Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Where's Walrus?

Looking for a new book for your little one?
Look no further says Emmy!

Where's Walrus? is a wordless picture book illustrated by Stephen Savage. Using a retro graphic style, Savage creates a delightful world for a bored walrus who escapes from the zoo to explore the city. Walrus uses various hats to disguise himself from the zookeeper who is hot on his trail.

Emmy is completely infatuated with this book. She is delighted by the Walurus' disguises especially the red swimming cap.

Don't underestimate the value of a wordless picture book. Such wonderful language and thinking skills come from this type of book experience. If you haven't tried a wordless picture book with your little one before, you must give Where's Walrus? a try!!!!

Take a look at the trailer which truly captures the spirit of the book:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Tooth Fairy Books

With the recent loss of her two bottom teeth, Emmy's tongue has found a permanent place to rest in what we call her little window! It is funny to see her rubbing her tongue in the place where her teeth used to be. Emmy can often be found looking in the mirror to see if her permanent teeth have arrived yet. Today, there is evidence of a new tooth. VERY EXCITING!

As I said previously, in this post where Emmy and I were pondering the tooth fairy, many of the books on this subject do not convey the message that I wish to give to my baby girl. Of all the tooth fairy books out there *sigh* none of them have truly been what I am looking for. Childhood is so full of wonder and magic and I feel that it is my job as Mommy to keep it that way as long as possible. Until a publisher decides that my book about the tooth fairy should be published (well, the book in my head anyway), here is the best loose tooth book that we have found and a few others that we have enjoyed.

The Best: Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth by Lucy Bate pictures by
Diane deGroat. This book was written in 1975 and has since been republished with updated illustrations (stick with the original illustrations if you can - they are so warm and
so sweet!).

Emmy and I love this book the most for several reasons:
(1) Little Rabbit's loose tooth falls out in a bowl of chocolate ice cream which is Emmy's very favorite treat!
(2) Little Rabbit discovers she has a "window in her mouth" when the tooth falls out which is how Emmy describes the space where her teeth once were.
(3) Little Rabbit gives her tooth a bath in the sink just like Emmy did when her first tooth fell out.
(4) Little Rabbit put her tooth under her pillow just like Emmy did with both of her teeth.
(5) Little Rabbit has many good ideas about what the Tooth Fairy might do with her
tooth, but her first thought is that the Tooth Fairy will give the tooth to a baby rabbit that was just born, and that's how little baby rabbits get teeth which is what Emmy and I believe!
(6) Little Rabbit found a shiny coin in place of her tooth just like Emmy.

(A word of caution: Little Rabbit does wonder about the existence of the Tooth Fairy and even says she doesn't believe, but I just skipped over those lines. Always, always read - or at least scan - a book prior to reading it with your child)

A few other tooth fairy books that we have enjoyed:

Charming Opal - a Toot & Puddle book - written and illustrated by Holly Hobbie. This book is dear to Emmy and me as it portrays the story of two friends who take such great care of little Opal as she loses her very first tooth.

Silverlicious, which is the most recent addition to the Pinkalicious series by Victoria Kann, tells the story of Pinkalicious who doesn't just lose any tooth, she loses her SWEET tooth and now nothing tastes sweet. With visits from Cupid, the Easter Bunny, an elf and finally the Tooth
Fairy, aka Tootheetina, Pinkalicious finally discovers where sweetness really comes - from within "Always be as sweet as your sweet tooth."

(Click here to see our previous post about Pinkalicious.)

Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World, by Selby Beeler and G. Brian Karas, is a wonderful resource book. When the author posed the question, "What did you do when you lost your baby teeth?" he was fascinated by the amusing answers he received so he put these traditions together in a simple yet entertaining manner. Also included in the book are the names, parts and functions of our teeth!

For our final recommendation, we would like to share Gone With the Wand, by Margie Palatini and Brian Ajhar, with you!! It is a very funny tale of how the Tooth Fairy helps the Fairy Godmother when she has "a very bad wand day."

"I'm Kapoofski is what I am!" cried Bernice. "Edith, I think my wand is -- gone." I almost choked on my crumpet. What Bernice Sparklestein, gone with the wand? Rubbish! Why her work was legendary! the stuff stories were made of. And she had the pictures to prove it!

Be sure to read this one for some good enchanting fun!!!

And that about wraps it up. We hope these book recommendations will help you when a little one in your life loses his or her first tooth. By the way, a book under the pillow to replace the lost tooth is a 'tootherific' idea!

Read-to-Me Picture Book Challenge

I am a regular reader of the blog Together Time 4 Families written by Susan, a retired teacher of young children. Like Susan, teaching is a passion of mine - once a teacher, always a teacher! Susan creates wonderful posts about early literacy activities that foster a love of learning. Susan is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers alike. Please stop by her blog, Together Time 4 Families, and see how you can easily bring literacy into the lives of your children.

As often happens in the blogging world, I discovered another blog, Happy Birthday Author, through one of Susan's posts. Celebrating author's birthdays were always a big hit with the students when I taught elementary school. Eric, of Happy Birthday Author, highlights a different author on his or her birthday. He shares information about the author, which I love to learn about and share with Emmy, and his own personal insights and stories from using these books with his students as well as with his children. If your child loves a particular author or you are doing an author study on a particular author, be sure to check out Happy Birthday Author for some wonderful information and ideas.

From reading Eric's blog, I learned about a reading challenge that I am going to participate in. The Read-To-Me Picture Book Challenge, hosted by There's a Book, is designed for families who love picture books (I think that pretty much describes Emmy and me!!!). Three contributors make up this blog with the purpose of sharing a child's love of books as he or she grows.

Participants in this challenge can either read with a child or to themselves. I will be reading with my little bookworm, of course. There are five levels of challenges when reading with a child:

Reading with a Child:
"Planting" - Read 12 picture books with a child during the year.
"Watering" - Read 36 picture books with a child during the year.
"Feeding" - Read 72 picture books with a child during the year.
"Growing" - Read 120 picture books with a child during the year.
"Harvesting" - Read 200 picture books with a child during the year.

As you know, Emmy and I read LOTS of picture books so I am confident that reading at the Harvesting Level will be perfect for us. Writing about that many books will be more difficult, so please don't expect me to share all 200 of them, but Emmy and I will be sure to continue to share the books that mean the most to us!

If you would like to learn about this challenge, you can read more and join in the fun at There's A Book!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day! The day everyone waits to hear what kind of weather we can expect for the next six weeks. According to legend, if the groundhog peeks out of its hole and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If not, then spring is right around the corner. We've had plenty of winter here in New England so a sign of spring would be a very welcome sight.

When I was teaching young children, Groundhog Day was always a day
that we looked forward to. The
anticipation would build as we predicted whether Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow or not. We would learn about the legend behind Groundhog Day, research groundhogs and find Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on the map. On the morning of February 2nd, the children would arrive in top hats to tell
me what Phil's forecast had been.

I am anxious to share my Groundhog Day books with Emmy, but this year I am really looking
forward to reading the book Brownie Groundhog and February Fox with her. Susan Blackaby wrote the text to accompany Carmen Segovia's gorgeous illustrations. In this book a groundhog "shimmied up the passageway of her cozy den" to find not only her shadow "stretched across the frosted field," but also a hungry fox..."Hold still," he said. "I'm trying to eat you for
breakfast." I know that Emmy will relate to both the groundhog and the fox as they both don't like to wait whether it's for spring or the next meal just as Emmy doesn't like to wait for lots of things especially Mommy's attention. As the story unfolds, the groundhog successfully talks her way out of being eaten by distracting the fox until she shares her snack of cinnamon toast and cocoa. In the end the two are unlikely friends who look forward to seeing each other the next day.

It looks like tomorrow will be another snow day for Emmy and me. That makes four snow days this winter! These days are great for snuggling and baking so perhaps we'll bake up some yummy cupcakes and add toppings to create Groundhog Day Cupcakes - vanilla wafers for ears, M&M's for the eyes and nose, mini marshmallows for the teeth.

To add a little music to the occasion, Emmy and I will try out this catchy little tune.

Be sure to check out this website shortly after sunrise on Groundhog Day for Punxsutawney Phil's official forecast!