Thursday, August 1, 2013

Book of the Month: Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten


In a few short weeks everyone will be busy buying backpacks and new lunch boxes. But before you do, ask yourself, "Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?" This is  hilarious little story that I found during a visit to my local library.
"Some people say kindergarten is no place for a buffalo.
How crazy is that?
Does your buffalo have a backpack?
Well then. He's definitely ready for kindergarten!"
Back to School is my favorite time of year. Here are several other posts filled with activities to get your school year off on the right foot!

These two posts include several Back To School Books and many fun-filled activities!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BOOK OF THE MONTH: "Fire! Fire! Said Mrs. Mcguire

By Bill Martin Jr with updated illustrations by Vladimir Radunsky
What treasures I find at my local library! When I saw Bill Martin Jr.'s name on this book, I knew I had to read it and I was not disappointed. I tested the story on my niece (age 5), who asked me to read it twice and the next day, she was proud to read it all on her own. She was able to use her memory of the story, context clues, and her knowledge of letter sounds, rhymes, and sight words to read this one all on her own.
"Fire! Fire!" said Mrs. McGuire.
"Where? Where?" said Mrs. Bear.
"Downtown!" said Mrs. Brown.
The story features a group of female mice who are very concerned about a "fire" but there's a bit of a surprise at the end. This is a short and simple story but a very humorous way to introduce or reinforce rhyming words.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book of the Month: Down by the Cool of the Pool

It's April! According to the calendar and the daffodils in my front yard, spring is here. There are so many fun things in this tale. The photos are bright and hilarious. The text is not only catchy, but is written in a way that reminds you of ripples in the water.
"Down by the pool
in the cool of the day.
Frog cried, "Wheeeee!
Can you dance like me?"
Duck came to see.
I can dance too.
But not like you.
I can flap."
"So Duck went "flap"
and Frog cried, "Wheeeee!
Can you dance like me?"
Down by the cool of the pool.
And you can only imagine the fun that ensues as Pig, Sheep, Cat, Dog, and many more animals join in the dance. I'm not sure I can even read this one sitting still! It seems perfect for busy toddlers, active preschoolers, and curious kindergartners!
Just like Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears and The Lion and the Mouse, this is a fun way to learn about onomatopoeia; the examples are endless: whooop, wheeeee, plop, splash, and many more!
What is your favorite silly story?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You

One day in late January, I was in my local bookstore. I wandered over to the children's section, as I often do, to see what book would capture my eye...but instead, I found one that captured by heart. I picked up the book, read it cover to cover, knew I had found the book for my next post, and I knew that today would be the day I'd share it.

Those who read this blog on a regular basis, may remember that I have a very special bond with my niece (now 5) and my nephew (now 2). You see, today, would have been their Mommy's birthday.  And as I stood in the book store that day reading this story, tears flowing rather freely, I felt like this story was sent from heaven just for my family. It reads like a letter from my sister-in-law to her children.
"And if someday you’re lonely,
or someday you’re sad,
or you strike out at baseball,
or think you’ve been bad...

just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
That’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

In the green of the grass... in the smell of
the sea... in the clouds floating by...
at the top of a tree... in the sound
crickets make at the end of the day...

“You are loved. You are loved. You are
It's a wonderfully sweet story that any Mom, Dad, Grandparent or Loved One can read to the little ones in their lives to remind them of all the people who love them - those that are here on Earth and those that are not.
 Other Books by Nancy Tillman:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book of the Month: Imogene's Antlers by David Small

"On Thursday, when Imogene woke up, she found she had grown antlers..." And this is how Imogene's story begins. It's as simple as that! So you can imagine all of the fun that comes next.  Imogene adapts very well to her antlers...she hangs donuts on them for breakfast, she uses them to hang towels that need drying, and she has lots of places for birds to land.

Related Activities:
  • List other animals that have antlers like caribou
  • This month, there is another friendly little fictional animal with antlers who, along with his friends, helps Santa deliver toys across the world. So, Imogene's Antlers is a timely story. Learn about real reindeer - where they live, what they eat, etc..
  • Sort pictures of animals that have antlers and animals that have horns (see the link below to the Reading Rainbow video). Or, you can use plastic animals that you may have in your classroom.
  • Have children make up a story about what they would do if they woke up with antlers (or some other animal features like - feathers, scales, wings, etc).
  • Ask children why they think Imogene woke up with antlers. Speculate and imagine!

Related Links:
  • The Reading Rainbow on Vimeo episode featuring Imogene's Antlers takes the viewer on a visit to the Philadelphia Zoo (America's First Zoo - who knew?). The children learn about "appendages" and the difference between horns and antlers.
  • Visit the author's website: DavidSmallBooks.
  • Scholastic Books has a great math/snack activity using pipe cleaners and O shaped cereal. 
  • National Geographic Kids has beautiful pictures of caribou along with other information.
  • There's an awesome book called Story Stretchers and it's now available on Google Books. Here you will find several other extension activities such as making donuts (yum!)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book of the Month: Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Thanksgiving is approaching and we are helping children to learn about being thankful. The winter holidays are also approaching and it's a time when we often talk to children about giving and being kind. Hopefully these are lessons that we teach our children all year long and this is a great book to help start those discussions.

I love this book for may reasons. The main character is being raised by his grandmother - that family structure is a reality for many children and this book makes it seem so normal that children can easily relate. He wants a pair of sneakers that are just beyond the family's budget, again another reality for many children. In the end, he finds a pair at a thrift shop but they are too small, and he gives them to a friend. The book touches on giving to others, kindness, bullying (the other children laugh at Jeremy's Velcro sneakers), and friendship.

I do take issues with two words in the book: "rich" and "dumb." Jeremy goes to the thrift shop in the hopes that some "rich" child donated the sneakers. The word rich is not concrete to a young child and people who aren't rich donate to thrift shops. Jeremy also uses the word dumb in a moment of frustration. But don't let those words discourage you from picking up this book. The lessons far outweigh those two words.

Related Activity:
Have children donate items to a thrift shop.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Election Time: Grace for President

Election day is near and what better time to read Grace for President! Grace realizes that there has never been a female president, Grace begins her political career in a classroom election that helps students understand the process of the election and voting. There are some details that may be too much for very young children but older students will be able to understand how an election works. It's a perfect read for this time of year!

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