Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire! by Jane O'Connor

Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire!In Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire!, written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser, Fancy Nancy learns about poetry, thanks to her wonderful teacher.  Her teacher reads poems to the children everyday and she also encourages the children to write their own poems on leaf shaped paper, which they then post on the Poet-Tree on the wall in their classroom.

I am truly not a big fan of Nancy Fancy, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the books, it's just that I'm more of a Plain Jane than a Fancy Nancy so a lot of what's in the Fancy Nancy books is silly in my mind, even if it is kind of funny.  I do like how the books introduce children to a broader vocabulary but I hate that it seems like you have to be all fancy to use the vocabulary.  Anyway, this book I like.

Anna loves all things Fancy Nancy, so, of course, she loved this book too.  I loved it because it gave us a chance to talk about poetry and explore some of the different kinds of poetry.  I'm going to try to follow Fancy Nancy's teacher's example and attempt to include a reading of at least one poem together every day.  We're also going to follow Fancy Nancy's example and start copying some of our favorite poems and writing some of our own poems to create our own anthology of poetry.

Under the Party Kit section in the Party Central Section of the Parents section of the Fancy Nancy World website I found a Fancy Nancy Poetry Journal pdf (but be forewarned that it prints very small), and a Poet Extraordinaire Event Guide and Activity Suggestions pdf which has some great learning info and activity suggestions that would be make wonderful additions to a unit on poetry.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Peg and the Whale by Kenneth Oppel

Peg and the WhalePeg and the Whale, written by Canadian Kenneth Oppel and illustrated by American Terry Widener, is a forerunner of Peg and the Yeti, which I featured back in February.  In Peg and the Whale young Peg dreams of catching a whale and sets out to do so.  In a strange twist, she ends up living inside a whale and traveling the seas with him before she finally steers him to bring her back to her parents' boat.

There is a bit of a Newfoundland flavour to the character of Peg in this book and I was interested to discover that the author lived in Newfoundland at one point.

I found a page on the web where you can see many of the pages and illustrations from Peg and the whale.

Anna loved this book, and got a kick out of the fact that Peg made a home for herself inside the whale's belly.  I liked that it inspired a talk about the different kinds of whales and fact and fiction.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Great Explorer by Terry Morrison

In The Great Explorer: The almost true story of John Cabot's Discovery of Newfoundland, written by Terry Morrison and illustrated by Len Walbourne, comical pictures and amusing text tells the story of Giovanni Cabot from his boyhood in Italy to his disappearance while on an expedition to the New World in 1498.  Along with the story, there are tidbits of information interspersed throughout the pages.  It is a fun book to use to garner some interest in social studies.  You can also use it to discuss the importance of consulting a number of resources for information rather than depending on just one source.  There is actually a list of resources for further reading included in the back cover of the book.

I couldn't find any information about the author or illustrator and the only web reference to the book is at the Newfoundland Shop.

The little dog in the illustrations was the key to keeping Anna interested in the story.  Most of the information is above her right now but I can see us coming back to this book again to show that you can have some fun while studying social studies.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas

Rhyming Dust BunniesRhyming Dust Bunnies, written and illustrated by Jan Thomas, is hilarious!  There are just a few words per page as some dust bunnies enjoy rhyming words, but one dust bunny can't seem to get the hang of rhyming.

Anna loved it!  She was thrilled that it was so easy for her to read.  She read it over and over on her own, and she also asked it to be read to her over and over.

This is a great book to read just for the fun of it but it can also be used to introduce or work on rhyming words.  On Jan Thomas' website there is a Rhyming Dust Bunnies pdf with pictures of the dust bunnies and speech balloons to be filled in with your own rhyming words.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Boy Who Loved Bananas by George Elliott

Boy Who Loved Bananas, TheThe Boy Who Loved Bananas, written by George Elliott and illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski, is a rather silly book about a boy named Matthew.  Matthew loved monkeys and one day he decided that from then on he was going to eat like a monkey.  He would eat nothing but bananas, in all kinds of different dishes.  He ate so many bananas that he turned into a monkey!

Anna got a kick out of the story.  She also loved checking out the list of different ways to eat bananas.  Up to that point she had never had a banana split before!  I didn't realize that but I soon fixed that deficiency in her diet. There for a while I was afraid she was going to become a monkey because she was eating so many banana splits!  :)

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Digger Donald by Blanche Smith

Digger DonaldDigger Donald is a book with definite boy appeal, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't expose girls to it too. Digger Donald is an excavator that is excited when he gets a job to do.  He's even more excited about all the other machines he gets to meet and work with on the way to, and while doing, the job. Both boys and girls will learn the names and functions of all kinds of different big machines in this book.  The story was written by Blanche Smith and her daughter, Carmel Smith, drew the pictures.

Anna enjoyed the book.  She's always been fascinated by big machines and she enjoyed learning what some of these big machines were called and what they were used for.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs for Anya by Virginia Kroll

Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukrainian Celebration of New Life in Christ (Traditions of Faith from Around the World)Set in the 1900s Easter Eggs for Anya: A Ukarinian Celebration of New Life in Christ, written by Virginia Kroll and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, tells the story of Anya and the wonderful surprises she receives at Easter time.  The story starts with Anya being worried about how different Easter will be this year because her father is gone to war and because they don't have any eggs to decorate.  She is in her "praying place" talking to God about it when the surprises start. In an author's note at the beginning of the book the author tells about how the art of "pysanky" eggs, decorated eggs, started in the Ukraine and how Christians in the Ukraine exchange decorated eggs on Easter Sunday and say "Christ is risen!"  In the back of the book are instructions and suggestions for making your own "pysanky" eggs and instructions for a game to play.

Anna and I actually read this one using the Kindle Reader app for iPhone.  I downloaded the Easter Eggs for Anya eBook. We both really liked the book.  While I do like being able to read books on the iPhone, there still is nothing like being able to hold a book in your hands and this is one that I will be looking for to hold in our hands and read again, though we also will probably reread it on the iPhone many times as well.

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny? by Rob Scotton

Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny?In Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny? (A Lift the Flap Book) written and illustrated by Rob Scotton, Splat the Cat searches for the Easter Bunny to tell him what he wants for Easter.  Splat is convinced that he's not going to get what he wants because he can't find the Easter Bunny but he is pleasantly surprised when he wakes up on Easter Morning.  Somehow the Easter Bunny knew what he wanted without Splat telling him

Anna had great fun lifting the flaps and helping me read the story. I had heard about Splat the Cat books before but this is the first one that we read.  We've read others since reading this one and he's become a favorite character of Anna's.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Stanley's Party by Linda Bailey

Stanley's PartyIn Stanley's Party, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin, Stanley the dog doesn't like it when his humans go out and leave him home alone, but then he realizes that there are benefits to being left alone and he starts to enjoy it.  He soon decides to invite some dog friends in to help him enjoy it even more.  His humans, however, soon put an end to it.  Stanley doesn't mind, though, because to stop him from having parties, his humans take him with them everywhere they go.

This is the second Stanley book I've featured on the blog, the first being Stanley's Little Sister, and the third book I've featured by this author and illustrator duo, the other one being The Farm Team.  Anna and I really enjoy the stories and the illustrations in books by these two.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just the Three of Us by Gina Ducey

Just the Three of UsJust the Three of Us, by Gina Ducey, is a book that deal with a delicate subject that may not be for all children but may be just what some children need.  In rhyming text it tells the story of a family that adjusts to losing their father and going from a family of four to a family of three. It is told from point of view of the young boy in the family.

The illustrations used to tell the story were actually created by a group of children.

The author wrote this book shortly after her husband died and she was left to help her two small children through the changes it would bring to their lives. You can find out how she came to write the book and hear her read portions of it in this YouTube Video of an interview with Gina Ducey talking about her book Just the Three of Us.



Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sheep Out to Eat by Nancy Shaw

Sheep Out to Eat (Sandpiper paperbacks)In Sheep Out to Eat, written by Nancy Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple, rhyming text tells the story of five sheep visiting a teashop with hilarious results.  There are just a few words per page and the illustrations are wonderful.

Anna got a big kick out of the story and the pictures.  She liked trying to read it because there were so few words per page.

At Nancy Shaw's website I discovered that this is just one of many stories she's written and that she's written a number of stories featuring these sheep characters.  On the Activities Page of Nancy Shaw's website she suggests activities that would go along with many of her books.  She suggests some fun Cooking/Nutrition themed activities for Sheep Out to Eat.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Splinters written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester

SplintersSplinters, written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester, is a delightful, imaginative twist on a classic. Cindy is a girl that loves hockey.  She wants to play on a real team but when she gets on a team she doesn't get to play as much as she'd like because of the Blister Sisters.  They make fun of her old equipment and they sabotage everything she does.  When Cindy is bemoaning not being able to go to a hockey tryout she saw in an ad, a fairy goaltender shows up and whacks Cindy in the shins with her goalie stick and magically Cindy has a new uniform and new equipment,  but there's just one catch - Cindy has to be off the ice before the buzzer goes or it will all disappear.

Anna and I both loved this story and had fun discussing how it was like the classic Cinderella story.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Monday, April 18, 2011

Marconi's Secret by Susan Chalker Browne

In Marconi's Secret, written by Susan Chalker Browne and illustrated by Mel D'Souza, Molly and Sam's granddad tell them about how his father helped Marconi when he sent the first wireless message from Signal Hill.

This is the second book by this duo that I have featured on this blog, the first being At Ocean's Edge.  I thought this book was a bit wordy but okay. Anna struggled to stay interested because of the wordiness but we did manage to get through it.  I will probably come back to it again in a few years time as part of a social studies lesson.

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Thank You, God by Lise Caldwell & Diane Stortz

Thank You, God (Happy Day Books)In Thank You, God, co-authored by Lise Caldwell & Diane Stortz and illustrated by Norma Garris & Holli Conger, cute bear characters thank God for all the different blessings that fill their day.  This is a  Level 1 Happy Day Book and as such is a great book for beginning readers.  It is also a wonderful book to start a discussion of things we can thank God for.  Each page includes scripture verses that could be used for memorization.  Anna loved the book.




Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pudding and Pie: Favorite Nursery Rhymes chosen by Sarah Williams

The nursery rhymes in Pudding and Pie: Favorite Nursery Rhymes were chosen to be included in the book by Sarah Williams and they were illustrated by Ian Beck.  There are many different nursery rhymes in the book but there is just one rhyme per page.  Some of the nursery rhymes we had heard many times before and some we had never heard before but we enjoyed all of them.  The illustrations are wonderful!

Though I could find lots of information about other Sarah Williams on the web, I couldn't find any about this particular Sarah Williams.  The jacket cover of the book says that she is from England.

The illustrator, Ian Beck, is also from England.  Along with having illustrated many books by other authors is also an author himself and has written and illustrated his own books.

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Friday, April 15, 2011

O Canada: Our National Anthem, published by Scholastic


O Canada: Our National Anthem, published by Scholastic, has no author or illustrator specified but it is a beautiful book that should not be missed.  Photographs taken across our country adorn the pages as our National anthem is written phrase by phrase throughout the book.  In the back of the book is the music. as well as the history and french version of the anthem.

Anna was enthralled by the beautiful pictures and  we had to go through the book many times.  She loved trying to read the phrases and then singing the anthem at the end.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

There's No Place Like My Newfoundland and Labrador Home by Necie Mouland

In There's No Place Like My Newfoundland and Labrador Home, written and illustrated by Necie Mouland, each double page spread features an illustration and rhyming text.  Every page gives reasons for why living in Newfoundland and Labrador is great!  What Newfoundlander wouldn't want to share such a book with children they love? In the back of the book there is a section about plants and sea creatures common in Newfoundland and also a glossary of some words used in the book.

This is the second book by Necie that Anna and I have read and enjoyed, the first being Salt Fish and Scrunchions.  You can check out some sample pages of There's No Place Like My Newfoundland and Labrador Home on Necie's website.  This is a great book for Newfoundlanders living at home to share with a child to help them realize the wonderful privilege they have living where they do.  It's also great for those Newfoundlanders that are living away to share with a child and tell them about the place they used to call home.  The book would also be a good resource for anyone to use in a study of Newfoundland and Labrador.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waddle, Waddle, Quack, Quack, Quack by Barbara Anne Skalak

Waddle, Waddle, Quack, Quack, QuackIn Waddle, Waddle, Quack, Quack, Quack, written by Barbara Anne Skalak and illustrated by Sylvia Long, rhyming text tells the story of 5 little ducklings from their birth to the time they settle for the night.  One little duckling gets lost but finds his way home before night fall.

Anna and I both loved this book.  The text and the pictures are both wonderful!

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jousting with Jesters: An ABC for the Younger Dragon written and illustrated by Martin Springett

Jousting With Jesters: An ABC for the Younger DragonJousting with Jesters: An ABC for the Younger Dragon, written and illustrated by Martin Springett, is an alliterative alphabet book with a medieval theme.  There is just one sentence on each page and most words on each page start with the letter the page is dedicated to.  The illustrations are wonderful and it is fun to search out each page for all the things that start with the featured letter.

Martin Springett, though born in England, now lives in Canada.  He says he went back to the landscape of his childhood for the illustrations in this book.

Personally I'm not a big fan of dragons and things medieval, but I love alliteration.  Anna seemed to enjoy all aspects of the book.  She's a little young yet to really get the idea of alliteration but I can see us coming back to this book again when she's ready for a lesson on alliteration.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Borrowed Black: A Labrador Fantasy Ellen Bryan Obed

Borrowed Black: A Labrador FantasyIn Borrowed Black: A Labrador Fantasy, written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by Jan Mogensen, rhyming text tells about a fantasy creature that borrows but never gives back.  He borrowed the moon and broke it into a thousand pieces and that explains the cracks in the moon.  A copy of this book is one of the prizes donated by Breakwater Books for our April Reading Challenge.

Although the author, Ellen Bryan Obed, now lives in Maine she lived in Labrador for 10 years and that is the reason I am classifying her as a Newfoundland author.  The illustrator, Jan Mogensen, was born in Denmark and that's the only information I could find about the illustrator.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't crazy about this book, but that's probably because I'm not a huge fan of fantasy.   I tried my best not to pass my bias on to Anna and I don't think she minded the book, but she also didn't show any great enjoyment of it.  We did take advantage of the explanation of the cracks in the moon to discuss whether this might be true or not.  If you are a fan of fantasy, you and your child may really enjoy this book.  I'd love to hear from you if you do.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Love You This Much by Lynn Hodges

I Love You This Much: A Song of God's LoveIn I Love You This Much, written by Lynn Hodges and Sue Buchanan and illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello, a mother bear tells her cub how much she loves him and how much God loves him.  I purchased this as a Kindle book from Amazon and Anna and I read it together from my iPhone.  We really liked the illustrations and Anna liked helping me read the easy phrases - "I love you best. I love you most. I love you high. I love you low. I love you deep. I love you wide. I love you. I love you. I love you this much!"

Apparently the physical book comes with a CD of someone singing the words as a lullaby and I really wish that you could get that as an Mp3file with the ebook.  We would like to hear the lullaby.  I did a search for it but couldn't find it online.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Very First Mother Goose, edited by Iona Opie

My Very First Mother GooseMy Very First Mother Goose, edited by Iona Opie and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, is a big book of mother goose rhymes, many that I had never heard before.  Anna and I read it over a number of days and really enjoyed it.

I loved the little write up, which is for the parents, in the front of the book.  Iona Opie talks about how Mother Goose rhymes "help people along the bumpy road of life".  She says "They give us the suggestion that "mishaps might be funny rather than tragic, that tantrums can be comical as well as frightening, and that laughter is the cure for practically everything."

Anna enjoyed the rhymes, but she also enjoyed the illustrations.  I hadn't noticed, but she immediately noticed that many of the characters in the book looked like Max and Ruby, the bunnies of book and TV fame.  It is no wonder, since the illustrator of the book is the author and illustrator of the Max and Ruby books.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Bigbeard's Hook by Evan Solomon

Bigbeard's HookBigbeard's Hook, written by Evan Solomon and illustrated by Bill Slavin, is the first book in a Nathaniel McDaniel and the Magic Attic series by this author.  While visiting his grandfather, Nathaniel McDaniel discovers his grandfather's magic attic and ends up in an adventure on a pirate ship.  The rhyming text and action filled pictures takes you on the crazy adventure with Nathaniel.

Anna was captivated by the story and the pictures.  We will definitely be looking for book number 2.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Down by Jim Long's Stage by Al Pittman

Down By Jim Long's StageDown by Jim Long's Stage, subtitled Rhymes for children and young fish, was written by Al Pittman and features illustrations by Pam Hall.  This book contains more wonderfully silly rhymes, this time featuring fish of all kinds.  Once again Anna and I got a kick out of the rhymes and pictures.  I think we preferred Down by Jim Long's Stage over On a Wing and a Wish: Salt Water Bird Rhymes.  Each double page spread in Down by Jim Long's Stage features a single poem, while in On a Wing and a Wish: Salt Water Bird Rhymes there was often more than one poem per page.  Apparently Down by Jim Long's Stage book has been around for 25 years but this is my first time encountering it and I'm sad that it took so long to come across it.  It really is a fun book.

This book is great to read simply for the fun of it, but it would also add some fun to a science study of different kinds of fish.


Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes!
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young selected by Jack Prelutsky

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very YoungThe over 200 poems featured in Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young were written by a number of different authors and were selected for inclusion in the book by Jack Prelutsky.  The illustrations in the book are the work of Marc Brown.

Anna and I took many days to go through the book and had great fun with it.  We borrowed a copy from our local library but this is one of those books that I'd love to have in our own library.

In the grownups section of Jack Prelutsky's website he provides a link to a PDF of Tips For Reading with the Very Young.  In it he talks about his book Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young and says "The poems are on themes that very young children can relate to, such as nature, bedtime, animals, weather, food, the world of make-believe, and of course, children’s own thoughts and feelings. Many of the poems mimic the experiences children have as they discover the world around them."

If you're wanting to make a special effort to share some poems with your child during Poetry Month, Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young is a book you should check out.

Join the April Reading Challenge for a chance to win one of 5 books donated as prizes! Check out the Newsletter blog to read the April Newsletter.