Monday, October 25, 2010

What We're Reading – October 25, 2010

We're linking this post up to It's Monday! What Are You Reading at Book Journey.

Tintin (7):
Johnny Boo (4):
Johnny Boo:
Next up
Johnny Boo:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Books of the Week – October 23, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week (just one for Tintin – he spent most of his reading time finishing up Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone):

Tintin, age 7

Kaput & Zösky
Author/illustrator: Lewis Trondheim, with Eric Cartier

Kaput and Zösky, from First Second, the publisher of some of Tintin's other favorite graphic novels (Little Vampire and Sardine – see our review), contains 12 comics about two evil aliens intent on conquering the universe. The blaster-happy duo travels to several different planets in the hopes of ruling over their inhabitants, but something always ends up ruining their plans. Tintin's favorite story includes vampires, Kaput and Zösky covered with strawberries and clotted cream, and burps infused with the smell of garlic sausage.

Johnny Boo, age 4

Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion
Author/illustrator: Mo Willems

Trixie travels to Holland to visit her grandparents and loses her beloved Knuffle Bunny on the way. In this, the third (and final) Knuffle Bunny tale, Trixie learns a lot about growing up. Obviously Johnny Boo is not at the same stage: He read the book while still at the library (we had this one on hold as soon as we saw it was being acquired) and on the way home he held on tightly to the book while shoving his security blanket in his face. He loved the book anyway, just as much as the other Knuffle Bunny books, which we also had to bring home (again).

The Magic School Bus: The Wild Leaf Ride
Author/illustrator: Judith Stamper/Carolyn Bracken

Ms. Frizzle's class takes a trip to study leaves (and acorns) up close in this easy reader, Johnny Boo's first introduction to the Magic School Bus series. Johnny Boo wasn't interested in this one when I showed it to him at the library, but I overheard him reading it the other day, and now he's hooked. He loved when the bus turned into a bird and he learned so much about leaves (and retained the information when I asked him questions later on). He now knows how to identify a maple leaf and that a leaf's fall colors are always hiding behind its green color. Hmm...I see more Magic School Bus books in our future.

We're linking up with What My Child Is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Books of the Week – October 16, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week:

Tintin, age 7

Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children
Author/illustrator: Heather Amery/Linda Edwards

Usborne Greek Myths for Young Children is the perfect book for kids who've just gotten into mythology and are eager to learn more. Full of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, this was a book Tintin couldn't put down (not even for a trip to the grocery store). We're putting this one on Tintin's wish list – I have a feeling he and his brother will be going back to it often.

Little Bear, You're a Star
Author/illustrator: Jean Marzollo

Little Bear, You're a Star is a simplified retelling of the Greek myth of Callisto and her son, Arcas, and how they became the constellations Ursa Major and Minor. This is a great book for young children, even before they're ready for the Usborne book, which doesn't include this myth. As Marzollo explains, children should be encouraged to read more detailed versions of this myth as they grow older. For children Tintin's age and younger, however, this is a cute introduction that includes a chorus of birds at the bottom of each page who offer a running commentary about what's going on.

Johnny Boo, age 4

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends
Author/illustrator: James Marshall

In this book are 35 stories of lovable hippo friends George and Martha, as well as a foreword by Maurice Sendak and appreciations by Marc Brown, Jack Gantos, Susan Meddaugh, Nicole Rubel, Coleen Salley, Jon Scieszka and David Wiesner. Johnny Boo (and Tintin too) loves reading about the humorous situations George and Martha get themselves into (like when George finally can't take any more of  the pea soup Martha keeps serving to him and pours it into his shoes rather than telling his best friend how much he dislikes it). Johnny Boo has gotten out all of the George and Martha books he could find at the public library and was overjoyed when I found this one at his brother's elementary school library. Needless to say, this one is already on the wish list.

Pearl and Wagner: Three Secrets
Author/illustrator: Kate McMullan/R.W. Alley 

In another easy-to-read book about best friends, Pearl the rabbit and Wagner the mouse visit an ice cream factory and an amusement park. While there they learn valuable lessons about sharing secrets and feelings with a close friend. After reading this book, Johnny Boo is looking forward to finding the other books in the series: Pearl and Wagner: Two Good Friends; Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day; and Pearl and Wagner: Four Eyes.

We're linking this up with What My Child Is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, Kid Konnection at Booking Mama, and Kids' Picks at 5 Minutes for Books.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Snowy Day – A Kid's Review

On October 7, the boys and I read The Snowy Day, along with everyone else who participated in Jumpstart's Read for the Record. We read the book online at We Give Books, which ended up donating about 40,000 books (one for each book read online) to preschool classes in low-income communities across America.

Here is Tintin's review:

The Snowy Day
Author/illustrator: Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowy Day is about a boy named Peter who plays on a snowy day. He makes a snowman and he puts a snowball in his pocket. The next day it's gone and he feels sad. There's more snow the next day, so he can make another one. My favorite part was when he dreamed that the snow melted away. I liked this book because it has snow in it and I like to play with snow. I would recommend this book to kids who like snow books.

And because it's barely even fall here in Texas, we decided to make a frozen treat to go along with the book. Pumpkin shaved ice, sweetened with agave nectar (not my favorite, but according to the boys, it was better than french fries but not as good as ice cream):

We're linking this up with the Book Lovers' Blog Hop at Story Time Under the Stars and Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's Monday 10/11! What Are You Reading?

From Book Journey:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.



Johnny Boo: 



Johnny Boo:  

Next up

  • More Tashi books

Johnny Boo:

Reviews (links take you to the reviews)

And coming up, a kid's review of The Snowy Day and another one of Stop Pop, Pig Wig and Snake Cake.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Books of the Week – October 9, 2010

Tintin is still reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, his new favorite book. Instead of writing about it again, you can see what we had to say about it here.

We had a lot to choose from for Johnny Boo. Every morning after school this week he asked to go to the library to get whatever book his preschool teacher read to the class. So, not counting the two days I volunteered at the elementary school library and the time I went on my own to the library to get grown-up books, we were at the library three out of five days this past school week.

Here are our favorites (other than Harry Potter) from the past week:

 Tintin, age 7

Mount Olympus Basketball
Author/illustrator: Kevin O'Malley

It's the Gods against the Mortals in this story narrated by two announcers in togas. You might not think the Mortals would stand a chance against the Gods, but although Hades opens up the floor under the Mortals and Poseidon summons up a wave to stop Jason from scoring (Tintin's favorite part), Achilles tricks Atlas into giving up the ball to bring the game within two points at halftime. Announcers Chet and Fred give a halftime talk about ancient Greece, and then it's back to the game. All I'll say is, Zeus doesn't like to lose. For a kid who loves books about Greek mythology and is getting ready for basketball season, this is a great pick.

Author/illustrator: Kazu Kibuishi

A fantastical and sometimes philosophical graphic novel about an optimistic and imaginative boy and his fearful talking dog, Copper includes stories about a racing shrimp, children stuck in bubbles, and talking mushrooms that don't like to be stepped on. I'm pretty sure some of it went right over Tintin's head, but he thought it was funny and he likes strange books. Although, as one character in "Happy" says, "Strange? What's so strange about wonderfulness?" We'll probably revisit this in a few years when Tintin can appreciate the step-by-step section at the end of the book on how Kibuishi created Copper.

Johnny Boo, age 4

Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully
Author/illustrator: Audrey Penn

Chester Raccoon and his friends meet a bully at school and don't know how to deal with him. After Chester's mom tells them a story about a sharp, rough blue stone in a forest full of smooth yellow ones and how the animals learned to turn the prickly stone into one as smooth and shiny as the others,  Chester and his friends know just what to do. Fortunately for us, Johnny Boo doesn't have any bullies in pre-K, but this is a great book to act out so that when he does encounter his first bully, maybe he'll remember what to do.

Maybe a Bear Ate It!
Author/illustrator: Robie H. Harris/Michael Emberley

A cat about to go to sleep misplaces his favorite book (although, if you look hard enough, you might be able to spot it) and imagines several horrible yet hilarious ends to one of his most treasured possessions. Tintin bought this book at his school book fair last year after the librarian read it to his class, but Johnny Boo thinks it's his and will pull it out every once in a while. He loves acting it out.

We're linking this up with What My Child Is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cookie's Week – A Kid's Review

Review by Johnny Boo, age 4

 Cookie's Week
Author/illustrator: Cindy Ward/Tomie dePaola

Cookie's Week is about a cat named Cookie. Cookie is a cat that does silly things. On Monday he fell in the toilet. On Tuesday Cookie upset the trash can. On Wednesday Cookie ran into the closet before the door closed. On Thursday Cookie dressed up like a princess. On Friday Cookie went into the vanishing room. The vanishing room is where you sing songs. On Saturday Cookie climbed the curtains. There's no Sunday. I like this book because it's sweet and cute. My favorite part is when Cookie ran into the closet. I would recommend this book to kids who like days-of-the-week books.

Editor's note: This review was dictated from memory and therefore should not be considered 100 percent accurate. Oh, and sorry, girls, the princess thing? Never happened. And I'm not sure where the heck the idea of a vanishing room came from, but I want one.

Johnny Boo's cat, a chalk drawing inspired by I Can Draw Animals, by Ray Gibson:

And another cat, inspired by How to Draw a Sailing Cat and 99 Other Adventurous Things, by Joy Sikorski:

Tintin (7) felt a little left out, so here's his drawing:

We're linking up with Our Little Masterpieces at Welcome to Our Wonderland, The Book Lovers' Blog Hop at Story Time Under the Stars, Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted's Art Blog, stART at A Mommy's Adventures, and Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Straight Hair, Curly Hair – A Kid's Review

Review by Tintin, age 7

Straight Hair, Curly Hair
Author/illustrator: Augusta Goldin/Ed Emberley

Straight Hair, Curly Hair is about long hair, curly hair, different kinds of hair. There are different shapes of follicles that tell you if your hair is straight, curly and wavy. I liked this book because it has my color hair in it and it has curly hair in it. My favorite part is when the person's hair got wet and she made a frown. I would recommend this book to kids who like to experiment with hair.

LitLass's notes:  Speaking of experimenting with hair, the following is what reminded me of this book:

The good thing about having one boy with straight hair and the other with curly hair is that you can always tell which one has cut his hair. Unfortunately, it was both of them this time.

Here is Tyg (from the 1982-1985 Shirt Tales cartoon) modeling with one of our hair experiments. In this one we've taped one end of a piece of hair to a paintbrush and the other end to a closet rod to show that a hair in good condition is strong enough to support two ounces of weight:

And here we get a little more scientific by proving that straight hair gets straighter with moisture and curly hair gets curlier. Here is our before picture:

Our during picture:

And, finally, our after picture:

We're linking this up with Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom and with Nonfiction Monday, which is being held this week at Madigan Reads.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Books of the Week – October 2, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week:

Tintin, age 7

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
Author/illustrator: Lincoln Peirce

Sixth grader Nate tries to set a world record, but he doesn't yet know his strengths. He thinks he could be the best at eating green beans, or maybe at tickling teachers. Whatever it is, he's going to have to find out before the end of the day for his fortune cookie prediction – You will surpass all others today – to come true. Of course, the book wouldn't be as humorous without our hero getting into trouble along the way. And, I just asked Tintin, Big Nate is funnier than Diary of a Wimpy Kid (to which Big Nate has been compared). And no, I'm not worried that my 7-year-old now knows additional ways to get in trouble at school (he saves all his craziness for when he's home). Oh, and I think LitDaddy appreciated the reference to Elfquest.

Usborne First Skills: Starting Chess
Author/illustrator: Harriet Castor/Norman Young

Tintin learned how to play chess over the summer and just joined the chess club at school. He's still very much a beginner, though, so when I saw this book at the library I knew he'd like it. And since the pieces all have faces, I think it makes it a little more inviting to him (he's not usually a fan of nonfiction, unless it's about outer space). I'm not sure about Tintin, but I like that the book gives a little bit of history and shows pictures of some of the oldest-known chess pieces. He's not quite done with the book yet – he just finished the section on rooks – but we'll see next Wednesday after chess club whether the book actually works.

Johnny Boo, age 4

This Book Is Haunted
Author/illustrator: Joanne Rocklin/JoAnn Adinolfi

In this book a ghost tells scary – but not too-scary – stories about a haunted house for rent, an encounter with a witch and ghost on Halloween, brothers who lay awake listening to a tapping sound, and more. At the end of the book the ghost narrator asks the reader to read the book one more time (it gets lonely being stuck in a book) or to tell him a story. Here's the story Johnny Boo told him: Once upon a time there was a bear. He was mean and friendly. He was really a ghost. The End. And yes, we did have to read the book twice in a row a couple of times.

Author/illustrator: Varies by book

The Know-It-Alls series is full of information on various subjects. Johnny Boo has five of these books, and he wants more (although, sadly, it looks as though they're out of print). Johnny Boo has been obsessed with these books for the past couple of days and has been carrying them around with him, just as his brother did three years ago.

Our Know-It-Alls books:

Crocodiles!, by Irene Trimble and illustrated by Jean Cassels
Fish!, by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Jean Cassels
Snakes!, by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak
Wild Cats!, by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Greg Harris
Wolves!, by Christopher Nicholas and illustrated by Drew Brook Cormac

We're linking this post up at What My Child Is Reading, hosted by Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, and at Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama.