JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans. Join now (it's free).
Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: start, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 37
How to use this Page
You are viewing the most recent posts tagged with the words: start in the JacketFlap blog reader. What is a tag? Think of a tag as a keyword or category label. Tags can both help you find posts on JacketFlap.com as well as provide an easy way for you to "remember" and classify posts for later recall. Try adding a tag yourself by clicking "Add a tag" below a post's header. Scroll down through the list of Recent Posts in the left column and click on a post title that sounds interesting. You can view all posts from a specific blog by clicking the Blog name in the right column, or you can click a 'More Posts from this Blog' link in any individual post.
Hooray for The Master List! There is nothing like getting all your thoughts on paper…. and yes, I said paper! Sitting right in front of me where I can doodle on it, cross it off, highlight it etc. I have tried the electronic list making but nothing quite satisfies this artist.
All my ideas are added to my The Master List.For a creative person, this list is quite freeing! I can stop trying to shuffle all of this around in my head. Yes, these items and more have been yelling at me from my head! ha! Everything was fighting for recognition… saying things like, “Me first!”, “NO! Me first!”
Now I can decide who is first! Does this sound a little scary to you? Leslie is hearing things? I assure you, this is the world of many of us who are visual thinkers! The world speaks to us! Being the cartoonist that I am, I can actually imagine people as cartoons. Many of my Facebook friends can attest to that fact. It’s quite fun!
Okay, Now to the next step. Working at crossing off all these things on the list! I will keep you posted.
What is a square? A square is a shape with four equal sides and four right angles. But what happens when a square is forced to break out of its boxy, confining shape? Though it starts out as a perfect square it can transform into something else entirely, something perfectly amazing.
"It was a perfect square. It had four matching corners and four equal sides. And it was perfectly happy."
One square. Unlimited possibilities. One bright red square starts out perfectly happy. But then something happens. On Monday, the square gets cut up and punched with holes. Though no longer a perfect square, it transforms into something just as wonderful...a babbling, giggling, clapping fountain. On Tuesday, the square (now yellow), gets torn into pieces and turns into a garden. Each day of the week something different and extraordinary happens to the square. All the square's colorful adventures cleverly tie together into a perfect and inspiring story.
Colors, shapes, days of the week, but with a sophisticated theme that appeals to all ages, I can honestly say that this is one of the best books out this spring. With every page turn my kids wanted to know what was next for the ever changing square. And, inspired by the story, they wanted to have a try at transforming their own square. The book screams for an art project. I love how the story sort of comes around full circle, or rather, in this case, full square with a twist. The "rise to the occasion when forced to break out of your mold" message is probably, for the most part, lost on the youngest crowd but if you know a recent graduate, Hall's book with an adventurous, out of the box message, would make a thoughtful gift for all those ready to embark on a new path in life.
❖ ❖ ❖ ❖ Story + Art Craft: Transformed Square Art Project ❖ ❖ ❖ ❖
I love projects that allow my children to think for themselves and create something new. Hall's book provides the perfect art challenge. What can you make out of a perfect square? I provided both kids with a square in the color of their choice, cut to the same size as the square in the book. They set to the task, cutting up their perfect squares with scissors and pasting the pieces together to make something different.
Here are the results. My son originally wanted to make a lamp but in the end decided the pieces made a better lighthouse (all his own ideas, I might add)! My daughter wishes she could add her hat to the book. Maybe her hat could land on the head of someone standing by the fountain?
I always glance at the copyright page when reading a book -- you know, the part that contains all information like the Library of Congress Cataloging Data, edition and publication date. That part usually is not all that thrilling, but sometimes, SOMETIMES when the author feels particularly creative, the page will contain special little hidden messages. Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld is a perfect example. Here's the illustration description on the copyright page:
"The illustrations are rendered in ink, pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor. The water part of the watercolor was collected in a bucket during a rainstorm, so this book is partially made of clouds. Thank you, clouds."
A cloud book made partially of clouds? A must read!
"Cloudette was a cloud. A very small cloud. Usually, Cloudette didn't mind being smaller than the average cloud. In fact, being small had lots of advantages."
Though Cloudette is content with her small size, she still wishes she could do "big and important" things like the other clouds -- cloud things like watering crops and making rivers flow. She is so small that she fits comfortably in the crook of the crescent-shaped moon and she's especially good at hide and seek, but what she wants most of all is to be able to help out in a big way. She finds out she just needs a little push!
It seems Cloudette isn't the only one that can productively brainstorm and create perfection and happiness. Clever books seem to pour of out Lichtenheld's mind, and we love eachone. His books entertain both adult and child alike with witty dialog that accompanies the text, thoughtful word play and neatly drawn illustrations packed with tiny, often humorous details. After the first read, we went back just to make sure we didn't miss anything, like the cow perched on the moon or the "higher-up" that uses alliteration.
Lichtenheld's book got its start in a little way, kind of like Cloudette, with just two little scraps of paper. Cloudette provides a great example for kids and shows how something small can produce big results with the appropriate impetus.
P.S. Don't miss the UPC Code on the back and the rocket reference on the copyright page...the book is full of little surprises (Cloudette included)!
I'm late to the ballgame with this one, my friends (or yellow dot game, in this case). Press Here has been on my list to review since its release this spring. In fact, I donated money to our public library so that they could purchase a copy. We like the book that much. Now, pressing on to the review...
Starting with a yellow dot and some basic instructions, Hervé Tullet immediately pulls readers into his "interactive" book, giving them the illusion that they have control over what happens. Kids love to think they have power and control -- every parent knows that. Press the yellow dot, make something new happen. With every direction, every page turn, the book seems to respond to touch, clapping, shaking. It's just a book, just paper pages, no electronics, yet it engages and entertains in the same way as the most technologically advanced gadget. So simple, so delightful, so brilliant. A good read-aloud choice for both one-on-one and groups, believe me, if you want a book kids will excitedly swarm around, this one is it.
Thankfully, Press Here is a sturdily designed book, ready to withstand repeated readings. Not only does this book offer wonderful read-aloud potential, with the minimal text it's also great for beginning readers. The book's creative, innovative design is no accident. Hervé Tullet has design experience as an art director for ad agencies and a magazine illustrator. Press Here was originally published as Un Livre in France, and it seems Hervé Tullet is a very popular children's author there, earning the title of "The Prince of Preschool." I can't wait to locate copies of his books from Phaidon. (They offer translated book versions of a few more Tullet titles.) J'aime!
Bats, typically nocturnal creatures, gather for a 12 hour dance-a-thon, American Batstand style. Starting early at one o'clock, they start with the shug, moving through various other dances like the twist, hootchi-coo and hokeypokey as the clock strikes hour after hour all the way to midnight. Click Dark hosts the rockin' dance event and a special bat in blue suede shoes makes a late night appearance. Little mice hold up analog clock images at each hour, making the book especially fun for kids that are learning to tell time.
This is the third book in Applet's bat math book series that includes Bat Jamboree (counting) and Bats on Parade (multiplication). The rollicking verses rhyme, and Sweet's humorous watercolor illustrations add a fun twist to the story with images like a "Gotham Electronics" store and bats lined up in the street doing the locomotion.
A couple weeks back we attended the Sheboygan Childrens Book Festival. We bought several books while there including Bats Around the Clock by Kathi Applet. While we didn't have a chance to attend any of her presentations (you can only do so much with two little kids in tow), we did get a chance to meet her at the book signing. She is the author of many books, both picture books and those for older readers including The Underneath, a 2009 Newberry Honor book.
❖❖❖❖❖❖ stArt Craft - Accordion Wing Paper Bats ❖❖❖❖❖❖
Last year Filth Wizardry posted some awesome Toilet roll bats with accordion folded wings. I really didn't want to get out the black paint this week so we modified the craft by drawing and cutting a paper body out of black cardstock instead of using the toilet rolls. The kids added google eyes and decorated the bats with
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
The Christmas season comes to customary end on January 6th with the celebration of Epiphany or Three Kings Day. Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Jesus and the visit of the Magi (Wise Men). They traveled to Bethlehem to worship Jesus after viewing the star, a shining light that revealed Jesus' birth (Matthew 2:1-12).
In telling the Christmas story, many children's books show three wise men visiting the stable shortly after Jesus' birth. Interestingly enough, the Biblical passages are rather vague and never specifically state the actual number of wise men or their date of arrival. The verses only tell that the Magi brought three gifts to Jesus: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The stable also is not mentioned. They entered the "house" and saw the child with his mother.
Are there any children's books that show the Magi visiting Jesus at a house and not a stable? Or with a different number of wise men? Bookie Woogie recently reviewed The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats, a book that, according to them, shows more than three wise men. As for a house instead of a stable, I'm not sure, so I'll have to refer to my readers for further book suggestions.
This Christmas my family discovered a newly published Christmas picture book by Lauren Castillo. In Christmas is Here, the wise men do not make an appearance at the stable. I want to make mention of it now because I think the book deserves a lot more attention that it received over the holidays. It is a book worth owning if you celebrate Christmas and makes a splendid read-aloud on Christmas Eve, especially if you already read the story from the Bible.
What makes Christmas is Here truly special is that Castillo merges past with present. She tells the Christmas story starting in the present time with a family that goes to see a live Nativity. As the little child in the story peers over the crib and looks down on baby Jesus the focus changes and the following pages powerfully depict the Biblical text taken directly from the King James Bible about the shepherds and angels and the birth of Jesus, the passages of Luke 2:8-14. In the end, as the text tells of the armies of heaven praising God, Castillo takes readers back to the present day with a gorgeous illustration showing the family and others gathered around the live Nativity as they join in the chorus of praise.
Next time I'm sick I sure hope that a menagerie from the local zoo won't come knocking at my door. The last thing I want in bed with me is a tortoise, and I seriously doubt an elephant would fit in my bedroom. The thing is though, this whole scenario makes for a delightful picture book. Heard of A Sick Day for Amos McGee? Well, you should have, considering it was just chosen this week as the 2011 Caldecott Medal winner.
The humble Amos McGee lives in a simple, muted world and provides a welcoming contrast to the vibrant, glossy, eye-catching pages and bold characters so popular in today's children's literature. Amos, a faithful, elderly zookeeper, lovingly cares for his zoo animal friends day after day. He knows each and every animal personally, provides encouragement and helps them all with their problems. Then, one day, Amos spends a sick day at home. The elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros and owl immediately notice his absence and board the bus to cheer up their faithful friend. The book is illustrated by Erin E. Stead and written by her husband, Philip C. Stead.
It's such a lovely story -- so very heartwarming with a quiet humor. You can't help but smile while reading about Amos and his friends. And the illustrations are full of so many little details that, at first, we didn't even notice the little bird that tags along. And, do we ever adore the red and blue sock-footed, shy penguin and his bright red balloon! Erin Stead uses an interesting woodblock printing process for making her pictures. Even Amos' pajama stripes are lovingly printed in this manner. After she prints the shapes she draws in extra details with a pencil.
Really, I could go on and on about the illustrations, but for me, what really makes this book a winner is the main character, Amos. It's not always easy to find books for children that show elderly individuals in a positive light. Even though my daughter loves her great-grandparents and sees them often, she is still a little cautious and wary when around the elderly. Partly, I blame books and TV. Those mean, scary witches almost always are depicted as elderly, humped over women. But, here we have an amiable and tender man, Amos, who loves animals and wears bunny slippers. I've never seen a more lovable, elderly character in my life.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee deserves all the attention it has recently garnered. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, please do. You won't regret it.
If Mary Poppins measured author Kevin Henkes, her ruler would likely say "practically perfect children's author in every way." Time after time again, Henkes releases wonderful, thought-provoking books for kids. His latest string of picture books speak of gentle, seasonal days outdoors, with beautiful illustrations set in square or circular borders alternating with full page bleeds. First there was Old Bear, the story of hibernating bear that has vivid dreams and awakens to a gorgeous spring day. Then, last year came My Garden, a magical book about all the things a little girl would love to plant in her garden. Just last week, he released another lush, imaginative springtime book, Little White Rabbit.
Hippity-hoppity! An inquisitive little white rabbit hops around the forest one gorgeous spring day and wonders about all sorts of things. What would it be like to be green, or tall, or not be able to move at all? The rabbit imagines all sorts of scenarios until he hops past a cat. Scared, he heads straight home. Back safe and sound, he knows there's one thing he never has to wonder about. LOVE! ♥ He knows without question that he is loved!
With so many books about bunnies already in print, it's hard to believe that Henkes' new book could stand out. But it does. His simple story stirs the imagination, and the adorable little bunny practically bounces off the page with a fluffy cuteness kids will adore. The colorful springtime illustrations of flowers, green grass, lush trees and colorful butterflies exude happiness and help melt away the winter blues. I wonder if it is a coincidence that Henkes chose to illustrate his rabbit under a green Willow tree for the cover picture? A tribute to his publisher, perhaps?
The text along with the vivid illustrations provide food for thought and help facilitate discussion. What do you wonder about? My daughter said she wonders what it would be like to be a cat. She also loves when the rabbit "wondered what it would be like to flutter through the air" and thinks it would be fun to fly with the butterflies like the rabbit. The book is short enough to keep a toddler's attention and beginning readers will find plenty to love about the story, too, including a repetitive, easy to read text.
Little White Rabbit is such a sweet story for both kids and parents. The image of parent and little bunny touching noses is so very heartwarming, it makes me want to give both my kids a great big hug and let them know how much they are loved as well! (Note to Easter Bunny - This book belongs in all Easter bas
At church, before communion, we often sing The Agnus Dei. "Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us." I often wonder what my kids are thinking when they hear the verses of the Agnus Dei. During Lent many of us teach our children that Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. The imagery of Jesus as the Lamb of God is a natural extension of this teaching and the symbolism is worth discussing during the Lenten season with your kids.
John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb of God: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29 NIV)
God offered up the perfect sacrifice, his Son, the “Sacrificial Lamb." Through Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection, we can have eternal life if we believe in Him. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." (1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV)
When we sing about the Lamb of God, we remember Christ's death on the cross and the sacrifice, and we praise God and offer our thanks and devotion to the Lamb, our Redeemer. "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12 NIV)
Lamb of God Crayon Resist Lenten Craft
In art, the Agnus Dei symbol is often depicted as a lamb bearing a cross or banner. We made our own Agnus Dei artwork today for our stArt project. Starting with a white piece of paper, we cut out the lamb's body in a cloud shape.
While the kids were busy cutting out a head and legs out of black paper, I took a white crayon and wrote "Jesus" on each of the white body pieces. I also added some white swirls to look like wool. Using watercolor paint, the kids covered the lamb's body with paint and, through this wax resist artwork, it was revealed to them that Jesus is the "Lamb of God." Our sins are represented by the paint and Jesus, written in white crayon, takes away the sins of the world. I cut out a cross shape out of brown construction paper while the kids painted.
After the paint dried the kids assembled their own Agnus Dei artwork. The artwork indeed reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
They say you should never judge a book by its cover. Maybe so, but kids do anyway and so do adults, especially when it comes to picture books! Three Hens and a Peacock is one of those books that has spectacular and very funny cover art. On the front? -- A dismayed but fabulous looking peacock with three hens sticking their heads through his fan. On the back? -- The posteriors (a.k.a bottoms) of all four characters. Hilarious!
The cover sets the tone perfectly for the book. A peacock arrives on the Tucker family's farm and the once quiet farm becomes a bustling, noisy place. The shrieking, strutting peacock catches the attention of those passing by. Many visitors stop to admire the peacock and purchase produce from the farmer's stand. With ruffled, jealous feathers, the hens complain, "that lazy peacock gets all the attention and we do all the work." Hoping to smooth things over, the farm's wise old hound suggests that the hens switch places with the peacock. The hens get all gussied up in bangles and beads while the peacock tries his hardest to lay an egg and fails miserably. Eventually, they all learn that taking another's place is harder than it looks, and they gain an appreciation for each other's unique talents.
Full of plenty of humor and a subtle lesson in character, Three Hens and a Peacock is a frolicsome farmyard tale. Cole's eye-catching watercolor, ink and colored pencil illustrations play a huge part in advancing the storyline. Even the endpapers serve a purpose. The peacock feathers in the front announce the upcoming arrival of the peacock, and the back endpapers foretell the next surprising events on the farm -- hmm...what kind of animal lays a very big egg?
There are plenty of ways to use the book as a teaching tool. Besides discussing the problems of trying to be someone you're not, I took the opportunity to also discuss with my kids why a peacock with a fancy feather train cannot lay an egg. I opened our DK Encyclopedia of Animals (seriously, every home library should contain at least one animal encyclopedia) and found the page about peacocks. It shows a nice picture of a peahen next to a peacock. We learned that peahens, the female birds, do not have colorful fans. Male birds sport the fancy feathers and use them to attract the females. Thus, the bird pictured in Laminack's book is a male, and male peacocks cannot lay eggs. :) We also learned that a peacock's train can reach up to 5 ft.-3 in. high! Wow, that's only a few inches shorter than Mommy! <
My son's grandparents bought him an Imaginext Space Shuttle for Christmas. Ever since then he has been rocket crazy! He pretends his paper airplanes are rockets. He wanted a rocket cake for his birthday. He followed the Space Shuttle Discovery's last flight and watched the landing live on NASA TV. Someday he wants to fly up to the moon in a rocket. So, when I heard about the newly released board book by Bob Logan called Rocket Town, I just knew that my toddler would love it.
Rocket Town by Bob Logan. Sourcebooks (April 2011); ISBN 9781402241864; 24 pages Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher
Bob Logan, in his new rocket-themed book, welcomes readers to Rocket Town, an unusual community where most residents ride in rockets -- big rockets, small rockets, school bus rockets, ice-cream truck rockets, scooter rockets, and so on. It's a place where, "everyone has a favorite rocket." The area kids carry rocket-shaped balloons and go on rocket carnival rides. One man, dressed in an astronaut suit, seems a little out-of-place in Rocket Town. He drives an old, yellow pick-up truck through town, accompanied by his loyal Beagle dog. They wizz by all sorts of different rockets, finally arriving at "Rocket Ray's Rockets," a rocket sales lot. After a brief search, astronaut man finds a special rocket suited perfectly to his taste and blasts off into space.
Logan's board book belongs in a book galaxy all its own. With enthralling art and simple text it's very appealing to toddlers (especially rocket-crazed toddlers like my own), but due to the complexity of the illustrations and flashy rocket theme, older kids will find themselves drawn into the details. My daughter pointed out that all the baby strollers in the book are rockets, and she loves the "just married" rocket carriage that blows heart shaped exhaust. My son thinks the green "stinky onion" rocket is hilarious. The unique, digitally rendered illustrations are done in retro-pop style. The illustrations also look slightly futuristic with a rockets and space art theme (think Hanna Barbera's Jetsons crossed with the latest in animation technology). Logan primarily works as a story artist for DreamWorks and his animation talent is apparent in the pages of this book.
Now typically I'm not a huge fan of board books because most are versions of picture books formatted in a downsized design to fit babies and toddlers. However, Rocket Town was never released in picture book form and is specifically designed with the toddler/preschool audience in mind. Rocket Town is a counting book (it has an awesome countdown to blast off), and the book also teaches opposites by compa
The upcoming Royal Wedding is getting a lot of media hype right now. For the most part I haven't paid much attention to the details, but I have discussed the event to some extent with my kids. I was about the same age as my daughter when Prince Charles and Princess Diana married. According to my mother, we watched the wedding on TV and followed the news reports. While I don't have any specific memories of watching the wedding as a child, I do know that I loved pretending to be a princess, and I enjoyed and still enjoy reading fairy tales. A couple weeks back I discovered the perfect picture book for a royal wedding themed story + art craft post.
The Princess Gown by Linda Leopold Strauss, illustrated by Malene Reynolds Laugesen. Houghton Mifflin (September 2008); ISBN 9780618862597; 32 pages Book Source: Copy from public library
"So what do you think, my Hanna?" asked Papa as he sewed a pearl to the bodice of the wedding dress. "Will the princess like it?"
Much work goes into designing and sewing a wedding dress, especially a wedding dress fit for a princess. As Princess Annabel's wedding approaches all the tailors in the kingdom design elaborate wedding dresses in hopes of becoming the official Embroiderer to the Princess. A little girl named Hanna excitedly watches as her papa lovingly pieces together a beautiful and elaborate dress. All the members of the Abraham family, including each of the children, put a stitch into the dress. When it's Hanna's turn to stitch she notices a small smudge on the skirt. Shaken, the family frets about how to fix the small flaw. Little Hanna offers a very creative solution involving an embroidered squirrel, but will the princess approve?
This book has all the markings of a lovely, old-fashioned fairy tale, but surprisingly it is partially based on fact. According to a statement on the author's website, "This picture book, with lavish illustrations by Malene Laugesen, got its start in the author’s family history, where in Victorian England, her husband’s great great great grandfather was Embroiderer to the Queen." The Princess Gown is a fascinating read, especially as rumors swirl as to the identity of Kate Middleton's own wedding dress designer. The Victorian styled hoop dresses portrayed in the book are truly exquisite! My daughter studied Laugesen's oil crayon and linseed oil illustrations with intensity. The dresses on the last pages remind me of Tiffany lamps with their intricate, nature inspired designs. I so want one of those owl tree dresses! If there's a princess or fashion lover in your family, I highly recommend this book.
We've been busy planning our garden and started a few seeds indoors this week. We hope once we finally get everything in the garden that the pests stay away. Last year we did have a few bunnies in our yard but they didn't get to our garden. Instead a nasty hailstorm shredded most of our plants. The kids received the book The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter for Easter and it is one of their favorites. I'm not going to summarize it since I'm sure everyone already knows the basic plot of this classic and popular story.
Right around Easter we discovered an amazing Peter Rabbit website. Kids can read all about Beatrix Potter, see her sketches, and learn the inspiration behind the story of Peter Rabbit. There's even online games and several printable coloring sheets.
stART project - Make Your Own Peter Rabbit Puppet Show Online
The Peter Rabbit Puppet Show is a place my kids like to visit online and we are sharing this online activity as our stART project this week. Kids star in a personalized adventure with Peter Rabbit by downloading a picture and answering a few questions. Both my kids enjoyed seeing their picture alongside Peter and listening to the accompanying adventure story. Such fun! I highly recommend this engaging website.
Our seeds have started to sprout! Exciting! If you want to see our art crafts this week, be sure to check out yesterday's Flowers Anyone? Wordless Wednesday post.
Last week a vacant home outside our city caught fire and the kids could see the large amount smoke in the sky and hear the sirens from our house. My daughter noticed the black cloud even before we heard the sirens. Firetrucks, firehouses and firemen always seem to interest kids. I bought my son his own red fire hat at the local dollar store last year and it continues to be his very favorite dress up hat. He likes to push all the noisy buttons on his firetrucks and operate the ladders. He also loves to read books about firetrucks.
"Edward wants to be a firefighter. One day he and Judy visit a firehouse."
Firehouse! by Mark Teague. Orchard Books (May 2010); ISBN 9780439915007; 32 pages (Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher)
My first introduction to Mark Teague was during the summer of 2007. I was in charge of the summer library program at a small public library and he created the exceptional artwork for the "Get a Clue @ Your Library" nationwide programs that year. The artwork featured the Ike LaRue canine character from his LaRue books. That same summer my daughter, just a toddler, also discovered the How Do Dinosaurs... series that Teague illustrated. We've been fans of his illustrations and stories now for a few years, so we jumped at the opportunity to review his latest picture book, Firehouse!
If you've read and enjoyed Teague's Funny Farm, you'll probably also like Firehouse! The tuxedo wearing, blundering Boston Terrier named Edward makes another appearance in Teague's latest story, this time at the firehouse. Edward desperately wants to learn how to be a firefighter. He participates in a fire drill and tries his best to learn the ropes, but ends up being more of a hindrance than help. But when a real emergency arises, he comes to the rescue and saves the day.
My kids enjoyed following along and viewing the illustrations of Edward as he floundered as a firefighter, getting knocked off his feet by water and caught at the top of the ladder. But the part they liked best was when Edward rescued the cute little kitty cat from the tree. The illustrations in the book are top notch, and even though the text is a bit sparse and lacks the NOISY sounds and dynamics we like to see in fire books, the kids still loved the canine
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
Zoom is such a fun word to say. We found two zooming books at the library and wanted to share them with you. The first one is about a zooming car and the second about zooming out and viewing objects from different perspectives.
"Up and up the road he zoomed. At every curve he honked his horn. Toot! Toot! Zoom! Toot! Toot! Zoom!"
Toot Toot Zoom! by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Candlewick Press (April 2009); ISBN 9780763634520; 40 pages (Book Source: Copy from our local library)
A beret wearing fox named Pierre sets off in his little red car on a search for a friend hoping to find one on the other side of the mountain. While driving on the winding mountain road, Pierre invites other animals to hop into his car (Goat, Sheep and Bear) and they all try to aid Pierre in his search for a new friend.
We've recommended this book to numerous people. I love reading this one aloud and usually use a silly French accent. Perfect for toddlers on up, the kids both love repeating the phrase, "Toot! Toot! Zoom!" with me. Root has a wonderful way with words and this book shows she's a master at her craft. Expressive text in bold is found throughout the book with plenty of tooting, zooming and even some CRASHING! Cordell's raw, cartoonish illustrations are a good fit for the book and we smiled at the final illustration of a car/house, the ultimate reuse project. Don't miss this sweet friendship story...it is sure to generate some smiles. (Related link: Candlewick's Read-to-Us! Story-Hour Kit has some cute related printables for this story.)
We stumbled upon this wordless picture book quite by accident. We were curious about the title and certainly didn't expect the amazing, thought provoking illustrations. It is an awesome adventure to browse through the pages and watch as the pictures continuously zoom out and out and out. The book starts with a close up image of a rooster's comb and as you
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
Our Memorial Day weekend was busy with multiple birthday celebrations and lots of outdoor activities including some last minute planting. Today I'm highlighting one of our favorite gardening books and have included images of our corn craft and a picture of our planting efforts this weekend.
When my daughter was a toddler we joined the Children's Book of the Month Club. For us our membership provides a good way to beef up our home library with some classic books and also keeps us up-to-date by letting us know of new releases. While we don't order many books from the book club anymore, we have received some really great titles I probably wouldn't have heard of if not for our membership. The following gardening book is one of those titles. "In the dirt we'll dig a row, drop some seeds, and watch them grow. Dirt piles up; seeds go down. Water splashes around and around."
Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres; illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Candlewick Press (March 2007); ISBN 9780763623784; 32 pages (Book Source: Copy from our home library)
Every spring my kids enjoy helping plant the garden on my grandparent's farm. We grow several different plants in the garden. Week after week we go back and visit the plants and watch them grow. In between the visits we like to read Katherine Ayres' book,Up, Down, and Around. In the book, a little girl and boy help plant seeds in a garden and then watch the plants grow. The rhyming verses describe how plants grow and develop in the garden. Some grow up, others grow down and still others grow around and around. The colorful and humorous illustrations show the kids running around barefoot, while birds get tangled in the vines and bunnies and all kinds insects snack on the plants.
This picture book makes gardening look like a ton of fun and encourages healthy eating by showing that consuming the bountiful harvest is one of the best parts of growing a garden. Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, it gives a lighthearted insight into how plants grow and teaches kids about where their food comes from. The only thing we wonder about is how the characters manage to keep a completely weed free garden. There's not a weed in sight! The book includes the following plants: corn, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, broccoli, beets, green beans, okra, onions and tomatoes.
❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Project - Corn Cob Craft ❖❖❖❖❖❖
The cover of Up, Down, and Around shows a picture of a cornstalk with an ear of corn. I thought my toddler son would have fun crafting his own ear of corn using some popcorn kernels. I cut out the corn cob from a yellow piece of paper and also cut out two green leaves. He glued the leaves and corn onto a blue piece of paper. We squi
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
One of the reasons I like to use twitter is because I can connect with such a wide variety of people, follow their random thoughts and discover new ideas and inspiration. Many children's authors and illustrators are active on twitter. To name a few, you can find Mo Willems @The_Pigeon, Carin Berger @CarinBerger, Shannon Hale @haleshannon, and Neil Gaiman @neilhimself.
A while back, I was browsing my twitter feed and noticed a tweet by author/illustrator Deborah Freedman (@DeborahFreedman). This was the tweet:
DeborahFreedman: April showers bring... May showers. And flowers. PB reading suggestions about gardens: http://bit.ly/anY5eX
I do love books about gardens so I clicked on over and discovered an amazing image of rain and flowers on her "writes with pictures" blog . I showed it to my daughter and she thought it was beautiful that the cloud was raining stars. I knew she'd enjoy trying to recreate the picture, so in between the rain showers this week we made some spray artwork outside for our stART (story + art) project.
❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Spray Bottle Art ❖❖❖❖❖❖
To make the spray paint, I mixed a little water and food coloring together and put it in a spray bottle. We hung a piece of paper on a low clothesline. My daughter squirted her picture with the paint, first using blue for the rain and clouds. Then she turned her paper upside down and added green spray for the grass and flower stems. She hasn't decided yet if she wants to add stars to the painting or flowers, so it's just stems and rain right now. We tried spray painting on a variety of different paper types and found the watercolor paper worked the best and allowed for more vibrant colors. This was a fun activity on a hot summer-like day and later on we even used the clothesline for another purpose -- a tent!
A versatile and yummy vegetable, the little round green pea is a favorite in my home. My kids gobble up peas like candy and like rolling them around on their plates. Now, thanks to author/illustrator Keith Baker, peas have another useful purpose -- they do a pretty decent job teaching the ABCs and LMNO peas. Little green peas of all sorts of different backgrounds and occupations star in this new and creative alphabet book. The peas are astronauts and artists, dancers, hikers, parachutists and even READERS! Each page shows a large letter of the alphabet swamped by tiny peas performing different jobs that start with the same letter. For instance, the peas surrounding letter C are climbers, campers and a clown. The minimal text rhymes, but really the cute, detailed illustrations of all the peas are what makes this alphabet book unique and a worth-while addition to all alphabet book collections. And, to add to the fun, Baker has hidden a tiny ladybug on each page spread.
As far as alphabet books go, this is certainly a winner. I especially like the title name "LMNO peas" because kids often slur those letters together when singing the alphabet. It's nice to be able to point them all out separately right on the front cover and spend a little time going over this part of the alphabet right away before reading the book. Little details like an Elvis pea make this a fun read for adults, too.
I saw a really cute bead and string happy girl doll craft on ArtMind a month ago and thought that the design would make perfect pea people. We made some green beads out of green play dough and let them dry for a few days. Then I began the craft with my kids. Unfortunately I ended up assembling the dolls completely by myself because the small size and skill level required makes the project too hard for young children. Here is a picture of the completed dolls.
I get excited about little things like the librarian previews on Fuse #8 blog, for instance. Last June, as I scrolled through the Fall HarperCollins Preview on Fuse #8, I became even more excited. In the middle of this preview, I noticed a mention of a book called Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten? As many of you know, my daughter is starting kindergarten this fall. Upon first sight, I knew this was a book I wanted for our home collection. I promptly bought a copy and, boy oh boy, is it ever adorable! It's the perfect school themed read for all those little kids that will be attending school for the first time and will amuse even those older, experienced kids that are preparing to go back to school once again.
"Some people say kindergarten is no place for a buffalo. How crazy is that? Does your buffalo have a backpack? Well, then. He's definitely ready for kindergarten!"
A big, backpack wearing buffalo makes his way to kindergarten for the very first time, walking hand-in-hand with his friend, a little girl in pigtails. His teacher looks slightly worried about her newest bovine student, but buffalo eventually wins her over along with his classmates. Even though he is shy at first and looks different from everyone else, he tries to do his very best. No, he doesn't exactly fit in -- he eats the schools flowers, smashes a little chair, gets carried away painting, and regurgitates his food (ew!) -- but he is a good role model otherwise. Buffalo follows all those important rules of kindergarten like caring and sharing and teaches his classmates that "everyone's special in his or her own way."
What I love about this book is the lighthearted tone and the creative text. It's only natural that some kids will be a little anxious on the first day of school, but Vernick cleverly uses a hilarious and big character to help alleviate their fears. Obviously a buffalo could never attend school, yet Vernick makes it seem that it really could happen, especially since the book addresses the reader personally. This out-of-place character grabs your attention and makes his way into your heart.
Jennewein's illustrative style pairs wonderfully with Vernick's story. He uses a black caran d’ache pencil to create a crayon outline look that's perfect for a book about kindergarten. With muted, soft colors and effective use of white space, the layout of the book is crisp and clean. And, I adore how the comical characters make you smile. I mean, just look at that buffalo -- isn't he the cutest, cuddliest, big and lumbering animal you've ever seen? In my book, he's right up there with
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
Another science TV series will debut on PBS next week - The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. I can honestly say that I'm pretty excited about this new addition to children's programming because there is a bevy of related books already available for kids to read. Inspired by the Random House Dr. Seuss Learning Library book series (and of course the original Dr. Seuss book, The Cat in the Hat), this animated TV series hopefully will send a few kids to the library to explore those science books and maybe even pick up a few more along the way.
According to the press release about the series, "THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! was created in response to recent findings that children graduating from kindergarten are less prepared to learn about science than about other subjects. The series supports young children’s science learning by introducing scientific inquiry skills, teaching core science concepts and vocabulary, and preparing preschoolers for kindergarten and first grade science curriculum — all in whimsical style." Sounds like the perfect show for my kids. We're planning to start incorporating more science related projects into our home activities (by participating in Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom) so time will tell if this new show will be a good complimentary resource.
While we haven't read any of The Cat in the Hat science books, my daughter does enjoy the original The Cat in the Hatbook. She even decided to check out the sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back from the library this week all by herself. A couple months ago she attended a day camp and on one rainy day they participated in The Cat in the Hat themed activities. Since I hadn't prepared a stART craft this week, I thought I'd post her rainy day drawing. The book does make the perfect rainy day read!
As shown by her artwork, my daughter would like to play ball if the Cat in the Hat came over to play on a rainy day. Let's hope he doesn't visit any time soon. I don't encourage ball playing inside the home, especially with a character like the Cat!
A toad lives in my daughter's flower garden. We noticed it one day while we were out weeding the garden and have seen it several times since. The toad has an amazing ability to camouflage itself and manages to find several places to hide among the plants in the garden. In fact, it blends in so well with the surroundings that my camera refused to focus on it. Can you find it in this picture?
This week we read two different children's books about frogs and toads. And, we learned the differences between frogs and toads. One of the books (A Place For Frogs) explained that, "About five hundred kinds of frogs belong to the family called the "true toads." They have dry, scaly skin and spend more time on land than other frogs. That means all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads."
A Place for Frogs concentrates primarily on environmental concerns involving frogs and also discusses various types of frogs and their habitats. Application of pesticides and chemicals and the destruction of the frog's habitat adversely affect the frog population. The author suggests ways people can alter their actions and protect frogs and the places where they live. The book also includes basic information about frogs, including life stages and fascinating frog facts. Simple text across the top of the page is appropriate for kindergarten age on up and older children will enjoy reading the more detailed insets about various species of frogs like the Northern Leopard Frog and Western Toad. My daughter particularly enjoyed looking at Bond's detailed paintings and we had fun pointing out the differences between the frogs featured in the book as well as discussing things we can do to help out frogs that live nearby. The book is laid out in a clear manner and is perfect for educational studies. A variety of related activities are available online. Related Educational Printables [pdf]:A Place for Frogs Curriculum Guide; A Place for Frogs Storytime Guide Activity Printables [pdf]:
I'm craving some homemade applesauce and crispy, fresh apples so we're hoping to make our way to an apple orchard this weekend. I've noticed several other blogs writing about orchard trips and apple books and projects this week. Thought we'd chime in with a book suggestion of our own and an easy-peasy edible apple craft for today's StArt post.
I'm not sure how Apples, Apples, Apples made it's way into our library book bag last week, but it did! My daughter may have recognized the bunny character on the cover. We own one another of Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's books titled, Fly, Monarch! Fly! and the same characters appear in both books.
Two young bunnies, Minna and Pip, travel to an apple orchard with their Mom and Dad. They meet Mr. Miller, the apple farmer, who teaches them about different apple varieties and how to pick apples. He also points out the parts of an apple and describes tree growing practices. The bunnies return home and make some yummy cinnamon apple sauce.
In her Minna and Pip books, Wallace includes informational text intermixed with dialogue between the rabbits. I really like how this book teaches but also tells a simple story. The text isn't exactly riveting, but the illustrations certainly make up for anything the text lacks. Wallace uses a collage technique to construct her illustrations and her cut-paper artwork is very lovely. Wallace successfully incorporates a craft, a song and even a recipe into this book - another one of her picture books signatures. It's really a perfect book to use in preschool and kindergarten apple unit lessons and fun to read before visits to an orchard.
❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Edible Painted Apple Butterflies ❖❖❖❖❖❖
Since we read both Apples, Apples, Apples and Fly, Monarch! Fly! this week, I thought it would be fun to make a craft that corresponds with both books. These Edible Painted Apple Butterflies from perpetualpreschool.com are so pretty and double as a delicious snack. My dau
Display CommentsAdd a Comment
Here's a riddle for you today: What can pass before the sun without making a shadow? ... [Answer: The wind!]
Autumn brings with it plenty of blustery days! Yesterday afternoon, the wind entranced my kids as it blew the leaves around on the street and in our yard. They ran along racing with the wind, trying to catch the blowing leaves. It's an exhilarating and exciting experience playing outside on a windy day...so long as the wind isn't so strong it blows you away like in Flora's Very Windy Day!
Flora gets upset with her little brother Crispin after he spills her paints. After the incident, their weary mom sends both of them outside. Flora worries about blowing away on the very windy fall day so she wears her super heavy red boots as a precaution, but Crispin goes out unprepared. Still unhappy with her brother, Flora taunts the wind and Crispin gets swept up into the sky by a strong blast. Without hesitation, Flora kicks off her boots and takes off after her brother. The two sail in the sky carried by the wind, and Flora receives several tempting offers from various creatures and entities to take her pesky brother off her hands once and for all.
This story is dreamily imaginative, and I simply adore the whimsical illustrations by Phelan. (The drawings remind me a little of those by another one of my favorite illustrators, Tricia Tusa). There are so many wonderful images of the red, and orange and yellow leaves swirling around, making it a magical and exceptional book to read during autumn. Phelan's drawings of the swirling winds and blowing leaves make me wish that I could take flight on a windy fall day! The illustrations truly stretch the reader's imagination. In one charming picture, Flora even brushes some rainbow bits off of Crispin's coat.
At first glance, this book looks perfect for my kids. After all, it's about the relationship between a big sister and a little brother. But, after reading it myself, I decided not to read it to my toddler son. The little brother's fate in the book lies entirely in his big sister's hands. While the ages of the children are unclear from the text, the illustrations depict them as young siblings. Honestly, I don't think it is appropriate that the mom seemingly placed her tiny tot outside under the care of an older yet still very childish sibling. I feel sorry for little Crispin and also for Flora who unfairly is expected to take on the huge responsibility of caring for her young brother. That issue aside, my daughter and I still had fun imagining what it would be like to blow away on a windy day. Besides prompting the obvious sibling relationship discussions, the book also works well for talking about story sequences. In their travels in the sky the two siblings meet the following in order: a dragonfly, sparrow, rainbow, c