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.