September 30, 2011

W, X, Y, and Z!

ZooZical by Judy Sierra

Well, that brings the A to Z Challenge to an end!  Thanks for joining us this month as we explored the shelves of our local library using the alphabet as our guide.  We hope you found a few new books to add to your shelves!

September 28, 2011

Brought to You by the Letters O & P

In this entertaining counting book, one drowsy dragon desperately wants  to get some sleep, but his ten little dragons want to have fun instead. Five are playing with their toys, six are making milk shakes, and seven are watching scary shows on TV. Will the drowsy dragon ever catch some ZZZs?

Eric Carle's vibrant tissue paper collages introduce readers to a string of ten endangered animals, including a swinging spider monkey, a swimming sea turtle, and a soaring bald eagle, each watching over the next.

September 21, 2011

N is for...

Ned loves his apple, but when it begins to rot, he must find a new place to live.  Ned searches high and low, trying out several different fruits, before finally finding a new place to call home.

September 15, 2011

M is for...

This classic Little Golden Book is a favorite of my husband's from his childhood, and now he enjoys sharing it with our children.  Lovable, furry old Grover begs you not to turn the pages because he heard there was a monster at the end of the book.  With each turn of the page Grover frets more and more.  Little does he know that he IS the monster at the end of the book!  Silly Grover!

September 14, 2011

L is for...

Leon isn't your average chameleon.  Instead of blending into his surroundings, Leon turns the opposite color!  Leon, embarrassed by his lack of camouflage, feels like he doesn't quite fit in with the other chameleons.  One day when a group of young chameleons go exploring, Leon secretly follows them.  When they wander too far away from home and become lost, and it's Leon's crazy contrasting colors that save the day, allowing their parents to spot them from far away.  Not only does this book have a great message about appreciating individuality, it also includes a fun lesson in color theory, introducing readers to the color wheel, primary colors, and complementary colors on the final page.

September 9, 2011

G is for...


Poor little Goldie Locks, she is covered in polka dots!  Uh oh, she has chicken pox!  A number of her storybook friends stop by to wish her a speedy recovery, including The Three Bears and Little Bo Peep.  Her precocious little brother teases her relentlessly, but he won't be laughing for long...soon he finds the tell tale spots on himself! 

The nostalgia of the illustrations combined with the clever rhyme made Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox one of our favorite library finds this summer.

September 7, 2011

F is for...

Join the fairy family as they prepare for bed in this adorable counting book.  Everything seems to be glowing moon, two cozy quilts, three bedtime books, and more.  But wait, something is missing...what could it be?  Fairy goodnight kisses of course!  Sweet dreams, little fairies!

September 6, 2011

E is for...

Elmer the colorful patchwork elephant feels that he doesn't quite fit in with the other gray elephants.  After painting himself with gray berry juice, he blends right into the herd, but Elmer soon realizes that he enjoys being unique, even if it means he stands out in a crowd.  Elmer learns that it's important to be yourself and to celebrate the things that make you special. 

September 5, 2011

D is for...

Please don't slam the door, you might wake the cat...and heaven knows we don't want that!  That naughty cat will play with Ma's yarn, starting a domino effect of crazy chaos, including a bear in the barn and cows in the house.  So please, whatever you do, don't slam the door!

September 4, 2011

C is for...

What happens when the letters of the alphabet climb to the top of the coconut tree?  Chicka Chicka BOOM BOOM...they all come tumbling down!  The bold, bright illustrations and catchy rhythm make this alphabet book one of our favorites.

September 3, 2011

B is for...

Bear is snoozing in his cozy cave on a cold winter night.  While he's sleeping, a variety of woodland creatures sneak into his cave to take shelter from the cold.  They brew tea, pop popcorn, and enjoy each other's company inside the warm den, all while Bear snores on.  When Bear wakes up, he's surprised to find he's not alone, and is happy to join in the fun.

September 2, 2011

A is for...

Welcome to the first day of the A to Z Challenge!  We'll kick things off with a cute and clever alphabet book we discovered recently at our local library, AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis.  The letter Z is tired of always being last, so when the letter A begins the usual alphabet introductions, the letter Z interrupts to take his new place at the front of the alphabet order.  He is quickly followed by Y, X, and W, as well as a few other letters that get lost in the confusion.  Some letters demand a second turn while others need a bathroom break.  Soon the entire alphabet ends up in a jumbled mess!  Oops!

September 1, 2011

Announcing the A to Z Challenge!

Wow, it's been a busy summer!  Both of my kiddos had birthdays, my sister moved from California back to TX, I took a trip to upstate NY all by myself, and our whole little family drove to Destin, FL for some fun in the sun.  But things are beginning to wind down, so what do you say we dust off this blog and get back to posting about our favorite children's books?

I thought the best way to kick start this blog again would be to have a little A to Z challenge.  During the month of September, I will post one book for each letter of the alphabet.  Sounds fun, right?  So join me tomorrow for the first day of the A to Z challenge! 

June 7, 2011

The Sound of Music

 "The strings all soar, the reeds implore,
the brasses roar with notes galore.
It's music that we all adore.
It's what we go to concerts for."

My daughter Bailey is a music lover.  She is fascinated with musical instruments and can find a way to make any found object make a musical sound.  She enjoys rhyming words to create her own "songs."  I grew up playing the trumpet and french horn, so I'm hoping this love of music continues to grow and that one day she will learn to play an instrument of her own. 

This week's most popular bedtime story has been the musically themed Zin! Zin! Zin A Violin by Lloyd Moss.  The book begins with the "mournful moan and silken tone" of a lone trombone playing a solo.  With the turn of each page, the author introduces a new instrument as a new musician joins the stage.  The trombone is joined by the swinging sounds of a trumpet, forming a duo.  They are soon joined by the bright and brassy french horn, turning the duo into a trio.  As musicians and their instruments are added one by one, the stage is eventually filled with the entire orchestra, poised and ready to begin. 

I love that the author combines music education with a form of counting that is not often seen in children's book, providing a lesson in numerical group labels that may be unfamiliar even to adults...solo, duo, trio, quartet, quintet, sextet, septet, octet, nonet, and finally the chamber group of ten known as the orchestra.  I highly recommend Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin for your little musician.

May 31, 2011

Two Books in One!


When I chose What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff from the library this week,  I had no idea I was actually getting two books in one!  Halfway through reading the book to my daughter, I noticed that suddenly the pages were upside down.  That's because when you flip the book over you find another book...What Daddies Do Best.  Bonus!

So you might be wondering...what do mommies do best?  Mommies help you learn to ride a bike, give you a piggyback ride, repair a loose button on your favorite bear, take care of you when you're sick, help you build a snowman, and even bake you a delicious birthday cake.  Guess what?  Daddies do the same things!  By showing both mommies and daddies doing the same variety of tasks (gardening, playing, baking, sewing, etc) this book blurs the usual line between gender roles and shows that parenting is universal.  Best of all, both mommies and daddies can give you lots and lots of love!

May 16, 2011

How Do You Sleep?

"When the sky grows dark 
and the moon glows bright,
everyone goes to sleep...
...except for the watchful owl!"

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na featured a wonderfully soothing bedtime verse.  As the night sky grows dark, animals prepare for sleep in many different ways.  Some sleep in peace and quiet while others are noisy sleepers.  Some sleep standing up, some sleep while moving.  Some even sleep with both eyes open!  But no matter how they sleep, the owl keeps watch all through the night.  When the sun comes up, it's time for everyone to wake up..."except for the tired owl."  At last it's his turn to get some sleep.

A Book of Sleep is beautifully illustrated with a combination of paint textures and digitally generated images.  And the little owl is indeed on every page watching over the sleeping animals.  A Book of Sleep is a gorgeous, soothing bedtime book to add to your collection.  Sweet dreams!

May 11, 2011

How Do I Love Thee?


"I love you more than rainbows and beautiful blue skies.
I love you more than buttercups and wings of butterflies."

So many simple little things fill us with joy on a daily basis....beautiful birds with their sweet little songs, twinkling stars in the nighttime sky, ice cream with sprinkles on top.  But none of those things compare to the love we have for our children.  I Love You More Than Rainbows by Susan E. Crites uses vivid illustrations and sweet rhyming verse to convey a very powerful message of love.  I can't think of a better way to end the day than by sharing this book right before tucking your child into bed.

"So at night when the sky gets dark, and the moon begins to glow,
The stars will twinkle and deep inside I hope that you know...
How much I love you!"

May 3, 2011

A Hip Hop Tale

It's no secret that I enjoy children's books with clever wordplay and a touch of humor.  Hip and Hop, Don't Stop! by Jef Czekaj is one of those books.  Hip is a turtle from Slowjamz Swamp who loves to rap as slow as molasses.  Hop is a bunny from Breakbeat Meadow with a talent for rapping lightning fast.  One day they each see a poster for the Oldskool County Rap-off, and a new friendship forms as they practice together for the contest.  When the big day arrives, all of Oldskool County is there to see the contestants "battle" each other with their raps.  In the last round, Hip and Hop face off against each other.  Hip rapped so slowly that no one paid attention to him.  Hop rapped so fast that no one could keep up with her.  But when the two friends team up and rap together they find the perfect balance and pretty soon the entire audience is moving to the beat.  Hip and Hop share the title of "Best Rappers in Oldskool County."

My daughter enjoyed the bright, fun illustrations in Hip and Hop, Don't Stop!  The allusions to the world of hip hop music are amusing, including animal characters such as "Ludafish," "Jay Zebra," and "Queen LaTreeFrog."  The raps are clever and entertaining, and include visual clues to enhance the reading/rapping text is meant to be read slowly and green text is intended to be read very fast.  Hip and Hop, Don't Stop! was definitely the favorite pick from the library this week. 

April 18, 2011

It's Time to Rise and Shine!

My kiddos are a couple of early birds.  They are both usually up before the sun and ready to have some fun, much like the little calf in Millie Wants to Play! by Janet Pederson.  Millie knows she has to wait for the "rise and shine sound" before she can play with her friends.  As the animals of the barnyard begin to stir, Millie begins to hear a variety of sounds...the "baaaa" of a lamb, the "oink! oink!" of a piglet, and the "neigh!" of a pony, but none are the "rise and shine sound."  Finally Millie hears the sound she's been patiently waiting for..."Cock-a-Doodle Doo!"  At last it's time to play and start the day!

My daughter loved trying to guess which animal was making each sound and was delighted by the adorable watercolor illustrations of Millie and her farm friends.  And more importantly, just like Millie, she now stays in bed waits patiently until the sun is up and she hears her own "rise and shine sound" that signals the beginning of her day.

March 17, 2011

A Rainbow Wish for St. Patty's Day


We love this book so much we've had it on loan from the library for 5 weeks.  My daughter just can't get enough of it!  Little Pip and the Rainbow Wish by Elizabeth Baguley is a charming tale of friendship that sparkles with the magic of rainbows on each page.  Pip is a shy little mouse who would love to play with two other mice, Spike and Milly, but is too timid to ask to join them in their games.  One day Pip sees a beautiful, shimmery rainbow and he thinks that if he could just catch the rainbow and give it to Milly and Spike they will want to be his friends.  Spike and Milly notice that Pip is feeling sad and is struggling to catch the rainbow, so they join in the chase and help him out.  Soon all three mice are working together to catch the elusive rainbow, and even though they never catch it, the three friends spend a playful, fun-filled day together.  Little Pip and the Rainbow Wish is an adorable book with a great message...friends will love you for who you are and the fun you have together, not for the things you can give them.  The shimmery rainbows and delightful illustrations of wispy dandelions, splashy rain puddles, bright green grass, and colorful spring flowers by Caroline Pedler make us so happy that spring is just around the corner!