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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July Classic Book - Harold and the Purple Crayon


I just could not resist adding this book to my list. It's one of my absolute favorites. I actually didn't grow up reading this book; I'm sure we read it once or twice from the library but it was not one of the books that I was read a lot as a child. It is one my two read all the time.

For those unfamiliar here's a short review of, Harlod and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. It is a simple story matched by simple illustrations that holds an unbounded sense of adventure. This is definitely a key example of a read that does more with less, so much more. Young Harold and his beloved purple crayon set off one night on a moonlight walk. Only there's no moonlight so Harold draws a moon, oh and there's no path so he simply draws that too. His walk takes him far and away, there are a few missteps along the way, fun times and eventually he is lost but don't worry young Harold always keeps his wits about him. Harold finally remembers where his bedroom window can be found just in time to draw up his bed and blanket and drift off to sleep.

But wait there's more, Scholastics' has a DVD version of Harold and the Purple Crayon with a collection of several other children's books made into short films.

HBO Family also has taken the tales of Harold and the Purple Crayon to DVD format, narrated by Sharon Stone. These stories are not an exact retelling of the classic story as the Scholastics' version is, though they are very enjoyable.

Crockett Johnson wrote several other tales of Harold and later Liz Baker has continued on the stories of Harold and the Purple Crayon based on the HBO series.

Truly a classic read that is sure to spark imaginations both young and old.

But there's more, my kids take to sidewalk chalk when they too want to go on an adventure like Harold. It’s a simple game we play where they draw and I make up stories of what they are drawing and what adventure they are on. So I wanted to share a few links to chalk making tutorials to add to the fun of your own adventures with Harold. First Alpha Mom has a how to make sidewalk chalk stars. Second ohdeedoh has a tutorial on making sidewalk chalk paint for more creative fun. And of course Martha Stewart's site has a sidewalk chalk tutorial as well.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Elephant?


Our next and final and bonus post seriously silly read is What Elephant? by Genevieve Cote. This quirky tale starts with a cry for 'Help' from George as there is an elephant in his house! His friends and neighbors aren't too sure about George's claims of an elephant being in his house and suggest that perhaps the heat is getting to him. Unsure of himself, George heads home to get some much needed rest, but upon arriving home the elephant is indeed still there. George doesn't want his friends to think he is crazy so he does his best to ignore his rather large house guest but it's hard. Elephants do not make good house guests.

Well the whole town eventually encounters the elephant but none wishes to be thought crazy so no one dare mentions it. The elephant's owner finally comes to claim him and everyone shares an awkward laugh and sigh of relief. Hopefully George has learned to trust in himself over the pressure of what others think but with another surprise visitor showing up it does not appear that he or his friends have....

This is a fun read along, I love doing voices for the different characters and my kids seem to go along with it. I'd probably die of embarrassment if I was to ever heard myself back on tape; anyway this is a a very fun read to dramatize with character voices and voice inflections as George's predicament goes from worse to worse. The sketchy mixed-media illustrations compliment nicely the anxiety and anxiousness of poor George and the funny experiences of the elephant making himself quite at home.

Top Five Fridays? - Sandra Boynton

Okay, It's Top Five Thursday this week because I'm featuring Sandra Boynton and okay everyone knows Sandra Boynton, I know. So there will be an extra post this week to try to make up for it. But a collection of great reads (and right now I appear to be obsessed with children's books, I know and I am) would not be complete without Sandra Boynton. Plus it is seriously silly book week!

We like everyone else love Sandra Boynton, we've got several of her books, grab those we haven't read off the library shelf upon eye contact and even have a few of her music cds. All are seriously silly fun. So armed with only opinions, I do have my picks.

My top five picks for Sandra Boynton:




1. The Going to Bed Book (whatelse?)







2. Barnyard Dance (I'm a country girl at heart)





3. One, Two, Three (I love a good simple read)






4. Hippos Go Beserk (I love Boynton's hippos)






5 Moo, Baa, La La La (See below)





Fifth spot was definitely the hardest, but Moo, Baa, La La La was the first book that both my kids memorized and both would sit and 'read' the story to themselves. I thought to catch my oldest on tape 'reading' it, so cute. And for that reason it will always hold a special place in my heart. Also apparent by my list, is that I favor classic Boynton, sorry Little Pookie!


What 'five' make your list?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Reading - Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

Summer = beach, no? Well, I'm actually not much of a beach person (I may share some of the beach anxiety of Scaredy Squirrel), but I'm outnumbered in my family and this is getting off topic a bit so back to books...My next pick for a great summer read and a seriously silly read is, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach by Melanie Watt.


Have you met Scaredy Squirrel? This is actually one of four books featuring this quirky squirrel by Melanie Watt. They are all hilarious but since it is summer I thought I'd feature the beach book. Well as you may know Scaredy Squirrel has got some 'issues'. He's pretty much scared of everything and typically chooses to enjoy life from the safety of his tree. But even Scaredy Squirrel needs a vacation, right? Well he's got the perfect solution for that. Instead of going to the beach where he may get caught in the middle of the wrong crowd, like a mob of lobsters or packs of pirates, Scaredy decides to bring the beach to him. He's got pretty much all he needs right on hand except for one thing. The only way to get what he needs means a trip to the, deep breath, actual beach. Do not worry though, Scaredy knows how to pack and accessorize for such a trip.

My two love Scaredy Squirrel and his antics. Its all giggles when we read about him and its nice too know that everyone gets scared some times, some more than others, but we all do. Melanie Watt's illustrations are simple and witty. They add to the story with little fun details as all good picture books should.

Other titles in this series by Melanie Watt include: Scaredy Squirrel, Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, and Scaredy Squirrel at Night. Check out these books for some seriously silly fun!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Moose Tracks!

Hope you're in the mood for some seriously silly reads! We always love a funny book here and I wanted to share some of our favorites this week starting with, Moose Tracks by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jack E. Davis.


Moose Tracks is a story of an all out mystery! Moose tracks are showing up everywhere in the house; outside on the porch, on the walls, on the cabinets in the kitchen. Where are all these moose tracks coming from? Surely one would remember if a moose had been there, surely you would have heard a moose clambering about? There are other odd things that also show up like bear hair on the chair, mouse prints in the bathroom and woodchips in the guest room but the owner of this home remembers when and who left all those, just not all those moose tracks.

Karma Wilson's story will have you and your kids laughing at all the animal friends in this book and their messes. The story is a rhyming read that is just fun to read out loud. There's even a surprise ending to this book! It is fun from start to finish and everywhere in-between. The colorful illustrations match the humor of the story perfectly.

Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Top Five Fridays - Audrey Wood

I was first introduced to Audrey Wood during my babysitting years. Her books were often found on the bookshelves of the kids I used to watch and it was love at first read for me. These books are also a favorite of my two, especially my youngest and so I'm featuring Audrey Wood on my youngest’s read picks week for Top Five Friday. These books are a family affair as her books are illustrated by either herself, her husband, Don or her son, Bruce. What a talented family.

Here's my top five Audrey Wood books:





1. Piggies








2. Napping House







3. Alphabet Adventure







4. Ten Little Fish






5. The Deep Blue Sea



I can't wait to read her latest book due to come out soon, Piggy Pie Po.


Which 'five' Audrey Wood's books make your list?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hide and Seek Bunnies


I've always loved books. My oldest loved books but my youngest, well not so much. Then one day a gift arrived for her. It was an Usborne book titled, Hide and Seek Bunnies written by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Lesley Danson. She was immediately drawn to the colorful, detailed, full page illustrations. The bunnies that fill each page are just adorable too. The story line is sweet and simple. It counts up bunnies hiding, eating, digging, and sleeping throughout the year. This is a great book for an early read introduction to the seasons. It also encourages counting and engages young readers to participate by finding bunnies on each page.

Hide and Seek Bunnies is part of Usborne's Touchy-Feely Flap books. Did you catch all that? Yep, it is a touchy feely AND a lift the flap book. It’s great for learning different textures. There are many surprises throughout the book to delight the youngest of kids. Other books in this series include: Hide and Seek Dragons, & Hide and Seek Penguins.


As always if you are interested in learning more about Usborne books or to purchase these books please contact me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Piggies!



Since we're celebrating my youngest's Birthday this week, I decided it would be fun to feature her favorite reads this week. I also wanted to bring in some flowers for the background too add to the fun of her week of picks here.

Piggies by Audrey Woods and illustrated by Don Woods is one of her absolute favorites. She squeals "Piggies!" every time we read it together, spends long periods looking at all those piggies and their antics. She even recites it pretty well from memory pointing to her own 'piggies' as she goes.

What's not to love in this lusciously illustrated book? There is so much fun packed into these illustrations, I love all the details. The story is sweet and simple just how I adore them. The piggies are delightfully entertaining and sometimes mischievous. It’s a great bedtime read too as it ends with goodnight kisses for each of the piggies before they all drift off to sleep.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hermie & Friends: Who is in Charge Anyway? by Max Lucado


We recently watched the DVD Hermie and Friends Series: Who is in Charge Anyway? by Max Lucado. It’s the story of Freddie the Flea, who doesn’t think there is anything special about being a small flea. He asks God what’s so special about him. Antonio Ant is strong; Flo has her love of music and so on but what about him? God shares insight about the characters and how they too at one time weren’t sure they were too special either through a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks are a mix of past lessons learned from previous adventures and new scenes that offer insight into the garden friends as young children. They show how God is working in each of the friend’s lives.

There’s a great lesson shared on how God loves even the smallest flea and has a purpose for each and every one of us. I enjoyed the flashbacks and my kids would light up when they recognized scenes from other movies or books that they have, great for reinforcement of lessons learned. The short stories within the story also helped keep my kids' attention. While I like the concept of the weaving together past stories and showing how God has been working in the garden, I felt the movie relied a little too much on the flashbacks and would have liked it if the storyline of Freddie Flea was more developed. That being said it’s still a movie that we will watch again and again. The movie is entertaining and the Bible principals are being shared in a relatable way that kids will understand.

I received a free copy of this DVD through Thomas Nelson Publishing’s Book Sneeze book review program. The opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Top Five Fridays - Eric Carle

There are so many wonderful classic picture books out there. There’s too many to realistically try to cover. I also try to stay away from well known, well loved classic reads but it’s not because I don't also love those. It’s just that I assume that everyone is already familiar them.

But, I thought it would be fun to do a little series that I've titled 'Top Five Fridays'. I'd like to feature a well established children's book author on Fridays for awhile. Then share my top five favorite books of theirs'. Yep, I'm a list maker girl!

First up I'd like to start with the children's books of Eric Carle. Eric Carle's picture books are often geared for the youngest of readers and the illustrations are truly works of art. I often like to feature his books and illustrations during our 'art' time talks with my two preschoolers. Here are my top five favorite Eric Carle's books:



1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar





2. The Very Busy Spider









3. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?







4. The Very Clumsy Click Beetle






5. The Tiny Seed







So what 'five' Eric Carle books make your list?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recommended reads for Father's Day

I wanted to share some good Father's Days reads and since we've got preschoolers and it’s what I'm reading these days they're picture books!


First is Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer. I grew up reading Mercer Mayer and love sharing these simple, sweet stories with my little ones. They are written from a child's eye perspective and are just a fun, endearing read. I love Mercer Mayer illustrations, there's always little animals that show up on each page like the mouse and spider duo in these Little Critter series that are fun to look for and spot.


Next check out What Daddies Do Best (What Mommies Do Best) by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Lynn Musinger. Its a two in one book with one read starting in the front or is it the back with a story about Daddies and anyway then you flip it over and upside down and around and its a story about Mommies. I think that that's pretty clear, right? It’s a great simple read highlighting all the little things and times we cherish with our kids and they cherish with us. Each page is colorfully illustrated with animal parents and their kids.

Hope everyone has a wonderful upcoming Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Reading - Seven Hungry Babies


Seven Hungry Babies by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, is a hit in our house. Its a fun summer read as baby birds hatch from their eggs, and are of course VERY HUNGRY. Lucky for them Mamma Bird is ready and waiting to feed them, one by one by one by one...Until exhausted Mamma Bird has seven full sleeping chicks and ready to relax herself. But of course there's no chance of that as the babies awake, ready for more food. But don't worry this is one smart Mamma Bird!

This book had us giggling and counting up the sleeping chicks versus the chicks still needing fed. It's a great read to introduce early math concepts of counting, adding and subtracting. Cartoon illustrations accompany the text and are vibrant and fun. They will definitly will hold your little one's attention.

Monday, June 7, 2010

CSN stores


I am very excited to share about CSN stores and the many, many products that they carry. I do almost all my shopping online these days, as shopping with two preschoolers can be challenging. I am amazed at the selection and variety that CSN stores carry. I spent some time looking for a sleeper sofa at csnsofas.com, as we are continuing to furnish our new home here. There's one by Rowe Furniture, the Dulaney Mini Mod Apartment Sleeper Sofa, that is so our style; modern clean lines, neutral color scheme. Take a look and let me know what you think?

I have the opportunity to review a product from CSN Stores here on my blog. I don't think I'll be able to review that sofa I mentioned but I am excited to have the chance to select something from their stores to share with you. Who knows maybe I'll even share about our home renovations/decorating projects on my blog someday...but for now I think I'll stick to reviews and books!

CSN stores has 200 + stores to shop at and some of my other favorite they have include: allmodern.com, cookware.com and of course toysandgamesonline.com just to highlight a few. Be sure to check back to see what I'm going to review and to learn more about CSN stores. I definitely recommend you check them out.

My First Little House Picture Books


I'd be willing to wager you or your kids grew up reading and watching the Little House on the Prairie series like I did. The My First Little House Book series is a great introduction for the littlest readers to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Ma, Pa, and her sisters Mary and Carrie. I am always looking for editions of great literature written for my preschoolers’ age levels. It's a wonderful way to get them off to a solid start of reading classics. The more they read classic literature at their level the more confident, familiar and comfortable they will be to someday take on the hardest of books.

These stories are sure to delight your little ones as much as they may have delighted you and are accompanied with beautiful full page illustrations. They are adapted from the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Renee Graef.

This particular series is a great way to peak their interest not just in literature but in history as they learn all about the pioneer way of life. There are currently 14 books in this series including Summertime in the Big Woods, Sugar Snow, Winter Days in the Big Woods, Going West, A Little House on the Prairie, A Little House Birthday, Going to Town, Prairie Day, County Fair, Dance at Grandpa's, Deer in the Woods, Winter on the Farm, Christmas in the Big Woods and A Farmer Boy Birthday.

Usborne Books also has numerous abridged versions of classic literature written for all stages of earlier readers, including picture books and I hope to highlight those series in an upcoming post.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Buttons!

I did it! I created my own blog buttons! Be sure to grab one if you like, you can get them from my sidebar.




I'm really happy with the way they turned out! Clearly inspired by the super cute background I got from Shabbyblogs.com. Check out their new summer backgrounds at: http://www.shabbyblogs.com/ . I also followed their great tutorial at this link.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summer Reading - The Curious Garden

I've shared in a previous post how I love to theme read with my kids and even do unit studies here and there on various topics. Well one thing I do with this is read books that are seasonal. Yup, that concept can even be applied to children's books. I've been busily, in my head anyway, compiling a great list of seasonal reads for each one and hope to start creating/sharing an actual list here.

With all the buzz on the blogs about gardening I thought this next book would be a great start to my recommendations for seasonal summer reading.


The Curious Garden by Peter Brown makes a great summer read. As a gardener myself, I really appreciate this story of a young boy Liam that lives in a pretty drab world where no plants or trees grow. He's not like others, he likes to be outside, he likes to explore even in the dreary city where he lives. One day he makes a discovery. Hidden away he finds a small garden struggling to grow. He tries to save it through trial and error, as any gardener at heart would do, and finally success. The garden grows as does the interest in gardening and a city is transformed.

The illustrations are imaginative and detailed. Your young ones will delight to watch as the garden grows, wanders and sprouts up in unexpected places.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Classic book of the month - June 2010

There are so many classic children's picture books out there that I wanted to add to my slowly growing list of favorite books. But I'm hesitant to because I know lots of people are already very familiar with these books. So I've decided that I might try to post one classic book review a month.

This was an overwhelming task, so many to choose from and which should be first...so I decided to go with one that we currently are enjoying from our local library. It's Petunia by Robert Duvousin and was first published in 1950. I grew up reading this book and am now enjoying sharing it with my kids. Even better our library had a copy that came on cd. I highly recommend checking out books on cd from time to time. We've started getting 2-3 of them each time we go to the library.

Petunia is a silly goose that is until she discovers a book. With the book tucked under her wing she becomes prouder and prouder of what a wise goose she must be, after all she does have a book now. After offering up misguided advice and the farm yard narrowly escaping disaster Petunia learns a lesson in where true wisdom comes.

We checked this book out because I'm following my own suggestion and going through a character trait a week from the God's Little Boys/Girls books by Elizabeth George. Use this link or just scroll down a post or two. We're not following in order to the traits as they go in the book. First, because I have a boy and girl and am trying to merge the lessons from each into relatable ones and second I wanted to start with the first lesson from the book of Proverbs itself. That God's little boys and girls are wise. Petunia fits this study perfectly and has made a great supplementary read to our focus on wisdom this week.

I hope you share this classic with your little ones!
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