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Category Archives: Animals

Book Review: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear

I can’t wait to take Little Lucy berry picking this summer.  I was hoping the berries might be ready but alas the local farms here say that they may not open for u-pick until mid June!  We are still enjoying munching on lots of strawberries and this classic book is the perfect accompaniment to our strawberry snacks.  Don Wood’s illustrations are filled with such warmth and the cute factor for me is over the top.  Little Mouse looks so proud of himself as he gets ready to pick a beautifully ripe strawberry.  However, when he finds out that the Big Hungry Bear can sniff out a strawberry under any and all circumstances, Little Mouse has to figure out a way to save his strawberry and keep that bear away.  I must admit, I am partial to stories and illustrations about mice.  As a child I was fascinated with their small worlds and this book is no exception.  I loved reading it as a child and love it even more as I get to share it with my own.  Be sure to check out the narrated version of the book on youtube and bring on the berries!

Title:  The little mouse, the red ripe strawberry, and the big hungry bear

Authors:  Don and Audrey Wood

Illustrator:  Don Wood

Publisher:  Scholastic

ISBN:  0-590-446894-4

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Animals, Food, Picture Books

 

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Book Review: A Weekend With Wendell

I like to review books I haven’t read but after having taught first grade for five years I have so many “old favorites” that I just have to include.  This is one of those books.  I am a huge fan of Kevin Henkes.  His illustrations are adorable, the stories are packed with fun and usually include a great “teachable moment” and topic for discussion (no wonder I loved to read them to my students). Wendell is a spunky little mouse with a lot of zest for life (a.k.a. rambunctious).  He comes to spend a weekend at Sophie’s house, however, he will only play games if he gets to make all of the rules.  When they play house, Sophie has to be the dog.  When they pretend to work in a bakery, Sophie has to be the sweet roll.  Wendell proceeds to wreak havoc for both Sophie and her parents and she can’t wait until he goes home.  After finger painting with his peanut butter and jelly and writing his name with toothpaste on the bathroom mirror, Sophie and Wendell decide to go outside and use the hose to clean up.  This time Sophie decides to make all the rules.  Will Sophie and Wendell ever learn how to get along?  A great book to read when problems arise between friends and discussing what it means to be a good friend and how to play well with others.

Title:  A weekend with Wendell

Author/Illustrator:  Kevin Henkes

Publisher:  Greenwillow Books

ISBN:  978-0688140243

 

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Book Review: Tinker and Tom and the Star Baby

An amazing artist that claims to have started drawing when he was two years old, David McPhail is a well known and loved illustrator/author.  His water colored illustrations and use of animal characters create his signature style and both are included in this wonderfully imaginative story about a boy, a bear and a star baby from outer space.  Tinker and Tom can’t sleep and while staring out at the stars spot a bright star that falls into the backyard.  When they go to investigate they find a baby star inside of a spaceship.  Tinker and Tom must work together to figure out a way to get Star Baby’s ship running and return the baby to its mother.  I love the idea of a baby star that actually looks and acts like a real baby.  Both the story and sweet illustrations evoke a warm feeling of childhood dreams and believing in the impossible.

Title:  Tinker and Tom and the star baby

Author/Illustrator:  David McPhail

Publisher:  Little Brown and Company

ISBN:  0-316-56349-8

 

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Book Review: Splish, Splash, Splat!

If you haven’t read any of Rob Scotton’s books about Splat the cat, they are a must read!  Splat is one of the most adorable cats I have ever seen (and this is coming from a dog only kind of gal).  Splat is dreaming of candy fish when he is (rudely) awoken by his mom insisting that he takes a bath.  Splat hates the bath, in fact, he hates water of any kind.  As the day progresses, Splat is increasingly filled with dread.  Spike is coming over for a play date and according to Splat, he is mean, calls Splat names and breaks all of his toys.  At school, Splat has to go swimming and he forgets to wear any swim trunks!  However, the end of the day finds Splat actually having fun in the pool and finding out that he has more in common with Spike than he realized.  This is an adorably sweet book and a great read for any little ones with a fear of water.

Title:  Splish, splash, splat!

Author/Illustrator:  Rob Scotton

Publisher:  Harper

ISBN:  978-0-06-197868-5

 
 

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Book Review: Sign & Singalong: Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear!

I remember this song as a jump roping song we used to sing and move to in grade school.  Sign & Singalong books are a great way to get your active baby moving and signing simple vocabulary.  Illustrated American Sign Language shows both the children and bears in this book signing words like, “Teddy Bear, sky, and light”.  Research shows that babies can understand and use sign language to communicate before they have the ability to vocalize their wants and needs.  Regardless of whether or not you are teaching your baby to sign they will love to listen to this familiar rhyme and move along with the story.

Title:  Sign & singalong:  Teddy bear, teddy bear!

Author/Illustrator:  Annie Kubler

Publisher:  Child’s Play

ISBN:  978-1-904550-40-2

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Animals, Board Books

 

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Book Review: Poggle and the Treasure

ImageWhenever I read anything pirate related I can’t help but think of my friend’s adorable 4-year-old son.  He loves pirates and books and I think he may enjoy Poggle, the cutest dragon I’ve ever seen.  Poggle and his best friend Henry spend the day playing pirates on the beach when they discover treasure!  The mysterious treasure turns out to be an egg and Poggle and Henry must find a way to keep it warm in order to find out what hatches.  An extremely cute story line about two best friends with appealing illustrations.  I hope to read more from this relatively new author/illustrator.

Title:  Poggle and the treasure

Author/Illustrator:  Michael Evans

Publisher:  Egmont

ISBN:  978-1-4052-4811-2

 
 

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Book Review: Where Things Come Back

This debut novel by John Corey Whaley has been making its way onto all kinds of must read lists that I have come across.  It is the winner of both the Michael L. Printz award in young adult literature and the William C. Morris Debut award from the American Library Association. While it is a darkly comic book, Whaley does a remarkable job of creating realistic, multidimensional characters and weaving together different story lines to create a unique story about religion, family and friendship.

Cullen is a 17-year-old boy growing up in a small Arkansas town where somehow, despite best intentions, everyone seems to end up coming back, stuck in this small town.  Now even the supposed extinct Lazarus woodpecker has come back, but amidst the woodpecker frenzy Cullen’s 15-year-old brother goes missing and everyone is left wondering if he will ever be found and make his way back.

There was a sense of foreboding and suspense that propelled me through this book.  I enjoyed the sprinkling of book titles that Cullen dreams up and records throughout such as, “#78:  It Is Not a Sin to Kill a Woodpecker” and “#82:  Five A.M. Is for Lovers and Lawn Ornaments”.  I think young adults will identify with Cullen as he struggles with how to relate to others while wading through a family tragedy and growing up in a small town.  Like many others, I look forward to reading more by this new author.

Title:  Where things come back

Author:  John Corey Whaley

Publisher:  Atheneum Books for Young Readers

ISBN:  978-1-4424-1333-7

 

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