Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beach Favorites

While in the bookstore today, I happened upon a book I could not resist. As soon as I saw the cover, it called my daughter's name. She loves shells and as I have mentioned in a previous post, she also loves small books. Shell Crazy (A Crazy Little Series) by Tracy Gallup is a sweet short story about a sister and brother who love to hunt for shells on the beach. What drew me to the book was less about the words and more about the pictures. Each page is a photograph incorporating Tracy's handmade figures with a variety of shells. Our personal favorite is a reproduction of The Birth of Venus. Tracy has also published Stone Crazy as the first in this series and we look forward to more! Here are just a couple of our must-read summer beach books that precede our trips to the seacoast in New Hampshire.

Beach by Elisha Cooper. This beautiful book highlights all of the things you see in a visit to the ocean from the sunburns to the sandcastles dripped from wet sand. It begins with the arrival to the beach and shows the dwindling crowd as the day ends. The pictures show the long stretch of the beach and the peaches, pinks, blues and whites perfectly illustrate the sand and water of the day. The book is huge and with all if it's people-watching delights it is a book for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies
We love to watch the bats at dusk around our house and my kids love this book as a nighttime read aloud. The artwork is fabulous and the rhyming text is fun to read. There are some very funny details in the pictures. Take the time to explore.

Flotsam by Davis Weisner
A wordless picture book that needs little explanation since it won the Caldecott for 2006. If you have not seen this yet you need to get your hands on it. Imaginative, brilliant, and stunning.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In the blink of an eye!

In our school district their is a quiet pressure to have your child reading before they enter first grade. (We also do not have public Kindergarten.) I am not sure where the pressure comes from, the school district or fellow parents who are working with their children at an early age, but I feel it. So we have been working with our oldest on his phonemic skills. He loves books. He loves to collect them and we have been reading chapter books to him since he was three. And now he is beginning to read at a basic level and while exciting, I worry that he really does not want to read although he can. My worries are disappearing after a not-to-be-forgotten comment this week.
Surf that Wave is the first book my son has loved to read over and over again. Maybe because it is surfing or maybe because it is Backyardigans. (Maybe both!) In his words to his best friend while discussing books at our local library,

"I can read it in the blink of an eye."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Audio Books at Wendy's

I try not to eat fast food too often, but when we do we go to Wendy's since they have no trans fat in their foods. Recently, my kids and I discovered Wendy's is substituting the traditional toy for audio books from Listening Library. We were excited to get a Junie B. Jones book today!
By the way, our all time favorite audio book is Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker which is narrated by Nancy Cartwright. (THE voice of Bart Simpson.)

Monday, July 09, 2007


I just found TeacherTube after seeking funny videos to show my graduate class this weekend. Until now, I only knew Youtube.
Here is a great video of a teacher rap. Way to motivate your students!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Robots, Puppies, and Hermit Crabs-Oh my!

These are the summer interests for my kids. After being inspired by a recent post at Chicken Spaghetti and then linking to it in my previous post on summer reading, I asked my kids what they would like to most explore this summer. My six year old would love to explore robots. My four year old puppies, and my three year old is currently fascinated by our pet hermit crabs.
Here is a list of robot resources for anyone else that needs more on this topic. I will post later on hermit crabs and puppies.

Can You See What I See (The first in the series) by Walter Wick
My six year has loved these books since he was two. We have all of them! We find them more interesting than the I Spy books since there is a little character Seymour that appears in every picture and it can be a challenge to find him. In this book, there is a two page spread with a large diagram of a tin-can robot with metal parts surrounding the diagram.
We have spent alot of time searching for the drawn parts in the pile of junk on the page. At the end of the book right before the end papers is the actual built robot chasing Seymour!
Can You See What I See-Cool Collections by Walter Wick
In this book one of the collections feature robots. In the "About the Book" section, the author gives credit to a robot collector for allowing Walter to use his robots in his photograph. My son has one of the robots in the picture and would like to own many more. I have found many collectible robots at Schylling.com.
Can You See What I See-Dream Machine by Walter Wick
This book has robots here and there throughout. It's futuristic theme is also very appealing.
My Little Blue Robot by Stephen T. Johnson
We have ordered this book and are impatiently waiting for it to arrive. Each page holds parts to a robot that the child can build and the robot talks!
Benjamin McFadden and the Robot Babysitter by Timothy Bush
This book is a favorite bedtime read. It's review from School Library journal was not as favorable but nearly every parent review on Amazon sings praises for a book their children love. Adding a babysitter robot voice also adds tremendously!
Rolie Polie Olie by William Joyce.
We loved Olie in book form before we ever watched the Disney show.
Hello Robots! by Bob Staake
This story is completely done in computer graphics making it futuristic in both design and topic. This is a great read aloud.

Since my six year old also has some beginning reading skills, I am always on the lookout for good early readers that include his interests. We have found:
If I Had A Robot Dog by Andrea Baruffi
See Otto by David Milgrim
Alien and Possum: Friends No Matter What by Tony Johnston illustrated by Toni Diterlizzi (Alien is a robot!)

We plan on making tin robots this summer. We have directions from an old copy of Martha Stewart Kids Magazine. I could only find Tin-can Robot Dog Directions online.
-4m sells a robot making kit
-A blog on robots from the Robot Society-Robot Gossip
-If you have $250.00 to spend, Lego makes a very cool robot kit.

Finally, I must mention that one of the reasons he gravitates towards robots is because he is a huge Transformers fan. He watches the cartoon and has collected the action figures for three years. He is amazing in his abilities to follow directions and "transform" them from car to robot, figuring out details I would have never noticed.
If you have any other resources to share, please leave a comment! We are lacking in our non-fiction resources. Thanks!