the end, but does choose to share the kingdom.

A previous recommendation from Becky was Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner which my kids found humorous, and I liked too. Bootsie is shown being terrible — kicking dogs, pulling hair, throwing ridiculous tantrums, and terrorizing her friend, but I found it easy enough to ask questions about her behavior, that the kids answered very cleverly. The book shows Bootsie's parents giving her anything she wants and caving to demands... my kids both thought that "That makes the mean girl think she's in charge of her Mama and Papa, so that's why she thinks she's in charge of all kids and everything." Ahhh... out of the mouths of babes. I think Bootsie would be a great one for kids to add on to by writing more of the story. Like, after the narrator finds an excellent solution to her problem, maybe she talks to her mom about it further, and her mom talks to Bootsie's mom (she is her "best friend" after all), and maybe Bootsie the "biter" gets some help! Older kids could have fun being creative with that one.

So, what was Becky's advice? Focus on raising and empowering your own kids, versus empowering and rewarding the undesired behavior of mean kids... find other kids to play with, play near an adult, teach them to say, "Stop," "I don't like that," or "That's mean," and walk away. Older kids can use humor, self-talk or agree with foolish remarks to defuse a tense situation. Teach the difference between tattling (attention seeking or getting another in trouble) and asking for help (going to an adult for assistance - just like going to your manager/boss when you can't reach a solution to a work issue).

When dealing with kids who are being mean to your kid, talk to your kid, letting the mean kid "overhear." Let your kid take the lead, and if needed (or requested) help them take command of the situation. It's all about the long-term lesson of teaching your kiddos to be resilient and "punk-proof," and that everyone can make mistakes/mess up, not the short-term goal of protecting their feelings today. The four books listed here will help kick-start some ideas of how kids can take charge, and judging from my 3- and 5-year olds' reaction to these books, they are ready to learn about this topic as soon as they've been pushed around on the playground. In fact, not just ready, they are hungry for heroic behavior to model!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Magical Mermaids

Madeline's mesmerized by mermaids, as are many little girls. Thankfully, Scholastic always has just the right books to enchant wee ones...

In Laura Garnham's The Tiniest Mermaid, a little girl finds an injured mermaid in a tide pool, and befriends her while allowing her to recover in the fish tank in her bedroom. The story is full of magic and wonder, and really, what would be cooler than having a tiny mermaid hang out with your goldfish?

And, Mary Ann Fraser's Mermaid Sister teaches the lesson of "beware what you wish for..." when a little girl asks for a sister via message in a bottle, and gets one! This will be much better than her pesky brother. Or, will it? In the end, they do learn a good lesson, although from this book, your kiddos will learn the phrase "pain in the patootie," referring to Shelly's brother, and "pain in the flipper," in reference to Coral's brother...

Madeline loves both books, but my favorite is The Tiniest Mermaid, with it's wonderful illustrations by Patricia MacCarthy, and special touches like glittering, sparkling mermaid tails, and the fact that the tiny mermaid, Delphi, makes Lily's fish tank "... a shimmering underwater wonderland." Magical mermaids... check them out!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fun, Practical, Quick

Need some fast solutions for handling daily issues with your fast-growing "babies?" You know, those pipsqueaks who it seems like you brought home as sweet bundles a few weeks ago... or (Yikes!) was it years?! How does the time fly, and how does a busy parent keep up? Learn from the experts, I say! And, who knows better about the daily handling of the under-6 set? Kindergarten Teachers!!!

I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was to find What Kindergarten Teachers Know by Lisa Holewa and Joan Rice. While searching out picture books that introduced going to Kindy (for Madeline), I stumbled upon this listing at our library.

And, Holewa and Rice's book did not disappoint. In fact, I bought it, and am very likely to gift this baby! It includes five pages of additional resources at the end of the book, which I will likely look into, but right now I'm busy implementing their amazing advice!

Perhaps my favorite thing about their "advice" though, is that it's practical, fun, respectful (in that not all things work for all kids) and the #1 goal is to make sure kids know they are loved. And, isn't that really what it's all about?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Singing Books...

We're big fans of what the kids call "singing books" in our house... books that need to be sung instead of simply read out loud. We own several, and have checked out a great number of them over the years. A few of our favorites include a handful from Iza Trapani (a great author for singing books), The Christmas Song by Mel Torme and Robert Wells (illustrated by Doris Barrette), Giddy Up! Let's Ride! by Flora McDonnell, and Sing Sophie! by Dayle Ann Dodds.

I discovered The Christmas Song: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire by Mel Torme and Robert Wells when searching for books that were illustrated by Doris Barrette. I love her work in the book Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes (not a singing book, but a good one with great rhythm). Both are wonderful holiday books and make a great gifts.

I'm a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani is our favorite of her singing books, and is beautifully illustrated, with wonderful verses that include the teapot and kids on a Fox Hunt in England, in a row boat in China, in outer space, and on a pirate ship... to name a few. It's brilliant!

Sing Sophie by Dayle Ann Dodds attracted me because of the great little cowgirl on the cover, and all the better that her name was Sophie... similar to cousin Sophia! This little cowgirl makes up lovely and original tunes and sings them with gusto! No one wants to listen until her singing proves very useful to the family!

And, finally, Flora McDonnell's Giddy Up! Let's Ride! takes one of the kids' Gramma's oft-sung tunes and adds many verses... this is the way the knight, jockey, clown, fairy, nomad, cowgirl, and many others.

All of these favorites have really fun and beautiful illustrations that add to the stories, and all of them are very fun to sing, as well as being filled with wonderfully rich vocabulary and sparking creativity in little listeners. Check them out!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco De Mouse-o!

I admit it. I ordered Cinco De Mouse-o by Judy Cox from M's Scholastic book order simply for the Cinco tie-in. It made me smile. And, since my birthday is on Cinco de Mayo, I have a fondness for the holiday, as I do for this cute little mouse (maybe it's his tiny blue specs) who's just trying to enjoy some delicious "beany, cheesey, ricey" food, and maybe a piece of candy for dessert.

Oh, and the cat who chases him has "greeny eyes," I love that line. The book is full of excellent, rich vocabulary in both English (including "hailstones" which we learned all about earlier this week) and some Spanish (mariachis, anyone?).

The illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler had Erik riveted. But, of course... the pages where the pinata busts open are a kid's dream-come-true, right there to study. I won't be surprised if I find the boy licking the pages.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Book Bag: April

April was full of some old favorites, and a new series (the ZigZag books from National Geographic Kids), as well as some kids' comics and some cooking/craft books to work on together. ****Faves are marked below:

Kid Books:
  1. What's in that egg? : a book about life cycles / by Becky Baines.
  2. Your skin holds you in : a book about your skin / by Becky Baines
  3. What did one elephant say to the other? : a book about animal communication/by Becky Baines.
  4. Bee-bim bop! / by Linda Sue Park ****An old fave of Madeline's, and it includes a recipe for Bee-bim bop (a Korean dish) at the end of the book.
  5. Zig and Wikki in Something ate my homework : a toon book / by Nadja Spiegelman & Trade Loeffler
  6. Rainbow Fish discovers the deep sea / Marcus Pfister ****A fave character in a new story. Love this guy.
  7. Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy / by David Soman and Jacky Davis ****Madeline adores Ladybug Girl. Amazingly, we don't own any of these books yet!
  8. Every planet has a place : a book about our solar system / by Becky Baines****ZigZag Series fave (next to the Bones You Own). Planets are beloved by the kiddos.
  9. Amazons! : women warriors of the world / Sally Pomme Clayton****I loved this one, it's a bit beyond my kids at this point.
  10. Princess Peepers / by Pam Calvert****With a bespectacled Papa, the kids LOVE this one!
  11. Lawn to lawn / Dan Yaccarino
  12. Mirror mirror : a book of reversible verse / Marilyn Singer****Adore this! So creative!!
  13. Carl's summer vacation / Alexandra Day
  14. Giddy-up! Let's ride! / Flora McDonnell****An old fave around here. So sweet, and it adds many lines to the classic song.

Parents Books:
  1. What kindergarten teachers know : practical and playful ways to help children listen, learn, and cooperate at home / Lisa Holewa and Joan Rice****LOVE this book. Bought this book.
  2. Handmade home : simple ways to repurpose old materials into new family treasures / Amanda Blake Soule ****Great ideas for things to create with/for your kiddos! She's got a fab blog too, called Soule Mama.
  3. Classic vegetarian cooking : from the Middle East & North Africa / Habeeb Salloum

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Comics Rock!

Scooby Doo. Archie and Friends. Mickey Mouse. Scrooge McDuck, Spiderman. Sonic the Hedgehog. Tiny Titans. Zig and Wiki. Otto. Amelia Rules. Alison Dare. Ben 10. Bone. And, the list goes on... appropriately, Erik recently discovered comic books and fell in love with them. Luckily, we have a wonderful comic book section in the Kids' Section of our library. And, there are a plethora of new comic and graphic novel titles for pre-K through high school readers. Basically, Archie's still out there, but there are a lot more modern heroines and heros to be discovered too. I've tracked down all sorts of great comic book and graphic novel resources for kids...

First, if you're looking for a comic shop in your area that sells comics for kiddos, check out this site: http://kidscomics.com/

And, speaking of great comics for kids, last night we read Zig and Wiki in "Something ate my homework" by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffle, and the kids loved it. Then I realized that this book is associated with the comic book "Silly Lilly" that Becky gave Madeline for Christmas last year – TOON Books are featured right here, and come in three reader levels which you can buy online too. Their Web site is great and full of activities, ideas, lessons and online fun like a free carTOON Maker. Check it out.


Another resource, for comics for older-than-preschool kids is Kids Love Comics! which features comics like Alison Dare, Bone, Yarg!, Polo, Go Girl, Owly, and Amelia Rules, among others. Check out their blog right here.

And, then of course, there is the favorite in our house... the Tiny Titans. We've got them at our library, but you can also find them at your local comic shop or subscribe and get them in your mailbox each month (how cool would that be?)!

Coming up this month at a participating comic book store near you... Free Comic Book Day! The first Saturday in May, comic shops all over the country (and world!) give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores. This year FCBD is on May 1st, and you can find a participating store near you right here.

I'm loving the comic book format for the kids. The graphics help even 3-year old Erik "read" the story, the text is short, conversational, and full of action, and they are far more interesting than Bob Books or other beginning readers.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Absolutely brilliant! Brilliant? Absolutely!


There are two sides to every story, and Marilyn Singer's Mirror Mirror tells them brilliantly! She uses what she refers to as "Reversos," which are poems that can be read both up and down, with changes in punctuation making the tale completely new! While the full genius of this book is a little beyond my kids at this age, I love it. Older kids who are devouring chapter books on their own should find the reversible verse in this beautiful picture book enchanting (and older kids might find it a refreshing twist on writing poetry). It's a great lesson in how punctuation can completely change a sentence, and how important word choice can be in a story or poem. And, it's all about being concise—an excellent lesson to learn.

Every fairy tale poem in this book is told twice, once "forward," and once with the text completely flipped backward, telling the story from the antagonist's perspective (Cinderella vs. the Stepsisters, Snow White vs. the Evil Queen, etc.) "In The Hood," about Little Red Riding Hood is one of my faves (with a hip hop flavor), as is "Full Of Beans," about Jack and the Beanstalk. The rhythm of the text is a joy to read aloud, while the illustrations by Josee Massee are the perfect complement to each tale and its mirror.

This one is now on my top ten list of favorite kids' books, and it's one that I'd love to add to our library some day. And, I'm trying to write some reversos of my own... it is harder than you'd think. 

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Bag: March

With Pi Day (math), Dr. Seuss's birthday, and garden prep, we've been fairly well covered for topics lately. March was all about the human body, gardening, math, the Transformers and comic books (Tiny Titans, Sonic and Teen Titans). We also checked out several favorites like Munsch, Isadora, and Rylant. And, I'm loving Pam Allyn's child's lit resource book too. ****Faves are marked, as usual!

Parent Resources:
  1. Jump into math : active learning for preschool children / Rae Pica.
  2. What to read when : the books and stories to read with your child and all the best times to read them / Pam Allyn. ****Love the recommendations in this book!!
  3. Roots, shoots, buckets & boots : gardening together with children / Sharon Lovejoy. ****We're doing the Sunflower House this season - yeah!
  4. Inquiry into math, science, and technology for teaching young children / Arleen Pratt Prairie
Kid Books:
  1. Did I ever tell you how lucky you are? / by Dr. Seuss.
  2. I can lick 30 tigers today : and other stories / by Dr. Seuss.
  3. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now! / by Dr. Seuss. ****A new fave introduced to us by the Domkes!
  4. Richard Scarry's Pie rats ahoy! Scarry, Richard****LOVE this one!! (recommended by the Mills)
  5. 123 pop! / Rachel Isadora. ****Awesome graphics!
  6. Sophie skates / Rachel Isadora. ****Wonderful book about ice skating for kiddos.
  7. Kallaloo! : a Caribbean tale / by David and Phillis Gershator ****A Caribbean twist to stone soup, and a classic fave for us
  8. Glass slipper, gold sandal : a worldwide Cinderella / Paul Fleischman ; ill. Julie Paschkis. ****LOVE this book!! Cinderella told from many cultural perspectives. Each page is a different country. Paschkis' illustrations are amazing as always!
  9. Hansel and Gretel / Cynthia Rylant
  10. The Duchess bakes a cake, written and illustrated by Virginia Kahl.
  11. COMIC BOOK Sonic the Hedgehog
  12. The body's business / by Rebecca Weber.
  13. The magic school bus : inside the human body / by Joanna Cole
  14. Gone fishing : ocean life by the numbers / David McLimans. ****Madeline adores this book.
  15. Our skeleton / Susan Thames. Thames, Susan. 03-19-2010
  16. Transformers animated : the AllSpark almanac / by Jim Sorenson n' Bill Forster****The kids have spent hours pouring over the pages of this, together, peacefully - admiring the illustrations and talking about all the characters. They LOVE it!
  17. The human body / Seymour Simon.
  18. Teen Titans : year one / written by Amy Wolfram
  19. Sunflower house / Eve Bunting****Hooray! A story about a sunflower house. M's even more excited about ours now.
  20. ABC pop! / Rachel Isadora. ****One of our favorite Alphabet books.
  21. The bones you own : a book about the human body / by Becky Baines. ****LOVE this SMART book for kiddos!!
  22. Sonic the hedgehog archives. Volume 1
  23. The human body / created by Gallimard Jeunesse and Sylvaine Peyrols
  24. More pies! / Robert Munsch****Classic fave of ours.
  25. Hansel and Gretel / written by the Brothers Grimm ; retold and illustrated by Rachel Isadora.
  26. The Usborne complete book of the human body / Anna Claybourne ****Good book, as usual for Usborne.
  27. My brain / by Carol Lindeen.
  28. My heart and blood / by Dana Meachen Rau. ****Good illustrations, and clear information.
  29. My bones / Sally Hewitt.
  30. Books to grow on. Gardens [kit]
  31. Books to grow on. Kids create stories [kit]
  32. Zebras / by Jill Anderson.
  33. Tiny titans. Adventures in awesomeness / Art Baltazar & Franco****We ♥ the Tiny Titans!!! LOVE them!
  34. Tiny titans. Welcome to the treehouse / Art Baltazar & Franco****We ♥ the Tiny Titans!!! LOVE them! Might need to subscribe...

Kid DVDs:
  1. Transformers animated. Transform and roll out [videorecording] / Cartoon Network****Good one.
  2. Talking words factory [videorecording] / LeapFrog****Excellent phonics and consonant blends
  3. Learn to read at the storybook factory [videorecording] / produced by Bruce D. Johnson
  4. Meet the sight words 2 [videorecording] / created by Kathy Oxley. ****Good, but too slow for the kids. Madeline asked, "Why do they keep repeating the same thing over and over and over?"
  5. Meet the sight words 3 [videorecording] / created by Kathy Oxley.
  6. Talking Words Factory 2. Code word caper [videorecording] / LeapFrog, Torchlight Entertainment****Really good info about silent "e" and vowel rules...

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