Books Will Never Go Out of Print!

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lapse of Internet

Due to changeover in internet providers, the Quantrell household will be without access until late next Wednesday.

As of 12:01 AM last night, we have been cut off! Here I sit at Starbucks, nursing a decaf latte. But alas, I cannot live here forever to have internet access.

So friends, I will resume blog activity by the end of next week, with the expectation that all goes well in the transfer of the power of internet from one company to another.

Until then, happy reading!

Oh, and get out there and play!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Please, Papa ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Please, Papa
By Kate Banks
Pictures by Gabi Swiatkowska
(Frances Foster Books, 2013)

Calm, old-fashioned illustrations tell the story of Alice and her attempts to build (and populate) a farm in the middle of her bedroom.

Please, Papa is an adorable story of Alice, a young child, who uses her imagination to play and create. In her real life, Alice learns the importance of using manners and saying, "Please." Farm animals are added two her barnyard, but when it comes to a horse, there is none to be found. Using her manners, Alice finds a way to get a horse.

Readers will be delighted at Alice and her interactions with her family, her play time, and her creative play. I love the feel the illustrations lend to the simple text.


Build a Farm in Your Bedroom

Can you be like Alice and build a farm?

~ Dig out the barn (or build one).

~ Does your farm need a tractor or people?

~ Add some animals (or ask for some - are they real or imagined?).

~ Use your manners when asking for something and playing with others.

~ Do you need to pretend about some animals like Alice? Which animals?

~ Don't forget to feed the animals!

Thank you for playing!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What's So Bad About Being an Only Child? ~ Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

What's So Bad About Being an Only Child?
By Cari Best
Pictures by Sophie Blackall
(Melanie Kroupa Books; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007)

That's a great question. What is so bad about being an only child? Said the person who is one of four children. Not that I want to be an only child! No, I love my siblings.

Poor Rosemary Emma Angela (that's my name!) Lynette Isabel Iris Malone was an only child and desperately wanted to have siblings. For she knew that friends came over, played, ate, told secrets, and all other sorts of fun friend activities - even sleep overs - but friends went home to their own families. And REALIIM (her initials) knew the stress of being the focus of all attention. She longed to share that attention and her life with a sister.

Today's Wacky Wednesday book feature is What's So Bad About Being an Only Child?. This charming (and sometimes alarming) picture book tells the tale of Rosemary as she seeks to convince the parents to give her a sibling. When that fails, Rosemary finds her own siblings. In most unusual ways.

Readers with and without sisters and brothers will enjoy the antics of Rosemary as she is naughty, creative, inventive, adventurous, loving, caring, and kind.


Play with Your Brother or Sister (or friend if you are an only child like Rosemary)

Rosemary loved playing with her friends. Here are some ideas.

~ play freeze tag

~ pretend to be pirates (like Rosemary)

~ toss a softball, Frisbee, balloons, or beach balls

~ shoot some hoops

~ pretend the jungle gym is surrounded by HOT LAVA!

~ dig out the dolls or trucks or farms or dollhouses (pretend play)

~ ride bicycles (race)

~ become chalk artists

~ climb some trees and go exploring

Make up your own game! (Remember to take turns choosing what to play.)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Daredevil Duck ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Daredevil Duck
By Charlie Alder
(Running Press Kids, 2015)

Daredevil Duck dreamed of being the bravest duck in the whole wide world. Except he wasn't. He really, really wanted to be brave. But the truth was, there were some things that scared him.

Daredevil Duck tells about the adventures of, well, Daredevil Duck. After facing various trials, Daredevil Duck finally finds that he is indeed very brave! (It helps that he is cheered on by his friends.)

Daredevil Duck has colorful illustrations, different sized pages, and lots of excitement. Young readers will love finding out that Daredevil Duck is afraid of common things and he still finds out how to be courageous.


What Are You Afraid Of?

1. Make a list of things that scare you (snakes, mud, dark rooms, airplanes, . . .).

2. Choose one thing and figure out how to face that fear and become brave! Maybe it is spiders or bees or loud cars. How can you get over that fear?

3. How did Daredevil Duck get over his fears? Would that help you get over yours?

You could be the bravest duck in the whole wide world! Oops, I mean the bravest child in the whole wide world!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Birds, The Butterflies of Maria Merian ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Summer Birds, The Butterflies of Maria Merian

By Margarita Engle
Illustrations by Julie Paschkis
(Henry Holt & Company, 2010)

Summer Birds, The Butterflies of Maria Merian is a fascinating, historical picture book.

Maria Merian lived in the Middle Ages. Born in 1647 in Germany, she was enthralled by nature. Being observant, she studied and noticed that insects were not evil as was commonly believed. Maria learned that they did not spring up unaided from mud puddles, but they actually grew from eggs and transformed into adult insects.

Summer birds was the name used for butterflies and moths that sprang up in warm weather.

This beautiful picture book will engage readers of all ages. I was very interested to learn about old beliefs and superstitions as well as a young girl who worked hard to dispel and change the incorrect assumptions of those around her. In a time where witchcraft was prevalent, Maria had to study in secret during her younger years. Maria later went on to become an artist, scientist, and explorer.

Summer Birds, The Butterflies of Maria Merian is a great book to read. Extra information about Maria's life is given on a page at the end of the story. Nature lovers will enjoy this book and want to learn more about Maria and the nature she studied.


Observe a Summer Bird

Materials: magnifying glass, butterfly net, sketch pad and pencils

~ Go out on a sunny day and look for butterflies. Observe them as they flutter their way through flowers and gardens.

~ Gently capture a butterfly. Use the magnifying glass to look very closely at the summer bird you have captured.

~ Quickly sketch the butterfly. Release the butterfly and watch it go off in search of more flowers.

In the spring, it is fun to purchase butterfly eggs and watch them develop and transform into adult butterflies. Ask your parents to help you order a set. I like to use They sell all kinds of insects that you can watch grow up.

Being a scientist like Maria is fun, isn't it?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First the Egg ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

First the Egg
By Laura Vaccaro Seeger
(Roaring Brook Press, 2007)

First the Egg is a clever cut out book about what comes first. The egg, then the chicken; the tadpole, then the frog; and so on. Holes in one page become part of the picture on the next page. I love the illustrations and simplicity of First the Egg.

Readers who enjoy nature books and want to think and predict as they read will love First the Egg.


Play the "What Came First?" Game

Brainstorm different things: person, cat, dog, house, tree, apple

Figure out what came first.

"First the baby, then the child."

"First the kitten, then the cat."

"First the puppy, then the dog."

Continue with other ideas. This game could get really silly! Have fun!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please do share. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Moon Rabbit ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Moon Rabbit
By Natalie Russell
(Viking, 2009)

Moon Rabbit is a story about being lonely and finding a friend.

Little Rabbit lives in a busy city, where she loves her life. But one night, as she looks at the moon, she begins to wonder if there is another rabbit like her, one that could be her friend. Hearing music, she follows the sound into the park, where she does indeed find a new friend. I won't tell you what happens next, for you will enjoy the tale.

Adorable illustrations and a simple story about friends will endear Moon Rabbit to readers.


Play with a Friend

Do you have a friend? Maybe this KID KANDY will help you have fun with a friend or a friend you haven't met yet!

~ Find a friend to play with. What do you love to play with? Blocks, cars, sports, dolls, bikes, books, art, and music are just some of the fun things you can enjoy with a friend.

~ Look in your neighborhood or classroom or church for a friend. Ask your parents for a playdate. Eat lunch together and play in the backyard. Is there a park nearby? Ask an adult to walk with you to the park to play.

~ Play with your dog or bunny or kitty. Be gentle. Many friends enjoy pets and will love to play with you and your pet.

~ Play a game at recess. If you go to school, recess is the perfect time to play tag or climb the jungle gym. Invite others to join your fun.

Friends make life fun, don't they? Just like Little Rabbit, we can look for and enjoy friends.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Kids' Nature Book ~ 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences

The Kids' Nature Book, 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences
By Susan Milord
(Williamson Publishing, 1989)

This awesome book is full of KID KANDY ideas! 365 ideas to be exact.

The Kids' Nature Book, 365 Indoor/Outdoor Activities and Experiences is a year-long, chronological activity book for children. Month-by-month and day-by-day, this idea book is filled to the brim with tons of great nature experiences.

Some of the activities include books to read, cooking projects, experiments, projects, and all sorts of other fun experiences involving plants, animals, and the environment. Children young and old, as well as their families, will love looking for which idea to pursue next. Some activities are completed quickly, while others will take a longer time to finish. There will be something on every page that your child will want to try right now.

If you love nature and want your children to appreciate and explore our wonderful world, this book will be a great resource for years to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Do Princesses Make Happy Campers?
By Carmela LaVigna Coyle
Illustrated by Mike Gordon
(Taylor Trade Publishing, 2015)

Do princesses make happy campers? That is a wonderful question.

Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? is a book about camping complaints - and how to look at the bright side of all of the aspects of camping. The princess in this book is impatient, helpful (?), wet, inventive, imaginative, adoptive, adventurous, hungry, and inquisitive. Told in rhyme, Do Princesses Make Happy Campers? points young readers towards the excitement of camping and how to make do and enjoy the adventure in whatever form it takes.

Campers and parents of princesses will love reading about camping and talking about family camping trips. Maybe readers will even be inspired to plan one last camping trip before school starts and the weather gets too cold. Happy camping!


Make a Tent

If you have a two-person tent, set it up in a shady area of the yard or right in the middle of the living room.

If you don't have a tent, make one by spreading a flat sheet over a table (first move the chairs).

Make a pretend campfire with wads of newspaper and orange and red construction paper.

Cook dinner over the campfire with toy pots and pans. Don't forget the s'mores!

Use a sleeping bag or folded blanket for resting.

Put on a backpack, load a bottle of water, grab the binoculars, and head out to explore the great outdoors (your backyard).

Who's ready to go camping?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Extra Yarn ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Extra Yarn

By Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
(Balzer + Bray, An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2012)

Annabelle found a little box that was filled with yarn of every color. Actually, the box looked like a lunch box.

So Annabelle knitted a sweater for herself and Mars, her dog. She had leftover yarn, so she made sweaters for . . . well, lots of people. And animals. And buildings. And trees.

Because, no matter what Annabelle knitted, she always had leftover yarn.

The entire town began to look decidedly cozy and rumors of her yarn spread far and wide. In fact, one day, an archduke demanded that Annabelle sell him the box of yarn for horribly huge amounts of money.

But Annabelle said no.

So the archduke stole the box in the middle of the night and sailed away.

Never fear, though. The yarn box once again found itself in the hands of Annabelle. And she was happy.

Extra Yarn is a Caldecott Honor Book. Both the story and the illustrations are perfect and tell the story simply but captivatingly. Readers will enjoy Extra Yarn very much.


Extra Yarn

Here are some things you can do with extra yarn:

1. Roll a skein of yarn into a ball. It's fun!

2. Use heavy paper, white school glue, and pieces of extra yarn. Make a design with glue and put yarn right on top of the glue. Let it dry. This is a fun way to make wall hangings.

3. Cut long pieces of extra yarn and use them when you create a city with blocks and toy vehicles. The yarn can outline the roads or parks or buildings. If you make a farm, the yarn can corral all the animals and fence in the crops.

4. Cut three long pieces of yarn. Tape one end of all three together. I like to tape them to a table to keep them still. Braid the three pieces into a long braid. Tie knots at each end. Use the braid for a bookmark, a headband, or a backpack decoration.

5. If you really, really love yarn, ask someone to teach you to knit or crochet. Be patient! It takes lots of practice. Before you know it, you will be making hats and scarves and blankets.

Happy yarning!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose ~ Wacky Wednesday Picture Book & KID KANDY

A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose
By Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
Illustrated by Linzie Hunter
(Little, Brown and Company, 2010)

Oh, what an adorable book! A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose is the perfect marriage between words, story, humor, and illustrations. This Wacky Wednesday feature is fun for readers - even adult ones like myself.

Amelia wanted a dog. Not just any dog, but a small brown dog with a wet pink nose.

Her parents said no.

Amelia did not give up. She finally pretended that she had a small brown dog with a wet pink nose named Bones. Amelia taught her parents to live with a dog. Imaginary though he was, Bones and Amelia trained the parents. All went well until one day Amelia woke up and found that Bones was lost! Remember? Bones is imaginary.

As her parents had previously promised that they would help her look for Bones until he was found, they searched high and low. Bones was nowhere. The family finally ended up at the animal shelter.

Did Amelia find her dog? Yes. Her parents finally realized that they might not be ready for a dog, but Amelia was.

Dog lovers and every other type of reader will love this clever book. Funny, kid-true, and delightful, A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose is a must read. Don't forget to check out the inside book covers!


Draw Your Dream Dog

Do you have a dog? If you do, you can draw your dog. If you don't, imagine what kind of dog you would like.

Use crayons, pencils, and markers to draw your dog.

Think about:

- fur
- ears
- tail
- nose
- eyes
- size
- colors
- nose and whiskers

What does your dog like to do?

Look at the pictures in A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose to find ideas for dog treats, toys, and activities. Include those on your drawing.

Display your drawing. Take your dog (real or imaginary) for a fun walk.

Roof, roof!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

At the Edge of the Woods, A Counting Book ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

At the Edge of the Woods, A Counting Book
By Cynthia Cotten
Illustrated by Reg Cartwright
(Henry Holt and Company, 2002)

What first attracted me to this book was the illustrations. They are vibrant, nature-based, colorful, and big! My next thought about checking out At the Edge of the Woods, A Counting Book was that this book is about nature, the woods, animals, and counting! Sounds like a perfect picture book to me.

At the Edge of the Woods, A Counting Book is written in rhyme. I can hear the singsong chant rhythm when I read the words. Numbers and number words are highlighted and featured on each page. Readers will enjoy counting up to ten and seeing what animals come next in the story. At ten, a big burly bear comes out from his lair, which leads to a countdown from ten as all the animals scatter away to hide.

Early readers and preschoolers will love At the Edge of the Woods, A Counting Book. I think even my grandson will enjoy it, though he is going to first grade and can count beyond 10. He loves to go camping, so this book will remind him that bears live in the woods and may sneak out while he is camping.

I suppose we shall have to discuss how bears most often stay far away from humans, unless they leave out tasty garbage and food. But it will be worth the talk to enjoy this book.


Counting and Singing Fun

Dig out 10 toy animals. They don't have to be forest animals. Hide all the animals under a dish towel. Bring out one at a time, counting animals as you go. How many do you have?

Play this counting game with a friend or sister or brother. Choose the scariest animal and make it be the last one to line up. Pretend that it scares all the other animals and they run away and hide! Count down from ten as they run away.

Now you can count from 1 to 10 and back down again.

You can also sing and count at the same time. Here are some silly songs to sing.

"One, Two, Buckle My Shoe"

"Five Little Ducks"

"Five Green and Speckled Frogs"

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Chalk Box Kid ~ Chapter Book & KID KANDY

The Chalk Box Kid
By Clyde Robert Bulla
Illustrated by Thomas B. Allen
(Scholastic, Inc., 1987)

The Chalk Box Kid is the perfect beginning chapter book for the readers you know. This book tackles many situations that face our children in modern society - moving to a new home, going to a new school, making friends, having no privacy, finding a personal space, and being oneself.

Yes, that's a big list. But I was delighted to read this book that encourages readers to be themselves and to keep on going when dealing with difficult issues.

Gregory is forced to move to a new home and school when his father gets a new job. He almost gets his own bedroom but immediately has to allow his uncle to share his room. Gregory has a difficult time making friends at school. When a guest speaker at school talks about gardening and brings plants so students can choose one to take home, Gregory is inspired to make his own garden.

Except Gregory's garden is not the sort you would imagine. Behind his home, he discovers a burned down building. But the surprise is what type of business it used to house and what supplies he uncovers in the dirt.

The magic of this story is how Gregory uses his imagination to create a space for himself. Gregory's garden opens the door to new friends and acceptance at his school and within his own family.

Read The Chalk Box Kid to inspire young artists and children in transition.


Chalk Art

Any kind of chalk will do, but for finer detailing, use the thin, old school chalk. Fat sidewalk chalk works great for filling in large spaces.

Get permission before you do any chalk art on sidewalks or patios.

Can you make your own chalk garden?

What kind of plants so you want? Flowers? Trees? Vegetables? Herbs? Rocks and birds? Insects?

Include garden beds and pathways. Remember how Gregory wanted a fountain in his garden? Add a water fountain to your garden.

Don't forget to make a hangout spot for visiting friends.