Friday, December 30, 2011

Pretend You're A Cat - By Jean Marzollo

This is a great "action" book for preschoolers! Read them a story and get them up out of their chairs, at the same time!  You may enjoy reading the story through from cover to cover first, or choose to stop after each new animal is introduced.  Soft illustrations portray the animals being described, as well as examples of children pretending to BE the animals.  Lots of fun!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Going To Sleep On The Farm - By Wendy Cheyette Lewison

A truly beautiful book for sharing during "farm week" or just before bedtime!  A little boy asks his daddy how each barnyard creature goes to sleep at night.  Children will learn farm animals by name, their sleeping habits, and the sounds that they make. At the end of the book, it is the little boy, himself, who falls asleep. Lovely, warm illustrations fill the pages of this tender story. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

From Dawn till Dusk - By Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

The author shares beautiful season-by-season memories from her own childhood, growing up on a farm in Vermont.  Children will learn about sugaring time, haying, apple picking, harvest and much, much more.  This is a highly educational book hidden within a delightful storyline.  The unique illustrations and real-life photographs add to the overall reading experience. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teeny Tiny Ernest - By Laura T. Barnes

A very important story for any child who's feeling "too small" or "left out".  Ernest is absolutely certain that all his friends view him as being the shortest and smallest of them all, but what he discovers is that friends often see you much differently than you see yourself.  This adorable tale is just right for teaching children that it is who you are on the INSIDE that counts! Soft illustrations accompany the storyline, perfectly. 

Easy To See Why - By Fred Gwynne

A little girl takes her mutt to the dog show and discovers that all the other dogs LOOK LIKE their owners! But guess who HER little dog looks like, and who brings home the prize?! A cute way to help youngsters recognize different dog breeds by name.  The illustrations are plain but to the point.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mrs. Katz and Tush - By Patricia Polacco

A lonely Jewish lady shares her customs and her heart with a little African-American boy.  "Tush" is an adopted cat, so named because the poor creature has no tail.  This is truly a heartwarming story of friendship and love.  Readers will pick up on a sprinkling of Yiddish, while learning about special celebrations and holidays.  Polacco's watercolor illustrations are just as priceless as her stories.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Who Ate All The Cookie Dough? - By Karen Beaumont

Mama Kangaroo asks around everywhere, if anyone knows who ate all her cookie dough. In the end of the book, you lift a little flap, and discover that it was Baby Kangaroo! He was hiding in her pouch, all along! Children learn to recognize different animals by their names, while enjoying a rhyming storyline.  The cartoon-style illustrations are colorful and large.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One More Time, Mama - By Sue Alexander

A little girl begs her mama to tell her the story of what it was like waiting for her baby's arrival.  This book not only gives children a sense of how long a pregnancy lasts, but also teaches about the growing love in a mother's heart as she patiently waits for that first sight of her little one.  A very sweet story! The soft illustrations add warmth and beauty to the storyline. 

A Carp For Kimiko - By Virginia Kroll

This is an excellent story for introducing children to Japanese culture! Learn about traditions surrounding "Children's Day" and "The Doll Festival", while reading a tale that touches on how siblings feel when they are "left out".  The colorful illustrations are fabulous!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Petite Rouge - A Cajun Red Riding Hood - By Mike Artell

Definitely get ready to laugh as you read this funny version of the famous "Red Riding Hood" story! Because it is written in Cajun "lingo", reading the narrative aloud in a Southern accent is an absolute must! This book is not only humorous, but also exposes children to the fact that people in various parts of the country often have a different way of saying things. The fun illustrations make the storyline even more charming. 

A Suitcase Surprise For Mommy - By Cat Cora

This is the perfect little book for a child who has a working mother.  Zoran's Mommy has to fly out of town, on business, and he knows he'll miss her a lot.  He comes up with just the right thing to send along with her, to make sure Mommy won't forget how much he loves her!  The illustrations are quite adorable for younger children. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

That Cat Can't Stay - By Thad Krasnesky

Dad comes up with all sorts of excuses for not wanting a cat, but somehow those cats just keep coming! Children will love the humorous illustrations and the rhyming storyline! Yes, Mom and the children are trying to get Daddy to change his mind, but you'll have to admit that this is pretty cute! Quite a fun book for a lesson on pets.

Together - By Hazel Hutchins

This is a very sweet story for teaching young children about various closures - snaps, buttons, velcro, shoelaces, etc.  The best "closure" of all are the loving hugs that hold US together!  Soft illustrations and simple dialogue make this a must-read for any preschool class.

Grandfather's Gold Watch - By Louise Garff Hubbard

A lengthy but truly beautiful story about immigration, heritage, and a little bit of wisdom passed down from one generation to the next.  The messages of "What will I do with my name?" and "What will I do with my time?", woven throughout the tale, are priceless.  The colorless sketches are extremely detailed.

The Frogs And Toads All Sang - By Arnold Lobel

A charming collection of rhymes about frogs and toads. One poem has a line declaring, "Go away, you fools!", but the other rhymes are very cute!  These would be a perfect length for teaching younger children to memorize!  The fun sketches made by the author were colored in by his daughter, after his death. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pajama Pirates - By Andrew Kramer

What a delightful bedtime story - especially for boys!  Siblings decide to a have a little bit of imaginary "pirate" play, before Mama comes and tells them it's time to sleep.  Lots of creativity!  The fun rhyme scheme and unique illustrations make this perfect for reading aloud.

Brontorina - By James Howe

Brontorina is a dinosaur who dreams of becoming a ballerina.  She must face some pretty big obstacles, but in her heart, she knows she's a dancer.  This story teaches that if you hold onto your dreams, anything can happen! You may also learn a few dancing terms! The cartoon style illustrations are fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jack And The Beanstalk - Retold By John Cech

This is the best rendition of Jack's story that I have ever read!  Jack does steal the giant's most prized possessions, in order to provide for he and his mother, but neither the golden eggs nor the gold coins lasts forever.  In this unique version of the tale, the giant's wife decides to leave her husband, following Jack down the beanstalk and later becoming one of his mother's dearest friends. Very soft and delightful illustrations accompany the narrative.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Night Ride To Nanna's - By Jenny Koralek

A book describing the observations of a little girl, as she travels in the middle of the night to visit her grandparents. What does she see, and hear, and think? This is a unique story that teaches children that a long trip can be quite rewarding, in the end.  The illustrations portray family in a very warm and genuine light.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dragon Scales And Willow Leaves - By Terryl Givens

A cute story that shows how brothers and sisters view things differently.  When twins Jonathan and Rachel take a walk through the woods, Jonathan imagines medieval battle scenes, while Rachel sees the beauty of nature all around her.  The illustrations and the story line are charming. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hero Dad - By Melinda Hardin

A short but effective book, teaching children that United States soldiers are true superheroes. This would be an excellent story to share during "Community Helpers" week, or in conjunction with "Veterans' Day"! The large illustrations of our military in action will appeal to even very young readers, especially boys.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alison's Zinnia - By Anita Lobel

A simply gorgeous way to introduce children to various flowers, while teaching them the alphabet! Readers also find through this book, what a special thing it is to give a flower to a friend.  These illustrations are fantastic!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Frog With The Big Mouth - Retold By Teresa Bateman

A bragging little frog visits lots of cool animals in the rainforest, trying to prove that he has a bigger mouth than all of them. After nearly being eaten, he decides he had better brag about something else.  You could use this book for a character lesson on "pride", following it up with the question, "Did the frog learn his lesson?"  This is also a great book for teaching children about South American animals and what they like to eat!  The bold illustrations are very beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs - By Judi Barrett

This funny story about the land of "Chewandswallow" is a tall-tale told by Grandpa, just before bedtime. Children are sure to laugh when hearing about a land with juice rain, mashed potato snow, and tomato tornadoes! The picture sketches are lacking in vibrant color, but are quite detailed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sally And The Purple Socks - By Lisze Bechtold

Sally's purple socks start out the right size, but they stretch and stretch until they become all sorts of things!  When the socks become so large that Sally is having to use them as a circus tent, it begins to rain, and the socks . . . Well, you'll just have to read to find out!  The illustrations in this book are really nothing fabulous, but the storyline is quite cute.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sara's City - By Sue Alexander

This is a look at life in the city for a little girl growing up in the 1940s.  The writing is very simple, as if the author was jotting down different memories from her childhood.  Soft, pastel illustrations show large radios, women's hats, and school girl dresses from a different era in our nation's history.  This would be a good book for asking, "Do we still do this today?" after each page.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mama's Day - By Linda Ashman

A truly precious book about the love that mamas have for their little ones.  This is a delightful read for a preschool unit about "The Family" or for a cuddle-up time with Mom.  The illustrations include one nursing mother and a few bare baby bottoms, but nothing inappropriate is shown.  Loving mothers are portrayed from cover to cover of this sweet story, giving a very warm and secure feeling to the reader. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Never Take A Shark To The Dentist - By Judi Barrett

This funny book is just the kind of story that 4- and 5-year olds LOVE!  Each page gets the reader to think about the different characteristics of the animal featured, while being accompanied by a pretty hilarious illustration. The silly dialogue is great for asking children "Why?", before turning to the next page: "Why would you not want to take a shark to the dentist?", and "Why should you never hold hands with a lobster?"

Babies - By Ros Asquith

A simple book ABOUT babies FOR babies! It shows that, though children are different from each other, there are some things that all of them have in common. This story would be perfect for reading to an infant, or for reading with a toddler sibling about their new baby brother or sister.  The cartoon illustrations are simple for a younger audience.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Flower Faerie - By Frank Asch & Vladimir Vagin

If your child loves fantasy and fairy tales, this book is definitely one to add to your collection.  Asch and Vagin tell the story of an emperor's son who one day finds a beautiful fairy in the forest.  The little boy knows he mustn't touch it, but his father is a greedy man who captures the fairy and decides to keep her in a glass case. When all of the flowers and crops in the kingdom suddenly begin to die, the emperor realizes that he has made a terrible mistake.  This tale teaches children that beautiful things are best left where they belong.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Round Is A Pancake - By Joan Sullivan Baranski

What a perfect book for a lesson on shapes!  Enter a land of kings, and queens, and court jesters, and discover a world of round objects.  You absolutely cannot beat these brightly colored illustrations! They're fantastic!

How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight? - By Varsha Bajaj

Animal babies and boys and girls alike ALL need kisses at bedtime!  This sweet story rhymes and teaches number sequence.  Warm illustrations show nothing but love, security and affection.  If you enjoy reading to your little one before tucking them in and kissing them goodnight, you will definitely love this book!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Make Way For Ducklings - By Robert McCloskey

Mr. and Mrs. Mallard fly all over Boston, searching for just the right place to build their nest and raise their little ones.  An island near the Public Garden proves to be that special place, but sometimes the duck family needs the help of some kindly police officers in order to safely waddle through traffic! SMILE!  The book may seem a bit long, but there's something about its charm that holds the attention of even very young listeners.  A delightful story filled with those timeless sketches McCloskey is famous for. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rosie's Fishing Trip - By Amy Hest

A warm story that celebrates the beauty of spending time with Grampa. This sort of tender children's book is definitely a rare find!  Rosie and her Grampa wake up early, share muffins and chocolate milk, go fishing, write a poem together, and return home to tell Mama all about it.  A wonderful tool for showing today's children that there is much more to life than playing video games and watching television!  The soft illustrations are priceless.

Monday, October 10, 2011

My Grandma Is Coming To Town - By Anna Grossnickle Hines

When Grandma first arrives, it just doesn't seem possible that she's that same loving voice from over the telephone - but she is!  This is a delightful story for any child whose grandparent lives far away.  It can also help parents to realize that a child who may, at first, act shy around a relative, will probably be ready to give hugs and kisses in no time! The cartoon illustrations are perfect for a younger audience.

Babies In The Bayou - By Jim Arnosky

A perfect introduction to animal science on a preschool level!  Through this story and its rich illustrations, the reader learns about the ecosystem within a bayou and sees examples of God's creation interacting with one another.  The large, colorful pictures are perfect for sharing with a whole classroom of children.

Fanny & Annabelle - By Holly Hobbie

This is a great book for introducing children to the art of creative writing! It teaches that ideas for stories can come from anywhere, but especially from real-life experiences.  Fanny not only manages to write a cute story about her doll Annabelle, but she also learns a valuable lesson in honesty.  The phrases "holy cow" and "heavens to Betsey" are used, but the book has a very wholesome story line.  The fun illustrations alternate between drawings of the main characters and sketches from the story Fanny is writing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hush, Little Baby - By Brian Pinkney

Papa tries his best to please Baby while Mama is away.  If one thing doesn't work, he'll bring her something else.  He and Mama love their little girl so much, they don't want to see her cry.  This is the familiar children's song with some unfamiliar verses.  The colorful African-American artwork is delightful.

When Uncle Took The Fiddle - By Libba Moore Gray

Everyone in the house is just too TIRED . . . That is, until Uncle starts to play his fiddle! Toes tap, hands clap, and soon even the neighbors are playing instruments and joining in some country dancing. Pastel pictures and lots of sound words bring the reader right into the middle of it all! This would be a fun book to share during music class.

A Balloon For Grandad - By Nigel Gray

When his balloon accidentally blows away, a little boy is comforted by the idea that perhaps it is traveling to visit his grandfather in Northern Africa! This book is wonderful for adding colorful adjectives to a child's vocabulary.  The African folk art is very fitting to the story line.

Friday, October 7, 2011

When Jessie Came Across The Sea - By Amy Hest

The heart-warming story of how coming to America changed one little Jewish girl's life forever.  My sisters and I loved reading this gem over and over again, even as adults!  A little longer than some children's books, it is a good story for increasing a youngster's attention span and introducing them to more mature themes.

Where's Our Mama? - By Diane Goode

She cooks good food, she reads lots of books, she's strong and smart . . . She may not be famous, but to these two little lost girls, their mama is someone extra special!  This is the sweet story of sisters who try to find their mama with the help of a French gendarme, and, in the process, they share what sets their mama apart from every other woman in Paris.  The soft, yet fun, illustrations definitely make the story even more enjoyable.

Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs - By Linda Ashman

Such a lovely book for introducing children to various animal homes! The rhythmic words and rich illustrations make this story a lovely one for naptime, bedtime, or anytime! In the end, you see that homes are really very special places.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Smallest Snowflake - By Bernadette Watts

What a beautiful book to read aloud in the wintertime, cuddled up with your little one! This is the tale of the Smallest Snowflake as she blows around the world, trying to find the perfect place to rest until spring.  Rich descriptions make this a wonderful story for building vocabulary.  The soft illustrations of winter landscapes are absolutely delightful.

There's An Alligator Under My Bed - By Mercer Mayer

A perfectly cute story for helping children to cope with bedtime fears. This was definitely a classroom favorite with my preschoolers! The large, colorful illustrations are great for sharing with a large group of children.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Take Care, Good Knight - By Shelley Moore Thomas

A humorous story about a wizard who leaves three little dragons with the responsibility of watching his cats while he is away.  The narrative shows what can happen when someone can only "read" pictures and not the actual words! This book is also good for teaching young children that sometimes two words can sound exactly the same, but have different spellings and different meanings.  One line of the story that I did not care for, says that the cats "cussed and fussed and hissed".  The cartoon illustrations are very adorable and fun.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hooray For Harry - By Kim Lewis

The tale of three stuffed animals who try their best to remember where they last left Harry The Elephant's special blanket.  They play together as friends and work together too.  This is a good story for teaching order - first, next, then, etc. The soft illustrations are truly gorgeous!

If Kisses Were Colors - By Janet Lawler

A sweet story of a mother's love for her little one.  Very few words and beautiful illustrations make this a perfect bedtime story for younger children. The paintings look like pretty cracked egg shells!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thunder Cake - By Patricia Polacco

This is the loving tale of a grandmother who tries to help her young granddaughter let go of a fear of thunderstorms.  As in most Patricia Polacco books, the reader is introduced to a few Russian words sprinkled within the text.  The illustrations are colorfully painted in, except for the faces of people, which always remain looking like sketches.  This is such a sweet book to read to any child who might be slightly frightened by thunder and lightening.

Rechenka's Eggs - By Patricia Polacco

This is the beautiful story of Babushka, an elderly lady living near the town of Moskva, who one day finds a goose that has been shot by hunters.  Babushka takes care of the goose until it is better, and Rechenka repays her with something wonderful.  Some Russian words are included, increasing the reader's foreign vocabulary.  Everything in the illustrations is bright and colorful except for the faces of the people, which always remain pencil sketched and not filled in.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Laura Charlotte - By Kathryn O. Galbraith

Laura lies awake in bed one night, wanting her mother to tell her the story of her flannel elephant named Charlotte.  Charlotte is a precious heirloom made by her great-grandmother, mended by her grandmother, loved by her mother, and passed down to Laura.  The soft paintings in this book are so lifelike and beautiful!  My sister Jessica loved this one so much when she was little, that she had the entire book memorized by the time she was two years old.  It was definitely a family favorite!

Robert The Rose Horse - By Joan Heilbroner

During his birthday celebration on the farm, Robert the horse makes the unhappy discovery that he is allergic to roses! Animals and people go flying whenever Robert sneezes, making for some very fun illustrations that children love.  The colored pencil drawings in this book are almost like sketches. Short, easy words make this a good beginning reader, or a simple one to listen to.

Madeline's Rescue - By Ludwig Bemelmans

Written in the form of a poem, this story tells of Genevieve, a dog that saves Madeline from drowning.  The little girls in Madeline's school fight at night about which one gets to sleep with Genevieve, but soon there are enough puppies to go around.  One part I did not like was when Madeline speaks almost disrespectfully to one of the trustees, after they have been told they cannot keep a dog in the school.  The pictures alternate between yellow and white and full color. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gingerbread Baby - By Jan Brett

This is a twist on the familiar gingerbread man story.  A nice aspect of this version is that the gingerbread baby does not get eaten!  The plot is fun, but the amazing illustrations are what really make this a wonderful book for children.  The Scandinavian pictures are so detailed, including borders on every page, as well as gingerbread cutouts on the sides, that allow the reader to know what is happening to other characters at the same time.

Flossie & The Fox - By Patricia C. McKissack

Flossie is a little slave girl who has to deliver eggs to a neighbor.  The only trouble is that there is a fox who lives in the woods, that wants those eggs!  The dialogue and even the narrative in this book are written in a typical Southern dialect, including such words as "aine", "yo'self", and "sho".  The artist uses light and shadow very effectively and draws in an African-American style.

Billy and Blaze - By C.W. Anderson

The ink sketches in this book portray a little boy living in the 1920's or 1930's.  Billy's best friend is his pony Blaze, and he's such a very good pony, that they enter in a horse show.  The storyline is very simple, but this is the kind of sweet, wholesome book it is hard to come by, these days.

A Pocket For Corduroy - By Don Freeman

While visiting a laundromat, Corduroy realizes that his overalls need a pocket, so he goes in search of one.  One of the cute aspects of this story is that Corduroy's owner Lisa seems to be the only one who ever hears her teddy bear "talk" to her.  The illustrations are almost like the sketches found on sewing pattern envelopes.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Corduroy - By Don Freeman

This delightful book is about a little stuffed bear who lives in a department store.  Even though the teddy bear is missing a button, an African-American girl named Lisa immediately falls in love with him. The story not only teaches children that they can save their own money to make purchases, but also that it is important for them to ask a parent's permission before doing so. The adorable illustrations look like sketches splashed with watercolors.

Clifford The Big Red Dog - By Norman Bridwell

This book is good for teaching young children how to take care of a dog.  The only problem I found with the story is that at one point, the character Emily says, "I don't care", which isn't the type of phrase you generally want children picking up on.  The illustrations are cute and colorful and add to the humor of the story.  Because Clifford is such a very big dog, the doghouse is larger than his owner's home!

Blueberries For Sal - By Robert McCloskey

 Little Sal and her mother go picking blueberries in order to can some of them for winter.  They soon discover that not only blueberries may be found on Blueberry Hill!  This is a very sweet, old-fashioned story.  The illustrations are blue ink pen sketches, timeless and very appealing to children.