Thursday, July 29, 2010


The book Pinkalicious is certainly not a new one for Emmy and me, but whenever I sat down to write about it another book would come to mind and get written about first.

Well, Emmy recently had a rash that began on her face and traveled down her body (Fifth Disease).When the rash appeared on her face, she looked in the mirror and said, "Mommy, I'm Pinkalicious! I must have eaten too many pink cupcakes." She then diagnosed herself with Pinkititis and prescribed herself a diet of green foods just like the main character in the book!

After this connection to the world of reading, I thought I had better write a post about this very entertaining book especially since every time we go to our local bookstore Emmy takes Pinkalicious off the shelf and insists that we read it first!

Reading Pinkalicious is a delightful way to celebrate the color PINK! Victoria and Elizabeth Kann are the creators of the charming Pinkalicious who is completely enamored with the color pink. This is also Emmy's color choice for just about anything...crayons, clothes, stuffed animals, and, of course, cupcakes! When Pinkalicious eats one too many pink cupcakes, she
turns pink! This was at first delightful, but turns into a problem when she awakens the next day looking more red than pink.

One of Emmy's favorite pages in the book is when Pinkalicious is surrounded by bees, butterflies and birds because they mistake her for a pink flower. I love this line spoken by Pinkalious' mom when Pinkalicious begged for one more pink cupcake..."You get what you get, and you don't get upset." Adding to the fun of this tale is its clever ending. When dad asks what happened to all of the pink cupcakes, Pinkalicious' brother comes around the corner saying "Pink-a-boo!" And of course he is completely pink!

Enjoy this book with a yummy cupcake with pink icing and enter the imaginative world where everything is better when it's PINK!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Make Way For Ducklings

Boston, Massachusetts is a vibrant city full of history and charm. Emmy and I can be in the heart of Boston in just under 45 minutes and we love it! We've discovered the Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, Mike's Pastry in the North End, Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Boston Common and the Public Garden. All of these sights are easily traveled by foot, but Emmy's dream is to ride 'The T' - Boston's subway system. Maybe the next trip!

One of my all time favorite children's books is Make Way For
Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. It is a touching story of two ducks who search for the perfect place to build their nest and hatch their ducklings because just any old place won't do for raising a family of ducklings.

I've waited to share it with Emmy because I wanted to be able to visit all of the places that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and the ducklings visit. This past weekend was our duckling adventure and we had a fabulous time!

Here is a photo of Emmy as soon as we got into the car to head to Boston. She was so excited to be going to the duckling's island! She listened intently as I told her what to expect on this adventure. How we would park underneath the Boston Common and visit the Carousel on the Common, swim and play in and around the Frog Pond, eat lunch at the Lily Pad Cafe and then cross
Charles Street and enter the Public Garden where we would ride the Swan Boats and visit the Make Way For Duckling's Statues. She chit-chatted with me the entire way about the book and wondered if we would see the featured police officer, Michael.

We had a lovely time riding the carousel and splashing in the Frog Pond, but entering the Public Garden was true magic! "Look Mommy! I see the Swan Boats." "Oh, look at all of the ducks." "Now where is that Mr. and Mrs. Mallard." "I see the bridge that's in the book!" Simply delightful!

Riding on the Swan Boat was so much fun. I've done it before, but not with a child. Completely different. Children have a way of noticing things that adults simply don't. Such as, the way the duck's feather's shine in the sunshine, the sound of the boat as the driver pedals through the water, and the way the weeping willow trees are just touching the water. "Look Mommy - the trees are
thirsty." The best part of the ride was seeing little ducklings on the ramp up to the little island. "I see Quack! I see Quack! Hi Quack. Hi Mr. and Mrs. Mallard!"

After the ride, we were off to find the statues of the ducks. The Public Garden is such a beautiful place to wander around. It is full of tucked away places perfect for the little ones. When Emmy
spotted the statues, she just took off and immediately went to the very last duckling and gave him a big hug. If
you haven't figured it out yet, Quack is her favorite duckling who follows
along behind Mrs. Mallard and Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack and Pack to be last in line.

Be sure to share this brilliantly illustrated book with the little ones in your life. It will surely please them! As Emmy says, "This book is so special because it won a trophy!" Make Way For Ducklings was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1941 for its distinguished illustrations.

Two thoughts by Robert McCloskey to end this post:
1) Mr. McCloskey often said that he didn't know anything about children's literature.
"I think in pictures. I fill in between with words. My first book I wrote in order to have something to illustrate."

2) Mr. McCloskey thought that while the hand was trained, drawing was really a way of seeing and thinking.
"Most of my friends and neighbors just don't seem to see as I do, even looking at simple things like a ball of string. But I'm not a nut, really, as anybody can see. I have one foot resting on reality and the other foot planted firmly on a banana peel."

Hope your foot finds itself planted on a banana peel!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Handiest Things in the World

This post is a bit late as I am going to write about end of the year teacher gifts, but Emmy and I really love this book by Andrew Clements and wanted to be sure and share it with our readers!

The gift of a book is always appreciated and when it came time to give end of the year gifts to Emmy's teachers, we knew just the books to give. The book, The Handiest Things in the World, was given to Emmy's teacher with an inscription thanking her for helping Emmy learn to write her name using her hands. We included a tracing of Emmy's hands with the inscription. To Emmy's assistant teacher, we gave the book, Look! Look! Look! since she borrowed this book from us when the children were learning about Matisse. To read our post about this clever book click here.

The Handiest Things in the World is such an insightful book. It is full of photographs of children using their hands to do all sorts of things from eating, digging, catching insects and walking a dog. Each spread shows a child using her hands to complete a task and on the opposite page a tool that can assist the hands such as eating with your fingers and using chopsticks. "Mealtime happens every day. Keep your fingers clean this way."

The final image is of two children holding hands reinforcing the fact that no matter what new devices are created, the hands remain indispensable. "For sharing love with tenderness...the hand itself is handiest."

Here are my favorite hands - capable of so many things. My favorite thing that these hands can do is hug their Mommy!

Before I end this post, I wanted to be sure to tell a bit about the author Andrew Clements. In my second grade classroom, we ended each day cozy on the floor with our reading lamp lit and me reading a chapter from a book. Clements first book titled
Frindle was always a favorite. This book, about a boy who made up a new word, turned Clements from an editorial director into a full time author. I love this piece of advice that Clements offers to young writers:

"Sometimes kids ask how I've been able to write so many books. The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is a good lesson, I think. You don't have to do everything at once. You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word. And growing up, it's the same way. We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing,and, before you know it, you're living a good life."

The next book, by Andrew Clements, that I am going to introduce to Emmy is Big Al. This is a brilliant book about a friendly fish who just wants to make a friend, but his large and scary looking appearance makes this extremely difficult for him. With a heroic act that shows his strength, courage and bravery, Big Al makes a sea full of friends.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon

There's No Such Thing as a Dragon by Jack Kent (known for his syndicated comic strip King Aroo) is the hilarious story of Billy Bixbee who awakes one morning to find a dragon, the size of a kitten, on his bed. He pats the dragon on its head and its tail begins to wag. When Billy goes downstairs to tell his mom about the dragon, he hears, "There's no such thing as a dragon." Billy returns to his room and ignores the dragon since there's no such thing. As Billy continues with his day, the dragon works very hard to make his presence known. It tries on Billy's pajamas, eats his pancakes, takes a nap and chases the bread truck. With great determination, Billy and his mom continue to ignore the presence of the dragon even though it has now grown from the size of a kitten to the size of the house. It's Billy who realizes that the dragon simply wants to be noticed and pats the dragon on the head. This allows the dragon to become smaller and once again the size of a kitten. With the dragon laying in mother's lap, she exclaims, "I don't mind dragons THIS size. Why did it have to grow so BIG?" To which Billy replies, "I'm not sure, but I think it just wanted to be noticed."

This story brings Emmy great giggles! She enjoys the cartoon like illustrations and especially likes the page when the dragon chases the bread truck since the entire house goes with it. Whether Jack Kent realized it or not, he wrote a story that speaks to anyone who deals with the emotions of a young child on a daily basis. Parents and teachers alike will understand the dragon's determination to be noticed as it parallels the behavior of a child who MUST be seen and heard! This story reminds me that anything, whether it is an emotion or a problem, is much more manageable if we acknowledge it, rather than ignore it and allow it to grow bigger.

(Thanks, Carrie, for reminding me of this book and allowing the message of emotional connection to sink in even deeper!)