Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
By Jane Cabrera
(Holiday House, 2012)
We are all familiar with the song called "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star."
Jane Cabrera takes the song a few steps higher in her sparkly book. In Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Cabrera used twinkle, flicker, glisten, shimmer, and sparkle in a variety of worldwide habitats to show places that the little star shines. Bright colors were used to illustrate people and animals that gaze up and wonder about the star.
Young readers will love the familiar melody and twinkling star found in Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
Make a Sparkly Star
1. July 4th is almost here. Stars are seen everywhere when America celebrates her birthday. This is a perfect time to help little ones learn the star shape. Search and find stars any time you are out in the community.
2. Teach older children to draw stars. Help younger ones make stars. Practice on paper.
3. Draw large stars on cardboard. Adults only: Cut out the stars with a craft knife. Punch a hole in one point.
4. Put the stars on wax paper. Let your child paint the star with white school glue. Provide a shaker container of glitter and let your child cover the wet glue with glitter.
5. Let the glitter dry. Shake off the excess glitter and return it to the shaker for a future project.
6. Add a hanging loop of yarn or string.
7. Let your child find a spot to hang the glistening star.
Now you have to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" again!
Monday, June 29, 2015
How to Bake an American Pie
by Karma Wilson
illustrated by Raul Colon
(Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007)
Here is the perfect book to read for July 4th - How to Bake an American Pie.
This book is not truly a recipe book, but uses baking a pie as a metaphor for how America came to be. How to Bake an American Pie uses the ideals of our planning forefathers and many of the words from the song "America the Beautiful."
Who are the chefs? In this book, a cat and a dog join in the work and fun as a nation is put together and baked to make the best ever American pie. Cooking tools and terminology meld the baking theme with the lofty goals of the American dream.
Freedom for all. And plenty of American Pie for all who care to stop by.
Bake a Pie
1. Find a recipe and bake an apple pie. Use the terminology and tools of baking and let your child(ren) help you!
2. Share the pie. Have a slice of good old apple pie.
3. Reread How to Bake an American Pie. Notice the vocabulary and lavish language. Do the words make more sense to your child now that the experience of baking a pie has been enjoyed?
Happy 4th of July, America!
Friday, June 26, 2015
By Carson Ellis
(Candlewick Press, 2015)
Home is where you lay your head or where your heart takes up residence. Home is usually where you reside or where you grew up or where your loved ones live.
Welcome to Home by Carson Ellis.
In her book, Ellis simply and beautifully shows many of the places we call home. Reality and whimsical as well as fairy tale and modern pop culture all have a part in the meaning of home. Ellis even makes up a few words, just to surprise and delight readers. Home is one of my new favorite books.
Home would be a great book to use at the beginning of school to get students to share about their own homes. What a fun Open House art project!
Where is your home?
Draw Your Home
Do you live in a house? A log cabin? A mobile home? An RV? An apartment?
Get out the pencils, markers, crayons, or paints. Draw a picture of your house. Color it in. Decorate the outside so that it looks just like your house. Sign your name and put the date on your drawing. Display it so others can see your home as it looks on paper.
Take a walk. How do other homes in your neighborhood compare to your home? Don't just look at people homes - check out animal, plant, and other nature type homes.
How do you feel about your home?
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Boom Snot Twitty
By Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Don't you just love the title of this book? Boom Snot Twitty. The title is what first caught my attention.
Boom Snot Twitty (a catchy phrase of funny words) is the story of three friends. Boom (the bear), Snot (the snail), and Twitty (the bird) had a lovely day stretched out in front of them. What to do, what to do?
Twitty got tangled, Bear was bored, and Snot was blown away. The wind, rain, and stormy weather arrived to make the situation even more exciting. Each friend had a different way to deal with the weather challenges. Who was the calmest? You might be surprised when you read Boom Snot Twitty.
Readers will enjoy the interplay between the characters and the companionship of the friends.
Float Some Stuff
In Boom Snot Twitty, Snot peacefully floats on a leaf. Can you find some things that will float like a leaf?
1. Fill a tub or a sink with water. Ask permission!
2. Hunt in your home for waterproof items. Probably anything made from paper is not a good idea.
3. Test your guesses. What floats? What does not float?
4. Repeat your experiment outside. Make sure to find some leaves. Can you get a small stick to float on top of a leaf? You could pretend the stick is Snot.
Playing in the water sure makes hot summer days fun, doesn't it?
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
By Kate Banks
Pictures by Boris Kulikov
(Frances Foster Books, 2010)
Ha-ha, you laugh. The Eraserheads. What in the world are eraserheads?
Exactly what they sound like - erasers that are shaped like animals (including their heads).
In The Eraserheads, three friendly erasers shaped like an owl, a pig, and a crocodile lived with a boy and his collection of pencils, papers, and assorted art supplies. Each animal had a specific expertise of erasing. Owl helped correct letters and words. Crocodile was good with numbers. Pig liked to eat and would erase anything.
One day, as the boy drew, the eraserheads watched with delight. The beach scene changed into different settings as the road traveled around the paper. Suddenly, the paper was full and the boy had to stop. But wait! Crocodile decided to give the boy extra room by erasing part of the road. That was a great idea, until the eraserheads became stuck in the middle of nowhere.
How did the eraserheads get back home? The ending will delight imaginative readers and artists alike.
Gather Your Own Eraserheads and Use Your Imagination
Hint: Back-to-school sales are the perfect time to stock up on erasers.
1. Collect erasers, pencils, paper, and other art supplies.
2. Name your erasers! How much fun is that? Perhaps each eraserhead could have a specific job just like the erasers in The Eraserheads.
3. Put your erasers and pencils to work. Start drawing and writing. You don't have to worry about mistakes. You have eraser friends!
What did you draw? What will happen next? What did you name your erasers?
I'd love to hear about your adventures.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Matilda and Hans
(Templar Books, Candlewick Press, 2012)
Matilda and Hans is a book about two cats.
Two completely opposite cats. Matilda was all things positive and calm. Hans was loud and got into trouble. After one particularly wild night (the zoo animals somehow escaped from their cages), a wanted poster was put up for Hans. Matilda knew exactly where Hans would be the following night and she informed the police.
When the policeman arrived, there was Hans, up to no good. Slowly Hans removed his hat, his mask, and his whiskers. And who was left standing?
You will need to read Matilda and Hans for yourself (and your child, of course). No spoilers!
Chalk art is featured on one of the pages in Matilda and Hans. Chalk art is fun - but only when permission is given for the artists to draw on sidewalks and cement walls. Always ask permission first!
~ Purchase some fat chalk sticks from the store
~ Ask permission to draw on cement (driveways, roads, sidewalks, playground).
~ Draw pictures with the fat chalk.
~ For fun, get a bucket of water. Soak the chalk in the water and then draw with the chalk.
~ Experiment with the chalk and water.
Have fun. And always try to be like Matilda. Or is that not like Matilda?
P.S. Thanks for reading! If you would like to get future blog posts delivered to your email inbox, just sign up in the box below. Thank you!
Friday, June 19, 2015
Last Stop on Market Street
Words by Matt de La Pena
Pictures by Christian Robinson
(G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2015)
CJ wondered why his Nana and he had to go on the bus every Sunday after church. He was full of questions. CJ asked why they didn't have a car, why did it have to rain, and why that man couldn't see.
Nana was wise. Throughout the story, Nana lets CJ experience real life people. She guides him to see with his ears, appreciate people who look different, and enjoy the magic in a song.
The most wonderful thing that nana gives to CJ is the habit of helping others. At the last stop on Market Street, where buildings and people are run down and dirty, CJ helps serve lunch at a soup kitchen. CJ is learning to see beauty through the dirt.
Last Stop on Market Street is a beautiful book about diversity and reaching out to help others. Nana sets a wonderful example of how to be a giving member of a community.
Read Last Stop on Market Street if you want your readers to grow up willing and able to make contributions to society.
Help at a Soup Kitchen
CJ helped serve food with his Nana. Maybe you don't have a soup kitchen in your area. But you and your child can still help.
~ Make arrangements to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter (or other place that serves free meals).
~ Collect food and donate it to a program that feeds hungry families - food banks, homeless shelters, or community outreach centers.
~ Gather non-perishable food items (juice boxes, nuts, dried fruit, bottled water, crackers). Divide items among lunch sacks and store in your car. Give out snack bags whenever you see someone on the street corner asking for donations.
~ Give money to organizations that help the hungry - churches, shelters, community service centers.
Be creative. What is available in your town? How can you help?
Ask your child for ideas. You might be surprised.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Deep in the Sahara
Written by Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
(Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013)
Do you ever wonder what it is like to live in the Sahara? How it feels to wear a malafa and keep covered from head to toe? To want to be like the grown-ups but you can't?
Deep in the Sahara is a book about a girl named Lalla who desperately admires older girls and women who are beautifully arrayed in colorful malafas. Lalla observes and talks to different members of her family to gain the true understanding of the purpose of a malafa as readers learn about life deep in the Sahara. And surprise, once she realizes all of the purposes of a malafa, her mother gives her one as blue as the Sahara sky.
Deep in the Sahara is a beautiful book for those who love to learn about other cultures and faiths. Readers will learn through both the story and the gorgeous illustrations.
Paint a Colorful Picture
Hoda Hadadi used bright colors in her illustrations of Deep in the Sahara. The results are peaceful, informative, heat-evocative drawings of life in a hot desert area.
Materials: thick paper, watercolor or acrylic paints, brushes, apron, pencils, erasers
1. Consider what you would like to paint.
2. Sketch an outline with a pencil. This will help you feel the scope of the paper and shape of what you are painting.
3. Choose your colors and paint your picture. You may have to let certain areas or colors dry before you can complete your painting.
4. Stand back. Did you forget anything? Want to add something?
5. Display your colorful artwork.
6. Do another painting.
Do you enjoy painting and art? Maybe one day you will grow up to become an illustrator or artist. Wouldn't that be fun?
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
By Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jen Corace
(Chronicle Books, 2014)
To begin with, I absolutely adore the illustrations found in Telephone! Watercolor is one of my favorite mediums for artwork.
Besides the great illustrations, Telephone is a story about the old game of telephone. Remember that game?
You start at one end of a line or circle, whisper something into someone's ear, and they whisper to the next person, and so on, until the saying gets to the last person, who then repeats the message aloud. Hysterical results are usually the case, with the ending message being nothing close to the original message.
Telephone takes place on a telephone wire and the message mixing is done by birds. A wide assortment of birds, in fact, are hanging out above apartment buildings when a mother requests the message be sent that Peter needs to fly home for dinner. The hilarity begins then, as each bird message gets wilder and more off course. Whoo-oo solves the problem? You will have to read the story.
Telephone will delight and give giggles to children who love to play with words and act silly.
Play the Telephone Game
~ Play telephone with a larger group of people (at least 5). Family reunions would be a great place to try the telephone game.
~ Choose a simple statement like Uncle Peter has no hair or Aunt Susie sat on her hamburger. Whisper the statement to the first person. You might want to write down the statement to keep it straight.
~ Let everyone play. The crazier the message, the funnier the end results.
~ Let each person whisper the message to the person or child beside him or her until the last person is reached.
~ Ask the last person to repeat the message.
~ LOL. Share the original message. How far off was it?
Be prepared to play this funny game over and over.
Monday, June 8, 2015
Recycle Every Day!
Written and Illustrated by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
(Scholastic Inc., 2003)
Recycle Every Day! is the perfect book to teach young ones about recycling. I suppose even older readers could learn a thing or two.
Minna (a bunny daughter) had a school assignment to make a poster about recycling. Contest winners would have their poster in the calendar of recycling. Minna really wanted to win.
Good thing for her, Minna's family already did a lot of recycling. And they were willing to help her learn all about recycling and get ideas for her poster.
For an entire week, Minna's family recycled. Here are some things they did to recycle: donated outgrown clothes to a community clothing bank, put yard waste in a compost bucket, took empty cans to recycling, rode their bikes, used tote bags when shopping, walked to go shopping, donated books to other children, and used plastic containers to store food.
Minna used recycled materials to create her poster. Did Minna win? Minna's poster was not featured on one of the monthly pages. But Minna's poster was the cover of the entire calendar!
Readers will learn many things about easy-to-do recycling in Recycle Every Day!
Choose one thing Minna did when she was recycling. Do it with your family.
- walk to the store
- use a fabric tote bag for things you buy
- compost yard leftovers
- ride a bike instead of driving
- donate outgrown clothes to someone who needs them
- give books to others who don't have any
- recycle aluminum cans (or bottles, cardboard, paper, tin cans)
- use plastic containers to store leftover food
How did you do?
Can your family choose one other way to recycle?
Thursday, June 4, 2015
My Blue is Happy
by Jessica Young
illustrated by Catia Chien
(Candlewick Press, 2013)
My Blue is Happy tells of a young girl and her interpretations of the emotions associated with different colors. This book about colors is a wonderful resource for exploring colors, emotions, and two ways to look at things.
The main character is surrounded by family members as they point out and comment about colors. What I love is that if a color has a negative association, like red is an angry color, the young girl has the opposite reaction to the color.
Lots of colorful imagery, imaginative language, and wonderful illustrations make My Blue is Happy the perfect book for young readers.
Talk About Colors
After reading My Blue is Happy, try and think about how different colors make you feel.
How do you feel when you think of
red? orange? yellow? brown? blue? purple? green? brown? black?
Can you think of a favorite something from each color?
What is your favorite color?
I love colors. Can you find all of the colors of the rainbow in your house? In the yard?
Hurray for colors!
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
by Kathi Appelt
illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015)
Let's count some crows on this Wacky Wednesday. That's better than eating crow, right?
Counting Crows is a funny picture book about counting crows. The author, Kathi Appelt, creatively adds rhyme and tasty snacks for the crows being counted. The counting goes up to a dozen crows. Do you know how many crows are in a dozen? (Think a box of donuts.)
Counting Crows has very amusing illustrations as well. Thank you, Rob Dunlavey. The pages are filled with black, white, and red. Crows wear red and white striped sweaters. One crow is sporting a red and white polka dotted scarf, which becomes very important by the end of the story.
Readers will love to count the silly crows and find out what happens to make the crows disappear. Wacky Wednesday loves Counting Crows.
PS Do you know what eating crow means?
Summer is the perfect time to count crows. They are loud, big, black and everywhere! But don't expect to find them wearing red and white striped scarves.
Crows are very smart. As you count, watch to see if you can find them doing something clever. The crows in my neighborhood love to fly up high and drop walnuts on the asphalt road to break them open. Then the crows fly down and eat the nut meat. Pretty smart, huh?
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
What Is Part This, Part That?
By Harriet Ziefert
Illustrations by Tom Slaughter
(Blue Apple Books, 2013)
What Is Part This, Part That? is part rhyme, part language, part literacy. Ziefert shows readers how to look at the same object from different points of view. The glass is part empty, or is it part full?
I love this book! Readers will be engaged to figure out the opposite of each object. The illustrations are bold and simple. Fold out flaps, cut-outs, and other features make this a fun book to read. The last part of the book is a long list of both parts of something - and the reader gets to guess what the object is from the two parts.
Kids will learn, read, and enjoy. I even had fun reading this clever book.
Figure Out the Object from Both Parts
On the very last page of What Is Part This, Part That?, Harriet Ziefert gives a big list of two parts for something. How many can you figure out by just knowing the parts?
Challenge: Make up your own part this, part that list. Try them on your family or friends at school.
Hint: Brainstorm some compound words (treehouse, catbird, ladybug). Use them to make your own what is part this, part that?
Monday, June 1, 2015
Little Bird Takes a Bath
By Marisabina Russo
(Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015)
Little Bird did not like the rain. Which is funny, because he loved the puddles left behind when it rained. When he woke up, it was another perfect day of no rain. Time for a bath!
Little Bird soared high and low, searching for puddles for a bath. Finally, he found a perfect, unoccupied puddle in the park. Just right for his bath. But many big things interrupted his bath and splashed away his puddle until he was forced to find a different place to wash.
Little Bird fluttered around the city searching everywhere for his bathtub. A city fountain becomes his final bathing spot, which he finds just in time for heading home to his nest for the night.
Little Bird Takes a Bath is a cute picture book for young readers. Preschoolers will enjoy thinking of places little bird can go to find his bathtub.
Make a Bird Bath
Birds love to bath themselves in water. When the weather gets hot, birds need fresh water to live. You can help them out!
1. Talk with your parents and ask them to help you make a bird bath.
2. Look for a good spot in your yard, especially one that you can see from a window when you are inside the house. Birds need a quick escape (in case a cat decides to try and catch them), so nearby bushes and maybe some shade will help the birds feel safe in the birdbath.
3. Buy a birdbath at a store. Or make one from a wide, low sided container like a metal garbage can lid or glazed plant tray. The birds need a rough surface to hold on to the birdbath, so avoid really slippery surfaces.
4. Place the birdbath in your chosen spot. Secure it so it doesn't tip over and make sure it is high enough that the birds can keep watch.
5. Fill the birdbath with fresh water. Place a large rock or two in the middle for resting places.
6. Stand back and watch what happens. It might take a few days for the birds to find the water. They won't come while you are close.
7. Wash out the birdbath once a week. Fill it with fresh water every day.
Thanks for giving the birds a place to have a bath!