Sunday, March 22, 2009

New(ish) books for the youngsters

The kids will be having a week’s worth of testing starting the 30th, and the school is suggesting that each family live TV-free for that week. I think that’s a great idea, but it will take a lot of selling. We don’t watch a lot of TV since we only have an antenna but the kids like to come home from school and do their best couch potato impersonation for a little while. I’m on the lookout for some ideas for activities, especially since summer break is coming up so fast. I want the kids to be reading, working, etc. this summer, not spend those weeks tuned out of life and tuned into the television.

I spent last weekend at a conference for Early Childhood Educators, and a couple of the sessions I attended were on books and literacy. So, when we have the TV turned off, hopefully we’ll be doing a lot of reading.

Here is a list of some new(ish) books that I’ve discovered:

1. Wave by Suzy Lee
This is a wordless book that has beautiful illustrations covering the two-page spread. It’s lovely as a picture book, or the reader can make up a story to go with the pictures.

2. Potato Joe by Keith Baker
A take-off of the rhyme “one potato, two potato”, with simple but cute graphics.

3. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
Don’t babies just love to look at other babies? Even though these babies aren’t photos, they’re illustrated, they are so cute you can’t resist! Mem Fox has a style all her own, and it shows up in this sweet book about those ten little fingers and ten little toes that babies all over the world have in common.

4. Puff, The Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Yes, it’s the Peter, Paul and Mary song as a children’s book. (Will this finally dispel the rumor that it’s about smoking weed?) I’ve always loved this song since my Grandpa Hall would play it on the guitar and the rest of us harmonized our way through it. Again, the illustrations are awesome in this book, too!

5. On The Farm by David Elliot
Of course, I can’t resist a farm book! This one consists of short poems about farm life. The woodcut and watercolor double-page illustrations are, not to be redundant, awesome.

6. Playtime Rhymes for Little People compiled by Mary Finch
This book includes classic rhymes, and again, the illustrations are amazing. The artwork was prepared in antique fabric and felt collage, and have to be seen to be appreciated. Have I mentioned that I love fabric?

7. Here’s A Little Poem collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters
Over 60 poems are included in this huge volume. And, of course, great illustrations, too!

8. The Boy Who Wouldn’t Share by Mike Reiss
Edward is stingy with his sister Claire. He hoards toys in a heap so mountainous that he gets stuck under it. Good book for siblings who don’t share. Maybe they’ll get it without having to nag? Would be great to read while eating a plate of fudge. Come to think of it, wouldn’t every book be better with fudge? Funny illustrations done by the same artist who did the great illustrations for I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More.

9. Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf
When a truck gets stuck under a low-hanging bridge, quite a scene develops as the traffic backs up. This is a rhyming book, and is perfect for truck lovers.

10. The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
Other leaves turn red and flutter around the little yellow leaf and down to the ground, but he’s not ready to let go of his branch. Love the collage art illustrations!

11. To Be Like the Sun by Susan Marie Swanson
This is a great “Spring” book, and includes a packet of seeds if you buy the book, and not check it out of the library like I usually do.

13. Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loves to draw: "Anytime. Anything. Anywhere." When his older brother laughs at one of his pictures and points out that it does not look like a real vase of flowers, a dejected Ramon crumples up all of his efforts. However, he soon learns that his younger sister has hung the discarded papers on her bedroom walls. When he declares that the picture of the vase doesn't look like the real thing, she says that it looks "vase-ISH." The child then begins to produce paintings that look "tree-ish," "afternoon-ish," and "silly-ish." His "ish art" inspires him to look at all creative endeavors differently. I love this book! My kids have always had a hard time accepting that they can't make the "perfect" art, or drawing, or whatever, on the frist try.

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