Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie
By Jill Esbaum
(Scholastic, Inc., 2009; National Geographic Kids)
Pumpkins are one of my favorite signs of fall. I adore pumpkins and cannot wait for the season of my dreams to roll around and please me with the smells, sights, and sounds of leaves, pumpkins, and cooler temps.
Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie is a beautifully photographed nonfiction picture book about the pumpkin life cycle. The pumpkin life stages are shown through photos. Examples of ways we use pumpkins (carving, eating, baking, floating, etc.) are shown in full color. There is such a wide variety of seasonal sights featured in this book, I love reading it just for ideas that get me in the mood for pumpkin hunting.
Young readers will be inspired to hit the pumpkin patch and choose a favorite pumpkin - be it orange, yellow, green, white, smooth, lumpy, tiny, or enormous.
Grow Pumpkin Vocabulary
1. Visit a pumpkin patch or even just the grocery store fall display.
2. Check out the pumpkins and squash. There are so many wonderful and varied types of both.
3. Touch, smell, and compare the pumpkins.
4. Use all the words you can think of to describe the pumpkins - smooth, lined, warty, bumpy, striped, fat, flat, huge, petite, and so on. Make a long list.
5. Let your child choose a favorite pumpkin to take home.
6. Describe the pumpkin using vocabulary words. Make it exciting!
7. Happy pumpkin day!
I can't wait to go visit a pumpkin patch and find pumpkins to use for decorations.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
A Tree for All Seasons
By Robin Bernard
(National Geographic Society, Scholastic Inc., 1999)
Some books you just keep. Forever. Because they are beautiful.
A Tree for All Seasons is one of those keeper books. That front yard on the cover is what I want my front yard to look like. The trees, the picket fence, the falling leaves, the children playing . . .
A Tree for All Seasons contains fabulous photos of nature in the fall. Winter, spring, and summer are also included in this book - all the seasons of a tree.
This nonfiction picture book will excite young readers to go outside and enjoy nature, no matter what the season.
This is so much fun. I used to do this with my preschoolers. There was a huge, giant, enormous tree right next to our classroom. I marched them all out and took photos of each during the three seasons of school. We were not there during the summer, so I couldn't feature that season. But the other three seasons became nature books about our tree.
1. This project will take a year to complete, but it is so cool to look back and see the changes! It is worth the long wait.
2. Take a photo every season with your chosen tree (your yard, at school, at a park, or in a forest - just make sure to use the same tree each time).
3. I loved having the children sit in a wagon - one at a time - and smiling for the camera. The wagon also became a great carrier of leaves, seed pods, and pumpkins.
4. Print out each photo for the seasons. Display on the refrigerator or bulletin board. Add every new season. When you get photos from all 4 seasons, tape them to cardstock and make a book with them. Now you can check out the seasons and your tree all the time!
5. Compare that tree. What changes do you see between seasons? How did you change over one year? Which is your favorite season? Why?
Isn't nature grand? I'm so glad that God created such a wonderful world for us to enjoy.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Fresh Fall Leaves
By Betsy Franco
Illustrated by Shari Halpern
(Scholastic Inc., 1994)
Fresh fall leaves are some of my favorite signs of the season. The crunch, the smell, and the dancing are magical as leaves drift away from trees and carpet our ground.
Fresh Fall Leaves, the book, is a simple story about kids enjoying leaves in the autumn. Paper cut and paint illustrations lend themselves very well to this picture book and offer glimpses of fall beauty.
Readers will get great ideas of fun things to do while reading Fresh Fall Leaves. I can't wait to see my own leaves fall!
Make Syrup Leaves
This is one of my favorite leaf making activities! It's messy and sticky but so much fun.
Materials: cardstock, scissors, marker, food coloring, light corn syrup, wet wash cloths, wax paper
1. Draw big leaf shapes on cardstock. Cut them out.
2. Pour little puddles of corn syrup on a leaf. Help your littles squeeze a few drops of red, yellow, and blue food coloring on top of the corn syrup.
3. Use fingers to smear, mix, and spread the sticky paint all over the leaf. Repeat with other leaves, using wash cloths to wipe some of the sticky away.
4. Put leaves on wax paper to dry. This may take several days if the weather is damp.
5. Look at your beautiful, shiny, colorful fall leaves!
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Thursday, September 17, 2015
Vincent and the Night
by Adele Enersen
(Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015)
Vincent has decided he is not sleepy. Anyone who has had a baby will know the trouble this can cause.
But not only is Vincent very smart, he is also naughty and imaginative.
Using clever and adorable photos with pen and ink illustrations, Enersen has crafted a wonderful story about the shenanigans Vincent enjoys as he avoids going to sleep.
I love this book! The photos of Vincent are perfectly matched to what he is engaged in as he stays wide awake . . . until the very end where a worn out Vincent finally puts on his jammies and goes to sleep.
Vincent and the Night is a book about a baby, but also a book about creativity, art, expressions, bedtime, and family. Readers will love this book and be inspired to make their own version.
Draw Your Own Photo + Pen Illustration
1. Ask your parent for a photo of yourself as a baby (or a child).
2. Carefully trim around your body so only your body is in the photo. Use double-sided tape to attach your photo to cardstock.
3. Imagine. Daydream. Brainstorm.
What do you want your photo baby (or child) to be doing? Think about how that looks.
4. Use a pen (or pencil if you want to erase) to draw the background and props around your photo body. What are you holding? Eating? Sitting or standing on? What does the room (or yard) look like?
5. Add details so the entire page is filled.
There. Now you have your own Vincent at night. Except it's you, not Vincent.
You and the Night.
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Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Pumpkin Town! (Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins)
By Katie McKy
Illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi
(Scholastic, Inc., 2006)
It's pumpkin time! Jose and his family grow pumpkins in a variety of sizes, from too small all the way to giant and too big to carry.
Before the pumpkins could be hauled off to market, Jose and his brothers had to find the biggest and best seeds from a few choice pumpkins.The rest of the seeds could then be tossed off the hill overlooking the town.
One very windy day, the tossed seeds were carried over the town and fell like rain. What happens next is too funny!
Readers will love this tale of pumpkins. Clever illustrations tell the rest of the tale. It's time for Pumpkin Town! (Or, Nothing Is Better and Worse Than Pumpkins).
Save Some Seeds
Jose and his family saved seeds every year for the next year's crop of pumpkins.
Let's do the same thing.
1. Visit a pumpkin patch or farmers market. Choose a pumpkin. There are so many varieties to choose from, I know it will be a difficult choice.
2. Decorate your porch or yard with your pumpkin until it is time to carve it. (Hint: If you carve a jack-o-lantern too early, it will rot before the end of October.)
3. Carve (with help) your pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern. Save the seeds!
4. Before you cook the seeds (you have to cook them - they are fantastic to eat), choose 5 or 6 of the biggest, best seeds. Let them dry and keep them in an envelope until next spring.
5. In the spring, plant your pumpkin seeds in the garden. You will have your own pumpkin patch!
What is your favorite thing you do with pumpkins?
Thursday, September 10, 2015
G is for Goat
By Patricia Polacco
(Philomel Books, Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2003)
I'm back! The internet is once again in working order. Thanks for being patient.
G is for Goat is a delightful alphabet book that consists of cavorting goats. Now, that doesn't sound too exciting, but it really is cute. If you know anything about goats at all - say, how naughty they can be, how they love to nibble on everything in sight, how they leap and act goofy - you will laugh when you read this picture book.
G is for Goat is wonderfully illustrated. The main character, a young female, certainly has her arms full with wayward charges. The alphabet incorporated into the story is wonderful. As an early childhood educator, I am always looking for clever alphabet books with which to reinforce letters, language, and reading fun, all experienced within the pages of a good book.
Farmers, readers, young children, animal lovers - all will love reading G is for Goat.
Make Your Own Alphabet Page
1. What does your name begin with? Find that page and reread it.
2. Make your own alphabet page. It doesn't have to be with goats. Choose something you love that begins with the first letter of your name.
3. For instance, my first name is Angie.
Looking at the Aa page, I see that Patricia Polacco (the author and illustrator of this lovely book) shows apples that begin with Aa.
On my page, I can print the letters - Aa - and choose something that begins with Aa to put on my page. Hmmm, let's think: apple, aardvark, ant, automobile, author, anthill, avocado, ape...
4. Illustrate your alphabet page.
5. Show your alphabet page. Choose another letter and make a second page!
Sing the alphabet song. Don't you love letters and words and reading and singing and drawing?