Read Green – Used Books!

Used bookstores and thrift shops offer fantastic books and bottom of the barrel prices. Not only are you saving your bank account , but is is also environmentally friendly to shop used ! Here are four finds from our latest shopping adventure.


“All by Myself” by Ivan Bates is a sweet book about a little elephant exerting her independence. Sound familiar? It might if you have a toddler or preschooler close by! My husband and I laughed so hard when I found this at the Goodwill , just minutes before my son had proclaimed ” I do it” very loudly for all to hear. The story is great though because although the little elephant wants to do it herself, she can’t . Like many of the tasks young children desire to do independently , she simply can’t do it without help. Her mom backs off though until her daughter is ready to use a little old fashion teamwork to get it done.

“My Little Sister Ate One Hare” by Bill Grossman is a huge hit at our house. It’s a counting book that counts all the disgusting things the narrator’s sister ate from 1-10 . The rhyming text builds and repeats as she eats and eats! My son was thoroughly entertained and I liked that he was having fun pointing out and counting the things she ate.

“Everybody Bonjours!” by Leslie Kimmelman was such a find! I adore Paris so my review of this book may be slightly biased. I love it. I love the simplicity of a little girl going to Paris and saying hearing “Bonjour” everywhere she goes. She stops at many of the major tourists attractions and at the end of the story there is a short guide for the sights she sees with her family. Also it should be noted that there are many pages that contain opposites on them so children will enjoy being able to anticipate the story. I love the illustrations by Sarah McMenemy they give a retro feel to a very cute book. My son really liked it especially since he was just learning “Bonjour” the other day and happily helped me say it with each turn of the page.


“James and The Rain” by Karla Kushkin is another great find. The story is about James who suits up when the rains comes down and goes about asking all the animals if they like the rain and what they do in it. Like “My Little Sister Ate One Hare” the story builds with numbers as it goes along. The first animal James meets is one cow, the next are 2 ducks and the numbers continue to grow. All the animals follow James and he has quite the entourage by the time he returns home. It was a little long for my son to sit through but he did come back to read more later in the day. Being that was live in a rainy part of the world, this book is a great fit for our library.

Author Showcase : Kevin Henkes



I collect children’s books, many of my recommendations come from my home library. I scour thrift stores, garage sales and library discard piles for books . When I find a Kevin Henkes book I grab it! I have never been let down with any of his books , there is something magical about the way he captures kids feelings . Here are my favorites . There are many many more books to choose from check out his website for a full listing.

Julius, the Baby of the World is such a funny book that I actually called my mom the day I bought it to read it to her over the phone. The book is about Lily who is adjusting to her new role as a big sister. The thing is Lily isn’t adjusting well, and it’s hilarious because it’s so true ! So often books depict older siblings happily welcoming babies into their lives and that just isn’t always the case. Lily is not happy, she unlike her parents do not think this baby is special and she is openly hostile to Julius. I laugh out loud every time I read this book, I particularly love when Lily tells a passing pregnant mouse that she will regret being pregnant. I think this book opens the floor for a real talk about feelings when a new baby comes, it’s important to remember just because the big people are excited doesn’t mean the little ones are too!

Owen This book warms my heart. Owen is attached to his fuzzy blanket but some people think Owen is too big for a blanket and it’s time to grow up. Owen goes everywhere and needs his blanket still, but his parents are getting pressure from a nosy neighbor to take it away. I think this is an amazing book about parenting. I know that as a mom who is still nursing her 2 year old that I have been told many times the same things that Owen’s parent’s are told “He can’t be a baby forever, can’t you just say no etc…” like Owen’s parent’s I know what my child is ready for and don’t give into nosy neighbors but instead do the best thing for my child. No matter what your child’s lovey is, whether it’s a plush animal, blanket, pacifier or you – you’ll relate to this book. Oh and kids love it too, my son often asks for this one before bed.

Shelia Rae, The Brave In this story Sheila is a brave little mouse, he even taunts her little sister Louise calling her names when she isn’t as brave as her. However soon the tables are turned and when Shelia gets lost it’s her very own scaredy cat sister who shows the bravery. I think a lot of younger siblings can relate to this story, I know I can. Having an older sister who very much like Shelia is the natural leader among the two of us , it’s nice to see the little sister saving the day for once.

Wemberly Worried This book is about a little mouse who is about as anxious as possible. She worries about everything, and it makes her family worried too. This is a fantastic book to read before starting anything new! I read it for the children’s time at my church right before school started in the fall. It was a great opener for a talk about anxiety. We all have worries and even though we may not worry as often or as fiercely as Wemberly this book makes it seem okay and normal to feel those feelings. The way the author illustrates both through words and pictures the intensity of her feelings really creates compassion in the reader for this little mouse. And that ability to understand what another is feeling is something that I desperately want to instill in my son.

We’re On A Roll !

Books That Move !
I have had so many responses to my Garbage Truck and School Bus crafts lately that I decided I needed a book review post filled only with transportation themed books. This is not a comprehensive list ( although I am working on one) just the newest additions. For a list of my transportation activities click here

“The Adventures of Taxi Dog” by Debra and Sal Barraca is a about a stray dog in New York City who is rescued by a taxi driver and spend the rest of his days riding in the front seat soaking up the diversity of their fares. The rhyming text, and detailed illustrations by Marc Buehner work well together to make this a fun read .


“Machines At Work” by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant and at 2 still enjoys reading it, aw well as counting the workers and trucks on each page.

“The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race” by Stan and Jan Berenstain shouldn’t be overlooked. I really enjoy this book but not as much as my son who has begged for it every day before nap this week. It’s a good story about being persistant and they sneak lots of learning into the rhyming text. Colors, opposites and more can be reinforced by this retelling of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare.

“School Bus” by Donald Crews is the book for you if your child goes nuts for the big yellow buses! The reader tags along for a day in the life of a school bus from the depot in the morning , to school , across town and back. The book was also helpful when I was teaching the concepts of stop/ go and empty/ full.

“Truck Stuck” by Sallie Wolf was an awesome find. It immediately reminded me of ” One Duck Stuck ” by Phyllis Root and that is not a bad thing at all! The rhyming text is fun and the illustrations made me giggle, especially the Elvis impersonator in a pink Cadillac! My son was so impressed with this book, I was able to negotiate my reluctant eater to finish his lunch if I read it one more time . That speaks volumes!

Hippity Hoppity !

Bunny Books !

Spring is the perfect time read books with bunnies in them, whether the Easter bunny visits your house or not these books will bring a little springtime into your house.
“Ten Little Rabbits” by Virginia Grossman is a really beautiful and cozy counting book. The reader follows Native American rabbits from1 who is traveling on the plain to 10 all asleep in their tee pees . My son loved the illustrations by Sylvia Long and after reading it wanted to play hide and seek just like the rabbits in the book.


” My Friend Rabbit “ by Eric Rohmann is a cute book with award winning illustrations that follows a mouse and a rabbit who remain friends despite the rabbit’s uncanny ability to get into trouble. The little rabbit means well and his heart is true, the limited text and descriptive illustrations make this book great for a wide range of age groups and my son loved the Rhino!

” That’s not my bunny, it’s tail is too fluffy!” by Fiona Watt carries on the theme of the art project , exploring the sense of touch with all different textures. Great for the under 2 crowd!


Knuffle Bunny” by Mo Willems is hilarious and heartwarming all at the same time. The story is about a lost bunny, and a dad that can’t quite understand what his toddler is trying to “say” to him. Luckily the mom speaks ” toddler” and dad gets to be a hero by reuniting his daughter with her beloved bunny.



“Bunny’s Noisy Book” by Margaret Wise Brown is a sweet book about a little bunny and all the sounds he hears throughout his day. As the little bunny hops from sun up to sundown you travel with him to experience the sounds and sights of a perfect spring day. The illustrations by Lisa McCue are are rich and the bunnies are so cute . My son loved the pictures but wasn’t too into the story, I think that is just a matter of age, and I would recommend this book for sure.

“Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown I am trying to find the right way to say how much I dislike this book I know many love it but I just can’t get on board. A few years ago my assistant teacher and I used to call it “Run bunny run!” because this poor bunny is just trying to get some space from his mom. I know that some people adore this book and think that the sentiment of security is the one to focus on but I can’t write that I love it when I don’t.


” Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic for a reason. My son has loved it since day one and it really does a great job of calming before bed, like all great bedtime stories should. As a teacher I hated this book probably because it’s not a great book for groups I admit I was wrong, this is a gem !

Counting Books

” 1, 2, 3 To The ZOO” by Eric Carle is fun counting book perfect for toddlers. Actually as I type this my toddler is reading it. There are no words, just pictures and numbers and that makes it accessible for toddlers who are just learning both numbers and animals. Parents can read it slowly counting and naming the animals while making the animal sounds, or more quickly just counting!

“This Jazz Man” by Karen Ehrhardt is my new favorite book. The book updates the classic children’s song “This Old Man” and inserts all different men in a jazz band, however at the end of the book it explains that each jazz man is actually a real person including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and more! I love the bios at the end of the book because I want to learn more about jazz too. Ok back to the book, the book itself is a counting book,and my son who is 3 eats it up! He loves calling out the number and instrument as I read the rhyming text. He has had me read it countless times today and I haven’t minded one bit,the pictures by R.G. Roth are adorable, and all in all I just love this book!

“Fish Eyes ” by Lois Elhert is a classroom favorite in every school I have ever been in. The colors are so bright and the eye cut outs that give readers a sneak peak at what colors are coming next are fascinating for all readers. I have used this book for various themes like under the sea, shapes and of course counting.


“Ten Little Rabbits” by Virginia Grossman is a really beautiful and cozy counting book. The reader follows Native American rabbits from one who is traveling on the plain to 10 all asleep in their tee pees . My son loved the illustrations by Sylvia Long and after reading it wanted to play hide and seek just like the rabbits in the book.


” Eight Silly Monkeys” by Steve Hascamp uses the familiar children’s song as the story and has cut outs and small plastic monkey faces that count down with you. Books like this are great for toddlers, they like touching the raised faces, and they will absorb the large numbers and counting. Also the cute pictures of the hurt monkeys will probably get a few ” uh oh- no no no!” from toddlers who like to point out things they ( or monkeys) shouldn’t do! 


” One Hungry Monster” by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe is a fun counting book  great for all ages of kids. My son will sit for the first 5-6 pages, even though the whole book is too long for him now at two and a half years old. The book is a counting book and kids who are learning their numbers love these sorts of books, it also has a small lesson about manners since the monsters have terrible manners.

” Daddy Hugs” by Karen Katz is a cute little counting book for toddlers. I gave it to my husband last year for his first father’s day and my son hated it. However in the year since it’s become a favorite and nothing beats a board book for when toddlers get to that destructo stage. Edited for 2013: My daughter has always loved this book!


“Zin Zin Zin ! A Violin” by Lloyd Moss is a big hit at our house and if you have a child into music or musical instruments this is a great book. You count the instruments as they come on stage for a performance and not only is this a great counting book, but it introduced musical instruments in it’s rhyming text and super fun pictures. I am biased though my little man is really really into instruments and loves this book. The day we bought it I had to sit in the back with him on the way home from the bookstore because he couldn’t wait to read it .

” Construction Countdown” by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!
” Goodnight Moon- A Counting Book” by Margaret Wise Brown uses the familiar illustrations from the classic book by Margaret Wise Brown and turns it into a counting book. The page with 100 stars really has 100 stars on it, count and see!
” Five Wishing Stars” by Treesha Runnels is a great bedtime book, it counts down from five to zero with a rhyming text and glow in the dark stars!


” Piggies” by Don and Audrey Wood is a great counting book for little guys. Toddlers love this book. You will probably notice your child touching their fingers as you read this delightful story about little piggies.