Books Will Never Go Out of Print!

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A B See ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

A B See is an engaging alphabet board book.

Embossed and sturdy, A B See shows one or two letters of the alphabet on each page. The letter (bumpy for touching) is composed of small illustrations of things that begin with that letter.

For instance, the letter Q is made up of a quilt, question marks, a queen, a quetzel, a quarter, a quarterback, a quacker, quartz, and a quill. The short line that goes over the oval part is a quail.

The intricate and fascinating illustrations capture attention. Each letter also has a simple sentence with most words beginning with the letter.

Delightful! I know my Donavyn will love this book. He is two-years-old and loves to see the 'etters!

Preschoolers and early readers will learn and enjoy A B See. Any way you can engage young readers in books and the alphabet is worth the effort!


Find the Letter of Your First Name

1. Go ahead. Read A B See. Sing the "Alphabet Song." Enjoy the pictures.

2. Find the page with the first letter of your first name.

3. Look at all of the pictures and words that begin with that letter and are a part of the illustration.

4. What is your favorite thing that begins with the same letter as your name? Can you think of anything else that begins with that letter?

5. Can you bend your body to make the first letter of your name? Try and spell out your whole name with your body! Maybe mom or dad can take pictures of you making each letter.

Thanks for reading and loving books!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Winter Is Coming ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Winter Is Coming
By Tony Johnston
Illustrated by Jim LaMarche
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014)

Winter Is Coming is a beautiful book that chronicles the changing of the season from fall to winter.

A young girl quietly and carefully perches on a platform in a tree and takes note of the many wild animals that pass beneath her. She sketches pictures of them and thinks about how they prepare for winter. Patiently, she learns from the animals - lessons of nature. Throughout October and November, she watches the changes taking place around her. And then winter comes.

The captivating illustrations and engaging text inspire, amaze, and teach much about the natural world. Readers both young and old will love to read and reread Winter Is Coming.


Observe Fall Changing to Winter

1. Go out for a walk (take a friend or parent or older sibling). You might want to do this walk the same day each week all through October and November, and maybe even into December.

2. Notice what is happening in nature. What are the animals doing? (Check the air and ground.) What about the plants? Look at the colors, textures, and changes that are taking place.

3. If you like to draw, take along a sketchbook and a few pencils. Or remember what you see and draw when you get home. Put the date on the page so you can tell how things change over time.

4. Repeat your walk several times all the way through the fall months. You will have to be quiet and patient and observant - like a scientist!

5. Each time you go, look at the same things, but also try and find new plants and animals to notice.

Isn't watching fall change to winter amazing? Seasons are a wonderful gift for us to enjoy.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pumpkin Cat ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Pumpkin Cat
By Anne Mortimer
(Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins Publishers, 2011)

Pumpkin Cat is a story of unlikely friends, Cat and Mouse.

Cat wonders how pumpkins grow. So Mouse decides to show the answer by planting pumpkin seeds. All throughout the growing season, Cat and Mouse watch the pumpkin plant grow and develop baby pumpkins. By fall, Mouse is ready to carve a surprise for Cat.

Delicious illustrations in Pumpkin Cat make readers want to reach out and touch Cat and Mouse. They look so soft and cozy!

Young readers will enjoy the simple text and gorgeous pictures. Gardeners young and old will be delighted at the retelling of the pumpkin life cycle.


Decorate a Pumpkin

We can all carve a jack-o-lantern. But did you know there were others ways to decorate pumpkins?

1. Get some newspaper and wax paper. Spread newspaper on the table and cover it with wax paper.

2. Choose your pumpkin. Make sure it is clean and dry.

3. Gather colored tissue paper and white school glue. Squirt some glue in a disposable cup and add a tiny bit of water to thin it out. Find a wide paint brush.

4. Paint a small section of the pumpkin with glue. Tear off pieces of tissue paper and stick it to the glue. Continue painting and sticking on torn tissue paper until the pumpkin is covered. Add a thin coat of glue over the top of all of the tissue paper. Let dry.

5. Look! Now you have a rainbow pumpkin. Happy Fall!

Other art supplies to use on pumpkins: glitter, newspaper, patterned paper, permanent markers, stickers, sticky dots (for buttons, beads, and bits of yarn), ribbons, and curling ribbon.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Watching the Seasons - Fall ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Watching the Seasons - Fall
By Emily C. Dawson
(Bullfrog Books, Jump!; 2013)

Watching the Seasons - Fall is a perfect nonfiction picture book. Filled with glorious fall photos, one could not wish for better pictures.

The nonfiction book features are what make this book stand out. Table of contents, charts, glossary, index, short sentences, text boxes, and learning more about the topic section really make Watching the Seasons - Fall shine.

Early readers will love the challenge of reading this beautiful book and learning how much fun nonfiction can be.


Rank Your Favorite Fall Activities - And Then Do Each One!

1. Make a list of your favorite autumn activities. Put each activity on a separate index card. Some people enjoy raking leaves, visiting pumpkin patches, carving pumpkins, or touring apple orchards. Ask your family for their ideas.

2. Rearrange the cards until they are in the order of your favorite fall activities.

3. Start at the top of the list and do that fun activity. Place the card on the bottom of the list and continue having fun with all of the other activities.

4. Did you find a new favorite? Did you learn something?

5. Invite a friend to choose his or her favorite and have some fall fun together!

P.S. Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love pumpkins, so one of my favorite fall activities is going to pumpkin patches and buying pumpkins for my house!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Secret Life of Squirrels ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

The Secret Life of Squirrels
By Nancy Rose
(Megan Tingley Books, Little, Brown and Company; 2014)

This book is so cute! Mr. Peanuts, a real live squirrel, is photographed as he goes about his miniaturized life - complete with household settings and bric a brac.

Nancy Rose is a photograph who lives in Canada. Her photos of wild squirrels taken in her backyard have captured the imagination of followers worldwide. You can check out her work at

Readers will laugh and enjoy reading The Secret Life of Squirrels.

Mr. Peanuts and his bed


Make a Miniature Scene

After reading The Secret Life of Squirrels, make your own miniature scene!

~ Gather craft supplies and 'stuff.'

~ Cut, arrange, glue, staple, tape - anything you need to make pieces stay put.

~ Decorate a small venue, perhaps a cheese plate or a shoebox or stump table top.

~ Add dolls or figures for the ones who live in the scene you have created.

~ OR, you can be like Ms. Rose and wait for the squirrels to visit. Read the tips for taking photos of wildlife at the end of The Secret Life of Squirrels.

This is a miniature scene I created on a cheese board. It has a glass cover to keep off dust and my wild kitties.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Leaf Man ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Leaf Man
by Lois Ehlert
(Harcourt, Inc., 2005)
Can you see the leaf man?
Despite my difficulty in taking photos of library books with plastic covers, I can see him clearly. Leaf Man spreads across the book cover, composed of leaves, nuts, and seed pods. He is quite handsome for being made of things that have fallen off of trees.
Leaf Man is one of my favorite fall books by Lois Ehlert. With all of his vibrant colors, where does he go when the fall winds blow?
Leaf Man transforms into many other nature creations, compliments of the wind, colorful creative artwork by Ehlert, and cleverly cut and shaped pages.
Young children will be so entranced by Leaf Man, they will want to go directly and build their own leaf creation. Isn't that what we want? Readers engaged in reading books AND exploring nature is the perfect combination.
Leaf Creations
1. Head outside and find piles of nature things - leaves, pods, cones, sticks, rocks... Nature walks through parks and forests are perfect collecting spots.
2. Spread out your gatherings of nature items. What do you see? Who do you see?
3. Arrange your nature items into a creation.
Did you make a person? A dog? A cat? A tree? A house?
You can make anything!
P.S. I would love to see a picture of what you created!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ready for Pumpkins ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

Ready for Pumpkins
By Kate Duke
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2012)

Nothing could be better than pumpkins in the fall and guinea pigs!

Guinea pigs have been a big part of my classroom environment for most of my teaching years. Sturdy, chatty, adorable, large, and slow enough to catch, both preschoolers and kindergartners have loved and cared for our squeaky pets.

Ready for Pumpkins tells the tale of Herky (Hercules), a guinea pig in Miss MacGuffey's first-grade classroom. After tasting fresh green beans, Herky decides he wants to have his own garden. Using pumpkin seeds he saved from the previous fall when the students make a herk-o-lantern, Herky and his friend, Daisy, planted seeds. And waited. And waited.

Ready for Pumpkins is a funny tale about pumpkins, how we get pumpkins, and the relationship between friends. Too cute too miss!


Plant Some Pumpkins

1. Get some pumpkins seeds. Depending on the season, you may have to wait to plant, save seeds over the winter, or get busy right away with a packet of seeds from the garden store.

2. Find a nice large area in the garden or yard that gets plenty of sunshine.

3. Follow seed packet directions. Or, plant 3-5 seeds in a hole on top of a small mound of dirt. Gently water the dirt until it is soaked. Keep the pumpkin hill wet until it starts to sprout.

4. If the sprouts all grow, you may want to take out a few puny ones so the biggest ones can have lots of space.

5. Water your pumpkin plants regularly. Watch as the leaves grow, tendrils curl, flowers bloom, and baby pumpkins start developing.

6. In the fall, you will have your own pumpkins for decorating, carving, and eating! Save some seeds for next spring!

Fun Tip: When my pumpkins are green, I like to use a flat blade screwdriver type tool to scrape the names of my grandchildren in the skin. The scrapes will scar over and make cool designs as the pumpkin grows. ASK an adult to help!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

My Autumn Book ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

My Autumn Book
By Wong Herbert Yee
(Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company; 2015)

My Autumn Book simply and beautifully encapsulates the essence of fall, my absolute favorite season.

A young girl joins the joy as nature races towards winter. Is it really fall?

In gentle verse, the story of fall as seen through the eyes of a child is shown through her exploration and enchantment with the natural world.

My Autumn Book is a great book to read together with young children.


Make a Fall Picture Book

Just like the girl in the story, you can make your own fall picture journal.

1. Ask an adult to help you use a camera.

2. Go on a fall nature walk. Take pictures of the signs of fall you see.

3. Print the photos.

4. Tape or use a glue stick to attach fall photos to cardstock or construction paper.

5. Label your photos - spider, leaf, rain, tree, and so on. Decorate the pages around the photos.

6. Staple pages together on one side to make a book.

Now you can read your own fall book!

What is your favorite fall book? I'd love to hear.