One Special Day: A Story For Big Brothers & Sisters

One Special Day

I’m often asked for stories about a new sibling arriving. Tonight, we read One Special Day: A Story For Big Brothers & Sisters written by Lola M. Schaefer and illustrated by Jessica Meserve. Spencer is a wild and crazy boy. “Strong as a bear. Loud as an elephant. Messy as a pig.” And more! One special day Spencer is quiet. He’s waiting to meet the new addition to his family; so he can gently hold the baby.

ML asked, “Is it a brother or sister?” At first, she thought brother.  Then, I closed the book.  She looked at the cover; and decided it was a sister. Read the book and you’ll see why.  It’s my new go to book about the arrival of a sibling.

Last year, I presented a storytime where I read some rollicking books about babies.  The preschoolers loved it. After the books I discovered for the StrollerThon post and this new book, I’m performing another Baby themed storytime this winter. One Special Day is a perfect storytime read. Each page is a guessing game. For example, one page states “He was fast-” When you turn the page, there is an illustration of a horse created with digital oil pastel.  Not sure how this art technique works; but the result captivated us.

Addendum:  I contact authors and illustrators when I feature their books.  Often I learn really cool things.  Like what their working on now.  Lola Schaeffer shared about how sometimes a book idea comes and you have to drop everything.  Here’s what she wrote.

“I can admit to you that One Special Day came to me in one swift gust of words. I was preparing lunch and had to throw everything back into the refrigerator and run up to the computer to type it.  Sometimes our strongest work comes that way. We writers call that a “gift” book. It’s a gift that the universe channels through us.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s heaven.”

We Almost Went to the Beach – Instead We Read Beach Related Books

Ben and ZipShark KissHope For WinterBears Sea Escape
Thinking ML and I might take a trip to the coast for Labor Day, I checked out some ocean related books. Luckily, I never told her about my idea. With the start of school, we needed a low-key weekend. However, I knew with three days off from school, ML would be begging to have friends over. So I decided a sleepover on Friday night would be the ticket.

Last night I showed ML and Louise a stack of ten books. Allowing them to each pick two. I laughed when I saw they chose all the ocean related books.

Ben & Zip:  Two Short Friends by Joanne Linden and illustrated by Tom Goldsmith – Ben’s friend is missing.  He searches the boardwalk and stands on a bench to get a better view.  It doesn’t help.  So he climbs a picnic bench.  Then, a lifeguard stand where he is able to see his friend.  There’s a surprise to this book I’m not sharing.  The illustrations in this book are a relief from the airbrushed media our children are exposed to daily.  It shows what real people look like at the beach.  “Round bellies, flat bellies, bellies white and brown.  Hairy bellies, jelly bellies, bellies hanging down.”

Shark Kiss, Octopus Hug by Lynn Rowe Reed and illustrated by Kevin Cornell – A rollicking story about a shark wanting a hug and an octopus wanting a kiss. No matter what these sea animals try, the people on the beach aren’t interested in hugging and kissing them. The book ends with Octopus receiving a kiss and Shark being hugged.  Eight arms wrap themselves around Shark to comfort him resulting in a kiss for Octopus.  I got a hug and kiss at the end of the book too.

Hope for Winter: The True Story of a Remarkable Dolphin Friendship
by David Yates, Craig Hatkoff, Juliana Hatkoff and Isabelle Hatkoff – This photographic tale of two dolphins’ friendship entranced these animal-loving, science minded girls. They recognized the story of Winter and knew there was a movie too. Guess what I just added to my Netflix queue? We’ll have to invite Louise over for a movie night when it arrives.

The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud – We didn’t read this choice. The girls were getting restless… acting like snakes inside their sleeping bags,  Near lights out, I showed the girls how they could find the baby bear in each picture. Thought it would be a way to calm them. Not so much. Instead they were giggling about the boat with the swimming pool, bedrooms, exercise room, and more. Safe to say they’ve never been on a cruise.

I picked one too… Who Sleeps, Cat the Cat? I couldn’t resist reading this new Mo Willems book knowing the girls would howl at page nine. Cat let’s Horse the Horse know it’s time to sleep. His response is “I’m on it!” And he is. He’s on the potty. There was howling. Then, ML noticed Cat the Cat’s head was turned and she was hiding her eyes. So they laughed even more.

Who Sleeps

PS:  Don’t tell ML, but Louise’s mom and I are planning a picnic and swimming for Sunday afternoon.  Watermelon and the pool.  A perfect way to end summer… if you aren’t at the beach.

Second Grade So Far – Once Again, ML’s Teacher Has A Greater Influence on The Books ML Chooses to Read Than I

ML’s not big on answering questions about school.  Especially, “What happened at school today?”  She will usually tell me if she had music, art, PE or one of the other specials.  I’ve asked her this every night since kindergarten.

I’ve added two questions this year,  “Did your teacher read a book to the class?” and “What did you read today?”  So far, she’s answering these questions; and I’m pleased with the answers.

DAY 1

SummerVacation

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague – “A schoolboy tells his class about his summer vacation, during which he joined a group of cowboys and stopped a cattle stampede.”

DAY 2

My Teacher Is Monster

Busy night with the final StrollerThon planning meeting at our house.  I forgot to ask what the teacher read.  We did read a book together.  My Teacher is a Monster! No I am Not. by Peter Brown.  ML assured me her teacher is not a monster.  I already figured that out.

DAY 3

“I can’t remember because I read two chapter books.  A Jack and Annie book.  And a Mercy Watson book.  Well almost two.  I have another chapter in the Jack and Annie book.” For those unfamiliar with the term Jack and Annie book.  It’s the Magic Tree House series.

 

DAY 4

0-439-20637-5

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith – “Mean Jean is the biggest bully on the playground until a new girl arrives and challenges Jean’s status as the Recess Queen.”  I’m learning from ML’s teacher too.  I have a post on picture books about bullying in draft form.  I’ve added this book to the list.

 

Mercy WatsonMercy Watson Princess

Once again, ML’s teacher is more influential in getting ML to read great books than I.  For over a year, I’ve encouraged ML to try a Mercy Watson book by Kate DiCamillo  and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.  Last night, ML informed me she has read two so far this school year.  She’s eager for me to bring the other four books in the series home from the library.

There are several books I am dying for ML to read.  I purchased paperbacks of a few of these.  Looks like the best way to get her to read them is to donate them to the classroom library.  I’m bringing our copy of Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee to Open House Wednesday night for the class to enjoy.

 

The Very Cranky Bear

Very Cranky Bear

I didn’t open the cover of this new arrival at the library until ML and I could enjoy it together. I’m glad I waited. The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland is a delightful, rhyming read-aloud.  After all, it’s set in the Jingle, Jangle, Jungle.

This fall, I’m presenting a Bear themed story time. I asked ML if I should read The Very Cranky Bear to the preschoolers. She put her thumb up. Can’t wait to ask them to show me a cranky face.

The illustrations are hilarious.  I know I use the word “hilarious’ often in my posts.  But that’s the great thing about children’s books so many of them are hilarious.  Time to get out the thesaurus.

The Very Cranky Bear is a side-splitting, gut-busting read!

 

Do You Know What a StrollerThon Is?

BumbleRide
If you’re in the Raleigh/Durham area on Saturday, September 13th, it’s an event you should attend. Postpartum Education and Support is a local non-profit dedicated to the emotional wellness of mothers. We offer support for mothers and their families, provide resources for health care providers, and raise public awareness of perinatal mood disorders. StrollerThon is the major annual fundraising event.

This year’s walk is at 10 a.m., Sept. 13, at Fred G. Bond Metro Park in Cary. After the walk, there will be children’s games, face painting, a tot trot for little ones, and The Buzztown Band. Raffle prizes include a Bumbleride Stroller. (One need not be present to enter raffle.) However, you should attend. Form a team like ML and her friend Sarah. Prizes for Best Team Name, Team Spirit and Best-Decorated Stroller. No stroller? No problem! Strollers aren’t required to attend this event.

In celebration of the challenges of life with baby a few of my favorite baby related picture books.

No Nap!

No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino – This book arrived just in time for this post. “Follow Mommy on her quest to settle Baby down for a nap as Baby dashes from family room to living room, both on the table and under it, through the kitchen and even hiding in the laundry basket.”

Pirates Don't Change Diapers

Pirates Don’t Change Diapers by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon – “Braid Beard and his pirate crew return to retrieve the treasure they buried in Jeremy Jacob’s backyard, but first they may help calm his baby sister, Bonney Anne, whom they awoke from her nap.”

Whoa Baby

Whoa, Baby, Whoa! by Grace Nichols and illustrated by Eleanor Taylor – “A baby finally finds something to do that does not make everyone in the family tell him, No.”

Baby Brains

Baby Brains:  The Smartest Baby In the Whole Wide World by Simon James -“Even though the baby of Mr. and Mrs Brains is very intelligent, they realize that he is still just a baby.”

Julius

Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes – No post about babies is complete without a book about sibling rivalry.  “Lilly is convinced that the arrival of her new baby brother is the worst thing that has happened in their house, until Cousin Garland comes to visit.”

 

 

2014 Reading & Writing Goals – Update

Painting

With school starting today, I decided to look at how I am doing with the reading goals I set in January.

Read 200 Picture Books – I’ve met this goal… plus some. According to my Goodreads account, I’ve read 321. I’ll continue to read every picture book the library purchases this year; and others I’ve missed throughout the years. Should probably up the goal to 500. I’m certain I can achieve it.

Read 10 Juvenile Chapter Books – I’ve achieved this and will continue to read more. Or at least the first twenty-five pages of books being discussed on librarian blogs as possible Newbery Award contenders.

Read 5 Young Adult Novels – I can check this goal off too.

Read 52 Nonfiction Books For Children – 63.4% percent accomplished. 19 books to go.

200 Blog Postings In 2014 – I may reach this goal; but I’m not counting on it. Today’s post is number 123. With only 128 days left in 2014, it’s going to be close. However, I do have 270 posts in draft form yet to be published. Admittedly, some only have the title of a book I want to share and no other words. I hope to polish up 77 of them in the next four months.

What I’ve learned most from these goals is reading is much easier than writing. I can read a picture book in three minutes. It takes days, even weeks for me to write and edit a blog post. My estimate is each blog post takes somewhere from thirty minutes to four hours of focused energy to write, link to authors and books, and check for mistakes.

It’s worth it. My knowledge of children’s literature is better than ever. I reference this blog daily to remember books I want to share with kids.  In years past, specific titles of books for First Graders Who Fly Through Magic Tree House Books,  A Third Grade Girl Obsessed With Harry Potter, To Read After The Ivy + Bean Series  flew straight from my brain to my mouth.  Not the case these days.  This summer, this blog was my crutch at least two times a day. I printed the post Books for Boys: Series Fiction For Elementary Boys for over fifteen families.

One More Goal – Find one more person to follow my blog.  Then, I’ll have 100 followers. Pretty amazing for something I started on a whim.

Back to School – New Picture Books

There are a couple of things you can count on in the picture book publishing world.  New picture books about going to school and new Christmas picture books each year.  In honor of ML starting second grade tomorrow, some of the best new picture books about school.

Dog Days of School

Dog Days of School written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Brian Biggs – Be careful what you wish for or you might end up drinking out of the toilet.  It happened to Charlie when he wished he was a dog one Sunday night; so he wouldn’t have to go to school the next day.  Miraculously, his dog Norman and he traded places. Noone seemed to notice.  Although they looked the same as always.  Norman with his four legs and floppy ears spent the week creating clay sculptures, making a food pyramid and eating cupcakes.  Charlie with two legs and two arms ate dog biscuits, played fetch and visited the dog groomer.

Planet Kindergarten

Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt and illustrated by Shane Prigmore – Even if you attended preschool, kindergarten is a different world.  According to this kindergartner “gravity works differently here.  We have to try hard to stay in our seats.”  A fun twist on the anxieties of the first day of kindergarten.  Last Thursday, I checked out a stack of books about going to kindergarten to a mom.  I made her wait while I ran and found this book.  She agreed it was the perfect book for both her son and herself.  Like most parents of kindergartners, you could hear the anxiety in her voice.  Watching your small child with their big backpack enter the school on their first day takes your breath away.

My Teacher Is Monster

My Teacher Is a Monster!  No, I Am Not. by Peter Brown – Will my teacher be mean?  A thought on every child’s mind tonight.  Bobby’s teacher Ms. Kirby is.  Actually, she’s a monster who stomps and roars in the classroom.  One weekend, Bobby runs into  Mean Ms. Kirby at the park.  They have a rollicking adventure concluding with the best paper airplane flight ever.  Monday, Bobby flies a paper airplane to Ms. Kirby from his desk.  Do you think the monster reappears?

Edda

Edda: A Little Valkyrie’s First Day of School by Adam Auerbach – A story about Edda who lives in a magical land with everything a Valkyrie wants, except someone her age.  Her father knows the perfect place for her to meet a friend.  He sends her to a school on earth.  It’s a strange and somewhat difficult world.  Waiting in line, sitting still, writing assignments and more.  Edda perseveres and makes it through the first day.  Her new friends are delighted to see who she brings to school on the second day.  The cover of the book provides a hint.

Monsters Love School

Monsters Love School written and illustrated by Mike Austin – We loved Mike Austin’s book Monsters Love Colors.  When Monsters Love School arrived, I knew great things were in store.  A rollicking, colorful read about a monster’s first day of school.  From buying school supplies, to the crosswalk, meeting the librarian, art and music teachers, recess, spelling, lunch and the bell ringing to end school… Blue experiences it all.  ML loved the quote, “What’s school for, anyway? asks Blue.  “I already know my ABGs and 413s and XYDs!” My favorite part of the book is when they study hisssssssssstory.

On My Way To School

On My Way to School by Sarah Maizes and illustrated by Michael Paraskevas – Luckily, ML is not like the character in this book.  She does not say “School is for people who need to learn stuff.  I have gone to school a hundred times, and I already know lots of stuff.”  However, ML dilly dallies in the morning in a similar manner to the character in this book.  It won’t happen the first day.  Not even the first week.  But towards the end of September I’ll be saying, “Are you dressed?  Did you eat breakfast?  Teeth brushed?  Backpack and lunch?  We gotta GO!”

Dear Panda

Dear Panda by Miriam Latimer – Florence recently moved and is attending a new school.  As any child would be, she’s nervous.  With the help of the panda who lives at the zoo next door, Florence makes it through the first day of school and meets a new friend. The perfect book to encourage ML to welcome new students at her school.

Circus Camp

Trapeze

While visiting New York, ML called to tell me she was at the circus.  At intermission, she called with an important message, “Mommy, I’m joining the circus.”  We specifically discussed this spring how she could attend camp at Cirque de Vol this summer, with the agreement she would NOT run off to join the circus.  Yesterday was the last day of camp with a performance for family and friends at the end.  The group demonstrated a variety of circus arts… mime, trapeze, hoop dance, poi and aerial silks.  I didn’t know what poi was until ML and two other girls performed a routine.

I cannot rave enough about this camp.  When you hear the words circus camp… you may think flashy, showy, even over-the-top.  It wasn’t.  ML learned flexibility, concentration and how to take risks in a safe, supportive environment.  Lots of creativity in this camp too.  Every afternoon when I picked ML up, she was hiding from me.  In forts she and her friends built using parachutes, hula hoops, gym mats and all the other cool things in the studio.

Below are some great books about the circus.

Extraordinary Jane

Extraordinary Jane by Hannah E. Harrison – “Jane the dog doesn’t have a unique talent in the circus like the rest of her family, until the ringmaster discovers what is special about her.”  The illustrations in this book are extraordinary. ML insists I add it to our Mock Caldecott 2015 list. Even though she’s a little miffed with the author/illustrator for copying her.  ML put a bandage on her ostrich stuffed animal’s neck long before reading this book.

Circus Girl

Circus Girl by Clare Pernice – When this book arrived at the library this spring, I didn’t take it home.  Instead, I saved it to read the week of Circus Camp.   “When a little girl dons her leotard and socks, she becomes “Circus Girl,” the star of the show that incorporates her toys and stuffed animals.”  ML’s favorite illustration… when the girl performs using aerial silks.  Amazed is the only word to describe watching ML on the aerial silks demonstrating “the birdcage” and “diaper dropdown.”

At the Circus

Simple Steps to Drawing:  At the Circus by Helga Bontinck – Sometimes ML draws in bed before lights out. Tuesday night she yelled, “How do you spell Paige?” Knowing she climbed in her bed with the At The Circus drawing book, I guessed Paige was a teacher. ML did a rough sketch of an elephant on a scrap of paper. Then, used a crisp, white piece of paper for the final product with extra details not shown in the book.

The Show Must Go On

Three-Ring Rascals:  The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise with illustrations by M. Sarah Klise – I’m a big fan of the Klise sisters.  When their new series,Three-Ring Rascals arrived at the library, I was excited to see I could add a chapter book to the mix for our circus-themed reading.  “Two mice and an old crow, who travel with a circus, cleaning up the spilled popcorn after every performance, come to the rescue when a greedy con artist takes over the management of the circus.”

I’ve decided The Show Must Go On will be the first book for ML’s bookclub this school year.  Every member will need to bring the circus application from the Three-Ring Rascals website.  Thanks to ideas from the website, the meeting is planned.  Food… popcorn.  Activity… performance of special circus tricks.  Discussion questions… available at Algonquin Young Reader’s.

We won’t meet until October or November.  By then, there will be three books in the series published.  I’m betting several of the girls will read all three before the meeting.

Sleepover With Beatrice & Bear

Sleepover

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear by Monica Carnesi arrived a day late. ML and her friend Anna had an impromptu sleepover last night. Sunday we made plans for Anna to come for dinner. Monday, Anna’s mom learned the ankle she thought she sprained was actually broken. The doctor put her in a cast and said, “No driving for six to eight weeks.” As a working, single mom, it’s not what she needs. Luckily, her mom lives in town and she has a great group of friends ready to help out any way we can.

Last night near the end of the playdate, the bottom fell out of the sky. The girls exclaimed, “We’re too scared to go outside. Can we have a sleepover? Please?” Normally, I don’t do impromptu sleepovers; but it didn’t take a lot of convincing last night. I didn’t want to go out in the storm either. Plus, I thought my friend would be happy for a chance to cry in peace. Hopefully, she went straight to bed after I called requesting the sleepover. The girls did not.

I love how the book jacket describes Sleepover With Beatrice & Bear… “This delightful story of an irrepressible bunny will engage readers on many levels as it celebrates creativity, making the best of circumstances, and the joy of the changing seasons.” When you account for the watermelon we ate, it describes our evening too.

Especially after you read what happens when Rabbit tries to hibernate with Bear. Pure restlessness. Just like Anna and ML last night. They started in ML’s bed. Moved their blankets to the living room couch and chaise. Claimed they couldn’t sleep and asked if they could read. I said, “Yes if you can read in the dark.” It appears they tried. I found books in the living room this morning. Twenty minutes later, they were knocking on my door scared. So they slept on my floor.

Tonight ML and I read Sleepover With Beatrice & Bear. I’ve read so many picture books, I usually know where a story is going. From the beginning picture in this book until the last few pages, ML and I had no idea. A true treasure.

ML’s Last Day As a Tsunami – Well For This Year

Tsunami!

Once again, it’s been four fun-filled weeks of YMCA Camp this summer.  This year, ML moved up to the Tsunami huddle.  It’s for rising second graders and third graders.  So she’ll be one again next year.

The night before ML’s last day, I planned to read Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa and illustrated by Ed Young to ML.  “A wealthy man in a Japanese village, who everyone calls Ojiisan, which means grandfather, sets fire to his rice fields to warn the innocent people of an approaching tsunami.”  We didn’t get to it.  Exhausted from performing at the Camp Talent Show for parents, ML went straight to bed.

Tomorrow ML returns from her dad’s house.  Tsunami! is on the top of the big stack of books to read together.  It’s truly a perfect book to highlight all the character traits the Y camp helps instill in ML… honesty, respect, caring and responsibility.

The big memories of this summer for me from Y Camp are:

  • ML creating a Christmas Tree outfit for Wacky Wednesday
  • The song she made up to the Jingle Bells tune for her huddle to sing.
  • Her counselor running to the car during rides out to tell me what a great camper ML was.
  • Watching ML and her friend create a dance routine in our driveway. Then, perform it at the Family Night Talent Show

ML has a million more memories.  Her dad said she was crying on the way home from her last day of camp.  It’s truly a special place.

Science Friday – FUNdamental Experiments!

Motion

It’s been far too long since I’ve written a Science Friday post.  The book which left ML silent in the car the other night was from the FUNdamental Experiements series by Bearport Publishing.  I recently discovered this publisher.  They have some of the most interesting science series I’ve seen . . . Plant-ology, Gross-out Defenses, SuperSized!, More SuperSized!, Even More SuperSized! and many more.

ML was studying the page of the book titled Motion. The first page spread defines motion in easy to understand text and engaging photographs. From there, each page spread asks a question. For example, “Does it take more force to move heavy objects?” Then, lists the steps to follow to investigate the question. A list of items needed is clearly stated for each experiment. Most items in the experiments we already own. For example, one experiment needs… a small toy car, cottonball, leaf, small stone, ball drinking straw, notebook, pencil and measuring tape.

This series includes eight titles. . . Color, Dirt, Light, Liquids and Solids, Magnets, Motion, Sound and Water. This school year, we’ll try experiments from each of the books.

 

Fun With Cousins – But Only Two Books

Peanut Butter and CupcakeThe Troublemaker

ML’s cousins visited last weekend. Forty eight hours of fun, but only two books read out loud to them. I planned to share at least five. Want to know what kept this from happening?

  • Visiting a local park to ride the train and spin around on the historic carousel built in 1911.
  • Lunch at our favorite cafe.
  • Feeding the fish in the koi pond at the local garden store.
  • An elevator ride to the top of one of the few skyscrapers in our growing city.
  • A trip to the cupcake shop riding the free bus that circles downtown to get there.
  • Dinner at a restaurant where fresh seafood has been served since 1931.
  • A sleepover with cozy blankets on the floor with lots of whispering after lights out.
  • Visiting two rival colleges roughly ten miles apart.  My brother attended one.  I the other.
  • Lunch at a famous restaurant that serves some of the best southern cooking in the world.
  • Lots of creative play by two seven-year-old girls and one four-year-old boy.

The creative play idea began in a law firm office.  My brother visited with his former colleagues.  Not much fun for three active children.  Until one of the lawyers, who has grandchildren, gave them free reign with his office supplies.  Tape, rubber bands, paperclips.  He even let them rummage through his desk drawers looking for more.

When we arrived home the first afternoon, it was raining cats and dogs.  ML found the office supplies and craft materials.  They closed the door to her bedroom and got to work.  Somewhere along the way they decided to sell their wares to their parents, aunts and uncle.  They played this game three different times.  Making items on Friday afternoon; then selling them to us.  Saturday morning they woke up first and started making items to sell.  When my brother and his wife arrived from the hotel, the store opened.  Then, they chose to go home to make and sell more things Saturday afternoon, instead of getting cupcakes or ice cream.

See why we only read two books?  Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border was a hit with them.  To get an idea of this self proclaimed Humorist, Photographer and Earthling’s sense of humor check out “My Many Tries At My First Book Cover.”  I’m mad I didn’t discover this post about the books his publisher passed up on.  A peanut butter filled take on famous children’s books before their visit.

The other book we read was The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo which I shared with you recently.  We watched the video that sparked the idea for the book.  If you haven’t seen it, you are missing out on a huge laugh.

CarouselDSC01158The Wares

A Great Book to Keep in Your Car – Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts

Hippos Can't Swim

Recently after cleaning off the front seat of my car so a colleague and I could go out for lunch, I tossed some books into the back seat.  Yes, I confess. I threw books.  Don’t tell ML.  She knows to treat library books with respect.  I wasn’t practicing what I preach.  Nevertheless, I learned something from this transgression.  Nonfiction books in the back seat have a calming effect on passengers who sit in booster seats.

Yesterday, I drove ML and her friend to buy matching outfits for their camp talent show event.  (You’ll read all about it next week.)  The two books were still on the back seat.  I’ve never driven these giggly girls around town as quiet as last night.  They were entranced.  Sarah was immersed in a book called Hippos Can’t Swim and Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Pete Oswald.

Most fact books about animals include photographs.  Not this one. Engaging and hilarious illustrations abound.  At one point, I heard a little voice in the backseat state, “I can only find thirty-four.”  Until I read the book this morning, I didn’t understand the comment.  Counting the thirty-five baby bunnies is harder than you think.  I haven’t succeeded yet.

Unlike many nonfiction books, the text flows seamlessly.  It’s a perfect read-aloud.  Here’s an example bridging the bat page to the ant page.  “While bats sleep all day, worker ants in a colony don’t sleep all day or night.  Instead, they each take about 250 naps throughout the day, each nap lasting just longer than a minute.”

There are three other books in this “Did You Know?” series…. Chickens Don’t Fly and Rainbows Never End and Trains Can Float.  I hope the library purchases all the books in the series.  If we don’t enough money in the budget, I vote for Trains Can Float.  Perfect for the fact loving, transportation obsessed preschool and elementary crowd.

Wait a minute!  I just discovered more books in this series are being published in the next few months… Dinosaurs Live On and Saturn Could Sail and Frogs Play Cellos.  Any of these books the library purchase will spend two weeks in the back seat of my Honda Civic.

ML’s book was from a series call FUN-damental Experiments.  A great series I’ll write about soon.

North Carolina Children’s Book Awards 2015 Challenge

I can tell school is starting soon.  We’ve started receiving extra copies of the books nominated for the 2015 North Carolina Children’s Book Awards at the library.  As I expected, I’ve read most of the books on the Picture Book’s list.  I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve read none of the books on the Junior Book’s list.

So I’ve made a personal goal to read all the books nominated for both awards.  Two picture books and twelve chapter books to go.  Then, I’ll post my top picks.

Anyone want to join me in this challenge?