Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod

Wynken, Blyken, and Nod
By Eugene W. Field
Illustrated by David McPhail
Scholastic/CartWheel Books
Board book release November 2009

WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD take children on a magical journey into the night sky where three fishermen sail in a wooden shoe, capturing the stars in nets of silver and gold and laughing with the moon. And when the nighttime adventure comes to an end, the wooden shoe brings the fishermen home to the real world of a child fast asleep.With soft illustrations and rhythmic rhyme, this lullaby poem will help energetic toddlers settle down and have sweet dreams as they snuggle into their beds.

This is a great retelling of the timeless nursery rhythm.
My children enjoy this story and love the great illustrations that capture the adventure of Wynken, Blyken, and Nod's bunny adventure as they sail off in a wooden shoe.

4 stars

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ivy & Bean - Why Opposites Work As Friends

By Annie Barrows
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Published by Chronicle Books
Published Date October 2009
Ages 9-12

Synopsis of the Series by the Author -
One of the big problems of being a kid is that your parents often try to make you play with people you don’t really like. My parents were forever trying to get me to like the kids of their friends. These kids were often weird. I didn’t want to play with them. It was a problem.

I remembered that when I was writing the first Ivy and Bean. Ivy and Bean are very different. Bean is loud and wild and goofy. She loves to be involved in games and poke her nose in other people’s business. Ivy is quiet and full of ideas. She spends most of her time learning how to be a witch. Each girl thinks the other one is weird. Each girl thinks she could never be friends with the other. Especially because their parents keep nagging them about it.

But sometimes opposites can become the best of friends because they’re opposites. For example, people who like to talk need people who like to listen. And people with great ideas need people who can put those ideas into action. For Ivy and Bean, their differences mean that they have more fun together than they could ever have separately. It also means that, together, they do more wacky things than any one kid could ever dream up. The Ivy and Bean books are about the adventures—and disasters—created by this unlikely team. And since their motto seems to be “Why not?” there’s every reason to believe that their capers and catastrophes will continue for quite a while.

Synopsis of Book 6 - Doomed to Dance
Ooops. Ivy and Bean have made a terrible mistake. They thought that ballet meant leaping, kicking, and cool costumes. Instead, it means they're going to have to be The Two Friendly Squids in a ballet the teacher made up. How embarrassing. As disaster looms, the girls come up with a great escape plan. It's an easy plan, a simple plan, a beautiful plan. It only involves a field trip, a couple of sharks, and some weird animals that glow in the dark.

My almost seven year old daughter was looking for another series similar to the Junie B. Jones books she loved in Kindergarten. Now that she's a sophisticated First Grader, I knew the formula had to include a snarky, funny protagonist. One day at the library, we came across these books. And the stories of two, at first, unlikely friends have literally swept us away.

I encourage parents whose children love characters with spunk who can turn common situations and challenges into a dizzying adventure filled journey, to pick up the Ivy and Bean series. Both you and your child will find yourselves laughing out loud.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Great Bedtime Stories for Little Ones

By Steve Metzer
Illustrated by Claire Keay
Published by Tiger Tales
Released 2009
Ages 1-5

Every season has it's song, and I love you all year long!
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall... celebrate the love between you and your little one all through the year with this reassuring board book!

This was such a cute read, that I couldn't help but add this my children's collection of bedtime stories. Journey through the season and celebrate the fun each season brings, telling your child you love them when....
"I love you when.... We catch falling leaves that dance in the breeze. Our hayrides gets silly in air crisp and chilly."
Cute pictures and great rhyming words will make this story one both you and your child will enjoy.

By Kate Toms
Published by Make Believe Ideas Ltd.
Published in 2007
Ages: 1-5

A delightful bedtime story about a small mouse who dreams of the twinkling stars. Could he catch one in a net and keep it as his special pet? Or could he fly up on his rocket and gather star dust in his pocket? Rhyming text and beautiful hand-stitched illustrations make this an ideal book for parents and young children to share.

This is one we read every single night. It's such a great cute spin on the popular song, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Little mouse gets ready for bed and talks to the star shining brightly above. He wants to keep it his pet and wonders if there's other mice like he, who live across the sea and see the same star. It's a great rhyming book for your little ones. My youngest loves to touch the glittery star you'll see on each page, that matches the one on the cover.

By Claire Freedman
Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton
Published by Good Books
Released in 2007 (original release in 2005)
Ages: infant-5

All of the animals, from the bold leopard to the shy antelope, snuggle down for the night, ready to sleep, in this charming book. The baby hippo cuddles up close for a big hippo hug while the porcupines curl up together in one spiky ball. This soothing rhyme, illustrated with glowing pastels, is the perfect bedtime story for a child worn out by a busy day.

This is another favorite that's read almost every night. This story takes us through the African Savannah as all the little animals get ready for bed. From tired lion cubs, to the mischievous monkey to baby hippo. The illustrations are adorable and I'm sure will be loved by your little ones.

Great Bedtime Stories For the Whole Family

Words and Music by Pete Seeger
Paintings by Linda Wingerter
Published by Little Brown and Company
Published in 2002

When asked which of his songs he would most like to be sung 100 years from now, Pete Seeger replied, 'One Grain of Sand.' To bring this song to life on the page, artist Linda Wingerter painted rich, luminous scenes of families waking and sleeping all over the world-from a beach in Thailand, to a snowy pond in Scandanavia, to a high-rise apartment building in New York. The result is a gorgeous gift book for babies and families that celebrates the world's precious places and people, reflecting Seeger's lifelong commitment to social and environmental harmony. (taken from

I absolutely love this book. I love that it's full of pictures from around the world. My children love to see the various pictures, which are beautiful, and show children in their various cultures. The story is based on a lullaby, which is included in the book.

By Tony Mitton
Illustrated by Mandy Sutcliffe
Published by Little Brown and Company
1st Published in Great Britain in 2003 by Orchard Books

When it is time for bed, a brother and sister say goodnight to things both inside and outside their house.

This is one of our all time favorite stories! It's filled with great illustrations, a brother and sister say good night to the things that surround their little world, both inside and outside their house.

By Lisa McCue
Published by Sterling Publishing
Released 2009

In this beautiful picture book by renowned artist Lisa McCue, Little Bunny discovers the importance—and pleasure—of dancing to your own kind of music. More than anything, Quiet Bunny loves the sounds of the forest: the birds chirping, the wind whispering shhhhh through the leaves, and, especially, the night song all the rabbits listen to. But, one day, he wonders: how can I join in? Bunny wanders the woods asking animal after animal—but he just can’t ch-cheet like the cricket, ssssss like the hissing snake, or o-uuuu like the howling wolves. But nothing feels just right—until Quiet Bunny finds the wonderful beat that’s his and his alone.

My children really enjoy this book. It's one of their favorite stories to have read before bedtime. They love to make the animal sounds and help Quiet Bunny make his night song.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Timeless Magic of Half Magic

Title - Half Magic
Author - Edward Eager
Publisher - Scholastic
Date Published - 1954.
Ages - 9-12.

Synopsis -

It all Begins with a strange coin on a sun-warmed sidewalk. Jane finds the coin, and because she and her siblings are having the worst, most dreadfully boring summer ever, she idly wishes something exciting would happen. And something does: Her wish is granted. Or not quite. Only half of her wish comes true. It turns out that the coin grants wishes -- but only by half, so that you must wish for twice as much as you want. Wishing for two times some things is a cinch, but other doubled wishes only cause twice as much trouble. What is half of twice a talking cat? Or to be half-again twice not-here? And how do you double your most heartfelt wish, the one you care about so much that it has to be perfect? Edward Eager's Half Magic has enchanted legions of readers for fifty years. This collectible, one-of-a-kind volume features the original art by N. M. Bodecker and a new introduction by award-winning author Jack Gantos, making it the definitive edition of this enduring classic.

I first picked up Half Magic by Edward Eager in third grade. And I haven't put it down since. When people ask me what book(s) started my love of all things fantasy, I point to Half Magic. Since then, I have read it countless times. Now as a Mommy, I'm enjoying reading it to my children. Amazingly, the story written, over 50 years ago, still stands the test of time.

If you love stories about siblings who are looking for distractions during a boring summer break and if you love stories about magic, be sure to pick up this book. The resulting math, as they have to wish for twice the amount of anything they desire, is hilarious. The people they encounter as they time travel, Sir Lancelot and Merlin, himself will leave you wanting to read more about those legends.

Snuggle up with the kids, pretend it's summer break and enjoy this classic story.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing the Ice, A True Story About Jackie Robinson

By Sharon Robinson
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 40
Ages: 9-12

When Jackie Robinson retires from baseball and moves his family to Connecticut, the beautiful lake on their property is the center of everyone's fun. The neighborhood children join the Robinson kids for swimming and boating. But oddly, Jackie never goes near the water.
In a dramatic episode that first winter, the children beg to go ice skating on the lake. Jackie says they can go--but only after he tests the ice to make sure it's safe. The children prod and push to get Jackie outside, until hesitantly, he finally goes.

Like a blind man with a stick, Jackie taps on the ice's surface, when suddenly howling and roaring sounds come out of the lake! It is only then that Sharon realizes why she's never seen her father in the water -- Jackie doesn't know how to swim! But her horror changes to relief as Jackie bravely taps his way to the middle of the lake -- and declare it safe!

My children are younger than the ages recommended for this book and they still loved it. My son loved it as he's a huge baseball fan and loved learning about one of America's greatest baseball players. Sharon does such a great job at pulling the reader into this story. It starts out talking about her father's accomplishments and what he endured as an African American baseball player. Then she talks about this beautiful home and property they moved into in CT that had a lovely pond that they would all swim in, except her father as he doesn't know how to swim. When it freezes over, the children all ask their father if they can ice skate. Mr. Robinson proceeds to test the ice for the children to make sure it's safe before they ice skate.

The story is one that left me wishing I was there to experience it. If the story doesn't capture you, the artwork will. It's a beautifully written story with such beautiful art work that will capture your attention.

Highly recommend for any baseball fan and any fan of Jackie Robinson.

Clifford The Champion

By Norman Bridwell
Published by Cartwheel Books (Scholastic)
Pages: 40
Ages: 4-8

Clifford has entered a contest to become America's Super Dog! But he is competing against Champ. Champ does everything perfectly. He runs fast, jumps high, and is good at catching Frisbees. Champ may be a winner, but Clifford will prove he has good sportsmanship and a winning spirit!

This is a great book to add to your collection of Children's book and for any Clifford fan. Children will learn that they, like Clifford don't need to win a trophy to be a real winner. Clifford is competing against Champ to win the America's Super Dog trophy. Champ is fast and smaller than Clifford and keeps beating Clifford at the various obstacle races, but Clifford doesn't give up. He's happy and smiling the whole way through as he knows he's doing the best he can.

Both of my children loved this story. I felt this was a great story to remind children that even if they don't get their trophy, they are a winner and it's important to keep trying their best.

I highly recommend this story.

How Does A Dinosaur Say I Love You

By Jane Yolen
Published by The Blue Sky Press (Scholastic)
Pages: 40
Released: October 6, 2009
Ages: 4-8

I think this is one of my favorite Dinosaurs books, outside of the How Does A Dinosaur Go To Bed. It's a book my kids and I both loved reading and when I pulled it out of the box last week my kids wanted me to read it right away.
The story is a good way to remind our children that even when they're naughty, we still love them.
These little dinosaurs act naughty, and even when they do that, they're parents still remind them that they love them. I found myself laughing out loud to some of the things Jane wrote about. She captured the typical actions children do that parents get frustrated. Throwing a fit about getting ready for school, not liking what is offered at dinner, not being nice on the play ground and so forth, but at the end of each action the dinosaur does something and the parent says how much they love them.

I highly recommend this book.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~