Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Online Resources - America's Story

It has been a while since I have noted some helpful children’s resources. With so many assignments now asking students to site an electronic source of some sorts for a paper or research project it is important that the source be one that is reliable. Many schools are starting students out at a very early age on computers and teaching them how to tap into the vast amount of information online. (Hopefully, they are still learning about using book resources too.) However, as we all know just because the information is online doesn’t mean the source is accurate or reliable. This is probably one of the hardest things to teach to pretty much any age student, adults included.

So, with this thought in mind I have tired to only list reference and book sources on this site that are credible or at least from an authority that has been known for their authenticity. Now, we all know there are numerous children’s literature and reference sources out there that well literally would fill a library. I have only listed a tiny amount available online and from time to time add a new one. I’m trying to not have an endless sidebar list that is too expansive to manage or have anyone try to wade through. Those sources that are on the list I have personal used and have found useful for one reason or another.

One I am adding today can be found through the Library of Congress site. America’s Story from America’s Library would be of great help to any elementary or middle school student doing a paper on someone or something in history. There is fact information available on states and even a place to hear audio clips or movie segments from the past. It is an interesting site to visit just for the fun of it as well.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Score one for Reading

Do you ever have one of those moments where you just are so happy that you can’t stand it? Well, I had several of those today. Now, if you are not a parent the following may bore you to tears because this is one of those I’m so glad to be a parent moments. No, it isn’t like the times I traveled across Europe and saw some of the most wonderful architectural sites. No, it isn’t like the time I sat on the beaches of Hawaii and gazed at the beautiful ocean while smelling fragrant blossoms. And, no it isn’t like the time my heart pounded with excitement the day my husband asked me for our first date. What I heard and saw today was probably small in many parental moments, but it just made my day. As my husband and I were discussing dinner options we heard our wee one say the letters “I” and “J” and then a mixture of other letters. Then she began to repeat “I” and “J” as if she were reciting the whole alphabet. She has been known to sing along during the alphabet song, but really doesn’t enunciate most of the letters.

In addition, she does have a fairly wide vocabulary recognizes her shapes and colors as well as her numbers through 10. Plus, she has been a avid fan of the letter "A" and number "2" for a while now. However, just listening to her master two of the alphabet letters and say them as confident as she did put the biggest smile on her daddy's and my face. But wait! To top it off she walked up to her daddy as he sat on the family room floor and said “P”. No, that isn’t the potty type “P”, but the letter version. He was confused at first until I reminded him that he had the letter on the sleeve of his sweatshirt he was wearing.

Yes, the wee one also was recognizing some of the letters of the alphabet today. I realize this is probably very normal for an almost two year old, but for us its one of those watching the wee one grow moments. She is like a sponge and soaking everything up. Somewhere in the back of my mind I am hoping that reading to her everyday and providing a large quantity of books for her own “reading” pleasure helped spur today’s happy moments. I do give some credit to Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster and his letter of the day. Of course, watching her when she smiled for the first time and stuck her feet in her mouth the first time and all those other first times still rank up there too. The first time podium is becoming very crowded with wonderful first time memories.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chapter Books - The Goose Girl

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale 2005

I enjoy fairy tales, but do not often venture into the chapter book length ones. The Goose Girl for me almost borders on being a fantasy book versus fairy tale, but there is no mistaking the basics that keep it in that category. The author definitely has a way with words. The text is filled with descriptive writing and the pages are loaded with unique similes and metaphors. The bases to the story has a familiar Cinderella quality to it, yet is still different enough that you really don’t notice it at first.

There are many twists and turns in the plot and the situations at times can be uneasy for animal enthusiasts. As the reader follows the life of Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kilendree, at times the unusual names and circumstances can be a bit confusing if one doesn’t read carefully. Stories with this type of complexity I find can trip up a reader who occasionally will skim pages with an over abundance of imagery like myself. Definitely worth reading, but the suggested age is 4th grade and up. I will go out on a limb and actually say maybe 5th grade and up, but think those a little older would really enjoy this. It is lengthy so would recommend for a cold or snowy weekend reading. As a side note for some of the younger readers, when I can’t figure out the correct pronunciation for character’s name or most of them like in this book, I usually give them a nickname. For Anidori-Kiladra, I used Andi.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Shelve Those Comments

Do you ever find yourself just so tired of hearing advice from so called well-meaning people? Yes, it is true I am about to rant and rave about those well-meaning people, but first let me give you the background. Today is Saturday and it usually means in our little neck of the woods a day full of promise and opportunity to catch up on things we have been putting off or to just enjoy each others company. But, no today is day seven in our battle to get healthy. It all started this past Sunday morning. Our wee one woke up with the worse sounding croup she has ever had. Mind you she had been battling the sniffles for a few days. So here we go, three steaming shower treatments and a walk in the cold weather to help relieve the swelling that is closing off her throat. Throughout that night it starts all over. By Monday morning we are off to the doctors, as this croup would not subside with home remedies. The doctor takes a look and was surprised at how bad she was and put her on a steroid to help her breath.

On to Tuesday night and we have a low-grade fever that just wouldn’t go away, she wouldn’t eat, drink, and is attached to mommy’s leg. Off we go again Wednesday morning to the doctor’s office. Doc is concerned as she is losing weight and shows classic signs of pneumonia. Here we go to the radiologist for chest x-rays. Good news lungs clear other than filled with some virus mucus crap. By Thursday she is just getting crankier, but sleeps half way decent, which is code that mommy final got a few hours. But, wait mommy also had to go to the doctor and also went for x-rays. Now, I bet you are wondering what is daddy up to. Well, he too has picked up the virus from the wee one and is coughing up a lung or two. So, he goes to the doctor on Friday while, yes you guessed it the wee is back again to the doctor’s as her fever will not break and she has now been dubbed cranky pants. Between Wednesday's visit and Friday the wee has added an ear infection to her list of ailments.

So to recap our week, that is three office visits, two prescriptions, and a chest x-rays for the wee one; one office visit, one prescription, and a series of x-rays for the mommy; and finally an office visit and prescription for the daddy. Of course this all follows daddy’s bout with whooping cough a month ago that we all had to be treated for. Did I mention we each have a $525 deductible?

In conclusion, the next well-meaning person that says it is good for kids to be exposed to all these germs now is going to get some medical bills shoved up their nose. This is where I ask you to please don’t be like the idiotic moms that take their so obviously sick and hacking kids to gym class or play groups because they don’t think it is a big deal. Washing hands and using anti-bacterial gels only work so well. Okay, off to sip some hot tea, read a calming book, and be thankful I have a venting source such as blogger.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chapter Books - Cam Jansen and the Valentine Baby Mystery

Cam Jansen and the Valentine Baby Mystery by David Adler 2006

Looking for a fun book to give as a Valentine gift to your elementary reader then I would try David Adler’s latest Cam Jansen mystery or any of his others. The Cam Jansen series is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Adler has a proven record of attracting young readers and with this simple yet fun mystery series he sets Cam and her friends out to problem solve in their own unique way. Although the book’s covers sometimes suggest more of a girl’s series, the stories would definitely appeal to boys as well since Cam’s best friend Eric is usually by her side through out each adventure.

The Valentine Baby Mystery has Cam awaiting the arrival of a new brother or sister on Valentine’s Day. However, as usual with Cam there is always a mystery to solve no matter where she is. This time it takes place at the hospital. In addition to this book, the library has a number of Valentine Day book selections so be sure and check them out and read something special with your young Valentine.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bam Bam Bam said the hammer to the head!

Okay, I thought I would start stockpiling today a few extra book notes for later postings, but like yesterday I have been listening to the non-stop pounding of men on my roof. Yes, it is January and I have roofers tearing off the old and putting on the new. And yes, it was back in April 06 that the hailstorm swept through the area damaging 150,000+ houses. (The endless coordination with insurance companies, adjusters, contactors, and weather.) One part of the house had to be resided, which took place in November 06. Now all we have to do is fix the little stuff that keeps on breaking.

So, no I am not stockpiling like I had hoped instead I am keeping my sweet 16 year-old cat from jumping out of her skin and trying to get the wee one to focus on lullaby music versus the constant bam bam on the roof for a short nap. At least they will be done today and hopefully without any later incidents of roof leakage. Now all I have to do is submit proof to the insurance company all the work has been done to collect the final 20% to reimburse our share that they had us pay up front. Owning your own home is great, but for some reason it is more like adding a full-time job to the endless list of things to do. At least the freezing rain and snow are holding off until the weekend.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

This and That - Picture Books - Dear Bunny

Hope your holidays were enjoyable and filled with great memory moments. There are so many books to tell you about, but no time. We enjoyed the gift of giving and receiving books these past weeks. The wee one “gave” family members children’s and young adult books with the thought of one on one moments to share with later over time. Hopefully, creating future special memories. We tried to tie the books around a favorite subject, interest, or idea that was unique to that family member.

My California sister and husband couldn’t make it back this year, but sent a box loaded with fun books for the wee one (of course the mommy will really enjoy them too.) Fortunately, my sister was able to visit a number of different places and events this year. From these adventures she found books to share (she too is a book enthusiast). The wee one received books about Chicago, King Tut, Scotland, and England along with some fun children’s one-book encyclopedias. I love the idea of regional or specific area books. She found cuties like Dragon of Navy Pier, Nessie the Loch Ness Monster, and a Greyfriars Bobby picture book.

For some the first month of the New Year is a bit slow for others it starts at lightning speed. Well, for us it has been a bit of supersonic mixed with “man do I really have to get up” and start the day. Our holidays around here are bookended with birthdays. We are now in the second half with the first of the year birthdays in full swing and continuing on through mid March before a break for the usual springtime celebrations.

So, for now I will be even more sporadic in my book sharing with a goal to share at least one book a week. To tide you over until next week I would suggest looking at some of those fun Valentine books that are popping up at the stores. One book that will surely be included, but really isn’t worded as a Valentine Day book is Dear Bunny: A Bunny Love Story by Michaela Morgan and illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church 2006. It is a great book to give to a spouse (just trust me on this one). It is a story of two bunnies that are very shy, but really would like to meet each other. Through a series of events and with the help of a family of mice the two are brought together through a letter of words written by each of them. I know that sounds vague (and is intended to be so), but it really is a sweet book that brings an "awe" sound to mind when you finish the story.

(For January B-days Happy Birthday Beth, Barb, Aunt Phyllis, Frema, and Lisa.)