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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Preschool, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 75
1. Look Who is Moving & Shaking

Bee Movers and Shakers 041614

 

We are so proud of our children’s book, The Bee Bully.  He is being featured currently on Bookbub.com through April 17th and he is being very well received.  He is currently #4 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers List for kindle and he is #1 in the Children’s Ebook category.  He has been reduced to $.99 during this promotion period and has over 80 five-star reviews.  Be sure to get a copy today and see what all the buzz is about!

 

beecover

 

 


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2. Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (ages 3-6)

Sometimes my kids ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because they are just craving comfort food. Jarrett Krosoczka's newest picture book, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, is exactly like that -- comforting, a little gooey and certainly sweet. Reach for it if you're in the mood for something that will make you smile.

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2014
your local library
Amazon
ages 3-6
Best friends Peanut Butter and Jellyfish love to swim up, down and around--all over their ocean home. But every time they swim past Crabby, he shouts out something mean to them, like: “What a bunch of bubbleheads!” or “You guys smell like rotten barnacles!” What is it with that guy? More importantly, what should these two happy friends do about it?
Best of friends who spent their days exploring...
When Crabby gets caught in a lobster trap, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish have to decide whether they're going to reach out to help him. Krosoczka's story touches just the right notes, creating empathy and suspense along the way. His artwork is bright and cheerful, with lots of kid appeal.

I know many families will enjoy this as they snuggle up for a story at the end of the day. Lovely comfort food, and without the sticky mess! Enjoy this delightful trailer:



Illustration copyright ©2014 by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Knopf Books for Young Readers / Random House. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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3. Unlearned lessons from the McMartin Preschool case

By Ross E. Cheit


It was the longest criminal trial in American history and it ended without a single conviction. Five people were charged with child sexual abuse based on extremely flimsy evidence. Some parents came to believe outlandish stories about ritual abuse and tunnels underneath the preschool. It is no wonder that the McMartin Preschool case, once labeled the largest “mass molestation” case in history, has come to be called a witch-hunt. In a commentary to a Retro Report in the New York Times earlier this month, Clyde Haberman, former Times reporter, repeated the view that the McMartin case was a witch-hunt that spawned a wave of other cases of “dubious provenance.” But does that description do justice to the facts?

A careful examination of court records reveals that the witch-hunt narrative about the McMartin case is a powerful but not entirely accurate story. For starters, critics have obscured the facts surrounding the origins of the case. Richard Beck, quoted as an expert in the Retro Report story, recently asserted that the McMartin case began when Judy Johnson “went to the police” to allege that her child had been molested. Debbie Nathan, the other writer quoted by Retro Report, went even further, asserting that “everyone overlooked the fact that Judy Johnson was psychotic.”

Both of these claims are false.

Judy Johnson did not bring her suspicions to the police; she brought them to her family doctor who, after examining the boy, referred him to an Emergency Room. That doctor recommended that the boy be examined by a child-abuse specialist. The pediatric specialist is the one who reported to the Manhattan Beach Police Department that “the victim’s anus was forcibly entered several days ago.”

Although Judy Johnson died of alcohol poisoning in 1986, making her an easy target for those promoting the witch-hunt narrative, there is no evidence that she was “psychotic” three years earlier. A profile in the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, published after Johnson died, made it clear that she was “strong and healthy” in 1983 and that she “jogged constantly and ate health food.” The case did not begin with a mythical crazy woman.

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Retro Report also disposed of the extensive medical evidence in the McMartin case with a single claim that there was no “definitive” evidence. But defense lawyer Danny Davis allowed that the genital injuries on one girl were “serious and convincing.” (His primary argument to the jury was that much of the time that this girl attended McMartin was outside the statute of limitations.) The vaginal injuries on another girl, one of the three involved in both McMartin trials, were described by a pediatrician as proving sexual abuse “to a medical certainty.” Were the reporter and fact-checkers for Retro Report aware of this evidence?

None of this is to defend the charges against five (possibly six) teachers in the case. Nor is it an endorsement of claims, made by some parents, that scores of children had been ritually abused. Rather, it is a plea to treat the case as something that unfolded over time and the children as individuals, not as an undifferentiated mass. As it turns out, there are credible reasons that jurors in both trials voted in favor of a guilty verdict on some counts. Those facts do not fit the witch-hunt narrative. Instead, they portray the reality of a complicated case.

When the story of prosecutorial excess overshadows all of the evidence in a child sexual abuse case, children are the ones sold short by the media. That is precisely what Retro Report did earlier this month. The injustices in the McMartin case were significant, most of them were to defendants, and the story has been told many times. But there was also an array of credible evidence of abuse that should not be ignored or written out of history just because it gets in the way of a good story.

The witch-hunt narrative has replaced any complicated truths about the McMartin case, and Retro Report, whose mission is to bust media myths, just came down solidly on the side of the myth. It wasn’t all a witch-hunt.

Ross E. Cheit is professor of political science and public policy at Brown University. He is an inactive member of the California bar and chair of the Rhode Island Ethics Commission. His forthcoming book, The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children (OUP 2014), includes a 70-page chapter on the McMartin case.

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Image credit: “Face In The Shadow” by George Hodan c/o PublicDomainPictures. Public domain via pixabay.

The post Unlearned lessons from the McMartin Preschool case appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Building readers one brick (or book) at a time: Dreaming Up, by Christy Hale (ages 3-8)

Every child I know has loved building things out of materials they find everywhere - whether it's stacking a huge tower of blocks, or making a pillow fort, or using toothpicks and green peas to make a pyramid. If you have a little builder at home, definitely look for Christy Hale's new book, Dreaming Up.

Dreaming Up: 
A Celebration of Building 
by Christy Hale
Lee & Low, 2012
ages 3 - 8
available at your local library and on Amazon
Christy Hale imaginatively pairs drawings of young children building forts, sandcastles and more with photographs of fascinating architectural structures that mirror the children’s creations. Each comes with a concrete poem that will bring a smile to your face. Here, children are building toothpick creations, alongside the Montreal Biosphere. The concrete poem reads,
"Easy peasy as can be /
toothpicks joining /
One, two, three."
Hale's comparisons and poems are accessible to young preschoolers, but they'll also intrigue seven and eight year olds. My daughter says, "I *love* that book! The thing I love most about it is that it can be for all age groups. It does not matter if you're a grandma reading it to your little grandchild or if you're a middle school kid who's fascinated by buildings."


I especially appreciate the way Hale carefully included so many different children, architects and types of buildings throughout Dreaming Up. As you can see, the children have a range of skin tones and ethnic backgrounds. In the back, you can read about architects ranging from Zaha Hadid, an Iraqi woman who designed the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, to Simon Velez, a Columbian man who designed the Bamboo Church in Columbia.


Children will adore the way Hale celebrates their creativity - just look at the building that looks like a child's pillow fort! Older children will be interested to read that Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain (pictured above) is located on a river, and that it often gives the impression of looking like a fish or a ship. Children who are interested in learning more will appreciate the extra information Hale includes at the end of the book, especially the quotes and pictures of each architect.

On her website, Christy Hale shares six creative projects that engage children in building. She includes plans to make a paper pyramid with tubes of rolled paper and tape, and shows children how to build an ever-expanding labyrinth from interlocking cardboard boxes. You might also have fun checking out two Pinterest sites Hale put together:
All images shared with permission from Christy Hale, © 2012. The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

3 Comments on Building readers one brick (or book) at a time: Dreaming Up, by Christy Hale (ages 3-8), last added: 3/24/2013
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5. A Place for Turtles, by Melissa Stewart - celebrating Earth Day 2013 (ages 4 - 8)

Children are eager to explore the world around them. Many love to read about animals, learning about different species, their habitats and life cycles. I've often wondered how we help young children learn about problems caused by pollution, habitat loss or global warming without making children too worried or sad. Melissa Stewart's A Place for... series of picture books look at environmental problems, but focus on ways people can change them and help animals live and grow.

A Place for Turtles
by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Higgins Bond
Peachtree Publishers, 2013
ages 4 - 8
available at your local library and on Amazon
Turtles live in all sorts of different environments, but many have faced challenges brought about by environmental problems. Melissa Stewart introduces young children to specific problems that turtles face, such as habitat loss caused by invasive nonnative plants, but does so in a clear, simple way. Throughout, she emphasizes that we can all help change these problems.
"Some turtles have trouble building nests when new kinds of plants spread into their home habitat. When people find ways to control the new plants, turtles can live and grow."
Stewart balances this clear, simple narrative with sidebars that provide more details on different species and the challenges they face. These specific examples add detail and interest, especially when combined with Bond's detailed acrylic illustrations. For example, Stewart writes that the bog turtle's wetland habitat has been threatened by invasive purple loosestrife that is growing too thickly. Families will find it interesting to talk about different projects that communities are undertaking to improve life for turtles.

If you like this, check out the other books in Melissa Stewart's A Place for... series:
I have greatly enjoyed following Melissa Stewart's blog: Celebrate Science. - she shares her passion for science, animals and the environment in many different ways. She has been thinking deeply about how to connect information picture books to the Common Core, and has many helpful ideas for teachers and librarians.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Peachtree Publishers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

2 Comments on A Place for Turtles, by Melissa Stewart - celebrating Earth Day 2013 (ages 4 - 8), last added: 4/26/2013
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6. Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street, by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus (ages 3-5)

When I look for a great counting book, I am looking for a book that pulls young readers back to read it again and again. It has to have clear, dynamic illustrations and text that invites the adult to interact with the child while they read together. Mark Lee's debut picture book Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street is a fantastic new counting book, perfect for little kids wowed by huge, towering trucks.


Twenty Big Trucks
in the Middle of the Street
by Mark Lee
illustrated by Kurt Cyrus
Candlewick, 2013
available at
Amazon
your local library
ages 3-5
*best new book*
A little boy watches as an ice-cream truck rumbles down the street. When the ice-cream truck breaks down, it blocks middle of the street. This leads to a chain-reaction traffic jam, with truck after truck getting stuck in the street. Lee's rhyming text is wonderful to read aloud, adding interest for parents and children. He uses the page turns perfectly, building suspense along the way.
"A mail truck stops, so now there are two.
Their drivers don't know what to do.

Watch out! Two trucks are in the way.
They stop a third truck carrying hay."
We start realizing the pattern just as the little guy on his bike starts counting the trucks. Kurt Cyrus, veteran picture book author and illustrator, captures our attention with bold digital illustrations.


I love how Lee and Cyrus each layer in many aspects to this counting book, inviting repeated readings. Some kids will spend hours naming each type of truck, while others will notice all of the different items the trucks carry.


Cyrus keeps the little kid on the bike as part of each picture, helping kids see themselves in this busy traffic jam, but he switches up the perspective throughout, zooming in and out of the scene. My favorite spread is near the end, looking down at the whole big mess, when you can count each truck that's piled up waiting for the ice cream truck to move.

Best of all: the little kid comes up with the final solution!

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Press. The illustrations are copyright ©2013 Kurt Cyrus, share with permission of the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

20 BIG TRUCKS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET. Text copyright © 2013 by Mark Lee. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Kurt Cyrus. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 Comments on Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street, by Mark Lee & Kurt Cyrus (ages 3-5), last added: 9/7/2013
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7. The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck, by Laura Murray & Mike Lowery (ages 4 - 7)

One of my favorite memories has to be watching little kids go to the local fire station for the first time. They look up at the huge fire fighters and their trucks in such awe and amazement. Laura Murray has created a rollicking fun read aloud to celebrate this adventure.

The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck
by Linda Murray
illustrated by Mike Lowery
G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin, 2013
available at
Amazon
your local library
ages 4-7
The pint size hero of The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School returns for a class field trip to the local fire station. After their teacher announces they’ll be riding the bus to meet the fire fighters, Sophia reassures the Gingerbread Man that she can take him along in the pocket of her backpack.
But just as the class reaches their destination, the little cookie falls out of his hiding spot and falls right on top of Spot, the hungry Dalmatian. Readers familiar with the traditional tale will relish the similarities as the Gingerbread Man evades being eaten, shouting,
"I'll run and I'll dodge,
As fast as I can.
I'm not a dog bone! I'm the
Gingerbread Man!"
The ensuing chase leads throughout the fire house, into the truck, up the shiny pole, through the bedroom and into the kitchen. When the alarm sounds, the fire fighters rush to the truck and the Gingerbread Man hops aboard, riding to the rescue.

Murray’s bouncing rhythms keep the story moving at a quick pace, and are matched by Lowery’s action-packed cartoon-style illustrations. In the end, female Fire Chief Anne rewards the little hero and his classmates with helmets, paralleling many children’s own trips to the fire station.

Read a fun interview with Laura Murray over at Mr. Schu's Watch.Connect.Read. What a great school visit this would be!

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Penguin Books for Young Readers. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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8. eBooks for sale by J R Hartley, I mean Alan Dapré

Do you remember that advert where an old man rings round bookshops until he smiles – puts on his hat – and nips out the door? He is looking for a book by J. R. Hartley and the twist is … Continue reading

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9. BEE A READER

Cropped Pic 2

Today I had the privilege of being a reader at a local elementary school.  I got to read one of my favorite books, The Bee Bully, and talk to the kids about being an author.  The energetic kindergartners made me feel very welcome and I really enjoyed spending some time with them.  We talked a little bit about what it means to be a bully and how important reading is.

Three reasons why reading is important to young children:

1).  Reading exercises our brains.  That’s right, our brains need a workout too.  Reading strengthens brain connections and can even create new ones so pick up a book and help your brain exercise.

2).  Reading improves concentration.  Kids have to focus when they read which can sometimes be a difficult task.  The more you read the longer you can extend that concentration time which will continue to improve.

3).  Reading helps develop imagination.  When you read your brain translates what is read to pictures.  Did you know you can create a movie in your head while you read?  We become engrossed in the story and we can connect with the characters.  We can sympathize with how a character feels and reflect on how we would feel in that same situation.

Now go grab a book and BEE A READER!

beecover


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10. Halloween books for little kids (ages 2 - 5)

Halloween has something for everyone: dressing up, going trick-or- treating, and collecting candy. As kids get older, they love reading scary stories and being thrilled with creepy tales. But young children may be sensitive to these bone-chillin’ yarns and need something gentler.  Here are two new books that are wonderful for helping young kids enjoy this holiday.

The I'm Not Scared Book

by Todd Parr

NY: Little, Brown

ages 2 - 6

available at your local library, my favorite bookstore and Amazon
Using his distinctive style of bright, bold figures and simple, reassuring words, Parr has created a wonderful book that reassures young children that we all can be scared of some things. The left side of every spread shows something we may be afraid of: “Sometimes I’m scared of the dark.” Look on the right side and you’ll see a way to make the situation better: “ I’m not scared if I have a night-light.”



Parr’s book is simple and yet it speaks to the heart of an important issue. Young children need to work through how to deal with their fears, and not just push them aside. Parents love Parr’s work for giving them ways to talk about important issues in simple, reassuring ways. We had a great time at our school making up new pages to add to this book - adding to the phrases, "Sometimes I'm scared when..." and "But I'm not scared when ..."



Another book that young kids and preschoolers will love is Pumpkin Trouble, by Jan Thomas. It's silly fun that will make your little one giggle and giggle.

Pumpkin Trouble

by Jan Thomas

NY: HarperCollins

ages 2–6

available at your local library, my favorite bookstore, and Amazon
“This will be great!” Duck exclaims, as he comes across the perfect pumpkin

2 Comments on Halloween books for little kids (ages 2 - 5), last added: 10/10/2011
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11. We ♥ Todd Parr (ages 2 - 8): a fun school visit!

All of Emerson was abuzz last week with excitement for books and reading. Todd Parr, a wonderful author and illustrator, came to visit our students and share about his books. As so many of the kids said, "We love you, Todd." You see, he ends each book with a note that speaks directly to kids, and he signs these notes, "Love, Todd". I truly believe this helps kids connect with Todd as a person, and they return his love adoringly.


Todd Parr is the author of over 30 books. Every one of Parr’s books helps children feel good about themselves and helps families talk about all kinds of things that kids really do care about. Parr illustrates his stories, creating bright, colorful artwork that will bring a smile to your face. Through every book he shares the message that it’s OK to be different and important to believe in yourself.

Todd Parr with my daughter Emily
During his visit, he read several of his stories aloud to the kids, asked for their help drawing silly pictures, and played a great improvisation game with the kids. The students laughed, giggled and begged to participate.

I especially love talking with the kids about how Todd's grandmother read with him when he was a child. He loved reading his favorite books over and over again. Todd talks about how his grandma would ask him what would happen next, and he would create crazy imaginative predictions. She encouraged his creativity and helped him connect to the books they were reading.

In talking with the kids afterward, they especially loved seeing Todd draw right there in front of him. They love noticing things in his artwork. Kids have described his style as simple, but full of details. They like the way it looks like a kid could draw it, but they clearly notice that he takes care and effort.

Todd's books are perfect for preschoolers and young elementary students, but older students read them with joy and smiles on their faces. At Emerson, we had all of our kindergartners, 1st and 2nd graders come to the library to listen to Todd. But, a group of older kids also came along - these 10- and 11-year-olds loved listening to hi

1 Comments on We ♥ Todd Parr (ages 2 - 8): a fun school visit!, last added: 12/14/2011
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12. There's Going to Be a Baby, by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury (ages 3-7)

Having a new baby brings change for any family, and it can be a big adjustment for a child who gains that new sibling. As parents’ attention shifts toward the coming baby, the soon-to-be big sister (or brother) wonders what it might mean for her (or him). Will her parents have time for her? Will the baby want to play with her big sister, or just take all of dad’s time?


There's Going to Be a Baby
by John Burningham
illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
MA: Candlewick, 2010
ages 3 - 7
available at your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
Anticipation and imagination. That is the powerful mix at work when a young boy asks his mother, “When is the baby going to come?” As they walk along, she answers in a perfectly reasonable way that it will come in the fall, when it’s ready.

“What will the baby do?” wonders the boy.

 “Maybe when the baby grows up, it will be a chef and work in a restaurant,” suggests his mother.

Hmmm, the little boy isn’t sure that’s a good idea. Turn the page, and the little boy imagines a baby making pancakes, spilling a mess everywhere.

As the young mother suggests straightforward answers, the little boy imagines all the trouble a baby might cause. You’ll laugh at the preschooler’s inventive imagination, but you can also feel his anxiety and uncertainty. Just what will this new baby be like? This sweetly funny book, with its retro feel and muted colors, will bring smiles to parents and children anticipating a new baby.

For more books to share with children about having a new baby, head over to my Bookshelf article for this month at Parents Press. I feature five books that look at this change from a child’s perspective.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Candlewick Press. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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13. Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Celebrating with our students!

We are excited to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday - Friday, March 2nd - at our school. As part of Read Across America, students at Emerson School are sharing their love for all things Dr. Seuss.

Our 2nd graders have been practicing reading aloud Dr. Seuss's books, and will perform some of their favorite excerpts for the whole school at our monthly assembly Friday. Other 2nd graders are getting ready to make a video montage with their favorite Seuss Snippets - ranging from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to The Sneetches.

Our kindergarteners are connecting with John Muir School across town through a video chat. They'll sing "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss" to a group of 2nd graders from John Muir. The 2nd graders will read aloud Green Eggs and Ham for our kindergartners. It's a big deal for the 2nd graders - reading in front of the camera for our kindergartners. They've been practicing all week.

Another group of kindergartners are excited to try the Dr. Seuss iPad book apps from Oceanhouse Media. We've had a lot of fun with the 1st and 2nd graders reading these, and it's time for the kindergartners to try them out. We will start by having them reading Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection - which features classics such as Cat in the Hat, Mr. Brown Can Moo, and Fox in Sox.

iPad book app from Oceanhouse Media

This is a great collection to try - each book can either work as the interactive "Read to Me", where the story is narrated as children swipe pages, or in the autoplay format for younger children. Kids I've watched particularly like being able to tap images and have the words zoom up at them. The Oceanhouse Media apps are an excellent way to have fun reading while developing essential early literacy skills such as rhyming, word association and letter sounds.

To celebrate the release of the movie and als

1 Comments on Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Celebrating with our students!, last added: 3/2/2012
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14. 10 Hungry Rabbits: a delightful treat by Anita Lobel (ages 2 - 6

Spring is truly coming and we have been having fun with a delightful new book by Anita Lobel: 10 Hungry Rabbits. This counting and color book offers a chance for young children to practice counting and color names with a sweet, comforting story.

10 Hungry Rabbits
by Anita Lobel
NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
ages 2 - 6
available from your local library, favorite bookstore or on Amazon
preview available on Google Books
Mama Rabbit has nothing to feed her ten hungry babies, so Papa sends them out to the garden. "You are sure to find good things for Mama's soup pot there," he tells them. Sure enough, the little rabbits find all sorts of treasures in the garden:
  • one big purple cabbage
  • two white onions
  • three yellow peppers
Each page show a large, soft illustration of the vegetables, and then smaller detailed scenes of the rabbits in the garden. Children will notice many layers of details - from the rabbit's clothes matching the color of the item they find, to the textures of the foods. The pink potatoes are full of dimples and eyes, and the orange carrots look like they've just been pulled out of the ground.

This simple counting book may seem brief at first glance, but the repetition and rhythm of the story are so important for young children to experience. As K.T. Horning writes in her Horn Book review,
"This concept book has an original story line, engaging characters, rich language, and a predictable visual and narrative pattern, and the concepts themselves are reinforced in multiple ways in words and pictures, some subtle and some obvious. Best of all, it's the sort of picture book you can read aloud just for the fun it, even if you don't care about teaching numbers or colors."
The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Alfred A. Knopf and Random House. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


1 Comments on 10 Hungry Rabbits: a delightful treat by Anita Lobel (ages 2 - 6, last added: 4/5/2012
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15. Life in the Ocean: The story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle (ages 6 - 10)

The ocean has always fascinated me - listening to the sound of the ocean waves, exploring the crevices of tide pools, and learning about all the different animals that call the ocean home. So it was quite natural that I was drawn to Claire Nivola's newest book, Life in the Ocean: The story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle. But, wow, this book is just beautiful. It's a picture book biography that will draw in a wide range of children. It captures the story of a woman who pursued her passion for exploring the ocean, but also coveys the importance of taking care of our vast oceans.

Life in the Ocean:
The story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle
by Claire Nivola
NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012
ages 6 - 10
available at your local library, my favorite bookstore or on Amazon
Sylvia Earle was drawn to the ocean when she moved to the Florida coast at the age of twelve, but she had always been fascinated by exploring and observing plants and animals all around her. The clear, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico invited her to explore the fascinating life that filled the underwater world. Sylvia started exploring the world's ocean and soon realized that she wanted to keep diving deeper and seeing more.
Nivola has written a picture book biography that conveys Earle's amazement at the wonders of ocean life and her passion for sharing it with others. I was particularly struck by Earle's encounters with humpback whales:
"Take the humpback whale, forty feet long and weighing 80,000 pounds, who, on the first day of a three-month whale study, swam straight at her (Sylvia), like a freight train bearing down on a mouse. Moments before the collision, the whale swerved gracefully, tilting her great head to look into Sylvia's eyes with her own 'grapefruit-size' eyes as she slid past inches away at high speed."
Earle describes these giants, saying, "Whales are like swallows ... like otters ... They move in any direction... They are sleek and elegant and gorgeous." Nivola effectively weaves in Earle's own observations from journals and notebooks. While this biography does not go through Earle's life in a chronological fashion, it captures her passion and mission in life perfectly.

2 Comments on Life in the Ocean: The story of oceanographer Sylvia Earle (ages 6 - 10), last added: 5/23/2012
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16. Slither Slide, What’s Outside? by Nora Hilb, and Simon & Sheryl Shapiro

Dart into the drizzle, Cool down summer heat. Slip out of the spray with wet hands and feet. FRESH! ………. 5 Stars  In this charming book for preschoolers, vibrant photographs combine with delightful illustrations and bouncy, fun-to-read rhymes that will inspire children to use their imagination to transform into play what they see in the [...]

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17. Red, White and Boom! by Lee Wardlaw (ages 3-8): celebrating Independence Day!

Are you still basking in the glow of Fourth of July? My children love our local Independence Day traditions - a neighborhood parade, patriotic songs and a ringing of the liberty bell. Every year, we wonder if we'll stay up late to watch the fireworks. If you're looking for a book that celebrates this holiday, find a copy of Lee Wardlaw's newest book, Red White and Boom! It will bring back your children's memories of this holiday and show them how other families celebrate, too.

Red, White and Boom!
by Lee Wardlaw
illustrated by Huy Voun Lee
NY: Henry Holt / Macmillan, 2012
ages 3 - 8
available at your local library and on Amazon
Wardlaw and Lee capture the joy, excitement and pure fun of Fourth of July celebrations across the country in this bold, eye-catching picture book. Wardlaw, the author of the award-winning Won Ton Cat, writes short, focused rhyming pairs that bring readers right into the celebration with their many sensory details.
"Flags unfurl/batons twirl...
Corncob sweet/Drippy treat...
Rockets wing/Crackle, sing
Burst and zoom/Red, white, boom!"
Lee's papercut artwork brings readers right into the celebrations. Families watch a parade marching through their city, with children leading off the parade carrying a large balloon of an American eagle. Throughout, children and families of many colors and ethnic backgrounds celebrate together.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Some families love going to the beach every summer for their Fourth of July celebrations. Families and friends have fun together, enjoying a picnic, throwing frisbees and playing in the water.

Finally, a crowd gathers in a local park that evening to enjoy the fireworks. Throughout this book, you get a child's sense of the fun and excitement of the celebrations. Lee's colorful papercut illustrations emphasize the sense of communities coming together to celebrate. She varies the perspectives, drawing up close so you can see the watermelon dripping and zoo

1 Comments on Red, White and Boom! by Lee Wardlaw (ages 3-8): celebrating Independence Day!, last added: 7/8/2012
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18. Emily's First 100 Days of School, by Rosemary Wells (ages 4-7)

September is a month of changes. Children have grown over the summer, learned new skills and made new friends. Now they are meeting new teachers, learning new routines and getting ready for the new challenges ahead. It’s a perfect time to share a favorite author,  Rosemary Wells, who has written more than 150 books for youngsters and captures the world of young children in the midst of these big changes, starting school and making friends.

Emily’s First 100 Days of School
by Rosemary Wells
NY: Disney Hyperion, 2000
ages 4–7
available from your local library and on Amazon
This is one of my favorite books to share at this time of year. Emily is an eager, enthusiastic bunny.
“On the first day of school, leave my mama’s arms. I am too excited to cry. I have my own desk and my own notebook and my own teacher, Miss Cribbage.”
Miss Cribbage tells her new students they will “make a new number friend” every day for the next hundred days, at the end of which they will have a big party.

Rosemary Wells shows different aspects of Emily’s life in school and at home, introducing one number at a time, expanding this beyond a simple counting book. Young listeners will relate to Emily’s excitement picking a dozen roses for her mother, reading 17 words in a story and collecting 25 beetles from the school garden. Soon, Emily writes a letter to her parents celebrating the 100th day of school and all the things she has learned, sealed with 100 kisses.

Check out this sweet book trailer for Emily's First 100 Days of School:


Emily's First 100 Days of School from Rosemary Wells on Vimeo.

This is the perfect book for starting the new school year, celebrating the joy in discovering new strengths and wonders.

For more of favorite Rosemary Wells picture books, check out my monthly bookshelf column over at Parents Press.

The review copy came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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19. Holiday books to share with your children (ages 2 - 8)

Do you have any special holiday books that you read every year? Here are some of my favorites from this year. Some honor the spirit of giving, while others tell traditional religious stories from a child’s perspective. All celebrate the warmth, love and togetherness we feel during this time of year.

Who Built the Stable? A Nativity Poemby Ashley Bryan
Simon & Schuster / Atheneum, 2012
ages 4 – 8
Amazon or your local library
Award-winning artist Bryan combines colorful, vibrant illustrations in strong, bold strokes with a touching poem about the Nativity story from a child’s point of view. The rhyming text follows a young shepherd who builds a stable for his animals and then invites Mary and Joseph to stay on this fateful night.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mamaby Selina Alko
Random House / Knopf, 2012
ages 4 - 8
Google preview
Amazon or your local library
Many families will relate to the way Sadie’s family blends different holiday traditions. They scatter Hanukkah gelt underneath the Christmas tree and hang candy canes from the menorah on the mantelpiece, focusing on the joy of spending time together.

The Christmas Quiet Bookby Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Renata Liwska
Houghton Mifflin, 2012
ages 2 - 6
Google preview
Amazon or your local library
San Francisco author Underwood teams again with Liwska to celebrate quiet, small moments, focusing on the many emotions that come with the holidays. “Reading by the fire quiet” and “listening for sleigh bells quiet” will bring readers back to those special moments we remember year-round. Here is a lovely preview of The Christmas Quiet Book from Google Books.



For more holiday books to share, head over to my article in this month's Parents Press. The review copy of Who Built the Stable came from our home library. Random House kindly sent a review copy of Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. Houghton Mifflin kindly sent a review copy of The Christmas Quiet Book. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 Comments on Holiday books to share with your children (ages 2 - 8), last added: 12/10/2012
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20. 2012 Cybils Book Apps Finalists - a fantastic group of apps to explore!

I am so excited to announce the finalists for the 2012 Cybils Book Apps Award. The Cybils Award recognizes books for children and young adults that combine both excellent literary quality and high kid appeal. I am honored to serve as the category organizer for the Book Apps category.

Here are this year's finalists for the 2012 Cybils Book Apps Award! Here is our full list of finalists, with links to the apps. This week I will share more about each of these apps. For a full description today, head over to the Cybils website.


Bats! Furry Fliers of the Night
written by Mary Kay Carson
developed by Bookerella and StoryWorldwide, 2012
nominated by Cathy Potter

Dragon Brush
created by John Solimine and Andy Hullinger
developed by Small Planet Digital
nominated by Aurora Celeste

Rounds: Franklin Frog
written by Emma Tranter
illustrated by Barry Tranter
developed by Nosy Crow
nominated by Danielle Smith

The Voyage of Ulysses
based on the epic by Homer
developed by Elastic Srl
nominated by Viktor Sjöberg

Where Do Balloons Go? An Uplifting Story
written by Jamie Lee Curtis
illustrated by Laura Cornell
developed by Auryn, Inc.
nominated by Teresa Garcia

Our fantastic team of judges debated long and thoughtfully to come up with this list of finalists. We evaluated over 80 book apps, ranging from picture books for the very youngest readers to nonfiction apps developed for young adults. We sought to highlight the full range of apps that are being produced, recognizing those that integrate text, illustrations, narration, animation and interactive features to produce an engaging reading experience.

I want to thank all of the round one Book App judges: Cathy Potter, Paula Willey, Carisa Kluver and Lalitha Nataraj. They all contributed so much, bringing different perspectives and experiences to our deliberations. I am so grateful for their time and thoughtful conversations about these apps. I am also so very grateful to the whole Cybils team for their support and exploration of this new way of sharing books with children. I hope you all enjoy these book apps with your children!

Head over to the Cybils website to learn more about these five fantastic book apps for children. This week, I will share more about each one of them. Over the next six weeks, the fabulous round two judges will select one winner from these apps - to be announced on February 14th.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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21. Librarians Gone Wild! Celebrating the best books of the year: Newbery, Caldecott and more

Today was a certainly a day for Librarians Gone Wild! Across the nation, librarians gathered to watch the live announcements of the Newbery, Caldecott, Corretta Scott King Awards and more. Their were shouts of joy as favorites were honored, and sighs as others were not selected. But it is a happy day for all, as our profession celebrates the most distinguished and outstanding books for children.

I'll do a quick roundup today, and feature these outstanding books over the next several weeks.

Caldecott Award
As our Emerson 2nd graders know, this award honors the illustrator of the most distinguished American picture book. One book receives the gold medal, and today four books also received the silver honor awards.

This Is Not My Hat
illustrated and written by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press, 2012
2013 Caldecott Medal winner
available at your local library and on Amazon
This darkly humorous tale will take kids by surprise as they wonder about the little fish who steals the enormous fish's hat and thinks he can get away with it. I can't wait to have kids act out this book, telling it from different points of view.

Five Caldecott Honor Books also were named. I am so happy that such a wide range of books have been honored. Some, like Creepy Carrots, amp up the fun, while others, like Green, mesmerize you with their beauty.

Creepy Carrots! 
illustrated by Peter Brown
written by Aaron Reynolds
Simon & Schuster, 2012
2013 Caldecott honor award
my review
available at your local library and on Amazon

Extra Yarn
illustrated by Jon Klassen
written by Mac Barnett
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2012
2013 Caldecott honor award
our Mock Caldecott discussion
available at your local library and on Amazon


Green
illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Neal Porter Books / Roaring Brook Press, 2012
2013 Caldecott honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon


One Cool Friend
illustrated by David Small
written by Toni Buzzeo
Dial Books / Penguin, 2012
2013 Caldecott honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon


Sleep Like a Tiger
illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski
written by Mary Logue
Houghton Mifflin, 2012
2013 Caldecott honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

This award honors the writer of the most distinguished American book for children. It can be a picture book, but much more often it is a full length book. It can be either fiction or nonfiction, although most commonly it's fiction. One book receives the gold medal, and today three books also received the silver honor awards.

The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate
HarperCollins, 2012
my review
2013 Newbery Medal winner
available at your local library or on Amazon
I have been giving The One and Only Ivan to kids all summer and fall - as birthday presents, pressing into their hands in the library, carrying it to classrooms as soon as it's returned. This is a book that will touch your heart, make you think deeply about the way we treat animals. Even more than that, it will lead to conversations about friendship, humanity and respect. What a joy that this wonderful book received the Newbery Medal.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named. They also show us the splendid range of children's books. I adored each and every one, from the enchanting historical fantasy of Spendors and Glooms to the fast-paced nonfiction of Bomb, to the mystery that kept me laughing of Three Times Lucky.

Splendors and Glooms
by Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press, 2012
2013 Newbery honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
Steve Sheinkin
Flash Point / Roaring Brook Press, 2012
2013 Newbery honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon


Three Times Lucky
by Sheila Turnage
Dial Books / Penguin, 2012
2013 Newbery honor award
available at your local library and on Amazon

I know I'm not able to say much about these books right now, but if you're willing to take a gamble, try one of them out. Each one of them is truly outstanding. That doesn't mean it will work for every kid, but rather that for the right audience they are exceptionally compelling, engrossing and memorable.
Well, I'm off to bed to rest after a wonderful weekend full of "Librarians Gone Wild". I feel truly lucky to be able to connect with amazing authors, inspiring professionals and enthusiastic publishers. But most of all, I feel incredibly lucky to be able to share these books with children, thinking of just the right book for each different kid.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

3 Comments on Librarians Gone Wild! Celebrating the best books of the year: Newbery, Caldecott and more, last added: 1/30/2013
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22. Summer books for preschoolers (ages 2 - 5)

It's the middle of summer and I would love to share a few books that are perfect for preschoolers in this reprint from 2009. Here are two fun books to share with your little ones about all those fun summer activities. Both are available at many local libraries.

Beach Day
by Karen Roosa
illustrated by Maggie Smith
NY: Clarion Books, 2001
ages 3 - 5
available at your local library, favorite bookstore, or on Amazon
This is a perfect summer book for preschoolers, as happy families rush onto the beach to play, picnic and have fun. The poetry is gentle and short, full of wonderful rhythm and rhymes. I particularly liked how the poetry was accessible to young listeners, giving them the sense of poetry but in a way that reminded them of things they love. Here are the opening lines as the family arrives at the beach:
"Waves roar,
Rush, and soar!
Rolling, crashing to the shore."
Beach Day is Karen Roosa's first book. You can read a fun interview with her at James Preller's blog. The illustrations in Beach Day draw you in, reminding you of all the things you love about the beach. My five-year old especially loved the illustrations - I think she liked all the children and families, the action and fun in the paintings, and the rich colors of the scenes. I was happy to note the wide range of ethnic backgrounds of families at the beach. One note from this California girl, this beach definitely is an East Coast beach - no fog or chilly winds here! Full sun and gentle waves at this beach, for a perfect family outing.

If your summer has more swimming pools than beaches and hikes, you should look for Sergio Makes a Splash, by Edel Rodriguez. Sergio is a young penguin. He loves water, fish, and all things that penguins like - except he's just not so sure about swimming. The ocean looks so big. But today is the day for the class field trip for all the penguins to learn how to swim. Sergio puts on his floaties (four!), life preserver and goggl

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23. Sea Monster's First Day by Kate Messner (ages 3 - 6)

Across the U.S., kids are heading back to school. Some are excited to see their friends, others are nervous about a new school or new teachers. We have a great time sharing "back to school" books with our students and bonding over shared experiences. Here's a great new book to share with your little ones heading off to school: Sea Monster's First Day, by Kate Messner.

Sea Monster's First Day
by Kate Messner
illustrated by Andy Rash
CA: Chronicle Books, 2011
ages 3 - 6
available from your local library and my favorite bookstore
Even big guys can have a rough time starting school, as Ernest the sea monster shows us. Starting school and learning how everything works is a tough job: there’s so much to learn and do, and something always seems to go wrong. “It felt like everybody was already part of a group.”

But Ernest has a positive attitude and keeps trying to make friends. “Finally, at lunch, I spotted some fish that looked a little like me. I decided it was worth a try. We hit it off right away.” This has such a happy ending, just the way you'd hope - but in a very earnest way (yes, the pun is intended!).

Kids will love the bright, goofy illustrations of Ernest and the other fish, with their big goggly eyes and funny expressions. Messner achieves a balance between acknowledging that the first day of school isn’t easy, and sharing the message that a positive attitude goes a long way. She accomplishes this through gentle humor in this upbeat story about making friends.

I think this story will work perfectly for preschoolers and kindergarteners heading to a new school for the first time. I'm sure it will bring some laughs and reassurances along the way.

A great resource for Back to School books is the list put together by John Schumacher (@MrSchuReads) and Alyson Beecher (@alybee930) on their wiki. It includes some of my favorite books, including Sea Monster's First Day. Definitely check it out.

The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Chronicle Books. The links above are to Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore, my local bookstore that has just launched an online website (hooray!).

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

2 Comments on Sea Monster's First Day by Kate Messner (ages 3 - 6), last added: 8/23/2011
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24. Celebrating the beginning of school! More books to share (ages 3 - 7)

I'm excited as can be for the start of the new school year. Here at Emerson, it's so much fun to see returning students who've grown over the summer. Some are feeling a little shy as they start the new year, wondering what it has in store, who will be their friends, what their teacher will be like. Others are excited to tell me about the books they've loved reading over the summer or seeing old favorites. Here are two books I'm excited to share with teachers and parents as they celebrate the beginning of school.

Eddie Gets Ready for School
by David Milgrim
NY: Scholastic, 2011
ages 3 - 7available at your local library and my favorite bookstore
Eddie is super-excited to get ready for school and he's zooming around his house. David Milgrim captures the energy and enthusiasm of this little boy perfectly. Using a checklist that's engaging and accessible, Milgrim creates a book that's perfect for preschoolers and for 1st/2nd graders learning to read. Eddie starts off right:
"A checklist for getting ready all by myself!
Wake up
Have a healthy breakfast
Feed Mr. Chips"
But soon he's watching cartoons, drinking root beer, and then smiling as his mom stands with hands on her hips. Kids will enjoy the humor in the illustrations and Eddie's shenanigans. We'll definitely be sharing this with our Emerson kids, especially as they learn to write their own "how to" lists in 2nd grade!
Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes
story by Eric Litwin
art by James Dean
NY: HarperCollins, 2011
ages 3 - 7
available at your local library and my favorite bookstore
Pete the Cat is one stylish dude. He's definitely ready for school and has a song to go along with the new year. I love listening to his song on this free download. Once I listened to the song, each time I read the story I heard it in my head - the rhythm and tune is perfect for kids to sing along.
"I'm rocking in my school shoes,
I'm rocking in my school shoes,
I'm rocking in my school shoes."
He visits the library and is reading in his school shoes. In the lunchroom, Pete knows it can be loud and busy. "Does Pete worry? Goodness, no!" He just sings his song, "I'm eating in my school shoes, I'm eating in my school shoes, I'm eating in my school shoes." Our kindergarten and 1st grade classes are going to love how Pete goes through the routine of school, visiting each part from the classroom to the playground to bus ride home.

Head over to Mr. Schu's Watch. Connect. Read. to view the fun booktrailer and listen to the song on YouTube if you'd like. Once I did, I knew this was perfect for our school!

I bought both of these books from my favorite local bookstore,
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25. Road Work Ahead, by Anastasia Suen and Jannie Ho (ages 2 - 6)


I love playing with books, and encouraging children to bring books into their imaginative world. Close your eyes and imagine you're driving to grandma's house. You can just imagine sitting in your car, watching all the buildings and cars pass out your window. What's that you see? A big construction site? Jackhammers hammering? Our ride just got much more fun! I've had a great time sharing Road Work Ahead, and helping kids play with the story. Here's a bit about this story, and a fun art project we did with kindergarteners.
Road Work Ahead
by Anastasia Suen
illustrated by Jannie Ho
NY: Viking / Penguin, 2011
ages 2 - 6
available at your local library and my favorite bookstore
Driving to Grandma's house, a young boy and his mom watch all sorts of road work - jackhammers cracking, workers trimming trees, men putting up tall telephone poles. This picture book for young readers will make you smile, with its cheerful illustrations and fun rhythm and rhyming. The simple rhymes are perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners:
“Road work ahead.
Move over. Go slow.
Jackhammers crack.
Look at them go."
Children love drawing and making their imaginations come alive with their art work. After reading this story with our kindergartners today, we took some time to draw our favorite cars and construction vehicles. The kids loved this chance to draw.

After they drew their pictures, they cut out the vehicles and had a great time playing with their cars. It reminded me of the hours and hours my brothers spent playing with their Hot Wheels. The kids had even more fun, getting to draw and create their very own vehicles first.

For more information about this fun book, check out other stops on the Road Work Ahead blog tour:

Monday 9/19
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