Posts from the ‘preschool’ Category

PARENTAL POINTERS

Terrific Twos: Positive Views on Parental Discipline

Written by Merry Palmer

I found this book to be an effective resource for parents searching to get a handle on positive discipline techniques for toddlers and even for older children. The author presents a common sense approach coupled with examples of situations and suggestions as to how to cope. Toddlers are experiencing a rapid growth in gross motor, fine motor, cognitive and social skills. Beginning with the dreaded word “no” the author suggests providing other options and choices where possible. Readers learn about the tone of voice, making eye contact, and combinations of words that work well for the toddler. Language should be succinct and simple, while at the same time, encouraging the child to learn new vocabulary.

A large part of the book deals with discipline, how to explain the need for discipline, how to use it as a teaching tool and how to be fair in exercising it. The author explains how to get a child to understand the need for taking responsibility for her actions, and how to apply effective strategies of discipline for children of different ages. In conclusion, parents need to remember to exercise patience and control of their own emotions; advice that sometimes can be difficult for parents, but certainly a worthwhile goal for every parent.

I highly recommend this quick read as a great reference book for both new and experienced parents.

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READS FOR YOUR SWEETIE

Valentine’s Day for Beginning Readers

Written by Ella May Woodman

The author has released a series of sight word readers for beginning readers centering on holiday themes. This entry focuses on Valentine’s Day, the previous two centered on Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Valentine’s Day uses words in the en family. Plot involves Ben and Jen who are childhood friends. As we meet them, they are drawing and writing Valentine’s cards to bring to school the next day. When Ben forgets his cards at home, Jen volunteers to allow him to add his name to her cards. Each page has a basic illustration that explains the simple sight word text.

May includes the Dolch and Fry sight words and provides suggestions that parents or caretakers may use before, during and after the book is shared with the child. Parents and teachers who want to use the sight word approach to reading have these references located in one place. The main objective of this book to to assist new and beginning readers to use the book as a tool to increase reading fluency. I would also recommend the book for ESL students.

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SNOW EXTRAVAGANZA

Box Set for Children: Paul the Snowman Series  (4 in 1 Box Set)

Written by Yossi Lapid

Illustrated by Joanna Pasek

 

This collection of snowman stories is a great bargain and a worthwhile collection for preschool and primary school children. Parents might choose to read them as separate bedtime stories, older children will find them a fun beginning reader collection. I had previously read the story of Snowman Paul and Kate’s Birthday, which I enjoyed. The first four stories combined in a collection provide children with a more comprehensive view of the character of Paul, a personification of a snowman with the strengths and weaknesses of a human character.

In these beautifully illustrated watercolor tales, children view Paul from the moment Dan creates this snowman with a well-defined personality. In the Olympics story, children learn that determination is a good character trait, but it needs to be reigned in when the spirit of competition is unfair to others. My favorite tale is the fourth. Paul decides he wants to play in a musical concert. He learns to play, a fiddle, trumpet and drums. His human friends have their patience worn thin listening to his practice. At long last the concert arrives, and Paul puts on a brilliant performance

These tales and the lessons embedded in the stories can be enjoyed by any age, but preschool and kindergarten children will especially love them. When you want to experience wintertime, get in the spirit of the season by introducing yourself to Paul, the snowman.

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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

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