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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Books Worth Checking Out

I've had this stack of library books sitting in my house, needing to be returned. But I couldn't send them back till I shared at least a handful them with you guys, because they are definitely worth checking out at your local library!

What child doesn't love arts and crafts? And here's a story all about being crafty. My son loved this one, and I need to read it to my eleven year old daughter before I return it. She would love it too since she's crazy about crafts! Since this story is about a little girl that creates a special, one-of-a-kind, homemade birthday gift for her friend, it might be perfect to read around Christmas time to get your kids in the mood for some Christmas crafting! Or just lay out a smattering of craft supplies anytime and let Crafty Chloe inspire everybody's creativity!

This book just warmed my heart. Not sure exactly why, because it wasn't necessarily a sentimental story. I think it reminded me some of my own mother and siblings (there were five of us). And then it also reminded me of my own children (only three, not five) and myself as a mother. I guess we really do become our mothers to some degree? (I'm more than OK with that.) This book was sweet, but not sappy. From the gentle illustrations, to the idea of little Edwin trying to help his mommy remember the sugar with his adorable little babbles. It did take my kids a couple reads to really fully understand what was going on in the story; they didn't immediately get that Edwin was trying to actually tell his mom something and wasn't merely talking gibberish. Once they understood that, they thought the story was a hoot.

This is one my new favorite books! It's so creative, fun, and well done! It shows any "mistake" in art can be turned into a "beautiful oops." A tear in a piece of paper becomes and alligators's mouth, a bent corner becomes a penguins bill, a crumpled up piece of paper becomes the body of a sheep... It's really clever and interesting! A great read for any age! Maybe I like this book so much because it feels like a metaphor for my life? Ha!

I'm not one for picture books with themes that go over kids' heads, and are really meant more for parents. But this is one of those rare books that makes parents giggle, but that kids can understand too. My little guy enjoyed this one. It's another one that I need to read with my older kids too, as they would appreciate the humor in it a little differently than my youngest. It would be fun to brainstorm and make a list of all the things parents ask kids to do, and what it would look like if they asked them to do the opposite. Might be a great writing prompt!

What a gorgeous book! It takes the reader through the various settings and seasons in nature, pointing out all the places, sometimes unusual or unexpected, where we find beautiful swirls. It's fun to let the kids find the swirls on each page. Bring this one along on a picnic at the park or a nature hike and go on a swirl hunt! Perhaps bring along some paper, journals, or cameras to record what you find. Depending on where you find swirls, you might be able to do a crayon or chalk rubbing of them. Ooo, as I was just sitting here, looking at the illustrations, it occurred to me that black scratch-art paper would be perfect for recording the swirls you find! It would mimic the style of the illustrations in the book. So cool!

Another clever book! Another one that's so perfect for my kids! A monkey tries to explain to a jackass that what he is reading is simply and wonderfully just a book. This does not compute with the jackass. You can't scroll down? There's no mouse? It can't text or tweet? No! "It's a book!" The jackass finally discovers how enjoyable a book can actually be, and borrows it from the monkey. But he promises to "charge it up" before returning it. Loved this one! Wouldn't it be interesting to have a discussion with my preschoolers about the characteristics of a book versus something like an iPad? The pros and cons of each? I would have to make a list or chart of some kind, because I know my kids would come up with some great stuff!

I love a book that's fun to read aloud, and this is one I could read aloud over and over. It's really true to its title. Yes! Be ready for some fun! This one is maybe even as good as a Mo Willems title. Yes, really. At least in my own opinion.

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