Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Board Books - Animals A to Z

When life is crazy and you want a little slow down then I suggest an ABC book of the fun kind. One of my favorite author/illustrators, David McPhail has a really cute and clever Animals A to Z board book that will add pleasure to anyone’s day. At first glance it appears the book is a pretty straightforward ABC book, but then you start to realize there is more to it than that.

For instance, the first page starts of course with letter “A” where we find an ant and armadillo, but wait. The ant is conversing with the armadillo while standing under an apple tree with an arrow through an apple as an airplane flys overhead and an alarm clock sits in the corner. So, let’s see that is two “A” animals with four additional correlating “A” objects. It goes on like that throughout the alphabet. Only the letter “X” is missing a “companion” object, but in all fairness that really is a tough letter.

This book makes the alphabet fun and grows with the reader. Most kids will only first “get” the animal part of it, but it builds into a fun game of find the other items that begin with the same letter. The illustrations of course are captivating to the young ones and many include comical features such as a bear reading a book in a boat or a crocodile wear a crown. For all ages, but especially babies up through 1st grade will really enjoy this book. (It is also available in paperback too.)

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Picture Books - Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and illustrated by Sonja Lamut 2000

There are lots and lots of children's books about Thanksgiving. Some are even known to spark controversy about the day's origins, but this book is just simple and to the point. The reader is able to "count" with the book's characters the reasons they are thankful. The story really focuses in on the special idea behind the day. Basically, being thankful for family, friends and the simple pleasures of life. The pages are colorful with easy to read text. Great for little ones that you are trying to explain the day to and those just learning to read. Suggest for ages 3 or so and up to around 6.

Hope you all have a wonderful day and have many, many things to be thankful. I know I sure do.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Board Books - Zoophabet ABC

There are so many great reasons why I like board books. Even as the wee one grows older and is becoming quite good with handling traditional picture books, we both still like a board book’s ability to withstand rugged “book loving”. A recent find that the wee one and mama like is an ABC book. Ahh, do not turn away just yet let me explain why this ABC book is in the entertaining class versus the don’t bother group. I know there are a lot of ABC books out there that are just borrrring.

However, Zoophabet ABC by Kathryn Knight and illustrated by Cathy Heck I think is just adorable from the point of artwork and its content. I picked this up at that mega huge worldwide discount chain store for the upcoming holiday drive. It takes the reader through the idea of what animals would you put together to start a zoo(phabet). The text does a really nice job in finding animals for every letter (including “V” and “X”) along with humorous situations. For instance, would a rhinoceros wear ribbons on her tail and horns? We have found a number of ABC books that are fun and I think I might just start adding one here every week. This particular book would be good for little ones up through about 5 years old. I am not sure, but it appears the distribution on this book is limited for now and will be more widely available at the first of the year. It was a fall 2006 release.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Booklists for middle graders with reading difficulties

If you are looking for some books that would appeal to older readers of grades 4 through 8 that have difficulty with reading, then check out Multnomah County Library’s list of Shorter Books for Taller Readers 4th-5th Grade and Shorter Books for Taller Readers 5th-8th Grade. Many of the books included in the list are also good for that not-so-interested-in-reading of the same age group, but would like a quick read which is geared toward their social or interest level.

The lists include a wide variety of selections such as:
Salt In His Shoes: Michael Jordan in Pursuit of a Dream by Jordan
How to Eat Fried Worms by Rockwell
The Rope Trick by Alexander
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Sachar
The Paper Doorway: Funny Verse And Nothing Worse by Koontz
Define "Normal": A Novel by Peters

Give the lists a “look see” to help you find something for those struggling or who lack interest. I’m sure there is something on the lists that would be appealing and maybe spark an interest. One author I didn’t see on either list was that of Jerry Spinelli. Any of his books would be great for this group, but I especially like his “The Library Card” book. It is a very unique book and it can be read like four short stories.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's Children's Book Week all week

Don't you just love this poster! "MORE BOOKS, PLEASE!" It is funny how I just love children's books, but for some reason totally spaced that this is Children's Book Week. Well, it is all week so at least I'm not too behind. So you ask, what is Children's Book Week? Here is the low down on it.

Children's Book Week: November 13-19, 2006

"A celebration of the written word, Children's Book Week introduces young people to new authors and ideas in schools, libraries, homes and bookstores. Through Children's Book Week, the Children's Book Council (CBC) encourages young people and their caregivers to discover the complexity of the world beyond their own experience through books."

In addition - "The Children's Book Council has initiated a nationwide book donation program in honor of Children's Book Week 2006 and, in association with its members, will donate more than one hundred thousand books to charity." To find out more go to First Children's Book Week Great Book Giveaway Gets An Early Start article.

Take a moment and enjoy a children's book this week and next week, or even the week after.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jackets! That is book jackets.

Dust jackets (as some would say)! You either love them or hate them or maybe you just don't care. Well, anyway let's talk book jackets for a minute.

Do you remember when book jackets were not common? Or, how about when jackets were added and really wowed you because the book itself wasn't illustrated and its cover was a bit bland? Adult books still tend to have un-illustrated book covers, and even many of the children and young adult chapter book covers aren't illustrated unless they are soft or paper backs. But, when you add those jackets I find it really makes a difference when deciding to select one book over another. I know, I know home libraries do have a nice aesthetic look to them when all the bindings and book covers are simple and jacket free, but where is the fun in that.

There are a number of libraries I have been to that actually discard the jackets as soon as the book is unpacked. Other libraries send the jacket off to be encased in a clear, but smooth plastic cover to help preserve it and the book through many circulating hands. There are even book jackets that arrive from the publishers already in a plastic cover courtesy of a small fee. I personally love book jackets. Plus, they usually offer a bit more information about the book, author, and illustrator. However, the jackets, if not encased, do tend to look shabby after a number of handlings. I have gotten into the habit of taking the covers off here at home when reading them to lengthen its life.

Recently, I had this idea about using some of the wee one's book jackets for other uses. I am sure it is not a new idea, if anything many stores that sell artwork do this, but it was a new idea to me. That is to say I plan on using a few of the jackets to decorate. I have a couple of rooms that really are in need of some color. So, I thought how about framing some of these jackets. With so many jackets beaming with great artwork it seems a shame to just leave it wrapped around a book shelved amongst others where it can't be seen that often. Of to the arts and craft store I go where I plan on finding white mat board with black framing for the jackets.

So, have you done anything different with a book jacket other than read and enjoy it?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Books and Blogs

For some reason as my brain was being idled by germs these past weeks, the world of children’s books has continued on without me, which is a very good thing. I am trying to catch up on my reading of other book blogs and have discovered several new ones in this process. Plus, there are so many books that are mentioned that I would really like to check out. (The germs may disable the main functioning part of my brain, but nothing can stop the bookish love part.)

If anyone else besides me has been living in a cave like state for a while, please do yourself a favor and check out the blogs listed to the right of here under the title “Have a minute? Then check these out!” There are a wide variety of styles and content that can be found on the list. Unfortunately, I haven’t updated the list in a while, but please check out those listed and their lists. There are a number of awesome book resources and reviews with wonderful insight. Also, if you are looking for book gifts to give in the up coming holidays these are great places to look through for ideas.

A place to start would be Big A Little a, Kidslit, Jen Robinson's Book Page, The PlanetEsme Book-A-Day Plan, Chicken Spaghetti, Fairrosa's Reading Journal, etc. Or, any of the others. They all have worthwhile information and reading.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Nice selection of comfort titles. Thanks!

In terms of comfort books there were definitely a wide variety offered up. Thank you so much to all that contributed. Many of the titles I haven’t read before and really wished I had some of them. Besides needing comfort books to peruse this past week we needed about a gallon of chicken soup. As I dropped my husband off at the airport this last Sunday, I remember him saying are you sure you will be well enough to pick me up Thursday night? Of course, I said with a gurglely and horse voice and as my wee one sat in the back with a glazed over hypnotic look. There we were two very sick girls on our way home to try and heal ourselves with vaporizers, tissues, and a stack of Baby Einstein videos.

As the week wore on I kept saying to myself we are on the up side just a day or two more (I remember saying that the week before as well). But, once the cat got sick (with something different) I thought I yield it is time to see the doctor. Now it has been two doctors, a chest x-ray, and several antibiotics later and the wee one was mending on her on, but the Mom needed the heavy-duty stuff. Luckily my husband arrived safely home last night courtesy of his brother and sister-in-law to a wife coughing up a lung and the wee one doing better. Yeah!

What I need now is to send my wonderful man out to get me some of those titles you all have shared, another box of tissues, and maybe an extra large ice cream cone and I will be as good as new in morning. Right? Okay, once the lungs are back to a mild wheeze I will be right as rain.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Comfort Books?

For those who have read Inkheart the following may seem like a plagiarized thought, but I must admit Inkheart and Meggie’s bookish love can be something many of us book enthusiasts can relate to. So, have you ever found a book or books that you keep coming back to and re-reading and re-reading that just provides a sense of balance or comfort? I am sure these thoughts and questions have been put forth a dozen or more times now, but I am in the midst of a book transition (that is code for I haven’t had time to gather my read books and put describing words to them). So, maybe the questions are more from a self-serving pursuit, but other points of view are always of interest. And, I thought “hum” I could use this time for discovering what others think. Because when it comes to books there are so many genres, likes, dislikes, and generally a lot to choose from.

The question would be what children’s book be it picture, board, or chapter do you still read and re-read even today? The nice thing about having a librarian background (opposed to when I was a bean counter) and now having a child is I don’t have to try and justify to other adults why I am reading a children’s book. I never quite understood the mentally of “that’s a children’s book” so adults can’t read it. There are so many reasons why reading a children’s book is the right book. I do love my “adult” books as well, but there are times when the comfort of a familiar character or simplistic plot just seems perfect for the moment. I have several books I could name, but I am interested in your comfort book(s). Feel free to enlighten me. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back and with an opposing opinion

First, let me say wow when I said I was taking a vacation, my readership did to, but I am taking that as a positive. Well, I hope you had a nice week and Halloween day (I say that last part with sarcasm). We didn’t really do anything for vacation this year too many things going on. As far as Halloween, yes I am one of those who do not get all excited, wrapped up, and adventurous when it comes to this “holiday”. There are so many people that do enjoy the day and all the festivities and to them I say have a great time. Even as a kid I never really got into the “trick or treating”. I went a few times, but mostly because my mom made me go with my sister. Anyway, what I used to like most about this time of year were the costume parties. They were so much more fun then walking around and knocking on doors for candy. So, I may not be a part of the “in crowd”, but I have found it rather odd that so many people expect you to participate and enjoy this form of candy “extortion”. All right calm down, I am not saying kids are extortionist, but doesn’t it have a bit of that resemblance. My business background though tells me this “holiday” has been given an enormous boost from the candy manufacturers, who by the way were one of the leading rally cries for extending the daily savings time to the first Sunday in November starting next year. Supposedly, they have suffered greatly because their main profit day doesn’t get an extra hour of daylight. However, most politicians are saying it is because of the energy we will save.

For the last two weeks I have heard endless questions of what are we going to do, what costume is your wee one going to wear, etc. I am amazed at the countless people that seem to think I have committed some heinous crime for not dressing my wee one up and in addition taking her out. First, I have to remind these people that she isn’t even two yet. I really do not think she will be forever scared by this non-conformity at this age. Secondly, they wouldn’t be the ones carrying her around all evening, as she tends to take off unless bundled into a stroller. Umm, that’s a nice picture Mom strolling baby door to door for candy that the baby can’t and shouldn’t be eating yet. Third, why is it a problem for the other person that I am not dressing up my child on a specific day? So, as a bit of a sound off to all those strangers, repair people, acquaintances, and just the general public do not look down your nose at me or my little family for not participating in a day that really doesn’t have any earth shattering significance to daily life. I applaud those of you who find this a fun way to spend family time together and enjoy yourselves, but please do not make it out as a crime for those of us that do not take the same interest. As always this blog reflects personal opinion and is not meant to be a voice of authority.