Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sky Color

Have you read Dot or Ish?  Sky Color, by Peter H. Reynolds, is the third book in his Creatilogy.  As a family, we love drawing, painting, and making things.  We’ve been talking about making connections to text and self.    Marisol, the young character in Sky Color is an artist, so it was easy for us to make a connection!

Marisol faces a problem in that she is going to paint the sky for a class mural, but doesn’t have blue paint in her box.  By watching a sunset and remembering her dream, she comes up with a solution to her problem in a very colorful way.  Seeing her creative solution is a delight!  The great thing about the book is that is just opens up conversations about how to “see” things in different ways!

*Do you think Marisol is creative?
*What problems have you solved creatively?
*What was your favorite illustration in the book?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Child Was Born, A First Nativity Book

A Child Was Born, A First Nativity Book, written by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by Sam Williams, is a good example of simple verse used to tell the story of the birth of Jesus.  The muted colors of the detailed pictures invite discussion as the book is read to children.  Beginning readers will also find the book easy to read to younger children.  We enjoy reading this book, but we also make a point to clarify the Child is named Jesus, which for some reason is omitted in this book.  We still find the book has merit due to its way of unfolding the birth, but we want to make it more concrete Who the book is revealing.  We hope your family enjoys this book.

*What are some of the names used for the Child in this book?
*What’s your favorite scene in the book?
*Can you draw a picture to go along with the book?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookies, Bite-Size Life Lessons

Cookies, Bite-Size Life Lessons, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Jane Dyer, is a beautiful book exploring character traits.  Cookies are used as the item to depict how the character traits (examples:  respect, compassion, loyalty, etc.,) are defined in various situations.  The book can be read in its entirety, but a page or two can be read and discussed when needed.  I think this book is a great teaching tool for families and classrooms.  The pages are interesting while also exemplifying how our actions affect others.  And, as an added bonus, a recipe for chocolate chip cookies is included in the back of the book!

*Which part of this book did you like the best?
*Have you shown any of these character traits?
*Which character traits are important in a friendship?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jingle Jokes

Jingle Jokes (Christmas Riddles to Deck the Ha Ha Halls), by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg with pictures by Stephen Carpenter, is a lift the flap book with bright illustrations of Santa, his elves, and polar animals. Some jokes are printed on the page with the answer, and some require lifting the flap to discover the answer.  A favorite of ours is:  Where do elves keep their money?  In the snow bank

Jingle Jokes is a great book to add a little humor to your family times during the Christmas season.  As life gets busy, it’s nice to take some time out to share some good laughs with your children!

*What’s your favorite joke?
*Which picture is the funniest to you?
*Can you think of some other Christmas jokes?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book of Christmas Carols

The Usborne Book of Christmas Carols, compiled and arranged by Anthony Marks and illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, is a fun book that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Fifteen well-known carols are found in this oversized book.  When opened the left page displays the carol so it can be played by a melody instrument and/or guitar.  The right page gives the lyrics, usually with several verses of the song.  The arranger’s note indicates the tunes are written for children’s voices.

With carols such as "Away in a Manger," "Silent Night," and "O Little Town of Bethlehem," we enjoy using this book to refresh our memory of all of the lyrics!  It’s also fun for children to use a keyboard to play the melody.  We think this book would make a great gift for any family who enjoys singing. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

If You Take a Mouse To The Movies

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond, follows the same wonderful format found in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Take a Mouse to School.  The story starts with the boy taking the mouse to the movies where the mouse asks for some popcorn.  As readers of this series know, one thing leads to another with the story circling back round to the popcorn.   Activities such as stringing popcorn, buying a Christmas tree, building a snowman, listening to Christmas carols, and making Christmas ornaments fill out the mouse's activities.  It’s a fun read, especially during Christmas season.  If your children enjoy other Laura Numeroff books, this one is a great addition to your library.  A fun gift idea would be to buy this for a family and present it with a big box of popcorn!  Enjoy!

*What is your favorite Christmas activity in this book?
*What was the funniest scene to you?
*What other Christmas activity do you think the Mouse would like?

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Christmas Story

If you’re looking for a board book to help your children understand the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus, The Christmas Story, by Patricia A. Pingry and illustrated by Wendy Edelson, is a great choice.  Taking a picture walk through the book first can help children understand the story before it’s read.  It’s also fun to use the pictures as prompts so children can re-tell the story after it’s been read several times.  This book would make a great gift to families with toddlers and preschoolers. 

*Which picture is your favorite?
*Can you point to the people as I name them?
*Can you tell me the story of Baby Jesus?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas in the Manger

From the star to Baby Jesus, Christmas in the Manger, written by Nola Buck and illustrated by Felicia Bond, describes the characters in the Christmas story through first person rhymes.  This board book is good for children who enjoy simple pictures and a break-down of the figures usually seen together in Nativity depictions.  Although a board book, the text lends itself to being read by early readers, so it’s a book that can be used through several years.  For children who like riddles, the reader can use the clues in the rhyme to formulate questions about each character.  This simply written, simply illustrated book is able to convey the greatest story so that children can learn about Baby Jesus.

*What’s your favorite picture?
*Why do you think these characters are important?
*Can you remember some of the characters from the book?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Room for a Little One

Room for a Little One, A Christmas Tale, written by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Jason Cockcroft, is a favorite Christmas read in our home.  The gentle story describes the story of animals that, one by one, enter the stable by the inn.  The beautiful illustrations add to the richness of the story with soft colors and accurately drawn animals.  The Kind Ox welcomes each animal by saying there’s always room for a little one.  Animals that are usually seen as rivals, such as the dog and cat, find room and are not harmed.  The story then finds Mary and Joseph looking for a room, and of course, the Kind Ox welcomes the donkey along with his riders.  The highlight of the story is that Jesus is born and welcomed by the animals in their stable.  We love reading this fictional account of the reason we celebrate Christmas, Baby Jesus.  We hope that you and your family enjoy the conversations that can result from the reading of this book.

*Why was the Kind Ox so welcoming to the other animals?
*Did you think the animals would get along?
*Why do you think the book is titled Room for a Little One?