Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Snowing!

 We've found a new book, new because it was just published in 2011.  It's Snowing by Gail Gibbons presents the science behind snowfall, drawing children in with her bright illustrations and maps.

What I especially like about Gail Gibbons easy to understand account is that she credits the National Weather Service and their meteorologists for her spot-on information.  Yep, around here, we think VERY highly of the National Weather Service.  We only get our weather information from http://weather.noaa.gov/ or http://weather.gov/ or NOAA Weather Radio (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/).  Traveling?  Then plan your trip by the National Weather Service's forecasts.

Looking for accuracy and expertise, then I encourage you to check out the National Weather Service as opposed to weather.com.  Seriously, the statistics are the proof.  And we may be a tad bit biased toward meteorologists; after all, Papa Terry did just retire from NWS.

Either way, Gail Gibbons gives an excellent, spot-on account explaining how snow forms, the different forms of winter precipitation, and how to prepare for winter weather.  Check out It's Snowing!  by Gail Gibbons, or purchase it from the recent Scholastic handouts.  It's well worth the effort!  For my part, I plan on purchasing our own copy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ugggghh!  It is in the mid-60s this week!  I can count on one hand how many times we've cozied up to a fire in our fireplace this winter.  The daffodils are peeping through.  It's January, and I've actually had to pull up hand upon hand full of weeds.  Don't get me wrong, I love warm weather and digging in the dirt!  . . . just not in January.  In January, I assume I get a month or so off from weeds. 

So, needless to say, it's been tricky to blog because my heart wants to blog winter and snow books.  But it's tough to find the motivation.

However, we've been checking out lots of snow books.  My kids are begging to see snow, so right now, this is as good as it's going to get.  So retreat back into your imagination these next few weeks, and we'll get our snow fix through the written word.

First, check out First Snow by Emily Arnold McCully (c. 1985).  Here's a wordless book about a mouse family enjoying the first snow together.  So much is said through these illustrations.  Enjoy having your kids supply their own commentary.  Books like these are WONDERFUL because they allow your child to flex his/her imagination to create his own story.  So, check it out!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat

 Check Hilary Knight's The Owl and the Pussy-Cat (reissue c. 2001) out of your local library and be enchanted.  The illustrations are the most stunning interpretation of Edward Lear's classic poem that the Mister and I have ever come across.  Not only were we spellbound, the children were too!  Who says that adults can't be hypnotized by childrens' books?  Each page transports the reader into another world.  Perhaps one of Knight's greatest masterpieces because he fills each spread in The Owl and the Pussy-Cat with quirky, magical images to feast your imagination upon.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Long-Long's New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!  Welcome the Year of the Dragon.  

In celebration of the year of the dragon, check out Long-Long's New Year by Catherine Gower and illustrated by He Zhihong (c. 2005).  He Zhihong paints her exquisite pictures on silk and rice paper, a technique which brings Gower's story to life.

Long-Long and his grandfather go to market to try to sell their fine, fresh cabbages hoping to earn enough money to properly celebrate the Spring Festival.  Grandfather encounters several road blocks, and in the meantime, kids enjoy watching Long-Long's resourcefulness.  Born in the year of the dragon, Long-Long is aptly named since long is the Chinese word for dragon.

Visit http://books.google.com.na/books?id=y77UqWdsVowC&pg=PT32&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false to view He Zhihong's exquisite illustrations.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

When Winter Comes

I've raved over Susan Gaber's illustrations here and here before.  Check out another of her illustrated books (c. 2000) with words by Nancy Van Laan.

Kids are mesmerized by When Winter Comes!  Nana reads it to her class each winter.  And my child came home from kindergarten a few weeks ago, exclaiming that her teacher read "one of my favorite books to the whole class today!"  Yep, I think that teacher's pretty brilliant (especially as her students were just returning from winter break) because you see this read has quite the calming effect (like the gentle cadences of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening).  Catch a glimpse of it in the rhyme and repetition:

Where oh where do the leaves all go
when winter comes and the cold winds blow?
(next page)
The leaves go tumble
tumbling down.
Snow is their blanket.
Their bed is the ground.

So check it out, and tell me, which part do you like best: the soothing rhythm of VanLaan's rhyme or Gaber's soft snowy acrylic paintings or just the complete cozy, snugly, fireside experience of reading it to your child?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin's Big Words

Doreen Rappaport weaves together her words and Dr. King's words in the Caldecott honor book, illustrated by Bryan Collier, Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (c. 2001).
Martin said 'love'
when others said 'hate.'

'Hate cannot drive out hate.
Only love can do that.'

Saturday, January 14, 2012

William Shakespeare

" . . . winter tames man, woman and beast."
William Shakespeare

is published in sharing the seasons: A BOOK OF POEMS selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by David Diaz (c. 2010).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Honey Bear's Snowy Adventure

 Hmmmmmm, well, our edition is entitled Honey Bear's Snowy Adventure.

However, it looks like amazon.com and the library now release this story under the title Little Honey Bear and the Smiley Moon (c. 2006).  Both editions are written by Gillian Lobel and illustrated by Tim Warnes.

So, either way, Honey Bear is such a FUN book to read aloud!  I really enjoy "doing" the four different voices.  Maybe it's that snack at the end or maybe it's because it's another moon story or maybe it's just because it's a tale about fear being resolved with the appearance of Mommy: whatever the reason, it's a simple adventure the kids keep coming back to hear again and again.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Owl at Home

title page

You remember Arnold Lobel, right?!  He's the creator of our dear friends Frog and Toad.

Well, you must, must, must check out this cozy and funny winter read, an I CAN READ book entitled Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel (c. 1975).  Let me give you a glimpse of my favorite illustrations:

beginning the chapter entitled The Guest

beginning the chapter entitled Tear-Water Tea

Now, don't you just want to visit owl?  You can!  Owl at Home is especially perfect for your budding reader or for that young reader who wants an advancement.  The kids just love Owl!  Our house is filled with laughter whenever we read this together.  To tell the truth, Owl is a bit daft, but his daftness evokes the frolicking laughs that children enjoy.  I could go into a more thorough explanation of each of Lobel's five stories, but suffice it to say, Owl at Home is an experience you won't want to miss!

end cover

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Find "January" in A Child's Calendar, a collection of twelve of John Updike's poems that describes a child's journey through the seasons from January through December  (c. 1965).  Caldecott award winning artist Trina Schart Hyman illustrated the collection (c. 1999).