Thursday, May 28, 2015
Say Hello to Zorro!
By Carter Goodrich
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2011)
Mister Bud enjoyed living life high on the hog. He had his own everything. Including his own schedule, which he minded with great decisiveness and from which there was no departure. Ever.
Until one day bossy Zorro appeared right at greet and make a fuss time. Zorro was there to stay. Things did not look good for the new canine roommates. Until they noticed that they both had the same schedule. After that, life became one great schedule of fun and companionship.
Though Mister Bud still had his cranky days and Zorro tended to be bossy.
Oh, if you love dogs, this is the book for you. The illustrations are fantastic and the commentary of the pet owner (as part of the story) adds a different viewpoint in addition to that of Mister Bud and Zorro.
Say Hello to Zorro! would be a good book to read if you are considering adding another pet to your family.
What's Your Schedule?
Mister Bud and Zorro had funny names for the different parts of their daily schedule. What is your schedule? Tell your parents what you do throughout the day. Can you think of new names for the different parts?
Try making up some silly names for each thing. Like:
Breakfast could be Stuff my face time
School could be Feed my brain time
Lunch could be Chow with friends time
Now you try. What is your schedule?
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Lawn to Lawn
By Dan Yaccarino
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2010)
Wacky Wednesday is when the yard ornaments take off on a journey to find their missing girl, Pearl.
Only Pearl knows that the lawn ornaments are real. When Pearl's family moves to Ritzy Estates, her friends are left behind. Using a dropped map, the lawn friends follow Pearl. Along the way, several tempting new residences lure the lawn ornament friends to stop and stay. But at the mention of Pearl, each remembers the goal.
The enemy? The garbage truck. If a lawn ornament is found by the curb, alas, it disappears for all times.
In Lawn to Lawn, lawn ornament friends face danger and excitement to find Pearl. The garbage truck surprise ending is a clever twist on how to solve a huge problem.
Readers will laugh at the flamingo, troll, deer, and jockey lawn ornaments as they complete their quest. Does your child know what a lawn ornament is?
I Spy a Lawn Ornament
Also called yard ornaments, lawn ornaments can be almost anything! Deer, trolls, flamingoes, jockeys, gnomes, chickens, statues, and wooden creations are some types of lawn ornaments.
Go on an I Spy a Lawn Ornament walk. Stroll through your neighborhood to see how many lawn ornaments you can find. Earn extra points if you find one of the lawn ornaments featured in Lawn to Lawn (deer, troll, flamingo, or jockey).
How many did you find? Are you ready to add lawn ornaments to your yard?
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas
By Tony Wilson
Illustrations by Sue deGennaro
(Peachtree Publications, 2009)
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas is a bit of a remake of the fairy tale The Princess and the Pea. Actually, the prince from that story is the brother of the prince from this story.
Prince Henrik wanted to marry a real princess - as long as she loved camping, hockey, and was the outdoor type. To thin the herd of interested suitors, Prince Henrik went one step further and planned to use an entire bag of frozen peas under a thin camping mattress for each real princess that stayed over. His top choice quickly went sour as she was too sensitive about everything and spent all of her time being sensitive. His experience was such that he gave up on a real princess and decided instead to marry an unreal princess - the opposite of a real princess.
So Prince Henrik enjoyed a lovely day with one of his old friends, Pippa. They played hockey, rode horses, and had a great time. When Prince Henrik used the bag of frozen peas and a camping mat on Pippa, he didn't hear a peep. The surprise ending is very satisfying.
The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas is a fun side story to an original fairy tale. If your child is unfamiliar with The Princess and the Pea, I would read that first to set up the whole princess and pea theme.
Young readers will enjoy the modern look and fun illustrations of The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas.
Can you sleep on a mattress that hides a packet of frozen peas?
Let's put this to the test, shall we? I know we keep a specific packet of peas in the freezer for icing injuries. It has been used, thawed, and refrozen so many times I doubt one would enjoy cooked peas from that pack!
Designate one packet for your ice pack. Play with the bag a bit. How does it feel? Hold it against a shoulder or knee. Does it cool you off?
Just before bed, tuck the pea packet under the mattress. Or to be fair, dig out a sleeping bag and tuck in under the bag. That's about as thick as a camping pad.
Good morning. Did you sleep well? Was the packet of peas lumpy? Did you wake up with them smushed and warm?
Are you a real or an unreal princess (or prince)?
It's all in fun. You can grow up and marry anyone you want to.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Squish! A Wetland Walk
By Nancy Luenn
Illustrated by Ronald Himler
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1994)
Squish! A Wetland Walk, winner of the Washington Governor's Writers Award, is a beautiful book that tells of a wetland walk by a young child.
This book tells about life in a wetland. Luenn uses many descriptive words and much language to engage readers in the smell, sound, taste, and feel of damp salty wetlands. Watercolor illustrations wonderfully compliment the text. Readers will learn and enjoy as they turn the pages of Squish! A Wetland Walk.
Be prepared. A request to visit a wetland is in the making.
Visit or Make a Wetland
If you live near the beach, by all means, get out and go to the wetland area. Search to see if you can find some of the wildlife and wetland features mentioned in the book. Enjoy the squishy time.
If you are landlocked, as I am, make your own mini-wetland.
1. Partially fill a large plastic tub with sand. Dump in some water.
2. Hunt the yard for sticks, rocks, leaves, and other interesting nature items. Let your child mix, stir, and create.
3. Add a few plastic toy animals that would or could live in a wetland. Play with your child and have fun exploring the mini-wetland.
4. Start saving money for a future trip to the beach.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Bugs A to Z
By Caroline Lawton
(Scholastic Inc., 2011)
It's that time of year. Bugs. Creepy crawlies. Insects. Spiders. Scorpions.
Bugs A to Z takes advantage of our natural interest and fascination (both positive and negative) with the insect world. Even those of us who shriek at the sight of particular six-legged versions (I'm raising my hand), this nonfiction picture book is fantastic.
Bugs A to Z is filled with high quality photographs of a wide variety of bugs - plenty to get you shuddering or running for high ground. This book is not limited to just insects, but other buggy types are included. Think spiders and scorpions in addition to the regular sort of rustling creepers.
Boys and girls will love to be grossed out by the pictures and information shared in Bugs A to Z. Each letter features one bug and a tidbit of information about that particular critter.
Prepare to be amazed.
Go on a Critter Hunt - Catch and Release
Materials: bug cage, magnifying glass, plastic container with a lid (for catching only)
Head on out. There are plenty of interesting creatures just waiting for us to observe them. Use the plastic container to scoop up a bug and quickly cover the top with the lid. Open the bug cage and dump in the critter. Use the magnifying glasses to closely inspect your captive creepy crawly.
What is it? How many legs does it have? Can you see the body parts, eyes, feelers, antennae, legs, or stingers? How do you feel about this bug?
Time for another hunt. Don't forget to release the bug in the cage before adding a new one, or who knows what could happen!
Funny story: I had a bug cage at church and had captured a jumping spider. The preschoolers loved looking at it. Suddenly, I noticed that it had escaped and was racing across the floor. I quickly snatched it up and dumped it back in the cage. Where it was attacked and killed by the first jumping spider that I had put it there! The first one had not escaped like we thought. The second spider was a new intruder in our room.
Poor spider. Maybe that was a sad story.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
By Peter Sis
(Scholastic Inc., 1998)
Matt loves fire trucks. In fact, he adores them so much, that all he says is "fire truck." One day, Matt woke up and guess what? He was a fire truck!
Fire Truck is a creative and terrific picture book about a boy who becomes what he loves - a fire truck. Matt drove all around rescuing and putting out fires - until he smelled breakfast.
Preschoolers will enjoy Matt and his adventures. The illustration of Matt as a fire truck is a fold-out page with lots of things for counting. Introduce your littles to Fire Truck. See how they can use their imagination.
Use Your Imagination
Matt imagines he becomes a fire truck. Encourage your child to use the same type of imagination.
~ What is your child interested in?
~ Is there a thing, activity, or subject that is the most favorite?
~ Let your child choose his or her most important thing. Talk about the favorite (trucks, dolls, ballerinas, cats, horses, and so on).
~ Encourage your child to move like the chosen thing - leaping, flying (flapping arms), driving, dancing.
~ Join in the imaginative play. Pretend to turn into your favorite thing. No, a cup of coffee is not very exciting. Maybe a hiker or motorcycle would be fun. But not a donut or latte.
Playing together is a great way to spend quality time together. Turn off the tech and turn on the connection with imagination and you.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Curious George Makes Pancakes
By Margret & H.A. Rey's
(Scholastic Inc., 1998)
Indulgence me for a minute. I'm on a breakfast roll here. Waffles, pancakes, bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, sausage, cinnamon rolls, . . .
Everyone knows Curious George, that innocent-but-always-getting-into-trouble monkey who lives with the man with the yellow hat.
In Curious George Makes Pancakes, George, always curious, went to the Pancake Breakfast Day at the community park. Soon George began dabbling at the pancake station where long lines began to form once people saw the monkey making pancakes. What began as topping pancakes with blueberries turned into working the pancake griddle and assembling stacks of sticky pancakes. Sticky George ended up in the dunk tank, where he again inspired long lines of customers waiting to dunk the now not sticky George.
Curious George is just a funny lovable monkey. This book would be fun to read before a community breakfast or celebration days where breakfast is served or dunk tanks are in use. Or just before you make pancakes for breakfast.
Make Pancakes & List Sticky Things
One of my favorite memories is of my mom painstakingly creating our names in pancake batter. We loved eating our names, sticky and all.
1. Mix up pancake batter. Let the littles help! Sticky, messy, or not - cooking is a wonderful bonding and learning activity for kids.
2. Put the batter in a pitcher. Write each child's name in batter and cook name pancakes.
3. Serve with butter, blueberries (just like George), and syrup.
4. Anyone sticky? Start talking about other things that are sticky - tape, glue, lollipops, and so on. See how many sticky items you can list. Add to your mental sticky list as you have drive time in the car, wait time in line, or sitting time at appointments.
Have a sticky fun day!
Thursday, May 14, 2015
The Little Golden Fire Engine Book
Pictures by Tibor Gergely
(Golden Press, 1959)
Who remembers Little Golden Books?
I have many fond memories of time spent with my Golden Book collection. I have one particular image in my mind of a certain shopping trip. I had my money in hand and was looking intently at a rack full of Little Golden Books. I can still feel what emotions swirled around me as I perused the titles, striving to choose the most perfect book to add to my library.
Fire Engines is one such book, though I would not have chosen it for myself. Instead, a few years back, I found it for my husband, a long-time volunteer fire fighter in the Yakima Valley. For many years he lived, breathed, slept, and dreamed of fires and fire departments.
The illustrations are dated, the pages yellowed, the text short and sweet. But to me, old books are a precious part of my childhood. The original cost was 29 cents.
This is also apparently true for my adulthood.
Make a Fire Truck
All kids love the thrill of pretending to be a fire fighter. Together, create a fire engine from household props.
Materials: large box, utility knife, red paint or markers, black construction paper, scissors, round paper plates, rope, fire fighter play clothes, bell, play radio or walkie talkie
1. Cut the extra flaps off of the box. Cut side doors that open out so your child can open them and enter the fire engine.(Caution: Adults are the only ones that should use a utility knife.)
2. Help paint or color the sides of the fire engine red. Do check out the color of the fire trucks in your community. There are other colors out there and your child may want his or her fire engine to match the ones seen around town.
3. Cut large black circles the size of paper plates. Glue four to paper plates for the tires. Attach to the fire truck.
4. Cut the middle from a paper plate, leaving radial strips, to form the steering wheel.
5. Hang the rope out of the back to be the hose and put the bell by the steering wheel.
6. Dress up is fire fighter clothes and get to work saving the town!
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
RED, Colors in Nature
By Rebecca Stromstad Glaser
(Bullfrog Books, Jump!, 2014)
Just looking at the vibrant, beautiful colors in RED, Colors in Nature makes me feel like I could touch the pages and feel the living nature items.
In RED, Colors in Nature, the text is simple yet engaging. A red object is pictured. A short sentence labels the photo. And then the question Why is it red? is included. The facing page answers the why question.
This nonfiction picture book will appeal to young readers and pre-readers. Nonfiction features are included, including a glossary, index, table of contents, and text boxes.
RED is not the only book in the Colors of Nature series. I have also found YELLOW and BLUE at my library and they are just as captivating.
Go Grocery Shopping
What better place to find a zillion colors on display in something near and dear to our hearts (and tummies) than our fruit and vegetables!
~ Choose one color (or decide to look for several) before you and your child hit the produce aisle.
~ Look for and label foods by color. Language building activities like learning color words and names of fruit and vegetables are essential for young children.
~ Let your child choose one or two foods from a color group to take home and taste. (Hint: This is a great way to get them to try NEW foods.)
~ Older children can make a chart and see how many different types of produce they can find for a chosen color. If your kids enjoy competition, let each choose a different color (in advance of the trip) and see who can find and write down the most of their chosen color.
~ Maybe you have a budding photographer? Let him or her use a digital camera to shoot pictures of colorful produce. Help make slide show of color on the family computer.
Whatever activity you chose, enjoy those beautiful colors of the grocery store produce section.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Art Lab for Kids - 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media
By Susan Schwake
Photographs by Rainer Schwake
(Quarry Books, 2012)
I struck the jackpot with this art book!
Art Lab for Kids (add the 52 Creative Adventures part) is a fabulous book with easy to follow photographs. Budding artists or explorers will love paging through to find the perfect project.
Wonderful features make this book a complete volume with 52 different adventures in art. The author lists materials, gives detailed instructions, asks readers to "Think First," and includes photographs that illustrate key points. She also has a feature called "Meet the Artist" for each art lab adventure. Readers can read about and see the artwork of 52 different artists. And just when you thought she was done, Schwake added yet one more piece - "Go Further." This is provided for each art adventure and encourages readers to continue the process and go further with the project.
If you want to dabble in different art media projects, this book will suit you just right.
Peruse and Choose One of the 52 Creative Adventures
What's your art interest? Drawing, painting, making prints, using papers, or mixing up media? There are ideas for all of these areas.
Choose one that looks interesting to you.
Gather your materials.
Follow the directions.
Read about the artist.
Did you have a fantastic creative adventure in art?
Friday, May 8, 2015
By Rosemary Wells
(Scholastic Inc., 1997)
Bunny Cakes is the perfect book for littles to give to grandmas or nanas.
Grandma's birthday is coming up. Max made her a mud cake. He wanted to help Ruby bake her cake for grandma, but Ruby sent him to the store instead. With lots of "oops" mistakes and repeat trips to the store, Max was finally ostracized to the yard and forced to watch the cake decorating through the window.
Never fear, for Grandma had two cakes for her birthday. All is well on the birthday cake front.
Bunny Cakes may give young readers ideas on what to bake for someone's special birthday!
Make a Birthday Cake
Figure out what you want to celebrate (or whose birthday to celebrate).
1. Bake a cake. Use a recipe from scratch or a box cake mix. Let your little help follow the directions. It's ok, just pick out the egg shells before mixing.
2. While the cake is cooking, decide how to decorate it.
3. Let your little help you spread icing and add decorations and candles. There will probably be a certain amount of licking of the butter knife. Perhaps your little can lick when the icing is complete.
5. Don't forget to let your littles help clean up the messy kitchen!
Thursday, May 7, 2015
By Joy Cowley
Illustrations by Elizabeth Fuller
(Shortland Publications Limited, 1980)
Mrs. Wishy-washy lives on a farm. One day, the cow, the pig, and the duck found lovely mud and spent their time rolling and splashing about until Mrs. Wishy-washy found the mud splattered animals. Into the tub they went. And then Mrs. Wishy-washy cleaned them up. Wishy-washy, wishy-washy, wishy-washy.
When the animals were spotless, Mrs. Wishy-washy went back to the house. But the animals spied something fantastic. Mud!
This read-together book is catchy and funny. Readers will love to sing-song wishy-washy, wishy-washy, wishy-washy and laugh at the ending.
Play in the Mud
1. Get permission to play in the mud.
2. Put on old play clothes.
3. Dig a hole in the dirt.
4. Fill the hole with water.
5. Splash about and mix up the dirt and water. Make some fantastic mud! Paint your legs and hands. Make mud pies. Walk on cement to make mud footprints.
6. Hose off before you go into the house.
7. Take a bath. As you scrub, sing, "wishy-washy, wishy-washy, wishy-washy."
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Monsieur Saguette and His Baguette
By Frank Asch
(Kids Can Press, 2004)
Welcome to Wacky Wednesday. Let me tell you, Monsieur Saguette is a bit wacky after he purchases a fresh baguette at the boulangerie to go with his carrot soup.
It turns out that Monsieur Saguette is quite the hero. He and the baguette solve all sorts of problems in very unusual ways.
Cat in a tree? Here, climb down the baguette, kitty. Escaped alligator about to eat a baby? Here, prop open the alligator's mouth with the baguette and save the baby. No baton for the bandleader? Here, use the baguette!
Silly and imaginative, Monsieur Saguette and His Baguette easily qualify for Wacky Wednesday status.
And Monsieur Saguette still goes home and eats the overused baguette with his soup. He even shares the crumbs.
Visit La Boulangerie
If you are lucky enough to live in a French speaking country, you will know exactly what la boulangerie is. But for the rest of us, we will have to go to a bakery. (But we can still call it la boulangerie.)
Look at the display case for breads made at the bakery. What types of bread are there? Do you see a baguette? Which is your favorite type of bread?
Some places will give tours, providing arrangements are made in advance or it is not rush hour for shopping.
Purchase some tasty bread to have for dinner. But I suggest you don't use your bread like Monsieur Saguette.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
One Child, One Seed, A South African Counting Book
Written by Kathryn Cave
Photographs by Gisele Wulfsohn
(Henry Holt and Company, 2002)
One Child, One Seed, A South African Counting Book is a beautifully photographed counting book based on children, families, and people in South Africa.
Nothando lives in South Africa with her aunt and grandmother. The story tells the tale of Nothando planting a pumpkin seed. Each subsequent page continues counting higher and higher and show many scenes in South Africa. Sidebars tell more about the lives of Nothando, her family, and her friends.
One Child, One Seed, A South African Counting Book is filled with interesting cultural information. A pumpkin seed graph, numbers, and number words are features in this picture book. Children who are learning to count will enjoy this book. Anyone who wants to learn more about other countries and the lives of other children will learn much from reading One Child, One Seed, A South African Counting Book.
Make a seed graph.
1. Find some seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, or other large seeds).
2. Print numbers 1-10 down the left side of a piece of paper.
3. Print the number words (or ask a parent or older sibling to help you) beside each number.
4. Place the correct number of seeds in a row beside each number.
5. Read your graph! Count the seeds, read the number words, and have fun sharing your graph.
Friday, May 1, 2015
What Will You Be, Sara Mee?
By Kate Aver Avraham
Illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien
What Will You Be, Sara Mee? is a story about Sara Mee and her brother. Sara Mee is celebrating her first birthday. In Korea, babies who turn one have a tol, or the first-birthday celebration that includes many guests, gifts, and the ritual event of the toljabee.
Toljabee is a prophecy game where items symbolizing different careers are placed in front of the child. Whichever item the baby chooses first supposedly indicates what he or she will become when he or she grows up.
Sara Mee celebrates with her older brother, who helps with the toljabee.
What Will You Be, Sara Mee? teaches readers a little about cultural practices in Korea. Sara Mee lives in America with her family, but the family still enjoys Korean traditions.
If you want to learn about other cultures, and maybe about some of your own neighbors, What Will You Be, Sara Mee? is a good place to begin.
What tradition does your family have?
~ Think about the things you like to do with your family.
~ What is one thing you do the same, every year, week, month, or holiday? Is that your family tradition?
~ Choose one family tradition. How did it begin? What does it mean? Did other generations have the same tradition or is it new for your family? What do you like about the tradition?
~ Think about What Will You Be, Sara Mee? What did you find interesting about the toljabee? What was different to you? What was the same?
Traditions are often passed down from parents to children to grandchildren. Families, cultures, and countries have different traditions. But the important thing is that celebrated traditions help us become who we are and understand our family.
And it is so much fun to learn about other traditions, isn't it?