Posts from the ‘preschool’ Category

TUCK IN THOSE CORNERS

Children’s Book: A Grand Bed Adventure: Developing Habits of Self Discipline for Children

Written by A.M. Marcus

Illustrated by Oliver Bundoc

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Young Ted visits his grandfather every Monday spending the night with him. They enjoy each other’s company. One morning Ted notices how carefully his grandfather makes the bed and inquires why he spends so much time on something that will get messed up when he sleeps. His grandfather explains that he learned how to make a bed properly when he was a Navy Seal. Beginning the day by doing something well gives you incentive to continue doing good and provides a good reminder at the end of the day. Ted ponders this and is able to transfer the example to incidents in his own experience. He realizes that doing something well is important no matter how small the task.

This book is part of a series encouraging young children to develop positive habits. The text is simple to understand though perhaps relies too heavily on dialogue. Illustrations are simple and colorful. A free coloring book is offered as a free bonus. Recommended especially for preschoolers and primary grade children.

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IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS

The Tree Within the Tree

Written and Illustrated by Sally Huss

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Sally places her message for this story right on the cover: The Importance of Appreciation. Alexander and Charlotte have only two dollars between them. They are walking through a Christmas tree lot on Christmas Eve. The owner informs them that they only have enough money to consider a tree on a pile of rubbish in the corner. There the two children discover a scraggly tree that desperately wanted to become a Christmas tree to make a family happy. The family is poor but determined to embellish their tree. As the tree gazes at the worn furniture and scanty possessions, it is amazed by how family members gather popcorn, aluminum and personal possessions to transform the scrawny tree into the most beautiful tree inside and outside.

Illustrations are simple and classic; this book will not only place smiles on the faces of preschoolers and primary school children, but remind children and adults alike to appreciate the little things and not become embroiled in the materialistic side of Christmas. Recommended as a bedtime story or read aloud for students and families to share.

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CHAIN REACTION

Kara’s Christmas Smile

Written by A.M. Marcus

Illustrated by Oliver Bundoc

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Kara and her mom are shopping in a store on Christmas Eve. Kara is searching for one special Christmas gift as she and her mom prepare to celebrate the holiday. Kara finds a stuffed kitten that she really wants, but notices the disappointed look on a young boy looking on. She voluntarily hands him the kitten feeling the Christmas spirit. That same boy bumps into a woman and knocks her belongings to the floor. He helps her pick them up. As that woman waits in line at the store, she gives up her place in line to a father and impatient young son. The father and son step outside and notice an elderly lady who has fallen on the ice. They offer a ride to the clinic to get her medical care, and so the chain continues as each new character embraces and shares the Christmas spirit.

Illustrations are simple but lovely. The book aptly conveys the spirit of the holiday season. Perfect choice for beginning readers and a fun classroom or family read to share.

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#Happy Mamas Children’s Book Review Blog Tour, Interview and Giveaway

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HAPPY MAMAS SYNOPSIS

Written by Kathleen Pelley

Illustrated by Ruth E. Harper

Publisher’s Synopsis: Happy Mamas is a lyrical read aloud that pays tribute to the universal joys of mothering in the animal and in the human kingdoms. Charming illustrations depict all the activities that bring joy to a mama and her baby over the course of a day: feeding her little ones bundles of bamboo shoots, teaching her calf how to trumpet loud a jungle cheer, playing peek a boo, watching her little ones fly from the nest, singing a serenade to the man in the moon, or crooning owly lullabies through the deep dark woods. But as the moon glows and the stars shine, what is it that makes all Mamas from desert to jungle, from forest to field, from land to sea happiest by far?

Mamas and babies everywhere will delight in this happy romp – a perfect ode to Motherhood. Perfect for one on one sharing or for use in the classroom. Ages 3-6 Ages 3-6 | CWLA Press | October 10, 2016 | 978-1587601606

Available Here:

(also available in Spanish)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kathleen Pelley was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but spent most of her childhood summers playing on her grandparents’ farm in Ireland. Her passion for stories stemmed from listening to them on the radio during the BBC children’s story hour. Later, her gentle Irish father fanned the flame even more by feeding her his tales of fairies, leprechauns, and banshees.
So much did Kathleen love stories, that off she went to Edinburgh University and earned a degree in HiSTORY. She didn’t much care for all the facts and dates and numbers, but how she loved the stories of Rasputin, Napoleon, and Bonnie Prince Charlie! One character in particular captured Kathleen’s imagination—Florence Nightingale. After completing her degree, Kathleen studied to become a children’s nurse, but it was a brief and disastrous dalliance. For much as Kathleen loved children, she did not like to see them sick and suffering. However, decades later, Kathleen now sees herself as a kind of a nurse, because she believes that stories can heal the hurts in our hearts.
As a former elementary teacher, Kathleen enjoys sharing her passion with people of all ages. She has been a regular speaker at Regis University on “Nurturing a Passion for Stories,” makes frequent presentations at schools and conferences, and has been telling stories at an inner city elementary school for the past 20 years. She believes that one of the best ways to teach our children empathy is through stories that help them “walk a mile in another man’s moccasins.” When she’s not reading, writing, telling, or listening to stories, Kathleen enjoys knitting, Scottish music, and hiking with her husband and two Golden Retriever dogs along the trails of sunny Colorado.
OFFICIAL LINKS
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Ruth is a self-taught English artist who fancies herself as a spiffy writer-in-the-making. She is the illustrator of #1 classic The Kissing Hand and Sassafras, and Happy Mamas is her 3rd book for CWLA. Powered by dark chocolate, she heartily knits stories together with letters, pencils and paintbrushes. She is often snatched up by breezes and colors and pint-sized things like rocks, leaves, shells, bugs, feathers, and creatures. You may also find her gardening, hiking, wildly dancing, and riding her bike really fast in an odd looking helmet. She now breathes easy in Iowa with an adorable husband, a dog, two cats, and six marvelous kids between them (with handfuls of grandbabies!). See her art at www.rutheharper.com.

 MY INTERVIEW WITH KATHLEEN PELLEY

What was it that inspired you to write a book about happiness?

For many years I used to run a mother/daughter book club at my home and no matter what story we discussed, whether it was Tolstoy’s, “The Two Brothers,” or a classic fairy tale such as Jack and the Beanstalk, it seemed we always circled back to this whole notion of happiness. What was it? How did our main character find it….or lose it? Were rich people happier than poor people? These were the kinds of questions we grappled with.

Around this time, I also noticed too that there was a bounty of books on this topic and one of them, The Pursuit of Happiness by William O’ Malley referred to the ancient Greek definition of happiness as the evolving of a soul. This description resonated deeply with me, because of course, happiness is never actually static, but rather continually unfolds and evolves over time, and seems much more connected to the interior life than the exterior life.

O’Malley also mentioned watching his Golden retriever swimming in a pond to retrieve his ball, and how the dog would literally continue swimming and retrieving to the point of utter exhaustion. Why? Because he was in his element – doing what he was born to do, to swim and to retrieve.

That was my “Aha” moment, because it seemed to me that we humans are born to do two things -to love and to create. And what can be more loving and creative than – MOTHERING!

I wrote Happy Mamas as a way of exploring the myriad ways human and animal mamas love their babies over the course of a day and to show how mothering and happiness are inextricably entwined. Any mother will tell you that what she wants most in all the world is for her child to be happy – and that happiness is completely and absolutely related to – GOODNESS – to the evolving of a soul.

The animals included within the pages of Happy Mamas are all so adorable. Do you have any favorites?

It’s hard to choose which animals in the book are my favorite as Ruth has done such a fabulous job of depicting all of them in various kinds of cheery cavorting, but probably, if I had to choose, then it would be the wolves singing their serenade to the man in the moon, “to make him smile and light up the night!” I love how Ruth has painted them perched on the desert rocks and howling their little hearts out. It has such great child appeal as most children naturally enjoy singing together and in those early years, seldom do they suffer from any inhibitions about the quality of their voices – they just sing away with great gusto.

You have been writing children’s books for quite some time. Do you feel that storytelling has changed over the years? What lessons have you learned through your experiences as a writer?

At the risk of sounding cynical, I think the hardest thing I’ve learned is – adapt to the market place or suffer the consequences! Early on in my career, I loved writing stories with a folk tale/fable like feel to them, with rich lyrical language that could appeal to children as old as 10– these were the kind of stories I liked to read to my class when I was a teacher in Scotland, and the type of stories I shared with the children at the inner city school where I worked for over twenty years. But – they are NOT the type of stories publishers want now. The industry has changed so much since then and now most picture books have little or no text and are very visually driven and geared to the 3- 6 year olds. Hence my most recent book – Happy Mamas is geared to this age group AND their mothers – I think one of the great joys of a picture book is they allow adult and child to bask in the beauty of the language and even if children do not understand the meaning of a word, it should not matter one whit as long as they enjoy the experience of sitting in a lap with a Mama’s soothing words seeping into their little souls.

Ruth E. Harper is a talented illustrator. Together you have created a wonderful keepsake book. DO you have a favorite part?

Children are always surprised when I tell them I always have a favorite part of my books. But because I am not the illustrator and seldom have that much control over the illustrations, it is often a surprise to me when I see the final pictures and there is always one illustration that resonates with me deeply. In this book it is the picture of the adorable Asian big sister picking up her baby brother to “kiss him better.” To me, this picture illustrates the most important lesson any Mama can teach her child – how to love.

What do you hope readers will take away from reading Happy Mamas?

Picture books distill some truth or beauty to its finest essence and so after that last page is turned or final word uttered, some bolt of beauty or some whiff of wonder should linger with you. I think the essence of Happy Mamas is simple – all we really want for our children from the moment we first hold them in our arms to the day we send them out into the world on their own (and beyond) is for them to – BE HAPPY.

The endearing picture of a Happy Mama panda feeding her little one on the book’s cover is a perfect embodiment of this truth, for the first act of mothering is – to feed our babies, be it bamboo sticks or bottles of milk. And at the same time as we are feeding their bodies, we are also feeding their hearts and souls with – our love. If you look at the faces of the Mama panda and her baby on the cover, I think you will agree that Ruth has managed to capture perfectly that moment of Mama/Baby bonding bliss.

Can you share with us your favorite part of the writing process?

Definitely revising. Drafting is so hard because I just never know if this idea I have is going to make it as a picture book, but when I am at the final revision stage, especially if it has made it to my editor’s desk, then I have the confidence to know that it will work and all I need to do is to polish and shine and make the story sparkle.

What should we expect to see from you next?

If things go well with Happy Mamas, I would love to do a Happy Papas, but….after some initial research, I realize it is much harder to find Papas in the animal kingdom who stick around to “father” their little ones – but there are some.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with your readers?

When I talk to parents and children at literacy events, I like to emphasize that learning to be a good reader/writer is not only important because it means better grades, improved listening skills, entering good colleges and getting good jobs – important as all of those are – it is about being a happier person and living live more compassionately, creatively, and joyfully. Our job as parents, storytellers, and educators is to raise the future heroes and leaders of our world and so we need to give them models of courage, compassion and goodness by feeding them GOOD stories. “All of earth is crammed with heaven.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The best part about being a children’s author is rummaging around my day for a piece of heaven and then writing about it!

 

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win an autographed 6 picture book prize pack from acclaimed author Kathleen Pelley. The prize pack includes finger puppets, adorable stuffed animals, and Happy Mamas (illustrated by Ruth E. Harper, illustrator of the NY Times best seller The Kissing Hand).

 

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Value: $150.00+

 

Three (3) runner-up prize winners receive:
  • A copy of Happy Mamas autographed by Kathleen Pelley
Value: $14.95

 

Giveaway begins October 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends November 10, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.
Prizes and samples provided by Kathleen Pelley.

https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/weblog/2016/10/win-an-autographed-6-picture-book-happy-mamas-prize-pack-from-kathleen-pelley.html

ELEPHANT ENLIGHTENMENT

Charlie the Smart Elephant: Books for Kids: Bedtime Story, Beginning Reader

Written by Jeff Harris

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Short tale of less than twenty pages featuring Charlie the Elephant, an intelligent but hungry elephant who was born in a small town somewhere in Africa, but who longs to live the life of a pet in a cozy family. One day he is adopted and placed in a stray animal shelter where Charlie finds the company of other animals. He is delighted when a boy named Connor adopts him; and the family builds a separate house for the elephant. Then Charlie becomes sad because he has everything he needs and is bored. Charlie rejoices when he overhears two pet dogs talking about their cookies being missing. So Charlie decides to become a detective and solve the missing cookie mystery. Following the cookie crumbs, Charlie comes to a deep forest. Should he enter the forest and risk becoming lost? Will he solve the mystery and return to his family?

This book is charming and sweet for a bedtime story, and beginning readers will be able to handle the text, but the plot does not always flow smoothly or connect the dots. Children might have questions that go unanswered. A few simple illustrations are included. Targeted for readers ages two through fourteen, I would recommend it as a bedtime story for preschoolers or as a beginning reader for a child who enjoys stories about pets.

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BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Becky and the Butterfly Girl

Written by Janet Young

Illustrated by Vladimir Cebu

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Charming picture book featuring a child named Becky who guides her young readers on a tour of her butterfly garden. Becky’s garden is designed as a wild flower garden with water features, a pond filled with fish, birdhouses and bee houses, but most importantly it provides a safe haven for butterflies. Monarch butterflies are quickly disappearing due to the rapid expansion of roads and cities. Becky’s tour leads us through cone flowers, monarda, asters, goldenrod and milkweed. This garden is free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The monarch butterflies lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves; which are the only kind of food they eat, but which are poisonous to humans. Once the eggs become caterpillars, Becky’s dad carefully moves them to a cage where they continue to feed on milkweed leaves until they form a chrysalis. After about ten days they emerge as butterflies, when they are carefully released from their cage.

The illustrations depict Becky and her beautiful garden plants and animal friends. Story is based on Becky Lecroy, a genuine character whose parents raise monarch butterflies in their own wild flower backyard. Nice way to teach children about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and the importance of conserving the species. Targeted for grades preschool through grade four, this book should be included on classroom shelves in elementary school as well as those in libraries and environmentally conscious parents who might want to undertake the project on a smaller scale. I personally plant milkweed in my tiny garden to encourage monarchs to settle there. Sadly, in recent years, I have noticed a dramatic drop in the lovely creatures that used to fill my backyard.

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IT’S ELEMENTARY….. #Read Kids Classics

Morris the Moose Goes to School

Written and Illustrated by Bernard Wiseman

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This classic was one of my favorite books to read to my own children or to students in my classroom at the beginning of the school year. Originally published as Morris Goes to School in hardcover in 1970, Scholastic reprinted it as a paperback in 1978 under the title, Morris the Moose Goes to School.

Morris never thought about attending school until he visited a candy store one day and was unable to count out his pennies to pay for the candy he wanted to buy. A kindly storekeeper brings Morris to the local school where Miss Fine, the teacher, warmly welcomes Morris. Poor Morris can’t fit into the desk and picks the wrong bathroom because he fails to understand the concept of letters. He can’t comprehend what a song is and does not have fingers to help him count to ten. Morris is unprepared; he doesn’t have lunch so he eats the grass outside on the lawn. Miss Fine is the epitome of a kind, patient teacher who never loses her patience and finds numerous concrete examples to elucidate and get her lessons across to Morris. At the end of the day, Morris learns his counting skills and is able to revisit the candy store.

I love the clever way Wiseman brings the plot full circle to its logical conclusion. Children proceed step by step along the story line and learn multiple lessons along the way. Wiseman uses only three colors, brown, white and blue in each of the simple but expressive illustrations peppering each page of text. The current version is marketed as an I Can Read Step 1 book, perfect for the preschool through grade three student audience. Also a good choice for parents to include in their back to school reading list. The book is still available on Amazon in multiple formats.

About the author: Bernard Wiseman wrote many books on the Morris theme. He was active from 1958 through 1995. He kept a low profile. Little biographical information is available. Amazon provides only a list of his books.

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READCLASSICS,PIC

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