Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Little Pim

I was offered the opportunity to review the Happy, Sad and Silly, Spanish disc 5 DVD from Little Pim. This was a very timely offer because I've been looking for a language series for my two preschoolers for awhile and have not been too happy with what I was finding. They were either too simplistic, computer game oriented or for older ages. Little Pim on the other hand is specifically and appropriatly geared towards babies, toddlers and preschoolers. If you're not familiar with Little Pim you can read more here. In addition to Spanish, Little Pim offers: French, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Hebrew, English, German, Russian, and Arabic. Little Pim offers DVDs, music Cds and flash cards. They also have FREE downloadable companion guides and scripts for each of their DVDs. You can check out their site at www.littlepim.com.

I was impressed by the Happy, Sad and Silly, Spanish disc 5 DVD we received. There are 60 new words and phrases that they introduce in each DVD. My 4 & 5 year old were engaged with what they were watching and have been able to enjoy it for multiple viewings. Which is key because this system works through repetition. The DVDs contain multiple sections which are about 5-10 minutes long, you can select to watch all or just one at a time perfect for different ages or if you want to focus on less phrases at a time for learning. The DVDs have fun cartoons with Little Pim and his friends setting up the 'theme' of what is to be viewed in the next section. Then the DVD primarily consists of watching actual children and their parents doing everyday activities while the child hears the Spanish phrase or word that describes what is happening. I love for my children to hear the proper prounouncation and the repetition of it. There is an option for English subtitles and if I have any criticism it's that I really wish in the beginning or just during the review that English word/phase was linked audibly with the Spanish phrase. Like A cat / Un gato with the picture of the cat in the background. I watch with my two and I find myself constantly saying this for each phrase as I read off the subtitle for them. This seems like a wonderful product for language learning in the early years and I can't wait to check out more.

The DVDs also come with a card with tips for helping use Little Pim and for teaching your child another language. More ideas and tips can be found on their blog. I also loved the talking coloring book game on their website. It's a great tool for teaching colors and you can choose which language to use. I would love to see them develop games that do a similar approach to teaching counting or even other popular phrases. I love interactive learning.

If you're interested in getting Little Pim products for your little ones be sure to enter, PIMMOMMY at checkout for 15% off.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Box Turtle At Long Pond

Box Turtle at Long Pond by William T. George and pictures by Lindasay Barrett George is like a nature program in picture book format. We found this read on our last trip to the library. One of the librarians had it standing up for display along with other books on the top of the low picture book shelves as they often do and I grabbed it up. I'm so glad that I did. The illustrations alone are stunning. They are so realistic they almost look like photographs. It's also fun to have to hunt for the turtle on some of the pictures where he blends in with the surroundings. The story takes you along with a box turtle as he goes about his day to day activities. You learn all kinds of interesting facts about these facinating animals too as you read along, like I did not know that box turtles couldn't swim. I thought all turtles swam. It's a really fun look at the life of a turtle to share with your little ones!

The Bumper Book of Nature

This summer has been about enjoying nature as much as possible, we have been out and about and exploring! Aiding us in our summer of exploration is The Bumper Book of Nature: A User's Guide to the Great Outdoors by Stephen Moss. The book takes a look at fun things to do and look for through out all the seasons not just summer. It's not an exhaustive guide and the ideas shared are well geared for me and my two preschoolers to tackle. Along with ideas to enjoy the season like making a bark rubbing, listening to the heartbeat of a tree and bird watching, there are also helpful hints for things like the best time to find a bird's nest. There are also sections that help you identify things like tree leaves, birds, butterflies, amphibians, creatures that might be found in rock pool at the beach to name a few. Again this is not an exhaustive list, just covering some of the more common species you might find. The activities are very doable and some I've been enjoying doing with my family since I was a child. It's a thoughtful collection that helps you get out, enjoy and notice the treasures to be found in nature.

I'm very excited that our yard is teaming with more and more wildlife! We've been slowly planting here in there in our barren yard. We have added a bird feeder and a humming bird feeder. So far we've caught lightening bugs, watched dragonflies and birds. We've got two lizards, a toad living outside and just found our first little grass frog in our garden. Of course there's plenty of bugs and spiders too and thankfully no snakes! I hope you are all enjoying your summers!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Dragons of Chiril

The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K. Paul takes you on a journey to a world where dragons befriend you, giant parrots talk and wizards battle. Paul's writing style is wonderfully descriptive and imaginative. She has a definite knack for writing about dragons and I am looking forward to reading more of her dragon novels. I adored the four minor dragons that joined this unusual band of heroes on their quest to save a famous artist’s life and the world. The story is about a young girl, Tipper, who is left to maintain her home with her absent minded mother after the mysterious disappearance of her father, Verrin Schope, a talented and famous artist. The giant parrot, I mentioned above is named Beccaroon a close friend of her fathers is left to watch over Tipper, to train her up in the way she should go. One night while her mother is visiting family her father appears back home with a wizard and a librarian and a quest that could save his life as well as the world as they know it. So begins an adventure where our young heroine and we learn more about Wulder who is the creator of their world. Through their quest it becomes more and more apparent that they are also meant to share Wulder with the citizens of Chiril, a sort of mission trip. While this book was primarily about the quest to save the artist, the sharing of Wulder with Chiril I believe is more of the focus in the book 'The Dragons of the Valley' which I have not read or if not I felt this book is leading to another novel in which this group is to take up that mission. I really enjoyed this adventure and looked for every opportunity I could to read more. I thought Paul did a wonderful job sharing scriptural truths, lessons and a Christian worldview throughout the story. Specific scripture passages came to mind throughout this read like Matthew 6:21 for example.

I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the purpose of this review.