Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jonathan James Says "I Can Be Brave" by Crystal Bowman

Jonathan James Says, "I Can Be Brave"Jonathan James Says "I Can Be Brave", written by Crystal Bowman and illustrated by Karen Maizel, is a one in a series of Jonathan James Learn to Read books for beginning readers.  It is a short chapter book with 4 chapters about different situations where Jonathan needed to be brave.  The chapter titles are The New Bedroom, First Grade, Lost, and Weekend at Grandma's.  Jonathan is reminded that God never sleeps and is always with us.

Anna and I both enjoyed the stories in the book and it was a great chance to remind Anna to trust in God.  I especially liked when Jonathan was going to sleep and he reminded himself that God was awake and was watching over him.  I also liked when someone reminded Jonathan that you can never be lost from God.  I think those are great reminders even for adults.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

All About Turtles by Jim Arnosky

All About TurtlesAll About Turtles, written and illustrated by Jim Arnosky, has great illustrations and informational text which teaches all kinds of interesting things about turtles, like how to identify the different kinds, what they eat, what their eggs are like, etc.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book.  We both learned lots.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Too Many Books! by Gilles Tibo

Too Many Books!In Too Many Books!, written by Gilles Tibo and illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin, Nicholas is tired of having a book passed to him every time he wants to learn how to do something or learn about something.  He knows books are good for that because he's learned lots from them, but he's sick of it.  Then his friend introduces him to books that are just for pleasure.

I think Anna enjoyed this book.  She didn't say too much about it.  I had mixed feelings about it.  It is kind of cute.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pavlova's Gift by Maxine Trottier

Pavlova's Gift written by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Victoria Berdichevsky, is a fantasy story about Anna Pavlova, a real life historical person.  In real life Anna was a professional ballerina and in this fantasy story she received a letter from the Czar requesting that she dance for his ill son.  On her way to fulfill the request she first meets a gypsy women who gives her a necklace and then comes upon a group of gypsies when her sleigh needs repairs.  It is with this group of gypsies that her night changes.

Anna loved the story, partly because the main character's name was the same as her's and partly because it was about a ballerina.  I thought it was an interesting fantasy story, not as weird as some fantasy stories can get. I think I will probably read it with Anna again in a year or so and use it as a jump off point to learn more about the actual historical person.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Teddy Bear by David McPhail

The Teddy BearThe Teddy Bear, written and illustrated by David McPhail tells the story of a little boy who loses his Teddy Bear in the park, and while he is upset for a few days he soon forgets about it.  Meanwhile the Teddy Bear is found, and loved, by a homeless man. There is a very special ending to this story that I don't want to spoil by telling but it is very touching.

I thought this story was great.  Anna was a little confused by the character of the homeless man because she's never seen one and has no concept of it, so I was glad it gave us the chance to discuss it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Seal is Lost by Priscilla Galloway

In Seal is Lost, written by Priscilla Galloway with pictures by Karen Patkau, Hugh loses his favorite stuffed toy while at the beach.  While his stuffed toy, Seal, is enjoying himself in Lost Toy Land, Hugh is looking for him but can't find him.  Instead Hugh finds a kitten that nobody claims and eventually the kitten takes Seal's place.

Anna and I thought this book was okay, not great, but okay.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Freddy's Hockey Hero by Susan Chalker Browne

Freddy's Hockey HeroFreddy's Hockey Hero, written by Susan Chalker Browne and illustrated by Hilda Rose, is another is the series of Freddy books.  In this book Freddy is excited to be going to a hockey game and is determined that he is going to get his stick signed by Billy Binkle, the most famous hockey player of all time. Nobody but Freddy is convince that Billy Binkle is even at the game, and Freddy has to go through a number of mazes before he finally does end up being in the spotlight with his hero and getting his stick signed.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't terribly enjoy this book.  To me the story was very contrived and didn't have a flow.  Anna seemed pretty neutral about the book.  This is not the first book that I've featured by this author or this illustrator but information about both are hard to find on the internet.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Little Golden Book About God by Jane Werner Watson

My Little Golden Book About GodMy Little Golden Book About God, written by Jane Werner Watson and illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, is an old one from our bookshelf. The book starts quite simply with the short sentence "God is Great" but goes on to explain how God is a part of everything that every was and ever will be. Anna and I have read it together a few times.  We both really love the illustrations.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead

A Sick Day for Amos McGeeIn A Sick Day for Amos McGee, written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by his wife Erin E. Stead, Amos's days are always the same.  He is a zoo keeper and enjoys spending time with the animals at the zoo.  When he gets sick and can't make it to work the animals miss him and decide to go visit him.

Anna and I both loved it!  The illustrations are great with just a touch of subtle colour.

On Philip Stead's blog, he has some posts that celebrate the fact that this book was named one of 10 best illustrated books in 2010 by New York Times.  Check out the first of the celebration posts for A Sick Day with Amos McGee and then click on Newer Post at the bottom of that post to read the other celebration posts.  In each post he highlights animals that are featured in the book and shows stamps from his stamp collection featuring the animals and also shows illustrations from the book.

On Erin Stead's blog, she also has a number of posts about the book.  These posts are sprinkled throughout the blog and I wish there was an easy way to access the posts about the book specifically but there isn't.  Two of my favorite ones about the book are her post about the day they received the first shipment of A Sick Day with Amos McGee and the post where she describes how she made one of the pictures for A Sick Day with Amos McGee.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Python Play and other recipes for fun Poems by Robert Heidbreder

Python Play: and Other Recipes for FunPython Play: and Other Recipes for Fun, with poems written by Robert Heidbreder and pictures by Karen Patkau, is a great, fun book of poems of all sorts all about play.  There are poems about classic play games like Hide-and-Seek and Tug-of-War, but there are also poems about totally new games.  The poems are sure to inspire action of all sorts.

Anna and I had great fun reading the poems and acting some of them out.  We also enjoyed the bright illustrations.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Boston Box by Carmelita McGrath

It was over a year ago that Anna and I read The Boston Box by Carmelita McGrath.  Set in the 1930's in outport Newfoundland, it tells the story of a young girl named Mary.  Mary loved to dream big dreams, and while she's busy working hard helping the other women with the fish she dreams of what she will do with the money she earns.  However, when it comes time to get paid they discover that the price of fish has gone down and her money will have to be used to help the family with necessities.  Live is made a little easier by an annual box of surprises sent from an aunt in Boston.  The book is illustrated by Rochelle Baker and some of them are quite nice.  I especially liked the borders around the illustrations.

Anna was very young when we read this book together and it really was over her head.  I do plan on returning to this book again as part of our social studies.  It is a great book to use as a resource for learning about life in outport Newfoundland in the 1930s.

The book was actually one of the finalist is the Hackmatack awards in 2005 and they prepared a page with suggested learning activities to do with The Boston Box.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Splat the Cat Sings Flat written by Chris Strathearn

Splat the Cat: Splat the Cat Sings Flat (I Can Read Book 1)Splat the Cat Sings Flat is an I Can Read book based on books by Rob Scotton but this book is actually written by Chris Strathearn and illustrated by Robert Eberz.  In this book Splat the cat is afraid to sing at a school presentation but he finally overcomes his fear.

Anna enjoyed the book and I thought it was okay.  It did give us a chance to talk about overcoming your fears.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Setting Wonder Free by Maryke Barnes

In Setting Wonder Free, written by Maryke Barnes and illustrated by Jirina Marton, a seven year old girl feels bad for her hobby horse, Wonder.  Wonder has been banished to the basement because her and her brother have outgrown it. Her mother suggested giving it to the Salvation Army but she couldn't bear the thought of another child riding it so she suggested putting it out in the field near their house.  Wonder looked lonely out there and the girl imagined Wonder would be happier with children.  One day, after a lady with a toddler had asked about Wonder, Wonder disappeared and the girl imagined how happy Wonder was again.

Anna loved this story.  It gave us a chance to talk about how you can grow out of toys and how when you do it is nice to give the toys to other children to enjoy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Stupendous Adventure of Gregory Green by Jason Noble

The Stupendous Adventure of Gregory GreenThe Stupendous Adventure of Gregory Green, written by Jason Noble and illustrated by his brother Matthew Noble, is the story of a boy that tries to save the forest from Sawtooth, Sludge, and Smog, three monsters that threaten to destroy the forest.  Included with the book is a CD of Gordon Pinsent narrating the story.

Anna enjoyed listening to the story on CD but to be perfectly honest I did not particularly enjoy the story.  Could be just because it's not my style of story and I may have to revisit it to give it another chance but my first opinion was not a great one.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Webster The Scaredy Spider by Max Lucado

Webster the Scaredy Spider
Webster The Scaredy Spider by Max Lucado is available in many formats - board book, hard cover, kindle edition, and DVD.  To be perfectly truthful, Anna and I haven't actually read the book, but we have watched the DVD.  It tells the story of a spider named Webster who is scared of everything, and everyone in the garden is afraid of Webster.  Hermie, however, helps everyone realize that Webster is not so scary after all and he also helps Webster be brave.  Hermie reminds them all that God is always with them and they need not be afraid.

Anna loves the DVD and we have watched it over and over and over.  I didn't realize that it was available as a book but I will definitely be watching for it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

King of the Playground by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

King Of The PlaygroundKing of the Playground, written by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and illustrated by Nola Langner Malone, is a great book to use to talk about bullies.  Kevin doesn't have much fun at the playground because of Sam, the bully.  Sam keeps threatening Kevin.  Kevin talks to his dad about it and his dad helps him see that Sam's threats are really rather silly.  Finally Kevin gets up enough courage to stand up to Sam and help him realize how silly his threats are and they end up having fun playing together.

Anna and I both enjoyed this book and it gave us a chance to talk about bullying.  I loved how the father in the story didn't jump in and defend his son, nor did he encourage him to be mean back, he simply helped his son see the reality of the situation and look for ways to change it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Ballerinas Don't Wear Glasses by Ainslie Manson

Ballerinas Don't Wear GlassesBallerinas Don't Wear Glasses by Ainslie Manson, illustrated by Dean Griffiths is a very cute story about a brother that saves the day for his little sister, even though there are times that he wishes he could trade her in for a puppy.  Ben is not impressed when his plans for the day are ruined because his mom is busy and he's responsible for his little sister, Allison.

Anna loved this book and I could tell from the look on her face while I was reading it that there were times when she wanted to punch Ben, but in the end he turned out to be a good big brother.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The ABC's of the Real Treat! by Samantha Gerbeau

The ABC's of the Real Treat! by Samantha Gerbeau is a small booklet put together to use to talk to children about eating healthy.  It is an alphabet book that suggests healthy foods to eat for each letter of the alphabet.  The author had developed some educator's extra's, including a facilator's guide and an ABC's slideshow, to go with the book.

I have mixed feelings about this book.  It's kind of cute and a good tool to encourage talking about eating healthy but I don't think either Anna or I particularly enjoyed the book much.  I found some of the rhymes really irritating and contrived so I may have reflected my dislike for it in my reading and that may have influenced Anna.  When I discovered that there were extra resources to go with the book I thought maybe it might be redeemable in some way but I was disappointed to see that the resources were not free, and even that the prices were a little steep in my mind.  Great idea for a book and kind of fun but not one that we'll likely read again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet

Carmine: A Little More RedCarmine: A Little More Red, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is a very different alphabet book. The words featured for the letters are not words you expect and they are part of the story.  The story is similar to Red Riding Hood, but with a flair all it's own.  I would say this is an alphabet book that children can grow into and grow to appreciate more with each reading.

Anna and I enjoyed the story.  Anna noticed and commented on the similarities to Red Riding Hood.  This is definitely one that I will be returning to because there's far to much in if for just one read through.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Red Apples by Marion Mineau

In The Red Apples, written by Marion Mineau and illustrated by Shirley Day, Mary sits on her steps looking longingly at the apples in the orchard, but not daring to go into the orchard to pick any because of the calves that are also in the orchard, til one day...  Cute story that tells about Mary's adventures when she finally does decide to tempt fate and how she is successful until she gets greedy.

Unforunately I couldn't find any information about the author or the illustrator, except that the back of the book says the author is from Canada.

Anna loved the story.  I used it as a chance to talk about how no good can ever come of being greedy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Spider in the Woodpile by Terry Morrison, illustrations by Len Walbourne

The Spider in the Woodpile, written by Terry Morrison and illustrationed by Len Walbourne, is a funny story about a spider named Webster.  Webster is delighted to find the perfect home for himself inside a cosy hole in a log.  He's a little concerned when the log moves and he discovers that it's being carried by a man.  Soon, however, he settles down as the log becomes a part of a woodpile.  He curious as to what the man is doing with the logs he carries from the woodpile once in a while but he doesn't give it too much thought until one day it's his log, with him inside it, that the man carries away and tries to throw into a very hot funny shaped black thing.  Luckily he escapes just in time, but that's not the end of his adventures.

Anna really enjoyed this book.  It would be a great book to use to kick of a study of insects.  It is a funny story that children would enjoy and the back of the book gives a bit of information about spiders and may inspire some scientific investigation and learning.  Unforunately the book is not easy to find, but there are copies of it available through the Newfoundland Public Library system.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the Beginning by Max Lucado

In the BeginningI'm not really sure if In the Beginning, by Max Lucado, should be classed as a children's book or not but Anna and I did read it together recently and she was spell bond by it.  It is a fictional account of a conversation that supposedly takes place between God and the archangel Michelangelo during the creation of the world. The text is accompanied by beautiful artwork that depicts the different stages of creation. At the back of the book are the actual scripture verses that give the Biblical account of creation.

I wasn't sure what to think of the book first when I started reading it and I was tempted to stop, but Anna wanted me to keep going. I usually read the preface and info on the flap of jacket books and/or backs of books before I read each book but I didn't do it with this book so at first I didn't get what the book was actually about.  Once I got to the end and then went back to read those things if finally made sense.