New Books!

by Carrie Anne

A love of books is important even before your kids can read. I hope to bring to you each month some new releases for the smallest ones in your family to enjoy.

My Little Carry Books: Colors

DK Books
Age 0-5 (board book)
Even as a colour concept book, My Little Carry Books: Colors has a cute rhyme flowing through the pages, making it even a fun read for mom and dad. Little ones will like the colourful objects illustrating the colour being talked about; the background colour also ads reinforcement. But the best part is the thick, reinforced handle at the end of the book, perfect for small hands. Now that spring is slowly creeping in, take your little one on a colour scavenger hunt; they’ll love carrying their own book to use as reference. There’s also My Little Carry Books: Animals with real photographic images of both pet and wild animals.

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Pop-Up Peekaboo: Farm
DK Books
Age 0-5 (board book)
Kids will love discovering farm animals hiding within this sturdy pop-up book. The rhyme invites kids to help the other animals find under the eggs or behind the tree or in the barn. I love that the flaps are integrated into the page edge, making them much more resilient to little hands than flaps just stuck to the page. Kids will love that the animals hiding behind the flaps ‘jump out’ at them as pop-ups. The animals used or stuffed toys versus photos but I think that adds to the cuteness of the story. Along with reinforcing animals names (with the exception of Horse being called Horsey), kids will learn and love repeating the sounds the animals make. Each page in Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm adds animals as you go through the pages (one chicken, two cows, up to five noisy animals), giving you a chance to practice counting. Pop-Up Peekaboo! Playtime is also in this series

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Press Here
Chronicle Books (Raincoast Books)
written and illustrated by Hervé Tullet
Age 3+ (picture book)
There are no sounds. There are no flaps. There are no touch and feel spots. None of these special effects are needed to get kids to interact with Press Here. With a sturdy cover and slightly thick pages (though they can still rip), Press Here relies on a child’s inquisitive nature to keep the pages turning. The only illustration used throughout the whole book are dots, sometimes a lot, sometimes only one, in a few basic colours and one size (except near the end). Each page consists of an instruction, written simply at the bottom of the page : press here and turn the page. Each new page shows how the dot has reacted to their interaction in some way and offers words of encouragement (Great! or Perfect!) and then a new instruction. This goes on through the whole 56 page book. But once you and your kids start you’ll be drawn to going right to the end and then starting the book all over again. I couldn’t believe how involved my 4 and 6-year old got with this book. They laughed and really got into touching and shaking and turning the pages to see what would happen next. Even with all the technology and gadgets out there for kids, it’s great to see them get super excited from a simple image on a page.

Disclosure : I want to thank Chris from DK Canada and Crystal from Raincoast Books for my review copies.
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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 , Managing editor of EverythingMom.com and an avid reader. You can catch up with her on her blog  Another Day. Another Thought…Or Two

Books About Trips

by Carrie Anne

The Van

The warmer weather seems to have finally arrived. For our family that means more trips: visiting family, off for vacation or just out for a weekend drive. Below are a few books to share with your kids to get them in the trip frame of mind.

The Van (Green Light Readers Level 1)
Written / illustrated by Holly Keller
Published by Harcourt
Green Light Reader, level 1 (getting ready to read)

Sam has a van. Pam, Max, Dan and Max join Sam for an afternoon ride but there’s a problem. Not to worry Pam has a solution and the friends are off. The story is simple with limited, single syllable words, making it ideal for beginning readers. The story is about the simple tale of friends trying to head out in their van, nothing more, but that makes it a great story for discussion. Why couldn’t they get the van to go? where are the friends going? where would you like to go with your friends? The back of the book has a few question suggestions and some prediction activities.

A Trip With Grandma

A Trip with Grandma
Written / illustrated by Ruth Ohi
published by Annick Press
Picture book, Age 3-6

Sprout loves his grandma, but when grandma offered to take him and his big sister, Clara, on a road trip, overnight, Sprout became very nervous. He had never been away from his mom and dad before. The day arrived for Sprout, Clara and grandma to head out. They stopped often to call mom and dad to tell them what they were up to on the trip. After a night in the hotel, dancing chickens and gazing at large trees, the three travelers head home. But Sprout didn’t feel the need to stop and call mom and dad about everything they did. This is a great story for kids spending time away from mom and dad for the first time, either on a day trip or a sleepover at grandma’s house. Ruth Ohi (author of the Chicken, Pig, Cow books which I had the chance to review http://cabadov.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/warw-chicken-pig-cow-on-the-move/) really understands kids. She shows how Sprout gradually relaxes on the trip through the phone calls grandma offers in the disguise of keeping mom and dad up to date.

Duck Duck Moose

Duck, Duck, Moose
Written / illustrated by Dave Horowitz
Published by Penguin
Picture book, Age 4-8

Duck and The Other Duck are heading south for the winter. Moose, feeling he’ll be lonely, decides to join them. They drive from New Hampshire all the way to Florida. Once there they keep themselves busy with the beach and fishing and the occasional pancake, until it’s time to head back home. Moose reluctantly leaves but he finds a way to keep the memory of his trip alive. Dave Horowitz does a great job with the illustrations showing the friends driving through the different states and the fun they have at their final destination. We do the drive to Florida in the summer so my kids could really relate to this road trip story. The illustrations fill the pages; even the text is used graphically throughout. This is just a great journey story.

Picturescape

Picturescape
Written / illustrated by Elisa Gutierrez
Published by Simply Read Books
Picture book, Age 3-8

A young boy makes a class trip to the art gallery. But the real journey occurs when he’s transported by his imagination into the variety of paintings on display. I’m not a big fan of wordless books. I know they have their purpose but I could never get into them; I’m more a written word type. But Elisa Gutierrez’s book had a completely different affect on me. The images are very muted like a lot of the great Canadian artists’ works (Emily Carr, Tom Thompson, The Group of Seven). The journey aspect is the boys journey through the variety of picture landscapes. This is a great way to introduce the notion of traveling with your imagination. The boy in the story visited farm fields, lakes and mountains without leaving where he lives. Not all journey’s have to be physical.

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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 , Managing editor of EverythingMom.com and an avid reader. You can catch up with her on her blog  Another Day. Another Thought…Or Two

Author Showcase : Mo Willems

by Carrie Anne
Today I will Fly
M-M-May means M-M-Mo. Mo Willems
I love children’s books, all sorts of children’s books, but some of my favorites seem to be written by the same author. I wrote about our collection of books by Lauren Child we have in our home library. This month I wanted to talk about another favorite author: Mo Willems. His stories are fun and his illustrations simple. It was hard, but I was able to pick a few of our favorites to share with you.

Today I Will Fly! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

age 4-6

Elephant Gerald is cautious and a little pessimistic. Piggie is optimistic and somewhat reckless. And the two of them are best friends. Piggie has decided today is the day she will fly. Gerald knows pigs can’t fly but that doesn’t deter Piggie and maybe her persistence will pay off. I love that the illustrations focus just on Elephant and Piggie on a white backdrop. This keeps the focus on the characters and doesn’t clutter up the page with extraneous elements. The clean and simple images also make it easy for the text to stand out, great for beginning readers. The words are simple and repeated throughout the story. My kids love the antics and back-and-forth conversations between Elephant and Piggie; they respect each others differences and it’s these differences that make them great together. Today I Will Fly is just one book in the growing Elephant and Piggie series.
Edwina

Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct

age 4-6
Everyone loves Edwina; everyone except Reginald Van Hoobie-Doobie. Perhaps it’s because Edwina is a dinosaur and Reginald knows that dinosaur’s are extinct. He decides to educate everyone on this fact but no matter what he does, no one seems to listen to him; no one except Edwina. From flyers to a one-man-band, my kids love what Reginald does to try and get people to listen to his ‘Dinosaurs are extinct’ message. I love that the one person Reginald has an issue with (Edwina) is the one who helps him understand his real issue; he just wants people to listen to him.
naked mole rat

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

age 3-7
When you start this story you are told 3 things about naked mole rats, one of which is they are all naked, except Wilbur. Wilbur loves clothes. He loves how he looks and how different clothes enable him to express his varying personalities and moods. The other naked mole rats are shocked by this behaviour. After many attempts to convince Wilbur to shed his clothes, the naked mole rats seek help from the Grand-pah, the oldest and wisest naked mole rat. A proclamation is made but it’s not what anyone is expecting. Similar to Willem’s other animal character books, the animals are the main focus without adding to much background (just the pale pink naked colour of the mole rats). There is more text in this story than Willem’s other books but the placement and font usage makes it interesting on the page. The story isn’t so much about wearing (or not wearing) clothing but rather sticking by your convictions and questioning what people do around you. This is a great book to encourage kids to have courage and belief in themselves and others will follow.
cat the cat who is that

Cat the Cat, Who Is That?

age 3-5
Cat Cat is you guessed it, a cat. She travels through the pages of the book introducing us to her friends: Mouse Mouse, Duck Duck, Fish Fish. Then she meets someone she doesn’t know, but not for long. Cat Cat has a new friend. This is a new series from Willems. The illustrations again focus on the characters without adding a lot of background imagery, though these images have a different feel than Willems other work. I think it’s because the colours are brighter primary colours versus the muted pastels I’m use to seeing. The text is basic and large and repeated on the pages which is great for beginner readers. My 3-year-old loves to ‘read’ this story now to her siblings.
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Carrie Anne  is a writer, editor and mom of three young kids.  Read more book reviews and other views on her blog Another Day. Another thought …or two.

Gardening Books

by Carrie Anne

Seeds Seeds Seeds

With April comes Spring and with Spring comes thoughts of warmer weather, the environment and Earth Day. Spending time outside in the garden is a perfect way for my kids to understand the life cycle of plants and how we as people impact that cycle. It may be too early to start gardening (we can’t start until the end of May) but learning and planning and preparing your outside space can happen now that the temperature is warmer and the sun is out longer. Here are a few books to get you and your kids ready to explore the garden and plants in your backyard.

Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!
by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
picture book (age 3-7)
published by Marshall Cavendish

Buddy Bear receives a package from his Gramps; five bags, tagged and tied with string. Each day Buddy Bear opens one bag to find a seed activity his Gramps has created as a way to celebrate the arrival of Spring, including creating a seed collection. The illustrations are paper collages with the exception of the seeds, which are photographs. The seed photographs give kids a great reference to the different seeds in common foods tey probably eat. The activities created by Buddy Bear’s Gramps could be recreated for your own gardening season countdown.

zinnias flower garden

Zinnia’s Flower Garden
by Monica Wellington
Picture Book (4-7)
published by Culton Children’s Books (division of Penquin)

Spring is here and Zinnia is getting her garden ready. She prepares the soil, plants the seeds, waters and watches it grow. Even in the Summer, Fall and Winter there is always something about the garden for Zinnia to enjoy. Created like a garden journal, the day’s entry appears on the left with a large image of Zinnia and her garden on the right. The illustrations are simple and colourful and include photographs of actual flowers and plants. On the left journal side of the book you’ll also find a few visual references to key garden vocabulary. If you’re starting a garden in Spring, Zinnia’s Flower Garden is a great book tallking about the stages a garden goes through and even includes some reference dates during certain stages of gardening during the year.

Up down and arownd

Up, Down, and Around
written by Kathrine Ayres, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
picture book (3-5)
published by Candlewick Press

Corn grows up. Carrots grow down. Cucumbers climb around and around. Kids will enjoy this catchy rhyming story as it explores with a family how different plants grow in their garden: up, down, and around. Kids will learn a variety of plant names and how they grow (as in above ground or below). The words are simple and limited and the illustrations fill the page. The book ends with the family enjoying the rewards of their garden for lunch.

Seeds Sprout
Seeds Sprout! (I Like Plants!)
by Mary Dodson Wade
picture book (4-8)
published by Enslow Publishing

Part of the I like Plants series, Seeds Spouts is a great non-fiction book ideal for your little gardener. It talks about different seeds, how they travel and how they grow. The text is large and uses simple vocabulary. The close-up photographs give kids a view of seeds they may not be use to seeing, especially the image of the seed sprout at various stages. There’s also a great seed experiment at the back , along with a list of suggested books and websites for additional information.

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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 , Managing editor of EverythingMom.com and an avid reader. You can catch up with her on her blog  Another Day. Another Thought…Or Two .

Books About The Days Of The Week

by Carrie Anne
I don’t know why but we’ve been talking about what day each of my kids was born on. The whole discussion stems from this rhyme my mother-in-law shared with the kids, you may have heard it before:
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
Sorry, I don’t know who the original author is. This poem has led to discussions about the different days of the week and weekdays versus weekends so we’ve been reading various books about the days of the week. I’ve outlined a few of our favourites below. And although the subjects of these stories may not be about learning the days of the week, they do help to reinforce the different days and how as families we associate different events and feelings with each day.today_is_monday

Today Is Monday
illustrations by Eric Carle
published by Puffin
picture book (age 3-9)
You can’t go wrong with an Eric Carle book. Today is Monday is based on a song, not written by Eric Carle, but creatively interpreted by him. Each page shows an animal eating the food item talked about in the song and like the song, each page adds a new day (and food) item. The images include the colourful animal collages that Eric Carle is famous for. At the end you’ll also find the music and full lyrics for the original song. Kids will love the build-up of food eaten each day, similar to his Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar story.

Hairy Tuesday

Hairy Tuesday
written and illustrated by Uri Orlev
published by Monarch Books
picture book (age 4-8)
Harry hates Tuesdays. On Tuesday nights he has to get his hair washed and he hates getting his hair washed. He screams and fights and cries when his mom tries to wash his hair. His sister can’t stand the noise so one day she convinces Harry he should cut off all his hair. If he had no hair, he wouldn’t need to have it washed. But sitting at the Barber, Harry changes his mind. Maybe washing his hair isn’t so bad, especially if it means keeping his hair. This story rang so true with my son; he hates having his hair washed or at least he use to. We have a hair wash night in our house too. But like Harry, my son soon adjusted to the routine and now I can’t get him out of the tub. The story is written so true to a family scenario, especially the big sister trying to solve the problem in her own sort of way.

TheWednesdaySurprise

The Wednesday Surprise
written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Donald Carrick
published by Clarion Books
picture book (age 4-9)
Every Wednesday the little girl’s Grandma would come to watch her after school. She loved spending time with her Grandma. They’d have dinner, do the dishes, read books together and maybe play a card game too. But the real reason the little girl loved Wednesday’s with her Grandma was the birthday surprise they were working on for her dad’s birthday. When the birthday arrives and the surprise is revealed, even the dad can’t hold back his tears in amazement. This book probably leans toward more of an advanced picture book due to the amount of words but my three-year-old still sat quietly listening to the entire story. I love the way the little girl and her Grandma spend their time together; that it becomes a weekly tradition. And the birthday surprise, something the little girl worked hard on, is a wonderful surprise for the characters in the book as well as the readers themselves.

Thirsty Thursday

Thirsty Thursday
written by Phyllis Root, illustrated by Helen Craig
published by Candlewick Press
picture book (3-5)
It was Thursday and the flowers on Bonnie Bumble’s farm were thirsty but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. When a little cloud blows by, Bonnie gets an idea. With a few loose feathers and the help of the cow, the sheep and the pig, Bonnie was able to get the little cloud to giggle and wriggle and jiggle and the rain came down. Kids will love the cute illustrations, especially when they need to turn the page to see the tower of animals. Phyllis’s words help give the flowers and clouds personality and bring them to life. And kids will get a chuckle out of Bonnie Bumble’s idea to make the rain come. Some other fun days of the week stories with Bonnie Bumble include Meow Monday, Turnover Tuesday, Windy Wednesday, Foggy Friday and Soggy Saturday.

iloveSaturday

I Love Saturday
I love Saturday
written by Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
published by Puffin
picture book (3-7)
Every Saturday is the same for Katie. She visits friends, helps people out, and enjoys a snack or two. Saturday is her favourite day of the week, that is until Jessica Jeanne, the TV queen arrives. Now Katie doesn’t enjoy her usual Saturday activities because Jessica Jeanne seems to end up doing them before her. But Katie soon discovers doing her favourite things with a friend is more fun than doing them on your own. Most people have rituals they enjoy following, and Katie shows that kids are no different. And like most people, they don’t appreciate it when their routine is disturbed. Every Saturday is a great story about routine and being open to what seems like an unlikely friendship.

Sunday Potatoes, Monday Potatoes

Sunday Potatoes, Monday Potatoes
written by Vicky Sheifman, illustrated by Louise August
published by Simon & Schuster
picture book (3-5)
This story opens on a view of a countryside and with each page turn it takes a step closer: a town, a street, a house, a family. The family was poor and all they had to eat was potatoes. The subsequent pages take you through the potatoes they eat on Monday all the way to the potatoes they eat on Sunday. The text is simple with a few words per page, on most pages. The illustrations have a very folk-art feel and fill the page with muted dark, pastel like colours. This book is great with taking you through each day of the week without coming across as a boring Day of the Week text book. The family starts to tire of their potato meals, until Saturday when they have Potato Pudding and there’s a nice recipe at the back of the book too.

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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer on No Time For Flash Cards , she is a mom of 3 and lover of books. You can catch up with her on her blog  Another Day. Another Thought…Or Two .