Posts tagged ‘gratitude’

TINY BUT FEARLESS

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

Written by Karin Kaufman

A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.

This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.

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IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT COUNTS

The Tree Within the Tree

Written and Illustrated by Sally Huss

treewithintreepic

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

karaschristmassmilepic

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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DEVELOPING CHARACTER THROUGH PLAY

A Boat Full of Animals: Fun Activities to Develop Character in Kids

Written by Sally Huss
Boatfullofanimals,pic

I have read many of the Sally Huss books, but this one takes her work a step farther by showing children how to put the lessons into practice. This book contains thirty animal games which allow a child to play while developing skills in kindness, gratitude, appreciation, goodness, patience, and truthfulness. We have all heard the expression, “ A happy life makes a happy wife.” Huss believes the same applies to children; by creating happy children we will build cooperative communities of future happy adults putting these virtues to good use worldwide.

There are thirty games featuring different animals; they can be divided according to time, virtue or animal preference. Each of them provide interactive questions for the child and then create a scenario in which to imagine and act the game out. Here is one example: #4 The Cat Game. Huss points out one of the best qualities of a cat is how it cleans up after itself. Then she gives the child reasons why cleaning up is a good thing and how good it makes you feel. Next she presents the steps in playing the game. The child is asked to make a mess at different times of the day and then clean up seven times. At the end of the day, think of what has been done and how much you have learned. As time goes on, be sure to remind yourself how happy your success has made you.

Each of these games is so cleverly crafted that it is hard to choose. Let me give another example. In #16 The Rabbit Game, the child learns that a rabbit’s long ears are for listening as well as hearing. He must be alert for danger. The child is asked how many times must he hear something before he pays attention. Listening is fun because when we listen we learn new things. Instructions are to really listen at least five times when parents, teachers, siblings or friends speak to you. Then put your rabbit friend on your animal boat and both he and you will be happy listeners.

As a child moves through the book, he will eventually have filled his boat with thirty animals and all their good character traits. A child will have learned how to assimilate their good traits and apply them to everyday life situations making each day a happier experience for the child and those around him. These games are fun to play, and parents or teachers may choose to zero in on those qualities which need the most reinforcement. Highly recommend the book, particularly for children in the five to eight age group.

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A FRIEND IN NEED

The Christmas Owl

Written by Angela Muse

Illustrated by Helen M. Wu

The Christmas Owl, pic

This short thirty- two page book perfectly illustrates the reason for the season! The story presents an owl protagonist who has fallen out of its nest and is now unable to fly. This poor creature hops from place to place seeking refuge from the cold and snow. He meets four animals on his journey, a rabbit, a bat, a mouse and a duck. Each of them is reluctant to share its shelter and questions the owl as to what food will he eat. But the owl does not mean to intrude and makes due with whatever that animal has readily available in their shelter. The next morning the owl departs without notice. On Christmas Eve, he is able to fly again and soars to his nest. However, the first thing he does is fly back to each of his benefactors and drop a gift with a thank you note to each of the Good Samaritans!

This story is written in rhyme which is very well written and in smoothly flowing verse. Accompanying the text are gorgeous illustrations done in soft, warm colors which project the warm and cozy feeling of the plot. The faces of the animals appear almost human; personification plays a large role in the story line. For example, the bat is an avid reader of books; the mouse has a very cozy house complete with rugs, furniture and a warm, glowing lantern. Even very young children will understand the message of kindness and the gratification that comes from helping someone in need. The owl’s generosity and extension of friendship and thanks sets up a powerful model lesson for children and adults to follow.

I highly recommend this book for children aged three to adults and as an excellent addition to a home library, classroom reading shelf, or the public library. The author and illustrator have done a wonderful job of merging images and story line. This book is sure to become a favorite Christmas story to be reread every year. Personally, I can’t wait to read this one to my grandchildren!

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About the Book

The Christmas Owl by Angela MuseTitle: The Christmas Owl

Author: Angela Muse

Illustrator: Helen H. Wu

Publication Date: November, 2013

Publisher: Independent – 4eyesbooks

Number of pages: 36

Recommended age: 3+

Summary

A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word. Also check out Lil Glimmer, The Nutt Family: An Acorny Adventure, The Pig Princess, The Bee Bully, Eager Eaglets: Birds of Play, Cactus Charlie, Suzy Snowflake and Monsters Have Mommies by this author.

Book Trailer

Purchase

** You can download a copy of “The Christmas Owl” for only 99 cents from NOW through to November 14, 2013 on Amazon!! **

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About the Author: Angela Muse

Angela Muse, Author

Angela Muse

I was born in California to a military family. This meant that I was the “new kid” in school every couple of years. It was hard always trying to make new friends, but I discovered I had a knack for writing. I began writing poetry in high school and really enjoyed expressing myself by using pen and paper. After becoming a Mom in 2003, I continued my storytelling to my own children. In 2009 I wrote and published my first children’s book aimed at toddlers. In 2012 I am set to release several more children’s books. Check out what I’m working on by visiting my children’s book blog.

Writing is such a wonderful creative process and I look forward to sharing more of my stories with lots of new little readers!

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* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest runs: November 12 to December 11, 11:59 pm, 2013

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Angela Muse and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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