Stardines and Elecopter

ElecopterStardines

Kids love silly words. Last week, I read Elecopter by Michael Slack at preschool storytime. ML thought it would be a hit, and she was correct. The rhyming text, bright colors and creative character make it one of my favorite books published for preschoolers this year. Don’t miss the blog post by the author/illustrator showing steps in the process of illustrating this book mackidsbooks.com.

Recently, ML and I read Stardines Swim High Across the Sky: and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Carin Berger. It’s a collection of creative poems. Each poem’s title is an animal name with a letter replaced or added to it – Stardines, Slobsters, Fountainlions, Tattlesnakes, Panteaters and Plandas – to name a few. ML exclaimed “Mommy, let’s make up our own animals.” So we did… Solar Bear and Chopperhead.

Check out Carin Berger’s lovely shadowbox artwork. We love the Fountainlion. What’s your favorite?

P.S. I’m going to call ML and friends Tattlesnakes when they come to me saying, “So and So did this. So and So did that.” My new response will be “Work it out, Tattlesnakes” instead of my of plain old “Work it out.” It may sound a little harsh to you. But it’s not as harsh as my second grade teacher placing a donkey tail made of construction paper around a tattletale’s neck.

Science Friday – Evolution

Evolution
In honor of Banned Book Week, I decided to highlight a controversial subject… Evolution. I grew up in a certain place at a certain time. When I was in elementary school, a fellow Georgian was president. While researching for this post, I read Jimmy Carter’s written statement “As a Christian, a trained engineer and scientist, and a professor at Emory University, I am embarrassed by Superintendent Kathy Cox’s attempt to censor and distort the education of Georgia’s students,” The Department of Education in Georgia was trying to remove the word “evolution” from it’s curriculum. This quote is not from his presidential years, nor from any of the twenty something years after his election. It’s from this millennium; published on CNN on January 30, 2004.

I don’t remember what I learned about evolution in school. So I visited the children’s non-fiction section to brush up. Surprisingly, a report titled Creation vs. Evolution fell out of the first book I opened. The notes were thorough and interesting. The final paragraph arguing, “the giraffe is a good example against evolution” was well-organized, but easily debatable. However, it was encouraging to see the full process – notes, outline, final paper.

Back to the books on evolution. So many were overstimulating – photos, cartoons, charts, graphs, different fonts, several colors of text and at least three background colors on just ONE page. I saw this over and over in many of the books I checked out. Luckily, I found a revised edition of the Eyewitness Book Evolution on the shelf. I remember when the first editions were cutting edge in nonfiction publishing. Thank goodness they still exist and are being updated. A lot of today’s cutting edge nonfiction defeats the purpose of reading nonfiction to gain better understanding about a subject. They provide snippets of facts but lack depth. Anybody else agree?

The Long, Long Line

line
When the library receives new picture books, I scan all of them. Then, I decide which ones to take home. It’s amazing the details I miss in my initial look. As a prolific reader, my eyes are drawn immediately to words, not illustrations. ML’s eyes are drawn to the illustrations first. I love how she helps me look at books in a new way.

The Long, Long Line by Tomoko Ohmura is one of these books. The first page’s illustrations are a simple sign, “Please Line Up in Single File” and a drawing of #50 Frog. For eighteen pages, it’s a mystery why the animals are in line. A bird, the line monitor, appears on each page spread providing instructions, encouragement and polite reprimands. Finally, we meet elephant, the line leader, and find out why everyone is waiting.

Bird welcomes the animals aboard the Jumbo Coaster. A ride on the biggest animal in the world – the whale. It reminds me of my favorite childhood roller coaster. Both rides include three amazing feats. The Mind Bender was touted as the first triple-loop roller coaster. The Jumbo Coaster’s whale provides three thrills… The Whale Somersault, The Whale Dive and The Whale Spray.

After our first reading, ML stated, “Mommy the line goes from the biggest animal to the smallest.” She was correct, so we explored the pictures further. The sheep is afraid to move. There’s a wolf in front of him. The baby kangaroo is crying “Are we there yet” from his mother’s pouch. One animal starts a game of “Word Chain.” If you want to learn how to play Word Chain, you’ll have to read the book. I promise it will make waiting in line more enjoyable. ML started spelling homework this week. Before I know it, we’ll be able to play Word Chain.

Censorship by Mom and Others

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Was Trina Schart Hyman’s Little Red Riding Hood banned for violence? After all, the grandmother was eaten by the wolf. Nope. Instead, someone was concerned the wine bottle in the basket encouraged underage drinking.

Where the Wild Things Are challenges started from the time it was published. One reason resonates with me. The book shockingly features a child who yells at his mother. My mother did not censor this book but she did ban it from bedtime reading. Apparently, it made my brother wild. Instead of going to sleep, Kevin turned into a romping monster. He may have even yelled at his mother.

Do you know the title of the poetry book among the most banned books in the 1990’s? A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. It’s been read by millions of children throughout the world. Oh, the sweet taste of forbidden poems.

My personal favorite banned book is Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr. It was briefly banned by the Texas State Board of Education. They confused its author, Bill Martin, Jr., with philosopher Bill Martin, author of Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

When I was in elementary school, my mom served on the committee tasked with reading challenged media center books. Whenever a book was challenged, a copy would be sent home in a sealed, golden mailing pouch via me. This was unnecessary, as often times I read the book.

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier was challenged for profanity. The irony is the challenger’s child signed my yearbook that year, “Remember the trees, remember the grass, remember me the pain in the ass.”

I don’t remember the outcome of the challenge. Hopefully, one of mom’s friends can recall. It’s a story to share with ML when she is older.

Dangerous Books

BookEatsPeopleOpenCarefullyWarning

It’s Banned Book Week; a week celebrating the Freedom to Read. Be careful! Some picture books are dangerous. You should avoid them at all costs. ML and I tried not to read the books below, but we couldn’t resist.

The Book That Eats People
by John Perry and illustrated by Mark Fearing title says it all. This book eats people. Not just one person, but many people! It’s a hit with the children of North Carolina. In 2012, they voted it North Carolina’s Children Book Award Winner in the picture book category.

In Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne, a crocodile is trapped in the wrong book. Only the bravest should open this book. Thankfully, ML and I braved the book. It’s one of the funniest books of the year.

Warning: Do Not Open This Book! narrated by Adam Lehrhaupt and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe warn you in both the title and several pages after to not open the book. But we couldn’t resist learning letting the monkeys out.

Stay Tuned! Tomorrow, I’ll highlight some banned or challenged picture books.

ML Won’t Talk To Me! She’s Too Busy Reading Gooney Bird Greene

Gooney

Two nights a week, I work at the library and ML spends the night at her dad’s house. I call every Wednesday and Thursday night. ML isn’t, nor has she ever been, a big talker on the phone. In the past, she’s said “Mommy, I can’t talk, I’m watching a show.” or “I’m playing a game. Good-bye!” or “Hello. Goodbye.” All these conversations end with us blowing a kiss to each other.

Last week, ML said, “Mommy, you’re interrupting my reading.” I asked questions about her day but didn’t receive an answer. Instead, I heard her whispering words from the book Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry. “. . .her second day at Watertower Elementary School, Gooney Bird Greene was wearing a pink ballet tutu over green stretch pants and she had three small red grapes, an avocado and an oatmeal cookie for lunch.”

Gooney Bird reminds me of ML, a fiesty, friendly, free-spirit. Middy Thomas’ illustrations look like ML. . . creative clothes and imperfect hair. I’m betting ML will read all five books in the series before New Year’s Eve. Luckily, in January of 2014, Gooney Bird and All Her Charms is scheduled for release.

Thankfully, ML wasn’t too busy to blow me a kiss Thursday night.

Science Friday – Papa’s Mechanical Fish

MechanicalFish

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming and pictures by Boris Kulikov is historical fiction with a scientific twist.

Papa is an inventor who conceives and invents all sorts of things. Edible socks – disgusting. Steam-powered roller skates – he forgot the brakes. One day his daughter asks, “Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a fish?” An obsession begins. Papa decides to create a mechanical fish. Through trial and error, he succeeds. His family joins him for a fish eye’s view under the water of Lake Michigan.

The last page of this book is called, “It’s Almost True.” Lodner Phillips was an eccentric man engrossed with the idea of inventing a submarine. After many attempts, his persistance paid off. His family joined him for a ride on his submarine, Whitefish, in 1851.

Henri’s Scissors

matisse

ML loves to cut construction paper. It started the second she mastered scissors. In the beginning, she cut and cut and cut one piece of paper into as many pieces as she could. White printer paper was her specialty. Currently, her focus is cutting abstract forms from construction paper. Then, taping them on her walls and ceiling.

Recently, the library received a book called Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter. It’s one of the loveliest books of the year. The story is a simple, elegant picture book biography about Henri Matisse. It focuses on his later years when he was infirm and began cutting out shapes. He called it “painting with scissors”

Painting with scissors eloquently describes my little Matisse.

Back to School, Back to Lunch and Pete the Cat

Lunch

FourGroovyButtons

School’s back in session for three weeks and I’m already searching for new lunch ideas. Peanut Butter is out of the question. ML is allowed to take it to school, but she refuses because some of her friends are allergic. She doesn’t want to put them at risk for an allergic reaction.

Pasta, grapes, carrots, hummus, yogurt, cucumbers, lebnah, tomatoes, chex mix, pita chips, sweet peas, clementines, pretzels, cheese and apples are mainstays. But there are 180 school days.

In Pete the Cat: Pete’s Big Lunch created by James Dean, Pete is hungry! He builds a huge sandwich. Then, finds it is too big for him to eat alone. So he invites his friends to join him. The book features some foods I can’t pack. Ice cream – obviously. Bananas – I’ve tried but they return home uneaten and smushed. Eggs – ML won’t touch them. But pickles are something she loves. I’ll add them to the list.

And you should add Pete the Cat books to your reading list. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttonsby Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean is my favorite. Check out a portion of the Pete the Cat song and video below. You must check this book out at the library to see the hilarious ending.

How many Pete the Cat books have you read? And please share what you pack for school lunches?

The ABCs of North Carolina

ABCsNC
Little did I know I had an up and coming author and illustrator in my backyard. Literally, in my back yard. Amy Richards took excellent care of ML when I returned to full-time library work. They went to parks, played games and did all sorts of craft activities. ML has a painted canvas in her room of a mermaid. Amy did a line drawing and ML painted it. It’s one of my favorite things.

Amy launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the initial expense of printing her coloring book, The ABCs of NC. It’s an amazing, educational book. Amy’s appreciates the support and interest of friends and acquaintances. Check out the video about her project. http://kck.st/1dKSSkv She’s reached her initial goal so she can print 100 coloring books. However, the more money she raises the more books she can print at a cheaper cost per book. Her pledge gifts will make great Christmas presents. Rumor has it, Santa’s bringing me a watercolor of the letter F page. . .forsythia branch with bluebird. Two of ML and my favorite things in one painting. Red or Charcoal grey t shirts silk-screened with an image of the cover are available with a $25 dollar pledge.

You heard it here first. Amy Richards is on her way.

NCtshirt

What Really Happened at Bookclub

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As a participant in a variety of bookclubs the past 15 years, I know wine, food and chitchat are an important part of the evening. Some of the bookclub meetings never got around to discussing the book. With first and second graders I knew I needed a plan. I wasn’t wedded to the plan. . .but wanted some ideas if things went downhill. And they literally went downhill.

The girls arrived. A game of chase around the house quickly ensued while I finished preparing the gourmet meal. . . bowtie pasta (with or without cheese), grapes and juice boxes.

After dinner, the educational part of the meeting began. My coworker and her entomologist husband brought two large shadowboxes filled with bugs. The girls were fascinated and the entomologist was impressed with their knowledge. Each girl shared their favorite bug from the collection

Then, it was dessert time. Miriam made grasshopper brownies. She told the girls there were grasshoppers in them. Only a few believed her. But they all started boinging like the characters in the book who ate the roasted grasshoppers. Between the grasshopper brownies and chocolate chip cookies, the girls were sugared up.

Before I continue, a little background information. Turn right out of our driveway, you quickly walk uphill. Turn left out of our driveway, you quickly walk up a different hill. Also, a third grade boy lives up the street. ML and her friends love to chase him.

Sugared up, clanging ML’s musical instruments and begging to do a parade, I agreed to lead one. They insisted we turn left onto the street because Nathan was last seen riding his bike to the left. Approaching the top of the hill at busy Dixie Trail, I told the girls to turn around. When they turned, Nathan was speeding down the other hill. Our straight line parade turned into a mass group of screaming girls running towards Nathan like a cloud of locust flying down the street.

It was getting dark as the girls chased Nathan. So Liz, the mom helping me, and I rounded up the girls for the literary part of the meeting. The girls were encouraged to bring a picture showing their favorite part of the book. Some did, some didn’t (One member, went home from school with a fever on Friday. However, she insisted her mom bring her picture for the club to see.) I held up the pictures and the artist shared what they thought was the funniest part of the book. Then, I asked those who didn’t bring a picture to share their favorite part.

Next I showed the cover of six possible titles to read for the next official meeting. Each girl wrote her name and top two choices on Hello Kitty shopping list paper. I tallied the votes and used them to choose a raffle prize winner.

ML and I attended a charity event last spring where ML won a necklace for me in the raffle. She’s been wanting to have a raffle ever since. I decided bookclub would be the perfect place and purchased a prize, the book Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and illustrated by Tony Fucile. Ella won the book. There was a tie for the book choices, so the girls decided to read two books.

The “bookclub” portion was over with 30 minutes left before the parents arrival. Luckily, Annabeth the youngest and shortest took over. Liz and I sat on the couch and enjoyed a fashion show. The door to ML’s room would open and Annabeth would introduce the next model. It’s hard to pick a favorite. But one girl chose to wear a long black skirt and top. Covering her hair and face with a scarf, she was introduced as, “Anonymous.”

Our November meeting will “discuss” two books.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith
Poppy the Pirate Dog by Liz Kessler and illustrated by Mike Phillips

Based on the dramatic fashion show, I am planning to do reader’s theater with fairy tales. No memorization is required. I’ll randomly pull names out of a hat. Then, email the script and daughter’s part to each mom. They can bring one prop and only one for their part.

Below are the girls’ pictures. Read Grasshopper Magic by Lynne Jonnell and illustrated by Brandon Dorman and see if you can decide which picture illustrates which scene in the book.

sienna001

eleanor

ella001

miriam001

miriam002

carlyann

marylouise001

anon001

Science Friday – Poop, Scat, Do-Do

Truth Poop
PoopHappened
Jurassic Poop
poop

I have a new strategy to reduce the numerous poop conversations between ML and her friends. Give them a poop fact every time they say the word. Below are the books I am reading and a fact or two from each one.

The Truth About Poop by Susan E. Goodman and illustrated by Elwood H. Smith “While they’re hibernating, BEARS don’t poop at all. Their bodies create an internal plug made from feces, old cells, and hair that keeps them from pooping during their winter sleep.”

Poop Happened: A History of the World From the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee and illustrated by Robert Leighton
In medieval times a gongfermor enjoyed one of the higher paying jobs. Enjoy is probably not the best word. Gongfermors jumped into the muck of privy pits and carted the poop away.
A modern day issue, “. . .you’ll appreciate the problems faced by astronauts in a wieghtless environment. In older spacecrafts, the toilet was little more than a plastic bag taped to the astronaut’s behnd. Nowadays. . .” Sorry, you’ll have to check out the book.

Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (and Others) Left Behind by Jacob Berkowitz and Steve Mack
Coprolite – Scientific name for fossilized feces.
Archaeoentomologist – Scientist who studies ancient insects.
Scatologist – Scientist who studies feces from living animals
Paleoecologist – Scientist who studies the relationships between ancient animals, plants and the environment.
Paleoparasitologist – Scientists who study ancient parasites.
I’m looking forward to asking, “Do you know what a Archaeoentomologist studying coprolites is looking for?

I need to tell ML a story about Uncle Kevin. Actually, I’ll wait until we visit Georgia so her Papa can tell it. I did not witness the event. However, it is vivid in my memory because my dad is one of the best storytellers in the world. My college graduation was outside beneath large oak trees. I bet you know where this is going. . . Yep, Uncle Kevin’s button-down, plaid shirt got hit by bird poop. Actually, I learned in Poop: A Natural History by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Neal Layton, birds poop and pee out of the same hole. The dark stuff is feces and the white stuff is their pasty urine. Who knew?

Libraries Can’t Buy Every Book

RedCat
After reading Backstage Cat, ML saw a picture of the cover for Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond on the book’s jacket flap. ML insisted I check it out. Unfortunately, our library doesn’t own this title. I took the opportunity to explain libraries are like us. They can’t buy everything.

Luckily, our library participates in Interlibrary Loan; a service
which requests books from other library systems. Sometimes it only takes a week or so to receive a book. Other times months. Within a month, we received Red Cat, Blue Cat from Sandhills Community College. Books move all around the nation daily via this service.

It was worth the wait. Jenni Desmond’s book did not disappoint. Blue Cat is smart. Red Cat is jealous. Red Cat is fast and bouncy. Blue Cat is jealous. Each cat tries a variety of ways to be like the other; eating foods of blue or red, dressing in red clothes or painting oneself with blue paint. Finally, each cat is content to be itself. With this new confidence, they develop a beautiful friendship. All is well until Yellow Cat arrives. Yellow Cat can sing. Should Red Cat and Blue Cat start singing?

Can’t find what you’re looking for in your library’s catalog? Ask if they participate in Interlibrary Loan.

Urgency Emergency! Series

ItsyBitsySpiderBigBadWolf
Currently, ML’s saving her money to buy crutches on eBay. I get the interest in crutches. Luckily, my friend’s dad sold medical equipment. I spent A LOT of time playing with the crutches at Ashley’s house. At times she probably wondered, “Does Kerri come to see me or the crutches?” Let’s just say I shared my daughter’s obsession.

When a new series Urgency Emergency! by Dosh Archer arrived last week, I rushed it home convinced it was a perfect choice for ML’s nightly homework. . . read twenty minutes every night. Excitedly, I handed her Urgency Emergency! Itsy Bitsy Spider. She groaned, took the book from me, and climbed into her new bed. Next thing I know, she’s in the living room sharing all the details of the story.

The next evening, I offered up another book from the series Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf. Within fifteen minutes, she returned the book to me. According to ML, “the ambulance brought a choking wolf to the hospital, he was choking on a grandma, and he was taken to jail because it is against the law to eat people.” She’s achieved a huge step in reading. . . reading a book, comprehending it and retelling the story.

This series was first published in the United Kingdom. A few weeks ago the titles above were released in the United States. Hopefully, Little Elephant’s Blocked Trunk, Melting Snowman, and Trapped Beetle US publications are pending.

MOMMY! Come Here

Peck
During the past few weeks, the new arrivals at the library wowed me. We had a reading marathon last weekend.

Monday afternoon, ML yelled, “Mommy! Come Here.” When I didn’t arrive immediately, she yelled, “Mommy! Come Here. Mommy! Come Here. MOMMY COME HERE!!!!

Upon entering her room, she directed me to a dark corner underneath her loft. She pointed to tiny indentations on her pinkish-purple wall. ML exclaimed, “It’s like in the book.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Annoyed I wasn’t making the connection. Ml said, “You know the book we read last night with the woodpecker.”

Lucy Cousins the creator of the series of Maisy picture books recently pubished Peck, Peck, Peck . . .an adorable book about a daddy woodpecker teaching his child to peck. There are holes in each item the baby bird pecks. She pecks through a house’s blue door. Afterwards, the fun really begins. She pecks a tennis racket, a picture of Aunt Geraldine, polka dot underwear, blue shampoo, seventeen jelly beans and so much more.

My coworker’s two-year old son liked poking his fingers through the holes. I enjoy seeing how different ages of children react to the same book.

Blog Name Change, Smart Phones and The Quest for 41 Followers

Summer is not officially over, but it’s coming September 22nd. The positive feedback from readers and the appreciative emails from authors and illustrators make me happy. So I am going to continue the blog. From now on, it’s “What Is ML Reading?”

Currently, I have 24 followers. On November fifth, I hope to have 41 followers. It’s the day I turn 41. Please share with friends, coworkers and people you meet in the grocery line. Actually, I am probably one of the few people talking to people in the grocery line. Most people in line are attuned to their smart phones, not their surroundings.

Speaking of smartphones. . . I’m hoping to avoid purchasing one until I cannot function in the world without one. (Did I mention my family was one of the last owners of rotary-dial phones? The other family? The Naugles) I’m just not ready to have the temptation of passing it off to my daughter when she is griping about us having to wait in line, at a restaurant or in the car. It’s precious talk time for us.

ML’s First Bookclub Meeting Was Magical

grasshopper
Below is an email invitation I sent to sixteen first and second graders’ moms.

ML and her two friends Piper and Emily decided they wanted to start a bookclub. So we’ve decided to go for it. On Friday, September 6 at 6:30 drop the girls off and I’ll have dinner ready for them. You can pick them up anytime between 8:30 – 9:00. There may be a special guest, an etymologist. If not, his bug collection will be there.

The book I am choosing for the first meeting is Grasshopper Magic by Lynne Jonnell and illustrated by Brandon Dorman. Here is the blurb from the author’s website. “Chicken? Abner is not a chicken, no matter what his brother Derek says. But when it comes to giving a speech in front of the whole town, Abner is . . . well . . . he’s more than a little nervous.

Then his sister Tate has an idea–bravery lessons. And the first one? Eat a roasted grasshopper. But Abner forgot something important. There’s magic in the ground under his family’s house and grasshoppers hatch from eggs laid in the ground. So what, exactly, would happen if a kid ate a grasshopper that had been soaking up magic all year long? BOING!”

Only twelve of the girls were able to join us this month. Our next official meeting will be November 15th. I’m hoping all 16 girls can make it. If I can fit 12 girls in a 964 square foot house, what’s 4 more?

Stay tuned. Next week, I’ll tell you all about the evening. . . and reveal the next book selection.

Science Friday – Scared of Thunder

ThunderCakeTornado
I confessed to ML thunder scared me as a little girl. She thinks I’m still afraid. During a thunderstorm last weekend, we read a book about a little girl’s fear of thunder in Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco.

The grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome the fear of thunder by making her a Thunder Cake. With the storm rumbling miles away, they gather the ingredients for the cake. . .eggs from the chickens . . . milk from the cow. . .chocolate, sugar and flour from the dry shed. Then, the secret ingredients “three overripe tomatoes and some strawberries.” ML’s response, “Mmmm that cake sounds good.” We love tomatoes so the secret ingredient works for us. I’ll let you know how it tastes.

Next, we read Violent Weather: Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes by Andrew Collins. Who knew “at any given time, 1800 thunderstorms are happening somewhere on Earth.”

While reading the tornado section, ML said, “We’re lucky the tornado did not destroy our house.” She’s right. A few years ago the weather was ominous. It was the first time ML was old enough to understand tornado watches and warnings. We made a plan. Our pillows were in the bathtub when her dad called to let us know a tornado was spotted in our area of town. We crouched in the bathtub covered in pillows until her dad called my cell phone to tell us all was safe. Three houses down from our home was a gate for the Oakwood Cemetery. A historic cemetery with lots of beautiful oak trees. Many of them fell in the storm. ML’s observation is correct. We were lucky.

123 versus ABC

123
ML learned her ABC’s at a young age. When the book 123 versus ABC by Mike Boldt arrived, I knew I would read it. I read all the picture books the library receives. But I didn’t expect to take it home. And I didn’t expect ML to enjoy it like she did.

It’s a perfect book for preschoolers and elementary-aged children. For preschoolers, it’s an opportunity to see letters and numbers visually. For first, second and third graders, it’s just plain funny. ML knows we return books to the library for others to enjoy. She’s not ready to give this one up. Sometimes I sneak library books out the door when she’s not looking. This one I’ll hide at the bottom of my library book bag and place in the car while she is asleep.

I don’t want to spoil the ending but . . . what would happen if colors joined the fray?

Cute and Cuter

CuteCuter
ML’s cousin is my roommate from library school’s son. Four-year-old Henry and “almost seven” ML don’t see each other enough. When they do, it’s a whirlwind of fun. Saturday night, we planned to repeat last visit’s fun. . .pizza party, sprinkler and silliness. We did.

Then, ML and Henry performed a bunch of puppet shows. Henry’s best show included a rattlesnake who meowed. ML’s favorite starred a purple fish hat who ate and pooped pink dragons. I’m trying to curtail ML’s scatological humor, but even I laughed.

After that, we read books. ML read No, David by David Shannon. I read a new picture book in comic book form, Cute & Cuter by Michael Townsend. Both were hits. Henry liked them so much we sent the books home with him. The nuances in Cute & Cuter require multiple readings. I’ll check out another copy so ML can further explore Janie Jane’s adventures. Everyone’s favorite line, “I think she’s cuter than a dozen pink hamsters dancing in a field of flowers while eating cupcakes!” is illustrated on the inside covers of the book.

From now on, our “cousin time” will include puppets and books.

ML and I Laughed and Laughed Friday Night! Then, Laughed Some More!

Clothing
From time to time I bring home as many books by an author as I can get my hands on. Last weekend, it was books written by Judi Barrett and drawn by Ron Barrett.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs was familiar to ML. The incredible Ms. Shaw shared it last year. We laughed while we read it. Then, laughed more reading the sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh. But we howled and howled and howled reading Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. Then, we howled some more.

This week ML is Star of the Week. Today, three of her favorite things go to school. Duckie’s a given. Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing made the cut. The third item is her rock collection, including yesterday’s acquisition. Thank you Will’s mom for letting us bring the smooth tan-brown rock home.

Looking forward to picking up ML today. . .wondering how her classmates reacted to the illustration for “because it might make life hard for a hen.” ML is a fan of the opossum and goat pages. I think the snake page is hilarious. Although, nothing compares to the hen page. Check out this link to read the entire book http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seCw76LuGDE. Which page is your favorite?