Wednesday, March 9, 2016

I Have Two Homes

I Have Two Homes by Marian De Smet, 2008

This picture book is about a young girl named Nina whose parents are divorced. She explains the way things were before her parents divorced and after. 

"Everything is different now. Everyone is acting strangely...When I am with Dad, I want to be with Mom. I miss my hamster and the climbing tree. When I am with Mom, I want to be with Dad. I miss Cat and my friend from next door."

At the end, she says that even though her parents aren't happy with one another, they are still happy with her and that will never change. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Living with Mom and Living with Dad

Living with Mom and Living with Dad by Melanie Walsh

This is a lift-the-flap book good for elementary age children.

"My mom and dad don't live together anymore. So sometimes I live here, with my mom and my cat in our house with the pink door...

and sometimes I live with my dad in our apartment at the top of the building!"

This little girl explains how things are different at each home and in each of her bedrooms and how she goes different places with each parent but when she had a school play, both parents came.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Sea of Sleep

The Sea of Sleep by Warren Hanson illustrated by Jim LaMarche, 2010

"The Sea of Sleep is calm tonight. Calm and still. Her quiet ripples tiptoe on the shore. Kissing quickly, Then run away again, Slipping swiftly back across the sand, Carrying away the footprints of the day."

This book will carry you away into dreamland with it's language and illustrations of a seal mama and her pup. I love the feminine portrayal of the moon in the illustrations as well as the rainbow of dolphins. 

"It is the moon. And all the stars. And the darkness, As it wraps us in its loving arms And holds us safe and warm."

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Plant a Pocket of Prairie

Plant a Pocket of Prairie by Phyllis Root, 2014

This richly illustrated picture book explains how to recreate a prairie or prairie-like environment to draw-in birds, insects, amphibians, and other creatures. Prairies once covered around 40 percent of the U.S., but due to farming, industrialization, etc., prairies are now endangered. 

"Plant butterfly weed. Monarch butterflies might lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. And when those monarch eggs hatch and the larvae turn into hungry butterflies...

Plant rough blazing star. Great spangled fritillaries might show up, too."

At the end of the book, it lists the different types of prairie animals, plants, birds, insects, flowers and grasses so the reader can have a better understanding of what to look for and what to plant. 

This picture book would make a great unit study for science curriculum or a great spring and summertime project. 

I Hear a Pickle

I Hear a Pickle (and Smell, See, Touch, and Taste It, Too!) by Rachel Isadora, 2016

This wonderful book about the 5 senses takes the reader through each sense with adorable illustrations and examples such as:

I Hear: "I hear the seagull. Caw caw!" and "I hear the traffic. Honk! Beep! Honk!"

I Smell: "I smell my big brother's smelly sneakers!" and "I don't smell. I have a cold. Aachoo!"

I See: "I see the airplane up so high" and "I don't see the flower grow!" 

I Touch: "I don't touch the cactus. Prickly!" and "I touch the lollipop. Sticky!"

I Taste: "I taste a jelly sandwich. I'm allergic to peanuts." and "I can't wait to taste the cake...after dinner!"

And to put it all together, at the end it says:

I taste the pickle.It's sour.I smell the pickle.It's spicy.I see the pickle.It's green.I touch the pickle. It's slippery.I hear the pickle...CRUNCH!
I highly recommend this book for preschoolers and early elementary age children.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Hundred Dresses

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes was a 1945 Newbery Honor Award book.

This is a story about a poor, young, Polish-American girl named Wanda. She gets teased by her classmates who think she's lying about having one hundred beautiful dresses at home because she only wears one blue dress to school.

Each day they like to play this "game" where they ask her about her 100 dresses. They tease her, and yet Wanda doesn't defend herself.

Wanda enters an art contest and submits 100 drawings of 100 dresses. When the classmates figure out she wasn't in fact lying, they just didn't understand her dresses were drawings, Wanda and her family had moved out of town. They moved away because of all of the teasing. Now her classmates want to make things right, but it's too late. Wanda eventually writes a letter to the teacher asking her to give some of the drawings to some of her classmates. Wanda actually drew her classmates in the drawings, and when her classmates found out, they treasure their drawings and the lessons they learned about teasing. 

I highly recommend this to young children.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs

"Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs" by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Minerva Louise is so silly, she thinks any human begins she sees are farmers. She also doesn't know what Easter eggs or Easter baskets are.

She saw colorful eggs all over the yard, but they kept disappearing. She didn't notice the children who were gathering the eggs during an egg hunt. She thought an Easter basket was a hat.

"Some hen is forgetting her eggs, said Minerva Louise. And I can't warm all of them by myself. She ran to the barn to tell her friends. 'Look,' she said, 'I'm finding eggs outside, and some of them are so cold they're turning blue.'"

The Littles Series

"The Littles" by John Peterson

This series is about a "little" family who lived inside a house with The Biggs. William T. Little (Will) is the father, 10 year old Tom Little, 8 year old Lucy Little. Will Little was the tallest, and he was only 6 inches tall!

There is a Granny Little and Uncle Pete as well. The littles looked like human beings except they were very tiny and had a long tail like mice.

Cousin Dinky was an adventurous Little. He didn't live with them, but he visited all of the other families like the Littles. The other families (The Fines, The Shorts, The Crums, and The Buttons) lived in other homes. 

The Biggs' don't know about the Little family. The Littles often watched the Biggs' through a one of the light switches on the wall. The Littles ate the leftover food and used some of their items to survive. In return, the Littles did things around the house as favors that the Biggs' didn't even know about like keeping the pipes from freezing in the winter time.

Boys will love this series because the Littles have to use weapons like bows and arrows, slingshots many times to fend off danger from weasels and cats.

In The Littles Take a Trip, the Littles venture out into the woods to meet other tiny people. They met the Specks who lived in the woods. The Specks were fascinated that the Littles lived in a house. They called them House Tinies.

In Order:

1. The Littles
2. The Littles Take a Trip
3. The Littles to the Rescue
4. The Littles Have a Wedding
5. The Littles Give a Party
6. The Littles and the Great Halloween Scare
7. The Littles and the Trash Tinies
8. The Littles Go Exploring
9. The Littles and the Big Storm
10. Littles Go to School
11. The Littles and the Lost Children
12. The Littles and the Terrible Tiny Kid
13. The Littles and Their Amazing New Friend
14. The Littles and Their Friends
The Littles Have a Happy Valentine's Day
Thanksgiving Gues
The Little sDo Their Homework

Monday, February 29, 2016

Wiggle and Waggle

Wiggle and Waggle by Caroline Arnold, 2007

This adorable chapter book is about two worms named Wiggle and Waggle who share their journey together through the garden soil. They share about their friendship, good times, and struggles. 

"We wiggle and waggle, squiggle and squirm. Digging in dirt is the life of a worm. We dig and we sing all day long, Our wiggly, waggly, gardening song."

There's also a YouTube video about the book.

At the end of the book, there's a list of fun worm facts and reasons why worms help plants grow. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

My Spring Robin

My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell

This book helps me to look forward to the spring time because it focuses on the anticipation of spotting a robin.

A little girl takes us on her journey through signs of spring like the blooming crocuses, a yellow forsythia bush, a magnolia tree and daffodils, until she hears the sound of a robin singing! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Curious George Saves His Pennies

"Curious George Saves His Pennies" by Monica Perez, 2012

George was attending a birthday party of his 5 year old friend and needed to buy a present at the Toy Store with the man with the yellow hat. As you can imagine, the toy store made George VERY curious! He was really interested in the train table and a new red train!

The man with the yellow hat noticed George's interest and encouraged him to save the money to buy the train himself.

Read this book to find out all of the ways George saved $5.00 for that train and whether or not he decides to spend his money on it.

I love that this story is told by a beloved children's book character and teaches children how to earn the things they want as well as generosity.

At the end of the book is a page explaining that five pennies equal one nickel and other equivalencies.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Magic Treehouse Series

The Magic Treehouse Series is a series written by Mary Pope Osborne and began with the first book in 1992. It is about brother Jack and his sister Annie and their adventures in a magical treehouse full of books.

The first 28 books are chapter books for beginning readers. Then books 29-48 are called the Merlin Mission books and are for slightly older children for a more advanced reading level.

Join the Magic Treehouse Club at There are lots of interactive games and activities.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Dark Emperor

"The Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night" by Joyce Sidman is a Newberry Honor Book (2011).

This short picture book of poems should be on every elementary school teachers bookshelf.

Here is my husband's favorite poem:

Dark Emperor

"Perched missile,
almost invisible, you
preen silent feathers,
swivel your sleek satellite
dish of head. What fills the
cool moons of your mesmerizing
eyes? What waves of sound
funnel toward those waiting
ears? What symphonies of
squeaks and skitters, darts
and rustles, swell the vast,
breathing darkness of your
realm? O Dark Emperor
of hooked face and
hungry eye: turn that
awful beak away
from me;
the tiny hiccup
of my heart
as I flee."

On one page is a poem, and on the opposite page is a short explanation about certain nocturnal animals and how they survive the night time. Snails, moths, spiders, porcupine, and crickets are some of the other creatures written about.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The ABC's of Easter

"The ABC's of Easter" by Patricia Reeder Eubank

I like this book because of the descriptive language used to describe Easter and springtime things. 

"A is for airy, azure blue skies, amethyst azaleas, and soft April showers. B is for bright-ribboned bonnets, bold, busy bunnies, and baskets of flowers."

The characters in the story are three bunnies who enjoy all of the preparations of Easter and the beauty of springtime nature. The colorful detailed pictures provide the reader with additional material to talk about.

"J is for jumbo jawbreakers and jolly-colored jellybeans jumbled in a jar." The corresponding illustration shows two bunnies eating jaw breakers and jellybeans out of a huge glass jar. The third bunny is jumping rope with two big dogs. There are two big cats watching in a nearby tree. One cat is laying in the middle of the tree, and the other cat is swinging on a limb.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Curious George Plants a Tree

"Curious George Plants a Tree" by Monica Perez

First of all on the back of the front cover is a list entitled "Living Green" with things children and families can do to help the environment.

George and the man with the yellow hat visited the science museum where George came across an exhibit with a sign that read "How YOU Can Take Care of Our Planet". After they toured the museum and learned a lot about the environment, they ran into the director who invited them to plant trees with them and collect used paper to recycle. George gathered paper and some other things that he shouldn't have. But he learned what should and should not be use.d

On the back cover is also a basic explanation how to plant a tree!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Story of Ferdinand

"The Story of Ferdinand" by Robert Lawson

The setting was a countryside in Spain where a bull name Ferdinand felt out of place.

"All the other little bulls he lived with would run and jump and butt their heads together, but not Ferdinand. He liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers."

His mother worried about him but knew he was happy smelling the flowers. She let him be himself. As the bulls grew up, Ferdinand still liked to smell the flowers, and the other bulls liked to fight one another in hopes of being selected for bull fighting in Madrid. Five men came into town to choose bulls for an upcoming fight. All of the bulls tried to show-off except for Ferdinand. He assumed they wouldn't be interested in him, so he went off to smell the flowers. But Ferdinand didn't watch where he was sitting and sat right on top of a bee. 

You'll have to check this book our of your local library to find out what happened next!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Strega Nona

"Strega Nona" is a Caldecott Honor winning, original tale written and illustrated by Tomie
dePaola. (1975)

This popular tale is about Strega Nona, which means "Grandma Witch" and a gentlemen named Big Anthony. Big Anthony visited her, as many other townspeople did, for help because she had a "magic touch". Strega Nona was getting older and needed help around her home, so Big Anthony stayed in exchange for some money, food and shelter.

One day, Big Anthony saw Strega Nona hovering over a pot and singing a song.

"Bubble, bubble, pasta pot,
Boil me some pasta, nice and hot,
I'm hungry and it's time to sup,
Boil enough pasta to fill me up."

Almost instantly, the pot was filled with pasta. Big Anthony couldn't believe what he saw, but he wanted a part of the magic!

Read this tale to find out where Big Anthony went wrong!

My Happy Easter Book

"My Happy Easter Book" by Gloria A. Truitt

The book begins with a review of Jesus' friends and family grieving over the loss of him when he died on the cross. It reviews how he was placed in a tomb with a giant stone in front. It shows when Mary and Mary Magdalene found Jesus alive. Then it tries to explain why we celebrate Easter each year.

"The happy time of Easter comes every year in spring when, following the winter's chill, we hear the robins sing.

Now everywhere we look it seems that fresh, new life is seen--from budding trees to crawly worms, and many sprouts of green."

In addition to telling of how Jesus died and rose from the dead, this book has a place in the beginning to write who the book is for, who it was presented by and the date. At the end, there is a space for a personalized Easter Poem and a personalized Easter Prayer.

"Praise God, for it is wonderful that Jesus came to earth. He died, but rose to live again, so we could have new birth! Think of all the joyful things we learn at Easter time. Then write it on the lines below to make an Easter rhyme!"

"God sacrificed His only Son to save us from our sin; and so we have eternal life, since we believe in Him!"

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

"Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" by William Steig won the Caldecott Medal in 1970 which is the highest award for illustrations in children's picture books.

Sylvester is a donkey who liked to collect unusual pebbles. One day he found a magic pebble, and he began thinking about all of the things he could wish for himself, his parents, his friends and everyone. Unfortunately, one of the first things that happened after he found the magic pebble was an encounter with a lion. He was so afraid all he could think of was to say, "I wish I were a rock."

Well, not having thought it through, Sylvester became a rock, but then he was a rock lying next to his magic pebble. He could no longer hold the pebble or make any wishes. His parents began to wonder what happened to Sylvester and were very sad when he never returned. Seasons passed and one day, Sylvester's parents sat upon the rock, Sylvester the rock that is, and had a picnic lunch. Mr. Duncan, Sylvester's father found the pebble, and after he and Mrs. Duncan wished Sylvester was there and Sylvester wished he was a donkey again, he became his original donkey self! They stored the magic pebble away for another day because they had everything they wanted in the whole world... each other!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Language Arts Picture Books - Brian P. Cleary

Add fun to your child's learning with books authored by Brian P. Cleary. He has dozens of great language arts picture books aimed at elementary aged students. The bold and silly illustrations will appeal to this age group as well as his creative writing. If you want to make learning fun for your child but don't have the time for creativity, Cleary has done the work for you! He has sold millions of copies, so your public library should have some in stock.

Here are some highlights from a couple of books:

"Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective?"

"Adjectives help tell us more, like narrow street or favorite store, hilly, chilly, fast, and fun, under-cooked and overdone...They tell if root beer's flat or fizzy, and if your street is quiet or busy, that treats are yummy, shakes are thick, and if your tummy's clam or sick."

"Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb?"

"Adverbs tell us when and how, like quickly do your homework now. They often help describe the verbs like, patiently plant peas and herbs. Adverbs will frequently end in "L-Y," as in viciously, ultra-suspiciously sly."

Cleary has a rhythmic writing style that is not only fun to read and listen to, but one that helps you to remember the concepts through catchy phrasing.

Other books are
"Quirky, Jerky, Extra Perky: More About Adjectives"
"A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun?"
"A Cat, a Bat, Your Grandma's Hat: What is a Noun?"
"A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime: More about Nouns"
"I and Who, and Don't Forget You: What is a Pronoun?"
"To Root, To Toot, To Parachute: What is a Verb?"
"Slide and Slurp, Scratch and Burp: More about Verbs"
"Skin Like Milk, Hair Like Silk: What are Similes and Metaphors?"
"How Much Can a Bare Bear Bear: What are Homonyms and Homophones?"
"Stop and Go, Yes and No: What is an Antonym?"
"Straight and Curvy, Meek and Nervy: More about Antonyms
"Thumbtacks, Earwax, Lipstick, Dipstick: What is a Compound Word?"
"Pitch and Throw, Grasp and Know: What is a Synonym?"
"Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk: More about Synonyms"
"Under Over, by the Clover: What is a Preposition?"
"I'm and Won't, They're and Don't: What's a Contraction?" 
"But and For, Yet and Nor: What is a Conjunction?"
"Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally: More about Adverbs"
"Cool! Whoa! Ah! and Oh!: What is an Interjection?
"Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What are Irregular Plurals?"

Visit for more information about his books as well as quizzes, coloring sheets and posters! He has written about math concepts, health concepts and more.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

I Will Rejoice

"I Will Rejoice" by Karma Wilson (Zonderkidz) was created to celebrate Psalm 118:24 "The is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

This is a story about a little girl told in the first person. She takes us through her day praising God for all that happens.

"I'll dress myself up, sit down in my seat, and give thanks to the Lord for the food that I eat. This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it."

The illustrations by Amy June Bates are soft and traditional.

"I will rejoice in a warm, cozy lap, as I hear a good story before my noon nap. I'll lie down and dream about castles and kings, princes and dragons with shimmering wings. This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Karma Wilson has other similar books if you are interested. "Let's Make a Joyful Noise: Celebrating Psalm 100" and "Give Thanks to the Lord: Celebrating Psalm 92" (which is a Thanksgiving-themed book).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Quilting Bee

"The Quilting Bee" by Gail Gibbons, 2004

This is more than a quilting book. It is full of history and community.

"A group of quilt makers have come together to share thier time and many talents piecing togehter a beautiful quilt. Their group is called a quilting beek, or a quilting circle."

Pioneer women used to make quilts for their families and made quilt blocks that told stories of prairie life.

There is a Road to California pattern that looks like a wagon trail or Hill and Valley block pattern that showed the way the land looks as the pioneers journeyed along to their next destination.

Read this book to see what the Bear's Paw, Dove in the Window, Hovering Hawks, Log Cabin, Rail Fence, and Little Red Schoolhouse pattern blocks look like. There about 37 different patters shown in the book.

The book describes how the quilts are made with many different women. It also shows some of the modern quilting and sewing tools women use.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint

"Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint" by Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter

A little girl named Sandy visits her grandparents in the summertime. She visits the beach and discovers garbage left over from someone else's campfire. She also runs into a Garbage Lady who teaches her about her ecological footprint. 

The girl teaches her mom what she learned. Sandy, her mom and grandpa make a list of things they can do to reduce the size of their footprints. 

I like this book not only for the ideas it gives to help children understand how to be more environmentally conscious but because it teaches them about their ecological footprints. This is the first book I've come across that explains an ecological footprint.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Little Green

"Little Green" by Keith Baker is a picture  book about a boy watching a hummingbird flying around outside his window. The boy is sitting down ready to paint a picture. He watches and studies the movement of the hummingbird.

"Jigging, jagging, down up down. Dip, dip, dipping. Sip, sip, sipping. Looping in a curlycue...Little Green I still see you."

And the boy paints a colorful picture of lines, swirls, and zig zags.

I found out about this book through blog entries by art teachers who like to use this book with their students.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Mission to Mars

"Mission to Mars" by Franklyn M. Branley is a Let's Read-and-Find-Out Science Stage 2 picture book.

This book starts out by suggesting that the reader could actually be the first person to walk on Mars. It reviews the Mars Habitat Lander and all of its parts.

It reviews how Mars got it's name. It was named after the God of War because the planet was red in color. Red reminded people of the blood shed in war.

It also reviews how Mars once had water but is dry and dusty now. It never rains on Mars.There are many old volcanoes too.

Friday, January 22, 2016

God's Wisdom for Little Girls

"God's Wisdom for Little Girls: Virtues and Fun from Proverbs 31" by Elizabeth George

Highlighting the virtues from Proverbs 31, this picture book with beautiful illustrations would make a perfect gift for a daughter, granddaughter, or niece.

The first heading is "God's Little Girl is...Priceless." Then it says, "A virtuous woman, who can find?" So begins this rhyme of mine, 'Worth more than rubies', so we're told. God's little girl is better than gold!"

Then the paring scripture verse is Proverbs 31:10 KJF "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies."

The next heading is "God's Little Girl is Kind." Then it says, "Being good to others is so hard to do! But this is exactly what God asks of you. So do what you can to be kind to others, And that includes your sisters and brothers!" 

The pairing scripture verse is Proverbs 31: 11, 12 "Her husband trusts her completely. With her, he has everything he needs. She does him good and not harm for as long as she lives." 

God's Little Girl Is...Eager
God's Little Girl is... Helpful
God's Little Girl is.. Cheerful
God's Little Girl is...Busy
God's Little Girl is...Hearty
God's Little Girl is ...Diligent
God's Little Girl is...Caring
God's Little Girl is...Prepared
God's Little Girl is...Creative
God's Little Girl is...Prayerful
God's Little Girl is...Artistic
God's Little Girl is...Confident
God's Little Girl is...Gracious
God's Little Girl is...Careful
God's Little Girl is Thoughtful
God's Little Girl is...God's Child
God's Little Girl is...Cherished