Thursday, April 9, 2015


Tulips, by Jay O'Callahan, is a fun read for children (and adults) who have ever the experience of planting tulip bulbs.  Pierre, who is visiting his Grand Ma Mere, is a practical joker.  It's fun to read all of the tricks he tries.....however, Grand Ma Mere is an even better practical joker!  We won't give away the surprise, but we think you'll enjoy this fun book!

Question Collection:

*Why do you think Pierre likes to play practical jokes?
*Which joke do you think was funniest?
*What did you expect before you read the ending?
*What do you think Pierre learned?
*Does this give you any ideas for writing a surprise ending for a story you might write?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Red, White, and Blue (The Story of the American Flag)

Red, White, and Blue (The Story of the American Flag), by John Herman and illustrated by Robin Roraback, is an interesting look at the history of the American flag.  We enjoyed reading about the nicknames of the flag, how the flag evolved, how Congress picked the colors and stripes, and how Francis Scott Key wrote his song while viewing a flag with 15 stripes and stars.  Many facts are found in this book making it a good nonfiction book to explore. 

*What new facts did you learn about the American flag?
*Where else have you seen pictures of the flag during its history?
*What other questions do you have about the American flag?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges, by written by Robert Cole and illustrated by George Ford, is an inspiring book to read, especially during Black History Month.   Ruby's courage, as a six year old who goes to a segregated school, is told in a way that children can understand.  This historical event is told so movingly with beautiful illustrations.  We think this book can add much to a child's understanding of how our world has changed, and how one brave person can make a difference!

Question Collection:

*How do you think Ruby felt the first day she went to this school?
*How do you think Ruby made a difference?
*Can you think of ways you can make a difference?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ellen's Broom

Ellen’s Broom, written by Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by Daniel Minter, is a beautiful book about a girl discovering the meaning of the broom that’s above the hearth in her home.  Ellen’s family explains how a “broom wedding” was the only kind of wedding that slaves were allowed to have, but the family rejoices when Reconstruction laws allow former slaves living as husband and wife to be registered as married. 

The parents’ explanation and celebration is wonderfully told by the author and vividly illustrated by Minter.  This book is a great conversation starter as it explores history as told through a family’s eyes.  We hope you learn as much as we did!

*What different emotions did Ellen feel through the story?
*What family traditions does your family have?
*Where could you learn more about this time in our history?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Groundhog Gets a Say

Groundhog Gets a Say, as told to Pamela Curtis Swallow and illustrated by Denise Brunkus, is a hilarious story told from the point of view of a Groundhog (who also tells us other names for his kind).  If you and your children like facts told in humorous ways, this will be a great book for you!  There’s so much to learn about groundhogs, which is the whole point of the book.  Children who like to read about animals and their characteristics will enjoy this book.  It’s a fun book to read---especially around Groundhog Day!

*What new facts did you learn about groundhogs?
*Do you think the book was more interesting told from the groundhog’s point of view?  Why or why not?
*What was the funniest part of the book to you?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares


It's a Month of Math!

Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares, by Frank Murphy and illustrated by Richard Walz, gives children a look at magic squares (grid with nine spaces that use the first 9 digits in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal rows to have the same sum).  This is a book that contains biographical information and some fiction in explaining how Ben Franklin discovered magic squares.  Its’s fun to make up some magic squares of your own after reading the book.  It’s also amazing for children to learn about Ben Franklin’s accomplishments.  Leave some time to work on your magic squares after reading this book!

*Which of Ben Franklin’s accomplishments is the most amazing to you?
*What else would you like to learn about Ben Franklin?
*Can you make up some magic squares of your own?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens


It's a Month of Math!

We’ve already introduced you to the Sir Cumference books so you know how clever we think they are!  Sir Cumference and the All the King’s Tens (A Math Adventure), by Cindy Neuschwander and illustrated by Wayne Geehar, is another delightful book for children and parents to enjoy.

In this book a celebration is planned for a gloomy King Arthur.  Counting the crowd who shows up for the celebration becomes overwhelming!  Through the problem solving activities and illustrations, the use of place value is explained.  We hope you enjoy this book like you did the others!

*Can you think of some other ways to draw the crowd to illustrate place value?
*What are some other times large numbers of people need to be counted?
*What would you do for King Arthur’s celebration?