Wednesday, September 12, 2018


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Wednesday, September 05, 2018


Sparks by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto  

Two new Graphic Novel versions from Far Out Fairy Tales series Sleeping Beauty, Magic Master by Stephanie True Peters illustrated C.S. Jennings

Goldilocks and the Three Vampires by Laurie Sutton and illustrated by Alex Lopez

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


Floaty by John Himmelman reminds one of the movie Up.  Mr. Raisin does not necessarily love dogs, but he took him in because even a floating dog needs food and shelter.  
While walking one day, Floaty's leash breaks off and off floats the the dog.  Heart broken yet determined to find him, Mr. Raisin float up some food and with his sewing skill he makes a hot air balloon to help with his search. 

Beautiful and bright illustrations to draw in readers from preschool and up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Goldilocks and the Just Right Potty by Leigh Hodgkinson  is an adorable twist on Goldilocks and the you know whos.  The girl knows what she likes in a potty, something that's just right!  And in the end she gets it  just right ... and so does a familiar bear.  Check out the end pages in the back of the book.   

A fun read for toddlers up to Kindergarteners. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


In Hello Door by Alistair Heim and Alisa Coburn,  Fox burgles the Three Bears' home.  He climbs through the window, saying hello to each inanimate object as he rifles through their house, eats their food, messes up their bed and steals their things.  I'm not advocating thievery here, but if I did, it's because of this very cute and silly B&B.  Finally, Fox gets tossed out the window, to an even bigger house, to commit yet another crime.  Fox didn't learn his lesson I guess. 

For preschoolers through second graders who enjoy a fractured fairy tale and a some great illustrations. Be sure to look at each framed picture at the end pages of the book.

Bye-bye, Reader.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Rocky hops from from one rocky location to another and becomes a rockstar when he plays an important part in keeping Mount Rushmore together. 

Don't skip the rock types and description about Rocky's Rock Star Family in the back of the book.  This mix o  f humor and facts and  perfect way of getting information across to those who think geology is boring. 

For example: 
Rocky's Dad
Happy to sit at home and gather moss.
Type:  sedimentary

Get it?

A Chip Off the Old Block by Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Daniel Miyares is a fun romp through the rocky countryside with lots of rock puns and wordplay. 

For readers in preschool through second grade.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018


Natsumi is small and everything she does is too much.  But there is one activity for the festival that is perfect for Natsumi.  Her grandfather recognizes her special quality and takes her to a super special and mysterious  after school activity until it's time to reveal it during the festival.  

I'm not giving away the ending so check out  Natsumi! by Susan Lendroth illustrated by Priscilla Burris is for preschoolers and up. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


Bear goes fishing without letting Duck know and when Duck finds Bear's house is empty he sets off to find Bear with map in hand.  Meanwhile, Bear finds that fishing and being rained on is not much fun.  Eventually Duck and Bear find each other and spend the night camping under the stars until they decide they've had enough camping and head back home together, where they will be together forever.  

Yes.  Forever.  

Come Home Already by Dory John and Benji Davies (together forever!) is a fun read- aloud for preschoolers through 2nd grade.


Last time we explored some strategies to help you successfully engage your babies and build those important pre-reading skills.  This time we will pick up where we left off and explore some strategies for engaging your toddlers.

Talkers (2 Years - 3 Years)
In addition to Talking, Singing, Signing, Playing, and Reading as explored last time incorporate the new category of Question into you and your child's routine.

  • Engage your toddler in the stories you read by asking questions.  Ask what questions such as, "What animal is this?" or "What color is the frog?"  Affirm your toddler's answers, "Yes, the frog is green."
  • If your toddler struggles to answer, supply the correct response.  Encourage your toddler to repeat what you've said.
  • Ask open-ended questions that allow and encourage your toddler to respond with more than one word.  For example, ask questions such as, "What do you see on this page?"  Your toddler may still need help.  Provide full sentence responses, asking your toddler to repeat after you.  "The frog is jumping into the pond."
  • Expand upon your toddler's responses.  When she says, "Bunny hop," you can respond with, "Yes, the bunny rabbit is hopping to the flowers."
  • Encourage your toddler's listening skills.  Remember, if she is answering your questions she is listening even when she is not looking at you.
Enjoy your time with your toddler.  Remember to make reading time a bonding time and have fun exploring books and the world around you together.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Every parent hopes to raise an enthusiastic and successful reader.  If you hope to raise a strong reader you need to first understand that your child begins building pre-reading skills from birth.  Today we will explore some strategies that can help you engage your littlest little ones to help build a love of reading from infancy.

Pre-Talkers (Birth - 2 Years)

Your baby loves hearing your voice.
  • Make up stories, explain what you're doing, and ask your baby questions.
  • You baby will begin to respond with facial expressions.
  • Talking to your baby helps language development and increases brain activity.
  • Babies who are spoken to will begin to participate in conversations, responding with coos and gurgles.
Singing is another way your baby learns language.
  • Sing while holding your baby and she will feel your voice as well as hear it.
  • Repeat songs again and again.  Baby loves repetition.  Repeating songs also helps your baby to hear small sounds (pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake).
  • Sing at bath time, in the car and everywhere in between.  Your baby will try to sing along, cooing and babbling with you.
Sign Language
Babies are capable of learning simple sign language.
  • Teach your baby simple signs such as cup, more, all done and clean up.
  • Signing with your baby helps you communicate with more ease and reduces baby's stress levels.
  • Babies who are taught to sign learn to speak faster and have larger vocabularies.
It looks like simple play to us but this is how your baby learns about their world.
  • Allow your baby to play with books and other safe items.
  • Shaking, throwing, tugging and tasting are how your baby will explore books.  Use sturdy board books or cloth books at this age.
  • Let her play freely with the book, discovering how pages turn and finding more pictures inside.
Sharing books with your baby is a bonding experience.
  • Set aside regular reading times every day - nap time, after meals and bedtime are good examples.
  • Choose books that your child will enjoy.
  • Find a comfortable place to sit away from distractions such as the television, radio, computers, phones, and other devices.
  • Be sure to hold the book so that your baby can see the picture and words.
  • Encourage your baby to participate in the story by asking her to point to specific pictures and say simple words.
  • Talk to your baby about what you see in the book.
  • Reread your baby's favorite stories again and again.
  • Keep plenty of books around your home.  Borrow books from the library so you always have new titles to share with your baby.
  • Take books in the car, to the grocery store and to appointments.  Read with your baby while you wait.
Remember to always keep reading times fun.  Keep it short.  If your baby becomes fussy or loses interest simply move on to another activity.  Reading with your child should be a fun, stress-free, bonding time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Another Jan Thomas silliness in My Friends Make Me HAPPY! Sheep asks his friends to guess what makes him happy and they guess things that begin with the letter F, such as fish, fans and turnips.  Turnips!?  Oi.  Silly fun reads like other Jan Thomas books. 

In Louise Loves Bake Sales by Kelly Light Louise and her brother Art get creative with the school bake sale with some help from their cat who her expresses feelings with hilarious facial expressions.  

For readers in Kindergarten through 2nd grade.  

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


It’s almost time, parents.  Kindergarten is just around the corner.  And believe me, that first day is going to be a hard one. There will be fears and there might be some tears but hopefully it can also be a great moment for both you and your not-so-little-anymore kiddo.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare both yourself and your child for that important first day.

1. First of all, take a deep breath, parents.  Everything is going to be okay.  Your child is growing up.  And as hard as it is for us to say goodbye to baby smells, and favorite wubbies, snuggle time and wide-eyed innocence, your child is ready for their next big adventure.

And, if your child isn't as ready as they could be, you'll work to get there together.  Your child might be heading off to big kid school but they still need you to help them make that transition.  Let's make it as smooth as possible for both of you.

2. Plan to visit your child's new school with them.  Most schools will have open house days so families can do this.  Explore the school and the classroom your child will be in.  If possible, plan for you and your child to meet their Kindergarten teacher before the school year starts.  

When you visit the school, talk about drop off and pick up.  If you'll be driving your child show them where the car will let them out and talk about where they will walk when they exit the car.  Will your child be riding the school bus?  If so, show them where they will get on the bus in the morning and where the buses pull up when  they arrive at the school.  If you're walking your child to school practice that walk together before hand.  Name the streets you walk on, point out landmarks you see along the way (the neighborhood park, a corner store, your neighbor's house, etc...).  Your child will be less nervous when they understand their new routine.

3. Teach your child their address, your phone number and your full name.  This will take time.  Let them practice writing this information daily and practice with them on the phone.  Hopefully they won't need this information any time soon, but it's your responsibility to prepare them for those moments when they might.

4. Have conversations with your child about strangers.  Conversations.  Plural.  You'll need to talk about this more than once, parents.  You might even consider roleplaying different scenarios with your child.  This is a scary topic for  parents to think about but you'll need to impress upon your child the importance of never going off with a stranger.  You might want to think about having a code word that you use with your child in the event that someone other than you needs to pick them up from school.  Make sure it's something you can both remember and go over it together periodically.

Now, let's talk about backpacks for a moment.  Your child will need one and I know it's cute to get their name embroidered on it but I urge you to reconsider.  If you can read the name on the backpack than so can a stranger and your child is much more likely to go off with that stranger if that stranger addresses them by their name.  Play it smart and skip the embroidered name.  

5. Your child's favorite lunch might be PB&J but you'll need to plan on peanut-free lunches once they start school.  With the rise of peanut allergies many schools have gone peanut-free.  Consult your child's school to see if this rule applies or plan on a yummy lunch alternative.  Additionally, make sure your child can open all their lunch food.  That amazing lunch you pack will do them no good if they can't open it up.  

6. Bullies.  Every school has them and yes, they exist even in Kindergarten.  Have conversations about bullies with your child before they start school.  You might consider reading some books with them on this subject such as, Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill, Bootsie Barker Bites by Barbara Bottner, and Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney.  Talk to your child about standing up for themselves and talk to them about respecting others.  You don't want your child to be bullied and you don't want your child to be a bully.  Talk it out, prepare your child, and give them the tools they need to be a good classmate and a good friend.

7. Remember, parents, that Kindergarten can be exhausting.  I know children are busy these days and there always seems to be a half dozen or more after school activities to run around to but try to keep these activities to a minimum.  Your child will need time to unwind, to decompress from their busy day.  so much of what they're experiencing at school is new that they are likely overstimulated by the end of their school day.  Think about creating an unwinding ritual for you and your child.  Maybe go for a walk around your neighborhood after school or sit and have a snack and read a book.  Decide what works best for you and your child.  It might end up being the best part of  your day.

8. And lastly, parents, remember to savor the memories.  This year will be filled with first for both your child and you.  Take pictures, save the school projects, record all those precious moments.  They will be gone before you know it.

Enjoy the school year to come, parents.  It's going to be great!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Sending your child off to kindergarten is a huge step, both for her and for yourself.  She will learn many new skills in her first year of school.  You can help make her transition into Kindergarten an easier one by making sure she can accomplish this checklist:

  • Follows rules and routines
  • Is able to transition from one activity to another
  • Participates in group activities
  • Is able to interact with one or more children
  • Is able to share and take turns
  • Is able to clean up after play
  • Is able to interact with teachers and other familiar adults
  • Is able to use words to resolve conflicts
  • Seeks out adult assistance to resolve conflicts
  • Listens carefully to instructions
  • Is able to follow single step direction
  • Is able to follow two step direction
  • Is able to be understood when speaking
  • Is able to relay what has happened (sequence of events)
  • Is able to sit and listen to a story
  • Is able to retell a story
  • Is able to sequence two or three pictures
  • Is able to use pictures to communicate
  • Writes using scribbles and symbols
  • Is able to print name without a model
  • Is able to sing and recite the alphabet
  • Is able to match upper case letters
  • Is able to match lower case letters
  • Is able to identify both upper and lower case letters
  • Is able to sort colors and shapes
  • Is able to count to 20
  • Is able to match numbers
  • Is able to properly grasp scissors
  • Is able to identify 10 colors
  • Uses objects to make believe
If your child is able accomplish the above task she will have an easier time entering Kindergarten.  Practice these skills together to help her succeed. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Hi there! Howdy! Hey! Hi-ya! Hello Hello, written and illustrated by Cadecott Honoree Brendan Wenzel, is a triumphant and jubilant picture book greeting from the animal kingdom. All sorts of animals welcome the reader from page to page: 

Hello Quiet
Hello Loud
Hello Wild
Hello Proud

The deceptively simple text-told in a cheerful rhyme tailor-made for storytime--celebrates the marvel, curiosity, inclusion, and diversity in the natural world, while the exquisitely vibrant illustrations showcase just some of the myriad of animals children could encounter in the world around them, from a cuttlefish to an aardwolf. An appendix of the animals is included in the backmatter, along with an inspirational author's note inviting young readers to find out more, especially about the many threatened and endangered animals they might see in the pages in an effort to help save them. 

Share this book with babies through kindergartners to spark a joy of nature and celebrate it's extraordinary wonder. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


It's time for our last batch of Parent & Child Activities.  I hope you and your little one have been having a great time exploring all these activities together.


  • Dance Party: Listen and dance to music 
  • E-I-E-I-O: Sing 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' 
  • Check Out the Library: Come to your local neighborhood library
  • Sing, Play, Learn: Come to Storytime at your local neighborhood library
  • That's My Jam: Come see a performer this summer at your local neighborhood library
  • Easy as 1, 2, 3: Count stairs as you go up or down
  • Check Out the Library: Come to your local neighborhood library
  • Sing, Play, Learn: Come to Storytime at your local neighborhood library
  • Tinkering Around: Enjoy a STEAM activity at your local neighborhood library
  • Shake Your Sillies Out: Have a dance party with your toddler.  
  • That's My Jam: Come see a performer this summer at your local neighborhood library
  • With a 1, 2, 3: Sing a Storytime song to a favorite stuffed animal or figure
  • Stroll for the Senses: Go for a walk and discover 5 new words to describe what you see, hear, and smell
  • Cast Your Vote: Have your preschooler vote 'Good', 'Better', 'Best' on items in a category (songs; hats; fruit, etc...)
  • Check Out the Library: Come to your local neighborhood library
  • Sing, Play, Learn: Come to Storytime at your local neighborhood library
  • Tinkering Around: Enjoy a STEAM activity at your local neighborhood library
  • Shake Your Sillies Out: Have a dance party with your preschooler. Let them choose the music.
  • That's My Jam: Come see a performer this summer at your local neighborhood library
Remember, these activities are great for you and your little one year round.  Keep exploring with your baby, toddler or preschool and have fun together!