Friday, April 27, 2007

Poetry Friday-A Smushed Peanut and Google Booksearch

My five year old will contribute his favorite poem to Poetry Friday.
And here it is....

A Peanut Sat on a Railroad Track

A peanut sat on a railroad track,
it's heart was all aflutter;
The five-fifteen came rushing by-
Toot! Toot! Peanut Butter!


This poem appears in Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-me Book of Poems by X.J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy and illustrated by Jane Dyer.

Technology tidbit: When I went searching for this poem on the web, the first link that opened in Google was their book search. Immediately, I had access to at least 20 books with a reference to this poem and the first two books on the list were poetry anthologies. In addition, Google books shows the exact page the poem appears on with the illustrations. Very cool. I knew Google was doing this and I knew of the controversy but I am eager to explore the use of Google Books for classroom use. Amazon does this, but the excerpts are usually shorter.
For more onGoogle's take on the controversy.
Google Books

Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Daemon-A Raven??

More on Mo!

It was truly an ordeal to get to Mo on Tuesday night. Before I could get my kids in the car, two out of three fell asleep on the floor. Did I change my mind and decide not to go? Of course not. I picked them up, carried them gently to the car and buckled their seat belts very quietly. Amazingly, they stayed asleep. The drive wasn't too bad. Milford, NH is about a 40-45 minute drive from Windham. It is actually about 20 miles, but the road to get there is full of stop lights and many, many businesses. I had never been to the Toadstool Bookshop and although I did not browse, it is definitely a place I will return to when I have more time. When we arrived, I was expecting a big long line out of the store. Doesn't everyone else from a 40 minute distance want to see Mo too??? Thankfully for us, there was no line and when we arrived in the store 10 minutes early, there were just a couple other fans milling about. We went to the book table to choose some books to sign and then I had my kids sit down to prepare for Mo's talk. I am not sure what any of us expected. He is very tall and very funny. When he speaks he appeals to kids and adults equally. He and a couple volunteers did a very cute Reader's Theater of Today I Will Fly! I don't mean to brag, but the way Mo reads his books is exactly the way I read them. Maybe this isn't about me being so great as much as it is about his great books. Although we already had copies of his two new early readers, I bought two more copies to have signed. I am going to give my unsigned copies to the library since they do not have them. Is it selfish for me to want the signed ones?? Today I Can Fly! also happens to be the first book my son read to us at bedtime! In response, Mo wrote, "You Rock" in my son's book. I also bought a pigeon board book for my two year old who used it to hide behind while Mo was speaking. For myself, I purchased You Can Never Find A Rickshaw When It Monsoons-The World on One Cartoon a Day.
Oh, and by the time the presentation was done,

You can find more on Mo's new books Today I Can Fly! and My Friend is Sad at:
Pigeon Presents
MotherReader is a huge Mo fan. I love reading her Mo related posts!
Reviews at:
Fuse #8

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Vacation week is here!

I have not been posting for about a week. I will be updating more this week since my kids are home and the weather is great. Although... I do hear rain is coming. We have been wearing shorts for the last two days! Thanks to Kelly at Big A Little a for mentioning me in her Blogrollin' on Sunday.Tonight we are off to Milford, NH to hear Mo Willems speak about his new Piggie and Elephant books. We are so excited!!!
I'll give more information later.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Why Blog?

To add to a very relevant and timely topic for myself in the blogosphere, Why do I blog? I was just washing dishes. A chore I despise. I actually despise most housework. And a thought came to me about my own personal blogging. And it is probably obvious that I am new to this blogging world.
I read blogs for information. Very simply, I enjoy learning. If I could be earning a degree right now I would be. Since I am not, I find that I can stay in touch with the world I once belonged to physically in a virtual way. Reading kidlit bloggers in particular broadens my understanding of a field I wish to belong to. Although I have been a classroom teacher and technology coordinator, my next job will be as a librarian. I love getting glimpses of the newest books and reading each person's own takes and personality in their reviews. It makes me think. Then it makes me want to put those thoughts in my own words and add to this collective brain. To reflect and ponder what others say is the natural part of the blogging process.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Support your local bookseller! Reason #1

I visited our local Borders yesterday to check out a couple of titles I've been considering for purchase. One of these was The Annotated Alice in Wonderland. This book was mentioned in a recent post by Monica Edinger in her blog, Educating Alice. Monica's use of Alice in the classroom intrigues me since I have never poured through a classic in such detail.

Here is how my search transpired:
I begin by searching for the Annotated Alice in Fiction/Literature and do not find it. I do find one copy of Alice in Wonderland. Then I search for a copy of The Annotated Brothers Grimm and can't find that copy in the appropriate social sciences/folklore section. I begin to wonder if both of these books are shelved elsewhere in the store since they are from the same publisher. I decide to ask the help desk. A young man types in the title to the computer. He spells annotated, "Annitatid." I correct him since I think spelling might be important in a title search.
We find the book in the system and it is in the store. OK. I knew this as well. Next we walk over to the fiction/literature section and he informs me that it is sorted by last name. He begins to look for Lewis. By now, is it really worth the search? Do I correct him again? I say, "I think that the last name is Carroll, not Lewis. He doesn't believe me. I say it again. Not until I actually say "I see a copy of Alice in Wonderland over there (in the C's) does he finally follow. Of course, we do not locate the book since I have already been in this section of the store. This is the final kicker. He picks up the one copy of Alice in Wonderland and says......."Wow! She only wrote one book!" (Later, I came to the realization that Lewis Carroll was mistaken for a girl since the bookstore worker assumed Carroll was a standard girl's name and therefore, Lewis must be the last name.)
The message: Support your local bookseller!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Moon by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Moon, written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885 and illustrated by Tracey Campbell Pearson, interprets the poem as a late night boat ride of a boy and his dad in a coastal town. Until recently Tracey Campbell Pearson was an unknown author in our house. Since listening to her speak at the Keene State College Literature Festival we have added her books to our personal library and to our library visits. The endpapers and dedication page begin with a dad waking up his son to go for a midnight ride in his boat. The watercolor and ink illustrations reflect the quiet calm of the night. Blue abounds in the night sky and in the water of the harbor. The inside of the house, especially the boy's bedroom, are perfectly drawn with just the right amount of messiness and rumpled bed covers. This is what my house looks like.
Whenever you hear an author speak about the writing process the book takes on more meaning and my appreciation of the process grows. This is the case with this book. During her speech in Keene, she related difficulties with painting oceans and I loved a comment she made about looking at other children's illustrators oceans to get inspiration. She had to come to a realization that her oceans were her oceans and unlike any others. Isn't that what we try to relay to our children about art every day?

The Moon was originally published in A Child's Garden of Verses. Thanks to my mother-in-law, I now have a 1932 copy published by Platt and Munk. It is in excellent condition and the illustrations done by Eulalie capture the sweetness and simpleness of childhood.

Related Links:

Tracey Campbell Pearson's Web Site

7-imp also mentioned this book in a recent poetry post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What's on your shelf?

Work Space shelf
Wouldn't you like to see what books are on other book lover's shelves, especially kidlit book lovers and bloggers. Well, here is one of my many bookshelves in my house. This one happens to be in my work space and holds my most favorite books along with my current reads. Click on the picture and you will be brought to Flickr where I have added notes (a very, very cool feature) to give you some of the specific titles on my shelf.
Once I started doing a little searching on flickr I realized that I was not the first to label my bookshelves. I was very naive in thinking I had an original thought here. There is actually a bookshelf project that has 1,331 members and 2,155 photos of people's bookshelves.

Scaredy Squirrel and other Backyard Friends

I am having a great time planning a few story times for our local library. The Friends of the Library of Windham sponsors weekend story times for parents and children who cannot attend the regular weekly story hours. My last theme was Giants and I had a great time choosing several books that were illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Wait until you see his next book, The Wicked Big Toddlah. This month I had a brainstorm based on the popular Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts. My title for story hour is "Scaredy Squirrel and other Backyard Friends." So far I have constructed a short list of books to read and welcome any suggestions anyone may have.
Here is my list:

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watts
A Good Day by Kevin Henkes
Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest Ill. by Katy Schneider
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Any other suggestions??

And here is my safety kit for Scaredy Squirrel.

My kids thought this was fun. Although by the time we were looking for sardines they were questioning why exactly we were doing it. Now they want to know what we are going to do with it. It will serve as a prop for my read aloud much like a felt board.
I'm still pondering a craft idea. I may make bird feeders or pretend binoculars with paper towel tubes and decorating items. I am also going to construct a basket of field guides and outdoor exploring tools to show parents.
Finally, I like to present chapter books to challenge parents who don't usually think their young children can comprehend and listen to something long. Any recommendations for chapter books along this theme for the younger child. Maybe ages 4-7???

For more reviews and information about Scaredy Squirrel and it's new sequel check out:
Scaredy Squirrel's Web site
Jen Robinson's Review of Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend
The Cybils Web site where Scaredy Squirrel won the picture book award!

Falling asleep with a book

Casie asleep with book
Casie asleep with book,
originally uploaded by hdoe.
We've all fallen asleep with a book. Last night it was Kiki Strike for me. This was my daughter a year ago when she fell asleep with an I Spy book before I could even make her bed. So cute.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Who's reading what?

I am finding it really difficult to post as often as I would like. I knew this might be an occasional problem since my kids are 5, 4 and 2. My house is in a constant state of messiness. So the question always is...Do I sit down at my computer for some reading time, do I sit down for some writing time, do I work on my next course I am teaching in the summer, do I play with my kids, or do I actually clean my house.
Today the computer wins.
That is, in between the fights my four year old and two year old have been having for the last two hours. My four wants to fill Easter eggs with money and hide them around the house for only her to find while the two wants to find them, open them and throw them around in various directions.
Oh well. Let's see if I can finish before I have to pick up the five year old at school.
I thought it might be nice to post once a week about what we are reading and really enjoying so here it is:
The Five Year Old: He is really enjoying Burger Boy by Alan Durant which we found at our local library. He loves to imagine what he might turn into which is probably a french fry. Although he does not read these with me he is also carrying around a DK Pocket encyclopedia on Rocks and Minerals in his backpack as well as a Harry Potter map book based upon the mythological and historical references in the books. I think he likes that fact that it looks like a book but has a fold-out map on the inside. We are both listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire on our way to and from school. We are also eagerly awaiting the movie since we only have two CD's left.

My Four Year Old: She loves My Friend is Sad. One of the newest books out from Mo Willems. I can really act this book out. It is so funny. Mo's sense of humors infects us. We are also enjoying Mo's new site http://www.pigeonp Try the hotdog game! Her other favorite is Max's Chocolate Chicken by Rosemary Wells. We pull this one out every Easter and the Easter bunny always gets my children chocolate chickens just as Max and Ruby receive.

My two year old: He brings me his tried and true favorites each night.
That's Not My Monster from Usborne books.
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
and our new favorite board book: Skippyjon Jones: Color Crazy. He likes to say that Skippy needs to go to time out since he colors everything including himself!