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Sunday, November 30, 2014

S is for Star

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

First of all I appreciate the emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas. The very first reference is Luke 2:10 "The angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

"A is for Angels and Archangels, sparkling in robes of white, announcing the arrival of a newborn king, singing Alleluia! on a starry night."

Reindeer and Santa are mentioned but only a short section under R. S isn't for Santa Claus, it's for shepherds, silent night, sheep and starry night. There is many historical references described as well such as:

"Historians believe the German religious leader Martin Luther (1483-1546) was the first to light candles on a Christmas tree. Inspired by the beauty of evergreens silhouetted against the starry sky, he cut a fir tree, took it home, and lit candles on its branches. The lights, he said, stood for the stars in the heavens. We put lights on evergreen trees for the same reason."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Raccoon Tune

"Raccoon Tune" by Nancy Shaw

Set in June, this is a raccoon tale about raccoons hunting for yummy food from people's garbage cans at night.

"Moonlight, June night, just-right-for-raccoon night. Out we creep while people sleep. Soon we hope to find a heap of cheese and bread crumbs, piled deep on codfish bones and beets."

The raccoons have fun knocking over garbage cans and doing whatever it takes to get the lids off. These raccoons don't stop until they get their treats! They end up rolling a garbage can down a hill until it falls into a stream. Once they get it out, instead of trash, they catch a whole mess of fresh fish! They will have a "feast of trout"!

This entertaining picture book will excite children and teach them about one of the lesser used animals in storytelling.

Monday, June 30, 2014

ABC Book of Feelings

ABC Book of Feelings by Marlys Boddy

"God gave everyone feelings, And they're important too! No matter how old you are, They're still a part of you. Can you share your feelings? Why don't you try and see? Here are some good ideas, Starting from A to Z."

This book explores common feelings for each letter of the alphabet using adorable mouse characters in the illustrations. 

"Offended is how you feel when someone has hurt your feelings. Puzzled is how you feel when you don't know the answer."

Examples of other feelings defined are zany, disappointed, worried, foolish, and kind.

Monday, June 23, 2014

To Market, To Market

"To Market, To Market" by Anne Miranda, illustrations by Janet Stevens

This is a silly story using the traditional nursery rhyme "To Market, to Market, to buy a fat pig. Home again, home again, jiggity jig."

An older woman goes to the market for a pig, and the illustrations show the large live pig spilling out of the grocery cart. She took the pig home and went back to buy a hen. When she arrived home, she found that the pig escaped the pig pen and went into the house. Surprisingly, the woman left home again to go buy a plump goose only to return home and find the hen on the loose.

The story continues in much the same way as she buys a trout, lamb, cow, duck, and goat. All of the animals took over her house.

"The lamb's on the bed. The pig's in the kitchen. The cow's on the couch. There's a duck on my head! The hen's in the cupboard. The goose is there, too. The goat's in the closet-it's chewing my shoe! The trout's in the bathtub. This place is a zoo! I'm hungry, I'm cranky--now what will I do?"

You'll have to read this story to find out what she does!

This silly cause and effect story will humor your children and quite possibly make them hungry!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Story of Jesus

The Story of Jesus by Patricia A. Pingry

This is a board book with simple text and friendly pictures to introduce Jesus to young children.

"Jesus is the Son of God.
He loves us very much.
We celebrate Jesus' birthday at Christmas...One little boy had five rolls and two fish for his lunch. The boy gave it to Jesus to share. Jesus fed 5,000 people with the boy's lunch. Jesus promised that He would be with us forever. When we pray, we ask Jesus to help us. We love Jesus, because He first loved us."

It isn't always easy to find stories about Jesus for young children that present Christ's death on the cross in an age-appropriate manner. This book shows a family going to church on Easter Sunday with three crosses next to the church. It simply says "On Easter, we remember that Jesus gave His life for us." The bright illustrations show signs of new life with tulips and a butterfly emphasizing the resurrection instead of the crucifixion. Personally I like that approach for children under three years old.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

"Sleep, Baby, Sleep" by Maryann Cusimano Love 

This little, melodic board book is a soothing lullaby read in part or in whole.

"Splash, baby, splash.

Stand tall as the waves crash.
Be always like the hound who dares
to find adventure everywhere.
Splash, baby, splash."

It's one of my new favorites, and I found it at my local library used book sale for 50 cents!

"Shine, baby, shine, 
graceful child of mine.
Be like the firefly who glows
no matter how the darkness grows.
Shine, baby, shine.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Only One You

"Only One You" by Linda Kranz

Papa and Mama fish decide it is time to impart wisdom upon their young fish named Adri. They tell him about finding friends and beauty, how to navigate around wrong decisions, and how to be an individual.

"Blend in when you need to. Stand out when you have the chance."

The author and her husband painted 308 unique rocks for the illustrations in this book. You can Google this book title along with "activities", and you will find that there are many worksheets and projects used in schools available for free. One obvious activity your child or student could do is paint his/her own rock. 

I like to categorize books in my head because well, I just love so many of them. I categorize this book as a great birthday idea book, "All About Me" themed book, and basic emotional health book.

"There's only one you in this great big world," she said, "make it a better place."

Monday, May 26, 2014

While the World is Sleeping

Soar with a young boy on the back of a large owl While the World is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edwards is a fun-to-read bedtime story.

"A sleek raccoon with bandit eyes, takes his nightly exercise. In garbage cans he'll find his prize, while the world is sleeping."

This boldly illustrated picture book full of rhyme and descriptive language paints a vivid world of wildlife during the night. Although it touches on some of the dangers that exist for animals and their prey, it also describes some of the ways in which animals protect themselves.

"In the woods, a porcupine, rattles quills to send a sign, don't come near, this food is mine! While the world is sleeping."

In addition to the enriching language, children will learn about wildlife at night, how animals protect themselves, and how to see the world around them from a different perspective.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Marshmallow

"Marshmallow" by Clare Turlay Newberry won the Caldecott Honor in 1943.

Miss Tilly lived in an apartment with Oliver, a gray cat. Oliver lived a great life, indoors, and liked the way things were...until Miss Tilly brought home a baby bunny! This bunny was named Marshmallow.

At first neither Oliver nor Marshmallow were found of each other. Oliver was afraid of Marshmallow and Marshmallow just wanted to go back to his own mommy. As the days passed by, Miss Tilly separated Oliver and Marshmallow and concluded they could never get along afraid that Oliver might hurt Marshmallow. Little by litte, Marshmallow became more comfortable in his new home.

Read this adorable picture book to find out how Oliver and Marshmallow discovered friendship with one another. It is truly a heartwarming tale with a great example of how sometimes we misjudge those who are different from us only to realized we can get along.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Psalms for Children Series

I found this old series from the '80's based on the Psalms by Elspeth Campbell Murphy that I love. It's called The David and I Talk to God Series. I first found them through my library network, and then I ordered some on Amazon.

"Sometimes I'm Good, Sometimes I'm Bad: Psalm 1 for Children"

Although I prefer to specify that kids are not "good or bad" but have good or bad behavior, I still like the message of the book. 

"When I do bad things, I feel a bit like chaff in the wind. Do you know what chaff is, God? It's that stuff that covers a grain of wheat. When the wheat is picked, the chaff just blows away. When I'm bad, I feel like chaff twirling this way and that in the wind with nothing to hold on to. And that's kind of scary...when I do good things, it's like I hang on tight to you, the way a tree hangs on tight to the ground. The roots go deep, deep into the earth, and the tree grows high, high into the sky."

"Sometimes I Get Lonely: Psalm 42 for Children"

This story is told in the form of a prayer to God by a young girl who tells God about the times she feels lonely like when there are only grown ups around or when she fights with her friend.


"You're a special kind of friend. And even though I can't see you, I know you are with me on the playground and at my house, and in my classroom, and everywhere I go. Sometimes I think you are calling to me. But not like my friend who calls from across the street. It's not that I hear your voice with my ears. I hear you inside my head."


"Sometimes I Need to Be Hugged: Psalm 84 for Children"

This story is told in the form of a prayer to God by a young boy whose conversational style encourages children to talk to God as if he were like any other person to talk to. This young child came home after a tough day and was comforted by his mom at the end of the day.

"And I was sure the teacher would pick me for 'Helper of the Day.' But she didn't. And I didn't think I would spill a whole jar of point. But I did...I told mom all about it when I got home. She put her arms around me and said, 'Cheer up honey. Tomorrow's another day.' Suddenly I didn't feel so tired anymore, and I knew everything was going to be all right. And that's the way I feel when I remember how much you love me."

If you're looking for picture books for children about prayer or Christian living vs. the traditional Bible stories, I recommend this series. Children and adults can gain wisdom and understanding from the simple messages.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Legend of the Teddy Bear

"The Legend of the Teddy Bear" by Frank Murphy

President Theodore Roosevelt was nicknamed Teddy and was known to love nature and animals. He was a hunter and often camped in the wilderness. One time when he went bear hunting in Mississippi with some other men, the men successfully captured a young bear for Teddy Roosevelt to kill. When he arrived on the scene, he called for the men to let the bear go free! He couldn't harm this innocent bear even though he originally intended to hunt bears.

Word spread about the President and a newspaper cartoonist drew a cartoon about it. The story continued to spread all across the country. Rose and Morris Michtom of New York read about it. They ran a candy shop and decided to create a stuffed toy bear in honor of the President's deed for children to love and cuddle. They decided to call the bear Teddy's Bear with the President's permission.

And don't let the cover of this book fool you into thinking this story is only for girls! Remember, the teddy bear was named after and invented because of a boy (a man in fact)!

Activity: After reading this picture book with your child, go to a Build-a-Bear store and create your own teddy bears! Click on the link above to find the nearest store.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Just Like Mama

Just Like Mama by Leslea Newman

Not everyone has a Mama like the one depicted in this story, but I like to think that most of us have at least one person in our lives who cared for us when we were young who we can remember something he or she did for us that made us feel special, even if it was just a little bit. 

I remember the way my grandma smelled and how it felt to squeeze beside her in her arm chair and watch television. And I remember how she said the word television with a little bit of a lisp. I remember how she made me feel like I was the only one in the world when we played card games together and how she thought it was adorable when I asked for "holes with cheese" when I wanted a slice of Swiss cheese. She was the best woman in my world.

This cute picture book describes several things a little girl appreciates about her Mama like making apple pancakes in the shape of a moon, snuggling in a cozy, comfy chair, or playing dress-up.

"With a whirl and a twirl across the fuzzy purple rug, she swoops down on my bed and scoops me up into a hug. Nobody wakes me up just like Mama."


Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

No Matter What

"No Matter What" by Debi Gliori, 1999

This is a story about a young fox and his mommy. Small was the name of the young child fox, and he was very unhappy. When Small's Mommy, named Large, asked him what was wrong he said,

"'I'm grim and grumpy,' said little Small, 'and I don't think you love me at all.' 'Oh, Small,' said Large, 'grumpy or not, I'll always love you, no matter what.'"

Then Small goes on to ask all of these different scenarios to test and see if Large would still love him, and she said, "I'd always love you, no matter what."

Even with that Small still wondered if there were any conditions in which he was loved less. Large has some final words of wisdom for Small just before bed.

"Look up at the stars. They're far, far away. But their light reaches us at the end of each day. It's like that with love--we may be close, we may be far, but our love still surrounds us...wherever we are."

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seasons: Alphabet Acrostic Series

Steven Schnur has a four book series on each of the seasons using thematic acrostics beginning with each letter of the alphabet.

"Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic" uses words like acorn, barn, corn, pumpkin and ripe.

The acrostic for ripe is:
    "Red apples in bushel baskets
     In the cellar, soon to become
    Pies or applesauce or shined and       Eaten on the way to school."




"Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic" uses words like eggs, grass, kites, nest, seeds and young.

The acrostic for young is

              "Yellow goslings turning brown,
                          One lamb joins the flock,
                          Up in the oak
                          Nests emptying, all the newborns
                         Growing."



"Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic" uses words like cold, igloo, quilt, and thaw.

The acrostic for thaw is
          "The sun rises
           Higher each day,
          And as the ice begins to melt,
          Water runs from the roof."

"Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic" uses words like beach, flags, mosquito's, picnic and lighthouse.

The acrostic for lighthouse is
                              "Large ships head
                               Into port,
                               Guided safely
                               Home by tall
                               Towers perched
                               High
                               On cliffs, their
                               Unceasing beacons
                               Sweeping the coast
                               Each night.

I recommend all of these books for elementary age students. The acrostics and descriptive language will help foster creative writing as well as a greater appreciation for reading beautiful language.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Shhhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping

Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping by Julie Markes

In addition to being a good, standard, bedtime picture book, I like this book for a community-helper theme because it shows the reader that the community-helpers in their lives go to sleep just like they do.

"The teacher is sleeping. School's done for the day. The librarian is sleeping. Books put away. The policeman is sleeping. Everything is all right. The fireman is sleeping. No sirens tonight."

It goes on to show a doctor, grocer, postman, farmer, baker, gardener, zookeeper, and president. 

"And you know who SHOULD be sleeping, just like the sun? Good night, sleep tight, my sweet little one.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Designed By God

Designed by God So I Must Be Special by Bonnie Sose

This large colorful book has a poem on each two-page spread about how and why God gave us eyes, ears, noses, skins, bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits. 

"He gave me my Spirit
so that I could know
that He's always beside me
every place that I go.

To love me, to protect me,
to show me the way,
to be there in hard times
as well as each day.

He designed me with Special talents,
gifts and abilities you see,
which let me know that He has
something Special in mind for me."

Although the illustrations are a little much for my taste, the text has an important message. Since the illustrations look child-drawn, pull out markers and white paper and have your children create their own drawings of themselves in a similar manner.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wilfred to the Rescue

"Wilfred to the Rescue" by Alan MacDonald is an additional story from the Brambly Hedge Series created by Jill Barklem from the 1980's.

After it rained for 3 days and 3 nights, Brambly Hedge was flooded! Wilfred and two other families had to stay together and help each other out. The children kept each other company and decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. Sissy was one of the girls who hide in a basket boat, but suddenly, the boat started moving and floated away. It wasn't too long that the other children realized Sissy was no where to be found and the boat was gone.

Wilfred and Horace took a raft and went searching. They were gone a very long time and by now, it was getting dark. Mrs. Vole learned of the news and was so afraid.

Check this book out to find out what happens next! The Brambly Hedge Series is one of my favs!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jesus Loves Me

Jesus Loves Me by Dandi Daley Mackall is a beginning reader picture book I found at my library's used book section, and I love it. Initially I thought it was going to be a picture book based on the popular song, but it's not. 

"Morning. Noon. Late at night. Jesus loves me. I am all right. When I am sad, what does God say? Jesus loves me. I am okay. Up. Down. In. Out. Jesus loves me. There is no doubt."

The illustrations by Kathy Rogers are traditional and adorable. The story shows a little girl's day with her doggy at a picnic and playground, and also shows her waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night. 

"On the ground. In the air. If I stay, if I go, Jesus loves me. This I know."

There are more beginning readers like this listed in the back of the book. You can find some on Amazon too.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Very Hungry Catepillar

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle

This beloved story about a caterpillar is a favorite among school teachers across the globe because it incorporates counting, different foods, colorful images, cause and effect, and shows the life cycle of a butterfly. This is by far one of Eric Carle's most popular picture books. 

You can find games, puzzles, apparel, treats, and so many more things associated with this story. 

My son loved this book when he was 1, and so we decided to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar 2nd birthday party for him. You can find pictures on my other blog here.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Peter Rabbit's Happy Easter

"Peter Rabbit's Happy Easter" by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by David McPhail

Trying to prove himself to be a good little rabbit, Peter went out for a walk and started collecting eggs from around the community that he felt as though were "extra". He did not ask for permission. He thought that he was going to make his mother happy that he brought home eggs.

Peter was a bit clumsy and while carrying the eggs through the house, he accidentally spilled paint that poured all over the eggs. Fortunately, the paint only made the eggs look prettier.

When Peter's mother saw the eggs, Peter explained that he brought them for her. His Mother explained to Peter that even though he was trying to do something good, he took eggs that didn't belong to him. She made Peter take back all of the eggs. Peter took them back during the evening, so in the morning all of the people who had eggs returned had colorfully decorated eggs. Since it happened to be Easter Sunday, the people began a new tradition of calling Peter the Easter Bunny who painted eggs for the children in the town.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Moose on the Loose

"Moose on the Loose" by Kathy-Jo Wargin is a funny, imagination-provoking story about a boy who deals with a moose who is loose! A creative aspect of this story is that every sentence is a question.

"What would you do with a moose on the loose? Would you chase him, or race him, or stand up to face him? What would you do with a moose on the loose? What would you do with a moose in your yard? Would you ask for a ride or invite him to slide? What would you do with a moose in your yard?

Children will find this absolutely hilarious and perhaps not even with your assistance, provide you with the answer to the repetitive question: "What would YOU do with a moose on the loose?" If the child doesn't know what to say depending on his age, prompt him with an idea, and he will probably answer a resounding yes or no!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Children's Book of Music

Parents and music teachers, this DK Children's Book of Music: An Introduction to the World's Most Amazing Music and It's Creators, 2010, is an encylcopedia of the history of music and a glossary of musical terms. Included with the book is an hour-long cd of music that coincides with various types of music highlighted in the book.






This book is a resource that can be used for any school-aged child and older.



It chronologically reviews early music, classical music, and modern music introducing the reader to famous musicians, period instruments, composers, famous operas and ballets, and so much more. My husband is a musician and has given this book his stamp of approval!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

St. Patrick's Day

"St. Patrick's Day" by Brenda Haugen

Learn about some of the common ways people celebrate this holiday today like wearing green, having parades, wishing people "the luck of the Irish", displaying the flag of Ireland and more.

"An old story says that St. Patrick used shamrocks to teach people about Christianity. He explained that, just as the shamrock has three leaves, Christians believe God is three things in one."

This is a short picture book perfect for younger children. If you like this style, there are other holiday books in this series by Brenda Haugen.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Green Eggs and Ham

"Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss

This is one of Dr. Seuss' most popular books, and one of the reasons is because it is great for picky eaters! Sam-I-am tries to convince the narrator of the story to eat green eggs and ham but the narrator refuses to eat them. The clincher is that he had never eaten them before, so he really didn't know if he wouldn't like them.

"Would you eat them in a box? Would you eat them with a fox?
Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. I would not eat them here or there. I would not eat them anywhere. I would not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am."

Eventually, the narrator gives them a try and surprisingly likes green eggs and ham.

"Say! I like green eggs and ham! I do! I like them, Sam-I-am! And I would eat them in a boat. And I would eat them with a goat...And I will eat them in the rain. And in the dark. And on a train. And in a car. And in a tree. They are so good, so good, you see!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Inch by Inch

"Inch by Inch" by Leo Lionni won the Caldecott Honor award in 1961.

The inch worm had a busy life trying to keep from getting eaten by other creatures. He had to use his wits to stay alive.

He met a robin, and he told him that he was useful because he measured things. The robin wanted him to measure his tail. The robin was so impressed, he wanted to show his friends so they could be measured too. 

One day, he met a nightingale who wanted him to measure her song. If the inch worm couldn't do it, then the nightingale was going to eat him. The nightingale started to sing, so  the inch worm began to move forward. The bird sang and sang until the inch worm was safe enough away!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Clifford Shares

"Clifford Shares" by Norman Bridwell

This board book is great for toddlers and preschoolers because it's a very short and basic way of introducing the concept of sharing.

"Clifford loves to share. Clifford shares his ball. Clifford shares his bench. Clifford shares his water bowl. And everyone shares with Clifford!"

That is the extent of the text. No further explanation needed!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George!

"Happy Valentine's Day, Curious George!" by N. Di Angelo

On Valentine's Day, George celebrated with his neighborhood friends. They decorated the house together, iced cookies, and created valentine's together. George got distracted by a box of decorations--he got a little curious.

Read this book to find out what George did with the box!

This book also has fold-out flaps to add a little flair and surprise.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Little Bear's Valentine

"Little Bear's Valentine" by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Heather Green

This is a picture book about the Little Bear character from the Little Bear early reader series created by Maurice Sendak.

Little Bear is busy making valentine's for all of his friends and a very special one for his mother. On the way outside to deliver his valentine's, Mother Bear asks Little Bear to stop at the mailbox. In the mailbox was a valentine just for Little Bear by a secret admirer! As he delivers his valentines to his friends, he wonders if any of them could be his secret admirer like Emily, Hen or Duck.

"Little Bear gave Owl his card. Then, he told Owl all about his secret admirer. 'How exciting,' said Owl. 'It's a mystery.' 'I'm confused!' said Little Bear. He thought about the valentines that Emily, Hen, Duck, and Owl had given to him. They were lovely, but who was his secret admirer?"

Read this book to find out Little Bear's secret admirer.

Monday, January 27, 2014

G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet

"G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet" by Brad Herzog, 2011.

There are so many interesting and unique things to cover with children involving the Olympics. There is history, geography, sports (of course), physics, nationality, patriotism, health and fitness, mathematics, teamwork and more.

And this picture book uses the alphabet to identify specific Olympic-related material as well.
"How do you determine the world's best athelete? The decathlon is a good place to start. It measures an athelete's speed, endurance, strength, and jumping ability."

I haven't found a lot of picture books about the Olympics, but this is the best I have found so far. This one covers summer and winter sports. It doesn't cover all of the sports, but some of the ones featured are track, figure skating, gymnastics, soccer, skiing, archery, swimming and more.
"The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for 'Swifter, Higher, Stronger.' Whether the athlete is a hockey player rushing toward a loose puck, a diver springing into the air far above a pool, or a decathlete throwing a discus with every ounce of effort, each is constantly trying to improve and reach his or her ultimate potential."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

"Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox" by Susan Blackaby, 2011

This endearing story is about a groundhog and fox who encounter one another on February 2nd, Groundhog's Day. The groundhogs name is Brownie and saw her shadow when she crawled out of her winter den. A hungry fox saw Brownie and proceeded to knock her over and said, 'Hold still...I'm trying to eat you for breakfast.' Brownie was quick-witted and said it was too late for breakfast, so the fox didn't eat her!

They set off walking together discussing whether or not there were any signs of spring. Fox told Brownie that she was his first sign of spring! These two begin a hilarious relationship as they play together in order to work up their appetites.

Read this book to find out more about their adventures and to find out if the fox ever eats Brownie! This is a great winter time and Groundhog's Day picture book.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter is the Warmest Season

"Winter is the Warmest Season" by Lauren Stringer

This cleaver picture book is an explanation told by a young boy about why winter is the warmest season.

"When winter comes, my jacket puffs warm with feathers, my hat grows earflaps, my pants hide deep in fuzzy boots, and my hands wear warm woolly sweaters."

He tells of how the animals stay warm in their dens, steaming hot chocolate and soup, sparkling fireplaces, friendly parties where people fill a room, and hot baths and snug pajamas.

"And in winter, when it's the very warmest and I close my sleepy eyes, I might dream of summer...just to cool me off!"

I love the illustrations and the different perspective this book brings to help children think outside-of-the-box.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Brambly Hedge Series

The Brambly Hedge Series, written by Jill Barklem, is about a mouse community that lives among the trees in Brambly Hedge. These talented little creatures work and play hard just like humans.

In the book Winter Story, Mr. Apple is the warden of the Store Stump. He and his wife Mrs. Apple lived in Crabapple Cottage. I love the illustrations of the tunnels the mice dug through the snow that connected their houses to the Store Stump. Mr. Apple announced that Lord Woodmouse and he would declare a Snow Ball would take place.


"When the snows are lying deep
When the field has gone to sleep,
When the blackthorn turns to white,
And frosty stars bejewel the night,
When summer streams are turned to ice,
A Snow Ball warms the heart of mice."

The illustrations are so very detailed, you and your children must look at the pictures while reading this series.

Other titles in the series are Autumn Story, Summer Story, and Spring Story.

I was hooked from the first book, and I then I had to read all of them...mostly to look at the pictures.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In the Snow

"In the Snow" by Peggy Collins

This is the perfect snow-fun picture book for preschoolers. A little boy wakes up one morning to find that it snowed during the night. He prepares to head outside and play, and his father joins him. The illustrations and story are perfect for this age group.

"The birds look hungry. I help daddy fill the bird feeder with yummy birdseed. I think those squirrels really like the birdseed, too. I see a bunny hopping away from the tree. Hey little bunny, wait for me! I can HOP HOP HOP, too. That bunny is VERY fast. While I was hopping, Daddy made an enormous snowball...I wonder what it's for?"

The boy and his father build a huge snowman. I love that this book features a father who plays with his son too. I try and remember books that feature fathers and their children to get for my husband to read to our child. I think it helps to provide fathers with tools for discussion starters and reinforces the father/child relationship.