Friday, May 31, 2013

"The World is Waiting for You"

"The World is Waiting for You" by Barbara Kerley

This is a National Geographic picture book featuring beautiful photographs of the world around us.

"Right outside your window there's a world to explore. Ready? Follow that path around the next bend. Who knows where it might lead? Make a splash. Get a little too wet. Dive in. Sift. Scrape. Go on-get your hands dirty."

There are pictures of an oceanographer diving with dolphins, a paleontologist digging up fossils, scientists exploring the Cave of Crystals in Mexico, and so many more gorgeous pictures to give children a glimpse of the large world we have to explore.

This book challenges children to explore, create, and get hands-on experience. If you are looking for an inspirational book, this is perfect.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Rock is Lively

"A Rock is Lively" by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long, 2012

This beautifully illustrated picture book highlights many of the most beautiful rocks.

"A rock is mixed up. All rocks are made of a mix of ingredients called minerals. Just as a batter of flour, butter, and sugar makes a cookie, a batter of minerals make a rock. The recipe for a rock might include minerals like aluminum, copper, diamond, fluorite, gold, gypsum, lead, nickel, platinum, quartz, silver, sulfur, tin, topaz, and turquoise."

Read about galactic rocks, old rocks, big and small rocks, and so much more. There are charts of many of the most popular rocks like marble, pumice, quartz, gypsum, diamond, lead, turquoise, topaz, amethyst, copper, nickel, gold, pyrite, tin, lava and many more. Learn about geodes and the beauty that lies inside. Read this book and find out why a rock is "lively"!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Flip, Float, Fly

"Flip, Float, Fly: Seeds on the Move" by JoAnn Early Macken

"Take a breath and blow on a fuzzy dandelion. Whee! One puff sends seeds soaring. Like small, soft feathers, they parachute up in the sky."

Seeds are carried by the wind and the water when it rains. Animals also move seeds with their mouths, hand or on their wings.

"Burdock seeds stick to sleeves and sock. They cling to feathers and fur. We carry them as we hike through the wilds and drop them off in new places."

This gorgeously illustrated picture book shows the beauty and amazing journey of seeds. There are also pages in the back of the book with examples of different kinds of seeds such as a peach pit, cherry pit, pumpkin seed, corn seed, apple seed, tomato seed, sunflower seed and more.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home on the Range

"Home on the Range" by Brian Ajhar

Do you remember this song?

"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam. Where the deer and antelope play. Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day."

This book provides the words to this classic song along with illustrations of a young boy who sees stars in the night time sky in the shape of a cowboy hat. Intrigued, the boy rides his toy rocking horse into the sky to catch the hat. The wind carries the hat through the cow pastures and lands on top of a cows horn.

Will the boy every get a hold of that hat? And will he ever go back to sleep, or was he asleep and dreaming the whole time?

This is a fun book if you're looking for a song book to sing along with your child or if you are doing a western theme. You could also use it as a bedtime story.

Monday, May 27, 2013

May There Always Be Sunshine (Based on a Russian Folktale)

May There Always Be Sunshine by Jim Gill

This is based on a Russian folk-tale.

“May there always be sunshine. May there always be blue skies. May there always be Mama. May there always be me. May there always be colors. May there always be grapes. May there always be teeth. May there always be fish. May there always be pancakes. May there always be books. May there always be blankets. May there always be dads. May there always be farmers. May there always be hats. May there always be dancing. May there always be rain. May there always be sky scrapers. May there always be fiddles. May there always be birthdays. May there always be us.”

Full of hope and positivity, this picture book makes a great "greet-the-morning" book or bedtime story. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Happens to a Hamburger?

"What Happens to a Hamburger" by Paul Showers is a Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science Stage 2 picture book about the human digestive system.

This book "breaks down" the digestive system in a very simplistic way. One example that is given asks the reader to take a bite of a raw carrot, chew it and spit it out on a plate and then do it again but chew it thirty times to see the difference it makes when you chew your food longer. Saliva helps to break down the food we eat.
The book goes on to explain parts of our bodies that help add in the digestion of the foods we eat such as the epiglottis, trachea, esophagus, stomach, intestines, etc.

"Your stomach is a tube like your gullet. But there is a difference. Your stomach can stretch like a balloon. When you eat, your stomach stretches to hold the food."

I was a little afraid to read this book--afraid of pictures and descriptions that might be given. But this book treads lightly. There are a few up-close photographs of the inside of the body, but they are not bad (Except for maybe the epiglottis. Sorry I just could never be a doctor! LOL) And when discussing the parts of foods the body doesn't use, it just says "You get rid of the unused food when you go to the toilet." And that is all.

Paul Showers is the author of many Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science books and knows how to provide young children with just the right amount of information in just the right way.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

If I Never Forever Endeavor

If I Never Forever Endeavor” by Holly Meade

A little bird wonders would it would be like to fly out of the nest for the first time. 

“If in all of forever, I never endeavor to fly, I won’t know if I can.”

He weighs the pros and cons of flying but realizes that “if I don’t fly I won’t know what it is to swoop low or soar high, or what it’s like to pluck a sweet bug from the sky."

So the bird gives it a try, and after a few bumps and thumps, the bird flew!

“If I hadn’t endeavored and found my wings cleaver, I never a sky would have scaled, never a world would have seen, and never a friend would have found.”

This is a wonderful inspirational book for your child that teaches a great life lesson.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Stormy Weather

"Stormy Weather" by Debi Gliori

Sometimes nighttime can bring out fears in children like stormy summer nights. This picture book reassures children that their parents will keep them safe.

"And if that breeze became a gale--whipped leaves, snapped twigs, made branches flail. I'd wrap you safely in my wings and tell you tales of sleepy things. And if it rained ten thousand rains and torrents swept down streets to drains, we'd build a boat and sail away to where the sun shines bright all day."

The beautiful, poetic language and soft, dreamy illustrations will help put your child at ease and help give them peaceful dreams.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Chrysanthemum” by Kevin Henkes

Chrysanthemum is the name of a little girl who thinks she has a great and special name until she goes to school and gets teased. Not only can I relate to having an uncommon name, but I also have red-hair which is a double-whammy in childhood social situations.

Her peers tease her day after day until one day an admired teacher compliments her in front of everyone and also happens to be named after a flower--Delphinium. Then other children want to be named after flowers too.

“Chrysanthemum grew and grew and grew. And when she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. She loved the way it sounded when her mother woke her up. She loved the way it sounded when her father called her for dinner. And she loved the way it sounded when she whispered it to herself in the bathroom mirror…

Chrysanthemum thought her name was absolutely perfect. And then she started school.”

This can be a really great tool for children in so many scenarios relating to individuality, acceptance, peer-pressure, and on and on. If you know your child may be struggling with something, and you do not know how to get him or her to talk to you, this could be a great conversation-starter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Trucks Roll!

Trucks Roll” by George Ella Lyon

This exciting book about trucks shows children that trucks carry things that are very familiar to them like apple juice, books, clocks, and even chocolate chip cookies! 

It also reveals some of what truck drivers do like stop at weigh stations and truck stops.

“Haul them through mountains, over rivers, past towns—around blue sky curves, through rain pouring down. Trucks roll!”

This book is appropriate for preschool through elementary age.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Growing Story

"The Growing Story" by Ruth Krauss

This adorable story is about a little boy who began to notice when nature started to grow after a long winter. He asked his mother if he is growing just like the flowers, trees and grass. His mother reassured him that he was in fact growing. As the seasons changed, they packed away the little boy's winter clothes and brought out the summer clothes.

The months went buy and the little boy continued to notice everything growing except himself.

"The corn grew. Blossoms grew on the orchard trees. Lilacs bloomed by the barn. The chicks grew taller. The puppy grew taller. The little boy said, 'You both grew taller.' He said to his mother, 'They both grew taller. I don't feel taller.' He asked her, 'Am I growing too?' 'Oh yes. Of course,' his mother replied."

As the cooler weather started settling in, the boy and his mother pulled out the clothes they had put away last winter. The little boy put on his clothes and....he GREW! He put on his coat, and it was too small! He was so excited. He did cartwheels!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Animal Poetry

Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary” by Julie Larios

This is a poetry book about different colored animals.

Green Frog
One thing for sure
about a green frog
on a lily pad
on a green day
in spring:
One hope
and her green
is gone.
See how she swims,
blue frog now
under blue water.

Gray Goose
Gray mama goose
in a tizzy,
honk-honk-honking herself dizzy,
can’t find her gosling,
she’s honking and running,
webbed feet slapping,
all wild waddle,
her feathers a muddle,
splashing through puddles,
wings flapping…
there’s her gold baby,
all fuzz,

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"Jumanji" by Chris VanAllsburg

This award-winning picture book is a wild, adventuresome, and suspenseful story about a brother and sister who discover an unclaimed board game outside. They decide to play the game without realizing that with every move, they are putting their lives in danger. This game "comes to life"!

Lions, monkeys, rhino-stampedes, slithering snakes and much more take over their home!

You may be familiar with the movie that was created based on this story. I thought the movie was scary as an adult. I would be careful not to show it to children who are too young or sensitive to scary movies. This picture book is much less threatening but also may be a bit too intense for young readers. I would recommend this for ages 7-12.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

We Belong Together

"We Belong Together" by Joyce Wan

This short and sweet board book is perfect for preschoolers.

"We belong together like smitten little mittens, like peanut butter and jelly, like a pencil is drawn to paper, like bacon and eggs every day, like hot cocoa and marshmallows, like a special fork and spoon. Baby, you're my perfect pear."

That is the entire book. The illustrations are adorable as well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" by Eileen Christelow

This classic nursery rhyme has been made famous because of the books by Eileen Christelow.

Five little monkeys don't want to go to bed. To make matters worse, they start jumping on the bed. Every parent knows that is a recipe for danger, especially when five monkeys are doing it at the same time!

The monkey's mama has to call the doctor when the monkeys start falling off of the bed. The monkeys don't listen to their mama and eventually they all fall off the bed! Finally the mama gets all five monkeys to bed.

Eileen Christelow has written seven additional books about these monkeys: Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed, Five Little Monkeys Bake a Birthday Cake; Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree; Five Little Monkeys with Nothing To Do; Five Little Monkeys Play Hide-and-Seek; Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping; and Five Little Monkeys Wash the Car.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Jump, Frog, Jump!

"Jump, Frog, Jump!" by Robert Kalan

Read this book to the rhyme of the classic tale "The House that Jack Built". This little frog shows off his strengths by jumping to catch his food and jumping to save his own life!

"This is the turtle that slid into the pond and ate the snake that dropped from a branch and swallowed the fish that swam after the frog that was under the fly that climbed out of the water. How did the frog get away? Jump, frog, jump!"

This is such a fun read-aloud book that children are sure to request again and again.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Weather Words and What They Mean

"Weather Words and What They Mean" by Gail Gibbons, 1990

This picture book gives a simplistic overview of common weather terminology, explains the water cycle, and different types of clouds. Although this book is over twenty years old, the content is still accurate. Here are some of the terminology explained:

Air Pressure
Air Mass
and many more!!

"The many combinations of temperature, air pressure, moisture and wind create different kinds of weather conditions. A big area of weather that is the same is called an air mass. The boundary between two air masses is called a front. This boundary is where the weather changes."

This is a great book for elementary age students. I think a great summertime learning activity could involve learning about the weather, keeping a daily chart or journal and watching the forecast. I would have thought that was fun during the summertime as a child. And in terms of practicality, the weather is one of the most common "ice-breakers" in adult conversation with strangers or acquaintances. Second to that is sports!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Peter and the Wolf

"Peter and the Wolf" by Vladimir Vagin

This classic tale is derived from the symphony by Sergei Prokofiev. It is about a young boy named Peter who is warned by his grandfather that there is a wolf is nearby. He must take caution outside and follow directions on where to go and where not to go.

Peter doesn't listen and soon he spots the wolf gobble up one of his animal friends. Peter decides to try and capture the wolf by himself. He succeeds and convinces hunters to release him to the zoo instead of killing him.

And to enhance this book even further, search for Peter and the Wolf music on YouTube to play along with the story!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Otis the Tractor

Otis” by Loren Long

This is a touching story about a deep friendship between a tractor named Otis and a calf on a farm. They become best friends until one day the farmer gets a new tractor. Otis is no longer needed and no longer plays around with the calf. The calf grows sad and lonely. 

One day the calf gets into trouble and cannot get out of the mud. Nobody could get him out. Finally, Otis comes along and starts circling the mud pond just like a game of ring-around-the-rosy they used to play together. This motivated the calf to climb out of the mud.

“From that day on, the farmer discovered that with Otis’s puttering purr beside the chicken coop, his chickens laid more eggs. At milking time, with Otis’s gentle chuff nearby, his cows produced more milk. On occasion, Otis even got to join the farmer and the big yellow tractor out in the fields. But often, at the end of the day, Otis would just sit with his friend under the apple tree and watch the farm below.”

This is considered a “read-aloud” picture book because it is quite lengthy. This is one of those books great for age 4 through 110!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Frank and Beans

"Frank and Beans" by Kathy-jo Wargin is a ZonderKids, I Can Read! Level 2 Reading with Help book.

Frank was a young boy who wanted his own puppy. One of his neighbors was selling puppies and Frank asked both his Mom and Dad who said he needs to be older. They were adorable black puppies. Frank wanted one very much. Surprisingly the next morning, Frank's Mom and Dad said he was older and was allowed to have a puppy!

Unfortunately, all of the puppies had been sold. Frank was very disappointed.

"Mom put a hand on Frank's shoulder. 'It's hard to be let down, but God wants us to have faith that he will make things right.'"

Read this book to find out what happens next. There are other Frank and Bean books: Frank and Beans and S'More Trouble, Frank and Beans and the Grouchy Neighbor and Frank and Beans and the Scary Campout.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

This is the Firefighter

"This is the Firefighter" by Laura Godwin

This is one of my favorite "firefighter-themed" picture books perfect for preschool age children. I love the simplistic way it describes what firefighters do and the rhythmic tone of the words.

"This is the ladder, attached to the truck, that reaches the lady and man who are stuck. This is the firefighter who climbs through the heat. These are the people who wait in the street. This is the rescue. This is the cheer that roars through the crowd when the signal's 'All clear.'"

The illustrations are filled with buildings, people, cars, trucks and firefighters. There is so much to look at, you will probably see something different each time you read it.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Wheels on the Bus

"The Wheels on the Bus" by Jane Cabrera

This is no ordinary bus! This bus is full of animals!

"The hyena on the bus goes Ha, ha, ha, Ho, ho, ho, Hee, hee, hee. The hyena on the bus goes Ha, ho, hee. All day long!"

Find out what the lions, flamingos, zebras, monkeys, crocodiles, chameleons, and bush babies do!

Kids will love the creativity and vibrant, colorful illustrations.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bubble Bath Pirates

Bubble Bath Pirates!” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

This fun book is about two brothers who love pirates. Their Mommy puts them in the bath as they continue pretending they are pirates.

This is such a cute book for children who like pirates, and makes a great bedtime story after a nice warm, imaginative bath time!

“Yo ho, yo ho, it’s off to the bath we go!” The “pirate” mommy has to give her two little pirate boys a bath. The boys raise the sails and prepare the cannons! This is a delightful book for young boys who love pirates!

“’Don’t forget to scrub under your arms,’ pleads the pirate mommy. ‘AHOY! Our arms be ticklish!’ giggle her little pirates.”

Another aspect about this book that I want to mention is that unlike some pirate-themed picture books I have seen, this has no "questionable" pirate behavior. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How a Seed Grows

How a Seed Grows” by Helene J. Jordan a Let’s Read-and-Find-Out Science Level 1 Book

“Day after day the roots and root hairs push down into the soil. Day after day the bean seeds are pushed up. The soil is pushed aside. Watch your seeds. Soon you will see pale shoots push through the soil. A shoot is the beginning of a green plant. A shoot grows toward the sun.”

Showing step-by-step instructions on how to grow bean sprouts in egg shells, this picture book helps children investigate and observe the different stages of growth until the sprouts are large enough to transplant into the ground.

True to its Level 1 status, this is just the right book for young preschoolers or kindergartners. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Planets

"The Planets" by Gail Gibbons, 1993

Learn things about each one of the planets in this picture book.

"Mercury is the second smallest planet of the nine planets and is made up of rock and metal. One year on Mercury is only 88 Earth days. That's how long it takes for Mercury to orbit the sun. Mercury rotates very slowly, so its days are very long. A day on Mercury is 59 Earth days."

Now, I included the year on this one because this book does include Pluto as a planet. Nonetheless, it is still a great resource and can prompt a discussion about the change in Pluto's planet status.

Overall, this is a great introductory book about each planet. It also gives additional facts such as the word "planets" comes from a Greek word for "wanderer".

Monday, May 6, 2013

Animal Homes

My Very First Book of Animal Homes by Eric Carle

This is a board book with divided pages. The tops of each page are pictures of animal homes, and the bottoms of pages are animals. Match the correct animal home with the correct animal!

For example, match the picture of a hive with bees and a shell with a turtle.

I like the creative layout of this book which helps give children confidence as they learn which animal goes with which home.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Wow!" Said the Owl

Wow! Said the Owl” by Tim Hopgood

This is about a curious owl who decides to sleep at night and wake up in the morning, the opposite of what owls usually do.

“’Wow!’ said the owl. She couldn't believe her eyes! The sky was a warm and wonderful pink. ‘Wow!’ said the owl, as the yellow sun shone through the morning mist.”

Find out the other colors and wonderful things owl sees during the day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cowboy Lullaby

"Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy" by Jan Thomas, 2012

This adorable and silly picture book is about a cowboy who tries to sing a bedtime lullaby to the cows but always seems to get interrupted by his fears.
"It's time for little cows to rest their heads. It's time for little cows to go to bed. It's time for little cows to sleep so tight. It's time for us to say... Eeeeek! Is that a HUGE HAIRY SPIDER over there?!!"
Children will surely get a barrel of laughs out of this one!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Firefighter Frank

"Figherfighter Frank" by Monica Wellington

Firefighter Frank takes the reader through what it is like a fire station: practicing teamwork, what they do when an alarm sounds, and cooking dinner at the station are some of those things.

"At last the firefighters get the fire under control. They aim water at the last flames. Working as a team, the company has done a great job together. The men and women are strong and brave. Even after the fire is out, the firefighters still have much to do. They clean an dload their equipment. Frank helps repack the hoses. Exhausted but satisfied, they climb into their fire trucks for the ride back."

At the end of the book, there is a checklist of fire-prevention and safety tips. This picture book is good for preschool-elementary age.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Life in the Old West

Life in the Old West: Women of the West” by Bobbie Kalman and Jane Lewis
Read about how difficult life on the homestead and on the move was for women in the mid-1800’s. Read about what it was like raising a family, jobs for women, dangers and hard times, clothing, women’s rights and much more!

“Many women enjoyed reading magazines, novels, and newspapers. These items were expensive and scarce, so if a woman owned a book or magazine, she read it over and over again. Letters from relatives and friends were saved and re-read many times, as well.”

“Life in the Old West: Life of a Miner” by Bobbie Kalman and Kate Calder
Read about the California gold rush, staking a claim, hard-rock mining, miner’s tools, life underground, the stamp mill, hazards, mining families, famous mines of the west, boomtowns and more!
“Working in the mines could be extremely hot. Miners naturally worked up a sweat as they swung picks and shoveled rubble, but sometime the miners uncovered thermal springs, while digging. These springs of hot water caused the temperature inside the tunnel to be almost unbearable.”

Bobbie Kalman has authored dozens and dozens of non-fiction, educational picture books for children if you are interested in more books like these.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Truckery Rhymes!

Jon Scieszka's Trucktown Series has a Truckery Rhymes (nursery rhymes) picture book!

This would be a great present for a boy preschool age through about grade 2 or 3. Scieszka rewrote the most popular nursery rhymes and collaborated with 3 creative illustrators to make this dynamic book children will want to read over and over.

The Loud Trucks (Three Blind Mice)

Three LOUD trucks.
Three LOUD trucks.
See how they ZOOM.
See how they ZOOM.
They all jumped over
the muck and goo.
They skidded and screeched
and their mufflers blew.
Did you ever see
such a crazy crew?
As three LOUD trucks.
Three LOUD trucks.

That's What Trucks are Made Of (What are Little Boys Made Of?)

Metal and stuff and everything tough-
That's what trucks are made of--
Play by the ton, and everything fun--
That's what trucks are made of.