Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Venture for 2011

I have been having so much fun reading some many books with Anna this past year that I've decided to start a new venture for 2011 - 365 Days of Children's Books .  I hope you'll join us and pass the link along to your friends.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Last Week's Library Loot Reviews

Books for Anna:

The Christmas Story  retold by Deborah Hautzig, illustrated by Sheilah Beckett
This is not my favorite book sharing the Christmas story.  It claims to be based on the gospels of Matthew and Luke but right from the first page it strays from those writings by claiming that Mary and Joseph are a married couple with no children.

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
A cute story about a chameleon that wishes he could have a color of his own instead of always changing color.  Anna was thrilled to be able to do the reading of the first few pages all on her own.

The Sweetest One Of All by Jean Little, illustrated by Marisol Sarrazin  (Canadian author and illustrator)
I love this book!  We read it earlier in the year but it is worth the repeat.  All the new mothers in the barnyard think their babies are the best.  The prose has a sprinkle of rhyme and alliterition that makes it fun to read and listen too.  It would make a good resource to use to introduce the idea of alliterition.

The Snow Storm by Heather Amery, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright
Apparently this book is part of a series of Farmyard Tales stories.  I will be looking for the others.  In this story Poppy and Sam help Rusty take hay to the sheep after a snow storm and discover a wonderful surprise.  An added bonus is a little duck that is hidden on each page.

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Funny story about a frog that discovers it's a lot of work 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 also enjoyed shouting out parts of the story as we took on the role of the mother and froggy.  A very fun book.

I'm a Truck Driver by Jonathan London, illustrated by David Parkins (Canadian illustrator)
With great pictures and simple words this book teaches children about twelve different kinds of trucks.

The Little Rooster And The Diamond Button by Celie Barker Lottridge and Joanne Fitzgerald (Canadian author & illustrator)
Cute story about a rooster that finds a diamond button but has it stolen by a rich sultan.  The rooster, however, does not give up easily.  There is a repeated phrase that is fun to read together.  Anna and I both enjoyed this one.

Sleeping Over by Barbara Lucas, pictures by Stella Ormai
Froggie discovers that it's sometimes difficult to get comfortable when sleeping over at a friends house.  A cute story with just a sentence or two per page.

Little Panda by Renata Liwska (Canadian Author and illustrator)
A very cute story.  Little Panda's grandfather tells him about Bao Bao, the Panda that made a tiger fly.  Anna and I both enjoyed this book

How Rocket Learned To Read by Tad Hills
Love this book!  Rocket the dog is enticed into learning to read and once he gets started he doesn't want to stop.  Very cute.  A great book for children that are just starting to learn to read and spell.  I found an Interview with Tad Hills.

The Umbrella Party by Janet Lunn, pictures by Kady MacDonald Denton (Canadian author and illustrator)
Christie loves umbrellas and tells all her friends to give her umbrellas for birthday presents.  Her friends think umbrellas are boring, but they sonn discover that they can be fun.

Color Dance by Ann Jonas
This book would be a great resource for an art class about color.  Dancers with light flowing material show how the different colors can be made with the primary colors.

The Sights Before Christmas by Beni Malone & Marian Frances White, illustrated by Darka Erdelji
Barnaby Doyle is pretty excited that it is Christmas Eve and the night is filled with all kinds of adventures for him.  To be perfectly honest I didn't especially enjoy this book and I'm not sure if Anna did or not.  Neither of us are terribly into fantasy.  Anna commented that she didn't like some of the scary looking faces of some of the characters.  That being said, I'd love to see the show.

First Snow by Emily Arnold McCully
We read this one before.  With just a short sentence or two per double page spread, the pictures help tell the story about a fun day in the snow for a family of mice.  Anna and I both enjoyed this book.

Otto's Orange Day by Frank Cammuso, pictures by Jay Lynch
This is a toon book, meaning the story is written like a cartoon.  I am not a fan of this style of book, but that's just me.  Otto loves the color orange but when he makes a wish that turns everything orange he soons finds out that it's nice to have a variety of colors instead of just one.

And one for me:

Gideon's Gift by Karen Kingsbury
Gideon, a little girl that is battling luekemia, has a life changing influence on a man that lives on the street.  Part of the Red Glove Collection.  This is the third one that I've read and I'm already working on the forth.  I really enjoy these books.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last Week's Library Loot Reviews

Follow That Star by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Kim LaFave (Canadian author and illustrator)
Zach, a shepherd, is so busy grumbling about everything that he almost misses out on the miracles that are happening around him.  Thankfully there are angels everywhere that help him, even though he doesn't recognize them as angels.  Cute story but likely the only place you will find it is a library because it is currently out of print..

A Gift For The Christ Child by Tina Jahnert, illustrated by Alessandra Roberti
A little girl wishes she were big enough to help and soon gets the chance to help by giving her blanket as a gift to the Christ Child.  Love the illustrations!

A girl and her Mom have a day full of adventures when they go on a shopping trip.  To be perfectly honest, I thought the book was rather silly, and Anna wasn't terribly interested in it either.  Maybe we just don't have adventurous imaginations.

Santa's Wish by Astrid Anand, illustrations by Glick-Art 
Santa wishes he had a flying machine to help him with his deliveries but he soon discovers that there's something special about the old ways.

The Christmas Snowman by Astrid Anand, illustrations by Glick-Art 
One snowy day a group of children pile some snow snowballs to make a snowman but are too tired to finish it.  One of the children returned later to finish the snowman and was treated to an adventure - or was it all a dream?  

A fun book that uses rhythm and rhyme to introduce some of the creatures that live in the ocean.  A great book to use in a science unit study on Ocean Creatures.

A cute story about a little boy enjoying a cookie, though he has to fight his dog for it.  Anna really liked this one because she could read it herself.  Just a one or two short sentences per page.

Benny and the Binky by Barbro Lindgren, illustrated Olof Lundstrom
Benny the pig gets a new baby brother and is pretty jealous of him and his binky, so he steals it and goes on an adventure.  Anna thought it was pretty funny.  It's a great book to start a discussion with a child that may have a new sibling.

An inch worm uses wit to outsmart being eaten by a bird and ends up measuring all kinds of different birds.  This book could be used in a math lesson to introduce and discuss the concept of measuring and it could also be used in a science unit study on birds to make a list of different kinds of birds.

Fun book!  Stuff that has been saved in a sack is used to make a snowman family.    It's fun to check out the illustrations and see all the different things they used.  At the back of the book there is information about what snow is and how it is made.  A great addition to a winter themed unit study.  Here is a link to a Let's Build A Snowman Lesson plan that uses this book as one of the resources.

Honk Honk! Beep Beep! words and pictures by Daniel Kirk
The toys in a child's room come to live at night and go on an adventure.  The words have a bit of rhythm and rhyme.  Anna enjoyed it and loved reading the Honk Honk!  Beep Beep! phrase when it appeared throughout the book.  I love the author's website!

A great book to add some fun to a math class.

An Island In The Soup by Mireille Levert (Canadian author)
A boy imagines an adventure while trying to avoid eating his soup.  Once again this is one that Anna and I thought was rather silly, and it could just be because we aren't that adventurous or imaginative.

Lucy's Secret by Mireille Levert (Canadian author)
Lucy enters the adventurous world of Anna Zinnia's garden and learns a little about how plants grow by planting some seeds herself.  I love this quote from this book:  "Did you know, my flower," asks Anna Zinnia, "that my garden is like a big library?  The flowers and the bugs are like books.  They have so much to tell us." This book would be a good addition to a science unit on plants.

The Story of Christmas illustrated by Freya Tanz
Tells the Biblical story of the birth of Christ.  Very nice illustrations.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Week's Library Loot and Reviews

We read this one earlier this year.  I had forgotten about it but Anna remembered it as soon as she saw it.  It's a funny book that tells the story of a teacher that is stuck in her coat because her zipper is stuck.  I'd love to read more of her books.

Jingle Bell Christmas by Catherine Lukas, illustrated by the Artifact Group
This is a Backyardigans book and we had actually read it earlier this year.  I am not a fan of the Backyardigans but Anna does like them, when I allow her to watch them once in a while.  She picked this book to take out again this time and I couldn't talk her out of it.  This is a lift the flap book and the story is a parody of the classic Jingle Bells song.

The prose, starting with one line, tells the story of a child that gets his zipper stuck in his coat while out playing in the snow.  Another line is added with each turn of the page and a picture is substituted rebus style in the previous line each time.  Kind of cute.  Would be a good story to use for a literture study on writing this type of story.  The author suggests some activities to go along with the book on the Teaching Activities page of her website.

Dora's Christmas Adventure by Christine Ricci, illustrated by Piero Piluso
This is one we read earlier this year too but Anna wanted to take it out again.  It is a lift the flap book.

I am not a fan of anything dinosaur themed so I didn't find this book the least bit enjoyable.  Anyone that enjoys anything dinosaur related would probably enjoy it.  There is a glossary at the back that shows the pronunciation and description of a number of different dinosaurs.

The Little Crooked Christmas Tree by Michael Cutting, illustrated by Ron Broda (Canadian author and illustrator)
Cute story about a tree that doesn't have what it takes to be a prized Christmas tree but it does end up being treasured.  We enjoyed the story.

Fun in the Snow by Laura Damon, illustrated by Diane Paterson (A Giant First-Start Reader)
Two bears have a fun day playing in the snow.  This book is written with just 37 different words and has just a few words per page.  Anna liked the story and also liked trying her hand at reading some of the pages.

This book is just what the sub title says, a collection of favorite holiday songs.  We had great fun singing our way through the book.

The First Noel pictures by Janina Domanska
The words of the Christmas carol are written a line or two per page under the pictures.  We sang it together as we turned the pages.

Kitten's Spring by Eugenie Fernandes (Canadian author and illustrator)
Just a couple of phrases per page tell about the adventures a kitten enjoys in the spring.  Love the illustrations.

On this particular day a particular cow has a particularly adventure filled day.  Just a few words per page and the word particular is on most pages.  Kind of funny but a little overboard for me, though it was kind of fun to say particular so many times.

Maxine goes for a very different point of view when her teacher gives them an assignment to look at their homes in a new way and drawing about it.  She decides to look at her home from space.  I didn't really enjoy this one and neither did Anna.  It's a little over her head yet.  It probably would have been better if I had taken a few days to read it instead of reading it all in one day.  There is a lot of information in the book about space and maybe I'll come back to it again for a space themed science study in the future.

We loved this one!  I'm sure I read it to my older kids at some point in time as it is an old classic.  Danny is looking for something to give his mother for her birthday and all the animals suggest things she already has, but Mr. Bear suggests the perfect gift.  We now give our bear hugs with a little bear like growl.  :)

This is a great information book which explains the difference between alligators and crocodiles and gives lots of information about both.  Anna found it a little overwhelming but I can see us coming back to it again for a science lesson.

Choco, a plump little bird, searches for someone like him to be his mother but ends up finding a mother in someone totally different.  A really cute book!  We loved it.

We read our first Anansi book recently and Anna was thrilled when she found more at the library.  In this story Anansi tricks her friends into thinking they have a talking melon.

More of Anansi the spider's antics.  Anansi finds a moss covered rock with magical powers and uses it to trick all his friends.  Anna enjoyed the story.  On the author's site he has a link to a PDF with ideas for activities to do inspired by the book.

This is The Star by Joyce Dunbar, illustrated by Gary Blythe
The illustrations for this book are beautiful oil paintings.  The prose starts with just one line.  It is repeated and another line added with each turn of the page as it tells the story of the birth of Christ.  We both liked this book.

This book tells the legend of the three wisemen that visited the Christ child.  While reading it I kept wondering how much of it actually followed the Biblical story.  If I read it again I will have to check to see how true to the account it is.  I can't say that Anna or I particularly enjoyed the book

Aunt Olga's Christmas Postcards by Kevin Major, illustrated by Bruce Roberts (Newfoundland author and Canadian illustrator)
Anna goes to visit her great Aunt Olga and gets to look at her collection of Christmas Postcards while Aunt Olga tells her about them.  Aunt Olga also encourages Anna to write her own prose for cards.  I love the idea of this book but it was a bit too much for Anna yet, though she did like that the little girl in the story had the same name as her.  I can see us coming back to it again for a literature lesson and also for a study of the history of Christmas cards and postcards.

I don't remember reading the classic Angus books before but Anna thought they were great.  In this book Angus, the Scottish terrier, finally gets to learn about cats

In this book Angus has some fun with a couple of ducks.

And this one was for me:
This is the second book I've read in The Red Gloves Series by Karen Kinsgbury.  Just days before Christmas Hannah discovers that she's destined to spend Christmas alone but she is encouraged to believe for a Christmas miracle.