Archive for June, 2016

SIGNS OF SUCCESS

Raising a Happy Child: Easy Techniques for Better Communication With Your Baby and Toddler

Written by Barb Asselin

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This book focuses on using American Sign Language with babies and young children in an effort to provide a means for parents to better answer the communication needs of their children. Learning and using ASL allows a child to communicate with parents before they are able to use spoken language.

Asselin bases the book on her own experiences with her two girls. She begins by explaining what American Sign Language is composed of and the types of populations for which it was designed. The author provides some history of its use. While ASL is used primarily with the deaf, Down’s Syndrome or Learning Disabled children, parents and caregivers have learned that babies can easily learn the basic signs to use for communication. She lists the 50 plus signs that are most common, milk, again and more are often starting points. Asselin cautions parents not to overdo or force learning, but to gradually build up a set of vocabulary words. Once you have begun to communicate with your child, the next step is to introduce the program to caregivers and teachers. Finally, the author provides a comprehensive list of resources for reference and additional support in using the program.

I have a nephew whose parents have introduced him to sign language. He is quite adept and comfortable with basic sign and takes to it naturally. This book is a good tool for any parent who is interested in exploring earlier and better communication with a child and is willing to take the time to invest in mastering it. I would recommend all parents and prospective parents to take a look at it.

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SCIENTIFIC SLEUTHING

Frankie Dupont AND THE SCIENCE FAIR SABOTAGE (Frankie Dupont Mysteries Book 3)

Written by Julie Ann Grasso

Illustrated by Alexander Avellino

FRankieScienceFair,picEleven year old Frankie Dupont’s parents are off for the day to attend an awards ceremony. Frankie’s dad leaves his in charge of his detective agency. Sounds strange? Well, Frankie has already proved his mettle in assisting his father in previous investigations.

Shortly after they leave, Frankie gets a call from his cousin Kat and her friend, Amy Applebyto assist in solving a mystery at the science fair being held in Enderby Manor. Seven kids are competing in a science contest in which all the entries must be made from recyclable materials. The winner will receive $300 and a ticket to science camp. Seven contestants have employed creativity in projects such as a musical instrument made from drinking cans, Lego blocks made from Stevia, a balloon recycling center and cloned blue salmon. Upon his arrival, Frankie discovers that Angus and Archie Appleby’s robotic chip has been stolen while they were arguing over how to assemble their robot made from household items. Frankie has the scene secured and methodically proceeds to interview each of the contestants in order to collect clues and solve the mystery.

Middle school readers will enjoy the adventure as the clues are revealed by Frankie as he investigates. But things are not as they appear on the surface. Readers may be surprised by the end result of the investigation and the just rewards that follow. Recommended for Encylopedia Brown fans in the eight to twelve year old age range.

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NIGHTMARES NO MORE

Furry Friends No More Book 1: Boris to the Rescue

Written by Kaz Campbell

Boris,pic

Bob is pretty much your average fourth grader. His father is a teacher at his school; that can be a problem. Lately, he has been having bad dreams that keep him up at night. His mother has a solution; she gives him a dream catcher and explains that his dreams will be trapped there and do longer keep him awake. Bob is astonished when a red furry monster named Boris materializes out of the dream catcher. Boris will answer Bob’s call whenever he needs help. Turns out Boris can help him with homework and bullies who pick on Bob at school. How can Bob explain Boris when no one else can see this little furry friend?

The comical adventures of Bob and Boris cover topics important to elementary school children like fitting in at school, bullying and parental relationships. Book can best be described as an early chapter book. There are a few digital illustrations randomly added to provide support for early readers. First in a series. Recommended especially for ages six through eight.

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! – GRANDPA’S SECRET

The Time Machine Girls:Book One:Secrets

Written by Ernestine Tito Jones

TimeMachineGirls

Charming chapter book featuring two sisters, eight year old Hazel and six year old Bess. The girls could not be more different: Hazel is responsible, truthful and obedient, Bess is unrestrained, mischievous and prone to hide the truth.

The sisters are trapped in their grandparents home for the summer while their mother helps them clean out the house in preparation for downsizing. Because the girls have no TV and no internet, the opportunity for getting into trouble immediately presents itself. Hazel has been given a book of rules; under no circumstances can they go into the attic. When Hazel consents to play hide and seek with Bess, little Bess runs to hide in the attic. There the girls find some strange books about time travel and a unusual contraption, which Bess promptly decides to sit in. Sure enough, they find themselves back in time. The sisters find themselves in the year 1738 on the lawn of George Washington’s boyhood farm. He is a six year old boy. What connection does their time machine have with George? Will the girls be able to find their way back home to the twenty first century? If so, how can they explain what they did to their parents and grandparents?

This book is the introduction to a series that promises to hold lots of fun for beginning and early middle grade readers. A house full of secrets, strange grandparents, and two inquisitive and intelligent sisters sound like the beginning of an interesting adventure series for readers in the seven to twelve age group.

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#KIDSREADCLASSICS – PUPPY LOVE

Puppies Are Like That

Written and illustrated by Jan Pfloog

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This book was one of my favorite read aloud picture books for both my son and daughter. It remained their number one choice for a bedtime story or rainy day read aloud for quite some time. My copy is rather tattered, soiled, and dog eared, a bit like the beagle who is the star character in this Random House Pictureback Book that was copyrighted in 1975.

A good part of the appeal of this tale is the analogy the puppy presents with the life of a growing child. Puppies like to chew on things they shouldn’t, but don’t like to be scolded. Neither do children. Puppies like to bark and make too much noise as do children. Pups often stick their noses into places they don’t belong and dare each other to see who is stronger. They love to get dirty, but hate taking a bath. At the end of a long day, all puppies really desire is a warm bed and a soft cuddle. Can you see why this book would appeal to preschoolers and beginning readers?

The illustrations portray puppies engaged in all of these antics. They are large, colorful and cute. As the activities change from one to another, the author repeats the phrase, “Puppies are like that!” My children loved repeating these words over and over again in affirmation. This tale lends itself to an interactive read aloud between parent and child or younger and older siblings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jan Pfloog wrote many books about animals in the sixties, seventies and eighties. There is a companion book to this one, Kittens Are Like That. Most of her books centered on animals, farm animals, zoo animals or individual animals like the ones previously discussed. Copies of the book are still available on amazon https://www.amazon.com/Puppies-Are-Like-that-Pictureback/dp/0394829239/re

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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

The Chronicles of Ragnar Rabbit Book 1 How I Got My Name

Written and illustrated by Melinda Kinsman

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Funny and clever early reader done in the format of a graphic novel. Protagonist is a stuffed rabbit nicknamed Raggy; the real story is how he got his name Ragnar. One day Raggy’s human owner, Max, goes to the library with his grandpa. They return home with a book about Vikings. Max and Raggy begin to act out Viking adventures. Max builds a Viking ship with the help of his parents and Raggy.

The next day, they are about to launch their ship when Raggy is whisked away by a vulture. I won’t give away the plot, but I can say Raggy will encounter a Ninja, and a helicopter before being kidnapped again. Max is disconsolate; the family searches for two weeks. At the end of the story, readers are still unaware of the whereabouts of Raggy, now named Rangar in honor of a famous Viking warrior. What has happened to the dedicated stuffed rabbit? Will he be reunited with Max? Guess we will find out in Book 2.

The simple vocabulary and speech balloons allow early readers to master the text and follow the emotions of the characters, including the adorable ants who comment and have their own little adventures while following Max and Raggy. Nice bedtime story, but particularly recommended for reluctant readers or as a beginning reader for ages four through seven.

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A BEAR’S BEST FRIEND

SUGAR AND CLIVE AND THE CIRCUS BEAR (DOGWOOD ISLAND MIDDLE GRADE ADVENTURES Book One)

Written by Alexandra Amor

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The format of this book is a bit unusual for a middle grade adventure. The author begins with a prologue setting the scene for the climax of the book. She ends with an epilogue that answers the questions left in the reader’s minds.

Sugar is an energetic, caramel colored dog who lives a carefree life with her mistress Marion on Dogwood Island. Sugar has a somewhat unusual best friend, a barn swallow named Clive who lives on the farm with her. One day, while traipsing through the island, Clive urges Sugar to come to the library to see a strange site, a bear in a cage in the town square, who apparently has been abandoned on the island. The two friends strike up a conversation with the bear named Sebastian.

Soon it becomes apparent that the circus has closed up shop and Sebastian has been left in his cage to fend for himself. The townspeople decide it would be best to place the bear in a zoo, but Sugar and Clive feel that they would like to help Sebastian find his freedom At first the bear is reluctant, but after his brief separation from the circus, he decides they are right.

Clive and Sugar enlist island animal friends like Larry the Seagull, AnnMay, a Siamese cat, and a human friend, Stewart, to find a way to move the 500 pound bear off the island into a forested area where he could roam free. But the zookeepers are fast approaching, will they be able to carry out their daring plan?

I love the dialogue and clever conversations among the animals, and the ingenious solutions they come up to solve one problem after another. At just over one hundred pages this chapter book is just the right length to hold the interest of young readers and middle grade students with enough interesting plot twists and suspense. This book would be an excellent choice for a class read aloud and discussion book. Young animal and adventure lovers will not be able to put this one down.

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