Thursday, December 26, 2013

Top 10 FARM Themed Picture Books

1. "Otis" by Loren Long
2. "Farm" by Elisha Cooper
3. "Big Red Barn" by Margaret Wise Brown
4. "Barnyard Banter" by Denise Fleming
5. "Puppies and Piggies" by Cynthia Rylant
6.  "On the Farm" by David Elliott
7. "Minerva Louise and the Red Truck" by Janet Morgan Stoeke
8. "Moo, Ba, La, La, La" by Sandra Boynton
9. "Barnyard Dance!" by Sandra Boynton
10. "Five Little Chicks" by Nancy Tafuri

What are your favorite Farm Themed books?

Friday, December 20, 2013

"The Birthday Car"

"The Birthday Car" by Margaret Hillert was originally published in 1966 but was reprinted for a library edition in 2007.

A little boy's father brings home a little red pedal car for a birthday present. The little boy is so exciting to ride in his car.

"I can go up. Up, up, up. I can come down. Down, down, down. Here is a little blue car. Come and play. Here is a little yellow car. Come and play. Come and play."

As he is riding in his red car, he meets up with friends in a blue and yellow car!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve

"Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve" by Janet Morgan Stoeke was the first picture book about Minerva Louise I had read, and it left me wanting more!

Minerva Louise is a chicken who thinks about the world around her too literally much like the character Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish.

At Christmas time, Minerva noticed Santa Claus around the farm but thought he was a farmer wearing red hat, his reindeer were dressed up goats, and his sleigh was a truck without wheels!

Minerva Louise followed Santa Claus down the chimney of his farmer's house.

"Hey, Mr. Farmer, what are you doing? Unpacking? But this is where my farmers live. Now take your stuff out of their socks! And don't eat that! (milk and cookies) It's their breakfast! What will my farmers say when they wake up?"

It is such a silly book, and with your help, your children will be laughing so hard! They will surely request it to be read again and again!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How Do You Know?

"How Do You Know?" by Deborah W. Trotter, 2006

This story is about a young child named Polly and her mother who woke up one morning to a thick fog. The fog was so thick, you could barely see anything outside. Polly thought that everything disappeared because she could not see it anymore.

"Mama laughed. 'Everything's still there. It's just hiding in the fog.' 'What's fog?' asked Polly. 'It's damp air that you can see. And when it's really thick like it is this morning, you can't see through it.' Polly peered out the window. 'How do you know everything's still there?' she asked. 'I just do,' said Mama."

Mama and Polly went outside to see and feel the morning fog. They went to find Polly's swing, picked apples off of the ground that had fallen from the apple tree, found the pond and the barn. They fed the horses some of the apples they picked. Once they were finished in the barn, they went back outside and saw that the fog started to lift. They could start to see everything again.

At night when Mama was putting Polly to bed, and Polly said 'I love you, Mama.' 'I love you, too, Polly.' 'I know.' 'How do you know?' Mama asked. Polly smiled and closed her eyes. 'I just do.'"

This book portrays an accurate picture of the inquisitive nature of children as well as their often limited understanding of the world around them. Children often ask questions because they need reassurance when their world changes unexpectedly like waking up to a thick fog. And Polly's Mama begins to teach her more than just about what fog is but that we can be assured about some things in life like knowing when we love one another.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Solstice

"The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice" by Wendy Pfeffer

This is a fantastic topic for a picture book, and Wendy Pfeffer, a seasoned science-oriented author, teaches an age-appropriate science, history, and cultural lesson.

December 21st is considered the shortest day of the year or the Winter Solstice. This is the beginning of winter as this day has the fewest hours of daylight.

"The earth tilts as it moves around the sun. When the northern part of the earth tilts away from the sun, the north gets less heat and light than the southern part."

People have recognized this occurance for hundreds of years all over the world, but they didn't always know the science behind it. Some people thought that evil spirits caused shorter days because they didn't understand how the earth moves around the sun.

Find out how the Chinese, Romans, Europeans, and Incas celebrated the season. At the end of the book, there are additional facts given, and illustrative diagrams about the earth's orbit around the sun. Morever, there is a winter sunrise/sunset chart to use, an experiment about measuring shadows on the shortest day, and three more experiments! This is a great book for all elementary age children to read.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Night Before New Year's

"The Night Before New Year's" by Natasha Wing, 2009

The kids were excited for the upcoming celebration. "Out with the old and in with the new!" they shouted. They planned to stay up past midnight, hung decorations, had a large feast of family favorites, and played games. The family did lots of things to pass the times even though the kids were getting sleepy.

"'Put on your hats,' said Mom. 'Let's practice our cheer!' Counting down from ten, without a single mistake, we tooted horns and popped poppers! I was now wide awake!"

Do you think the kids were able to stay up to ring in the New Year? Read this family-fun picture book to find out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

S is for Snowman

"S is for Snowman: God's Wintertime Alphabet" by Kathy-jo Wargin

This book includes so many of the wonderful things we love about wintertime and Christmas time. Gifts, hot chocolate, ice skating, snowman, and wonder.

"E is for Evergreen. The Evergreen branches will twinkle with light to tell us God's love is eternally bright. F is for Frost. God casts the Frost sparkling white on the land, a beautiful blanket spread right from his hand."

Kids will enjoy this book as well as Kathy-jo Wargin's other seasonal books.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" by John Rox, illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

John Rox wrote this famous song that became a nationwide hit in 1953. Now you can enjoy this song with a picture book to go along.

A little girl's only request for a Christmas present is one real hippopotamus.

"I can see me now on Christmas morning, creeping down the stairs. Oh, what joy and what surprise when I open up my eyes to see my hippo hero standing there."

She saw a hippo at the zoo and has wanted one ever since. She already decided how she will take care of the hippo. And a great and silly illustration at the end of the book is the little girl riding with Santa in his sleigh with the hippo pulling the sleigh instead of reindeer. This is a great quirky book for young children to enjoy during the Christmas season.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Mice!

"Christmas Mice!" by Bethany Roberts

I love those little mice! Bethany Roberts has many other books about these cute little mice during different seasons and holidays. Enjoy reading about how the mice are preparing for Christmas. They are decorating, wrapping presents, baking, and Christmas caroling. While out caroling, the mice spot cat paw prints in the snow!

"What's this? A gift! 'From Cat to Mice.' A Christmas cheese! Oh, yum, yum, yum! The cat has caught our Christmas cheer!"

Then the little mice leave a gift for the mouse. Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Song of the Water Boatman"

"Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems" by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beckie Prange, is a 2006 Caldecott Honor Book is filled with poems based on pond life.

"'Fly, Dragonfly!'

Water nymph, you have
climbed from the shallows to don
your dragon-colors.

Perched on a reed stem
all night, shedding skin, you dry
your wings in moonlight.

Night melts into day. Swift birds wait to snap you up. Fly, dragonfly! Fly!"

The wood-cut illustrations are beautiful, and there are little paragraphs which further explain things on the pond.

Food Chain

"Life in the pond begins with plants, which manufacture  food from the sun. Plants become food for plant-eating (herbivorous) animals like the tiny water flea or the water boatman. These small animals and bugs are eaten by bigger bugs, which are eaten by meat-eating (carnivorous) animals like minnows and tadpoles. Bigger fish eat the smaller fish. And the heron, with its keen eyes and sharp beak, eats whatever it wants."

The text and illustrations are amazing. Read this book to your children and students and help them learn to appreciate the beautiful language.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Favorite Authors Series: Gail Gibbons

Given the hundreds of picture books I have read over the years, people will often ask me "What is your favorite book?" or "Who is your favorite author?" I can never answer this question with just one book or one author because there is more than one book and more than one author. I decided to start a Favorite Authors Series

Gail Gibbons has written and illustrated more than a hundred informational picture books for young children. I love her holiday books the most because they give historical information as well as modern day information on the way we celebrate holidays in a fun and inviting way. I love that children young and old can benefit from these books because of the detailed illustrations. I view these books as great conversation starters between children and their parents and teachers. 

Check out her many other titles on her website

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

"Happy Thanksgiving Day!" by Jill Roman Lord is a touch and feel board book great for toddlers and preschoolers.

This book shows a family enjoying the typical American Thanksgiving traditions of jumping in the leaves, enjoying a family feast, reading stories under cozy blankets, making colorful drawings of turkeys and pilgrims and enjoying a hayride.

It is told from the first person perspective of the young boy in the family who realizes that Thanksgiving is a time to recognize and give thanks to the Lord for everything he enjoys in life.

"Then, when the day is over and my nighttime prayers are said, I'm thankful for my teddy that's so snuggly in my bed. I like to name my blessings and to celebrate and say a special thanks for all God's gifts on this Thanksgiving Day! Thank you, God!"

Monday, November 11, 2013

My First Thanksgiving

"My First Thanksgiving" by Tomie dePaola is a great toddler and preschool age book that simplistically describes the history of Thanksgiving and what the typical household does to celebrate the holiday.

"This is the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims had a feast to thank God for their being together in their new home. Their friends came with food for the feast. We celebrate Thanksgiving every November."

The version I have is board book. I'm not sure if it's available in another format, but I prefer board books borrowed from the library because they reduce my fears of my child ripping the pages!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Can Be Safe

"I Can Be Safe: A First Look at Safety" by Pat Thomas

This book is about safety for young children. It talks about how, in general, most adults like teachers, doctors, and so forth, are people who can help children. It describes the importance of safety when playing sports. It reinforces the need to know parent's names, address, and phone number, as well as other important emergency contact information.

There is a section on fear. "Did you know that each of us also has a special feeling that lets us know when things are not safe? This feeling is called fear, an instinct that helps warn us when something is wrong or we are in danger. When you feel unsafe, fear can make your tummy or your head feel funny. It can make your heart beat faster and make it hard to breathe. Always trust your feelings-they are there to protect you."

There are a couple of pages that review about how people should never touch any part of your body covered by your swimsuit. And if someone does, you should tell a parent.

It reviews how fear can keep us from danger. Sometimes we aren't safe, but it is important to learn from mistakes.

This can be a valuable resource for parents who are unsure of how to inform and empower their children to deal with these sensitive topics. I think it is ultimately the parents' job to provide their children with the practical wisdom to be safe in a world that is sometimes unsafe.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Here Comes Super Grover!

"Here Comes Super Grover!" is a new beginning reading book by Candlewick Press. There are 4 short chapters in this book. Super Grover is the main character in the book who works hard to solve a different problem in each chapter. In the beginning of each chapter, there is a short introduction that a parent or helper can read to the child before he/she begins to read.

Here is a sample from Chapter 1 " Super Grover to the Rescue":

"Elmo has a wagon. He sees the steps. Oh, no! Super Grover brings a balloon. "A balloon won't work," says Elmo. Super Grover brings a kite. "A kite won't work," says Elmo. Super Grover brings a board. Elmo walks down the ramp!"

Children will love these readers starring their favorite Sesame Street characters as well as the little problem solving lessons. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Busy Little Squirrel

"The Busy Little Squirrel" by Nancy Tafuri

"Leaves were falling. The air was getting cold. It was time for Squirrel to get ready for winter. 'Squeak, squeak,' said Mouse. 'Will you nibble a pumpkin with us?'  But squirrel couldn't...He was so busy!"

Read about all of the animals who want to play with squirrel, but he had to turn them all down. He was storing up fruits and nuts for a long winter.

Nancy Tafuri's illustrations capture a childlike view of nature and all it's beauty. You can find a copy of this book in hard cover or board book

Fall Leaves

"Fall Leaves" by Liesbet Slegers is a board book about fall related things including leaves, nuts, and acorns and clothing like scarves, raincoats, and boots.

"This is my raincoat and these are my boots. With my raincoat and my boots on, I'll stay warm and dry as I play outside in the fall breeze! This is the rain and this is an umbrella. Drip-drop drip-drop says the cool rain, but I stay nice and dry under my umbrella.!"

This is a short and cute little board book perfect for anytime during the fall season for your toddler or preschool age child.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Give Thanks to the Lord

"Give Thanks to the Lord" by Karma Wilson (Celebrating Scripture Psalm 92)

This picture book shows a family celebrating Thanksgiving together. It is narrated from a young boy in the family.

"It is good to give thanks to the Lord! Friends and family here at last. Hugs and kisses all around. Everybody says, "Hello!" Laughter makes a merry sound. The day is lovely, cool, and bright. Our house is filled with noisy cheer. A perfect day for giving thanks as we all gather here. It is good to give thanks to the Lord!"

The children play outside in the leaves, drink warm cider, smell delicious pies and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. The illustrations show the children getting a long and having a fun time. The young boy fills up on pumpkin pie with his grandpa.

"I'm so tired I have to yawn as we all say our sad goodbyes. I climb in bed, whisper prayers, get a good-night kiss, and shut my eyes. And it's good, so good to give thanks to the Lord."

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Mice!

"Thanksgiving Mice!" by Bethany Roberts

The mice are putting on a play about the meaning of Thanksgiving.

"Pilgrim mice sailed on a ship. They came from England, far away. 'Raise the anchor!' 'Set the sails!' 'To America we go!' For many days the Pilgrim mice in stormy seas tossed to and fro. They huddled, seasick in the hold, hungry, thirsty, filled with dread. At last their journey came to an end. The mice all shouted, 'Land ahead!'"

This is another cute book in this series. One thing I would say is given the content, it may be more suited for the older preschool children, kindergartners, and early elementary age children. It is cute to read if your children are familiar with the other mouse books by Bethany Roberts, but the history may be a bit over the younger children's heads. The other books in the series seem better suited for preschoolers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gobble, Gobble, CRASH!

"Gobble, Gobble, CRASH!: A Barnyard Counting Bash" by Julie Stiegemeyer

The farm was quiet with the animals quietly resting in their places when suddenly five white geese arrived on the scene and created a "gobble, gobble crash!"

"Turkeys smashed into the coop where the chickens squawked and fluttered--a fluffy feathered group. Mama Hen grew angry, and she scolded loud and quick, 'Turkeys, can't you calm yourselves?' Think of my SIX chicks!'"

The turkeys continued to disrupt all of the animals and woke up the farmer. The farmer threatened to go out and get a turkey for a feast! But the other farm animals heard this and decided to help save the turkeys. Everyone quieted down, the turkeys disappeared, and the farmer thought maybe he must have been dreaming!

This is a fun, farm-themed picture book sure to get a lot of laughs and a bonus is that you can count the farm animals along the way.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Leaf Jumpers

Leaf Jumpers” by Carole Gerber

“We watch a soft wind shake the trees. It lifts the leaves and sets them free. Released, they flutter through the air, drifting downward gracefully…Red maple’s broad and pointed leaves flame bright and vivid as a match. The sugar maple’s leaves are orange, like pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. Stubby fingers, brown as dirt, reach from the slender white oak leaf.”

This is a great fall book which shows pictures of many of the different deciduous tree leaves and the colors they turn before falling onto the ground. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

It's Pumpkin Time!

"It's Pumpkin Time!" by Zoe Hall is a Halloween/Fall picture book great for toddlers and preschoolers. 

A young boy and girl plant pumpkin seeds and explain how they take care of their pumpkin patch as the pumpkins continue to grow. When they are ready to be picked, they load them up in their wheelbarrow. When the time is right, they carve them into jack-o'-lanterns! 

Here is a sample text: "Every week we water them and pull up lots of weeds. Soon we see buds where flowers will bloom. The yellow flowers show us where our pumpkins will grow. At first the pumpkins are green and tiny but they grow bigger and bigger."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Turtle and Snake's Spooky Halloween

"Turtle and Snake's Spooky Halloween" by Kate Spohn

This beginning reader book is not only a great reader but also another great Halloween picture book for children. Friends Turtle and Snake plan a Halloween party. They make a list and check things off of the list as they finish each item. As a list-maker myself, I love this aspect of the book because it helps the reader understand planning, organization, and time. 

"First they invite their friends. "What's next?" asks Snake. "Pumpkins," says Turtle. So Turtle and Snake pick pumpkins...and make jack-o'-lanterns." "What's next?" asks Turtle. "We need to decorate," says Snake. So Turtle and Snake decorate Turtle's house."

The illustrations in this book add so much more detail to this story. There is a written To Do list that appears each time an item is checked off the list. Although the language is basic because it's a beginning reader, the illustrations elaborate on what kinds of decorations are used and what kinds of games are chosen for example. 

Lastly, there's nothing scary and spooky about this Halloween book either which I really appreciate. This has become one of my new favorite Halloween books! I found my copy my local library's book sale!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thanksgiving Is...

"Thanksgiving Is..." by Gail Gibbons, 2004

This non-fiction picture book gives the historical background for the holiday and a description of how we celebrate Thanksgiving in the present.

"In many ways, our Thanksgiving celebrations remind us of the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving. There are pumpkins, turkeys, fall leaves, and other symbols gathered together to look like harvesttime. Some homes are decorated. Family and friends come together to share good times. It is a time for loving and sharing."

Preschoolers will like looking at the pictures and probably like hearing the present-day traditions. Kindergartners and elementary age students will appreciate a deeper historical background. It's a great book to add to your holiday collection. Your kids will learn something new year after year.

"Apples and Pumpkins"

"Apples and Pumpkins" by Anne Rockwell

In the fall, a family drives to Comstock Farm to pick their very own apples and pumpkins for the holiday season. They pick apples off of the trees and put them in their baskets. The select their pumpkins from the patch and load everything to go home.

"At home we carve a jack-o'-lantern face on our big, orange pumpkin. We put a candle inside and light it. Now our pumpkin looks scary, and funny, too. On Halloween night we put our pumpkin on the doorstep. My mother gives away lots of our red and shiny apples for trick-or-treat."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When Autumn Falls

When Autumn Falls” by Kelli Nidey

Some people call the season autumn, some people call it fall, and some people call it both! Autumn seems to be the more romantic way to refer to the season, but fall seems to be the most general term because it is the term used more commonly with children. And unlike many names for things, fall is a very appropriate term for this season.

This book describes many of the different things about the season that literally fall.

“Leaves on the trees fall—red, gold, yellow, brown, and orange come down. The temperature falls, bringing cooler weather. Grab your jacket or your sweater. Ripe apples fall, for bobbing and baking, and caramel apple making…Evening falls earlier in the day as the days fall shorter. We call it fall.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Minerva Louise on Halloween

"Minerva Louise on Halloween" by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Silly Minerva Louise (the hen) will have your kids laughing from the beginning when she mistakens trick-or-treaters for farmers and decorative spiderwebs for curtains! Minerva Louise doesn't understand about jack-o-lanterns, scarecrows, ghost costumes, or candy corn.

"Oh, my. What happened here? What's gotten you guys so fired up?" (Referring to the lit jack-o-lanterns) "Oh that? Don't worry. That's just the laundry. Although laundry usually stays on the clothesline, doesn't it." (Referring to children dressed up as ghosts!

Monday, October 7, 2013

P is for Pumpkin

"P is for Pumpkin: God's Harvest Alphabet" by Kathy-jo Wargin, illustrated by YaWen Ariel Pang

This is one of four alphabet picture books written by Kathy-jo Wargin. I love the commonalities between the books with the celebration of our typical American holiday traditions, family-oriented activities, and overall appreciation of God's beautiful creation.

I love the Christian aspect of this series as well because it's not preachy but simply acknowledges that "every good and perfect gift comes from above." James 1:17

"Ravens are flying in the fall sky, black against orange as each one floats by...R is for Ravens...over the Scarecrow, all stuffed with hay. A reminder that God watches us each day. S is for Scarecrow. T is for Trick or Treat. This time of year children say 'Trick or Treat!' or go to their churches for fun things to eat."

This series of seasonal picture books is one I would like to add to our personal collection.

"From Apples and Acorns and other great things, may you find every blessing that God's autumn brings."

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Favorite Halloween Picture Books

These are some of my favorite Halloween-themed picture books (Click on the title to find additional information on some selections:

1. "Minerva Louise on Halloween" by Janet Morgan Stoeke
2. "Batty for Black" by Christianne C. Jones
3. "Halloween" by Gail Gibbons
4.  "Stellaluna" by Janell Cannon
5. "Curious George Goes to a Costume Party" by Margaret & H.A. Rey
6.  "Moonlight the Halloween Cat" by Cynthia Rylant
7. "Mouse's Halloween Party" by Jeannine Modesitt
8. "Hallween Mice" by Bethany Roberts
9. "Dem Bones" by Bob Barner
10. "It's Pumpkin Time" by Zoe Hall
11. "Turtle and Snake's Spooky Halloween" by Kate Spohn

Saturday, October 5, 2013


"Stellaluna" by Janell Cannon, 1993

This picture book appears on many favorite children's book lists that I have seen in online articles and random brochures I pick up here and there. It is hardly a favorite of mine, (I think it has something to do with the fact that it's about bats), but it is a good picture book. Specifically I think given it is about bats and birds, Halloween is a great time of year to read this story.

Stellaluna is the name of a baby bat who narrowly escapes death by an owl. She lands in a birds nest with three baby birds. Stellaluna makes friends with the birds, and Mama bird takes care of Stellaluna. After the baby birds try and imitate Stellaluna hanging upside down, Mama scolds Stellaluna into behaving appropriately in order to stay in the nest. Stellaluna complies and continues to eat bird food and tries to land like birds land. But Stellaluna is clumsy and could not land gracefully.

Read this story to find out how Stellaluna is reunited with her own Mama and discovers that she has a lot in common with her baby bird friends even though they are different creatures.

This story resonates with many children as they struggle with their imperfections and fitting in with peers.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Curious George Goes to a Costume Party

"Curious George Goes to a Costume Party" illustrated in the style of H.A. Rey by Martha Weston

This can be a fun Halloween book if your child is a fan of Curious George. In this story, George and the man with the yellow hat go to a Halloween party, but they didn't wear costumes because Mrs. Gray forgot to tell them it was a costume party. Thankfully Mrs. Gray had dress up clothes for George to wear as a costume. He picked cowboy clothes and had a lasso too!

While getting ready, George got curious like he usually does and started jumping on the bed to look at himself in his costume in the mirror. But George jumped too high, bounced off of the bed and got tangled in the table cloth on the night stand. He heard people responding to the loud noise he made and heard someone say "Was that a ghost?" George became afraid and started running even though he was still covered in the table cloth. George looked like HE was a ghost.

Read this story to find out what happens next!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Pumpkin Fair

"The Pumpkin Fair" by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Eileen Christelow (author/illustrator of Five
Little Monkeys Series)

The Pumpkin Fair is the place to be with dozens and dozens of pumpkins and people eager to show off their prize-winning pumpkins, select their pumpkins for home, listen to the Peter Pumpkin Band, watch the Pumpkin Princess float by, play pumpkin bowling and other fun pumpkin games, eat pumpkin pie and so much more.

"It's growing dark, but through the night, the jack-o'-lanterns shines so bright. We all hold hands and sing a song of pumpkins round and pumpkins long, of pumpkins fat and pumpkins lean and pumpkins somewhere in between. 'Good night! Good night! Sleep tight! Take care! See you at next year's Pumpkin Fair!'"

I love the idea of reading this book before heading out to pick out your own pumpkins or attending a Halloween parade or similar event. It just helps to put you in the Halloween mood and realize how great a community can be when it comes together during the holiday season.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Moonlight the Halloween Cat

"Moonlight the Halloween Cat" by Cynthia Rylant

This black cat loves the night life, especially Halloween night.

"Pumpkins smile at her. Straw laps welcome her. And children are out. Moonlight loves children. She follows them, but they don't see her. She is black, like the night."

Moonlight loves the moon and watches the night animals move about.

"And someone has dropped a candy. A treat for a Halloween cat!"

One of the reasons I like this book for Halloween is that it doesn't involve gory or scary Halloween things. This is sweet and safe for 3 years old and up.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halloween Mice!

"Halloween Mice!" by Bethany Roberts

Follow these cute little dressed-up mice as they go out at night through a pumpkin patch and under the moonlight dancing about. They run into a CAT and they manage to scare it away.

"Halloween mice tiptoe, tiptoe. One little mouse is oh so slow. Hurry! Scurry! Frisk, Frisk! Halloween mice skitter through the cornfield. Ghosts! Witches! Whisk, whisk! 

Read about these cute little mice as they celebrate Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Birthdays! Check out Bethany Roberts other books in this series.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Apple Pie that Papa Baked

"The Apple Pie that Papa Baked" by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jonathan Bean

This story follows the pattern of the familiar nursery rhyme This is the House that Jack Built. It is about a young girl who tells about the apple pie her father made.

"This is the world, blooming with life, that spins with the sun, fiery and bright, that lights the sky, wide and fair, that carries the clouds, heaped and round, that drops the rain, cool and fresh, that waters the roots, deep and fine, that feed the tree, crooked and strong, that grows the apples, juicy and red, that go in the pies, warm and sweet, that Papa bakes."

The colors in the illustrations add warmth to story and helps to give the reader an ability to almost smell that yummy apple pie!!

Although this would be a great story to read anytime, I think it makes sense to read it in the autumn months to help make the season come alive!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Clifford The Big Red Dog

"Clifford The Big Red Dog" by Norman Bridwell, 1963

This classic story has become an American favorite over the past fifty years with dozens of subsequent stories. There are so many versions, it is sometimes a challenge to come across the original story.

Emily Elizabeth introduces her dog Clifford who is "the biggest, reddest dog" on her street. She describes how they play together and how sometimes Clifford makes mistakes like catching people driving around in their cars! Children will love the humor in the illustrations of Clifford getting into mischief. One of Clifford's strengths is being a great watchdog. At the end of the story, Emily Elizabeth enters Clifford in a dog show, but he doesn't win first prize. Emily doesn't mind because she thinks he is great.

Some of the other Clifford picture books include how he celebrates each major holiday such as Clifford's First Christmas and Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit. There are also beginning reader books such as Clifford Goes to the Doctor and Clifford and the Dinosaurs.

Then of course there are board books, audio books, and a popular television series!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" was written by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault and was published in 1989. It was illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

This is a very popular alphabet picture book where the lowercase letters in the alphabet climb up a coconut tree. The tree can't hold all of the letters, and they all fall to the ground. The capital letters come to help the injured lowercase letters.

"H is tangled up with I. J and K are about to cry. L is knotted like a tie."

You can watch an animated singing version of this book on You Tube. I actually get this song stuck in my head during the day! Uh-oh!

"A is out of bed, and this is what he said, 'Dare double dare, you can't catch me. I'll beat you to the top of the coconut tree.' Chicka chicka BOOM! BOOM!"

For more fun, look up the Boom Chicka Boom song on YouTube and have fun singing and dancing to this song! Now you'll never get either one of these songs out of your head!

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Do You Say Good Night?

How Do You Say Good Night?” by Raina Moore

“How do you say good night, my pup? How do you say good night? With a stretch and a yawn, close my eyes until dawn. That’s how I say good night. How do you say good night, piglet? How do you say good night? With a kiss and a sigh and a sweet lullaby. That’s how I say good night.”

Find out how little lamb, cat, duckling and a little girl say good night in this sweet bedtime storybook.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Football Book

"My Football Book" by Gail Gibbons

This little picture book describes the basics of football including an explanation of the uniform, the football field, and the game itself.

"Each team has plans of action called plays. For different plays, the players have different jobs. The team on offense is the one that has the ball. The team on defense tries to stop the other team from scoring. Games are divided into four quarters. To begin the game, the referee tosses a coin. The team that wins the toss has the choice of receiving the ball or defending a certain end zone."

More terms described are tackle, huddle, line of scrimmage, field goal, and penalty. In the back there are further explanations about the offensive player positions, defensive player positions and more football terms like fumble and blocking.

Gail Gibbons wrote similar bookS called "My Soccer Book", "My Basketball Book, and "My Baseball Book".

Monday, September 16, 2013

Raczka Seasons

Bob Raczka's four picture books about the seasons are quick, catchy, bright, bold and poetic.

Guess what quote comes from each book.

"Angels are lovely, sidewalks are shovely. Breathy, nippy, cocoa is sippy."

"Biking, blading, lemonading. Hoeing, sowing, mowers mowing."

"Hooters, howlers, loud meowers. Bonfire builders, pie-crust fillers, even former caterpillars!"

"Sliders, swingers, picnic bringers, Readers, rhymers, tall-tree climbers."

Add these seasonal books to your list of "must reads" during the year! You and your children will love to read them over and over again!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I'm Telling the Truth

"I'm Telling the Truth: A First Look at Honesty" by Pat Thomas is part of a series "A First Look at..."

This is a great conversation-starter picture book that practically invites the reader to participate from beginning to end. Sometimes adults don't know how to talk about some of these more serious issues which is why using these books will help you with the foundation of your conversation.

"Most of us know the difference between what is true and what isn't. And most of us know how important it is to tell the truth. There are lots of reasons why people aren't honest. Sometimes it's because they feel ashamed, or they want to impress others. Some people say things that aren't true to get things that they want but don't really deserve."

There are too red outlined boxes in this book that ask the reader questions:

1. "What about you? Can you think of someone you know about - it could be someone in a story or a real person- who isn't honest? What sorts of things happened to them?"

2. "What about you? Have you ever been blamed for something you didn't do? Was there someone who could have helped you by telling the truth?"

It also reviews examples about trust, actions are sometimes better than words, misunderstandings and much more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A is for Amazing Moments

"A is for Amazing Moments: A Sports Alphabet" by Brad Herzog, 2008

In addition to being a great sports resource for children, I thought it would be a good book to read during the Summer/Winter Olympic seasons. Not all of the amazing moments referenced are Olympic moments, but many of them are Olympic moments. The Olympic Games get people excited about competition in general.

"E is for the English Channel, twenty-one miles wide, and Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim to the other side. Runners had come oh so close and had been trying for quite a while, but Roger Bannister finally did it. F is the first Four-minute mile!"

Some of the Olympic moments mentioned are Bob Beamon making the "perfect jump" in the 1968 Summer Olympics, Jesse Owens winning gold in the 100 meter dash, long jump, 200 meter dash, and 4x100 meter relay in the 1936 Summer Olympics, and Wilma Rudolph who became the first American woman to win three track and field gold medals.

Let us also not forget that this is also an alphabet book which can be helpful to younger learners.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Do Unto Otters

"Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners" by Laurie Keller

The author writes that this book is based on the Golden Rule and quotes Socrates, "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." It is not based on biblical references.

This book is about a rabbit who meets his new neighbors the Otters. He had never met any otters before and was afraid they might not get along. He gets some advice from an owl about the Golden Rule. Mr. Rabbit thought about how he would like to be treated.

"Well...I'd like otters to be friendly. A cheerful hello, a nice smile, and good eye contact are all part of being friendly."

The book also gives five different languages how to say please, thank you, and excuse me.

"I hope they know how to play fair. I'd like it if we could share things: our favorite books, our favorite activities, our favorite treats (hmmm...maybe not the treats)."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kindergarten Alphabet Books for Every Month!

"Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic" by Steven Schnur

"D is for Dancing Dragon: A Chinese Alphabet" by Carol Crane

"Dr. Seuss' ABC: Am Amazing Alphabet Book" by Dr. Seuss

"S is for Save the Planet: A How to Be Green Alphabet" by Brad Herzog

"Feelings to Share from A to Z" by Todd Snow

"Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic" by Steven Schnur"

"The Icky Bug Alphabet Book" by Jerry Pallotta

"Summertime: An Alphabet Acrostic" by Steven Schnur

"Community Helpers from A to Z" by Bobbie Kalman

"Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic" by Steven Schnur

"P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet" by Carol Crane

"S is for Star: A Christmas Alphabet" by Cynthia Furlong Reynolds

Continue to read lots of picture books to children during the kindergarten year to build their vocabulary and instill in them a love of reading and learning. Add at least one specific alphabet-themed picture book per month which can assist you in reinforcing their learning the alphabet and will provide them with a consistent pattern. Moreover, most of these books have a consistent theme, so they will be learning more than just the ABC's.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wow! Ocean!

"Wow! Ocean!" by Robert Neubecker

This is such a different kind of preschool book. I know this because I read hundreds of picture books. The first thing I thought of when reading this book is that it would be great for kindergarten age (5 and 6 years old), but it of course would make a great preschool book or any elementary age child.

The illustrations are vibrant, bold and detailed. Each two-page spread focuses on one specific aspect of ocean life. For example, "Wow! Rays!" shows illustrations of all different kinds of ocean rays. Then each different kind of ray is labeled with its name. There are sawfish, guitarfish, stingrays, butterfly rays, eagle rays, little skate, torpedo rays, thornback rays, and giant manta rays.

The other focal pages are about shells, tide pool, fish, whales, sharks, jellyfish, what's down "deep", coral reefs, dolphins, anemone, turtles, and lastly sunken ship!

And it is as simple as illustrations, the focus, and the names of specific creatures. So it isn't one of these abundant fact-filled books full of tons of words.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Island of the Blue Dolphins

"Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell is a Newberry Award Winning Book from 1961.

This is one of my favorite books because the main character Karana is a strong, resourceful, and hopeful female based on a real life woman named Juana Maria. She captivated me from beginning to end, and then I had to research more information about the real Juana Maria.

Karana becomes stranded on an island for eighteen years all alone!

A book that many boys enjoy called Hatchet by Gary Paulson is a similar heroic survival story about a young boy who survives a plane crash and has to wait to be rescued. He too uses his resourcefulness, strength and hope to survive. 

Both Island of the Blue Dolphins and Hatchet could be enjoyed by both girls and boys because they are suspenseful and intriguing. An important note to mention though is that Hatchet is at a higher reading level (Grade 5-8) where Island of the Blue Dolphins is more Grade 3-6. So use caution if your child is on the younger end. Certainly anyone older than Grade 3-6 would still love reading Island of the Blue Dolphins. I enjoy it, and I am in my thirties!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Minerva Louise and the Red Truck

"Minerva Louise and the Red Truck" by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Minerva Louise liked to play in the farmer's red truck. She found things like tools and pots. One day when Minerva Louise was in the truck, the farmer started to drive away! Minerva Louise had a lot of fun as she looked out at the things they drove past.

"A beautiful lake (a swimming pool), hard at work in the fields (golfers)...and a silly barn wearing a hat!" (church with a steeple)

Read this book to find out what else Minerva Louise sees while riding in the red truck.