Month: March 2015

Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku

Won Ton and Chopstick

In Won Ton and Chopstick:  A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, created an ingenious way to explore the challenges of a puppy introduced to the old pet, a cat.  The illustrations evoke the jealousy of the cat and silly innocence of the puppy.  The rhythm of haiku compliments the overall story.  It’s hard to pick a favorite among these expressive and entertaining poems.  Here’s a small taste from this outstanding book.

outputhimoutputhim — wait!
I said him, not me!

A remarkable introduction to big words with understandable context clues… suspicion, altercation, banishment, adjustment, vindication and harmony.

Candy Experiments 2

Candy Experiments 2

Last autumn, I wrote about the book Candy Experiments.  ML loved it so much she based her science fair project this winter on one of the experiments in the book.

Candy Experiments 2 by Loralee Leavitt arrived last week.  After a busy weekend, I remembered the book.  ML perused it in her bed last night.  Then, quickly asked if we could go to the store tonight to purchase warheads, pop rocks and an egg.  In the name of science, we’re doing a candy run after work and school.

ML wouldn’t let me see the experiment.  She wants it to be a surprise.  I’m pretty certain there will be some fizz; but I’m not sure why she needs an egg.

Dinosaur VS. ? by Bob Shea

Dinosaur VS PottyDinosaur VS SchoolDinosaur VS BedtimeDinosaur VS LibraryDinosaur VS MommyDinosaur VS Santa

Dinosaur fights everything. . . the potty, school, bedtime, the library, mommy and even Santa.  This adorable, hilarious series by Bob Shea is perfect for the toddler and preschool set.  Each book has great quotes and funny details in the illustrations.  I’m highlighting what I love the most from each book.

Dinosaur VS. The Potty – “a three juice box lunch!”

Dinosaur VS. School – Love the googly eyes.  A first in my picture book reading experience.

Dinosaur VS. Bedtime – Love the pants and shoes on the “talking grown-ups.”

Dinosaur VS The Library – “The library wins!  Okay, they both win.”

Dinosaur VS. Mommy –  So much to love in this book.  From the freshly folded laundry to Dinosaur’s creative collage of an argyle sock, orange, pants, a plaid shirt, underwear and even a pink bra.   There’s an added bonus in this book.  A balloon featuring a character from one of my favorite Bob Shea books. . . Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great.

Dinosaur VS. Santa – I love the decorated Christmas tree.  Reminds me of a story my neighbors shared about me helping decorate their tree when I was a preschooler.

I’m curious if a book titled Dinosaur VS Daddy is in the works.  In the meantime,  I’m eagerly anticipating Bob Shea’s newest release on 05/05/2015. . .  Ballet Cat:  The Totally Secret Secret.

Ballet Cat


I’m On My Own – Twenty Picture Book Arrivals

Looks like I’m on my own for a bit with picture books.  ML wants us to read chapter books together.  I thought I could sneak a few picture books into our bedtime reading.  It didn’t work, she’s adamant.  We’ve decided to start the first Harry Potter book.

So I’m on my own until I convince her that picture books are great for every age.  In twenty words or less, I’m sharing my favorite part of the following seventeen??? picture books

Little Red's Riding Hood

Little Red’s Riding Hood by Peter Stein and illustrated by Chris Gall – “Why, Granny!  What a big GRILLE you have!”

Yeti and the Bird

Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen – Worm Jam


Hoot Owl

Hoot Owl:  Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor and illustrated Jean Jullien – Pay attention to the eyes.

Nobody's Perfect

Nobody’s Perfect by David Elliott and illustrated by Sam Zuppardi – “This is my room before I clean it.  This is my room after I clean it.”

Backwards Birthday

The Backwards Birthday Party by Tom Chapin and John Forster and illustrated by Chuck Groenink – “We blindfolded the donkey, and he pinned the tail on us.”

You Are Not Small

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant – I loved the big gray-green, hairy monster leg and the parachuting pink monsters.

No, Silly

No, Silly! by Ken Krug – “I like to sleep on cookies.”


Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by David Small – The cat says “ME” and the dog says “WOW.”

Little Puffin's First Flight

Little Puffin’s First Flight by Jonathan London and illustrated by Jon Van Zyle “a puffling will eats as many as 2,000 fish in its first six weeks of life.”

Big Tractor

Big Tractor by Nathan Clement – A unique book about seasons sharing the life of a farmer and various farm equipment used throughout the year.

You Nest Here

You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple and illustrated by Melissa Sweet – Who knew cowbirds don’t make nests? “the uninvited guest, Leaves her egg in a foster nest”

I Don't Want to Be a Frog

I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt – “You are a Wet, Slimy, Bug-Eating very luck Frog.”


In by Nikki McClure – Don’t miss the Owl Guide at the end of the book.


Counting Crows

Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Rob Dunlavey – Fun words throughout the book. . . by jango, smackers, grackle, yeppers.  Who knew crows could look so delightful?

My Pen

My Pen by Christopher Myers – A book celebrating drawing in creative illustrations and words.  “My pen tap-dances on the sky.”

Nana in the City

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo – “I felt brave in my cape.”  what a great line.

Room for Bear

Room for Bear by Ciara Gavin – I love Bear’s problem solving and the “Eat Quack Love” sign in his den.

Little Bird Takes a Bath

Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo – I broke out in song throughout the book, “Rain, Rain Go Away” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and many other classics.


P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis -I love this chicken that marches to a different drummer and lays eggs on her own terms.

If I Had Triceratops

If I had a Triceratops by George O’Connor – The illustrations for “I’d be sure to clean up after her” and the one of her playing fetch.



If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson

If You Plant a Seed

If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson is exquisite and motivating.  This weekend, we’ll make a special trip to the garden store to pick up seeds.  After this harsh winter, we’re looking forward to digging in the dirt.

Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are stunning.  Don’t miss the page without any words and 5 birds.  Their expressions are priceless.  My coworker claims, “It makes me think about what my teenagers look like when I ask them to do something.”  Sadly, they look a little like the look ML gave me last night after she said, “Don’t talk to me.”  She’s only eight, I’m not ready for teenage looks.

Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan – A Young Adult Novel


Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan has been echoing in my heart all weekend.

I’m not an avid reader of young adult novels.  So the arrival of of an almost 600 page one, did not tempt me.  Until I continued to see one rave review after another about Pam Munoz Ryan’s new book.  I decided to give it fifty pages.  Then, read fifty more and fifty more. Suddenly, I realized I was almost finished with the book.  This novel reads faster than most of the 300 page young adult novels I’ve read.

It’s classified as historical fiction; but includes magical realism.  Finding a historical fiction for young adults is often difficult.  Finding one that is interesting is even harder.  Finally I’ve found a go to for the assignment “You must read a historical fiction book.”  Now I just need to figure out how to convince a seventh grader this 585 page book reads faster than Divergent.  Any ideas?

Home by Carson Ellis


I’m highlighting Home by Carson Ellis today because of a post I wrote yesterday for my readbykerri blog.  I already knew it; but that post proves I’m a homebody.  It’s no wonder I was enamored with the picture book, Home, from the first time I saw it.  I’ve started a draft for our Mock Caldecott 2016 because of this hand-lettered book created with gouache and ink.

Having moved into a small house a few years ago, I did a major purge.  As stated in the previous post The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, I’ve been there long enough to know what hasn’t been used since we moved and should probably go.

It’s the other part of my life which needs tidying.  Marie Kondo encourages one to only keep things that give “a spark of joy.”  I can’t follow her advice completely.  If I only kept the clothes that give me a spark of joy, I’d go to work naked.  Comfort and durability are the most important requirements for my professional wardrobe.  However, I can fill my life with experiences that give me joy.

This lead me to make a list of activities and things which provide a spark of joy in my life.  This list includes any and everything that popped in my head in a five minute time period

  • My daughter
  • Cutting flowers from our yard so I have fresh flowers in vases around the house.
  • Bacon at Whole Foods on Sunday mornings with my daughter
  • Taking my daughter and friends swimming
  • Spending kid free time with friends
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Volunteering with Postpartum Education and Support.
  • Planting and Weeding
  • Being a part of Listen To Your Mother
  • Daffodils
  • Plants from my mother and grandmother’s houses which now live in my yard
  • Eavesdropping on second graders’ conversations
  • The color green
  • Looking at dresses on
  • The new Cinderella movie
  • Spending time with family
  • The game Apples to Apples Junior
  • Entertaining friends with the ridiculous things I read on online dating profiles.
  • Coffee ice cream with chocolate chips
  • Home grown tomatoes
  • Our house