Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Summer is arriving–at least on the East Coast it has arrived with a vengeance.  Our strawberry harvest is nearly over but what a great opportunity to take advantage of fun books about fruits and vegetables…and more, of course! (I admit that I stole a couple of these pictures right off my son’s blog, psoutowood.wordpress.com)

The young guys love to help organize and plant the gardens and, of course, harvest the fruits and veggies when they are ripe!  These are great opportunities to make charts together and label all the fruits and veggies and then talk about what letter each one begins with. Maybe you can draw veggies and sort by the letters they begin with.   Start gathering all the books you can about gardens, fruits and veggies.  I’m including a  few of my favorites below.


         The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood/ illustrated                   by Don Wood

This is just the cutest story with adorable illustrations—did that sound too sweet??? Well, it is, darn it!  It’s a great story to teach kids about the value of sharing—never mind it saves the little mouse’s life!  Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s a great story anyway.  A must read—get it! Ages 2-5



     Rah, Rah, Radishes!  A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre

Your kids may not be great vegetable eaters but maybe this book will help motivate them to at least learn the names and identify all kinds of different vegetables.  The photographs are colorful and the rhymes with the veggies are fun.  Good luck getting them to eat their vegetables.  You’re on your own for that, but this might be a fun game to play when you go to the local market or grocery store to look for different vegetables.  Ages 1-6


 The Gardener by Sarah Stewart/ illustrated by David Small

Notice how I keep presenting and reviewing a lot of the Caldecott Honor and Medal Winners?  There is a reason for that.  They are selected by a group of qualified children’s librarians and authors as the best illustrated and written children’s books each year.  Check them out if you haven’t already.  They are all wonderful.  This book is no exception.  The Gardener is written about a young girl who loves to garden and plant flowers.  She is sent to the city to live with a cantankerous older uncle whom she tries to win over.  The illustrations are fabulous showing all the subtleties of the characters and the story is very dear.  Read it together then go and plant something together!  Ages 4-8.

     June 29,1999 by David Wiesner

Here’s another great David Wiesner book—just as creative as all of his other ones!  Let’s tie this in with the vegetable theme books.  It’s not only a fun and imaginative story but a great way to learn the names of more vegetables.  The ending is a surprise.  Now let’s all create a science project like the one in this book!  Ages 4-9


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I don’t know why I’m drawn to books about sheep.  I’m not particularly fond of sheep.  I’ve been told that sheep don’t really make such great pets, although, no one can deny that lambs are pretty cute.  I’ve heard that sheep aren’t all that smart and they make lemmings behavior look like Einstein.  They stand in clusters on the roads in Scotland and England and won’t move no matter what you might shout–or perhaps suggest to them.  All that being said, I love sheep books but I think it’s just the clever illustrations that draws me to them.

 So here are a couple of books I think you’ll enjoy reading together…about sheep, of course!


  Where is the Green Sheep? By Mem Fox/ illustrated by Judy Horacek

Well isn’t this just the cutest book for those little ones?  You’ll love the fun animated pictures and the kids will love learning and saying all the different kinds of sheep in the story.  They will like hearing this one over and over.  Great opportunity to talk about vocabulary.  Maybe they can even imagine different kinds of sheep to talk about.  Ages 1-5


Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton

I don’t know what my attraction to stories about sheep is but this book is just great fun!  You know it’s written by someone who lives in England and is most likely surrounded by a lot of sheep.  The illustrations are a hoot.  It’s about a sheep who can’t fall asleep at night and all the gyrations he goes through to help fall asleep.  You’ll get a good chuckle out of it—and so will the kids too!  Ages 2-5


  Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw/illustrated by Margot Apple

Here I go again with another sheep book.  This isn’t the world’s best literature, by any means, but fun rhyming for the youngest guys with funny illustrations.  I even think it’s a great book for emerging readers to enjoy—much better than many of those publisher’s reading program books.  Everybody will like it. Ages 1-6

Now, if you have any other really clever and irresistible sheep books, please share!

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I’ll admit right up front that these are my two sons reading to their cousin when they were young .  So, as you see, “Books for Boys” can also be appropriate for girls.  While I’m pretty sure that the book they are reading is not a Dungeons and Dragons or an Avengers-type book, this young girl is still pretty engrossed in it.  The other thing I like about this picture is it’s verification that reading together and reading aloud is not just restricted to parents reading to their own children.  Summer is quickly arriving, so grab armfuls of books from the public libraries, borrow from a Little Free Library (see littlefreelibraries.org), or pull from your own collections and sit down and read books together!

I’m sharing some more interesting books that I’ve read that I’m just sure boys will love but feel free to let the girls take a peek too.  You’ll notice a certain theme with a few.  Let me know what your little guys –or big guys –think of my selection.  While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out a couple of other good websites with book reviews, like the Nerdy Book Club at nerdybookclub.wordpress.com or picturebooklog.blogspot.com.  It’s all about finding great books for kids.



 Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross/illustrated by Stephen Biesty

     Wow!  What a fabulous discovery this was.  This is one of those books that 3 yr. olds and adults will  love.  I am having a hard time selecting an age  group for this creative book.  I’m not a huge history fan but was riveted to this book.  It presents great discoveries and exploration from the Greeks to landing on the Moon in a way that draws you in.  The partnering with the illustrator and the creative fold-outs with elaborate details will hold the attention and interest of everyone who looks at them.  I can’t write enough kudos about this book.  Check it out!  Ages 4+.


      A Street Through Time by Anne Millard/illustrated by Steve Noon

Notice a theme here??  I’ve been looking at a number of these cross-section books and up-close books much like many of the wonderful David MacCauley books.  This colorful book is fascinating because it identifies a particular location—in England, I presume—and follows it’s growth, development, demise and strife through the ages from pre-historic times until today.  The fun thing is to locate the character in each illustration who is the Time Traveler.  By the way, not that you care, but I found all but one picture of the Time Traveler—maybe two.  Kids will love the details and have fun looking for different objects the writer asks for.  Talk about the good as well as the  bad things that happen in civilizations and how events are often repeated.  How could we avoid some of the problems with the progress of our country?  Great fun for kids and parents!  Age 8+

Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section by Stewart Ross/illustrated by Stephen Biesty

Here’s another one!  Children love learning about the pyramids and the building of that sophisticated empire.  Let’s not forget that that empire and most of the awe-inspiring structures were built by slaves—another matter. A young boy, his father, one of the engineers for one of the many buildings, and his family are at the center of this story.  The reader follows them along their lives to discover all about how that huge empire was built.  Another fabulous cross-section book to find minute figures and details.  Fun way to learn about that period.  Ages 8+



  Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

It is hard to believe that this wonderful series of books was initially written in 1929.  Its stories of adventure, imagination and resourcefulness are fun for children to read today.  Young adults and older children as well will love how this family relies on each other and their cleverness to get them through exciting adventures involving boats, islands, pirates and more!  Anyone who loves the sea and boats will definitely love it.  Hard to put down and is still popular.  Get all the books in the series.  This follows the lives of the family members as they grow up.  I couldn’t resist showing a picture of the boat they used in the series.  Don’t you just want to hop in?  Ages 8+




       The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

     This fantasy series has been around a long time but still stands out as one of the best.  It is pre-Harry Potter but has many similar elements of that famous series.  Susan Cooper is a good writer that will hold the reader for this entire series.  Best to start from the beginning of the series with Over Sea, Under Stone so as not to get too confused.  It might be fun to have kids compare Harry Potter with this series and discuss similarities and differences and what they like about each.  Ages 10 +

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You see?  What have I been telling you?  It’s never too early to start reading aloud to the little guys.  OK, I’ll admit that these are my grandchildren and their Dad (my son) loves to read aloud to his kids so maybe I’m just slightly biased.  So here it is…I challenge anyone who reads this blog to select at least 3 books from the books I’ve reviewed and provide a comment including your own feedback about reading those books aloud to kids, grandkids, students, the babysitting coop or just providing the books in local Little Free Libraries ( see littlefreelibrary.org. If you’re not sure what Little Free Libraries are, just check out this link). Let’s just see what the rest of you think about the books I’ve recommended.  The public library is a great place to start.  You can use some of the books I review below or others from previous blogs.  TAKE THE CHALLENGE!  While I’m at it…let’s not leave the Mom out of this picture.  This child is doubly lucky to have adoring parents who LOVE to read!

The Impudent Rooster adapted by Sabina Rascol/illustrated by Holly Berry

  This adaptation of a classic Romanian story is absolutely wonderful.  It’s a folktale about greed vs. selflessness.  Caring and sharing overcome greed and meanness.  It’s a good story for helping kids appreciate the importance of sharing and helping those less fortunate than themselves.  Oh—couldn’t we all use this lesson?  Ages 3-7


The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

         Where has this book been all my life?—Hilarious, marvelous, creative illustrations.  What a creative way to encourage young children about the wonderful value of reading.  Parents, you’ll love it as much as the kids.  Notice the last page—a surprise.  Ages 3-7



                           Maxine in the Middle by Holly Keller

Great for any middle child or child feeling left out – cute illustrations.  This might even be good for siblings getting a new sibling and who feels left out.  I should know—I was the middle child in the  middle of five.  My mother always said, “Well you’re in the middle which is the best part of the sandwich”, when I felt left out.  Ages 2-5




                        Winter Waits  by Lynn Plourde/ illustrated by Greg Couch

This is a beautiful book – gorgeous, imaginative illustrations.  Young children who frequently ask, “Can you come play with me now?  Look at me.  Look what I made.  Look now.  Look now!” and who often get the response, “ Not right now, honey.  In a minute.  I’ll be there in a few seconds”….will love this book.  The rhyming and creative words add to the magic.  Ages 2-5



How Snake Got His Hiss by Marguerite W. Davol/illustrated by Mercedes Mc

For those of you who have read Kipling’s Just So Stories when you were young, you’ll love this variation.  Snake is a bit of a bully so that’s also a good lesson for all young listeners.  Have fun talking together about all the changes snake has as he moves towards getting the look snakes have today.  The words appear on the page as the shape of the snake.  How fun is that??

Ages 3-5

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Grandma has a special reading time with her granddaughter.

Grandpa reads all about dinosaurs to his grandson.

Some of my own children’s favorite memories were being read to by their grandparents.  They were so lucky because all of their grandparents had a love for reading and enjoyed sharing their enthusiasm for books with all of their grandchildren whenever they visited.  My children had an extra bonus because one of their grandmothers was a children librarian and was one of the best storytellers around.  It was always such a treat for our kids to be able to sit down and have that very special one-on-one time with their granma or grandpa.  So the message here is…whether you’re a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, or guardian, make those moments special and I guarantee that they will be filed away forever in those wonderful memory file cabinets.  Here are a few books you can read to the younger guys.  Don’t forget, however, that the older grandkids love to be read to just as much as the little ones.  Pull them away from the TV and video games for awhile!  I promise that it will be worth it.

                                      The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson

          This wonderful cumulative good night book sort of reminds us of Goodnight Moon.  The story is comforting and perfect for a nighttime story to help the little ones fall asleep.  The illustrations done in pen and ink with touches of yellow are intriguing.  Great read aloud.  Ages 1-4


                                The Art Lesson by Tomie dePaola

How does Tomie dePaola write so many wonderful books for children that have basic themes but are so wonderful?  He talks about writing books related to his own experiences growing up so that’s what makes them so easy to identify with.  He shows how important it is to let kids have a chance to be creative—even if it’s not part of the regular curriculum, plan, or day.  Let them go!  Ages 3-6


                                                The Baby Sister by Tomie dePaola

         It looks like Tomie dePaola had to cope with adjusting to a new baby sister AND a grumpy grandmother to boot!  What a fun story to show how they all learn to adjust together and Grandma even softens a bit, of course.  Notice how no one talks about those sleepless nights with all the night feedings and wake-up  time, however.  Fun read for a little one getting a new sibling.  Ages 2-7


                                                  Pinduli by Janell Cannon

            The author/illustrator of this book wrote the beautiful book, Stellaluna.  It is a perfect book to help children gain some confidence—especially for those who might be introverts or frightened of other children.  The illustrations are really fun and kids will love how even the king of beasts gets frightened.  Lots of great information in the back about animals.  Good read.  Ages 3-8

                                      Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? By Shel Silverstein

          Fabulous!  Where does Shel Silverstein get his ideas?? I laughed right out loud with this one.  Of course, his illustrations just make it a winner but the story is so imaginative.  Could this be the best imaginary pet ever??  A must read for all of us!  Ages 1-5

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I’m just “reading” the airline emergency information…fascinating!

It’s been suggested that I include what books are appropriate for different ages.  But, you see, it’s not all that simple.  In my mind, it’s not a quick formula you can just plug in the number of words in a sentence or the number of multi-syllabic words, or how many pictures etc.  It’s really more personal.  Yes, I’m a Reading Specialist, yes, I was a teacher, parent and now grandparent, but well…it all depends.  It depends on how precocious the kids are, how interested they are in the topic, whether they read it themselves or it is read to them.  So…the ages that I include are totally subjective, based on what I think would interest children at different ages.  Of course, children younger and/or older may still be interested in the book no matter what I recommend .  Here’s the bottom line on “age appropriate”…if it is not offensive, frightening or inappropriate regarding content and the children or young adults enjoy it…let them read it or read it aloud to them!  The fact of the matter is, books that I’ve recommended to children ages 2-6 have mesmerized me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so that means those books are really age appropriate for ages 2- 60+.  The bottom line…have fun reading and reading together! I hope you enjoy these picture books I’ve had fun reading.

Finn Throws a Fit! by David Elliott

What parent has never seen an out-and-out temper tantrum from a child between the ages of 2-4?  This marvelously illustrated book shows parents and their young ones how to work through a temper tantrum and just goes to show…parents still love their little ones, even when a tantrum flies!  Use it as a read aloud together and don’t forget to follow up with a great discussion together about temper tantrums.  Ages 2-4

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

            Everybody knows the Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells and this is another series by her that kids will enjoy reading.  The Japanese setting and illustrations will intrigue kids and may even spark some interest in creating origami paper creatures.  Yoko is a cute kitten who has a special relationship with her grandmother.  This might even get the kids talking about relatives they can’t visit very often and how much they miss them.  Ages 3-5

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco

            How many of our kids—or maybe even us—are afraid of thunder and lightening?  Even our pets are afraid of thunder!  Patricia Polacco shares this story about the character’s grandmother who helps the young girl lose her horrifying fear of thunder and lightening.  You can’t go wrong with this story—even includes the yummy recipe for the thunder cake.  Will someone please make it and tell me how it turns out?  Not sure about those tomatoes in the recipe, however.  Ages 3-6

Pipiolo and the Roof Dogs by Brian Meunier

Don’t know about you but I never knew dogs in some villages in Mexico were put up on the roofs to act as guard dogs and were never allowed down.  Well, here it is…a great story about how a strong-willed independent dog takes charge to change all that.  Kids can learn about a different culture while learning the importance of helping those less fortunate.  Illustrations are gorgeous and unusual.  Read it!  Ages 3-7

Pickin’ Peas by Margaret Read MacDonald

            This fun story retold from an old folktale will have the kiddos wanting to go out and pick fresh peas.  Ok, so maybe not, but it is creative and may even remind us a bit of another favorite story about a clever (or maybe NOT so clever) rabbit, Peter Rabbit.  Might even be fun to compare the two stories or make up a rhyme or song for Peter Rabbit.  Beatrix Potter meet southern U.S. folklore. Ages 2-5

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I will admit right now that picture books are my favorites.  While I enjoy reading beginning reading and young adult books too, it’s those picture books that make me laugh right out loud.  Perhaps it comes from pretending to be the old Italian Grandmother “witch” in the Strega Nona books and acting like the doofus Big Anthony or pretending to be little Sal in Blueberries for Sal as she picks and drops her blueberries in her tin bucket–kaplink-kaplank-kaplunk.  You can never have too many voices or too much enthusiasm while you read out loud.  I found that high school students also enjoy the anticipation, enthusiasm and occasional voice changes while listening to a novel, essay, or poem out loud.  Yep—even high school students enjoy being read aloud to.  So here are more of some of my favorite picture books.  Check them out from the library, borrow them, or buy them but…READ!

Now Hedgehog.  Listen to this funny part.

More of my favorite picture books.


                                                Tanka Tanka Skunk! by Steve Webb

This is a wonderful book to read aloud with the rhythm band.  Bring in the pots and pans, drums and anything else to pound on while you read it out loud with your kids.  You absolutely must raise and lower your voices when you read it over and over and over.  Better find a place where the neighbors won’t call the police for the noise, however.  Fun book! Ages 1-4


                                                Chicken Sunday  by Patricia Polacco

     This just might be one of Patricia Polacco’s best books.  It’s a sensitive story about kids from different ethnic backgrounds pulling together for their grandmother.  It’s a good story for talking about the values of caring for someone else and working together as a team.  Sounds “smarmy” but it’s not.  It’s a great story to kick off some interesting discussions.  Ages 4-7



                                    I Went Walking by Sue Williams

 Now here’s a great book for those pre-schoolers and little ones.  Let them guess what is coming next.  You have to love the hairdo on the little boy/girl?  My granddaughter has hair like that.  Come to think of it, so do I.  Great for language development and repetition.  Fun illustrations too.  Ages 0-3

                                  Bad Boys by Margie Palatini

     Here’s a real book about wolves in sheep clothing.  You know that old saying, right?  Hilarious illustrations and a great story for kids to talk about prediction and the moral of the story—even though we all really know that sheep aren’t all that smart.  Ages 3-6

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