BRRRR! – 77 Degrees on Christmas Eve

In the spirit of Christmas, I wore a green dress to the Christmas Eve service.  Finding something appropriate for both the weather and holiday was difficult until I remembered the sleeveless dress I purchased last spring.  When the high temperature in Burlington, Vermont is 68 degrees, you can imagine the high in the more southern city of Raleigh, North Carolina — a balmy 77 degrees.  Then, there’s Boston… 69, New York City… 72, Norfolk, VA…82, Naples, FL… 89!

Missing the normal holiday temperatures?  Turn on the air conditioning, put on your fuzzy jammies, warm socks and snuggle with your family while reading these snowy books.


Toys Meet Snow
Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky

Little Red Gliding
Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar and illustrated by Troy Cummings

First Snow
First Snow by Peter McCarty

Bear and Hare
Bear & Hare: Snow! by Emily Gravett

Virgil and Owen
Virgil & Owen by Paulette Bogan

Snowman's Story
Snowman’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

Bear Report
The Bear Report by Thyra Heder

Snow by Sam Usher

Max and Marla
Max and Marla by Alexandra Boiger

Lost Found
Lost. Found. by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Penguins Adventure
Penguins Big Adventure by Salina Yoon

Snowy Bear
Snowy Bear by Tony Mitton and illustrated by Alison Brown

Dear Yeti
Dear Yeti by James Kwan


Back to School 2015

School starts Monday!!!  During the last week, the library received several picture books about school.  Below are my favorites.

Aligator to School

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.

Mrs Benson's Chalkboard
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.

Maple and Willow Apart
Maple & Willow Apart by Lori Nichols – Perfect for the heart-broken child when their older sibling goes to school for the first time.

Ally-Saurus & the First Day of School by Richard Torrey – A great tale about a girl who marches to the beat of her own drummer; and meets other creative, unique friends at school.

First Grade Dropout
First Grade Dropout by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell – An important book about how one feels when they are laughed at.

Birdies First Day of School
Birdies First Day of School by Sujean Rim – A sweet tale for the child who is reluctant to start school.

Goose Goes to School
Goose Goes To School by Laura Wall – Playful goose follows Sophie to school.  Readers will enjoy spotting goose in various scenes throughout the book.

Special Delivery

Special Delivery

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

Pond_FishingPond_FishPond_FlowersPond_Dirt RoadPond_RoosterPond_Easter Egg

After Ivy + Bean – A Booklist for Eleanor

My friend requested some series ideas for her daughter, Eleanor, when she finishes the Ivy + Bean books written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.  Eleanor is on book nine.  Time is of the essence  as there are only ten books in the series.  All the books I recommend below are on similar reading levels and include illustrations.  I’ve featured picture books by illustrators of most of these series.  The combination of high quality stories and engaging illustrations make an early grades chapter book desirable to children bridging the gap from picture books to chapter books.

Like Pickle Juice On Cookie









Like Pickle Juice on A Cookie by Julie Sternberg and illustrated by Matthew Cordell – I don’t think ML and her friends will be able to resist a book where the first chapter states, “I had a bad August.  A very bad August.  As bad as pickle juice on a cookie.  As bad as a spiderweb on your leg.  As bad as the black parts of a banana.  I hope your August was better.  I really do.”  The main character’s name is Eleanor just like ML’s friend.  There are two more books in this series with equally funny titles.  Like Bug Juice on a Burger and Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake.


Nikki Deja

Nikki and Deja by Karen English and illustrated by Laura Freeman – Nikki and Deja are best friends who happen to live next door to each other.  As a former teacher, the author understands the trials and tribulation of being a third grader.  Along with the importance of friendship.  With only five books in this series, I hope another is published soon.

Judy Moody

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter Reynolds – Judy Moody has been around for 14 years, and she continues to resonate with elementary school students.  She’s funny, fiesty and always in a mood.  The illustrations are authentic.  Just like Judy Moody’s brother Stink, I’ve seen ML lie upside down on the couch with her head touching the floor and her legs against the back of the couch.  There’s a reason titles continue to be published.










Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Middy Thomas – I’ve posted about Gooney Bird before.  Click on Gooney Bird Greene to see the post.


Clementine by Sara Pennypacker and pictures by Marla Frazee – No series post for a second grade girl is complete without mentioning the Clementine books.  All you have to do is read this quote from page one.   “Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule.”

Looking forward to seeing which books Eleanor decides to try.  ML’s on an Ivy + Bean kick right now, wanting to read all of them.  I’ll put Eleanor in charge of recommending ML’s next series.


The Baby Tree and Another Brother

AnotherBrotherBaby Tree

When ML was three she said, “I know I popped out of you, but how did I get in?”  We were in a restaurant, not the most conducive place for explaining how babies are made.  So I did what I do often,  I turned it back to her with a question.  “How do you think?”  She replied, “I think I popped into you.”  Technically she was right.  So I agreed and the conversation ended.

A few weeks ago, she called me to tell me she was getting a new sibling.  Obviously and thankfully, not from me. Yesterday, she stuck out her lips, moped and shuffled her feet while complaining  “It’s going to be another brother.”  Immediately, I thought of one of my favorite picture books from 2012, Another Brother by Matthew Cordell.  I posted about it last July when ML”s friend’s second brother arrived.  I’m bringing it home tonight.

Today, a new book arrived at the library called The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall.  Looking at the cover, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Truthfully, the cover freaked me out a little.  But it’s one of my favorite author/illustrators;  so I withheld judgement.  This is a case where you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.  A young boy learns a new baby is coming.  He begins questioning people on where babies come from and receives a variety of answers.  ML’s seven and it’s time she learned how babies are made.  This book will provide a perfect segway into the conversation.

Any advice or stories of your experience explaining where babies come from to children?

Another Brother for Ava


One of ML’s friends just had a sibling born. When, I told ML she said, “Another brother?” Ava already had one. Her comment reminded me of a funny book published last year.

In Another Brother by Matthew Cordell, Davey the sheep is jealous of his new brother. Then he gets another brother. . .then another. . . and another. . . Until he has 12 brothers.

For some reason, I don’t think Carolyn is planning on having ten more brothers for Ava.