Oliver’s dad doesn’t want to take him to school; so he hides all over the house and yard. Goodbye is hard for Oliver’s dad, the teacher has to carry him outside screaming. At one point, he screams, “I’m not ready for school!” Ready or not it’s here. I hope my friends have a not too teary morning; and this dreary, rainy day goes well for all our kindergarten friends and their teachers.
School starts Monday!!! During the last week, the library received several picture books about school. Below are my favorites.
If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, DON’T! by Elise Parsley – A hilarious account of what not to bring for show and tell.
I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard by Jennifer K. Mann – The perfect book for a child who doesn’t conform to teacher expectations; with a happy resolution for everyone.
I’ve read 315 picture books this year; but blogged about very few. That doesn’t count the 42 new picture books the library received this week.
One of my favorites is Wait by Antoinette Portis. It reminds me of when ML was little. We had to stop and look at every rock, bug, stick, cat, dog, and shiny thing we passed. A four block walk to the park often took fifteen minutes. One of the joys of being around young children is seeing the world through their eyes. No matter how hurried we are, they always seem to find something to remind us why it’s important to slow down and wait.
I promise I won’t keep you waiting any longer. I’m back to blogging about picture books. And Julia will keep us up to date on middle grade novels.
Picture books are an excellent way to explore scary emotions in a controlled, safe environment.
I read Wolf’s Coming! written and illustrated by Joe Kulka at preschool story time five times last week. With each group, I enjoyed watching the children’s eyes widen as they scrunched closer to their caregivers whenever I turned a page. Until, that most important page which allowed them to release their fear. The relief on their faces was priceless.
I’m missing sharing picture books on the blog. So I’m back to it. During the summer it’s hard to write often. Expect brief posts. Today’s is about an engaging, delightful book.
The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubuc – A little girl goes on her first bus ride without her mom to grandma’s house. I poured over these illustrations which show story upon story. After reading the girl’s story. . . open the book again, flip through the pages and look at each sketch of turtle. Repeat for cat, the bunnies, mouse, sloth and more.
Rumor has it ML’s teacher recently needed to remind her no dancing around the classroom. I understand her teacher’s frustration. Since ML started ballet class in January, she’s been pirouetting everywhere…the house, the yard, the grocery store. Even on the soccer field. She joined a team this spring and brings extra flair to the field.
Tommy Can’t Stop! by Tim Federle and illustrated by Mark Fearing arrived last week. It’s a humorous picture book about a family trying to tire out Tommy, the bopping, pogo-sticking, elephant clomping whirlwind sensation who has over-taken their house. After a few false starts, they find the perfect fit for Tommy’s moves… tap dancing.
ML’s still boycotting picture books; but I might be able to slip this one in. After all, last week she asked if she could try a different type of dance in a few years. Tap or hip hop? Plus, Mike Fearing wrote and illustrated her favorite picture book of 2014, The Great Thanksgiving Escape.
There’s No Such Thing as Little by LeUyen Pham (with die-cut holes to peek through) – Today, an outstanding picture book arrived. My post about it is short because I wanted to share the book right away. The die-cut peek holes aren’t the only charming thing about this book. Each illustration changes your perspective of what is small. My favorite page shows why a little “i” is important. Read the book. You’ll understand why I love it! Not a little. I love it ENORMOUSLY!
Special Delivery by Philip Stead and illustrated by Matthew Cordell is a delightful picture book about Sadie and her attempt to send an elephant to her Great-Aunt Josephine. The journey is filled with adventure, help from others, a great big hug and a letter of thanks. I can’t look at it without thinking about last weekend.
We visited one of my favorite places in the world. . . the farm where my dad grew up. To get there we took an airplane, spent the night in Atlanta with cousins. Saturday morning, we loaded up the minivan and rode for an hour on the interstate and two hours along curvy state highways. Eventually, we turned left on a dirt road. At the first gate on the right, we stopped and opened the gate to a smaller dirt road. We followed this road through the fields and around a curve. Finally, arriving at ML’s Great Aunt and Great Uncle’s pond house.
I thought about writing a thank you letter to my Aunt and Uncle. Instead, I decided to post a thank you because my Aunt follows this blog.
Dear Aunt Alice and Uncle Marion,
Thank you for providing the ideal location for a weekend ML will never forget. From catching her first fish on a cane pole, learning to use a rod and reel, gathering flowers in the woods, making flower fairy crowns, climbing the combine and tractors, teaching family to play Apples to Apples, sleeping in a “haunted” house, and so much more.
We appreciate you letting us host a pizza party for 10 kids and 11 adults. I’m already cherishing the memory of ML enjoying laid back time with family on the same farm I visited as a child.
I anticipate ML will ask every year, “Remember the time we had the Easter egg hunt where the rooster on the front porch laid an egg?” Speaking of Easter. Is it too soon to make a reservation for next year?
We Love You!
Kerri and ML
In honor of the Duke Blue Devils… a team in which I have a love/hate relationship. I loved them in the early nineties when my brother attended Duke. In the late nineties, my allegiance changed because I enrolled in library school at UNC-Chapel Hill. In theory, Duke is my arch enemy. However,some of my favorite people, including ML, are fans. With a 9:18 tip-off, I’m not telling ML the NCAA championship game is tonight. As a mother, I would like Duke to win. My grumpy, non-morning person child would actually smile before I dropped her at school. As a Tarheel, I hope Wisconsin wins by twenty-five. Either way, I’m content.
Here’s a few books about basketball. Each one is deserving of a championship title.
Hoop Genius: How a Desperate Teacher and a Rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy and illustrations by Joe Morse – Don’t miss this illustrated, non-fiction book. It chronicles the beginnings of basketball through simple text and historically accurate illustrations. Compare the clothing throughout the book with the last illustration in the book. A unique and refreshing approach for teaching the history of basketball.
Long Shot: Never Too Small To Dream Big by Chris Paul and illustrated by Frank Morrison – An autobiographical picture book by NBA star Chris Paul. Picture books written by celebrities are usually disappointing; but this one is a slam dunk. The story is well written and the illustrations highlight the anxiety of basketball tryouts and the elation when one makes the team.
H.O.R.S.E. A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers – This book reminds me of the many times my brother and I played H.O.R.S.E in our driveway as children. The players in this book are more creative in their shots; but the trash talk is similar to what you would have found at our house in the eighties. As always, Christopher Myers illustrations are out of this world.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
- Volunteering with Postpartum Education and Support.
- Planting and Weeding
- Being a part of Listen To Your Mother
- 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 www.eshakti.com
- 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
My mom would have been seventy-three today. Last year two fabulous picture books were published Firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christopher Myers and The Orchestra Pit by Johanna Wright. However, I waited until today to highlight them because they remind me of my last memory with my mom before she was diagnosed with cancer.
In 2001, I lived Charleston, SC. Mom loved to visit me and this beautiful city. We planned a special Mother/Daughter weekend to enjoy the Spoleto Festival. “For 17 days and nights each spring, Spoleto Festival USA fills Charleston, South Carolina’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in opera; theater; dance; and chamber, symphonic, choral and jazz music.”
The last day of her visit, we attended the Charleston Ballet’s performance of Firebird under The Angel Oak on John’s Island. We were excited because a young lady who grew up in our suburban Atlanta neighborhood was performing. Her parents grew up in the same small town in Middle Georgia as my parents.
The Angel Oak is perfect location for an outdoor ballet. No scenery is needed with this majestic live oak with sprawling arms as the background. The tree is thought to be over 1500 years old. A truly magical experience. Unless, you’re a ballerina, required to dance underneath a tree where the start is delayed because two snakes are fighting over a third.
After wrestling for over five minutes, one snake fell out of the tree onto the stage. The other two crawled into a hollow in the tree. Mom and I were amazed at how calmly the dancers pirouetted under the tree knowing two snakes were above them; most likely copulating. The show continued, even through a huge thunderstorm. It’s a mystery how the dancers didn’t fall all over the place. (Their stage was a plastic tarp)
Synopsis of the books from the publishers websites are below. Can you tell why I waited to share these two books until today?
Firebird by Misty Copeland and illustrated by Christoper Myers – In her debut picture book, Misty Copeland tells the story of a young girl–an every girl–whose confidence is fragile and who is questioning her own ability to reach the heights that Misty has reached. Misty encourages this young girl’s faith in herself and shows her exactly how, through hard work and dedication, she too can become Firebird.
The Orchestra Pit by Johanna Wright – “When a slightly befuddled but surprisingly endearing snake wanders into the wrong pit—the orchestra pit—peculiar things start to happen. A well-meaning snake interacts with the orchestral instruments, scares the musicians and conductor, and causes general chaos in this sweet and funny book.”
Goodnight Already by Jory John and illustrated by Benji Davies – I read this to my five-year-old nephew. He loved the illustrations. At the page spread without words he howled. The text cracked him up too. “Wanna play some cards? Watch a movie? Start a band? Make smoothies?”
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach – Other than a lettuce leaf, a sandwich has disappeared. Was it the bear or someone else? ML thinks the bear. I’m not convinced. We’re curious to hear what you think.
A Violin for Eva by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Tricia Tusa – When Elva was young, she wanted a violin more than anything; but her parents didn’t know her dream. As she grew older, she still had the dream but felt she was too busy. Then, too old. Until, one day…
The cover of Virgil & Owen by Paulette Bogan includes a polar bear and a penguin. I asked ML, “Which do you think is Virgil? And which do you think is Owen?” She guessed correctly. Her reasoning was impressive. The text for Virgil’s name on the cover is darker. The text used for Owen’s name is white. Can you guess who is who based on this clue?
Another fabulous picture book about friendship. This time featuring the challenges of a friend wanting undivided attention. The simple text and engaging illustrations make it a perfect read for preschool teachers to their students.
With eight out of the past ten school days cancelled due to inclement weather, it’s been an exhausting two weeks. Even the kids are happy to be back in school. When I entered the living room this morning, ML had her pink backpack strapped to her back. Sitting on the sofa waiting for 8 am.
Last night, we read Finding Spring by Carin Berger. A few pages in ML shouted “collage.” At the end she called it a “lovely book.” It’s both of these things. It’s hard to imagine the time and skill required to cut each snowflake and delicate flower.
We know we’re getting close to Spring. The Robins have returned, our first daffodil bloomed, and bluebirds are building a nest in our house. We just need to make it past Thursday. Temperatures close to 70 on Wednesday and a wintry mix forecast for Thursday.
I won’t feel completely safe from winter weather until after March, 12th. That’s when the Blizzard of 93 hit north Georgia and Berry College students were stranded with no power and little food. Except me, a family reunion sent me home for the weekend. Our power never went off, the ACC basketball tournament was on and the fresh green beans and Honeybaked ham for the family reunion provided sustenance for our family. As for the ACC tournament, I relished Georgia Tech beating Chapel Hill. Little did I know in a few years I would be a Tarheel.
Recently ML and I were introduced to the app Trivia Crack. We’re addicted. It’s like Trivial Pursuit but online. This has sparked an interest in history for ML. Two picture books arrived recently to fuel her new passion.
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall – We followed the making of blackberry fool from Lyme, England to present day San Diego stopping in outside of Charleston, SC in the 1800s and Boston, MA in the 1900s. ML is eager for blackberries to be in season so we can try the recipe. We may go blackberry picking and make a whisk with clean, soft twigs like the mom and daughter in the 1700s. However, we will buy the cream at the grocery. We don’t have access to cows we can milk ourselves. The details in the illustrations span centuries. . . from an ice pit in the hillside to gumball machines at the supermarket.
Whale Trails: Before and Now by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by G. Brian Karas – A delightful tale comparing today’s whale watching industry with whale hunting ships of the 1800s. Each page spread includes one page showing a modern whale watching adventure in bright gouache and acrylic; and a page that looks like aged paper with black toned illustrations.
It wasn’t Boston here; but there was sleet and snow this week. On Tuesday, five children meandered from house to house sledding, eating, drinking hot chocolate, holding gerbils, and to my dismay forgetting to close to the door. I’m hoping they will remember the fun times; not me yelling “Close the door!”
Cat & Bunny by Mary Lundquist – Sometimes there is drama when second grade girls get together. It’s more likely to happen when there is an odd number. Wednesday morning ML had two friends over. For about thirty minutes one of the girls was upset at ML and the other friend. We read this book the night before. Sadly, my brain was fried. I didn’t think to read it to ML’s friend. It’s the perfect book to discuss feeling left out.
Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre – As the sleet fell, we read this book filled with exquisite photographs. The girls couldn’t choose a favorite page. Mine was the spider web. ML and I decided the next time it rains, we’ll take pictures of rain in the natural world.
A Letter For Leo by Sergio Ruzzier – Our mailman wears shorts in spring, summer, fall and winter. Even on days when there are inches of sleet on the ground. In this book, Leo is mailman. (He only wears a hat and carries a satchel) You can get away with that when you’re a weasel. I’m not going to summarize the story. It would take away the charm of discovering it yourself. Promise me you will pay close attention to the illustration of the snowy day.
Papa Chagall Tell Us a Story by Laurence Anholt – ML saw the cover and exclaimed, “That painting’s in the art room at school.” Anholt has created an entire series on a variety of painters. ML wants to read Picasso and the Girl With a Ponytail next.
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony – Panda carries around a box of donuts asking everyone he meets, “Would you like a doughnut?” However, he only gives one to lemur. ML knows why lemur receives the doughnuts. Can you figure it out before you read the book? Here’s a hint. ML said, “The ostrich shouldn’t have said, ‘No, go away.’ He should have said, ‘No Thanks, I’m good”
Princess Patty Meets Her Match by Charise Mericle Harper – I’m not going to tell you the story line of this book. It’s my favorite princess book ML and I’ve read together. With eight years of reading together, I’d say twenty-five of the books involved princesses. This doesn’t count the Disney princess books, which I always paraphrased.
George in the Dark by Madeline Valentine – I was afraid of the dark. ML rarely is. If it was a nightly occurrence, this is the book I would choose to read to help discuss her fear. The book begins with a positive slant; highlighting how brave George is about many things. Then, shows his fear of the dark. After he saves his bear from the darkest place, you get a clearer view of the items making the creepy shadows.
Snoozefest by Samanta Berger and illustrated by Kristyna Litten – After this week, I would love to have a Snoozefest. There are a variety of places to snooze in the digital illustrations. ML and I chose the hammocks.
It’s Presidents Day and I planned to finish this post before the day arrived so I could post it. I didn’t; but have decided to post it in it’s incomplete form. These are some great books. Trust me.
Presidential Misadventures: Poems that Poke Fun at the Man in Charge by Bob Raczka and art by Dan E. Burr – Have you ever heard of a clerihew? I hadn’t until I read this book. It’s a four line poem that pokes fun at a famous person. The first two lines rhyme and the third and fourth lines rhyme. There’s a poem written about each of the forty-four presidents.
Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything by Maria Kalman – An exquisitely illustrated picture book describing the interests and complexities of Thomas Jefferson in simple age appropriate words.
Worst in Show by William Bee by Kate Hindley – “It’s time for the Best Monster in the World Competition, and Albert can’t wait to enter his very own monster, Sidney, in the contest! Albert is absolutely sure that his pet is a winner. But, as monsters go, is sweet, well-behaved Sidney really the smelliest, dirtiest, most parasite-ridden monster of all?” (from Candlewick Press website)
Why should you read this book?
It’s “fartastic!” My friend’s four-year-old son loves it and insisted they read it the past three nights. Trust me, your child will be filled with glee hearing you read the words “Hairiest warts, smelliest fart, fartometer and Fartbuster 2000.”
Add an hour to bedtime stories the night you read this book. You’ll need the extra time to delight in the silly illustrations. ML enjoyed finding which judge fainted each round of the competition.
The first thing ML said when saw saw the cover of King Trushbeard by The Brothers Grimm and illustrated by Irina Dobrescu was, “Wow! That’s a big dress!” Neither of us was familiar with the fairy tale.
“When a beautiful but conceited princess cruelly turns down each of her suitors, her father, the king, forces her to marry a beggar. But a life of hard work and love soon teaches the princess a valuable lesson, and her hardness gives way to kindness and compassion. And through loving eyes, the princess is surprised to see who her husband really is.” (from book jacket)
Why should you read this book?
It’s an opportunity to read a little known tale from the Brothers Grimm. Plus, the book tells an important message without being preachy. Filled with whimsical illustrations. . . one can’t help but laugh at the artwork accompanying the princess’s quote, “Oh, goodness! What a small house; to whom does this miserable hovel belong?” While writing this post, I noticed many details we missed. We’ll read this one again soon.
Today I purchased a book to give ML for Valentine’s Day. Last year, I gave her chocolate. Guess who ate most of it? At the bookstore recently, ML saw a new Geronimo Stilton book. She asked, “Will you buy it for my birthday?” Her birthday isn’t until October. I wish I had a red valentine chocolate box to put it in. That would make ML laugh.
Below are some new picture books about love. Perfect for the huggable child in your life.
Superlove by Charise Mericle Harper and illustrated by Mark Chambers – Most girls dream of being a flower girl. ML did. The young girl in this book has a plan; but Pinky her cat has other plans. Who will come to the rescue? A delightful story highlighting imagination and loving families.
Who Wants a Hug? by Jeff Mack – Bear loves to give hugs and is always asking skunk if he wants a hug. Skunk refuses time and again. Bear perseveres. Will skunk finally give in? Adorable, animated illustrations fill this book.
How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham – Other than one’s family, the greatest love in childrens’ lives is friends. Read it. Then, read it again to see if you can find the cute little bird that graces each page spread.
Now for the unveiling of the Geronimo Stilton book ML is receiving February 14th.