ML Can’t Stop. I mean Tommy Can’t Stop

Tommy Can't Stop

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.

The Great Thanksgiving Escape – ML’s Favorite Picture Book of 2014

Great Thanksgiving Escape

I know there are seven more weeks of 2014; but I am certain ML has already picked her favorite picture book of 2014.  I don’t think any book released in the next few weeks can knock The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing off the pedestal.

Last night, ML wrote about it for her Book Review homework.  (All grammar, punctuation and spelling is typed as it was written.)

Title:  The Thanksgiving askape

Author: Mark fearing

Summary:  This story was about two cusons that are trying to get out of the house.  But there a few difficulties on the way to the swingset.  But when they got there it started to rain and they said “who cares.

Recommendation:  My favorit book Me and my mom have read together that she got from the library.

A few thoughts from me (ML’s mom)  Most Thanksgiving books are either boring, preachy or about a turkey trying to avoid being eaten.  This is the first authentic book about modern day Thanksgiving celebrations of which I am aware.  And I’m pretty in the know.  I anticipate this book will become a Thanksgiving classic.

2014 Reading – Children’s Authors are Kind

I’ve set some pretty high reading goals for this year.  And these don’t include my adult reading goals.

  • Read 200 Picture Books
  • Read 10 Juvenile Fiction Chapter Books
  • Read 5 Young Adult Novels
  • Read 52 Nonfiction books for Children

Also, I plan to continue the blog with the goal of 200 blog postings in 2014 here.

For most posts I write, I contact the authors and illustrators.  I have been amazed at the responses I receive in return.  My favorite responses include information of their upcoming books.  Below are some I can’t wait for ML and I to read in 2014.

May 1, 2014 – Turtle Island by Kevin Sherry


May 6, 2014 – Big Bad Bubble by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri


Sometime in Fall 2014,

A book about Thanksgiving by Mark Fearing

I am certain there are others I’m forgetting.  But I need to get reading and writing if I’m going to reach my 2014 goals.

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee


This year ML started spelling homework.  She completes her homework at the after school program.  Ms. Brim is on my top ten list of favorite people.  In after school, she lovingly helps ML and friends with their homework.  Her hard work results in a more peaceful evening for our family.  I am sure it is that way for others too.  Because of Ms. Brim we get to read funny books about spelling; instead of working on spelling homework.

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee by George Shannon and illustrated by Mark Fearing was published recently.  From the title, you might think it’s a Halloween book.  It isn’t.  It’s a clever book about a spelling bee.  Beulah Divine, winner thirteen times straight, laughs when she hears the young witch Cordelia plans to compete in The Witches’ Double Spelling Bee. Below are the rules for the once every ten years spelling bee

  1. When your name is called, pull a letter out of the bowl.
  2. Choose something onstage and spell it.
  3. Using the letter you picked, cast a spell that transforms what you chose into something new.
  4. Spell the new word.

“Opal went first and pulled out an M.  With a wave of her hand she turned ice, I-C-E into mice, M-I-C-E,”  The fun begins.  Hoe becomes shoe.  Shoe becomes horse.  Map becomes lamp.  You can’t add a “b” to pumpkin to make a new word so pumpkin explodes all over the room.  Soon it’s only Beulah Divine and Cordelia onstage.  One will outsmart the other.  Which Witch will it be?

I”m nominating A Very Witchy Spelling Bee for the North Carolina Children’s Picture Book Award; an award voted on by the children of North Carolina.   When ML learns to spell better we can create “Spelling Spells.”  In the meantime, we’ll enjoy the silly story and illustrations.  Cordelia’s facial expressions are my favorite part of the book.

Dangerous Books


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.

Not Your Typical Three Little Pigs


My introduction to fairy tales told from a different viewpoint was in the early nineties. In my opinion, The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs By A. Wolf as told to Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith is one of the best books from the 20th century.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague follows the traditional tale somewhat. However, there is perfectly legitimate reason the Wolf is running around town huffing and puffing houses down. He’s hungry. The donut shop is closed. . . the hot dog stand is locked. . . and the pizza parlor will not let him in.

Some fairy tales follow the same plot but have different characters. In The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot by Margaret McNamara & Mark Fearing the robot meeped, “Then I’ll crack and smack and whack your house down!”

In The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark by Ken Geist and Julia Gorton, it’s all about the fish and their finny fin fin. The shark doesn’t huff and puff. He munches and crunches.

What’s your favorite fairy tale with a twist?