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.