Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aaaaarrgghh! Spider!

Okay along with the scary creature theme I've got going here this week for Halloween is one of the most terrifying creatures around...the spider! Yes, I'm terrified of spiders and training my two to be too. Okay a little fear of spiders or, respect of rather, is healthy but I admittedly go over bored. So in our Halloween fear conquering style we also stock up on books on spiders like Aaaarrgghh! Spider! by Lydia Monks. In this funny not so terrifying tale a lonely spider longs to be a family pet. After many attempts at showing a family that he'd make a wonderful pet only to met with screaming, terrified looks and prompt removal he finally wins them over. The cartoon illustrations are quirky, funny and capture that wide eyed terror that some might feel when one encounters a spider.

I thought I'd share one of crafts we often do along with our reads. I think our very own Aaaarrgghh! Spider! glittery webs turned out great! And yes, they are now proudly displayed on the fridge, lol.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A little bit batty!

We've gone a bit batty over here. Bats make a perfect topic for young ones and Halloween. Let's face it bats can be scary, they are at least to me, and who doesn't enjoy a bit of a good scare on Halloween. We stock up on bat books and also learn all about bats so they don't seem so scary anymore. Brian Lies series of Batty stories make great reads during the Halloween holiday season. Bats at the Beach, Bats at the Library and Bats at the Ballgame complete this trio of stories. The illustrations are dark and a bit eerie because they all take place at night when bats are up. But the fuzzy bats are sweetly drawn and not frightful at all. The stories share all the fun these bats have during their nights out at the beach, library or ballgame. They truly captures endearing moments, highlights and activities of these popular outings only with bat families not ours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two Tales of Halloween

Today I have two tales of Halloween for you and your kids to learn all about Halloween's origins and history. I've shared how we love to unit study on topics and with that I love a blend of fun reads as well as educational ones. Since it's almost Halloween we've been busy reading up on that.

First up is Gail Gibbons' book Halloween Is.... It covers such traditions as Halloween costumes, the jack-o-lantern and of course trick or treating. It is a simple book which is geared towards younger children (4-8), though it covers lots of information. Think about pairing it with Gail Gibbons' The Pumpkin Book for even more holiday fun and learning.

For kids ages 8 and up I would recommend The Story of Halloween by Carol Greene and illustrated by Linda Bronson. Longer text and dreamy illustrations take readers back over 2000 years to the origins of Halloween with the Celts' celebration of Samhain, meaning summer's end on October 31st. As you read through these old traditions and beliefs you will see how many have changed throughout time but how many are still with us today in our traditions and celebration of this fall holiday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monsters, ghosts and other spooks, oh my!

Looking for great Halloween reads? Usborne books has you covered with scary or not so scary books for all ages.

Books for Baby & up-

Monsters are a perfect topic for Halloween and Usborne has several not so scary Monster books for you to share with your youngest of readers.

Baby Monster by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells
A soft cloth book with crinkle texture and lift the flaps just perfect for the youngest little reader. In this story baby monster Minnie needs help finding her friend Mo.

That's Not my Monster by by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Rachel Wells
From probably one of Usborne books most popular series comes this touchy feely monster read.

This is my Monster by Sam Taplin and illustrated by Masumi Furukawa
Another simple monster tale with touchy feely textures and sound too.

Noisy Monsters by Jessica Greenwell and illustrated by Lee Wildish
Eight noisy monsters fill this book with sound buttons.

Ages 4 & up -

A selection of picture books and an early reader.

There's No Such Thing as Ghosts! by Emmanuelle Eeckhout
Kane Miller Publishing brings this charming tale from Belgium of a little boy on a ghost hunt with his trusty butterfly net in hand. He can't seem to find any ghosts anywhere but I bet your little readers will!

The Story of Growl by Judy Horacek
This is another book in the Kane Miller Publishing collection, this time from Australia. Meet Growl who, well loves to growl. That growl gets her in and out of trouble in this fun loving simple monster read.

Scardey Cat by Russell Punter
This level three reader from Usborne books shares the story of Stanley the scardey cat who's scared of everything. But he's a hero inside and overcomes those fears to save the day.

Activities and Crafts for all Ages -

Doodle, craft, stencil and sticker your way through Halloween with these books and activities:
Monster Things to Do and Make by Rebecca Gilpin, illustrated by Erica Harrison, Spooky Stencil Cards, illustrated by Ashlyn Stobbs, Monster Doodles (Doodle Cards) by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Non Figg, 1001 Monster Things to Spot by Gillian Doherty and illustrated by Teri Gower and
Spooky Sticker Book by Fiona Watt and illustrated by Stella Baggott.

As always if you are interested in any Usborne or Kane Miller publishing books you can contact me. I also wanted to re note that Kane Miller books are now being sold exclusively through Usborne reps and are not available from retailers. I can assist you in a purchase or help you find a local rep near you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Costume Copycat, Queen of Halloween & Stinky Face

I wanted to share a trio of fun Halloween reads that have great learning opportunities too.

Being a younger sibling this story resonates with me! It was a lucky library find from just last year and we will be sure to enjoy it again this Halloween season. It's called The Costume Copycat by Maryann MacDonald and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. Dressing up is a year round favorite of ours though we do still wait with much anticipation for Halloween. We love the excitement of pondering over what to be and then the best way to achieve that. Oh, how I can relate to the wanting to have the perfect costume! Poor Angela is always being upstaged by her big sister, Berdandette's costume. So the next year she always decides to be what Berdandette had been the year before, thus the title 'the costume copycat'. It isn't until Angela finally gets fed up with being a copycat and comes up with her own unique costume that she really shines! It's another out of print title, but there are used and new copies available online and be sure to check out your library for a copy too.

Another Halloween read that we like to get from the library each year is one of Mary Engelbreit's Anne Estelle stories Queen of Halloween. Have you met Anne Estelle? In this Halloween story her and her best friend Michael head out to trick or treat on Halloween night. Both want to be brave as they are growing up but both are still a little scared. Its a great little read about friendship and courage that I think is a great staple to read each year with my two. The illustrations are whimsical and wonderfully detailed. I must confess I am a huge fan of Mary Engelbreit's art work.

Mary Engelbreit has written and illustrated an entire series about this little girl including: Queen of Christmas, Queen of Easter, Queen of Hearts, and Queen of the Class.

Last up from author Lisa McCourt and illustrator Cyd Moore 'Stinky Face' series is Happy Halloween Stinky Face. Similar to this duo's first book I Love you Stinky Face you have the Mama of little Stinky lovingly calming his concerns only this time about all the things that might go wrong on Halloween. It's not about scary, creepy stuff either. He's mostly concerned about his friends and what might happen because of the costumes like what if his one friends' costume turns into a real butterfly and she flies up into the sky? With each of the concerns they are matched with a solution from his Mama that involves his friends figuring it out or helping one another.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm reading...Your blogs!

I have found so many wonderful books through other's book reviews! Rather than review them again myself, I thought a fun way to add these reads to my ever growing list here is to feature the blogs and those reviews in a 'I'm Reading..Your Blogs' post.

First up is Tolivers to Texas who does a children's book review on Thursdays. I found the wonderful book The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen through her weekly reviews and it is now a favorite here. Be sure to check out her review. Thanks for sharing this great book and I look forward to your upcoming reviews!

Next the enchanting site The Magic Onions, shares her picks for autumn reads along with fun ways to welcome in the fall season in her post Celebrating Autumn. This wonderful list is filled with nature inspired reads including: Wild Child by Lynn Plourde, The Apple Cake by Nienke van Hichtum, Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky, Christopher's Harvest Time by Elsa Beskow, Autumn board book by Gerda Muller and Around the Year by Elsa Beskow. We love the seasonal series by Lynn Plourde and have been familiar with Elsa Beskow but had not read these two reads offered here. She also shares a few books that she resources for craft and activity ideas, be sure to read through the entire post for those selections as well. Thanks for this wonderful Fall reading list!

Next from A Mommy's Adventures in her 'A Story + Art' series is her review and art project for Mirnerva Louise on Halloween by Janet Morgan Stoeke. Plus its a link up so there are lots of great book/art project submissions for you to check out! We loved the Mirnerva Louise book also by Janet Morgan Stoeke but I had not read any more in this funny series! I'm happy to add this charming Halloween book to our ever growing list of favorite reads! Thanks for the review and the fun link up. I will have to join in the fun one of these days.

Keep the book reviews coming and if I find out about a great read from your blog I'll be sure to feature you in an upcoming post!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Long Night Moon

My last read to share with you from our reading list on the moon this week is Long Night Moon by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Mark Siegel. "Long Ago Native Americans gave names for each full moon they watched throughout the year", so starts this wonder filled story. January’s moon is a stormy moon, October an acorn moon and so on through each month. Rylant expands these given names and traits of the moon with an eloquent poem for each month's full moon. Equally magical are the charcoal, pencil and pastel illustrations that accompany the text. We love reading this from the fall through winter and watching the moon change as the months go by. It's a very peaceful and cozy read on a long chilly night.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reading on the Moon

Continuing on with Moon Reads this week here is another pair of great books-

From Usborne Book's amazing picture book series is On the Moon by Anna Milbourne, created by Laura Fearn and illustrated by Benji Davies. This collection of picture books is hands down my favorite series by Usborne. These are fun reads that read like a story but are packed with educational facts about the various topics that are covered. This one will not disappoint as it takes young readers on a journey to the moon. There are full page illustrations that are combined with NASA photographs of the moon.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and illustrated by Alison Jay. This is a simply lovely rhyming story of a boy who takes the moon for a walk one evening. The text is poetic and visual as it takes you along this late night walk. The story plays on the idea of how it seems like the moon is always following you wherever you may go. At the end are two pages of facts about the phases of the moon. Equally lovely are Alison Jay's trademark oil painted illustration with a crackled finish. This is a moonlight walk you and your child will want to take again and again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moon Rabbit

Along with leaves, pumpkins, fall Holidays etc the moon is one of our favorite fall reading topics and studies. The days start to grow shorter in the fall. So with the moon in the sky earlier it makes it a perfect time to study it as during the summer they are usually in bed before the moon comes up. I have a couple of our favorite 'moon' reads to share this week starting with Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russell. The story is more about friendship and home than the moon but I think it makes a fun read to add into the mix. Little Rabbit lives in the city. She loves the city, she has her own place and her favorite cafe. But she's lonely, she's the only bunny that lives in the city. She often wonders to the moon if there is a friend for her. She does find that friend in this charming story. The illustrations are equally charming. I love the simple line drawings on the colored backgrounds and prints of flowers, leaves and stars that dance across the pages. And isn't that patchwork moon lovely?

I'd also recommend checking out Natalie's Russell's follow up book featuring these two bunny friends, Brown Rabbit in the city. These books also make a fun pairing with the classic story City Mouse, Country Mouse from Aseop's Fables.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Five Fall Reads

Instead of a traditional top five Friday I thought I'd offer up five Fall reads that we love to enjoy each year. The focus of these titles are trees/leaves. The fall foliage is possibly my favorite part of this season, we talk a lot about leaves, enjoy lots of nature walks and of course fun playing with leaves. I already featured one of our all time favorite reads The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Beger so I won't repeat it here. Oh and I've got 6 not 5. So here's what we head to our local library to stock up on for great fall reads (in no particular order).

1. Count Down to Fall by Fran Hawk and illustrated by Sherry Neidigh
Counting down fall with various types of leaves and seeds in a single stanza rhyming verse. Great for learning different types of leaves plus there are activities in the back for continued learning.

2. A Grand Old Tree by Mary Newell DePalma
Not specific to Fall as it shares the life cycle of a tree it does make a nice pairing to fall reads. Adding this book helps understand the process of change in trees and why they turn colors in the fall. Simple beautiful watercolor illustrations accompany the equally simple and beautiful text.

3. Leaf Jumpers by Carole Gerber and illustrated by Leslie Evans
Goes through common types of leaves with amazing hand-colored linoleum-cut illustrations that capture the vividness of color in the autumn foliage.

4. Leaves by David Ezra Stein
Sweet, autumn colored watercolor illustrations accompany this story of a young bear's first autumn. The story is told from a young child's perspective of wonder as this young bear doesn't know why the leaves are falling from the trees and the world is changing all around him.

5. Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Amazing collage art accompanies this story of a young child's sharing about their favorite tree. It starts from a young seedling in the forest to a nursery to their backyard. But the favorite season of their tree is fall. Useful info on trees, planting a tree and making a bird treat for your tree follows this story at the end of the book.

6. It's Fall! by Linda Glaser
Okay this is not just about leaves and I've featured Linda Glaser before and I've already got 5 books here but I love how she handles the seasons and the three dimensional collage artwork. I also love at the end of the books there are always suggested seasonal nature activities.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson

I'm not one to try and rush the seasons but when I saw the opportunity to review this next book, I took it. It's called The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson and illustrated by Bonnie Leick. Based on the scripture passage Matthew 25:37-40 this is a lovely story of a little girl that understands the true spirit of Christmas. The story begins with Emma and her dog Shu-shu receiving an invitation to the Birthday of the King. However, along the way they encounter a few strangers in need. Emma graciously gives what she has even if it means having nothing to give to the King for his Birthday. The King is Jesus and once Emma arrives at the party, he shares how in giving to others, Emma, has in fact given to him. It's well written for young kids to understand the message being shared. One of the items Emma gives up is her own favorite teddy bear to another little girl that has lost her bear. Its a great read to put a focus on what Christmas is really about, the celebration of Jesus' Birthday and the understanding of how we are able to honor his birth with the simple act of giving to those in need. The illustrations are beautiful, vivid colors fill each page and nicely detailed. I am very happy to add this book to our Christmas reading list.

I received a free copy of this book 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.

In the back of the book you will find information regarding various charities that can help give gifts to Jesus now and throughout the year. You can log on to www.The to learn more.

The highlighted charities are:

blood:water mission - $1 = one year of water for an African

World Vision - $25 = Two Chickens that give food and income for Families

Consider giving or Christmas caroling for canned goods that will stock your Local Food Pantry. Find one near you at Feeding America.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Circle

One of our favorite fall reads is Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson and photographer Shmuel Thaler. Pumpkins have arrived at our house this weekend and I love being able to share this tale of the pumpkin life cycle with my two children. Beautiful, artfully arranged photos and text share the process of one pumpkin farmer's pumpkin patch from seed to plant to pumpkin to jack o lantern and back to pumpkin seed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October Classic Book - Where the Wild Things Are

I am a little late posting this months classic book as I was participating in the blog tour for A Friend in the Storm on the 1st. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is my pick for this months' classic book. I've always loved this book and could not imagine not adding it too my little list here. I know everyone is well aquainted with this tale of adventure and mischief but here's a short summary from me.

Simple text and beautiful illustrations abound in this children’s classic. Max a young boy who has been mischievous one evening gets sent to his room. But that is not the end of his adventures, only the beginning. What could be more fanciful than your own room fading away as a jungle grows in its place. My children and I read this book again and again. You can feel their excitement and anticipation as we approach the wild rumpus that the wild things throw. And what a wild rumpus it is, lasting through 3 whole pages! I add dum, dum, dum, dee, dums to help set the mode as we go through the book. We giggle everytime, sometimes I bounce them up and down on my lap and sometimes we even get up and dance as we join in the rumpus fun.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Friend in the Storm by Cheryl Ricker, book review, interview and a giveaway!

A Friend in the Storm by Cheryl Ricker is a lovely collection of quotes, scripture verses and original poetry focused on times of storm in our lives. A single quote and scripture verse always accompanies Ms. Ricker's poetry and related through the topic of the poem. The poems are short, just two stanzas and most are written from the point of view of the Lord speaking/comforting you with His promises. They are beautifully written and gentle in tone. The term 'heartfelt' has been used a lot in the description of this book and I would have to agree. The book takes you on a journey from some of the lowest times and concludes with the finding of hope, bliss, freedom and the last poem is aptly titled 'Complete'. Ms. Ricker covers a great quantity of topics, 45 to be exact, in this little book and I wish there was an index to help with a quick look up of verse to suit a specific need. This little book would make a lovely gift book for anyone going through a difficult time in their lives.

Blog Tour Schedule

1. What do you enjoy most about writing poetry?

I love communing with God while I write. Nothing beats those ah-ha moments when He gives me a fresh insight. As a poet, I love when truth collides with metaphor and rhyme. I get excited when I can draw a word picture with soothing sounds that makes truth memorable.

2. Did anything happen in your life that made you more interested in the topic of pain?

A lot of things happened. Many I can’t get into; but I will say that I was sick a lot as a child. I had bad allergies and asthma, but I was also emotionally sick. For years I struggled with fears, phobias, over-sensitivities, rejection and depression.

Pain followed me into marriage. My husband and I had to work out a lot of tough issues for several years. We’ve had a lot of serious issues with our children too. Because of that, though, we love to help others. It’s like Christ says in one of my poems: “My comfort pours new life in you, in perfect time for others too.”

The fact is, I don’t think I could talk about hope and healing without first talking about pain and suffering. It’s universal. It’s the gate to talking about Christ’s healing love and transformative power, which we know is for available, everyone.

3. How would you describe your book?

A Friend in the Storm is a personal conversation between God and a hurting person. It’s a healing treasury of quotes, Scripture and poetry that leads to lasting hope. It covers forty-five hope-related topics and takes readers on a healing journey through the stages of grief before it crescendos with the splendor of Heaven.

4. Why did you choose A Friend in the Storm as your title?

It’s had several different titles, but this one definitely describes it best. Christ wants to be our friend in the storm. He offers comfort like no other. Besides, He’s the only one who can truly say, “I’ve been there. I understand.”

I also like the title because the book itself is a friend in the storm, a valuable companion people can reach for in the dark.

5. How is A Friend in the Storm different than other gift books with quotes, Scriptures and poetry?

Most gift books with quotes, Scripture and poetry are written by multiple authors with multiple styles and points of view, so they don’t have the same continuity and flow. Because A Friend in the Storm is written by a single voice, it flows like a story. It’s not just a mish mash of broken thoughts and ideas. There’s a logical progression

6. How do you describe your style of poetry?

It’s a cross between traditional rhyming poetry and literary poetry. My poems have internal rhyme, end rhyme, sound-bonding, alliteration, and lots of metaphors and similes.

They’re light ‘n tight; deep, but also easily understandable.

Please check out Cheryl's amazing website for more information.

Now on to the giveaway!! Many of you may have noticed the link I added in my sidebar a few days back. During this book blog tour period for 'A Friend in the Storm' Cheryl Ricker is holding a Kindle giveaway. Here's the link to enter and good luck!

Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway
Share Your Storm Kindle Giveaway

I recieved a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity for the purpose of this review. The opinions expressed are 100% my own and I was not required to write a favorable review.