"Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."
- Arnold Lobel


Every Tuesday is Book Review Day, where I review and recommend a children's book.

Every Wednesday is Wise Owl Wednesday, where you can butter up your brain with some children's literature facts - history, milestones, trivia ... stop by here to learn a little something about the amazing world of books for the young!

Every Thursday is Literacy Tip Day, where I offer literacy suggestions for your children based upon my teaching and parenting experience.

Keep cozy this fall with a good book!

16 July 2010

Literacy Tip #11 .: Developmental Milestones of Early Literacy / Part Three of Five :.

Photo credit :: weheartit.com ::

Today's literacy tip is part three of a five-part series on children's early interaction with books, designed to optimize your reading time with your little, little one(s). It is adapted from research provided by Reach Out and Read, an excellent resource for early literacy intervention.

** Note: Please keep in mind that every child develops at his or her own rate. This chart is simply a reference and is not intended to be a substitute for a doctor's advice. **
If your child is 18 - 24 months of age, here are some instrumental motor and cognitive skills he or she is capable of demonstrating from a literacy perspective:
  • turns board book pages easily, one at a time
  • carries a book around the house
  • may use a particular book as a transitional or comfort object
  • names familiar pictures
  • reads to dolls or stuffed animals
  • recites parts of favorite or familiar stories
  • attention span varies widely

Here is what you can do to maximize reading time with your 18 - 24 month old child:
  • relate books to your child's experiences
  • use books as often as possible within routines, such as before bedtime
  • ask child "what's that?" ... be sure to give ample time for a response
  • pause and let your child complete sentences while reading

Here are some literature suggestions for your 18 - 24 month-old child:

The Very Hungry CaterpillarThe Very Busy SpiderThe Nice BookThank You Prayer

 Enjoy this valuable reading time with your toddler!!!
Coming next Thursday :: Tips for reading time with your 24 - 36 month-old child ::

Friday Book Blogger Hop :: The Book I Need to Get My Hands On...NOW!!!

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question for the Friday Book Blogger Hop is:  RIGHT THIS INSTANT, WHAT BOOK ARE YOU DYING TO GET YOUR HANDS ON (PAST, PRESENT, OR FUTURE)?

And my answer is ...

The Shadows
by Jacqueline West

The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere, Vol. 1)

Description from Indiebound.org:  Old Ms. McMartin is definitely dead. Now her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, she knows there's something odd about the place--not least the walls covered in strange antique paintings. But when Olive finds a pair of old spectacles in a dusty drawer, she discovers the most peculiar thing yet: She can travel inside these paintings to a world that's strangely quiet . . . and eerily like her own Yet Elsewhere harbors dark secrets--and Morton, an undersized boy with an outsize[d] temper.

As she and Morton form an uneasy alliance, Olive finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to Olive to save the house from the dark shadows, before the lights go out for good.

Mary Elizabeth's Musings:  I found this children's mystery through IndieBound.org just yesterday! While I am not familiar with this author, the story's introdcution sure has me hooked on this book already!! From the description above, it sounds a bit Coraline-esque with a smidgen of Chasing Vermeer and the Spiderwick Chronicles thrown in the mix ... I will be racing to the library today to snag a copy!!!

14 July 2010

Book Review #14 :: Our Farm : By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary ::

Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary
Our Farm:  By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary
Poems by Maya Gottfried
Paintings by Robert Rahway Zakanitch
Published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books
Copyright 2010

"Thank You by Hilda, a sheep

Thank you to the wind that cools
Thank you to the moonbeams that shine
Thank you to the field of wheat
and to the soft grass below
Thank you to the sunflowers that sway
Thank you to the sky above
Thank you to the kind hearts and hands
that brought me to my home"

Publisher's Summary:  Welcome to our farm! J.D. the piglet, Diego the duck, Mayfly the rooster, Whitaker the calf, and their friends are all eager to meet you and to tell you their stories.  So let's go! Let's head to the barn....

A Special Note from the Author:  Founded in 1986, Farm Sanctuary provides shelter for neglected and abused farm animals.  Whether a pig from a small farm that has been denied proper nutrition, a sheep that has been left for dead in a stockyard, or a chick that has been discarded by a factory farm, Farm Sanctuary speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.  ... Farm Sanctuary has threefold intentions:  rescue, education, and advocacy.  In the decades since its inception, Farm Sanctuary has saved thousands of animals and educated millions of people.

Mary Elizabeth's Musings:  If the sweet, innocent eyes of the adorable lamb on the cover of this book refuse to tug at every corner of your heart, Ms. Gottfried's poetry surely will! Written in the voices of various farm animals who are real-life residents of Farm Sanctuary, a true life shelter for abused farm animals, this book of poems is certain to touch your soul and water your eyes.  Ms. Gottfried's delicate, poetic voice combines beautifully with Mr. Zakanitch's watercolor paintings and pencil-and-ink drawings.  Ms. Gottfried's volunteer work at the New York Farm Sanctuary shines through her dazzling, yet quiet verses that are written on behalf of these amazing creatures.  This book is a touching treasure for all living beings, written to bring a voice to these animals who cannot speak for themselves.

This book is recommended for ages 6-10 years.

** To find out more about this peaceful sanctuary for farm animals, please visit the Farm Sanctuary Website.  **

Other books by this author and illustrator:

Good DogLast Night I Dreamed a Circus

Other books by this illustrator:

Silhouette Catalog

** Note:  I will not be running the Mystery Friend Friday Feature this week. **

Mystery Friend Friday :: Meet Lemony Snicket ::

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

The moment I began reading The Bad Beginning several years ago, I knew I was absolutely hooked on this series.  Mr. Snicket's sarcastic tone had me laughing out loud from the beginning to the end of The Series of Unfortunate Events.

 The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13)

Here is a bit about Mr. Snicket, as written on his website:
"Lemony Snicket was born before you were, and is likely to die before you as well. His family has roots in a part of the country which is now underwater, and his childhood was spent in the relative splendor of the Snicket Villa which has since become a factory, a fortress and a pharmacy and is now, alas, someone else's villa. To the untrained eye, Mr. Snicket's hometown would not appear to be filled with secrets. Untrained eyes have been wrong before."

Besides the wildly popular series about the Baudelaire children, here are some other works by Mr. Snicket:

The Lump of CoalThe Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas StoryThe Beatrice Letters (A Series of Unfortunate Events)The Composer Is Dead (Book & CD)Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid

And coming in October 2010 ...

13 Words

You can stay updated on Mr. Snicket and his work by visiting his website.  Even though he would discourage visitors, I highly recommend you give it a look.

And, now, signing off in the spirit of Mr. Snicket ...

May you have the most pleasant day possible in these days of great unpleasantness,

12 July 2010

Nonfiction Monday #1 :: Insect Detective by Steve Voake

Visit Abby the Librarian to link up and find some quality non-fiction!!

:: This is part of a post originally published here on June 22, 2010 ::

Insect Detective

Insect Detective
Written by Steve Voake
Illustrated by Charlotte Voake
Published by Candlewick Press
First U.S. Edition 2010

"Lift up a stone and you might see an earwig scuttle out.  They like to hide in the damp and the dark.  The pincers on the tips of their abdomens make them look kind of scary, but don't worry - they're completely harmless."

Publisher's Summary:  Right now, all around you, thousands of insects are doing strange and wonderful things:  wasps are building their nests, ants are collecting food, and dragonflies are readying for the hunt.  But it's not always so easy to catch sight of these six-legged creatures...Become an insect detective and find out just what the insects around you are up to!

Mary Elizabeth's Musings:  I must say that I am quite smitten with this book! Its watercolor illustrations pair beautifully with the rich prose, which is filled with exceptionally interesting insect facts.  Giving children practical tips of finding and observing the world of insects around them, the author conveys a quiet message of respect for insects and their place in the ecosystem.  Quite simply, this informative non-fiction book reads as smoothly as any children's fiction book.  You will find it as fascinating as your child surely will!

Why I Recommend This Book:  This gem of a book will encourage your child to observe the intricacies of the natural world right in their own backyard! After finishing this exceptional book, your child will be armed with the knowledge of how to unobtrusively explore the world of insects ... and he or she will be eager to do so as soon as you reach the back cover! I tremendously enjoyed this book - do yourself and your child a favor by grabbing it from your local library today!

Recommended for ages 5 - 9 years.

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