Five Favorite Children’s Books

Hi all– I’ve been tagged to post my 5 Top Children’s Books– by one of my favorite bloggers Marcia Strykowski, author, librarian and blogger who writes about books, travels, authors. Her posts are always interesting!!  Thanks Marcia!!

The Rules are:
1.  Thank whoever’s nominated you and and share their blog link.
2.  Let us know your Top 5 Children’s books!
3.  Nominate 5 people to do the same.
4.  Let your nominee’s know you’ve nominated them.

I’m going with Marcia and picking 5 picture books.  Even though I think I’ve mentioned these before, they are my Top 5:

Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier — The story of Noah told through finely detailed illustration. My favorite frame is Mrs. Noah weeping for joy when the dove returns with the olive twig, marking the end of the flood.  A Caldecott Medal winner, just beautiful.

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Brave Iene by William Steig — When Sophie’s dressmaking mother fall’s ill, Sophie sets off through stormy weather to deliver the gown to the Duchess for her ball.  Charming picture of a young girl’s courage and the sweetest happy ending.

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Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg — Through a series of “I spy” poems readers cross paths with many fairy tale characters until they all converge on a plum pie picnic!  Adorable lively illustration.

 

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Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman — The classic retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood story paired with the most beautiful detailed illustrations by my favorite illustrator.  Caldecot Medal Honor book.

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Wolf by Becky Bloom — a group of reading barnyard animals inspire a ferocious wolf to change his ways and learn to read– which is not as easy as he thought it would be!  Wonderful salute to reading with the most expressive whimsical illustration.

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My nominees to write their own post on favorite children’s books (if they chose to do so) are:
Antonia at http://zoale.com
Lacey at https://bigandpinkytoes.wordpress.com
Mary at https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com
Lisa at https://booktime584.wordpress.com/

Please be sure to visit my nominator at  https://marciastrykowski.com

P.S. Illlustation at the top by Francesco Ghersina

Books for a Special Baby

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“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. 
— Roald Dahl (British novelist & children’s writer 1916-1990)

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Hi all– In a couple weeks we’re heading up to San Francisco to a baby shower for our daughter Ani and her Brian.  I can’t wait!  And all the friends are bringing books to start that baby girl’s library.  I’m of a mind that a baby can’t have too many books!  So here’s my dilemma– which books should I wrap up for the newest grand-girl??  There are so many stories I look forward to reading to that little girl!  Here’s a few possibilities:

The Jolly Postman by Alan and Janet Ahlberg
A British postman delivers letters to storybook characters across the countryside– and the actual letters pull out from pockets on the pages to be read.  Charming.

Noah’s Ark by Peter Speier
Dutch artist. Peter Speier,  tells the story of Noah and his ark in the this detailed wordless book with plenty  of humor ad warmth. A Caldecott winner.

No Jumping on the Bed! by Tedd Arnold
Despite warnings about jumping on the bed, Walter jumps until he crashes down through several floors of his apartment building, taking the other occupants along with him.  Clever rhyme and illustration.

My Crayons Talk by G. Brian Karas
A lively lovely first book of colors– set the to a staccato rhythm that carries the story along.  “Talk talk, my crayons talk, Clickety Clackety Talk talk talk!”

Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
Naughty Nora just wants attention and she’ll do just about anything to get it– until she disappears!

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont
A toddler goes wild with his set of paints, starting with his body and ending up pretty much splashing paint in all directions– to the tune of “It Ain’t Going to Rain No More.”  Wacky rhyme and whimsical illustrations make this loads of fun!

The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Wescott
Sing along story of a baby who drinks the bath water and eats the soap and ends up with the arrival of the slightly crazy doctor and nurse.  But the hero of the story is the lady with the alligator purse– and her pizza!
Wacky fun.

Lunch by Denise Flemming
Colorfully crafted illustrations tell the story of a little mouse with a big appetite who eats his way through the kitchen.  Delightful.

There you have it.  So many fantastic books (and there are more!!)  We’ll be reading stories galore to our new little baby Heung in the year to come…

 

Christmas Books for Kids (& people who read to them!)

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Illustration by Eva Erickson

Hi Book Buddies–  One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the big stack of books I lug off to school December 1st.  In room #2 we read a Christmas book every morning to kick off our study day.  Everything from The Nativity to The Grinch.

— And now with the Grand-girls coming for Christmas this year, I’m collecting a stack of my favorites on the coffee table for a little pre-bedtime reading with the girls, cozy on the couch under a blanket.  It’s a very readable time of year.  So here are just a few of our favorites:

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Christmas in the Barn is one of those cozy books that make perfect bedtime reading.  The lilting words and the gentle pictures are like a sweet lullaby.  It’s a different telling of the nativity by Margaret Wise Brown (who wrote Goodnight Moon)– simple and perfect for small children.

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If you’ve ever been involved in a church Christmas pageant, you’ll love this rollicking story of the year the Herdman’s, the most notoriously mean kids in town, who stride into Sunday School and take over the Christmas program.  The rag tag siblings put a whole new spin on Mary, Joseph and the 3 wise men.  And the result is surprisingly touching.  It’s a short chapter book– just read it aloud to my 4th graders.  We loved it.

 

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This is a book about Christmas wishes– a small girl wishing for a family.  A doll wishing for a girl to claim her.  And the Joneses wishing for a daughter to share their Christmas.  There are twists and turns in a snowy English village as all their wishes converge into one suitably happy ending.  I think I love this book because years back I read it every Christmas with my two girls. –A sweet and satisfying Christmas tale.

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If you’ve only seen the Grinch movie, I’m asking you– oh please do read the book,  How the Grinch stole Christmas  —soon.  (it’s so much better!). That old Grinch mischievously tries to ruin Christmas, only to find it can go on without presents or trees or roast-beast.   It’s Dr. Seuss at his very best, with his inventive rhymes, quirky illustrations, thoroughly likable characters, and crazy story line all wrapped up with a heart-warming ending.

Some Fine Books for Kids

Hi Reading Buddies–  Everyday after lunch in room #2, we had the most tranquil time of day.  I read to the kids, the most page turning book I could drum up.  And then they read alone propped in various places around the room.  It just makes me happy sitting in the middle of a room full of readers.

So if you have some younger readers in your life and are always looking for book recommendations as I am, here’s some books that can take you into summer reading:

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The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech is full of delightful quirky characters, starting with Lizzie and Naomi, a pair of orphaned friends who banter and bumble through the town of Blackbird Tree.  Then there’s the boy Finn who falls from a tree– and across the sea in Ireland, two unusual sisters, Nula and Sybil. There’s mystery secrets, humor and deeper meanings.  Fun and  yes, unexpected events make the book so charming.

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This story, A Horse and His Boy, was one of our favorite read-alouds in room#2 this past year.  It’s the third in the C.S. Lewis fantasy series– the perilous trek of two runaways, Shasta, who lived with a poor fisherman, and a nobleman’s daughter, Aravis, along with their talking horses. They come upon trickery, magical encounters and in the end a noble battle.  We loved these likable characters and their rocky interactions.  A profound adventure story.

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Unknown-1Slylark, is the sequel to Patricia MacLachan’s better known Sarah Plain and Tall.  It continues the story of Anna and Caleb, who live on the Nebraska prairie with their father and Sarah, who came from Maine to marry and be their mother.  The family faces a severe drought, loss of dear neighbors who abandon their farms.  They survive a fire and endless heat, but in the end Sarah and the children retreat to Maine and the house by the sea.  What will become of the farm? of their family?  –a heartwarming picture of the difficult life of pioneers and a family who lived it.
P.S.– There’s a wonderful film version starring Glenn Close and Christopher Walken to follow up your reading.

It’s summer– big trips to the library followed by long, bookish afternoons.  Enjoy!

 

Thanksgiving Books for Kids

Hello friends– Do you love Thanksgiving as much we do around here?  In my third-fourth grade class at school, we’re filling in those “Thankful Heart Charts” and making plans with the cafeteria lady to use her ovens to bake 30 little pumpkin breads!  And we start off every day of November with a Thanksgiving picture book– I’m hoping to drum up a whole lot of thankfulness in room #2.

Here’s some of our favorite books:

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Pilgrims of Plymouth is one of those beautifully photographed National Geographic books.  It’s a slice of history for young readers, detailing a child’s life almost 400 years ago.  There were games of marbles and meals cooked over open fires, no school, but plenty chores to help the family.  It’s simple, but engaging, a great first introduction to colonial America.

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This rollicking book of Thanksgiving poetry can keep you amused for days–starting with the school Thanksgiving pageant and moving on through visiting relatives, the lively feast and even the post Thanksgiving dinner nap.  The illustrations add to the fun with loads of colorful detail.  It’s a books kids from 5 to 55 can enjoy.

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This Thanksgiving story is a tender tale for older readers with a decidedly southern flavor from Truman Capote.  Twelve year old Buddy and his best friend, his elderly cousin Miss Sook prepare the country house for Thanksgiving. The holiday is populated with a houseful of colorful characters, and Buddy is dismayed when the school bully, Odd Henderson is invited.  A crisis occurs in the middle of feast, but Miss Sook makes things right and consoles Buddy through it all.

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These two books make quite a pair.  The text is the same– the classic lyric, “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Lydia Maria Child.  Both books follow a family on their way to the grandparents homes, but that is where the similarity ends!  My old trusty-rusty version pictures an old time family on an idyllic sleigh ride through the woods.  It’s all “Currier & Ives-ish.”  The newer version features a wacky New York City family and includes a NYC traffic jam, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, balloons and all and a death defying arrival for the youngest member of the clan.  It’s pure fun.  They belong side by side on your Thanksgiving bookshelf.  Happy reading!

Pictures of Hollis Woods

51P4ZZZ33HL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Hello all-  Been reading a bit this summer to be ready for my switch to teach 5th grade in the fall– and I found a book I’m looking forward to sharing with my students.  In Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff, you are pulled in to the story of Holly, a young girl who has moved into and subsequently run away from a series of foster homes, all the while hoping to find a real family she can fit into and love.

Her summer with the Regans is nearly perfect until the accident and then she is on the run again.  Her next home with Josie is precarious, given Josie’s increasing dementia. And so the story totters back and forth between life with Josie and remembrances of the summer past, until the two stories come together in a satisfyingly heartwarming ending.  It’s a story of hope and desperation, a story of family, a story of characters you’d like to spend some time with.  This is a Newberry Honor book and I do think you’d find it worthwhile.

Summer Reading for Kids

Hi all-  Summer vacation is for reading.  When I was 9 or 10 I would ride my bike to the library once a week, fill the basket up with books and pedal back home.  I’d lay under the pepper tree in the backyard or sprawled on the couch and read, read.  It was the best way I knew to while away a summer.

So in honor of all those kids who are just launching into their summer vacations, here’s a list of books that would wonderfully fill those long lazy summer afternoons.

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I just finished reading this book to my 3rd graders at years end. Matilda is a precocious child with some of the craziest parents between two covers.  She uses her amazing gifts to turn out the villainous headmistress from her school with the help of her beloved teacher, Miss Honey.  It’s Roald Dahl at his best– full of fun and quirky characters, including the plucky heroine who keeps you cheering her on through the whole story.

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The Penderwick sisters have a delicious summer ahead when they join their father on the beautiful grounds of the Adrundel Estate.  They explore the elaborate gardens, treasure filled attic and make a new friend, Jeffrey Tifton, the son of Arundel’s owner to join them on their adventures.  But they run up against Mrs. Tifton who is not so pleased to meet them.  It’s a charming, warm, old fashioned story, perfect for summer reading.

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The Westing Game  by Ellen Raskin was family favorite when my kids were young readers.  Sixteen Heirs are brought to live in the Sunset Towers apartment building and when the will of deceased Samuel Westing is read, it is a puzzle.  They are given clues to solve the mystery of Sam Westing’s murder.  The winner inherits his $2 million dollar fortune.  It’s a convoluted mystery for kids that’s hard to put down, even for grown ups.  Just fun reading.

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Four children happen into the magical land of Narnia, where animals talk and all are under the curse of the white witch who has made the land always be in winter, but never Christmas!  Through a set of adventures and with the sacrifice of the great lion, Aslan, the witch is conquered and the children come to reign as rulers in the castle by the sea.  It’s a marvelous, magical tale part of a set of 7 Narnia books, so there’s reading for all summer long here.  If a child owns just one set of books, these classics should be the one.

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thumb_littlehouseontheprairieLittle House on the Prairie is the account of a real family who left the wilds of the Wisconsin woods to settle in Kansas.  Second daughter, Laura wrote the stories of their travels in a covered wagon across the prairie, the resourcefulness of Pa building their new log home, the way the family met numerous hardships head on.  I love that children today can know a time when people hunted and grew their own food, when entertainment was Pa and his fiddle or cutting dolls out of paper, when a sock with an orange, a peppermint stick and a penny made a fine Christmas gift.  This is also a book set, starting Little House in the Big Woods.  I think you’ll love this brave and endearing family.