Month: August 2013

Science Friday – ML is a Petrologist and a Mineralogist

Petrologists study rocks and mineralogists study minerals. ML studies both. I have to check all pockets before washing her clothes. Today, there were two rocks and one mineral. She picks them up everywhere – our yard, friends’ yards, neighbors’ yards, the school playground and every park we visit.

Last Christmas, Santa brought ML a Mine for Gems Kit. Included in the box were tools for extracting the gems from the dirt. A small full-color pamphlet described the gems. The pamphlet was informative but ML wanted to know more. I brought home several rocks and mineral books. ML’s favorite was from the Smithsonian Handbooks series titled Gemstones by Cally Hall.

There are other books in this series. I’m checking out Butterflies and Moths by David J. Carter today. The zinnias we planted this spring are thriving and attracting a variety of butterflies. On Sunday, we saw a dark colored butterfly with a splash of blue on each wing. I’m thinking it was the Pipevine Swallowtail.

It’s Like No Jumping on the Bed


One of ML’s favorite books is No Jumping on the Bed by Tedd Arnold. Walter’s father warns him if he continues to jump on his bed, one day it will crash through the floor. He continues to jump, and the bed crashes through the floor. Walter falls through the ceiling of their top floor apartment. Along the way he meets a variety of neighbors as he crashes through their ceilings.

Recently, I read ML Creak! Said the Bed by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Regan Dunnick. When I finished, she said, “Mom, It’s like No Jumping on the Bed.” She’s right. Both books show big cracks in the floor.

Once again, ML’s making those connections. I can’t wait to see the connections she makes this school year.



In Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers, Crispin is abnormal. Normal dragons breathe fire on their seventh birthday. Crispin breathes whipped cream, marshmallows, bubbles, red party streamers, teddy bears, and beach balls. Luckily, he breathes water and saves the day.

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam is set at the beach. A boy creates a perfect sandcastle and a dragon moves in. It’s a mischievous dragon who eats all of the peanut butter sandwiches and throws sand at the boy’s sister.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri is comical. Dragons love tacos and taco parties. Warning, only serve mild salsa to dragons. No Jalapenos! Unless you want . . .
Sorry, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

You Get What You Get


When ML was a preschooler, her teachers said, “You get what you get and you don’t fuss a bit.”

When I saw a book entitled, You Get What You Get by Julie A. Gassman and illustrated by Sarah Horne was on order for the library system, I immediately put a request on the book. I wanted us to be the first to read it. It is laugh out loud funny. My coworkers and I howled at the service desk. If somebody tried to shush us, we would have handed over the book and dared them not to laugh.

Melvin throws a fit at home whenever something doesn’t go his way. But when he enters school, he can’t throw fits because the school rule is, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” He’s determined not to share this rule with his family. But like ML and most first graders, it’s hard to keep things secret. When his sister is unhappy about something, Melvin shouts, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” His family’s eyes are wide and surprised. They ask “What did you just say?”

Once again a book reminded us of Papa. His middle name is Melvin; something ML did not know.

Back to School – Hair


ML’s hair is completely different than mine. I had straight as a stick, thin hair. Her hair is thicker and wavy. When it’s really humid, it become ringlets. When she was younger, it was a battle to brush her hair.

I don’t fight it anymore. However she wants her hair to look is fine with me. I appreciate the fact she doesn’t really care how it looks. I know in a few years the tide will change. Instead of asking “please put your socks and shoes on. It’s time to go!” I know my constant refrain will be, “You’re hair looks fine. We’ve got to go!”

Baghead by Jarrett J. Krosoczka reminds me of the day my friend and I found some golden, yellow hair on the playroom floor. ML decided to give her friend a haircut. If she had to cut another child’s hair during childhood, I am glad she chose Kee. Her mom takes everything in stride. Luckily, it wasn’t very noticeable.

The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson illustrated by Ard Hoyt is a favorite. Zoe’s hair makes ML’s hair look ultra tame.

A post about hair is not complete without mentioning the classic book Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. For a real treat click on the following link to hear the author read it.

Science Friday – The Magic School Bus and Olinguitos

WaterworksSolar SystemNew Mammal

ML loves the Magic School Bus series written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen. Miss Frizzle is an odd teacher who takes her students on adventerous field trips via the Magic School Bus.

I’ve owned a few of these titles since my college days. I promise they were not my textbooks. Berry College wasn’t that easy. As an elementary education major, I had the opportunity to buy children’s books from Scholastic at a reduced rate.

A few years ago, ML discovered these college purchases on a bookshelf. She was hooked.

ML loves The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System. It was written in 1992, so it is not scientifically accurate. They visit nine planets. Now there are only eight. ML knows Pluto has been downgraded. It’s a great way to discuss how scientific discoveries are being made everyday. Sometimes this means changes.

Just last week, the discovery of a new mammal was announced to the world. The olinguito has a face that looks like a teddy bear. But don’t be confused, it’s a carnivorous mammal with very sharp claws.

My favorite is The Magic School Bus and the Waterworks. It provides an opportunity to explain what her Papa did for many years; put in water lines throughout the United States. One of the pipeline’s diameter was large enough for a Volkswagen Bug to drive through it. At least, that’s what Papa said, but he’s been known to tell some tall tales.

Sleep Like a Tiger


Sleep Like a Tiger by Mary Logue and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski was a 2013 Caldecott Honor Book, the most esteemed award given yearly for illustrated picture books.

The artwork is exquisite. We read this book repeatedly for three weeks. Each evening ML would study the illustrations. She started noticing the repetition of various shapes, toys and patterns scattered throughout the book. ML loved looking for the yellow circle. Sometimes it was the sun, sometimes the center of a flower, and sometimes just a yellow circle.

My favorite was hard to decide. I loved the whale, teapot, elephant and owl. Check out this book to discover your child’s favorite repeated image.