Thursday, September 30, 2010

K12 Timed Reading – A Kid's Review

Review by Tintin, age 7

K12 Timed Reading
App developer: K12, Inc.
Price (as of 9/30/10): $1.99/full version; free version also available
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad; requires iOS 3.1.3 or later

Timed Reading is a game that you read different stories on – thousands of them.* It only has five grades: Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade and fourth grade. The game times you so you read faster and you can get a high score. It's a good game because it has reading, which I like. I like the stories because I learn a lot from them, like planets, geography and animals. I would recommend this game to people who like reading books.

* Editor's note: Not quite thousands, but more than 250, both fiction and nonfiction.

The above picture is from iTunes. The below show part of 2nd-grader Tintin's reading list:

 And part of pre-Ker Johnny Boo's:

LitLass's notes: We got this app when it was free, but we all love it so much, I think we'd pay full price if we had to. Tintin's 2nd grade class is working on timed reading every weekday for homework, but after the first week Ms. A. told Tintin he didn't need to work on it anymore. I'm pretty sure this app had something to do with that. Plus, you know it's a keeper when the boys are fighting over who gets to go first.

You can find this app and more information on it on iTunes. To learn about more apps for kids, check out App Friday on Moms With Apps.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Grandfather Tang's Story – A Kid's Review

 Review by Johnny Boo, age 4

Grandfather Tang's Story: A Tale Told With Tangrams
Author/illustrator: Ann Tompert/Robert Andrew Parker

Grandfather Tang's Story is about a little girl and a grandfather. The grandfather made up a tangram story about fairy foxes. They turn into animals like goldfish and hawks and a lion. I like this book because it was so agreeable and because it's so fantastic. My favorite part was when the crocodile lashed his wicked tail. I would recommend this book to kids who like fantastic books.

Here is our flannel board with the seven (poorly cut-out) pieces, or tans, of the tangram square:

According to the book, "when tangrams are used in storytelling, the storyteller arranges the tans to show the shape of a character in the tale." Here is our fantastic fox, which was then rearranged into different animal shapes:

We're linking this post up at ABC and 123's Show and Tell Blog Hop, the Book Lovers' Blog Hop at Story Time Under the Stars, Kids Get Crafty at Red Ted Art's Blog, A Crafty Soiree at Katie's Nesting Spot, Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word, stART at A Mommy's Adventures, Feed Me Books Friday at Little Sprout Books, Read. Explore. Learn. at JDaniel4's Mom, and Play Academy at NurtureStore. I think that's all for now.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Books of the Week – September 25, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week:

Author/illustrator: Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg/Kim Gamble
Tashi website: Allen & Unwin – Tashi Books

The Tashi series is about a boy with a new friend from a faraway land. In each book Tashi tells the boy, or the boy tells his parents, about Tashi's many adventures with magical creatures (giants, dragons, a genie, etc). We got the first book from the library after reading a wonderful review of the series at, but yesterday Johnny Boo made me go back to get the rest. We had to go to another city's library to get them and are still missing about seven of them (but if any grandparents are reading this, The Big Big Big Book of Tashi and The 2nd Big Big Book of Tashi are on Johnny Boo's Amazon wish list, although these books would make an awesome present for both boys, in case you were wondering what to get them, and also I would like some dark chocolate). And because Johnny Boo likes to line up his series books in order (sometimes he likes to get the same book from the library that he already has at home to match up), here is a picture from yesterday after our return from the library:

 My Weird School #3: Mrs. Roopy Is Loopy
Author/illustrator: Dan Gutman/Jim Paillot

The children in My Weird School meet the new librarian. Or is it George Washington? Or maybe it's Neil Armstrong? Whoever it is, can she/he instill a love of reading in A.J. and his classmates? Luckily, Tintin and Johnny Boo don't need any help in that department. They are both obsessed with this series and can't wait to get their hands on number 4. Some proof of this obsession, with help from the Catalog Card Generator:

Go Away, Big Green Monster!
Author/illustrator: Ed Emberley

Will the big green monster go away? And if so, will he go away all at once or gradually over a period of, say, eight pages? Apparently, this book (also known in our house as !Monster Green Big, Away Go) is hilarious when read backwards. Several nights in a row. And on our list of things to do: a Go Away, Big Green Monster! flannel board activity.

We're linking this up at What My Child Is Reading, Feed Me Books Friday and Kid Konnection.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leonardo the Terrible Monster – A Kid's Review

Review by Johnny Boo, age 4

Leonardo the Terrible Monster 
Author/illustrator: Mo Willems

Leonardo the Terrible Monster is about a monster named Leonardo. He tries to scare the tuna salad out of Sam the boy. I like this book because it's funny and silly and scary. My favorite part is when Sam cries. I also like when Leonardo was friends with Sam. I would recommend this book to kids who like friendly monsters.

Here is Johnny Boo trying to be scary:

And here he is as Sam the boy:

We're linking this up at stART and the Fall Festival of Children's Books (and giveaways), and Read-Aloud Thursday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday – Little Smudge

We usually put up our Muffin Tin Monday posts over at Mother Is Not Concerned, but since we're including a book review, it'll be here this week. If you want the clever titles, you'll have to go to that other blog. Here's our Little Smudge shape-themed muffin tin:

(clockwise from top left: plum Little Circle, kiwi Little Star*, prune Little Smudge, cheese Little Diamond, bread Little Rectangle, apple Little Triangle, all atop cantaloupe stands)

* Not actually in the book.

Here are the boys enjoying it (I tried to get them to act out the book, but they mostly just wanted to eat):

Book review by Tintin, age 7

Little Smudge
Lionel Le Neouanic

Little Smudge is about a smudge and rascal shapes. The rascals make fun of Little Smudge because he doesn't look like a real shape. I like it because it's a good book and it's about friendship. My favorite part is when Little Smudge taught the shapes how to turn into different shapes and then they were friends. I would recommend this book to people who like friendship books.

And some shape-transforming artwork to go along with it, by Tintin and Johnny Boo:

(black Little Smudge, orange Little Diamond, blue Little Circle, red Little Square, green Little Triangle)

Here's Johnny Boo after he opened up his Little Smudge painting:

And here he is making his Little Circle painting:

We're linking this up at Muffin Tin Monday, Little Masterpieces, the Book Lovers' Blog Hop and Kids Get Crafty.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Books of the Week – September 18, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week:

Tintin, age 7

The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen From the Future
Author/illustrator: Dav Pilkey 

Martial arts, a time portal, and 7-year-old boy humor. Ook and Gluk, the comic creations of George Beard and Harold Hutchins (who are the comic creations of author Dav Pilkey), are caveboys who travel by force to the year 2222 and then try to save their hometown of Caveland, Ohio, from evil. Tintin read this 176-page book twice this week. Although this book will teach your child important things like philosophy, rhyming, and caveman language, you might want to be aware of the book's warning: "The FoLowing seckshon contains graphic violins and may not  be suitible For sensative grownups and other people who arent very fun."

Sardine in Outer Space 4
Author/illustrator: Emmanuel Guibert/Joann Sfar

Space pirates Sardine, Little Louie, and Captain Yellow Shoulder are back once again to save the universe from Supermuscleman and mad scientist Doc Krok. Along the way they encounter the monster under their bed, an evil bunny, flying tattoos, rocket attacks, and more. Sardine is Tintin's favorite graphic novel series, and this fourth installment did not disappoint. Tintin finished it in one sitting and can't wait to read number 5.

Johnny Boo, age 4

Can You Make a Scary Face?
Author/illustrator: Jan Thomas

The ladybug in this book will have your child moving around and acting silly. Although some Amazon reviewers seem to think this book is better for a group of children, Johnny Boo loved following the ladybug's directions. He especially loved reading the book to me and watching me make scary faces and dance like a chicken. Tintin chose this book for Johnny Boo from his school library (the boys have a deal: Tintin picks out one book for himself and one for Johnny Boo, and when Johnny Boo starts elementary school, he'll do the same) – I think Tintin's choice was a good one.

Potty Animals: What to Know When You've Gotta Go!
Author/illustrator: Hope Vestergaard/Valeria Petrone

You have to like a children's book that uses the word "lollygag." Potty Animals teaches children the rules of the potty in a fun way. Johnny Boo has been without a diaper for 2 1/2 years, but he (and his brother) still need the occasional reminder to remember their bathroom manners. Plus, being a 4-year-old, he loves learning about rules. And he loves books about animals. And I think I'll make a copy of the rules and hang it on every bathroom door in this house.

We're linking this post up here:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Down Girl and Sit, Tiny Goes to the Library, and the Dogs We Read Them To

The other day we went to the library (picture taken by Tintin):

And the boys read to Dasher and Major, dogs from the Heart of Texas Therapy group:

Review by Tintin, age 7, read to Dasher

Down Girl and Sit: On the Road
Author/illustrator: Lucy Nolan/Mike Reed

On the Road is about two dogs who go on adventures. They like to mess up things. I like this book because it's a little bit funny and it's a good adventure. My favorite part was when Here Kitty Kitty was stuck in a box at the veterinarian's office. When I was reading to Dasher I said "bone" wrong because I wanted to see if he would notice, but he didn't. I would recommend this book to kids who like dogs and dogs who like dog books.

Review by Johnny Boo, age 4, read to Major

Tiny Goes to the Library
Author/illustrator: Cari Meister/Rich Davis

Tiny Goes to the Library is about a dog named Tiny who follows where the boy goes. I liked it because it had a dog in it. My favorite part was when I read to Major. I would recommend this book to dogs and kids who like funny and silly books.

 We're linking up at Read-Aloud Thursday, Feed Me Books Friday, and the September I Can Read Carnival.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Yam: Bite-Size Chunks – A Kid's Review

Review by Tintin, age 7

Yam: Bite-Size Chunks
Author/illustrator: Corey Barba

Yam is about a boy who has a friend named Marzipan Gato, and they're always together.* I liked Yam because it was funny and fiction and it was a good book. My favorite part was when Yam put his underwear down. I also liked when Yam turned into a flower. I would recommend this book to kids who like funny books without words.

*Editor's note: Except when they're not.

Tintin's Yam:

Corey Barba's Yam:



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Books of the Week – September 11, 2010

Here are our favorites from the past week. The list includes one book each that the boys read alone, one each that they read to me, one each that I (or their dad) read to them, and one that they read together.

Tintin, age 7

Magic Tree House #25: Stage Fright on a Summer Night
Author/illustrator: Mary Pope Osborne/Sal Murdocca

In Stage Fright on a Summer Night, Jack and Annie visit England and star in a play put on by William Shakespeare himself. Tintin sped through this one and learned that Shakespeare contributed more words and phrases to the English language than anyone else. He loved that there was a list of some of them at the end of the book.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Author/illustrator: Roald Dahl/Quentin Blake

I don't want to reveal any spoilers here, but let's just say there's this boy named Charlie and some golden tickets and a lot of chocolate. Tintin's biggest wish is to live near a river of chocolate, so I knew this would be a hit. And, did you know that it's Roald Dahl Month? This is the second of three books Tintin is reading for the Reading Dahlathon (the first was The Vicar of Nibbleswicke), which ends in December.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling

Wizards, secret entrances, and Wonka-like candy – what more could a 7-year-old boy want in a book? Note that this is the British edition, as are all of our other Harry Potter books (yes, we're Anglophiles), so not only is Tintin reading a great book, but he's also learning the difference between British and American English.

Johnny Boo, age 4

Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever
Author/illustrator: Jay Lynch/Dean Haspiel

Another great TOON book (see this review for more), Mo and Jo is about siblings who become superheroes and must learn to work together to conquer evil. This one's a little more advanced than the other TOON books Johnny Boo has read, but since he read it three times in a row the other morning and has been quoting it ever since, I guess that's not a problem for him.

I Spy Fly Guy!
Author/illustrator: Tedd Arnold

In I Spy Fly Guy! Buzz goes looking for his pet fly and thinks he's lost him forever. The Fly Guy books are easy, and funny, reads for Johnny Boo – if you're looking for good first chapter books that will get kids excited about reading, these are them.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
Author/illustrator: A.A. Milne/Ernest H. Shepard

A silly old bear and his friends get stuck in silly situations. Once we can actually get him into bed, Johnny Boo loves hearing about what happens in the Hundred Acre Wood, plus it's one of my favorites.

Buddy Reading

We Both Read: The Frog Prince
Author/illustrator: Sindy McKay/George Ulrich

In this adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, the parent or, in this case, Tintin, reads the more difficult left side and the child (Johnny Boo) reads the easier right side. I try to have the boys share reading time at least once a week, and the We Both Read series is perfect for that (and helps a lot with that taking turns thing that siblings sometimes have trouble with).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Weird School #2: Mr. Klutz Is Nuts – A Kid's Review

 Review by Tintin, age 7

My Weird School #2: Mr. Klutz Is Nuts
Author/illustrator: Dan Gutman/Jim Paillot

Mr. Klutz Is Nuts is about a principal that does crazy things. I liked this book because it made me laugh. My favorite part was when the principal slipped on the pencil and the next day he had a cane. I would recommend this book to kids who like silly books.

Mr. Klutz and Miss Daisy, by Johnny Boo, age 4: