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.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Call Mine Mimi. What Do You Call Your Grandmother?

We are celebrating our second anniversary here at Emmy's Book of the Day! Looking back through all of our posts, I am feeling such gratitude. I am grateful for such a wonderful daughter who loves books just like her Mommy. I am grateful to have such a wide collection of books to share with Emmy as well as places to go that have shelves stocked with wonderful books. I am grateful to all of the authors and illustrators who continue to write and illustrate beautiful books for children. I am grateful to our readers who inspire us to keep on reading books and writing about them! It is our hope to continue reviewing books that ignite a love for reading that will last a lifetime.

Emmy and I are very excited to tell you that she is featured in a wonderful book titled I Call Mine Mimi. What Do You Call Your Grandmother?

This book was written by a good friend of mine - Jennifer Bailey. Jen and I taught together at Boggy Creek Elementary in Kissimmee, Florida many moons ago and also attended the graduate program at The University of Southern Mississippi together. She is the ultimate teacher of young children and adults and is now a published author! I often think that I have a story to write, but can't seem to put it together so seeing Jen's story in published form is just so inspiring! I am so proud of her.

I Call Mine Mimi. What Do You Call Your Grandmother? is a book about the different names for grandmother. Emmy calls hers Yaya and is featured on the front cover of the book as well as inside - left side on this spread ---------------------------->

"There are so many neat names for grandmothers. Some grandmothers use their own names. Some use funny sounding names. Some are just called Grandmother. No matter what, she is your special grandmother. What do you call your grandmother?"

Mimi, Abuela, Nonna and Grammy are some of the names of grandmothers featured in this endearing book. This would make such a lovely gift for your child's grandmother especially since the last page is reserved for you to glue a photo of your child and his or her grandmother and then add the text underneath: _________ calls ______ ______________.

I love the photo of Emmy and her Yaya that is in the book. She was just nine months old and full of curiosity (that hasn't changed). Here is an updated photo of the two of them together.
Emmy calls hers Yaya.

"A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher,
and a little bit best friend." ~ Author Unknown

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pout-Pout Fish

Have you read The Pout-Pout Fish yet?

FANTASTIC is Emmy's review of this rhthymic book about a fish who is always glum. The book is so fun to read and lends itself to funny voices and funny faces! The best part of the book is the refrain which Emmy loves to read with me:

"I'm a pout-pout fish
With a pout-pout face,
So I spread the dreary-wearies
All over the place.

Many of the fish's ocean friends have advice on how to turn his frown upside down, but it's the appearance of a mysterious female fish, who approaches silently and plants a kiss firmly on the fish's pout, that turns the dreary-wearies into the cheery-cheeries!

"Smooch, smooooch, smooooooch!"

This amusing book was written by Deborah Diesen with illustrations by Dan Hanna and is sure to be a hit with children of all ages.

Check out this short film for The Pout-Pout Fish:

And if you love it like we do, then check out the sequel -

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Books

In addition to One is a Feast For Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale, Emmy's pick for her favorite Thanksgiving book would have to be A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting illustrated by Diane de Groat. In this story, Mrs. Moose asks Mr. Moose to get her a turkey for Thanksgiving.

"Everyone has turkey for Thanksgiving.
Everyone but us."

With a nuzzle to Mrs. Moose's head, Mr. Moose heads out to find a turkey. He is joined in the hunt by his soon-to-be dinner guests Rabbit, The Goats, Sheep and Porcupine. Turkey is found hiding in his nest with signs discouraging visitors.

Do not disturb! (come back after Thanksgiving.)
No turkey here!

Upon seeing Mr. Moose and his friends, the bird is terrified and tries to run, but is caught by Mr. Moose who smiles a toothy smile and says,

"I hope you don't have other plans
for Thanksgiving, Turkey."

Mrs. Moose is delighted when she sees her guests for Thanksgiving dinner especially Turkey. Mrs. Moose shows everyone where to sit and when a chair is brought from the other room for Turkey he is very much surprised,

"A...a chair?" Turkey stammered.

With a table filled with acorns, alfalfa sprouts, willow bark, cured grasses, wild parsley and pressed leaves, Mrs. Moose is sure that Turkey will find something to his liking. Turkey is just over the moon at the idea that he is sitting AT the table and not ON it. Kudos to Eve Bunting for introducing us to a vegetarian-themed Thanksgiving dinner!!!!

Two more wonderful books for this time of year are Feeling Thankful and In November.

The book Feeling Thankful, written by Shelley Rotner and
Sheila Kelly with photographs by Shelley Rotner, is an invitation to smile and be thankful as it celebrates life and the many things in the world for which people have to be thankful through beautiful photographs of children. This book will inspire your young one to express what he or she is thankful for. It is also a great model of a book that an older child could make on his own or that families could make together.

Feeling Thankful
I'm thankful for me.
For the things that I have and the things that I do.
I'm thankful for all the
people that are special to me:
My friends...and my teachers too.
I'm thankful I have a home and good food to eat.
I'm thankful for the places where I play.
I'm thankful there are birds, butterflies, flowers, and trees.
I'm thankful when I walk in the rain.
I'm thankful for the moon and the morning, when it comes.
I'm thankful for the whole wide world.

In November by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Jill Kastner is a beautiful book for this time of year. It is a quiet story about nature preparing for winter. The poetic words and rich paintings work well together to create a calm and peaceful transition between seasons.

In November, at winter's gate, the stars are brittle.
The sun is a sometime friend. And the
world has tucked her children in,
with a kiss on their heads, till spring.

And now for the good part!!!!!!!!! A turkey treat!

To make your own, you will need:
one package of cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo cookies)
one package of red cinnamon candies
one box of malted milk balls
one package of candy corn
one container of ready-to-spread chocolate frosting

1) Carefully separate the cookie leaving the cream filling on one side. Set cookie half without filling aside.
2) Attach a red cinnamon candy (head) to the malted milk ball (body) with a dab of frosting.
3) Attach the turkey body to the center of the cookie half with cream filling using a dab of chocolate frosting.
4) Spread frosting on the inside of the cookie half that doesn't have filling.
5) Arrange the candy corn on the chocolate frosting with the wide end along the edge (turkey's feathers).
6) Attach the cookie with the turkey's feathers to the cookie with the turkey body using the chocolate frosting.
7) Gobble it up!

Hello Mr. Turkey
(Tune: If You're Happy and You Know It)

Hello, Mr. Turkey - How are you?
Hello, Mr. Turkey - How are you?
With a gobble, gobble, gobble.
And a wobble, wobble, wobble.
Hello, Mr. Turkey - How are you?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

And the winner is....

And the winner is...SARA!

Congratulations, Sara! Emmy is so excited to put the Book Giveaway package into the mail. She LOVES all of the surprises that are included for you and your little ones.
Choosing a name out of a hat was very funny to Emmy. She really wanted to send a book to everyone so plans are already underway for another Book Giveaway! Thanks to all who entered our contest.

Emmy's choice for her favorite Thanksgiving book is One is a Feast for Mouse - A Thanksgiving Tale by Judy Cox with illustrations by Jeffrey Ebbeler. As we all know, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner and Mouse is no different. When everyone in the house falls asleep after sharing their Thanksgiving feast, Mouse comes out of his hidey-hole in search of leftovers. He spies a "teensy-tiny toothsome green pea all by itself under a plate. Give thanks, he thought. One will be a feast for me." As Mouse makes his way across the table with the delicious pea he sees six leftover cranberries, "I'll just take one, he said to himself. One is a feast for me." and continues across the table balancing the cranberry on top of the pea. This journey across the table allows Mouse to add more things to his stash: an olive, a carrot, a plate of mashed potatoes, gravy in a boat, pumpkin pie and a platter of turkey - all balanced strategically on top of each other. As Mouse nears the edge of the table, he meets CAT! What follows is catastrophe as Mouse tries to keep his loot, run from the cat and get back to his hidey-hole. He manages to escape, but without his Thanksgiving feast. As he sat trembling in his hole, he spotted that teensy-tiny toothsome green pea in the corner. And so the story ends with Mouse gratefully cutting into that luscious green pea. "Give thanks! One is a feast for me!"

As the story unfolds, Emmy is delighted in Mouse's attempts to balance all of the food. She likes Mouse's solution of placing the carrot stick into the hole of the olive to make it easier to carry. Just like Emmy, your little one will chime in when the food items are repeated in a similar style as the story The House That Jack Built.

Click here for the video trailer for the book One is a Feast for Mouse - A Thanksgiving Tale with the soundtrack provided by the illustrator's rockabilly band!

If you LOVE this book as much as Emmy and I, then get ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Judy Cox and Jeffrey Ebbeler as they also created the book Cinco De Mouse-o!

Stay tuned for our next Book Giveaway!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Giveaway!

Spread the word - Emmy's giving a book away!

Just add a comment to this post about a book that you remember from your childhood. Your name will be put into a hat with all the other entries and a name will be pulled out by Emmy herself.

I've been asked to keep the book a secret, but Emmy wants you to know that it will be one of her favorite Thanksgiving books and included with the book will be a poem, recipe and craft project.

The drawing will be the afternoon of November 12th.
The winner will be notified by email and announced on Emmy's Book of the Day.

Best of luck!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not So Creepy Halloween Stories

"Mitzi liked creepy things.
Creepy bedroom slippers
Creepy breakfast cereal.
Creepy relatives.
So, naturally, when she
decided to get a pet,
she wanted the creepiest
pet possible."

Despite Mitzi being a witch and loving all things creepy, the book Hoodwinked, by Arthur Howard, is a wonderfully non-creepy book for those of us just getting into spooky things. After several attempts at finding the perfect creepy pet at the Cackle & Company pet shop, Mitzi discovers her perfect pet is an adorable orange cat she names Hoodwink.

"And strange as it seems, she didn't mind one bit
that he was adorable. After all, she said,
looks aren't everything."

I have read this book to Emmy every day for weeks, but the best reader of this creepy book is Emmy herself. So listen in as she reads aloud Hoodwinked.

(By the way, anytime Emmy starts to read a book to me, she will say..."I'm going to read it differently." I find this so cute. She usually has the character's names and the plot down pat, but will add her own lines and voices which makes listening to her read a complete joy.)

If you have a beginner reader at your house, you may be familiar with Arthur Howard's illustrations as he draws the pictures for the Mr. Putty and Tabby books written by Cynthia Rylant.

If you are looking for another Halloween book that is a bit scary, but not too much, try There Was An Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams. Emmy LOVES this one especially when the the pumpkin head says "BOO, BOO!" The assorted items of clothing found in the story have a calling to scare something, but when the old lady bravely says, "I'm not afraid of you." the unhappy look on the pumpkin head gives the the old lady an idea. I won't give away the ending, but here is a hint in the form of a song:

(tune: I'm a Little Teapot)

I'm a little scarecrow
Stuffed with hay,
Standing watch in my field all day.
When I see a crow
I like to shout:
"Hey, Mr. Crow, you'd better get out!"

Oh, and one more sweet book that is a bit of a creepy Halloween story and a
great book for bedtime - Who Wants a Dragon? by James Mayhew. An adorable pink dragon is lost in the night looking for his home and his adventures take him around the kingdom where he ends up frightening most everyone until his Mommy flies by... "She'll cuddle him, and kiss him, and help him sleep tight."

Emmy and I really enjoy books by James Mayhew. You may remember our post on Katie in London. Mr. Mayhew writes a wonderful blog where I just found out his struggle in creating another series of books based on his son during the boy's younger years. The first book is titled
Boy and is set to be republished next summer. It looks so
endearing! If you are interested in finding out about the struggle to get this series going and published check out this post on Mayhew's blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Happy Halloween!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zoe Hall

As we approached the month of September here on the North Shore of Massachusetts, Emmy and I wondered if Autumn would ever arrive. The heat crept its way into the middle of September and then WHAM, Autumn was here. There really wasn't much of a transition...80 degree weather to 50 degree weather practically overnight! And the wind...BRRR (temperatures feel more like 40 degrees)! Now I know what New Englanders mean by a Nor'Easterner!

With Autumn upon us, it was time to bring out our collection of books on the subject. We've posted about our favorite Autumn
books from last year here, but we have plenty more to share! It seems like the books that Emmy is enjoying the most this time around are all written by Zoe Hall! First up is It's Pumpkin Time with illustrations by Shari Halpern. This book is a pleasant celebration of Halloween and an excellent lesson on the science of how pumpkins grow.

"All summer long, my brother and I get ready for our favorite holiday.
Can you guess what it is? Halloween! And can you guess what
we do to get ready? We plant a jack-o'-lantern patch?"

Ms. Hall's text is simple and informative and Ms. Halpern's illustrations are vibrant and engaging. They make a great team! A great bonus is the last page where you can find a diagram of how a pumpkin seed grows underground.

Emmy and I recently went to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkin. We brought along the book It's Pumpkin Time and read it before we set off into the pumpkin patch. Emmy was delighted to discover the vines that once held the pumpkins. She even tried to figure out which pumpkin stem went with which vine!

To prepare for carving our pumpkin into a jack-o'-lantern, Emmy
is using a washable black marker to draw different faces on
the pumpkin. With a damp cloth (or sponge), the marker wipes clean and the pumpkin is ready for a new look! We also keep a dry cloth near by. Another great way to practice a variety of faces for a jack-o'-lantern is to cut a pumpkin shape out of orange felt and then cut different eyes, noses, and mouths out of black felt. Voila - a Mr. Pumpkin Head!

Emmy has suggested that I add her favorite pumpkin finger play to this post so here it goes:

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one says, "Oh my it's getting late!"
The second one says, "There are witches in the air."
(OR "There is something in the air.")
The third one says, "But we don't care."
The fourth one says, "Let's run and run and run."
The fifth one says, "I'm ready for some fun."
Then whoosh went the wind and out went the lights
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

Second up is The Apple Pie Tree. Hall and Halpern team up again to create a wonderful tale that follows two sisters and an apple tree through the seasons.

"My sister and I have a tree that grows the best part of apple pie.
Can you guess what that is? Apples!
And every year, we watch our apple tree grow."

Also hidden among the tree's branches is a family of robins which shows the importance of the tree providing shelter for the birds. Emmy and I enjoy the last page where you will find a
diagram showing how bees help apples to grow and Zoe Hall's own recipe for making apple pie!

Apple picking season was early this year so we missed our opportunity to pick our own apples. However, Emmy enjoys going to the Farmer's Market and choosing an apple for a treat. Here she is biting through the skin of the apple and eating it whole - FINALLY!

Next up is Fall Leaves Fall! Once again Hall and Halpern create an autumn tale where two brothers anticipate their favorite season.

"All year long, my brother and I wait for our favorite
season to come. Can you guess what it is? FALL!
How do we know when fall is coming?
We watch the leaves."

The children watch the leaves, catch them, stomp them, kick them, collect them, compare them, rake them and jump into them!!! These activities as well as labeling the leaves and creating leaf pictures are all introduced and invites readers to do the same things! And of course the last page includes a diagram describing how leaves grow throughout the year.

Emmy and I recently went on a leaf collecting walk and talked about the
different types of leaves we found - mostly maple and oak. Emmy really wanted to find a Ginkgo leaf like in the book, but there are no Ginkgo trees in our neighborhood!

And finally, Surprise Garden. This Hall and Halpern story follows three children as they plant a garden...loosening the soil, poking seeds in one by one, watering the garden, and watching the small green shoots grow. Surprise!

"We're planting the seeds for a surprise garden.
Can you guess what we will grow?"

When it's harvest time, the children have a garden party to eat all their delicious produce. Following the pattern in all of Hall's and Halpern's books, the last page includes a helpful guide linking seeds to plants.

Speaking of harvest time...check out another one of our favorite Autumn books here and laugh along with Emmy to Big Anthony's antics in the book Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie dePaola. Also check out this post if you are interested in gardening with your child. Included is the delightful book How Groundhog's Garden Grew which is a wonderful book for Thanksgiving.

Emmy and her classmates planted bulbs outside of their school last week.
We are looking forward to a spring surprise of daffodils and tulips!

Lastly, here is one of Emmy's beautiful pieces of Autumn art. So easy to make!!!! Emmy's favorite part...tearing the paper into small pieces.

Happy Autumn everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale

Sophie's Masterpiece: A Spider's Tale, written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Jane Dyer, is the story of the most sweet and generous spider anywhere - well, next to Charlotte. Sophie is certainly not an ordinary house spider she is an artist creating wonderful masterpieces with her silky thread.

When it was time for Sophie to strike out on her own, she moved into a boardinghouse where she got right to work beautifying the place by weaving a web of curtains for the front parlor. The landlady did not appreciate this work and swatted at Sophie. And so the story goes as Sophie travels from the bottom floor of the boardinghouse to the top floor where she wearily slips into a young woman's knitting basket.

"By this time, many spider years had passed. Sophie was older.
She only had energyto spin a few small things for herself...
a tiny rose-patterned case for her pillow,
eight colorful socks to keep her legs warm.
But mostly she slept."

When Sophie is discovered in the basket, she is frightened by the thought of another journey, but instead she is relieved as the young woman carefully picked up her needle and thread without bothering her. To Sophie's delight she notices the woman busily knitting a pair of baby booties and a sweater for her baby which soon will be born. When the yarn is all gone and the woman cannot afford to buy any more, Sophie takes over and begins to spin the masterpiece of a lifetime. Woven into the thread, Sophie carefully places...moonlight, fragrant pine, wisps of night, old lullabies, playful snowflakes and finally her very own heart. As the woman was about to cover her infant with an old brown quilt, she notices something on her windowsill and with love and wonderment places it on her sleeping baby - Sophie's masterpiece!

This book would be such a wonderful gift for a new baby with a beautiful knitted blanket to go with it. For more ideas on books for new parents and babies, check here and here and here. And while you're at it, check out this post about some of our favorite Autumn books including Three Pebbles and a Song also by Eileen Spinelli.

Do you know about Just One More Book? It is a thrice-weekly podcast
which promotes and celebrates literacy and great children's books. Click here to read a post and listen to a podcast about the illustrator of Sophie's Masterpiece - Jane Dyer.

And before "the readers leave," as Emmy refers to you, take a look at her spiders! Three little spiders ready to create magic of their very own.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bridget's Beret

Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld is simply...remarkable. Let me introduce you to Bridget. Bridget is an artist following in the footsteps of the Great Artists. Her masterpieces are on permanent exhibit - on the front of the refrigerator - while other pieces are available for limited viewing - on the sidewalk.
Bridget's favorite place to draw is outdoors where she feels like she is right where she belongs. Bridget has many art supplies that she uses to create these masterpieces, but her most important art supply is her hat - a big, black beret which she carefully places on her head before she creates any kind of art adjusting it until it sits on her head just right. Emmy and I love saying these lines (referring to the hat)

"It had to have that certain je ne sais quoi. She had no idea what that meant,
but she knew all Great Artists needed it to make art."

Emmy and I now know that je ne sais quoi is a French phrase meaning I-don't-know-what...
that indescribable something which distinguishes one object from another which is similar on
the surface. What a fun phrase to ne sais quoi!

Emmy has now taken over my black beret and uses it whenever she needs some inspiration for her art. ADORABLE!

Tom Lichtenheld's illustrations aren't new to me (Have you read Duck! Rabbit! - it is the funniest children's book ever based on a 19th century style optical illusion) nor are his books (Everything I Know About Pirates and What Are You So Grumpy About?), but I love that this book follows a typical plot. Well, let's let
Mr. Lichtenheld describe it..."Girl loves hat. Girl loses hat. Girl can't draw sans hat, TRAGEDY, DRAMA, HUMOR!"

To find out what really happened to Bridget's stray beret and see the original back-matter for the book drawn in a graphic novel approach click here and find the birds in the lower right hand corner! Lichtenheld opted for the "How to Start Your Art" spread as the back-matter which uses famous paintings to help kids find inspiration for their own art.

An interesting tidbit that I learned after researching Bridget's Beret is that all of Bridget's artwork in the book is based on children's artwork received by Lichtenheld and his inspiration for Bridget - Lichtenheld's niece Madeline.

If you're looking for a book to help inspire your own artwork or that of a child's in your life, definitely check out Bridget's Beret.

To read some older posts related to art click here and here and here.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Sandwich Swap

I absolutely adore her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan! Yes, she's a Queen and yes, she's beautiful, but it's more than that. If I am going to admire someone, it's going to be for her acts of kindness, her compassion for others and her humanitarian efforts and not what she is wearing, who she is dating or what movie she recently starred in. Queen Rania is just this sort of person. With her emphasis on education for all and promotion of human welfare and social reform, she is the type of person that I strive to be and hope that Emmy will be too. Emmy has asked me on numerous occasions why she is here on Earth (not sure where this stems from...maybe her study of planets with her friends at school). I always tell her that she is here to love others and help whenever needed. I've said it so often that she will now tell me that her "purpose is to help all people." I applaud her for knowing her purpose and focusing on people and not things.

Finding books that help communicate the idea that we are all citizens of this wonderful world is not always easy. However, Queen Rania has written a book that celebrates our differences in a way that is easily understood by young children. Written along with Kelly DiPucchio , (check out this post on Kelly's Blog). The Sandwich Swap is a picture book based on Queen Rania's childhood experiences.

Emmy really enjoys this book! It has been taken off the shelf so often at our local book shop that we may be wearing out the pages! Here's a sneak peek at the beginning of this amazing book:

It all began with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…and it ended with a hummus sandwich.

Salma and Lily were best friends at school.

They drew pictures together.

They played on the swings together.

They jumped rope together.

And they ate their lunches together.

But just what they ate was a little different.

Lily ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day for lunch.

Salma ate a hummus and pita sandwich every day for lunch.

And although Lily never said it out loud, she thought Salma's sandwich looked weird and yucky. She felt terrible that her friend had to eat that icky chickpea paste every day. EW. Yuck.

And although Salma never said it out loud, she thought Lily's sandwich looked strange and gross. She felt just awful that her friend had to eat that gooey peanut paste every day. EW. Gross.

I for one love the use of this metaphor (lunch sandwiches) for the differences between two friends from different cultures and am delighted by how the two girls come up with a solution at the end of the story that not only unifies their friendship, but gives all the children the chance to celebrate their uniqueness! Even Emmy, who is not one to try new foods, asked to have hummus for lunch after our first reading.

Listen to her Majesty as she describes how "our differences can enrich our lives."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Giant Hug

Hugs, hugs, hugs. Nothing is better than a special hug from someone who cares about you and this book celebrates this from the very first page all the way to the end.

The Giant Hug, written by Sandra Horning and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev, is a cheerful and heartwarming tale of a pig named Owen who wants to send a hug to his Granny and a picture just will not do.
"I want to send a real hug. I'll give the mailman a hug
and ask him to send it to Granny."
Owen finds a lot of supportive mail carriers who help him to pass his giant hug from his hometown to his Granny's. Each postal worker provides a link in the hug passing chain from the local mail sorter to an airplane pilot to Granny's mail carrier. I absolutely love the way that Owen's hug creates such harmony and acts of kindness. Captain Johnson bellows, "Now isn't that a grand way to start the day!" as he receives a hug from a driver.

This book reminds me of a previous post where I wrote about What Can I Do Today which is a book that also focuses on how an act of kindness makes us all feel better. In addition to spreading warmth, this book gives a wonderful look at how the postal service works and Ms. Horning should know as her father worked at the post office for many, many years.

If you're not sure your's or your child's hug will make it through the mail system as Owen's did, check out Sandra's website for a printable certificate good for one giant hug! I'm sure anyone, especially grannies, would love to receive this certificate along with a photograph of you or your child with arms open wide.
"Please make the hug just as giant when you pass it on to the mailman," Owen said.

Hugs, especially a child's, are precious and instantly change your whole outlook for the better.

Here is Emmy hugging her Granny who we call Yaya.

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!