Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Find "March" 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).

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Coming On Home Soon

Oh, this book is just simply beautiful!  
Beautiful to read, 
beautiful to look at, 
beautiful to experience.  
It puts new meaning to the expression breathakingly beautiful.

Check out: Coming On Home Soon (c. 2004) by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis.  Here's the Publisher's (G. P. Putnam's Sons) summary on the inside cover jacket:

Ada Ruth, Mama said.  Do you know I love you more than anything in the world?
Yes, ma'am, I whispered.  More than rain.
More than snow, Mama whispered back, the way we'd done a hundred times before.
Or maybe a hundred thousand. 

   It's wartime, and women have to go to work while the men are off fighting.  Ada Ruth's mama has a job in Chicago, and she must leave Ada Ruth and Grandma behind.
   Now Ada Ruth and Grandma are missing Mama and trying to keep each other strong.  But some days, it feels like nothing can fill the emptiness in their hearts.  Then a surprise comes to their door and gives them something to fuss over while they wait for the letter that will say Mama's coming home soon.
   In this timeless story, Woodson's evocative text and Lewis's captivating artwork capture all that comes with missing and waiting -- the sadness, the everyday living, the small surprises, and most of all, the hope.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


The eldest sits mesmerized each night when I read our latest library find.  The child would have me read chapter after chapter, but this reader needs to take a breath.  Saying Milly-Molly-Mandy an up-teen number of times can really wind a reader.  Whew!  . . . Thank goodness each chapter is a story in and of itself - complete with "Once upon a time . . ."  However, the kids seem enchanted by that repetitive name.

Welcome to the world of Joyce Lankester Brisley's creation!  Best I can gather, Brisley was an English author writing about cottage childhood in the English countryside during the 1920s. 

Meet Milly-Molly-Mandy (short! for Millicent Margaret Amanda) and her friends Billy Blunt and Susan -- along with her extended family -- in the twenty-one tales collected in The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook and published in 1928.

Frankly, Brisley's stories are quite simplistic, especially compared to our technologically chaos induced enhanced society.  And that's where I think the charm must lie.  It seems that the kids are mesmerized precisely because Brisley's tales speak to that independent, industrious, curious nature welling deep within them.  In reading about Milly-Molly-Mandy's adventures, kids get a glimpse into the spirit of discovery that speaks to their souls.

Honestly, the publishers (Kingfisher) sum it up best:
The stories of Milly-Molly-Mandy and her family and friends have charmed generations of children since they first appeared in 1925. This collection of twenty-one classic tales about this resourceful and thoughtful little girl reflect with accuracy the dilemmas and challenges of a child's world. Young children today will love to hear how Milly-Molly-Mandy decides to spend her first penny, looks after a hedgehog, and spends her first night away from home. These timeless stories are perfect for reading aloud, for older children to read by themselves, or as a story before bedtime, and will bring back many happy memories for many parents and grandparents. The book's endpaper feature a two-page map of Milly-Molly-Mandy's village complete with drawings of cottages, fields, streets, and shops making it easy for children to follow Milly-Molly-Mandy from place to place.

So readers, check out the book and tell me what you think.  What do your kids think?  Are you familiar with Brisley's stories, or was this as new to you as it was to me?  I'd especially love to hear from my readers hailing from or living in England.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Snow Day

Oh, I just love new finds!  And around here, we've especially enjoyed this new find by Komako Sakai, The Snow Day (c. 2005).  Son rabbit eagerly awaits his chance to play in the snow.  He waits by the window all day.

My favorite part is the magical moonlight walk through the snow . . . brings back the memories!  I'm telling you, the kids love this one . . . and . . . I've noticed the Mister asking if they'd like to hear The Snow Day . . . again!  ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day

With Valentine's Day (c. 2001) illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell, author Anne Rockwell weaves the idea of pen-pal communication with the Mrs. Madoff's classroom tradition of making Valentine's cards. 

This story immediately catches our young audience's attention as each page details each student's unique Valentine's card creation.  Written from the perspective of an elementary school aged boy named Sam, the Rockwells' book begs to be read a second time -- so the reader better understands the connection of each custom Valentine card in relation to the receiver.  After you read it twice, the kids will want to hear more.

I want to give a shout out to all my readers out their who hunt for "boy" books . . . here's a Valentine's Day read specifically delivered from a boy's viewpoint and sensibility.

By the way, Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell make up a charming mother-daughter team.  To find out more about them, check out Lizzy Rockwell's webpage: and Anne Rockwell's webage:  And to check out other book recommendations by Anne and Lizzy Rockwell found on Read Me A Story click on each image:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Queen of Hearts

Mary Engelbreit's wonderful sense of humor characteristically shines in Queen of Hearts (c. 2004).  Ann Estelle belabors over decorating her Valentine's Day box . . . so much so that she forgets to make her Valentine's cards for her classmates.  What will she do to express her Valentine's Day greetings?

I'm sending a shout out to Nana for this fun Valentinte's Day tradition!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day

Okay, okay, okay . . . finally, here are my much requested Valentine's Day reads.  Stick with me the next three days as you visit the library.

I particularly like this simplistic story, briefly outlining the tradition of Valentine's Day.  But what I really like is how Miriam Nerlove sticks to age-appropriate explanations for Valentine's Day without making it a mushy love fest.  What do I mean?  Well, her characters make Valentine's for their parents, siblings, and friends.  Isn't that beautiful!  I mean really, can't I be first in my kids' hearts . . . well . . . forever?!  I'm kidding . . . well, just a little bit.

Anyway, what mom could resist a book where the Daddy comes home on Valentine's Day with flowers and a hug for Mommy and then swings his daughter in the air, saying "You're my special valentine."  Folks, while we're imprinting their young minds, let's pick the books that say "Daddy and Mommy love each other and love you."  What could be a better Valentine's Day message than that?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


from Take Joy! by Tasha Tudor (c. 1966)

by Christina Rossetti

Bread and milk for breakfast
And woolen frocks to wear,
And a crumb for robin redbreast
On the cold days of the year.