Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr Seuss

My sister Ann and my brother-in-law Marc go every year to volunteer at Camp Takumta in Vermont.   It is children's camp for kids with cancer.  Every year they come back with stories of these amazing and resilient kids.   It always makes me cry.  There is always a theme for the week....this year's theme is Dr Seuss.   All the counselors and cabin leaders are reading a Dr Seuss book they even dress in costume, which is always fun.    My niece Celia helped my sister make little awards for he cabin of little girls.....they came out really cute with a seusian flare about them.   My sister's story comes from today's book....which makes it perfect to talk about.  
Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

Dr Seuss always wrote stories that have some sort of message in them...even if the message doesn't always seem clear.  Yertle the Turtle is the same way....although the message in each of the three stories seems clear as  the proverbial bell.   The second story entitled "Gertrude McFuzz" is the story my sister is reading.   It teaches us that sometimes envy is can cause more trouble than it's worth and that we should be happy with who we are.  These stories are a great way to teach children without being preachy.   These books aren't read as much as the more common Dr Seuss books but they come in handy when a point needs to be made.   A must have book for all children....and some grown ups too!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weiner Wolf by Jeff Crosby

I have been wishing for a dog lately.   I was dog sitting my brother's dog for a week and now I miss him.   I have also established a relationship with my neighbors dog....he is so cute when he  runs to see me when I come outside.   I think because of this I have been much more attuned to any dog book I see on the shelf.
Wiener Wolf

Wiener Wolf by Jeff Crosby  is a really fun new book about a dog who is tired of his pampered life with Granny that he earns for life in the wild.  I am not usually a dachshund fan but this little puppy's expressions are priceless....I love how it is a warm hearted story without being sappy.  This is a wonderful book to be read at bedtime.   A precious new book that I would recommend as a must have new book.   So cute....

Friday, July 22, 2011

The World Champion of Staying Awake by Sean Taylor illustrated by Jimmy Liao

Stumbled across today's book and was immediately reminded of my niece Celia who never wanted to go to sleep when she was a little girl.   I can still see her lying on the guest room bed with her feet up against the wall telling me she wasn't tired.   I wish I had this book to read to her then----the illustrations remind me of her too!
The World Champion of Staying Awake

The World Champion of Staying Awake by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jimmy Liao is a really sweet picture book about a little girl trying to get her stuffed animals to go to sleep.   It is really shows how a child's imagination can work.   Very clever with adorable illustrations.   A must have new bedtime story....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt

While wandering around the library I saw some books on display about Edgar Degas, the famed artist.   I realized that today is his birthday.  I remembered a book I loved that told the story of his famous sculpture, Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.   Sadly my favorite book about Degas was not on display...luckily I can recommend it here today~

Degas and the Little Dancer (Anholt's Artists Books for Children)

Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt has always been one of my favorite biographical picture books.   It came out in a time when there weren't that many books like it.  This beautifully illustrated picture book told the true story of how a famed artist created an iconic sculpture.  When I was in the stores I liked to read it during a ballet story time, especially if there were older children in the group.  I also always recommend it to anyone looking for a ballet book as a gift.   It is the perfect book for little ballerinas everywhere.   A classic book that spawned others but is still timeless today.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reference Sunday: We Are America by Walter Dean Myers illustrations by Christopher Myers

It has been so disheartening to watch the news lately.   It seems like no one can get along.   I especially hate the political climate where nobody can agree on anything.   Each "side" claims they are doing the best for our country but  all I see is fighting which makes me wonder if that is true.   Like I said it is very sad to have such divisiveness in this country.  Which is why I felt a sense of hope when I discovered today's book.

We Are America: A Tribute from the HeartWe Are America: A Tribute from the Heart by Walter Dean Myers and illustrated by Christopher Myers is a beautiful  book that shows us all that this country was, is and hopes to be.  This book illustrates in a simple way that America is filled with diverse and incredible people, it is because of our diversity that we are who we are.   It teaches children (and adults) what patriotism is all about.   That even though we come from different backgrounds and cultures we all have a commonality about us.   By really looking at our past we can truly see our future.   Walter Dean Myers profound poems combined with the wonderful illustrations of his son Christopher are a great way to teach children what it means to be an American----.  

As Mr Myers writes:  To each child a freedom dream
                                   To each soul the sweet taste of liberty
                                   To each heart give the promise
                                   Of America.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Flashback Tuesday: Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe

I have been dog sitting my brother's dog for the past few days.  He is very cute and I love taking care of him but I forget that he needs to go out at night.    Last night as I took him out I saw something I had forgotten about~ an abundance of fireflies blinking in the night.   I was immediately sent back in time to childhood summers of staying out late and chasing fireflies.   I can still see my Dad punching holes in jar lids so we could catch the fireflies.   All night long I tried to remember a book I used to read to kids during the summer when I came across today's book.
Fireflies (Reading Rainbow)

Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe is definitely a flashback to another time.   I love the soft illustrations and sweet easy to read story of catching fireflies.   It is a sweet sentimental story that is soothing to read on a warm summer night.   The cover is what I remember and what I saw last night while the fireflies flew~

Here are some other books on fireflies that are also great to read....

Ten Flashing Fireflies by Philemon Sturges and illustrated by Ann Vojtech--sweet illustrations
The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle ----it's Eric Carle, what more can I say!
Sam and the Firefly by PD Eastman (a personal favorite)
Firefly Named Torchy by Benard Waber ---a fun book if you can find a copy....

These are just a few titles I like...gotta run and go find a jar to poke holes in....just in case....

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reference Sunday: Potato Chip Science: 29 Incredible Experiments by Allen Kurzweil

Every year my family and I go on vacation to Long Beach Island, NJ.   One family tradition has us going to Uncle Will's Pancake House for a family breakfast.   In past years we would always wait for a table while browsing The Atlantic Bookshop next door.   It is a great bookstore with lots to offer.   When my niece and nephews were small my sister would buy them little activity books to use while we waited for breakfast.   A couple of years ago the store moved to a different location.   So instead of going before breakfast we usually go afterwards.   This year was no different.   It actually works out well because I always need a walk after eating a delicious breakfast.

Potato Chip Science: 29 Incredible Experiments

While perusing the store the store this past week I came across today's book.....Potato Chip Science by Allen Kurzweil .  I thought Workman Publishing had done it again by packaging a book on experiments with stuff to do those experiments in a potato chip bag.   Just when I thought I had seen everything....again very clever.   Clever packaging aside a book like this is only good if it is useful.   While it doesn't have all the components to do the experiments with it has enough to get a child started.   This is actually a great science kit because it appeals to the adult who wants their child to learn something and it appeals to the child who likes stuff. I especially liked the fact that the bag can be turned into a kind of kite....which is a very popular past time down the shore.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Special Flashback Wed: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I have been a little lax in posting lately.   Basically because I am in vacation mode.   The sun has been beautiful here on Long Beach Island and it is hard to use the computer on the beach.  As this is a family vacation I have also been spending my nights eating and playing games.   Last night we played "Clue" with the kids.   I needed to relearn the rules myself as I hadn't played in ages.   The game board is much fancier than I remembered.   While we were going over the instructions my nephew JoJo wanted to know if it was like The Westing Game.....a book he said he liked a lot.   I liked how he knew to compare the two.  

The Westing Game (Puffin Modern Classics)

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is the perfect book for the curious young reader.   It is a great mystery book.   It is the kind of book I read when I was an adult but knew my younger self would have loved it.   Since it is summer it makes a great summer reading title.  Since it won the Newbery award it should be on most school reading lists.  

If your child has already read this then they should try some books by Blue Balliett: Chasing Vemeer, The Wright 3, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box.  These are great mysteries too!

As to our game of Clue last night, while JoJo tried really hard and was very enthusiastic my nephew Alex came out the winner in both of the games we played.   I sense a rematch in the near future!