Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Missing Glasses & Sandy and Ruff by Robert C. Parsons

The Missing Glasses & Sandy and Ruff, written and illustrated by Robert C. Parsons is actually two books in one. It is subtitled A Newfoundland and Labrador Draw-and-Tell Story. The inside of the book says "using simple, graphic elements, each of which represents something in the story, a picture is created, usually with a surprise ending.". It is also described as "A Turn Around Book". You flip the book over and around to get the other story. The Missing Glasses is about a boy that lost his glasses. Sandy and Ruff is about a boy and his dog.

Anna loved the stories. While I was reading Sandy and Ruff she copied the simple graphic elements for the story and ended up with a really cute drawing of a dog. I will post a picture of the drawing and fix up this post with links as soon as I'm back to having an Internet connection besides just on my phone.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Harris Find His Feet Written and Illustrated by Catherine Rayner

Harris Finds His FeetIn Harris Find His Feet, written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner, a hare asks his grandfather why his feet are so big and the grandfather explains to him how important it is.  He doesn't like the fact that his feet are so big but, with the help of his Grandfather, he soon comes to appreciate it.  On the author's website you can catch a glimpse of some of the pages of Harris Finds His Feet.

Anna and I both thought this was a great book. It's funny and interesting. I loved the fact that it showed how the younger could learn from the older.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Weighing the Elephant by Ting-Xing

Weighing the Elephant (Folktale)In Weighing the Elephant, written by Ting-Xing Ye with art by Suzane Langlois, a village in China has a baby elephant that brings much joy to the people until the day the emperor decides he must have the baby elephant for himself.  To get the baby elephant back again the village people must tell the emperor how much the elephant weighs.  The villagers try many different ways to weigh the elephant but nothing works until a little boy comes up with the idea of using a boat to do it.

This book is great just for the story itself but it's also great to use to discuss problem solving and different ways to weigh things.  Anna loved the story just for the story but I plan on using it again in the future to add some interest to a unit on measurement and problem solving.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rebel the Rock Collector by Doreen Canning

Rebel the Rock Collector, written by Doreen Canning and illustrated by Lorie Cull, is about a German Shepherd that likes to collect rocks.  Jo adopts Rebel from the SPCA and soon there are piles of rocks all over the place thanks to Rebel.  Then Rebel finds a very unique rock that is too big for him to bring home so he decided to move his house and belongings out by the rock.

Doreen Canning runs a bed and breakfast in Springdale Newfoundland and has written a couple of children's books.  Lorie Cull is from Springdale, Newfoundland.

Anna loves stories about dogs, and this one was no exception.  I'm sure it will be asked to be reread a few times.

A picture of the book will be edited in later.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Can Be Me! by Cindy Kenny and Linda Bredehoft

VeggieTales I Can! And So Can You! (Big Idea Books / VeggieTales)
I Can Be Me!, by Cindy Kenny and Linda Bredehoft, is actually one of a four part "I Can!" collection of die cut board books featuring the Veggie Tales characters.  The I Can Be Me book is in the shape of Larry the cucumber and features pictures of Larry taking on all kinds of roles with simple, fun, two rhyming word descriptions for each role.  These include Prairie Larry and Dairy Larry, just to name a couple.  The theme verse for the book is Psalm 139:14 which says that God made us amazing and wonderful and the purpose of the book is to help children see that they can be anything God wants them to be.

Anna loves the Veggie Tales, especially Larry the cucumber, so of course she loved this book.  I thought it was a little on the silly side but enjoyed it because Anna enjoyed it so much.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Good Luck, Bad Luck by Rita Schlachter

In Good Luck, Bad Luck by Rita Schlachter and illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Rabbit is convinced that all the bad luck that seems to be happening to him is because of a curse put on him by a witch. Bear, however, is convinced that it is simply because Rabbit is so careless. 

Anna got a kick out of the story and thought it was hilarious that Rabbit was so careless and thought a witch had hexed him. I liked that it gave us a chance to talk about carefully considering our actions and the results of our actions. 

My apologies for not having links in this post but I am without an Internet connection to work on it on my laptop. I didn't want to miss posting so I decided to use my phone to post. I will fix it up when I have Internet connection again, hopefully tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Skin That Slimes and Scares by Diane Swanson

Up Close: Skin That Slimes and ScaresSkin That Slimes and Scares, by Diane Swanson, is part of an "Up Close" series of books "that show children how they can link animals by different body parts."  There are very short chapters on armored skin, slimy skin, warning skin, tasty skin, scary skin, and disguising skin.  For each one it shows real photos and illustrations of different animals and explains how the the skin helps each animal.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book and learned a lot from it.  We took our time going through the book and read a chapter a day and did lots of discussing and looking things up on the internet.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Johnny and the Gipsy Moth by Deannie Sullivan-Fraser

Johnny and the Gipsy MothThe story in Johnny and the Gipsy Moth, written by Deannie Sullivan-Fraser and illustrated by Hilda Rose, was inspired by true events in the author's father's childhood.  Johnny has trouble fitting in when his family moves from the big city to a small community, but a special visit from his uncle changes things.  His uncle arrives in a Gipsy Moth airplane and takes Johnny for a ride, stirring up envy and interest from the young boys that liked to make fun of Johnny.  The story is sprinkled with Newfoundland words and sayings and has a one page glossary in the back to explain some of them.  It is a nice book to read just for fun but it can also be used to initiate some social studies lessons about dialects and also about the history of flight in Newfoundland.

To be perfectly truthful I don't think Anna liked the story as much as I did, but I think that is an age factor because she was only 4 when we read it.  I'm thinking we will revisit the book in a year or so as part of our social studies learning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

David Gets in Trouble by David Shannon

David Gets In TroubleDavid Gets in Trouble, written and illustrated by David Shannon, is based on a book the author wrote when he was just five years old. In the book, David, like most every child, is always getting in trouble and claiming not to be responsible for whatever trouble he gets into. The book has just a short phrase per page and the phrases are David's excuses for all the times he gets in trouble.

Anna and I both got a kick out of this story and could relate to many of the situations David got himself into and the excuses he made for himself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Have I got a book for you! by Melanie Watt

Have I Got a Book for You!In Have I got a book for you!, written and illustrated by Melanie Watt, Mr. Al Foxword tries to sell you the book in true salesman fashion, using all sorts of salesmen's tricks and speeches.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't especially like this book and I'm not sure what Anna thought about it.  I tried to make it fun but I'm sure my true lack of enthusiasm shone through.  She did have some giggles at parts of the book but I really think a lot of it went right over her head.  I did think the torn corner at the end of the book was kind of a cute touch.

To learn more about the story you can check out the YouTube video of some grade 4 students reading Have I Got a Book For You!.  The Texas Librarian offers some reading strategies and lesson plan ideas for Have I Got a Book For You!.  On the Kids Can Press page devoted to Have I Got a Book for You!, you will find information about the book and a link to a pdf of Have I Got a Book for You! Learning Resource Material with a number of ideas for using the book as a basis for some learning.

This is the second book that I've featured by Melanie Watts, the first being Chester.  I know a lot of people really like Melanie Watt books, but I'm finding I struggle with her books. It seems to take a number of re-readings and research before I really grow to appreciate them.   

Monday, June 20, 2011

Duncan's Way by Ian Wallace

Duncan's WayDuncan's Way, written and illustrated by Ian Wallace, is set in outport Newfoundland and tells the story of how 11 year old Duncan comes up with an idea to help his family.  Duncan's dad struggles with the loss of his way of life and livelihood since the fishery closed.  His mother thinks the family should move from Newfoundland to start a new life, but Duncan comes up with a plan to help his father make a living and stay in Newfoundland.

Anna was not terribly interested in the story but she did like the pictures.  I have mixed feelings about the book.  It portrays real life struggles that some Newfoundlanders faced with the closing of the fishery and I can see some people really being able to relate to the story while I see others being offended by some aspects of the story.

On Ian Wallace's website you can find a sample spread from Duncan's Way and learn about the family that Wallace used as models and inspiration for the illustrations in the book.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Oxpecker and the Giraffe: I Need You and You Need Me by Patrick Fitzpatrick

I Need You and You Need Me (The Oxpecker and the Giraffe Series)In The Oxpecker and the Giraffe: I Need You and You Need Me, written by Patrick Fitzpatrick and illustrated by Tim Newcombe, Giraffe is fed up with Oxpecker always picking at him.  Oxpecker tries to make Giraffe see that they really do need each other, but Giraffe is not convinced until he talks to the Rhinos.  Cape Buffalo, the Rhino, tells Giraffe that it is part of God's plan that the oxpecker actually help the bigger animals by eating the bugs that could give the bigger animals diseases.  The story is told with rhyming text and great illustrations.

I picked this book up at the Creations Ministries International booth at our provincial homeschool conference this weekend and Anna and I both really enjoyed reading it together. The text is interesting and informative and the illustrations are beautiful.  We learned a bit about both the Oxpecker bird and about giraffes, and about how animals depend on one another to survive.  I will definitely be watching out for more books by Creation Book Publishers.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems, written by Kristine O'Connell George

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping PoemsToasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems, written by Kristine O'Connell George and illustrated by Kate Kiesler is a wonderful collection of poems about camping.  It includes many different kinds of poems and great illustrations.

I really liked this book because it gave me a chance to introduce Anna to some different kinds of poems in a topic that was interesting to her.

On Kristine O'Connell George's website there is a Teacher's Guide for her book Toasting Marshmallow.  She gives some great ideas on how to use the book as a jumping off point for some fun learning.  Also on the page featuring the Toasting Marshmallows book you will find links to audio files of the author reading some of the poems from the book and a section talking about the writing of the book.

This is a great book to include in the gear you take on a camping trip or a hike, or even to use in a backyard or living room camping experience.  It's sure to help you create great memories.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Little Toby and the Big Hair co-authored by Kim and Eugenie Fernandes

Little Toby and the Big HairLittle Toby and the Big Hair is co authored by the mother/daughter team of Kim and Eugenie Fernandes.  In the book a girl named Toby decides she doesn't want to get her hair cut and as it grows longer it causes all kinds of trouble, but Toby doesn't mind.  One day her grandfather tells her that she reminds him of himself and shows her a picture of him with long hair.  He helps her do her hair up nice in braids and ribbons and everyone loves it, but when the day is through her mother helps her take out the ribbons and braids and enjoy her hair in freedom again. The illustrations in the book are done with fimo by Kim Fernandes.  The three dimensional look of the illustrations are incredible and they reminded us of Barabra Reid's work.  Anna and I both really enjoyed both the story and the illustrations.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Terry Fox: A Story of Hope by Maxine Trottier

Terry Fox: A Story of HopeTerry Fox: A Story of Hope, by Maxine Trottier, is the story of Terry Fox written especially for ages 7-10.  The text of the book is interspersed with real photos from Terry's life.  It is a good book to help children understand the history behind the annual Terry Fox Run which is scheduled for September 18, 2011.  You can read more about the annual run at www.terryfoxorg .

I was surprised by how interested Anna was in the story.  I loved it because it gave us a chance to talk about so many things.

Scholastic created a special page for the Terry Fox book for the 30th anniversary of the run.  You can still access that page and in the clubs/activities section of the scholastic website you can find a number of PDFs to go along with the book, including a Terry Fox trivia Question and Answer sheet, Discussion/Essay Prompts, and a Sneaker Activity where you draw or write about you want to be when you grow up.

This is the fourth book I've featured by Maxine Trottier, the first being Forget-Me-Not, and the second Flags and the third One is Canada.  I'm finding that her books are great social studies resources.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

Russell the SheepIn Russell the Sheep, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton, Russel can't get to sleep so he decides to try counting things.  The text and pictures are hilarious.  Anna and I both loved it!

On Rob Scotton's website you can check out some sample pages of Russell the Sheep and you can learn more about how the idea for the book developed on a page titled The Beginning, Middle, and End of Russell the Sheep.  You can also watch a sketch of Russell take form on a page titled Russell Quickdraw.

This is the second book that I've featured by Rob Scotton, the first being Splat the Cat: Where's the Easter Bunny.  Russell the Sheep is definitely our favourite of the two.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Sack Full of Feathers by Debby Waldman

A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers written by Debby Waldman and illustrated by Cindy Revell, is a retelling of a Jewish folktale.  Yankel is a terrible gossip, running to share all the stories he overhears while working at his father's store.  One day the rabbi has a chat with him and teaches him a lesson using a sack full of feathers.

Anna enjoyed this book but I have to say that I think the message of this book is one that grownups need to learn even more so that children.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Freddy's Day at the Races by Susan Chalker Browne

Freddy's Day at the RacesFreddy's Day at the Races, written by Susan Chalker Browne and illustrated by Hilda Rose, is one in a series of Freddy adventures.  In this book Freddy, dressed in a pirate costume, is off with his mother to spend the day enjoying the annual Royal St. John's Regatta.  When the arrive at Quidi Vidi Lake Freddy takes off running and his mother has to chase him all around the concessions ground before she finally catches up with him.  Sprinkled throughout the book are historical facts regarding the races and the city.

The Regatta is an actual event that takes places in St. John's but I don't think I've ever actually attended it.  Anna really enjoyed this book when we read it a while back and we've decided that we're going to try to get into the city to attend the regatta this year to see some of the things that we learned about while Freddy's mother was chasing him across the grounds.

This is the fourth book that I've featured by Susan Chalker Browne, the first being At Ocean's Edge, the second Marconi's Secret, and the third The Amazing Adventures of Captain Bob Bartlett.  This book is quite different from the others.  The others are small chapter books while this one is more like a picture book.

This is the second book that I've featured that was illustrated by Hilda Rose, the first being What if Your Mom Made Raisin Buns.  The illustrations are definitely part of the appeal of this book.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Where Jesus Lived by Jane Werner Watson

Where Jesus lived (A little golden book)Where Jesus Lived, written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by Ronald LeHew, tells the story of Jesus life from his birth to his death..  This is another book that we borrowed from a friend.  Anna and I both thought it was a pretty good book.  It gave us a chance to talk about some things about the life of Jesus.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hurry, Hurry! by Eve Bunting

Hurry! Hurry!Hurry, Hurry!, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jeff Mack, has just a couple of repeated words or phrases per page.  All the animals are hurrying to welcome the new chick into the world.  Fun pictures!  Fun Text!

Anna loved this book, partially because she could read it.  She was quite expressive in her "Hurry! Hurry!" cry.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Animals Can Be So Sleepy by Diane Swanson

Animals Can Be So SleepyAnimals Can Be So Sleepy by Diane Swanson is "One in a series of books especially for preschoolers." It is an excellent nature book!  Each double page spread features a different animal and a sentence or two telling something about the animal.  There is also an I Spy section to each spread where you are asked to look for something in the illustration.

Anna loved this book.  It really is a great beginning science/nature study book.  We will be looking for the other books in this series.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Uncle Joe and Sally: It's ok to be Different by Marion Quinton-Brake

In Uncle Joe and Sally: It's ok to be Different, written by Marion Quinton-Brake and illustrated by Cassandra Boone, Uncle Joe and Sally are two bunnies that the kids think must have something wrong with them because they are different.  A boy, named Tim, however, loves and accepts the bunnies in spite of the fact that they are different and helps prove that the bunnies don't have anything wrong with them.

This is a cute story that gives you the chance to talk about how people are quick to judge by appearances.  Anna enjoyed the story for the most part but would have liked it better if there were more pictures.