Saturday, May 31, 2014

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon by: Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel

I discovered this book in 2004, it was a nominee in the category of Picture Books for Older Readers for the California Young Reader Medal.  I enjoyed reading this to my students and they loved listening to it.  In fact, this became the winner of the 2004 Picture Books for Older Readers California Young Reader Medal!

And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon written by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel is the story of the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle."   One night, the dish and spoon run away and they don't return the next morning.  What will the cat, cow and dog do if they are not back in time for bedtime stories that night?  They quickly begin to search for the dish and the spoon.  They look all over the land visiting Little Boy Blue, the spider at Miss Muffet's home and even the home of the Big Bad Wolf.  Where could the dish and the spoon be?  What has happened to them?  Will the cow ever get to jump over the moon again?  Will the dog laugh? Who will listen to the cat playing her fiddle?

This is such a fun story that I am confident that you and those you share this story with will remember this book for years to come.

Now that you are thinking of Mother Goose, read some of her nursery rhymes and make up your own stories of what might happen if some of the characters become a part of other rhymes.  

Happy Daily Reading

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Wig in the Window by: Kristen Kittscher

May 1, 2014 I met the author Kristen Kittscher
I cannot think of a better way to start a summer reading adventure than for you to spend time reading The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher.  Best friends Sophie and Grace (who also happen to be spies) are once again out at midnight searching their neighborhood for anything suspicious.

Grace and Sophie have spy equipment and they try to use what they believe is spy lingo whenever they begin an investigation.  When they notice the lights on at Dr. Agford's house (their school counselor also known as Dr. Awkward) they go to investigate.  They overhear her telephone conversation and witness her holding a meat cleaver.  Before they know it, they see blood!  Is there something sinister going on at Dr. Awkward's?   The girls watch their counselor very carefully at school and at home.  They see her at school everyday and it isn't hard to watch her at home since they were caught spying and find themselves working in Dr. Awkward's yard.  Soon the FBI is involved.  Will the girls solve a crime or just get into more trouble?

This is a fast paced mystery that was fun to read.  I'm looking forward to more Grace and Sophie adventures.

Does the idea of being a spy interest you?  Can you find anything fun to investigate in your own neighborhood?  Just make sure you are not getting into any trouble!

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, May 26, 2014

The End (almost) by: Jim Benton

I am quite certain that we have all experienced the disappointment of a book ending too soon.  That is what happens to Donut the bear in Jim Benton's book The End (almost).

Donut doesn't want his story to be over.  He cannot believe it ended so quickly.  He tries his best to keep the story going with disguises but the end is still there.  Just when things start to get exciting there are no more pages in the book.  What will Donut do now?

Write your own story with Donut and his friends as characters  Work to keep this story going not only for Donut but also for you!

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Make Way For The Ducklings by: Robert McCloskey

This was one of my favorites when I was a child and it gave me great pleasure to read it to my daughter.  She loved it too.  At the age of three she had the entire book memorized, she impressed a few people with her "reading" skills.

Make Way For The Ducklings by Robert McCloskey is the 1942 Caldecott Medal winner.  This award is given to the best picture book of the year.  This is still a popular book with many children.  I think it is the simple drawings and the wonderful story that continue to make it a favorite of so many.

After reading this book share a book you enjoyed as a child with someone you love.  I would love to hear what titles you enjoyed as a child, share in the comment section.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Read-Aloud Handbook 7th edition by: Jim Trelease

One afternoon I was browsing books at and I came across the newest edition of Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook.

It has been 24 years since I was first read the second edition of this book and I'm so glad I read this newest edition.  Jim Trelease shares his love of the written word in such a great way.  He discusses a number of studies that have been done on the impact of reading to children.  And he also relates many personal stories from his own life and from the lives of others.  I appreciate that he talks of the written word.  This means not just books but anyplace you can read words, such as magazines, newspapers, comic books, closed captions on the television.  These are all tools that get words into the minds of children.  He includes tips for helping our children read, tips for using technology, and a treasury of many books that can help parents and teachers.  He states that the "easiest self-improvement is through reading."  The more we read the better we become at all areas of our lives.  As parents or teachers we must be the examples.  Set aside time everyday for silent reading and reading aloud for ourselves and for our children.

If you want your child to be successful in all areas of life, I highly recommend reading this book. Parents and educators alike need to make the written word part of our daily lives just as breathing is a part of our daily lives.

Happy Daily Reading

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer

I just finished this book and I'm not sure I can put into words how much I enjoyed it and how much I think you should read it.

This is Tracy Holczer's first novel and I was able to meet her on the day the book was finally available in bookstores, May 1, 2014.  She was excited about her first book being published and I personally hope she will publish many more.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy is the story of Grace who has moved around the state of California her entire life with her mother.  When her mother suddenly passes away Grace is sent to stay with the grandmother, someone she has never met.  The only thing she knew about her grandmother is that her grandmother sent her mother away on a bus when she was 17 and pregnant.  When her mother died, she was living with her friend Lacey and Lacey's mother, Mrs. Greene.  Grace thought she had found a home with Lacey and Mrs. Greene, but now is being sent away to live with a complete stranger.  Grace isn't sure she can live in the "after" time, as in "after your mom dies" so she moves ahead very slowly.

Whenever Grace and her mom moved into a new town, her mom would send Grace on a treasure hunt as a method of helping Grace get to know the town.  When she moves in with her grandmother, she goes to school for the first time and Grace finds a paper crane outside of her school, her mother made cranes of all kinds, paper, clay and metal.  Grace is convinced the crane is a sign from her mother that a new treasure hunt is beginning.  As Grace learns about the town, which is the town where her mother grew up, and when she learns of how her parents met and what happened to her father she begins to feel a connection to the town.  As stated in the book "...if you were going to let yourself be connected to people, you had to be willing to take chances" and take chances is just what Grace does.  As she makes new friends and comes to know and love her grandmother, she really begins to feel that she has finally found home and has a place to belong.   Grace realizes "that sometimes people did what they could, not what they should" she begins to face "after" in amazing ways.  At the end of the story you just want to give Grace a big hug and wish her all the best.
Me with first time author Tracy Holczer

After you read this book spend some time with your own family.  Perhaps even go on a family treasure hunt! Recognize the blessings that families can be for good and sometimes not so good, but that making connections with people is good for us all.

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

Author and illustrator Dan Santat has created a wonderful read-aloud book with The Adventures of Beekle The Unimaginary Friend.  I think everyone who reads or hears this story will want to become friends with Beekle.

In an island far away, imaginary friends are born.  It is on this island that they wait for someone to imagine them because then they are able to leave the island for the "real world".  Beekle is excited as he waits his turn to be imagined but his turn never arrives.  It is then that he decides he will find his own friend by going on an adventure himself to find the "real world".  The "real world" isn't what he expected it to be and he doesn't recognize anything or anyone there.  Finally, he meets a young girl named Alice and together they have many grand adventures.

The artwork in this book is beautiful.  It will make you want to be a part of Beekle's world.  We can all relate to wanting a friend just like Beekle and we can cheer with him when he finally makes a friend.

After reading this story, create your own imaginary friend and go on a few adventures of your own.

Happy Daily Reading

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sparky! by: Jenny Offill

Jenny Offill has created a one of a kind pet in her book Sparky!.

A girl really wants a pet of her own.  She asks her mother every day for an entire month if she can have a pet of her own.  Her mother promises her a pet if she can find one that doesn't need to be walked, bathed or fed.  So, where can she find a pet like that?!  She asks a librarian, of course!  The librarian says that a sloth will meet all of her mother's requirements because a sloth doesn't do much.  She finds a sloth and names it Sparky.  Unlike his name, Sparky sleeps most of the day.  When another girl shows off the tricks that her pet can do, the girl is determined to teach Sparky tricks too.  Will her sloth talent show be a hit or a miss?

After enjoying this book, talk about other animals that you might want as a pet and what tricks you would want teach your pet to do.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bookmarks Are People Too! by: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Bookmarks Are People Too! is the first in the Here's Hank series written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver.  There is something very unique about this book and that is the font used for the text.  The font was developed by Christian Boer and it is called Dyslexie.  It is designed to make letters more distinct from one another in order to help dyslexic readers.

Hank is a second grader who has a hard time at school.  Letters and numbers get mixed up in his head which makes spelling, reading and math difficult.  Hank has many friends who help him at school and he also has classmates that try to make his life harder than it needs to be.  Hank and his friend, Frankie, are excited about the play that their class is preparing for Children's Reading Week.  They each have a script that they can use to practice all weekend to be prepared for tryouts on Monday.  Frankie is hoping to be the lead in the play and Hank hopes to be the superhero Aqua Fly.  When Hank is unable to remember his lines his teacher gives him an extra special character to play, the bookmark.  It is here that Hank is able to really shine.  He is able to add a couple of laughs to the play as well as save the play.  You'll be anxious to read the next book in this series to see what Hank will accomplish next.

When finished reading this book, you might want to create a play just like the students did in Ms. Flowers' class at P S 87.  What book characters would you choose to have parts in your play?  I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, May 5, 2014

In A Blink by Kiki Thorpe

I was given this book by a student of mine and I was anxious to read it since so many girls are currently loving books about Tinkerbell and fairies.

In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe is the first in the Never Girls series.    I enjoyed this story and I'm sure the rest of the series will be enjoyed by me and by many other readers.  Kate, Mia, Lainey and Gabby are friends enjoying a day playing outside when they suddenly find themselves in Neverland talking to a fairy named Prilla.  Prilla is the fairy that brought the girls to Neverland and she does it in a blink.  Prilla's fairy talent is being able to visit children anywhere in the world just by blinking.  When Prilla is unable to blink, the "clumsies" (the name that the fairies call human children) she takes the girls to Tinkerbell.  Tink's fairy talent is fixing things.  Prilla hopes Tink can help her figure out a way to get them back home.  The girls love visiting Pixie Hollow and interacting with the fairies.  They also wonder what their families are thinking, such as where they could be.   Gabby, Lainey, Mia and Kate are able to use pixie dust to learn how to fly!  Kate is tricked into stealing some pixie dust and when she is caught, which upsets Tinkerbell, she and her friends wonder if they will ever get home.  Can Tinkerbell ever learn to like the "clumsy" humans?

Take sometime today to play outside.  Enjoy the great outdoors and be on the lookout for fairies!

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, May 2, 2014

Rump the True Story of Rumplestiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

This is the first novel by Liesl Shurtliff and I loved it!

Rump the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin is about a young boy named Rump.  Rump's mother was very ill when he was born.  She whispered his name to him but everyone else only heard "Rump" before his mother passed away.  Of course, Rump was too young to remember what his mother whispered to him.  The kingdom where Rump lives along with his grandmother, believes that your name is your destiny.  Just think, your destiny is Rump? He is sure there is more to him and to his name than "Rump".  He does not like being teased by everyone in the kingdom (who does?).  His grandmother tells him to stay away from magic but one day he discovers an old spinning wheel and thus, he discovers his magical talent, or a family curse, depending how you view it, turning straw into gold.  As Rump grows, he sets out to find his true destiny and his true name.  He encounters trolls, fairies, a queen, the miller and even a baby.   Rump becomes good friends with Red and her granny.  Red is able to help Rump find happiness and perhaps a new destiny when he learns his entire name.  Rumpelstiltskin learns that big things can grow from small ones.  As he understands his full name, he realizes that not only has his name grown but so has he.  This was a fast paced story with many familiar fairy tale characters who interact in ways that might surprise you.  Given the popularity of the Once Upon a Time TV series, Rumplestilskin is likely a character that children are interested in.  This version of the story presents a very different character than the TV serios.  I think anyone who reads this book will love it as much as I did.

Spend some time reading the original Grimm fairy tales to get to know the characters in this book even better.

Happy Daily Reading