Monday, December 13, 2010

Off We Go!

We recently went on a trip to Ohio to visit Emmy's Yaya. We made this trip by car. It wasn't our first time to travel thirteen hours by car, but with this trip came more of an awareness of time. "Are we there yet?" was uttered often by Emmy especially when going through Pennsylvania where we heard "Are we still in Pennsylvania?" at least three times an hour (and PA takes up most of the trip).

Emmy has always been a great traveler - the only hitch is she rarely sleeps in the car so that makes for a long ride. On this trip, Emmy watched her favorite movies and even used headphones. This gave the adults a chance to listen to their own music! For Emmy, car trips mean adventures and meeting interesting people. She loves to talk and socialize. It is the only time we visit McDonald's and she definitely lets us know when she sees the golden arches. It's also a time to explore rest areas, truck stops and gas stations. There really is so much to see, do and learn. Emmy now knows what a vending machine is and that some people shower at the store (truck stop). Emmy and I read the signs together and cheer when we cross a state border. We keep track of our travels on a placemat map. We LOVE to cross bridges and see the hustle and bustle of a city. I'm looking forward to Emmy getting older and keeping a travel journal full of drawings, words and mementos. Her favorite purchase from our car ride is a set of magnets in the shapes of the states that we drove through. I know that driving long distance with your children can seem daunting, but the pros really do outweigh the cons!!!!

If you are planning a trip to grandma's house, then Emmy and I would like to recommend the book Off We Go! by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Laurel Molk.

Join Little Mouse, Little Frog, Little Mole, and other baby critters as they make their way to their respective Grandma's houses.

"Tip-toe, tippity toe
Hip-hop, hippity hop

Dig-deep, diggity deep

Slither-slee, slithery slee

Scritch-scratch, scritchity scratch

Creep-crawl, creepity crawl

Wherever Grandma's house is found -

In hole, in tree, or underground,

In web, or bog, or in a nest -

Why, Grandma's house is always best."

This book is a delightful journey through beautiful watercolor scenes and rhythmic verse.

Emmy's anticipation throughout the long drive to her Grandma's house is rewarded as we pull into the driveway, watch the front door open and see Yaya's smiling face.

Click here to read our previous post about a wonderful book about grandmothers.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa's Stuck

Rhonda Gowler Greene and Henry Cole team up to bring us a humorous tale of Christmas.

Santa's Stuck tells the story of Santa and all of those delicious snacks left out for him on Christmas Eve. A nibble here and a nibble there shouldn't hurt...right? Well on Santa's last delivery he decides to put his feet up and eat a feast of sweets. When it's time to go back up the chimney, Santa discovers a problem. Santa's stuck! With one word from Santa - Help! - the reindeer, assisted by the family dog, push and pull Santa...

"No-o-o-o-o luck --- Santa's stuck!"

Next to help is the family cat and her six kittens...

"No-o-o-o-o luck --- Santa's stuck!"

And finally a mouse, who is awakened by all of the commotion, comes to their aid. Santa is again pushed and pulled, pushed and pulled until the mouse comes up with a clever idea...

Santa's out! A silent cheer!
Reindeer harness up their gear.
Back inside his Christmas sleigh,
Santa shouts, 'Now dash away!"

Emmy and I just crack up at the idea of Santa eating so many sweets that he gets stuck in the chimney. After a fulfilling meal in our house, Emmy will rub her tummy and then when trying to get down from her chair will say, "Oh no. I'm stuck." This is followed by lots of giggles.

Henry Cole's illustrations add so much to the text. Each two-page spread is visually exciting and most include a smaller illustration set inside a filigreed circle which provides views of
other events occurring at the same time. Emmy's favorite illustration inside a cricle is the one showing Santa's bottom as he attempts to go up the chimney.

Here is Emmy's interpretation of the story using her baby doll's high chair as the chimney, her Polar Express Santa, her mouse named Oatmeal and a toy bulldozer (Mouse's clever idea!).

Emmy loves her stuffed mouse Oatmeal. She goes everywhere with us even on a visit to Santa Claus!

Merry Christmas!

Click here to read about our favorite Christmas books from last year!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Robot Book

You know that old saying "It's what's inside that counts." Well the book The Robot Book shows us the importance of the inner workings of a robot with gears and cogs that actually work, but it's the last page of this book that really speaks to this saying - it isn't a gear, or bolt, or some other mechanical part, it's what's in the heart that counts the most. This interactive book is charming and well suited for all ages especially for any tinkerers out there!

After reading this book, Emmy searched and found this wind-up robot that she had given to her Daddy for a Father's Day gift a few years ago. If only it would come apart to show her it's inner parts especially its heart!

Literacy Lava

I just came across this terrific digital magazine - Literacy Lava - and wanted to share it. It is chock full of wonderful ideas to promote literacy with your little ones. It is edited by Susan Stephenson of The Book Chook. Definitely check out the new issue (#7) as well as the others in the archives. The magazine is in pdf format and is available for you to read, download and use, share with others, or print and keep.

Click HERE to view Literacy Lava 7.