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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 www.gailgibbons.com.

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.