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Ann

Writing Prompts, Poetry, Earth Day, and a big Happy Anniversary!

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A blank page can be quite intimidating whether you write a lot or are a beginning writer! That is why we all need prompts for writing. As I think about it, my monthly postings for Booklights have been prompted by those of the other bloggers' postings throughout the previous month.

Terry started March out by giving great suggestions for prompting young writers. As she reminds us, a picture is truly worth a thousand words (or at least 20 if you are six-years-old). mcdonald-hand.jpgAnd while I don't want to "steal" any of the ideas for prompts for April that Terry might share, I think a delightful prompt for today comes from Megan McDonald, author of Judy Moody books.

Her prompt is an illustration of a practical joke the Judy Moody plays on her brother Stink. Young writers are then invited to write about a practical joke played on someone or make one up.

Pam's posting earlier today reminds us that we will celebrate National Poetry Month during April. Here is a website that provides great prompts for writing poetry. It includes a 40 minute webcast of Jack Prelutsky and interviews with Maya Angelou, Karla Kuskin, and J. Patrick Lewis.

Pam also reminds us that this is a wonderful time of the year to bring off the bookshelf Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit. While the book is rather dense in text, don't postpone reading it to young children. They catch on to language quite quickly. I tell my university students of the child who, after hearing Peter Rabbit numerous times, was overheard telling his tired, old dog, "I implore you to exert yourself!"

Susan has introduced me to several Passover books that are excellent. And the "old" Easter book of which Pam reminds us, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, was a favorite of an author I mentioned last August. I told about a visit with author Jean Davies Okimoto. She talked about The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, by Dubose Heyward and illustrated by Marjorie Flack (who later won a Caldecott Honor). Although first published in 1939, this is a very progressive book. Jeanie remembers how she knew this was a tale with a truly feminist perspective. She noticed the ranges of bunny colors and the inclusiveness of the story.

In that same August posting, I suggested that parents and teachers might want to read Jeanie's picture book Winston of Churchill, One Bear's Battle Against Global Warming, which is illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell. As I said , the book brings forward concerns for the environment in an interesting way for children and their parents.

So that brings me to look ahead to April 22 which is Earth Day. While I don't usually start our recommendations for books to get for special days, I will go ahead and get us started this month with three books released this year that you might check out.
fancy nancy.jpg
Fancy Nancy: Every Day is Earth Day, by Jane O'Connor. An "I Can Read!" book for beginning readers.

polar bears.jpg
Where Do Polar Bears Live? by Sarah Thomson. This is a piece of non-fiction with challenging concepts written for primary graders. Be sure to notice the end papers!


global warming.jpg
Global Warming, by Seymour Simon. A publication by the Smithsonian and written by my favorite writer of science picture books. Wonderful photographs!

I would add to that list an older book, one that I mentioned in September, Peter, Pamela and Percy in the Big Spill. The story relates the oil slick off of Cape Town that harmed many sea birds in 2000.

It seems appropriate that this month, I have gone back to postings from March as well as throughout the year. For the day after Earth Day, April 23, was the day in 2009 that Gina first welcomed everyone to Booklights. So, happy anniversary to a wonderful group!

Happy Reading, Ann

Pam

Thursday Three: Easter

Posted by Pam on March 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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I'm approaching today's post on Easter books like a wedding tradition - with something old, something new, something borrowed, and something out-of-the-blue.

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes
by Dubose Heyward, illustrated by Marjorie Flack
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold ShoesA little girl bunny defies the odds to become an Easter Bunny, even though she isn't high-born or well, male. Her good upbringing, hard work, and perseverance take her beyond what others think a country bunny can do. You go, girl! I loved this book as a child, and it was one of very few books about Easter at the time. Of course, this was before every cartoon book and TV character got their own holiday story. Does this older tale still win over the young readers? With a wink, I have to say that it doesn't really matter. We parents have to reserve the right to share a few books just because they spoke to us as children, and I'll put this one top of my list for its great story, lovely illustrations, and classic classicness.

The Easter Egg
by Jan Brett
The Easter EggSeriously, I have to wonder what took Jan Brett so long to tackle an Easter story because this is a natural subject for her amazing artwork. Look at the possibilities in decorated eggs! And so she did, with this new book where a bunny finds that his real talent isn't in egg-decorating, but in something else altogether. It's a sweet story, and of course beautifully illustrated. If you like some behind-the-scenes, check out the short video where Jan Brett talks about her process - while holding a chicken. She also has a contest, coloring pages, and more fun at her website.

Junie B. First Grader: Dumb Bunny
by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus
Junie B. First Grader: Dumb BunnyHere's both the something borrowed (from my MotherReader site) and out-of-the-blue (if you were expecting another picture book). Junie B. and her class are invited to an egg hunt at richie Lucille's house. There's a special prize if you find the golden egg, and that lovely prize is a playdate with Lucille in her indoor pool and everyone wants to swim in that fancy, hot water pool. But things take an unfortunate turn for Junie B. - as they often do - putting the poor girl in a pink bunny suit. A fun book for Easter, or really any time you need a laugh. As a little bonus today, I'll share my favorite passage:

"I just don't get it," Lucille grouched. "How could anyone forget the Easter Bunny? The Easter Bunny brings candy right to your door."
Lennie did a frown at her.
"He doesn't bring candy to my door, Lucille," he said. "The Easter Bunny is a different religion than me. I'm Jewish."
Shirley nodded.
"I'm Jewish, too, Lucille," she said. "I've never even been to an Easter-egg hunt before. What do you wear to something like that, anyway?"
Lucille stood up and fluffed herself.
"Well -- since the Easter Bunny and I are the same religion -- I'm going to wear a fancy Easter dress, Shirley," she said.
Shirley though for a minute. Then she nodded.
"Hmm. Then I guess I will wear a fancy Jewish dress," she said.
Lennie's eyes lighted up.
"Really, Shirley? You mean we have our own clothing line?" he asked.
He smiled.
"Then I think I will wear some fancy Jewish pants," he said.

If you have a favorite Easter book, share it in the comments. And with both Passover and Easter coming up next week, enjoy your holiday - whether it involves an Easter dress or Jewish pants. (giggle, giggle)


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Terry

A Prompt Idea: Writing with Pictures

Posted by Terry on March 5, 2010 at 8:30 AM in Picture Bookscreative literacy
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"A picture is worth a thousand words."

the-boys-the-fish-thumb12217640.jpgHow many times have we heard that? Imagery tells stories and explains things without words. Photographs, maps, and illustrations are images that freeze a moment in time: when your Mom held your new baby the first time, when your son held up the "big catch," or the kids waving to a train going by. Each of those images reveals a story, or at least part of one.

Images can be writing prompts, too. When I was in school, our teacher would present an image and ask us to tell her/him about it - describe what we see, what we think we see, or create a story, depending on the assignment. Some would be fictional/creative writing, others would be more factual.

Lion and Mouse.jpgI have become fascinated with stories presented completely without words. One of the "hot" genres for children's books is the wordless book ... and they're not just for little kids. One of the most popular picture books last year was Jerry Pinkney's Caldecott winning book The Lion and the Mouse. It is the folktale we all grew up with, told only in imagery. The story we remember may be "simple," but the illustrations are far from it!

For children who struggle with reading or writing, sharing and creating stories with just pictures may be just the thing to get them excited about literacy. First, they let kids stretch their imaginations. It also gives them a chance to tell a story in their own words ... the way they see it, without feeling hemmed in, overwhelmed, or intimidated by the actual text. There is a list of wordless and near-wordless books at the end of this post that may help you find books of interest.

2691767702_76d433163c.jpgYounger children draw "simple" pictures that tell very complex stories. Sometimes they'll launch into stories that would rival Tolstoy's War and Peace. But if they don't, ask them questions: Is that a tree? Does anyone live there? Do they have a name? Asking them to tell you about their picture today can encourage their long-term interest in stories and reading.

Older children may enjoy making cartoons. Because they are telling a complete (albeit short) story in 3 to 5 "boxes," they have to think carefully about what details they want to show and also how to organize their thoughts.

For kids who don't like to draw, grab some magazines. Let them cut out images and put them together in a single "picture" or sequence them to create a book. If writing practice is important, ask the artist annotate the images as the text of the story.

drawings-as-a-child-thumb912268.jpgPictures, maps, charts, and drawings can be great literacy props. We use them for everything from teaching kids colors to helping adults put together a bike. [I can't remember the last time I actually looked past the illustrations to read the instructions on how to put something together!]

In creating and telling their stories, kids are practicing their vocabulary, sequencing (putting events in order), and communication skills. Images help us get kids excited about reading, and ultimately writing ... without reading a word!

Prompt Ideas for March
Each month I'll close the column with some starter ideas. This month, I'm building on the theme of wordless writing and including a few "traditional" prompts, too. For kids who aren't ready to write, you can talk about them as conversations.

For Celebrate Your Name Week (March 7)

For each letter in your name, pick something you like that starts with that letter. Now do the dislikes. (This can be pictures, drawings, or words)
When you think of your name, what color do you see? Why?
If your name were a food, what would it be? This can be pictures, drawings, or words)

For Genealogy Day (March 13)
Pull out some old photographs and create a book about someone's life.
Work together to create a short interview with an older family member. Start with "What would you like to know about from the time [person] grew up?"

For St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
The pot of gold is gone. What would you find at the end of the rainbow? Who/What would protect it? (This can be words or pictures)

Wordless Picture Book Resources

Wordless and Almost Wordless Picture Books List Reading is Fundamental
Wordless Book Reviews Children's Literature (online journal)
Wordless Picture Book List, Weber County (Utah) Public Library
Booklist - Wordless Picture Books Louisville (Kentucky) Free Public Library
Wonderful Wordless Picture Books Ann M. Neely, on Booklights

Image Credits
Boy and Fish Image - Morgue File - http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-the-boys-the-fish-image12217640
Child holding Crayon - Morgue File - http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-drawings-as-a-child-image912268

Little girls holding up pictures - Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tigerlillyshop/2691767702/

Book title links to Cybils affiliate account with Amazon. Purchases made through that link may earn income for the Cybils and help fund this literary awards program.

Susan

The Good Doctor

Posted by Susan on March 3, 2010 at 12:00 AM in Authors and IllustratorsPicture Books
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Dr. Seuss (aka Ted Geisel) wrote 63 books for children. Looking for one of them? You won't find them at my library today. They're all checked out.

Michelle Obama reading A Cat in the Hat.jpgWhy the run on Dr. Seuss books this week? As Jen talked about yesterday, Dr. Seuss' birthday (March 2) is also designated as Read Across America Day. People from all walks of life read books to children on this special day and many of them select Dr. Seuss books to read.

Ted Geisel's popularity isn't limited to March by any means. As someone who has worked in bookstores and libraries, I've found that in both venues Dr. Seuss books are consistently the most frequently checked out, purchased, and requested picture books and early readers. His books just have that special, magical something that we all look for when we read a children's book. As President Obama said in his proclamation for Read Across America Day yesterday, Dr. Seuss' "imaginative tales have helped generations of children learn to read, and they hold a cherished place on bookshelves in homes across America."

When Ted Geisel started out, success seemed a long way off. After illustrating two books written by Alexander Abingdon, (Boners and More Boners) Ted decided to strike out on his own, but it didn't go so well. Twenty seven publishers rejected And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, the first chidren's book that he both wrote and illustrated. Here's how the book finally ended up being accepted:

"On the blustery day he learned of his twenty-seventh rejection, Ted fought back frustration and anger and decided to return to his apartment, stage a ceremonial burning of the now tattered manuscript, and get back to cartooning for adults. As he walked grimly along Madison Avenue, he was hailed by Mike McClintock, who had been a year behind him at Dartmouth.

And to Think That I Saw on Mulberry Street.jpg"What's that under your arm?" McClintock asked.

"That's a book that no one will publish. I'm lugging it home to burn."

McClintock smiled. Three hours earlier he had become juvenile editor of Vanguard Press. "We're standing outside my new office," he said. "Come on up and let's look at it."

Half an hour later McClintock took Ted in to meet James Henle, editor of Vanguard Press. Henle agreed to publish the book."

(From Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel by Judith and Neil Morgan, page 82, hardcover edition).

Ted Geisel drawing.jpgHere are some of my other favorite Dr. Seuss facts:

- He won the Pulitzer Prize, two Oscars, two Emmys and the Peabody Award, but the most famous American children's book illustrator never won the biggest award in his own field: the Caldecott medal. He received Caldecott honors for McElligott's Pool (1948), Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1950) and If I Ran the Zoo (1951).

- At the end of college, he was voted the "least likely to succeed" by his fellow members of the Casque and Gauntlet honor society at Dartmouth. Clearly his high school friends at Central High School in Springfield, Massachusetts were more omniscient: they voted him Class Artist and Class Wit.

Green Eggs and Ham.jpg- His editor, Bennett Cerf, bet him fifty dollars that he could not write a book with a vocabulary of fifty words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which in 2001 was ranked by Publisher's Weekly as the fourth-bestselling English-language children's book of all time. Bennett Cerf made good on his bet, but I have a feeling that Ted made more than $50 from the book.

- He was the Berenstains first editor. He wasn't wild about their idea to write books about bears, though. He said they'd never sell. Obviously they did and after their first book The Big Honey Hunt was published, they wrote 16 more books for Ted's Beginner Books company. He was the one that shortened the author's names to "Stan and Jan" from Stanley and Janice and he also named the series "The Berenstain Bears." For more information about how Beginner Books was started, see Terry's great post on the subject.

The advertisement for And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street urged: "Booksellers, hitch on! This is the start of a parade that will take you places!"

Truer words were never spoken. The parade of Dr. Seuss books stretched from Mulberry Street in 1937 to Oh, The Places You'll Go! in 1990. Three more books were published after he died in 1991. The parade is still going on; almost every one of Dr. Seuss' books are still in print, which is truly a remarkable thing. You can find a full list of his books here.

Dr. Seuss Collection.jpgIf you're ever in San Diego, be sure to check out The Dr. Seuss Collection at the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego. It contains everything from the original art for nearly all of his books to notebooks he doodled on in college, fan mail and Seuss products.

What's your favorite Dr. Seuss book? Which ones do your kids love? What is the first Dr. Seuss book that you remember yourself or your kids reading? Did you read a Dr. Seuss book for Read Across America Day? What's your favorite Dr. Seuss memory. I'd love to hear all about it.

The Eye Book.jpgI've got my own brand new Dr. Seuss memory from something that happened after I finished writing this post. My son (who loved seeing all the pictures in the post) asked to read Dr. Seuss books last night. And for the first time, he read a book he'd never seen before by himself from beginning to end! It was The Eye Book by Theo. LeSieg (one of Ted's pen names). A great book for beginning readers.

The photo of Michelle Obama reading The Cat in the Hat yesterday is from Getty Images. The photo of Dr. Seuss drawing sketches for the television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas is from the Wikimedia Commons.

Ann

A Patchwork Quilt

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Perhaps it is because we are having one more dreary, cold, wet (yes, still snow flurries!) day in Nashville, all I want to do is what Jen has just recommended: cozy up with a good book. And I would add that I'd like to cozy up under a fabulous quilt!quilt.jpg

I will use that quilt metaphor in this month's posting. So many of the postings this past month provide great fabrics of ideas and suggestions for developing in young children a love of reading. I will try to sew some of those fabrics into a quilt of connections. Thanks to James Ransome's end pages in Under the Quilt of Night for this quilt that I would choose for wrapping myself.

Immediately upon reading Jen's post, I registered to vote in the contest Ideas for Change in America. I had not heard about this Change.org contest and was delighted to read so many great project ideas. The "Read to Kids" campaign gets my vote, of course. I particularly like what the creators have said in the description:

"By reading aloud with children, we can improve their interest in and attitudes toward reading and improve children's fundamental literacy skills, including reading comprehension, vocabulary, reading ability, listening comprehension, attention span and ability to articulate thoughts. Being read to by an adult also helps build a child's self-esteem and confidence.

A national "Read to Kids" campaign could engage national and local literacy organizations, schools, teachers, parents, authors, publishers and nearly every sector of business and society that understands that our nation's future depends on our children's literacy skills."

I join Jen in encouraging you to vote....and suggest that you send the "Read to Kids" description on to those you know in the business world as well!

Thank you, Pam, for reminding us about Goin' Someplace Special. 51pIwG2kZwL.jpgThis ranks very high on my "favorite books of all time" list. Those who share my love of this book should be sure to check out the Reading Rockets website that Gina has led us to. The writing prompts for Goin' Someplace Special are excellent. Even though the February challenge has ended, I plan to store the ideas inside a copy of the book.

NOTE to teachers....be sure to check for the March prompts. One of my former students entered one of her second grader's writing in January and her student was selected for an honorable mention. What a fabulous way to validate the efforts of a young writer!

Susan got us all thinking about how we organize, shelve, and attempt to easily locate our books. As a Mac computer user, I have used a software package called Booxter for several years. The program allows me to use a scanner like they have at the grocery store to record the ISBN codes on the back of each book (you can also manually enter these). All the information I need, including a picture of the cover, immediately pops up and is added to my catalog of books.

Finally, I'll add my own "piece of fabric" to this quilt. It actually brings us back to our many conversations around this year's Caldecott Award winner, The Lion and the Mouse. The website Teaching Books includes a video of Jerry Pinkney as he talks about the creation of the book. He ends the interview by saying that this fable is truly about family and helping others.

Scroll on down the link and check out the suggestions for enriching a reading of big no no.jpgBenny and Penny in the Big No-No (this year's Geisel Award winner). The book becomes interactive when you click on the "Play" button.

Let's hope for lots of sunshine and even some days that will make us all want to take our books and young readers outside!

Happy Reading......Ann

Pam

Thursday Three: Black History Month and Libraries

Posted by Pam on February 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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I really wanted to come up with a more concise title, but as it stands, these three fiction picture books focus on the place of the library in African American history. Two of them were nominated for the Cybils Fiction Picture Book awards this year, and the first book won a Coretta Scott King Award in 2001.


Goin’ Someplace Special
by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Goin’ Someplace SpecialIt’s the 1950s and ’Tricia Ann is heading downtown in Nashville to go “Someplace Special.” Her grandmother is reluctant to let her go on her own, but when she relents, ’Trica Ann faces a journey of pride, humiliation, encouragement, and ultimately joy as she reaches her destination — the public library, open to whites and blacks alike. The injustices of the segregated south are made all too real with this likeable character facing off against the obstacles. Pinkney’s lovely watercolors bring just the right feeling of the era to the book.

Finding Lincoln
by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Colin Bootman
Finding LincolnWhen this story takes place in Alabama in 1951, Louis isn't allowed to use the public library. When his father's own book collection runs thin, he turns to the small library at his church to find a book on President Lincoln. When he can't find the information he wants to know, he bravely steps into the public library to find the book he needs. Some people are rude, but one librarian is helpful in getting Louis the book he wants which shows how Abraham Lincoln starting shaking things up even as a boy - just like Louis. The book contains additional information about segregation in libraries, plus a bit about Abraham Lincoln. The watercolor illustrations are lovely and capture the feelings and characters quite nicely.

Ron's Big Mission
by Rose Blue, Corinne Naden, illustrated by Don Tate
Ron's Big MissionRon loves books and is well-known at the Lake City Public Library for his frequent visits. He spends hours reading there, but this day is different. The nine year old boy is going to take on the system by demanding to be allowed to check out books. Knowing that the privilege is reserved for whites, he literally takes a stand to get his own library card. Based on a real incident in the life of Astronaut Ron McNair, the story gives a different feel to discrimination than most books on the subject, focusing on the institutional ruling than belief system. All of the individuals who encounter Ron - from the friendly elderly lady to the helpful librarian to the befuddled police - all want to help him, mostly by getting around the law. While it may not offer a more valid a perspective than other books that tackle discrimination, it puts the emphasis on an unfair law rather than racist people. The illustrations also lighten the tone, with the bright colors and expressive faces. A particularly good book for read-aloud in the classroom or library.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Snow

Posted by Pam on February 18, 2010 at 9:50 AM in Picture BooksRecommendationsSeasonal Books
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I read that this winter is the only instance recorded that snow was on the ground in 49 of the 50 states at the same time. Hawaii was the holdout, even though they do get snow on their mountaintops sometimes. With the snowiest season I remember - and a record-breaking one in the Washington, DC area - it seems most appropriate to bring out the snow books.

In the SnowIn the Snow
by Peggy Collins
When a young boy wakes up to discover a world of white, he is in for a day of snowy fun. He finds animal tracks and tries to catch the rabbit who made them. He builds a snowman with his daddy, complete with hardhat and a wrench. And at the end of his adventure, goes inside for warmth and hugs. With bright, lively pictures and simple text, this is a book for the youngest readers.

Danny’sDanny’s First Snow
by Leonid Gore
When a little rabbit goes out in his first snowfall, he sees friends in the piles of snow all around him. But they turn out to be trees and such buried in the snow. But it’s all good, because Mommy's waiting for him. The fuzzy art style makes it appear as if we’re viewing the illustrations through a sleet-encrusted window, which is nicer than it sounds. Gentle snowy-time book.

Snow Day!Snow Day!
by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

“Did you hear that? Did the weatherman just say what I thought he did? Did he say... SNOW? Oh please, let it snow. Lots and lots of snow.” This person is ready for a snow day and all the things that go along with it. No alarm clock. Staying in PJs. Playing outside. A day to watch TV and read a new book. To sled and throw snowballs. The special fun in this book is the surprise that I won’t spoil, and the fun illustrations that bring the reader into the imagining of the perfect snow day. (Even if you've had enough of them this year.)


I've already talked about the lovely Waiting for Winter and at MotherReader, I have a review of a very relevant book, The Terrible Storm. And I have so many others that I like for the winter months. What are your favorites?


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Gina

Show and Tale: Nixing Nightmares

Posted by Gina on February 12, 2010 at 11:55 AM in Picture BooksRecommendationsShow and Tale
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Tracey Wynne of PBS Parents shares her new favorite, Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go To Sleep:

tell_me_happy.jpgLast month, my five-year-old daughter became fearful of going to sleep. There was no monster under her bed, in her closet or creeping down the hall. The monster she feared was in her head in the form of bad dreams.

In my frantic search to ease her fears, I came across the most delightful book, Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep, by Joyce Dunbar. Written over 10 years ago, it tells the story of a little rabbit named Willa who can't fall asleep because she fears bad dreams. She asks her big brother, Willoughby, to tell her something happy before she goes to sleep. He obliges. Willoughby gets Willa to see how the many simple things in her life bring her joy, such as wearing cozy pajamas, eating certain foods or looking at the night sky. Eventually, Willa falls asleep.

This wonderful read-aloud is sweet and reassuring. I love how it addresses the power of positive thinking; a skill that will serve children well, even at night.

Reading Tell Me Something Happy... with my daughter has become part of our nightly routine. Although she still frets about bad dreams, I now know how to help - I get her to tell me something happy before she goes to sleep.

What books have helped to calm your child's nighttime fears?

Pam

Thursday Three: Love

Posted by Pam on February 11, 2010 at 10:03 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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In the library, these are the days when we get frantic parents looking for a Valentine book to read at their child's school and finding that all the books are gone. But here are some nice books about love that will nicely fill the gap.


Never Too Little To LoveNever Too Little To Love
by Jeanne Willis
A mouse who wants to give a kiss to his friend, but she's way above him - literally. He stacks things precariously to get a little bit higher, but it's pretty clear that this homemade ladder is not going to hold. Fortunately the giraffe he loves bends down and offers a kiss. Simple and sweet, the book has sturdy pages for the littlest readers.


Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story
by Lisa Wheeler
Porcupining: A Prickly Love StoryAlone and ignored in the petting zoo, the poor porcupine can’t find somebody to love. Oh but he tries, courting other animals with unintentionally insulting songs. Because no female, pigs included, want to be called "pink and fat." Just as he is about to give up hope, he meets a darling hedgehog. The cheery illustrations feature clever details, and the funny story will charm all audiences.


Pierre in Love
by Sara Pennypacker
Pierre in LoveA fisherman rat is too shy to talk to the ballerina bunny he loves. He leaves her gifts and flowers in secret, and eventually she catches him. Unfortunately, she loves another. So sad. Pierre stills feels better after having shared his secret and encourages her to do the same with wonderful results for all. The watercolor artwork of the fishing village captures the feelings of this gentle tale.


Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Cybils Picture Books

Posted by Pam on February 4, 2010 at 10:23 AM in Picture BooksRecommendations
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In January, I talked about three of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book Finalists with an eye towards which ones might win a Caldecott medal. I was right about two of them. "Bam!" said the lady!

I also reviewed one of the other finalists - Jeremy Draws a Monster - as a book that I was giving to my three year old niece. But with a bit more than a week to go before the ultimate winner is chosen, it's certainly time to share the other three books from the Cybils Fiction Picture Book shortlist.


The Listeners
by Gloria Whelan, illustrated by Mike Benny
The ListenersThe lives of the slaves are hard work, little food, and old clothes. But there are also times of pride, worship, and family. Under the cover of darkness, the slave children sneak under the windows of the Big House to hear the news and then take it back to their community. Inside the conversations are elements of harshness, indifference, compassion, and with any luck - hope. Beautifully rendered, this story for older readers will touch your heart and open your eyes.

Silly Tilly
by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by David Slonim
Silly TillyHere's a goose who "took her baths in apple juice," so we can safely say that she's pretty silly. Her crazy antics get to her barnyard friends, who read her the riot act to stop the silliness. Later though, they miss laughing and the miss the real Tilly, who they learn to accept just the way she is. The value of the book is in the wild lines that will have kids giggling even as they are learning about rhymes. It's a perfect read aloud with wonderful rhythm and expressive illustration that captures this very silly goose.

The Book That Eats People
by John Perry, illustrated by Mark Fearing
The Book That Eats PeopleDark and deadly, this is a book to be feared as it eats people. Throughout the pages the reader learns of many of the unsuspecting victims of this most dangerous book. The illustrations are appropriately creepy, and the tone is darkly comedic. While I personally would have put this book as most appropriate for older readers - say first and second grade - I've had personal reports of much younger children who want to hear this book read again and again. So beware, because it might just take over your family as well.

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