Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The July 2011 Carnival of Children's Literature

Welcome to the July 2011 Carnival of Children's Literature!

My childhood memories of carnivals are filled with warmth and joy. From our church carnival to the county fair, games of chance, exciting rides, delicious food, foot tapping music and smiling people were always guaranteed. Emmy has already acquired quite a few carnival memories and looks forward to the Topsfield Fair (America's oldest agricultural fair) every year. She likes to see the animals especially the mama pigs with their piglets, but her favorite thing to do is experience the rides and she is willing to try just about anything.

Emmy at the Topsfield Fair October 2010

I hope your memories of carnivals sets the mood as Emmy's Book of the Day hosts this month's Carnival of Children's Literature. There are exciting books, great tips and wonderful projects. You cannot help but leave this carnival with a smiling face! Emmy likes to be in charge of the tickets for the rides, but she is willing to share them with you. So grab your tickets and get ready to explore some wonderful posts by some very talented bloggers!

Ali B
at Fantastic Reads starts us off with a wonderfully titled post: Nannies and Grannies and Governesses, Oh My! (fiction). Did you see the movie Nanny McPhee? Be sure to check out this review of the Nurse Matilda books which the movie was based on. There's of course Mary Poppins, but new for me was Granny Nothing and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Amy Broadmoore
at Delightful Children's Books presents 12 Children's Books About Birds (non-fiction). This post showcases 12 favorite picture books (a mix of fiction and non-fiction) about birds. In addition, there are recommendations for three fantastic websites for young bird watchers and their parents and teachers.

Amy Pertl-Clark
(that's me!) at Emmy's Book of the Day (you're here) presents Fairy Tales With a Modern Twist (fiction). Rapunzel living in the 1970's, Cinderella living in the Jazz Age and Little Red Riding Hood living in Colonial America??? A terrific twist on three classic fairy tales.

Anastasia Suen at Chapter Book of the Day presents Who What Wear (Book Projects). The author, Olivia Bennett, of this novel about a teen fashion designer (in disguise) has created a DIY project for you to try.

Craft at Bookish Blather presents Book Thoughts: Why I'm Not Worried About Boys (or Men) (book projects). This post addresses the problematic nature of the "boy book" question.

Carmela Martino at Teaching Authors presents Book Giveaway and Guest Teaching Author Interview With Deborah Halverson (interviews). Although the giveaway contest is over, stop by to read an interview with editor and YA author Deborah Halverson, author of the new craft book Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies.

Carol Hampton Rasco
at Rasco From RIF presents A Bell for Ursli (fiction). Read about one of the most revered folktales in Switzerland about a young boy and a festival that continues to this day.

Catherine Nichols at The Cath in the Hat presents An Interview With Stephanie Barden (interviews). A fun interview with Stephanie Barden who is the first-time author of the novel Cinderella Smith, the story of a girl who is always losing her shoes!

Danielle Smith at There's A Book presents I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klasser (fiction). A bear's most prized possession, his hat, is gone! Danielle's children "Turkeybird" and "Littlebug" do a great job recreating this story!

Gail Gauthier at Original Content presents Loved It! (fiction). Gail writes a review of the book Dust City by Robert Paul Weston. The back cover of this book states, "When your dad is the wolf who killed Little Red Riding Hood, life is no fairytale." I'm intrigued!

Jeff Barger at NC Teacher Stuff presents Aggie Gets Lost (early literacy). Aggie Gets Lost is a terrific early reader chapter book. Ben's beloved dog Aggie doesn't come back after chasing a ball. Will he ever find her? Young readers will easily connect with this book.

Jen Robinson at Jen Robinson's Book Page presents Forever: Maggie Stiefvater (fiction). A review of the final book in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. Sounds like this one will not disappoint her fans!

Jennifer Wharton at Jean Little Library presents Finding Books for Boys at the Library (book projects). The logistics behind why there are more books for girls than boys in the library.

Josh Hanagarne at World's Strongest Librarian presents Book Review: Goodnight Moon (early literacy). There is a reason why parents have been reading Goodnight Moon to their kids since 1947. The combination of words and illustrations create a lovely, irresistible mood.

Kathy Stinson at Turing the Pages: Kathy Stinson's Blog presents Reading Liberia - June 2011 (book projects). Reading Liberia is a program through which books for Liberian children are being written by Liberian authors and Liberia’s teachers are being trained how to use them effectively in their classrooms.

Katie at Secrets & Sharing Soda presents Review: One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin (fiction). A contender for the 2012 Newbery Medal, this book captures and distills exactly what it means to be a kid.

Katie Gilbert at Best Online Colleges presents 15 Insightful Blogs for Book Club Leaders (book projects). Leading a book club can be hard work but very rewarding at the same time. Check this post out for some great blogs that will help get your book club started or breathe new life into it.

Laura Grace Weldon at Laura Grace Weldon presents The State of Library Addiction (interviews). Children's lifelong literary connections to knowledge, awe, even awakening to other languages often have to do with libraries. Here are 9 reasons for developing a library addiction.

LH Johnson at Did you ever stop to think and forget to start again? presents "Gosh, odds bodkins!" expostulated Jemima: The very curious tale of the British Boarding School story (fiction). There is a very distinct identity given to the genre of boarding school stories and Johnson gives her thoughts on some of her favorite ones.

Lisa at Shelf Employed presents Dear Hot Dog (poetry). In Dear Hot Dog, Mordicai Gerstein brings us three friends and the mundane, but infinitely wonderful things that bring them joy and for which they are thankful.

Liz at Children's Books to Love presents Ladybug Girl (fiction). Ladybug Girl is a book about creativity and imagination. Everything in it is real, and more than that, rings true.

Margo Tanenbaum at The Fourth Musketeer presents Book Review: Sylvia & Aki, by Winifred Conkling (Tricycle Press, 2011) (historical fiction). This is an excellent novel about a little-known landmark civil rights case in California, Mendez vs. Westminster, that helped pave the way for school desegregation. A must for California libraries in particular.

Mary Ann Scheuer at Great Kid Books presents Sidekicks by Dan Santat - Superhero Pets Take Over a Graphic Novel (ages 7-12) (fiction). This graphic novel has it all - superheroes, pets, friends loyal to the end, and illustrations with enough POW to knock your socks off! Lots of fun!

at Gathering Books presents Here Comes the End of July: A Round Up (fiction). Gathering Books celebrated their one year anniversary! This post gives a summary of things that have happened, over at Gathering Books, in the month of July in connection to children's literature and the kidlitosphere. Check out their bi-monthly Fractured Fairy Tale theme.

Pat Zielow Miller
at Read, Write, Repeat presents Kid Review: Faith Finds "Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown" Funny (fiction). Young guest reviewer, Faith, gives her two-cents about this book in Jarrett Krosoczka's lunch lady graphic novel series.

Rachel Yap at Nurturing Kids: How One Mom Did It presents When Did I Start Reading to my Kids? (early literacy). Rachel shares how and when she started reading to her children and mentions the first books she read to them.

Read Aloud...Dad
at Read Aloud Dad presents The #1 Way to Excite Children About Reading (early literacy). Do you want your kid(s) to love reading and learning? Ahhh, yes...the ultimate parental fantasy.

Roberta Gibson at Wrapped in Foil presents Sarah Emma Edmonds in the Spotlight (non-fiction). A wonderful comparison between two picture book biographies about Sarah Emma Edmunds that came out this spring.

Sam at Parenthetical presents Harry Potter, Schmarry Potter (fiction). Would the Harry Potter series have been more interesting if it had been about Hermione? Interesting question.

Sandie Mourao at Picturebooks in ELT presents A Fishy Exuberance (early literacy). Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins is a great choice for young children and always a favorite!

Shirley Duke at Simply Science Blog presents Rah, Rah, Radishes!
(non-fiction). Visit the vegetables in this rollicking chant book by April Pulley Sayre to learn their names and see the gorgeous photographs used to illustrate the text. (No Bows is one of Emmy's favorite books. Thanks, Shirley, for autographing it for me many years ago in Austin, Texas.)

Susan Stephenson at The Book Chook presents Our Garden, Our Library - Guest Post (book projects). An Australian mum, Holly Cardamone of Adventures in the Land of Cherubs, shares her delight in children's literature and the garden - a wonderfully creative combination!

Toni at Wifely Steps presents A is for Adobo, B is for Bagoong (illustration). "Don't read this book on an empty stomach!" The alphabet and Filipino food - YUMMY!

Wendy Braun at Good Books for Young Souls presents Happy Birthday to THE SECRET GARDEN - 2011 is its Centennial Year! (fiction). Loved seeing all the book covers of The Secret Garden over the years.

Zoe Toft at Playing by the Book presents The Perils of Pet Sitting (fiction). Leaving a pet in the care of someone else? Present the book, Thank You for Looking After Our Pets by Tim Hopgood, to show your appreciation.

Thanks for stopping by Emmy's Book of the Day and may I recommend...


Our carnival is ending soon,
As all things must in time.
The music's almost over -
We approach the final rhyme.
In moments all the animals
Will take their parting bow.
We hope you'll visit us again,
But say farewell for now.

Camille Saint-Saens composed The Carnival of the Animals in 1886 to express in music some of the silly habits his friends shared with animals. To compliment this composer's work, many acclaimed modern poets have created poems to go along with each animal.

Emmy's choice is Jack Prelutsky - America's first Children's Poet Laureate. Beautifully illustrated by Mary GrandPre and accompanied by a CD featuring Prelutsky reading each poem followed by the musical piece and ending with the entire musical score. Children will delight in moving with the rhythm of the music and imitating the sounds. They'll walk like an elephant, swim like a fish, hop like a kangaroo, and so on. Older children will begin to hear and identify the various instruments used to exemplify the animals. The Carnival of Animals is a definite winner!

Also worth looking for is this book/CD package featuring eleven poets and riotous illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura.

That concludes this edition of the Carnival of Children's Literature. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Children's Literature using our carnival submission form. Next month's Carnival will be hosted by Mary Anne Scheurer at Great Kid Books. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. (Yes, we have been around since 2006!) For an email reminder of the location of the next carnival and announcement when it is posted, subscribe to the Carnival of Children's Literature Round-up Information blog.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Tree for Emmy

Emmy's name is in a book!!!!!!!!!
How exciting to be given this book by a very special girl and her just as special nanny. Thank you Sydney and Lauren!

The book, A Tree for Emmy, couldn't be more perfect for my little Emmy. She has always loved trees and the little girl in this book does too.

"Emmy loved all kinds of trees. Oak trees with acorns. Pine trees with cones. Willows with long, swishy branches. But best of all, Emmy loved the mimosa tree in Gramma's pasture."

This story is told through the words of Mary Ann Rodman and the gorgeous illustrations of Tatjana Mai-Wyss. The two of them have created a book that showcases the beauty of nature all around and encourages us to cherish our special dreams.

Emmy's favorite character in the book is of course the little girl Emmy. She can be seen doing lots of things that my Emmy likes doing, for example, collecting pine cones, having a tea party, swinging on a tree branch, dancing in a tutu, playing on a hippity-hop ball, and eating cupcakes on her birthday. When the Gramma declares, "That ol' tree is a lot like you. Stubborn and strong and a little bit wild." I also knew that my Emmy had much in common with this delightful character.
In the story, Emmy wanted a mimosa tree for her birthday, but no one sold the wild trees with fuzzy pink blossoms and seed pods that sounded like maracas when shaken. Emmy was about to give up when she discovers a small mimosa sapling growing in Gramma's yard. With Gramma's help, she carefully digs up the tiny tree, wraps the roots in wet newspaper and puts the mimosa in a big tomato can. Once home, Emmy plants the tree right under her bedroom window, but then realizes that this little tree won't have pink blossoms and seed pods for quite some time. This is disappointing until she realizes that if she keeps it safe, loves it and waters it, the tiny tree will grow up tall one day.
My Emmy wishes that she could see a Mimosa Tree, but the best that I can do for her are photographs of these beautiful trees like this one showing the fuzzy pink blossoms.
Let's Plant a Tree
Eileen Fisher

It's time to plant a tree, a tree
What shall it be? What shall it be?
Let's plant a pine - we can't go wrong:
A pine is green the whole year long.

Let's plant a maple - more than one,
To shade us from the morning sun.

Let's plant a cherry - you know why:
There's nothing like a cherry pie!

Let's plant an elm - the tree of grace,
Where robins find a nesting place.
Let's plant an apple - not too small,
With flowers in spring and fruit in fall.

Let's plant a fir - so it can be,
A lighted outdoor Christmas tree.

Let's plant a birch, an oak, a beech,
There's something extra nice in each...
In winter, summer, spring or fall.
Let's plant a...

Why not plant them ALL?

(Prescott Park - Portsmouth, NH 2011)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fairy Tales With a Modern Twist

Albert Einstein once said,

"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales."

I definitely agree and have shared many fairy tales with Emmy as well as with the students that I once taught. I have quite a collection of fairy and folk tales written by amazing authors each putting his or her own twist on the classic tales. I will be sure to share these books in many upcoming posts, but for now Emmy has three favorites that she would like me to share with you. All three are written by Lynn Roberts with illustrations by her brother David Roberts. If you are a fan of revamped fairy tales with a modern twist and a bit of nostalgia thrown in, then these books are for you!

We'll begin with Rapunzel: A Groovy Fairy Tale since Emmy is fascinated with long hair and would like her hair "to grow so long that it trails behind her for 1oo miles."

With bell-bottomed trousers, frilly cuffs, gaudy ties and platform shoes worn by Rapunzel and the "prince" character, Roger, the 1970's are in full swing in this adaptation of the classic tale. Rapunzel's tower is a deserted high rise apartment in the middle of a big city and keeping Rapunzel locked away is her Aunt Esme. Emmy thinks Aunt Esme is just silly and mean because she doesn't let Rapunzel leave the apartment, uses Rapunzel's braid, thrown over the balcony, to enter and exit the apartment and rides to work on a motorcycle. We both like Roger who is the lead singer in the high school band and notices Esme, who is the mean lunch lady at school, climbing down the long red braid. Of course, he climbs up and Rapunzel and Roger immediately become friends. I like the ending of this retelling. Rapunzel is not a damsel in distress, but rather a girl who is able to find her way in the big city and make it on her own.

Next is Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story Set during the Jazz Age of the 1920's and 30's, this version of Cinderella is full of flapper fashions and art deco style. Emmy loves the updated carriage - a silver roadster! I love the stepsisters dancing the Charleston at the Royal Ball which Greta, aka Cinderella, found out about on the radio. After reading this book, we cranked up the phonograph (OK - iTunes) and practiced the Charleston with much enthusiasm! Here's a clip of Ginger Rogers doing her thing in a deleted scene from the movie Roxie Hart (1942).

And finally Little Red: A Fizzingly Good Yarn. With its setting in 18th century America and Little Red being a young boy with a red coat, this retelling is full of fun references to Colonial America. Little Red is the hero of this story, not the huntsman, as he saves his grandmother from the wolf with a fizzy jug of ginger ale. The gigantic belch that erupts from the wolf after drinking the ginger ale is Emmy's favorite part. It sends grandma hurling through the air like a cannonball! A deal is made with the wolf, who has acquired quite a taste for the fizzy drink, that he will leave grandma and the rest of the family alone if Little Red keeps a steady supply of ginger ale coming his way. Emmy has never had soda, but after this story, we had to give ginger ale a try. Her nose wrinkled up at the taste and she tried very hard to burp, but that didn't happen. Instead we just giggled and were reminded of Charlie and his grandfather drinking the fizzy lifting drink in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Lynn Roberts gives us such wonderful retellings of these three classic tales, but I must say that David Roberts really fills in the details with his illustrations. Look carefully at the pictures and take a trip down memory lane! Look for the poster of John Travolta on Rapunzel's wall, the hand-cranked wringer used by Greta to launder the stepsisters' silk stockings, and the reference to Ben Franklin on the front page of the newspaper in Little Red.

One more quote to end this post by my favorite film star, Audrey Hepburn, as well as one more book suggestion.

"If I'm honest I have to tell you I still read fairy tales and I like them best of all."

I have always admired Audrey Hepburn and her sense of self. I recently read a picture-book biography of Ms. Hepburn titled Just Being Audrey which shows how her experiences as a young girl in Nazi-occupied Europe shaped her being, making her one of the most giving, inspiring and kind starlets of her time.

Wishing all of you a "happily ever after!"