Saturday, February 21, 2009

One Tree

Emmy and I LOVE to hang out at the bookstore. She gets the biggest smile on her face as she leads me to her favorite section of the bookstore, which just happens to be my favorite, the children's section. On our last trip we came across a new series of books by Innovative Kids called Green Start. They can be found in the board book section, but are by no means just for babies or toddlers! The books are printed on recycled materials and use soy-based inks so they're "good for your child and good for the world". Each book includes a parent page with information and tips related to the story.

One of Emmy's favorite activities is to go for a walk and collect treasures from nature. So when we read One Tree we both knew that this was the book to bring home! It is a story of a tree growing in a meadow and as the seasons change, the tree's life cycle is shown as well as the tree's importance to the insect and animal world. The illustrations are adorable and look as if they are quilted onto a brown paper bag. After reading this book, Emmy took great care in hugging many of the trees we saw on our next nature walk.

The most interesting thing about Emmy as a reader right now is the attention she pays to the illustrations. She always finds something that my eyes have completely skipped over. In the book One Tree she is very curious about what the animals are doing on each page. Emmy's favorite page is about the woodpecker who pecks at the tree's bark to find insects to eat. She noticed and very carefully counted each squirrel and bird who were also in the tree. She is thrilled that animals live in trees and would like to do so herself!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Box of Treats

When I taught second grade, one of my favorite authors to share with children was Kevin Henkes. He has created an imaginative world full of the most adorable mouse characters that are endearing to children and their parents. I have been looking forward to sharing his series of books with Emmy and she is delighted by them! A great way to start is with A Box of Treats: Five Little Picture Books about Lilly and Her Friends. These are very simple books that focus on a special treat related to a holiday.

I have been saving them and giving them to Emmy as each holiday has arrived. The most recent one was Lilly's Chocolate Heart which is the story of Lilly who is looking for a place to save her last chocolate heart. After many attempts, the perfect place to save the heart is...her tummy! Emmy LOVES chocolate and just giggles and giggles when Lilly eats the chocolate rather than saving it. I think she can relate as she was unable to save any of her small chocolate hearts this past Valentine's Day.

Now that Emmy has a bit of experience with the mouse characters, I am geared up to share Chester's Way with her later today. Get ready to fall in love with Chester, Wilson and Lilly!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack

Oh, Emmy and I are so in love with Hairy Maclary! He is the most wonderful dog - mischievous and loveable. If you are looking for a new series of books to bring into your child's life, this is definitely it! In the book Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack, Hairy is attempting to take an afternoon snooze, when Zachary Quack, a tenacious duckling, interrupts him for him some playtime. After much pestering and a great save, Hairy and Zachary become the best of friends.

And now a word about the author, Lynley Dodd - FABULOUS! She is New Zealand's best known and most hightly respected author and illustrator of children's picture books. Her work has sold over two million copies worldwide. Lynley Dodd creates a world of rhythm and rhyme that is enchanting. It's wonderful to find an author and illustrator who works to create not only beautiful art, but also beautiful language. Here is an example, "It was drowsily warm, with dozens of bees lazily buzzing through flowers and trees." All of Dodd's books make the most wonderful read alouds. Take a moment to listen in as the book Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack is read aloud.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Snowy Day

With our recent trip to the mountains of Colorado, we can now say that Emmy is a Snow Bunny! She LOVED the snow. She enjoyed sled riding, skiing and ice-skating, but her very favorite thing was pretending that she was a mountain climber. She could spend all day climbing up a snow pile and then sliding down the other side. Watching her reminded me of the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. As soon as we returned, I shared this book with Emmy and it quickly became a favorite. She now enjoys mimicking the main character, Peter, by finding a very big stick, hitting a tree branch and pretending that snow plops on her head. If you are not familiar with Ezra Jack Keat's work, please check out the series of books about Peter, a young African American boy who lives in the city. In 1963, The Snowy Day was awarded the Caldecott Medal for the delightful illustrations. 40 years later, this tale of a young boy experiencing the first snow of winter continues to charm young and old alike.

Here is a delicious recipe to add to the snowy fun!

Snowflake Sopapillas
Flour tortillas
Powdered Sugar
Honey or syrup

Fold a flour tortilla in half, then half again, and half again, so you have a triangle. Using scissors, cut small shapes and score into the sides of the triangle without cutting all the way through, and then unfold. Heat a frying pan and add oil, then lay the tortilla on the heated oil until it browns (about 1- 2 minutes on each side). Lay on paper towels to remove excess oil, then transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with honey or syrup. Enjoy!