Thursday, September 27, 2012

Out and About

Shirley Hughes 2005 

This was one of our recent cozy naptime books. The simple poems follow a little girl and her brother through the year.  Charlotte and I talked about the seasons and she told me which season was on each page.  Of course the Autumn picture is my favorite.

This poem reminds me of one by Robert Louis Stevenson- "Bed in Summer".

Other books about the Seasons:

Have You Ever Seen a Smack of Jellyfish?

Henry requested a trip to the Wagner Institute for his birthday.  We brought a friend and my brother (who had never been before and really liked it).  It's a free museum in a beautiful old building (seriously, the antique radiators are amazing) with an incredible collection of natural artifacts dating back to the 19th century.

If you've never been, and you're in the area, it's worth a visit.  They host events that are great for kids and a lecture series in the antique lecture hall.  I've attended some really interesting ones in the past.  The collection has taxidermy animals, skeletons, insects, fossils, rocks, shells, etc...  There's a particularly interesting case that shows the process of making the taxidermy animals.  All of us grabbed clipboards and did the scavenger hunt they provided.

 I like supporting these 'hidden treasures' which Philadelphia seems to be full of, so we picked out some things from the gift shop, one of which was this awesome book.

Sarah Asper-Smith 2010 

Another animal ABC book but this time with bold graphics and the name for animals in a group. Now we know that a group of rhinos is called a "crash" and a bunch of turtles is a "bale". Really fun stuff!

It's funny how appropriate this one (and the hippo one) is!

Other ABC Books:
The City-Country ABC
The Underwater Alphabet Book
Christmas ABC
ABC Dreamsbnm,/

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Christina Katerina and the Box

Seeing a picture of Margaux's boys hiding in a box reminded me of this book.

Patricia Lee Gauch
illustrated by Doris Burn 1998

Christina Katerina loves boxes. When they get a new refrigerator, the box, sitting out under the apple tree, becomes Christina's castle. Her imagination knows no boundaries as the box gradually falls apart (and her mother is looking forward to getting rid of it). With her "sometimes friend" Fats, they turn the box into all sorts of things.

We've had a fair share of great boxes over the years- the best ones being our dryer box and our neighbor's refrigerator box. They've become houses, bear caves, forts, doll mansions, etc... When Charlotte was a baby we had a box (I forget where it even came from) and Madeleine and Henry decorated the inside with drawn on furniture for her. It's really true about the simplest things being the best toys.

Christina Katerina liked things:
tin cups and old dresses,
worn-out ties and empty boxes.
Any of those things, but mostly boxes.
Hat boxes,
bakery boxes with see-through lids,
shoe boxes.

Other books illustrated by Doris Burn:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mud Pies and Other Recipes

Marjorie Winslow
illustrated by Erik Blegvad 2010

I've noticed that left to their own devices, kids will start making mud pies or "cooking" with whatever can be found in the yard- leaves, sticks, dirt.  I find Charlotte's concoctions on the patio or in the tree house.  Sometimes the neighbor kids come over and there's pots of leaf stew with spoons sticking out or sandy casseroles.  Madeleine and Henry used to do this too.  I remember acorns were a particularly favorite ingredient in their dishes.  (And Madeleine just reminded me that onion grass was a staple.)

This absolutely adorable book is written with that child chef in mind. It's dedicated to "Susan and Kate, former doll chefs, who knew better than to taste for seasoning and, therefore, grew up."

It opens with:

This is a cookbook for dolls. It is written for kind climates and summertime.
It is an outdoor cookbook, because dolls dote on mud, when properly prepared. They love the crunch of pine needles and the sweet feel of seaweed on the tongue. The market place, then, will be a forest or sand dune or your own back yard.

The recipes include things like "Pencil Sharpener Pudding", "Pine Needle Upside-Down Cake", "Bark Sandwich", "Roast Rocks", and "Dandelion Souffle".

Erik Blegvad does the drawings. And though children's imaginations certainly don't need the intervention of this book, it's still fun to read and full of cute ideas.

Charlotte's "tea"

Other books illustrated by Erik Blegvad:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Little Pea

I'm so happy my two big kids still like to jump in bed and listen to me read picture books.  The other night both Madeleine and Henry grabbed their favorites and then squabbled over who got to be next to mom (though it does make me feel very loved, you wouldn't believe the wrestling fights three kids can have over snuggle positions!)

Since Henry's birthday is on the horizon, we read his book first.  This book cracks us up because Henry is our picky eater and getting vegetables in him is like a military mission.  Also, Little Pea is just so darn cute!

Amy Krouse Rosenthal
illustrated by Jen Corace 2005

The drawings are adorable and the story is funny. To grow big and strong, peas have to eat candy but Little Pea hates candy. His parents tell him that if he wants to have his yummy desert he has to eat 5 pieces of candy (which he does, though not happily). Can you guess what his dessert is?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Seaside Naturalist

We had our last summertime hurrah at the beach this weekend.  The weather couldn't have been more perfect.  At the beginning of the summer we added these books to our 'nature kit' (our bag with notebooks, specimen jars, magnifying glass, binoculars, etc...).  They've been helpful in identifying the creatures and shells that we find on the beach and are nice to read when we're relaxing under the umbrella.

Deborah A. Coulombe 1990

This book is designed specifically for teaching kids about the ecosystem in the ocean and along the shore. Each chapter has a True/False quiz at the end that we like to read out loud. This weekend we learned about Protoplankton and Nekton!

Kenneth L. Gosner 1999

Our old shell identification book included shells around the world and wasn't very helpful in identifying things that were specific to the New Jersey coastline. This Peterson Field Guide has been awesome. There are pages of colorful pictures and specific, scientific information. We've identified types of crabs, mini shrimp, and knotted wrack (a seaweed) that we've found along the beach and in the water. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How the Sun Was Brought Back to the Sky

School has started, but it doesn't feel like crisp Autumn.  Instead we've been having the worst humid, hot sticky, sunless days.  With all this grey, Charlotte suggested maybe the sun was sick. 

So I had to pull out this book to read.  We always think Jose Aruego's sun is the cutest thing.  I also love that it's "adapted from a Slovenian folk tale."  (Love those folk tales!)

Mirra Ginsburg
pictures by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey
When the sun doesn't appear for three whole days, the little chicks get worried.  "It was cold and sad without sunshine".  So they go to find the sun and bring him back to the sky, meeting and bringing along other animals on the way.


Other books illustrated by Jose Aruego: