Books Will Never Go Out of Print!

Grab a cup of coffee. Sit back. Check out meanderings about books I've loved.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

big bug ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

big bug
By Henry Cole
(Little Simon, 2014)

big bug is an adorable book that simply and smoothly shows the comparative sizes of things found in our world. The fun part is all in the perspective of the reader (and the author/illustrator).

What begins as a big ladybug suddenly becomes a little bug because it is on a big leaf. The big leaf becomes a small leaf when compared to a big flower. And so on goes the story in big bug, moving from smaller to larger items. Towards the end of the book, Henry Cole reverses directions and starts with a big thing (the sky) and shrinks items down to little things.

Young readers will love seeing how the little things become big and the big things become little. big bug is the perfect book for talking about sizes.


Get Outside - Find Big and Little Things

Can you find your own examples of big bug in your yard?

1. Find an object - spider, rock, leaf, toy, plant.

2. Find a bigger object - grass, flower bed, tree, sandbox, garden.

3. Label each as little and big. Little spider. Big rock.

4. Change perspective. Little rock. Big yard.

Have fun playing with sizes!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The ARK, the REED, & the FIRE CLOUD ~ Wacky Wednesday Chapter Book & KID KANDY

The ARK, the REED, & the FIRE CLOUD

By Jenny L. Cote
(Living Ink Books, 2008)

Maybe not wacky, but more wonderful.

Have you ever wondered how God did it?

All of those animals, the few people, and the sheer number of days. How did they all fit in the ark? How did they get enough to eat? What about the polar bears needing ice and the lions needing heat? How did all of those climate, food, and space requirements work in the ark?

The ARK, the REED, & the FIRE CLOUD is an interesting story that considers the possibilities of the hows that perplex this modern day mind. Not that Jenny L. Cote is saying this is how it all happened, not at all. But she does pen some scintillating ideas of how it could have taken place.

Now, I don't want to ruin the surprise, because I had no idea what would happen once all were in place on the ark. THE ark (the one with Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives, THAT ark)and THE flood.

So let me just say, from the imagination of a writer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, some potential ideas are given voice in The ARK, the REED, & the FIRE CLOUD. This book - the 2009 Readers Favorite Award Winner - is the beginning of a series of books from The Amazing Tales of Max & Liz.

Upper elementary and middle school readers will enjoy this chapter book. Younger elementary children will love to hear about Max and Liz as the book is read aloud to them.


Make Your Own Ark

Yes, let's pretend! Any age will enjoy the challenge of creating a boat that floats.

Materials: milk cartons or shoe boxes, foil and assorted decorative paper, masking tape (or duct tape), scissors, cardboard scraps, paper towel tubes, stapler, plastic toy animals, markers

1. Cover the sides of your ark with foil. Tape the edges closed.

2. Use the rest of your supplies to customize your ark. Build a ramp, make a roof, decorate the inside, tape on walls for animal stalls, and so on.

3. Load up the animals and get ready to test the "floatability" of your ark.

4. Fill the bathtub or a plastic tub with water. Put that ark in and get it floating!

The story of the flood and the ark is found in the Bible. Read the original version in the Old Testament in the book of Genesis (the very first book in the Bible), chapters 6-9.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Previously ~ Terrific Tuesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Written by Allan Ahlberg
Illustrated by Bruce Ingman
(Candlewick Press, 2007)

Previously is one of those picture books that make you think. First, one has to figure out what the title means. Previously means just that. What happened previously?

Previously picks up where Goldilocks and the Three Bears ended. Goldilocks arrived home hot and sweaty. Because, previously she had been running in the woods. Because, previously she had climbed out of someone's window.

The previous events continue to go backwards in time. Previously also takes the main fairy tales and shows what happened previously, right before the fairy tale happened. Backwards, backwards, backwards in time and events, several stories are thought about in a different context. The why's of the stories make for very interesting reading! Though I was confused at first, I truly enjoyed the connections built between the different tales, all in the form of previously.

Previously would be a great book to read after a round of fairy tales. It is the perfect book to encourage readers to think deeper and more outside the box about characters, stories, and even real life events.

Previously, the cat was helping me read the paper, leaving a worm and mud as evidence. Previously, she had been outside where she spied something to attack. The worm, who previously had been happily eating dirt and assorted stuff, was thinking about his Aunt Fanny . . .


Think Backwards

Choose an event - birthday, holiday, vacation trip

Start discussing the event by going backwards in time. Discuss what previously occurred. Make fun connections with others at the same event and what they had been doing previously. Use the phrase, "Previously, (fill in the blank)."

Provide paper and crayons. Draw a picture of one of the previous happenings in your tale.

Previously, I was sipping tea.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK It's Spring! ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK It's Spring!
By Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrated by John Shelley
(Holiday House, 2015)

I know it's a little bit late for the crinkle crackle of spring, especially in the northwest where we did not have much crinkling or crackling this winter, but I couldn't help it. I just found this great NEW picture book about spring and I had to share it. It is after all, still spring for another 2 months or so.

Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK It's Spring! is a wonderfully illustrated picture book with an imaginative child finding out what Bear is talking about when he says, "Come. It is time."

A child wakes to the sounds of crinkle, crackle, CRACK. This child then goes to the door where Bear is spotted in the middle of the yard. As the two walk through the woods (I'm not sure where the parents are, and perhaps this would be a good time to talk about leaving the house alone in the middle of the night), other animals join the walk saying the same thing, "It is time."

Time for what? Loosely interpreted, it is time for spring to burst forth with glorious flowers, insects, birds, animals, and green. The child and the animals witness the crinkle, crackle, CRACK explosion of the spring egg. (Really, a giant egg explodes, wiping out all of the muddy, icy, snowy evidences of a cold winter.)

Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK It's Spring! provides vocabulary and opportunities to discuss the changing of the seasons.


Compare Two Seasons

Just for fun, divide a large paper or chalkboard in half. Print winter on one side, spring on the other.

~ Think back to winter, maybe as far back as January. What did you see, hear, feel, touch (and maybe taste)? List what you remember under winter.

- ice, mud, snow, no leaves, no flowers, snowflakes, frost, cold air, crows

~ Jump forward to spring. How did you know it was spring? What did you see, hear, feel, touch (and maybe taste)? List those things under spring.

- daffodils, tree buds, mud, rain, warm air, asparagus, bees, grass, birds

~ Compare the two seasons. Which is your favorite? Why?

Go outside and play in the spring weather!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Quiet in the Garden ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Quiet in the Garden
Written and illustrated by Aliki
(Greenwillow Books, 2009)

Such is my love of gardens and green spaces that I have a special soft spot for books about gardens. I particularly enjoy picture books for boys and girls that encourage them to want to explore, plant, and embrace gardens as a wonderful feature of nature.

Quiet in the Garden is one such book.

A young boy goes out to the garden. He knows that if he is very still and very quiet, he will see and hear many wonderful things. He does such a fantastic job of both observing and listening that his imagination takes hold and he notices the meanderings of garden animals as they eat and visit with one another.

In the end, the boy harvests and shares produce with the animals at a picnic. There is plenty for all.

P.S. I love his fenced garden which comes complete with a pond, fruit trees, shade trees, and pathways between garden beds. I know you will, too.


Visit a Garden

~ Does your community have an arboretum or rose garden? Maybe a neighbor or grandparent has a nice garden. Ask to go on a visit.

~ Take only yourself, and maybe a little notepad and colored pencils (and a parent to drive you).

~ Sit very still and be extremely quiet.

~ What do you see? What can you hear? Who is in the garden? What busy insects are around you? Are there any other animals? What plants are growing? What do you smell?

~ Lie down on your tummy. Watch for awhile. Close your eyes. Did you notice new things that you missed when you were sitting up tall with your eyes open?

~ Move to a rock or bench. Sketch some of the things you see in your notepad.

Aren't gardens awesome?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chicken Cheeks - Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Chicken Cheeks
By Michael Ian Black
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2009)

This Wacky Wednesday is really, well, WACKY! I stumbled upon Chicken Cheeks at the public library. After one read-aloud to my grandson, I was hooked and we were both in giggles.

Chicken Cheeks is about bums. Backsides. Buttocks. The "B" word, though I use the word buttsy with my grands.

The entire book is a story of animals, their cheeks (not the ones on their faces), and their attempts to work together to reach a honeybee hive at the top of a very tall tree. The results (and illustrations) are hilarious.

Readers will come away from Chicken Cheeks with a whole new list of words to use for butts. Think vocabulary building while having a good time.

Too much fun and smirking are involved in Chicken Cheeks. So get your buns on out there and find a copy.


Word Games: Implement New Words & Build Vocabulary

~ Silly, but yes, children will love to start using their new words in daily life. Maybe you will get tired of the hilarity, but just crack a grin and go with it.

~ Learning never comes to an end . . . try and drum up some new words that were not in Chicken Cheeks. Add those to your conversation (in appropriate circles, of course).

Make sure to read the book jacket and blurb. The play on words is hysterical!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lottie and Annie Upside-Down Book ~ Terrific Tuesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

The Lottie and Annie Upside Down Book
By Cara Lynn Vogel
Illustrated by Loretta B. Adkins
(Woman's Missionary Union, 2003)

Today's Terrific Tuesday book is a wonderful book about two inspiring women. Similar to those dolls that you flip over and turn the skirts to see a different doll (one on each end, two total), The Lottie and Annie Upside Down Book features Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon in the same book. Without the skirt flipping.

Readers do need to flip the book over after they finish reading about Annie's life of caring and telling about Jesus. After the book is flipped, one can then learn about Lottie Moon, a missionary who gave her life to tell about Jesus in China.

A Christian biography, The Lottie and Annie Upside Down Book, inspires readers and offers ways they can care about and help others and tell about Jesus. This book would be great for anyone who loves to read and learn about the lives of different people.


Help Someone

Both Annie and Lottie found creative ways to help others in need.

Look around you. Who do you see that has a need for special help or supplies? Brainstorm and find a way to help.

Neighbors? Family? Friends? Someone at school or church? Someone in your community? Maybe there is someone who needs help that you read about in the newspaper or heard about on TV. Let the Lord guide you to choose the one who needs your help right now.

Always ask a parent or adult to help you find the right person or situation to help. I know they would love to help you!

Some ideas (though the situation you are thinking about may have special needs and you will have to be wise to figure the best way to offer help):

bake cookies
gather diapers and baby supplies
give money
deliver food
help with yard work
collect books
ask neighbors for baby and kids clothes
sit and visit
invite to church
take out the trash
give flowers
send a card
make a phone call and chat

Happy Helping!

Friday, April 17, 2015

We Are All Alike . . . We Are All Different ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

We Are All Alike . . . We Are All Different
Written and illustrated by the Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners
Photographs by Laura Dwight
(Scholastic, Inc., 1991)

We Are All Alike . . . We Are All Different is a wonderful book that explores the sameness and differentness of all of us.

Written by kindergartners (!), this book allows each person to be both unique and the same. The artwork and simple text are perfect for readers. The added photographs include a wide variety of diverse individuals. You will be pleased to see many ethnic groups and family combinations in We Are All Alike . . . We Are All Different.

And it's okay.


Crayon Resist Painting

Many of the illustrations were made by painting over crayon drawings with watercolor paints.

1. Draw pictures of your family members with crayons.

2. Use watercolors to paint the figures and background.

3. Dry and display the paintings.

4. Discuss your family. How are you alike? How are you different?

Foster the ability of your child to allow others to be different and okay at the same time. We are all different! We are all alike!

Thanks for reading and sharing!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket - Picture Book & KID KANDY

The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket
By Sonia Levitin
Pictures by Jerry Pinkney
(Scholastic Inc., 1991)

Jack, a man who had once had his heart broken, lived in a village and carried his heart in a bucket to prevent if from getting broken again.

Jack was a metal worker of gold, copper, and tin. The time frame of The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket is in the old days. Bartering was the currency for many business transactions.

Jack went about the village, looking for work. At each of three stops, Jack was given a job. After his walk, he stopped at a stream to put water in his bucket to keep his heart fresh. As he tipped the bucket in, a golden carp jumped from the water. Thinking the fish wanted his heart, Jack reached to save it. At that moment, the carp turned into a beautiful girl. Jack stared at the girl, who quickly grabbed his heart.

Instead of giving the heart back, the maiden told Jack to solve a riddle of three golden scales. Only then would he have love in full measure.

The rest of the tale of The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket shows how Jack figured out the answers desired by the maiden. The old, too busy, Jack was transformed into a new man who loved his pretty lady and took the time to enjoy life.

Taylor, my oldest, loved to listen to me read The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket. This story is a great folktale that points readers to seize what is really important.


True of False Game - What Can You Keep in a Bucket?

Display a bucket. Play a game with your young readers.

1. First, have each child get an object. Find out if the items fit in the bucket. Do the items fit? True or false. Why or why not? A ball fits in the bucket. True. It is small enough to fit.

2. Move on to concept objects (ones that cannot be held) - love, hearts, eyes, thoughts, and so on. Discuss if they can fit in a bucket. Make the items into a true or false statement. Should they be kept in a bucket? Why not? My head fits in the bucket. False. It is attached to my neck, so it cannot go in the bucket.

3. Brainstorm a list of things that should be kept in a bucket. A cow should be kept in a bucket. False. It is too big. OR Rocks should be kept in the bucket. True. They need to be taken out of the garden.

4. Give each child a plastic beach-type bucket. Go for a nature walk and let them collect items that will fit in the buckets.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chicks & Salsa - Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Chicks & Salsa
By Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Paulette Bogan
(Scholastic Inc., 2005)

LOL. The chickens are tired of chicken food. So Rooster decides he will solve the problem. Unbeknownst to Mrs. Nuthatcher, the farmers' wife, Rooster is also watching the cooking channel when she is glued to the set.

Guess who learns to cook?

The chickens! Homemade salsa is their first dish, which leads to a lovely meal for the chicks - chips and salsa.

What follows in this silly book is a feast for the eyes and the funny bone. All of the animals begin to grumble about their boring food. Each group makes their own Mexican dish. The cooking fun comes to a crashing halt when the farmer and his wife decide to make tamales for the fair.

Out of supplies, there is only one way for the animals to supplement ordinary animal food with exquisitely prepared meals. Rooster learns to read so he can follow cookbook directions.

Wacky to the end, Chicks & Salsa is engaging and entertaining. Readers will certainly want to head to the kitchen to make their own special meal.


Make Your Own Salsa

Gather the supplies that the animals used in Chicks & Salsa.

~ tomatoes
~ onions

Chop up the tomatoes and onions. Add other ingredients the family will enjoy.

~ a small pepper
~ cilantro
~ lime juice
~ corn kernels
~ oregano

Mix together. Serve with corn chips. Ole!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sing to the Tune - Terrific Tuesday Books You Can Sing & KID KANDY

Sing to the Tune

Compiled by Joye Smith and Rhonda Robbins-Reeves
(Woman's Missionary Union, 2009)

Piggyback songs. Have you heard the term?

A piggyback song is a song with new words that is created by using the tune of a very familiar song. The new song piggybacks on the previously known melody. This type of song is very easy to adjust to whatever theme, situation, or content that is necessary. Piggyback songs are usually very short and very simple. These songs are perfect for those who work with or have children.

Sing to the Tune is a compilation of piggyback songs that have been made-up by Mission Friends teachers and writers over the course of several years. The songs are divided into the Christian concept areas of God's Creation, God, Jesus, Bible, Church, Family, Self, Community, and World. Cleanup and transition songs as well as finger plays, rhymes, and action songs are included in Sing to the Tune. The wonderful index makes it very easy to look for the songs you would like to use.

I bet you've already made-up your own piggyback songs. Fun times for fun kids.


Sing a Song, Make Up Your Own Song

~ Choose a familiar song. "Happy Birthday" is a favorite. Or try "Are You Sleeping?"

~ Sing the old song. Hum the tune.

~ What type of song do you and your child want to make-up? Dogs? Cats? Farms? Babies?

~ Play around with words and make up a few phrases that follow the melody and rhythm of the base song.

~ Sing your new song. Share it with the family.

Here's an example.

Tune: "Are You Sleeping?"

Theme: cats

Cats are meowing,
Cats are climbing,
I hug cats. I love cats.
Do you see them racing?
Do you hear them purring?
Soft, soft, cats.
Furry, furry, cats.

See? Easy and fun.

Remember, word games help a child develop language and literacy skills. Have a go!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tomorrow's Alphabet - Picture Book & KID KANDY

Tomorrow's Alphabet
By George Shannon
Pictures by Donald Crew
(Greenwillow Books, 1996)

Welcome to one of my favorite alphabet books!

Tomorrow's Alphabet may be a bit confusing until the reader realizes what George Shannon and Donald Crew have done. The beginning of each alphabet page does not even make sense until readers figure out the pattern.

For instance, "G is for bulbs-" (from the Gg page).

How does work with the alphabet that we know?

The answer lies in TOMORROW. "G is for bulbs- tomorrow's garden."


The simplicity of challenging readers to figure out what end result could come tomorrow from what is shown on today is what makes Tomorrow's Alphabet such a fun book. Once a child has heard the book read aloud, he or she will want to continuously reread it. They gain success each time the new alphabet is conquered.

Add Tomorrow's Alphabet to your library.


Play Tomorrow's Alphabet Game

~ Play this game as you go about your daily routine.

~ Choose something that could be changed tomorrow. For instance, an egg.

~ Ask your child to say what the item could be changed into. For instance, scramble.

~ Make up a phrase similar to the pattern in Tomorrow's Alphabet. Ss is for eggs, tomorrow's scramble.

~ Let your child choose items and play the game. It is a good thing when your child can see the relationship between what something is and what it will become.

Dog = Pp is for dog, tomorrow's pet.

Lettuce = Ss is for lettuce, tomorrow's salad.

Milk = Ii is for milk, tomorrow's ice cream.

See the pattern?

Playing letter and word games helps build and strengthen your child's literacy skills.

Letter games = Rr is for letter games, tomorrow's readers.

The Write Conversation : Google Penalizes Sites that aren’t Mobile Friendly...

The Write Conversation : Google Penalizes Sites that aren’t Mobile Friendly...: by Edie Melson  @EdieMelson Time for some digital spring cleaning. I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but here in South Ca...

Time for spring cleaning! So much work, but so wonderful when it is done. I wonder if a clean and organized blog is as nice as a clean and organized home? Hope so.

Happy cleaning!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Beckoning Cat - Picture Book & KID KANDY

The Beckoning Cat, Based on a Japanese Folktale
By Koko Nishizuka
Illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger
(Holiday House, 2009)

Have you seen a beckoning cat?

I have, in several shops and restaurants. I've always wondered what they were for. What is the symbolism and the story that goes along with these cats with waving paws?

The Beckoning Cat, Based on a Japanese Folktale, is the best place to go to find out about those cheerful looking cats.

Yohei was a young boy who goes to the port each morning to buy fish to sell. He was very poor, but worked hard to find buyers for the fish that rested in buckets on both ends of a pole placed across his shoulder.

One rainy evening, a muddy kitty showed up at his door. Yohei fed the stray with as much of his meager food as he could. The next day it was gone.

Yohei's father came down ill with a high fever. Yohei was forced to go home and care for his sick dad instead of selling the fish in his buckets. He wished he could do both, as they desperately needed the money to survive.

Mysteriously, people started knocking on Yoshei's door. They wanted to buy fish. Who told them where to go? It was the beckoning cat, sitting by the door, waving her paw to garner attention.

This adorable story continues on with the story of Yoshei, his father, and the cat, who helped Yoshei sell enough fish to buy strong medicine for his father.

Now the beckoning cat is seen as a good-luck symbol. Many merchants put them in their windows or at cash registers. Now do you recall seeing a beckoning cat?


Go on a Beckoning Cat Hunt

~ Search online to learn more about beckoning cats.

~ Visit a Japanese or Asian restaurant for lunch or dinner. Is there a beckoning cat?

~ If you find a shop or restaurant with a beckoning cat, ask the owners or servers to tell about the cat. Is their story like the one found in The Beckoning Cat, Based on a Japanese Folktale?

~ Make your own beckoning cat with construction paper, scissors, markers, and a brad. Cut out the cat, making it's arm separate. Attach the waving arm to the side of the cat with a brad so you can move it back and forth. What does your beckoning cat wave at?

Thanks for reading and sharing. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Art & Max - Picture Book & KID KANDY

Art & Max

By David Wiesner
(Clarion Books, 2010)

Explosions of color and detail fill the picture book Art & Max.

Art (the lizard, not the subject) and Max are exploring art (the subject, not the lizard) while out in the desert. Art (short for Arthur) is quite good at painting portraits. All Max wants to do is to try and do the same thing. Art finally agrees to allow Max to begin experimenting with paint.

Literal Max creates quite the scene with his interpretations of painting. Readers will be engaged in imagining what happens next as they read Art & Max.

Bright colors, imaginative illustrations, and simple text combine in Art & Max to make a fascinating book. Color mixing, techniques, and a variety of drawings are perfectly used to not only entertain but to educate readers about art.

I give Art & Max two thumbs up.


Art (the Subject, not the lizard) Time

There are several art techniques shown in Art & Max. Choose one to explore.

~ painting with acrylics on an easel

~ painting on an object with acrylics

~ using rainbow colors to paint

~ adding water to paint to thin the colors

~ watercolor painting

~ charcoal (pencil) drawings

~ string art

~ pointillism art (dots of paint)

~ splatter technique of painting

Use Art & Max for ideas of what you would like to try. Maybe you better paint outside. It could get messy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Duck on a Bike - Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Duck on a Bike
By David Shannon
(Scholastic Inc., 2002)

Have you seen a duck on a bike? Sounds like a Wacky Wednesday feature to me. Let's read Duck on a Bike, shall we?

Duck got a wild idea and decided to go on a bicycle joy ride around the farm. As Duck passed other farm animals, each one mentally expressed varying opinions of duck on the bike. But after a group of children arrived on their bikes, dashed inside, and left the bicycles unattended, well . . . one can only imagine what happens next!

I've never seen a duck on a bike. But wouldn't that be a fun thing?


Go for a Bike Ride

After reading Duck on a Bike, put on your helmet and go out for a bicycle ride. Consider the thoughts of the different animals. Do they apply to your bike ride? Which animal are you most like? Why?

Pretend for just a bit
. If you could see ANY animal riding a bike, which one would it be? Draw me a picture. I would love to see that, too!

You are welcome to share ideas and book suggestions found on this blog. Happy trails to you!

Thanks for sharing!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Maple & Willow Together - Terrific Tuesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Maple & Willow Together
By Lori Nichols
(Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014)

Maple & Willow Together is the story of two sisters who did everything together. Maple and Willow even had their own language.

But alas, they did not always agree on the right way to do things. One day, the sisters got into a fight, disagreeing and acting out. They did not want to see each other again.

It only took a short while for the separated girls to decide that they did indeed want to spend all their time together again.

I love the names Maple and Willow. I love how the story allows the sisters to spend lots of free time playing outdoors. I think the illustrations are adorable.

Maple & Willow Together will help readers to see that it's okay to spend time together AND do different things.


Build a Fairy House

Materials: nature items such as pebbles, sticks, leaves, acorns, flowers, and pinecones

Find a spot where you want to build a fairy house. Use whatever you can find in your backyard (or park, forest, meadow, playground) to use as building materials. A fairy house can be flat on the ground or built up tall propped between rocks or tree branches. Maybe you want to build a fairy house in a hole or under a tree root or beneath a flower bush. Any place will be perfect for your fairy house.

Have fun!

Do you see any place to build a fairy house in the above pictures?

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jack's Garden ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Jack's Garden
By Henry Cole
(Greenwillow Books, 1995)

It's that time of year. For me, I am picking out hundreds of sunflowers seeds gone wild in the middle of the strawberry bed. Not to mention digging out the little clover roots that have invaded the same triangle garden. Last fall, I loved the groups of birds foraging in my overgrown sunflower patch. Unfortunately I allowed a few strays to grow. They took over. This year, my laziness has been found out. So the weeding progresses.

Meet Jack.

Jack's Garden
is a book about a, well, perfectly tilled, measured, and planned garden. Each two-page spread tells what Jack does in his garden. Borders are edged with tools, garden critters, life cycles, and so on. Jack is not lazy though. He wants flowers to take over his garden so he can enjoy the ladybugs (detailed life stages illustrations), birds, bees, butterflies, and all of those other wonderful animals that frequent flower gardens. The end result is beautiful.

Readers will learn much about gardens and wildlife when they read Jack's Garden. The illustrations are labeled, so everyone can tell which is a ladybird larva and which is a bee balm flower. This nature book not only allows the reader to learn, it is a good scientific source for accurate information and gives suggestions for planting your own flower garden to attract wildlife.

Jack's Garden is a great resource for gardeners of any age.


Plant a Flower Patch

~ With mom or dad, choose a spot to clear of grass or other plants. Dig up the soil and mash up the dirt chunks.

~ Smooth the dirt with a rake or your hands. Doesn't the soil feel nice and cool?

~ Decide on which flowers you want to plant. Sunflowers? Black-eyed Susan's? Daisies? Maybe you want a mix of seeds and a surprise.

~ Get your seeds.

~ Read the package directions together to find out how deep to plant the seeds. Plant them in your flower patch dirt.

~ Gently water the soil and keep it moist until seedlings sprout.

~ Continue to water. Wait to pull weeds until you are sure which sprouts are weeds and which are flowers!

~ Enjoy the beautiful flowers that bloom. Spend some time watching to see who visits your flower patch - bees, butterflies, robins, cats, slugs, ladybugs, and spiders may check out your flowers.

~ Don't forget to take pictures of your beautiful flowers!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy Easter, Little Critter - Picture Book & KID KANDY

Happy Easter, Little Critter
By Mercer Mayer
(Scholastic Inc., 1998)

Ah, the good old days. Happy Easter, Little Critter takes me right back to the Easter holidays of my childhood.

Getting up too early? Check.

Easter baskets the same as my three siblings? Check.

Get dressed up for church in a new (and sometimes matching but different color than my sister) Easter outfit? Check.

Try to eat all the candy BEFORE church? Of course.

Decorate eggs? The messier the better.

Hiding and finding eggs? Over and over. We could play that game all day.

Fighting over who got the (prettiest, biggest, coolest - you fill in the blank) eggs?

Happy Easter, Little Critter tells it like it was.


Decorate Boiled Eggs

(As always, allow your child to help you as much as possible to capitalize on learning activities.)

1. Boil the eggs. I always add extras, just in case. Cool.

2. Prepare the egg dying kit. I actually read the directions this year. Yes. I know. Vinegar only goes in some of the dyes, not all. And the eggs need to be completely dry and at room temp for the best results.

3. Use crayons to draw designs on eggs - stripes, zigzags, dots, and so on. Add rubber bands, bits of tape, or other sticky items make patterns.

4. Dye the eggs. This year (it really was a learning year for me and I'm 52!) I let my grands use wire whips as egg holders. I love this tip!

5. Dry. Add stickers, washi tape, glitter, or whatever else you want. Dry again.

Time for hide and seek!

You hide the eggs the first time. And then let your children take it from there.

HINT: Count the eggs. Find the same number of eggs that were hidden. Trust me. Don't leave eggs hiding in your yard. Ewww.

Happy Easter, little critters!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Z is for Moose - Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

Z is for Moose
By Kelly Bingham
Pictures by Paul O. Zelinsky
(Scholastic Inc., 2012)

Z does not normally begin with M, as in moose. But Moose will do anything to get in on the alphabet action play.

In Z is for Moose, Moose is so excited to get in on the alphabet fun, he is willing to jump in anywhere. Moose sneaks into many pages, interrupting the flow and annoying the zebra director and other animal actors.

What is wackier than a Moose impatient with waiting his turn for alphabet representation?

The fit that same Moose throws when he is not listed under the letter M. M is for mouse.

Read all about Moose and his alphabet mayhem in Z is for Moose. Totally wacky.


Sing the Alphabet Song (Wrong)

My students LOVED it when we sang the ABC song and I messed up. Your child will love it as well.

~ Look at an alphabet book or chart.

~ Sing the song, pointing to each letter as you go.

~ Make mistakes. Be dramatic. Mess it up big time.

~ Act innocent when you are accused of being wrong. Who me? What? Couldn't be!

~ Begin again, progressing past the first mistake. Sing the wrong letter and make more mistakes.

Really. Your child will not let you stop singing. By the end, both of you will be laughing and having so much fun, neither of you will notice that someone is learning about the alphabet.

P.S. My kinders had so much fun with this silly activity, we literally disturbed all of the other classes on our wing!

Angie Quantrell loves singing silly songs with kids. The sillier, the better. A, B, C, F, G, H, J, . . .