Series Showcase : Ms. Frizzels’ Adventures

With summer vacations on the horizon some of my book lists will lean towards school age kids in the next few months. This series by Joanna Cole are books I have been reading with my 4.5 year old but they are really geared towards Kindergarten and up, with the true target being 6 and 7 year olds. There is a lot of information on every page of every book so take your time. We grabbed the Medieval Castles book on Monday and by Wednesday we’d tracked down the other two, now on Thursday I am sharing them with you. I couldn’t wait to write about how much I like these books and how exciting they make history and travel, two of my favorite subjects.

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Ancient Egypt took me back to 6th grade when I discovered all the gruesome details of mummification . Ms. Frizzle and all the others on her tour to Egypt magically go back in time ditching their tour guide in modern day Egypt while they time travel to Ancient Egypt and learn all about the sights, daily life and the most exciting of course learning about mummification. I discovered that my son thought mummies were make believe and we took some time to talk all about what is real and what isn’t.  Did I ever tell you I have a degree in history? I love this stuff and books like this one is why I craved more and more information as a kid because it was presented so well. My son sat wide eyed as I read the book to him, and he carefully studied all the details of the amazing illustrations .

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China Takes readers from present day Chinese New Year celebrations to the rice fields and palaces of Imperial China. In this installment Ms.Frizzle explores China, explains the concept of taxes really quite well and covers many of the inventions that came from the country. My 4.5 year old wasn’t as into this book as the other two in the series but I think that’s because I read two of  them to him back to back with this one at the end, which was obviously too much for his attention. I however loved this one and was fascinated by the little asides filled with information about Chinese inventions.

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Medieval Castle was the biggest hit with both my son and I and the reason we went searching for the other books. This is a great book. The story is fun, the character’s asides are hilarious ( I love that her student is less than thrilled to see her outside of school), and the history explored is really an adventure. Ms. Frizzle heads to Medieval times after following a tunnel in a castle shop and a little twist of that magic time traveling watch of hers. Immediately they are at a castle where the Lord is on his way to fight for the King. This got my son’s attention right away and when the Castle was attacked my son was glued. We have had it out from the library less than one week but I have read it half a dozen time, and it’s LONG. I am more than happy to read it though, and the cutaway view of the inside of the castle is my son’s favorite part. I think perhaps being dragged around to open houses as we look for a new house has left a mark?  There is a lot of fighting and weapons which may mean this is not the book for your family but for us it puts these toys my son loves so much ( his Playmobil knights especially) into a historical perspective.  I will be buying this one for sure.

Non Fiction Books For Preschoolers

Part of learning to read is learning all about why we read. For pleasure, for directions, and for information. Most young children use the words story and book synonymously by introducing them to non fiction books you are opening their minds up to another use for books and print. So next time you are at the library checking out books if you don’t already know where the non fiction books are find out and grab a few . These are some of our favorites.

A Picture Book of Helen Keller (Picture Book Biography) by David  A. Adler tells the story of this great heroine in a simple way without loosing the magnificence of her life.  From her illness as a young toddler, to meeting her “miracle worker” Anne Sullivan and earning the first degree ever awarded to any deaf and blind person all of the amazing things that Helen Keller accomplished are covered. The author doesn’t sanctify Helen though , they talk openly about her tantrums as a child and her naughty behavior.  My son sat for this whole book, it opened up a bedtime talk about blindness to which we turned off the light and experienced a little ourselves. I am hoing reading this book will open more doors of empathy for my son, to recognize that we are all different with different abilities but are all capable of great things.

Imagine You’re a Knight! by Meg Clibbon is a fantastic book for children interested in what being a knight is all about. There are so many great details and answers given that I am eager to read more in tis series. My son loves this book and not just because it answers his many questions about knights but also because it’s the type of book that you can open and close as time permits , reading a little or a lot and still enjoying it. I like the humor and illustrations by Lucy Clibbon. It’s a great choice for 4 and older. 3 year olds might find it to be too much.

Delivering Your Mail by Ann Owen is a simple book about being a mail carrier. The text is to the point and perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers learning about mail carriers for the first time. It focuses on not just what the mail carriers do but how it impacts the reader, which is paramount for young children who see the world through their perspective only. Cute beginner book!

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Little Shark by Anne Rockwell is another accessible non fiction book from one of our favorite authors. We follow a shark from birth until it’s full grown in this book filled with fascinating shark facts. I like that it reads like a story because it sucks the reader in instead of just spouting off cold facts about these cool and scary ( to me) animals. I loved that my son was rather shocked that sharks don’t stay with their moms or their many siblings, and are instead solitary. I loved how it explained a little bit about the food chain in the ocean and how we get oxygen from air but fish get it from the water. Add this one to your shelf!

Baby on the Way by William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN and Christie Watts Kelly  has been the very best baby book we’ve found. It explains much of pregnancy from nausea, to aching feet and even nesting. It also describes labor in a really kid friendly non intimidating way. I love that it explains that in mommy’s belly is a baby holder called a uterus. My son has been asking me how my uterus is since reading this daily for the past week. Explaining contractions, that others will likely be taking care of them for a little while and what mommy is doing when she is not with you is all really useful. It also goes on to explain what babies will do , like nursing, crying and what that funny crinkled thing is on it’s belly!  The book also offers many many resources for expectant parents.

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!