Monday, January 31, 2011

Maggie and Hero by Margaret O'Brien

Maggie and HeroMaggie and Hero, written by Margaret O'Brien and illustrated by Veselina Tomova, tells about a puppy named Maggie that is always getting in trouble and feels like she's no good for anything, until she meets a big dog named Hero.  Hero convinces her that she is good for something and with Hero's encouragement Maggie herself becomes a hero and rescues a boy.

What kid doesn't like a story about dogs?  Anna thought it was great.

Maggie and Hero are featured on the Fineday books website.  It was actually the first children's book published by Fineday Books and according to the website "the book is an attempt to stimulate interest in the only two recognized breed dogs which originated in Canada".  Maggie is a Labrador Dog and Hero is a Newfoundland Dog.  You will find some information about Newfoundland Dogs and Labrador dogs on the FAQ page of the Fineday books site.   You'll also find colouring pages for both Maggie and Hero.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Todd's Day, God's Way: Learning about Godly Character by Laura Derico

Todd's Day, God's Way (Baby Blessings)In Todd's Day, God's Way: Learning about Godly Character, written by Laura Derico and illustrated by Peter Wilkes, Todd the tiger learns how to behave as God would want him to behave in different situations.  Each double page spread covers a different situation and shares a Bible verse that reinforces the Godly character that is to be displayed in the situation.

This is a board book from our own personal library.  On the book it says it is for children ages 2-4 but Anna still enjoys it.  Actually she enjoys trying to read parts of it by herself and it does help remind her of how she should act in different situations.  I'm thinking that I may use this for practice in reading and also use the verses as part of our memory program.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

FROGGY GETS DRESSEDFroggy Gets Dressed written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz is a funny story about a frog that discovers how much work it is to get ready to go out in the snow.  Non-words for sounds (such as zoop, zup, and zat) are part of the fun of this book.

Anna and I enjoyed making the sounds and shouting out parts of the story as we took on the roles of the mother and froggy. We had a lot of fun with this book.

I didn't know it at the time, but I've learned that this is just one of a number of Froggy books written by Jonathan London, who has actually authored more than 80 books, including the Froggy books. You can read a short description of each of the Froggy books on the Read That Again site. (I just found the Read That Again site and was interested to see that it has much the same premise as my site - a Dad shares about books he and his daughter has enjoyed reading together.)

If you want to have a look and listen to the book before you get it to read for yourself, you can tune into the YouTube video Froggy Gets Dressed narrated by Carli.  I also found a Froggy Gets Dressed Felt Board Story YouTube video of someone using some felt figures to tell a story that is very different from, but obviously inspired by, the book. That lead me to find the Time4Felt site which has a Froggie Gets Dressed Up felt set which includes 14 felt figures and 2 original stories. These are the figures that are used in the video.

There are a lot of sites with activities to help you have even more fun with the book. There are all kinds of Froggy activities at Learning Treasures, including a Froggy Gets Dressed Uno print and make game and a Froggy Gets Dressed Lotto spinner and bingo cards to print and make. The ABCTeach directory has a page dedicated to the Froggy books. There you will find a bunch of different worksheets in a Froggy Gets Dressed PDF.  It includes Compression Questions, a Fill in the blank story summary and a Matching Words and Pictures page. A Slideshow of Froggy Books by Jonathan London suggests activities to go along with different Froggy books and specifies the different school curriculum outcomes that are covered by the different activities. The script for the slideshow is below the slideshow and is easier to read than the slideshow.  Funny thing is Froggy Gets Dressed is not one of the books in the slideshow.

Froggy Gets Dressed is a a fun book to read all on it's own, but taking advantage of some of the things available on the internet can turn it into even more fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Big Sarah's Little Boots by Paulette Bourgeois

In Big Sarah's Little Boots, written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark, Sarah is upset because her favorite rubber boots don't fit her any more.  She tries everything she can to make them fit.  She is convinced that her new boots are never going to be as good as her old boots, but finally sees some advantages to the new boots.

Anna really enjoyed this book.  She giggled at Sarah's attempts to make her boots fit.

Canadian Paulette Bourgeois is most famous for her Franklin books, but she has written many other books.  Big Sarah's Little Boots is one of my favorite.  If you're not sure how to pronounce the author's last name have a listen to her share how she got her name in the author name pronunciation guide.

Brenda Clark, also a Canadian, did the illustrations for this book, as well as the Franklin books.  Brenda Clark also did the illustrations for Sadie and the Snowman, which I featured earlier.  The drawings in Big Sarah's Little Boots are so cute and really add to the story.

This is a great book to share with a child that may be having trouble letting go of something that he/she has outgrown.  I found a really fun idea for an activity with Big Sarah's Little Boots on a page with suggested activities for specific pictures books.  You have to scroll down the page a bit to find it but it suggests ways to make the sounds of wind and rain.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Emma's Treasure by Gerald Mercer

Emma's TreasureEmma's Treasure, written by Gerald Mercer and  illustrated by Jillian Nicol, is another great book that we found at our local library.  We loved it!

One day while exploring  her grandfather's shed Emma finds an old trunk that once belonged to her great-great grandfather.  The trunk leads to all kinds of learning for Emma and her friends.

This is actually the first Emma book written by Gerald Mercer.  I featured the second one he wrote, Emma's New Game, earlier.  I love the Emma books because they are great resources to use to teach children an appreciation for their culture and heritage.  The trunk that Emma finds in Emma's Treasure is a trunk that her great-great grandfather used to take with him on a fishing boat and it contains his fishing clothes and a squeeze box, among other things.  Many children today know nothing about such things and coming across them in this book may inspire them to learn more about them and to ask their grandparents about them.  This time around we enjoyed the book for the story but we will be coming back to it again in the future for some social studies lessons.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pigs Make Me Sneeze by Mo Willems

Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)Pigs Make Me Sneeze by Mo Willems had Anna roaring with laughter and asking for me to reread it again and again.

Gerald, the elephant, is really upset when he thinks that he may be alergic to pigs because Piggy, a cute little pig, is his best friend!  This story is told with simple pictures and very few words.  Though I am not a big fan of the cartoon style book, I actually liked this book.

Mo Willems, author and illustrator, has written a number of books featuring Elephant and Piggie, and a number of books featuring other characters.  You can learn more about him in this video of Mo Willems sharing a bit of his biography and how he started writing. On Mo Willems blog I learned about his chalkboard walls and his dinner doodles.  His home sounds like a fun place to live!

To extend the fun of the book,  check out Gerald's page and Piggie's page for facts about each character and a colouring page for each character.  Also check out the Elephant and Piggie Books Party Kit which suggests fun activities for all the Elephant and Piggie Books.  For Pigs Makes Me Sneeze it suggests using the book to initiate a discussion about alergies.  It also suggests the following fun activities: have a kids share sneezing techniques, have a  loudest sneeze contest, decorate tissue boxes with elephant and piggie drawings.

I think part of the reason that Anna loved the book so much was because I really put everything into reading it.  When her father tried to read it to her she took the book from him and told him he wasn't reading it right, and brought it to me to read again.  So, if you want your child to really love Pigs Make Me Sneeze, make sure you have fun reading it.  :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Show and Tell by Robert Munsch

Show and Tell (Classic Munsch)Anna loved Show and Tell, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko.  Benjamin decides to take his new baby sister to school for show and tell, but he doesn't tell his mother about it.  The baby is not too happy and gets less and less happy until she's finally back in her mother's arms.  The story is hilarious.  Told in typical Robert Munsch style with repeated phrases that make it fun to read and easy for children to join in the fun.  Anna loved to help with with the Waahhhhs! of the baby.

Robert Munsch's website is excellent!  On his website  there is a page devoted to Show and Tell where you can read about the inspiration for the story and you can also listen to Robert Munsch tell the story.  It was here that I learned that the first inspiration for this story came while Robert Munsch was visiting students at a school in Gander Newfoundland!  

Monday, January 24, 2011

Star's Island by Margaret O'Brien

In Star's Island, written by Margaret O'Brien and illustrated by Veselina Tomova , Star the pony loves his small island in the middle of the ocean, but one day Cordell, a big white bird, convinces him to check out the big island where Cordell insists everything is bigger and better.  Star decides to go and check it out for himself.  Star enjoys himself, but he longs to get back to his little island again.  In the end Cordell and Star decide that even though they both prefer different places they can still be best friends.

This is a cute story that makes me think about how many Newfoundlanders feel about their home.  I'm sure most Newfoundlanders will be able to relate to Star's feelings about his little island.  Children enjoy the book because it is about pony's.  I know that's why Anna liked the book.

After much searching online I did find some information about the author and illustrator.  Margaret O'Brien's books have been published by Fineday Books, a company owned by three Newfoundland women.  It is on the What is Fineday page that I found out the Margaret O'Brien was one of the producers of CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.  On the How the book was illustrated page that Veselina Tomova was actually born in Bulgaria by now lives in St. John's and has an art studio there.

I did find a YouTube video of the book's launching.  This is a brand new book was just launched in July of 2010 so maybe there will be more info available in the future.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury

Let Me Hold You LongerLet Me Hold You Longer, written by Karen Kingsbury and illustrated by Mary Collier, is a book that every mother and father should read.  It tells the story of a mom that starts thinking about all the firsts with her little one - like the first step, the first word, etc. - but ends up thinking about all the lasts - like the last bedtime story, etc. - that will quickly pass without her realizing it.

I found this book in the children's section of our library but while I was reading it I kept thinking that it really is more of a book for Mom's than it is for children. I bawled my way through this one!  Seriously, I could hardly read I was crying that much.  Anna kept asking me what was wrong, but I kept thinking about my three older children who are all young adults now and how I had missed all their lasts.  In spite of my emotional breakdown, Anna did enjoy the book and I did manage to hold it together more during future readings.

Karen Kingsbury is one of my favorite Christian writers and I've read many of her Christian fiction books but I didn't know that she wrote books for children too.  I will be watching for more of them.

I found a Let Me Hold You Longer Promo on YouTube where you can hear Karen talk about the inspiration for the book and hear her read the book while the illustrations of the book are shown.

I am including this in my list of Christian Themed books because the author is known for writing books with a Christian emphasis but this book is really one that any parent will appreciate.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Frog in the Bog by Karma Wilson

A Frog in the BogA Frog in the Bog, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Joan Rankin, is one of our favorite books by this author. Frog is sitting on a log in the bog having a feast when he gets a big surprise.

This is such a fun book!  The rhyming text is great fun of it's own accord but it's made even more fun because it incorporates counting as the frog eats first one, and then two, and then three, and so on.  This would be a great fun addition to a math class.

On Karma Wilson's website you can find a list of books she has written.  We've read, and enjoyed, many of them.  There is a Teachers resources page with activity ideas for many of he books.  Click on Frog in the Bog on the Teachers resources page to find fun frog activities to go along with A Frog in the Bog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sadie And The Snowman by Allen Morgan, illustrated by Brenda Clark

Sadie and the SnowmanIn Sadie And The Snowman, by Allen Morgan, Sadie has great fun building snowmen all throughout the winter, though she is a little sad at first when the animals keep picking her snowman apart. She keeps using different things to make the snowman. When the snowman starts to melt in the heat she does everything she can to save him and in the end places what's left of him in a bowl under her bridge.  When it melts she puts the water into a bag and keeps it in her freezer to keep a piece of her snowman with her until winter comes again and she can rebuild him.

This is a really cute story.  Anna loved it.  The pictures are great and the repeated phrases and patterns in the book make it fun to read and fun to listen to.

Both Allen Morgan and Brenda Clark live in Ontario and both have many other works to their names.

While the book is great to read just for fun I found a website that suggested some great learning activities inspired by Sadie and the Snowman.

I also found a YouTube video of a reading of Sadie and the Snowman featuring the pictures from the book.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh

Heroes of Isle aux MortsHeroes of Isle aux Morts, written by Alice Walsh and illustrated by Geoff Butler, tells the true story of how a Newfoundland dog helped save the passengers of a ship that went aground on the rocks near Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland, in 1832.  I had never heard this story before.  Anna was captivated by it.  The story is told with just the right amount of words and the illustrations make the words come to life.

Though both Alice Walsh and Geoff Butler now live in Nova Scotia, they both grew up in Newfoundland.  That, and the fact that the story is set in Newfoundland, are the reasons for my including the book in the Newfoundland author/illustrations section rather than the Canadian section.

This is a wonderful book to read simply for the nice story to younger children, but it could also be used as a jump of point for some great social studies learning with older children.  I definitely see us coming back to this book again.

I'm so glad that I found Heroes of Isle aux Morts in our local library.  It is a book worth checking out.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Adele And Simon by Barbara McClintock

Adele & Simon
Love this book! Adele And Simon, by Barbara McClintock, tells about the struggles big sister Adele has trying to get her little brother Simon home without Simon losing all his things along the way. She's not too successful with that task.

Set in the early 20th century Paris, the illustrations in this book are wonderful!  It is fun to search on each page for the new thing that Simon has lost along the way but the illustrations can also be used as the jump off point for a great social studies lesson because they show different historical places in Paris.  In the back of the book the author shares the inspiration for each illustration, giving information about the places.

On Barbara McClintock's website I discovered that this book is a actually the first in what is becoming a series of books.  The second, Adele & Simon in America, is already available for purchase and the third, Adele & Simon in China, is due to be published in the fall of this year.  We will be watching for them in our library.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book.  Adele And Simon is one of those books that you don't mind reading again and again.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on the book.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland

Big Bear HugBig Bear Hug by Nicholas Oldland is a funny story about a bear that loved to hug everything he came into contact with, including trees and animals of all shapes and sizes.  One day, however, he saw something that he didn't like and he didn't feel like hugging, but he decided to put his anger aside and hug anyway.  Surprisingly the hug resulted in what he wanted to happen.  You have to read the story to really understand what all that means.

This is the first book by Canadian author and illustrator Nicholas Oldland.   Normally  Nicholas's drawings are found on clothing and products which he and his brother's sell in their Hatley Store.  There are even some Big Bear Hug products available in the store -

Big Bear Hug is just a fun book that Anna and I both enjoyed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Brave Jack and the Unicorn by Janet McNaughton

Brave Jack and the UnicornOn her website Janet McNaughton says that although her book Brave Jack and the Unicorn is classified as a picture book it is not intended for young children who haven't learned to read because the story and the vocabulary are too complex and advanced.  Inspite of that, however, Anna enjoyed this book, more so than I did, actually.

In the story an old lady has three sons: one who's handsome, one who's clever, and one who seems to be no good for anything, but is very kindhearted.  The kindhearted son goes through a series of circumstances that shows his true worth.  The story reminded me of Grimms Fairy Tale The Golden Goose.

I hate to admit this but I am not a fan of fairy tales.  It seems, however, that Anna enjoys fairy tales so I bite the bullet and read her a fairy tale once in a while.  While I didn't particularly enjoy the story in this book I didn't hate it and I grew to appreciate the book more when I took a closer look at it and also when I found the author's website.

The illustrations in Brave Jack and the Unicorn are by Susan Tooke and are of 15 different locations in Newfoundland and Labrador.  There is a list of these locations in the beginning of the book.  One complaint I have about the book is that the page numbers are not on the pages, making it a bit of a pain to find a particular page.  You can actually see some selected illustrations from the book on Susan Tooke's webpage.

On Janet McNaughton's website is a page devoted to sharing information about the inspiration behind Brave Jack and the Unicorn.  It's also interesting to read about how she decided to include an iceberg and a Newfoundland Pony, two things Newfoundland is famous for, in the story.

This book would be a great resource in a study of Newfoundland and Labrador.  One thing you could do is  use the different illustrations to learn about different places in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Janet McNaughton actually suggests this, along with other things, on the Brave Jack Teacher's Resource page on her website.

I definitely see us revisiting this book again in a few years time, if not even before then.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fox Walked Alone by Barbara Reid

Fox Walked AloneFox Walked Alone is a fun book to read when covering the story of the flood.  Fox doesn't understand why so many animals are traveling together two by two so he decides to follow them and see what's up.  That's how he ends up on Noah's ark.  The story is told in wonderful rhyme and the illustrations give you so much to take in and talk about.

This book is another great one by Canadian author and illustrator Barbara Reid.  The really interesting thing about her illustrations is that she makes them out of plasticine.  The illustrations of the different birds and animals in this book are amazing.  If you haven't already checked out Barbara Reid's website make sure you do.  In the About Plasticine section of her website you will find all kinds of great stuff including, in Projects One and Two, step by step instructions on how to make snakes and bugs and cats .