Tuesday, October 21, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 21

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss.  September 2014.

From Amazon: (No real description of the book itself, it just gives praises to Dr. Seuss's writing)

My thoughts: This is a collection of four short stories that Dr. Seuss wrote but never made their way into book format. It features characters that we know already - Horton, Marco, Officer Pat, and the Grinch. The contributor (Charles D. Cohen) writes an introduction about how he came by these stories, which is great background information for parents who love Dr. Seuss. A great addition to the library of any Seuss fan!

Age: Preschool and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway!**

Monday, October 20, 2014

Storytime: Owls

Age: 2-5 years
Time: 30 minutes + play and craft

1) Greet with puppet

2) This is the Way We Wave Hello
(tune: Mulberry Bush)
This is the way we wave hello, wave hello, wave hello
This is the way we wave hello, hello, hello, hello! 

This is the way we clap hello, clap hello, clap hello...
This is the way we pat hello (pat thighs), pat hello, pat hello...
Repeat waving verse again

3) These Are My Glasses - Laurie Berkner
(we sing at every storytime before opening our first book)
These are my glasses (make the letter o with each hand)
And this is my book (hands together)
I put on my glasses (put "glasses" over eyes)
And open up the book (open book hands)
Now I read read read (hold book up in front of face like reading)
And I look look look (put glasses over eyes and look around room)
I put down my glasses and… (lower glasses)
WHOOP! Close up the book. (clap as if closing a book quickly)

4) Little Owl's Night - Divya Srinivasan
I told the kids that owls are special because they sleep in the daytime and come out to play at night. This cute little book introduces what other things are out in the nighttime.

5) If You're an Owl and You Know It
From Librarian Lisa

If you're an owl and you know it flap your wings
If you're an owl and you know it flap your wings
If you're an owl and you know it, and you really want to show it
If you're an owl and you know it flap your wings

Blink your eyes...
Turn your head...
Hoot like this...

6) 5 Little Owls 
From Sunflower Storytime

Five little owls sitting in a tree, one flew away - how many do you see?
Four little owls...

I created a set of flannel owls to use for this and the next rhyme, based on Leah's hoot owls.

7) 5 Colorful Owls
From Storytime Fun

One blue owl when the moon was new,
Along came a green one and that made 2.
1 - 2

Two little owls perched high in the tree,
Along came a white owl and that made 3.
1 - 2 - 3

Three little owls flew past the barn door,
Along came an orange owl and that made four.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Four little owls sitting side by side,
Along came a red owl and that made five.
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

Five little owls hooted, "Whoo, whoo, whoo,"
And they all flapped their wings and away they flew.
5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1

8) Wow! Said the Owl - Tim Hopgood
I pulled out some colored flannel pieces and handed them out to the kids, so when the colors came up in the story, the kids brought their pieces up to the board. I love how this book ends - the owl seems to be missing out on so many beautiful colors during the daytime because he's usually asleep, but he discovers there's beauty at night too.

9) Twinkle Twinkle (traditional) & Moon Moon Moon (Laurie Berkner)
What are two things in the sky at night that owls get to see? The stars and the moon... (here's a link to my moon storytime, where I explain the motions I use for the song)

10) I'm Not Sleepy! - Jonathan Allen
I hadn't seen the Baby Owl series before this storytime. Wow they are so cute! I love this one because every single family at storytime could relate. :)

11) Do You Know What Time It Is?
Leo the Lion puppet came back out to help us end our Storytime.
(tune: Muffin Man)
Do you know what time it is? (tap wrist)
What time it is? What time it is?
Do you know what time it is?
Storytime is over!

Now it's time to stretch up tall 
(stand/reach up)
Stretch up tall, stretch up tall
Now it's time to stretch up tall
Storytime is over!

Wave goodbye to all your friends (wave)
All your friends, all your friends
Wave goodbye to all your friends
Storytime is over!

12) Playtime/Craft
I brought out the blocks and instruments again, as well as the fake leaves to throw around, but the kids all wanted to just do the table activity. I printed an owl outline on cardstock and put out watercolor paints.

Other owls ideas:
Owl Babies - Martin Waddell
Little Owl Lost - Chris Haughton
I'm Not Cute! - Jonathan Allen
I'm Not Scared! - Jonathan Allen

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 20

Dog vs. Cat by Chris Gall.  May 2014.

From Amazon: "Dog and Cat do not get along. But when they're forced to share a room, they agree to be on their best behavior...until Dog won't stop sniffing. Cat won't stop primping. Dog won't stop howling. Cat won't stop scratching. And when it comes to the litter-box...sharing is not an option! What will it take to bring Dog and Cat together? Find out in Chris Gall's comic clash that brings out the best (and worst) in two very different pets."

My thoughts: This book was really funny to me - as an adult who has had both cats and dogs, as well as children who can't seem to share. Some things might go over the heads of younger children, though I'll admit I have not read this to my own kids yet to see. The illustrations are great and really enhance the story.

Age: Preschool/Elementary and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway!**

Sunday, October 19, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 19

Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century by Jane O'Connor.  April 2014.

From Amazon: "Not only does Nancy help out the bride in this wonderful story, she also gets to attend a fabulous party reception! Fans of Fancy Nancy and weddings alike will laugh along with Nancy as she discovers how truly special even the simplest wedding can be. Little girls will delight in learning about bridal traditions with their favorite fancy girl, and as in all Fancy Nancy books, Nancy's wisdom and creativity shine through to spark the joy of imagination in young readers."

My thoughts: Most girls will go through a Fancy Nancy phase (or at least a dressup/princess phase) when they are young. This book talks about one of the fanciest things of all - weddings! It's very interesting how the author delicately talks about traditional and nontraditional wedding details - which is great for me, as my own wedding reception was held in a barn. :) I read this one just after it came out to the girls at my annual Fancy Nancy party and they loved it.

Age: Preschool and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway!**

Saturday, October 18, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 18

Pete the Cat and the New Guy by Kimberly & James Dean.  August 2014.

From Amazon: "There's a new guy in town, and Pete can't wait to meet him. After all, more friends mean more fun. But who can he be? When Pete finally meets Gus, he realizes they're very different from each other . . . but that's what makes him cool. Gus is special in his own way, just like Pete and just like you, and there is something everyone can do! The message of acceptance shines through and is perfect for young readers learning to navigate the social waters. Fans of Pete the Cat will delight in the rhythmic storytelling and fun repetition throughout the book."

My thoughts: This is probably my favorite Pete the Cat book yet. It's written by the Deans, who had previously been just the illustrator for Litwin's books (which now makes for trouble when searching for Pete books at the library - they're going to be both in D's and L's! :-/ ). It's a great story of making new friends and discovering ways you can play together. Not every person is able to do everything, and kids will learn they don't have to be good at all of the same things their friends are.

Age: Preschool and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway!**

Friday, October 17, 2014

Favorite Books... really?!

In addition to my own posts for the 31 Days of Writing series, I'm participating in Jessica's #31bookpics on Instagram. She has given a prompt for each day, and we post our pictures of those book-ish things. She also has a linkup every Friday (here's today's). Today's photo prompt was "Favorite Books" -- and there was no way a single picture could do that topic justice today...

Do you know how hard it is for a bookworm, who also works at a library, to choose favorite books?? I started by making a list of books that have had some impact on my life, ones that I would read again (if I haven't already!). Then for my Instagram photo, I limited myself to those books we had on the shelf at my library today.

Books featured above:

  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - I enjoyed the entire Narnia series, but this is by far my favorite. I love the metaphors and parallels to the story of Jesus.
  • The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene - Again I love the entire Nancy Drew series (the originals, not the new stuff), but this is the first one I can vividly remember reading as a child. 
  • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley - Most girls go through a horse-loving phase at some point, and this series fed that passion for me. The library ladies interloaned the next book in the series each week for me before I even asked. :) 
  • The Circle Series by Ted Dekker - I had never been much of a modern fantasy/suspense/sci-fi reader before Dekker's books. There are definitely some of his that are waaaay too creepy and scary for me (I did NOT like House), but Black, Red, White, and eventually Green are an amazing, well-thought-out and written series. 
  • A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers - I love Rivers' writing (Redeeming Love anyone??), but the Mark of the Lion series is by far my favorite of hers. I ate up this story of a young slave girl in first-century Rome who is persecuted for her faith but falls in love with an aristocrat. I bawled my eyes out at the end. Sigh, I should read this one again soon...
  • The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien - I have to include Lord of the Rings. While I've only read through the series once, this story sticks with me. Yes the movies helped, they are also some of my favorite movies of all time. But Tolkien's intense, descriptive language easily makes this a classic for me.
  • Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins - The one non-fiction book featured here (see below, all my other favorites were checked out!). I love Christmas music in general - I'm one of those freaks who would listen to it year-round if I could get away with it - but every Christmas season I love pulling this book out and learning where my favorite songs came from (did you know "O Holy Night" was the first song to ever be broadcast over the radio?).

And some additional books I would have added to my picture if they'd been in stock:

  • Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider - This was one of those books that when I finished it, I put it down and immediately said "I'm going to have to read that again!" Not because I couldn't understand it, but because I know I need to be constantly reminded to slow down and live my life to the fullest.
  • Serve God, Save the Planet and Go Green, Save Green by Matthew and Nancy Sleeth - In the midst of all the global warming and environmentalism of a couple years ago, these two books came out with a Christian perspective and practical ways to change our lifestyles. 
  • For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn - A small book that is packed with information. Based entirely on research surveys of thousands of men, Shaunti dives into many different topics about why my husband is the way he is, and what I can do with that knowledge to make our marriage better.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some. And there are tons more books on my "B" list, ones that I've enjoyed immensely at the time but am not quite ready to re-read them now.

Are any of your favorite books the same as mine?

(here's a link to my Instagram page, if you want to check out my other photos for #31bookpics!)

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 17

I'm Brave! by Kate & Jim McMullan.  September 2014.

From Amazon: "For fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Steam Train, Dream Train comes the perfect noisy addition to this hilarious read-aloud series from the popular creators of I'm Bad!, I Stink!, and I'm Dirty!: a fire truck. I'm Brave! is the most irresistible addition yet to Kate and Jim McMullan's hilarious read-aloud series."

My thoughts: I can never seem to keep McMullan's books on the shelf! Kids (especially boys) loooove anything to do with trucks. One reviewer said they can't believe it's taken the authors this long to write a firetruck book. The bright, bold pictures and loud words (there's just no way to read this book quietly!) help to teach children about the equipment firefighters use, as well as just how brave those people have to be to run in the direction of a fire instead of away from it.

Age: Toddler/Preschool and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway!**

Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 16

Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too by Anna Dewdney. May 2014.

From Amazon: "Drawing. Reading. Building. Painting. These are things Nelly loves to do…but they’re always better with Daddy Gnu! With fun-to-read rhyme, a little silliness, and a lot of warmth, Anna Dewdney—the creator of the beloved llama llama books—tells the story of a daughter and her daddy and their wonderful day together."

My thoughts: I have never met an Anna Dewdney book I don't like. I'd go so far as to say I've never met a Llama Llama book I don't love! With catchy rhymes, great plots, beautiful illustrations, and stories that just cover a variety of children's emotions, these are probably my favorite children's book series of all time. This installment features Nelly Gnu (whom we first met in Llama Llama Time to Share) and the adventures she has with her daddy while building a playhouse. It's very heartwarming, and reflects just how much little girls look up to their daddies. I highly highly recommend this book, along with the others in the series!

Age: Toddler and up

**Don't forget to enter my giveaway from yesterday!**

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 15 {GIVEAWAY!!!}

Yay I've made it halfway in the 31 Days of writing challenge!!! (AND I discovered this is my 100th post! Woohoo!!) To celebrate, I have a very special book to review today, PLUS one of YOU will win a copy of it!

Secrets of the Rainforest by Carron Brown & Alyssa Nassner. October 2014.

From Usborne: "Discover the animals and plants that live in and around a kapok tree, from the colorful parrots in the canopy to the sleek jaguar on the forest floor. This engaging non-fiction title will stimulate a love of the natural world as the vivacity of the rain forest is revealed through the bold and colorful artwork, and clever 'see-through' pages."

My thoughts: Kids love flashlights. Usborne's Shine-a-Light books give them a great chance to play with a light (not included) and learn something at the same time. When I tried this book out with my kids we could only find an almost-dead flashlight, so while the batteries were charging, we looked at it by holding it up toward the window. My 4-year-old definitely enjoyed it more than my 2-year-old, and she even wanted to bring it along one day to show her grandparents. I could really see it being super fun for any elementary age kids who want/need to learn about the creatures living in the rainforest - even I learned something!

Age: Preschool/Elementary and up

This book technically doesn't "release" until October 20 (according to Amazon), but my wonderful Usborne consultant Cara hooked me up with a copy. Check out her Facebook page, she often has giveaways! Plus she's willing to create an online party for you from across the country, where your friends can view and order some awesome Usborne books and you can earn free ones! (even while sitting on the couch after the kids go to bed, like I did :)  If I let myself, I could get sooooo carried away with buying from this company...

Not only was Cara awesome enough to let me have a copy of this book as soon as it was available, she is also willing to send one of YOU a copy of it too!! All you have to do to enter is visit this page on the Usborne site then come back here and leave a comment with what other new Usborne book looks intriguing to you. This giveaway will close on Friday October 31 at 11:59pm EST, when this 31 Days of writing is over! :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days of NEW Kids Picture Books: Day 14

Maisy Plays Soccer by Lucy Cousins. May 2014.

From Amazon: "Maisy and her friends can’t wait to play soccer! Maisy puts on her uniform, laces up her sneakers, and heads to the field. Charlie, Tallulah, and Dotty are on the blue team, while Maisy, Cyril, and Eddie are on the red. Let’s play! Soon enough the game heats up, with plenty of action, excitement, and suspense. Who will be the first team to make a goal? Whatever the score, it’s all in good fun, and everyone is still the best of friends at the end!"

My thoughts: Soccer is huge in our community, with many of our young kids playing on local teams as early as age 3. Our varsity teams often win well into the state playoffs. And with the excitement of World Cup soccer over the summer, this seemed like a great book to add to our collection. This book is typical of the Maisy series with bright colors and short sentences. It's great for introducing kids to some soccer terms (goal, pass, referee). My only concern is that the final score is a tie, and I am one of those parents who thinks kids need to learn about winning and losing. :) But for the target audience of this book, the ending is a good one! (though I did roll my eyes on the page where the blue team scores and the comments from the spectators are both "Whoo! Come on, blue team!" and "Yippee for the red team!")

Age: Toddler and up