Animal Print Puzzles

animal print puzzles for kids

My daughter loves matching things and has done well with simple pattern match activities like this one so I decided to make it a little more complicated. These animal print puzzles for kids are quick to make ( they honestly took one minute to make all four)  but for young kids matching the patterns up so the prints line up can be a challenge. This is a great activity to develop attention and concentration but because there are only two pieces to each puzzle it shouldn’t create too great a challenge and end up frustrating your child.

  1. Gather your materials. We used animal print foam sheets but you could use scrap book paper instead just make sure that the pieces are sturdy enough for your child to handle. If they get crinkled or ripped it will be harder to match up . You will also need some scissors.rainy day activities tod
  2. Cut your foam into squares and then cut the squares into two halves using different cutting patterns. I made 4 puzzles for my daughter who is just 3. For older children try 2 in each pattern to create a bigger challenge.rainy day activities
  3. Present the puzzles to your child and ask them to put the squares back together. If they are struggling you can also make a square out of painter’s tape on the table to give them a guide.  When I make puzzles like these I pop them on a tray and leave them out for a few days after our initial play and then pop them in a ziploc and into storage for a while. After a trip to the zoo or when we read one of our favorite books about the zoo I pull them out and we play again.25 simple rainy day activities for toddlers

Books About The Zoo

inside_a_zoo_in_the_city

Inside a Zoo in the City by Alyssa Satin Capucilli is a rebus read along , so children who can’t read words yet can help read this with pictures put right into the text! The story is repetitive and builds with one animal and page at a time. Preschoolers love these books and the repetitive nature of it makes it interactive and fun!

peek-a-zoo

Peek-a-Zoo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti is a vibrant lift the flap book that goes through sounds different animals make while playing peek a boo with the reader. What I like about this book is that the flaps offer a chance for your baby or toddler to anticipate what animal it hiding as well as the sound , so it grows with them. Also the flaps are large enough that little hands can grab them and won’t get frustrated.

goodnight gorilla

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is simply one of my favorite books ever. I love it and love that my daughter doesn’t fuss when I read it to her because it was a special book for my son when he was little and it’s a book he will still curl up and read quietly with us, making it fun cuddle time for all three of us. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s all about a sneaky gorilla who unlocks all the animals at the zoo and they quietly follow the zoo keeper home and climb into bed with him, until his wife wakes up! I love this book cause I relate to the zoo keepers wife , when I wake up there is always a sneaky 3 year old gorilla in my bed!

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27 Vintage Books Every Child Should Read

classic kids books Reading with my children is probably my absolute favorite thing to do but when I can read books from my own childhood with them it’s even better. Most of these 27 vintage children’s books are favorites from my childhood but are also loved by my children.  There is something extra special about reading books you loved as a child with your own children. Do you have a favorite that I didn’t list ? Add it in the comments so we can keep this list growing.

vintage children's books

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett has long been a favorite. This book will take you to another dimension in the way that is usually reserved for longer books or movies. In just a few pages you will dive into the land of Chewandswallow and it’s magical weather. See Chewandswallow is a place where the food falls from the sky. Instead of rain or snow they get hot dogs and a drizzle of soda, or peas and carrots! Things started going wrong in Chewandswallow though and the weather went nuts! I love asking children what food they wished fell from the sky and why after reading this book.

madeline

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans was a childhood favorite and I remember being a little girl and thinking I want to be just like Madeline because she was so brave. She wasn’t afraid of anything and what always struck me was how proud she was of her scar. Something that little girls are told by society to hide because it makes us less than perfect physically yet Madeline hikes up her nightgown and shows it off. Of my childhood heroines Madeline was right up there with Anne Shirley, Annie and Brigitta from Sound of Music. As a teacher and parent I adore Bemelmans’ rhymes which at times are a stretch but in a way that gets kids thinking about what does and doesn’t rhyme.

vintage12

The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day by Stan and Jan Berenstain has been on my bookshelf as long as I have been able to read . I love this book and maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s because I remember connecting with Brother Bear as he stepped into the unknown. This is a great book, and is especially powerful for children who are familiar with the characters. If a character they know has to move too, the unknown isn’t so scary.  Don’t overlook this book just because it’s part of a character franchise.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar  by Eric Carle . I remembering being amazed that the caterpillar turned into that huge colorful butterfly! In university while studying elementary education I chose this book as the literary inspiration for a cross curricular unit study for grade 1.  I made math lessons with fruit, science lessons about observing insects and the butterfly life cycle and health lessons about smart food choices. Then teaching preschool I used this awesome book to teach the days of the week, basic counting and more. When I was pregnant I chose this book along with a few other favorites to be my son’s nursery theme. Now that my daughter is 3 we often pull down the Very Hungry Caterpillar felt board and play with it as we read the story just like I did with her brother. To me this book is a given, and for every stage of my life, student, student teacher, teacher, mother it has come along for the ride!

Babar and Father Christmas

Babar and Father Christmas  by Jean De Brunhoff was one of my very favorite Christmas stories as a child. As an adult I have had some great belly laughs at some of it’s writing .Babar books in general beg to be pre read , just trust me. In this book  Babar goes looking for Father Christmas because he wants to ask him to visit Elephant country. He searches all over Paris and finally ends up in the North Pole and finds after much effort Father Christmas. I love the details in this book, as a child I would lay looking at the pictures of Santa’s workshop and imagine what visiting it would be like. As an adult I appreciate the smallest details like how Father Christmas’s flying machine ( not a sled) has P.N #1 on it , meaning of course Pere Noel #1.

vintage books for kids

Babar and Zephir by Jean De Brunhoff was my favorite of all the Babar books, most of which I have tracked down and bought on ebay. What I loved about this book was we got to see where Zephir came from, and go see the fantastic world of hanging houses in Monkeyville. Babar books are always interesting to read again as an adult and this one is no exception. Zephir comes to the rescue when a mermaid princess is taken hostage. Odd yes,  but it enthralled me as a child and when I read it to my own kids they are fascinated by it as well.

strega nona

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola delighted me as a child and still does. I love the author’s interpretation of the familiar magic pot folktale . Strega Nona’s magic pasta pot is very powerful and when a villager thinks he can control it hilarity ensues.

corduroy

Corduroy by Don Freeman was a childhood favorite of mine and it hasn’t lost any of it’s shine over the years. The story is about a lonely bear at a department store who despite being a little disheveled finds a forever home with a kind little girl who needs him as much as he needs her. There are so many levels to this book, as a child I remember being awed by the thought of toys coming alive in stores when the doors are locked and the shoppers leave. As an adult I see this as a touching adoption story . My son loves the escalators Corduroy travels on in the store ! This is another book that has lasting power and can be read for years in your home.

babies

Babies (So Tall Board Books) by Gyo Fujikawa was an especially desired book to me when I was little because it belonged to my older sister. The books is really very simple and it’s really just about what babies do all day. Trust me though it will be a hit with toddlers.

harold

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is the classic story of Harold who draws his own world and goes on great adventures only to realize what he wants to draw most is a home to come back to. This is a story about imagination, problem solving and one really cool and apparently unbreakable crayon. My kids love it and reading it to them I am taken back to my own childhood and how it inspired me to create my own imaginary worlds.

The duchess bakes a cake

The Duchess Bakes a Cake by Virginia Kahl. I had to search this book out, I had forgotten the title and author all I remembered was that there was a child named Gunhilde! Thank goodness for Google! The story is very sweet with the Duchess giving her staff the day off because she wants to bake a cake for her family. Unfortunately things go awry and the cake ends up huge with the Duchess stuck on top of it high in the air! Luckily the Duchess finds a solution and things are fixed in the end. I loved two things about this book as a child, the idea of everyone eating a giant cake to save the Duchess and that the Duchess was taller then the Duke, I remember thinking that was funny and I didn’t know that a wife could be taller than her husband. That’s the beauty of books, even picture books open children up to new experiences.

Busy People

Joe Kaufman’s Book About Busy People and How They Do Their Work by Joe Kaufman was such a big part of my childhood that I was nervous sharing it with my son, worried he’d reject it. He gobbled it up even though it is terribly out of date ( I think it was when I read it too!).  The book is all about different jobs and all the responsibilities of them. My favorite was Trudy Teacher and like my son who’s favorite was Fred Fireman I skipped Carlos the Clown. Even as outdated as it is, it’s useful for learning about community helpers and I didn’t notice the diversity of the jobs , and people in the book as a child but appreciate it as a parent.

leo

Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus . This book it’s a simple story about Leo who isn’t doing what all the other animals his age are doing. His dad is more than a little anxious but Leo blooms in his own good time. I loved this book as a child . As a youngest child I always felt behind the curve always having to play catch up so  I could relate to Leo.  As an adult I think this book is more for parents and is a great reminder to chill out and let our kids bloom in their own time and in their own way.

The_Story_of_Ferdinand

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf is a classic tale about doing your own thing and not letting any amount of pressure change you.  I don’t ever remember reading this book as a child but I know many parents who do. Ferdinand is a bull but just because he is a bull doesn’t mean he wants to fight in the bull ring. I love the message this book has about being who you are no matter what environment you are in . Kids love this book because it’s funny , the text is just the right length and the illustrations are so expressive.

Blurberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is a true classic, written in 1948 it’s a simple tale about a little girl and her mom collecting blueberries to can. While mama pics them , Sal eats them and wanders off but they aren’t the only mama and baby out gathering blueberries. This book is chill and sweet and the black and white illustrations make the readers feel like they are on the top of the mountain gathering blueberries too.

tikki

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel is a classic story that I remember enjoying as a child. It tells the story of why Chinese parents give their children short names. This book is wordier than a lot of the ones I try with my son, but it has become one of his absolute favorites. When given a choice, he ALWAYS chooses to read this one. ( Review by Katy Monnot )

seasons in fern hollow

The Seasons in Fern Hollow by John Patience. This book is a cute look at the world of Fern Hollow where there is a large cast of animal characters who live in a small idyllic English village. The book itself is sweet, going through village life one season at a time but my favorite thing about this book and the others by the same author was the map of the village at the start and end of each book in the series. I would lay in bed staring at the map, trying to find different ways to get from one character’s house to another. This book inspired my imagination.

george

Curious George Goes to the Hospital by Margaret and H.A. Rey .  I adored this book as a child and even though hospitals have changed a lot since this book was written the story still rings true.  I remember reading this book before having to go to the hospital as a child and finding comfort in it. George gets into some trouble with a puzzle and ends up in the hospital with a bad tummy ache. It turns out that he swallowed a piece! The meat of the story is really the inside look at what happens in a hospital and how it’s really nothing to be afraid of.  It’s a great book to read when you need to calm fears before a hospital stay. I am not the only fan of this book in our house in fact it’s one of my three year old daughter’s favorite books right now .

best word book ever

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (Golden Bestsellers Series)is on a shelf in our playroom ( see if you can find it in this post ) , well the French edition that I flipped through as a young girl in Canada growing up. I loved the same things about it back then that my kids do today, the incredibly detailed pictures that offer an unparalleled launching pad for a young imagination.

banned books 5

In the Night Kitchen (Caldecott Collection) by Maurice Sendak is one of the many books I remember exactly where I was when I first read it ; Coquitlam Public Library sitting in the shag carpeted row boat amazed that the main character Mickey had no clothes .  Mickey falls out of bed and into the night kitchen where the bakers try to bake him and ultimately he saves the day and falls back into bed and back to sleep. For me this story is about power and freedom and how kids don’t get to feel that day to day but free from reality at night in their sleep they can. Even as a little girl giggling at the pictures in the book I read the words and felt the freedom from being little that Mikey felt. When I read it to my son he giggled and giggled at Mickey’s body. I was sorta hoping he’d be more mature than I was at 5, we always expect the best from our kids right? Like me he still got the heart of the story and even expressed that Mickey was naked because he was dreaming and got to do whatever he wanted.

Where_The_Wild_Things_Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak probably doesn’t need an introduction but if by chance you are not familiar with this book, it’s a story of a little boy Max who is sent to his room for being wild and his imagination turns it into another world, filled with Wild Things  he gets to control and freedom from rules. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved best of all, even when he’s wild. I read this to my son all the time. Even though he can read the words effortlessly now he always asks me to read it because it’s just not right any other way.

green eegs and ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss . All of Dr. Seuss’s books are worthy of praise, and children really do love the melodic and brilliant rhymes. I love that often you can’t quite tell if a character is a woman or a man, and they have no obvious race which makes them universal and inclusive. I love “Green Eggs and Ham” because of it’s limited wording , there are only 50 words used in the whole book, and easy rhymes make it a great choice for learning about rhyming. Also the words used are so simple that it’s a fabulous book for emergent readers.

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein. This book makes me incredibly sad. I don’t like how horrid the boy is to the tree, how spineless the tree is and I never saw it as a lesson in giving like so many do but a lesson in taking . I read it to my son and we talked, we had a great talk about taking advantage of those who love us, and how it hurts everyone.  Yes  I don’t like this book but it is useful and it can be a great tool for teaching children about what makes a bad friend. I have never hidden that I don’t like this book because it’s so sad but that as lesson it’s worth the sad story.

Amos & Boris

Amos & Boris by William Steig is a touching story about the power of an unlikely friendship and helping others. Amos is a mouse who is rescued by Boris a whale when he goes overboard in the middle of the ocean. After the rescue they develop a tender friendship despite their obvious differences and go on their separate ways with full hearts. Many years later though it is Amos’ turn to rescue Boris and we are all reminded that size does not equal ability to help a friend. This book made my son get “the gulpy feeling” which is our expression for tearing up. It’s a powerful story not to be missed.

sylvester and the magic pebble

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig is a book many of you may recognize from your own childhood . I remember the sweet story from my own. Sylvester is a little donkey who finds a magic pebble and after discovering that it grants wishes he makes a terrible mistakes and turns himself into a rock. As a rock he is unable to wish himself back into a donkey and is left to sit silently while his parents are frantic, search and finally grieve. Sylvester almost gives up himself until by chance his parents come across his rock and the magic pebble and he is turned back into his “true self”.  My son loved the story and I loved how when we talked about it he expressed so much empathy for Sylvester and his parents. The obvious message that you have to be careful what you wish for is a powerful one for kids learning about consequences. The other messages which for us were the more important ones were that  family bonds can break through anything and that no matter what even if he is a rock I would never give up on him.

monster at the end of the book

The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone will be instantly recognizable to many of you. We didn’t grow up with Elmo ( well maybe some of you young whipper snappers did) we had Grover. Loveable blue monster and narrator of this story.  This book is completely interactive in that Grover is speaking directly to the reader and asking them not to turn the pages. It put me in fits of giggles as a child but as a mom I love the reminder to never judge a book by it’s cover .

Alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst was another childhood favorite that I have enjoyed sharing with my own son. This book is beautiful, even though it may take a few reads to see it’s not a story about a whining little boy so much a lesson that sometimes things do not go our way. Days can suck. It’s just the way it is. As a child I related to Alexander’s feelings of frustration and things being unfair. How often to you hear a child say “No Fair!” probably a lot. This book taps into that feeling, being little is hard but just because you are mad, or your day was bad doesn’t mean you get your way. Great book to talk about anger and frustration with your child, and it’s funny too! The magic of this book is that the end isn’t happy , Alexander goes to bed still mad and that’s okay, sometimes days are bad.

Which book did I miss? Add your favorites that I didn’t mention in the comments .

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Patriotic Picture Books For 4th of July

4th of july booksThe 4th of July will be here in a blink of an eye and before you start making those red ,white .and blue desserts check out some of these great patriotic books for kids. Use fun events and holidays like the 4th of July to teach kids more about their country and it’s history. Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to find these books before the 4th because kids love to relate events in their lives to books and reading them after will be great for that.  Do you have favorite patriotic picture books for 4th of July that we skipped? Please add it’s title and why you love it in the comments so this list can keep growing .

America The Beautiful Chris Gall

America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates and illustrated by Chris Gall is a stunning book. The text will be familiar to you as it’s the original poem that most of us know as the song America The Beautiful. The illustrator is a descendent of the writer and pays homage to his family legacy with this beautiful book. Each page illustrates the lyrics perfectly while showcasing different parts of the country, it’s history and simple nostalgia. My son liked it, and particularly loved the page with 9-11 firefighters raising the flag , which brought tears to my eyes.  At the end of the book there are short blurbs about each illustration for further information as well.

 

George Washington’s Teeth by Deborah Chandra and Madeline Comora is a funny telling of how George Washington got those famous false teeth. What I like so much about this book is that it also tells the story of the Revolutionary War. I think the brilliant thing about this book is it shows that George Washington wasn’t the super hero that he is often portrayed as. This makes him , his story and American history in general way more accessible to young kids. I can’t ignore the really fantastic tertiary lesson about dental hygiene as well.

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin is probably the first book most teachers will mention when you ask for a picture book about elections. It’s a great book about a duck who overthrows his farmer and ends up moving up in politics until he is elected President. With each step on the political ladder Duck realizes that he doesn’t like the job and wants something better only to discover that with each move up the workload increases too. I love that that teaches readers that being a leader isn’t about being the bossy one but rather having the most responsibility . My son got that immediately and it opened a good dialog about what he thought being President really is like.I also love the book because there is a good dose of humor that only the adults will appreciate.

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio is fantastic. The very best part of this book is on the first page when the main character a little girl named Grace exclaims ” Where are the girls?” in response to her teacher hanging up a poster of all the presidents. If I wasn’t in a tent in the backyard while reading this with my son I would have stood up and given Grace a standing ovation. I can’t wait to read this to my daughter in a few years. I love how shocked the character is and I was really happy that my son was surprised that there have been no female presidents as well. Grace decides to run for president in the mock election for her grade at school and be the change. My love for this book doesn’t end with the wonderful example of basic feminism because next up the author tackles something oh so tricky; The Electoral College. The author does a great job explaining what can be a very confusing system used for American presidential elections and I bet more than a few parents reading this to their kids will get something out of it too. The story of Grace and her own campaign is sweet as well but the brilliance of this story are the complex lessons broken down so well for a young audience.

ABC USA

ABC USA by Martin Jarrie is another beautiful alphabet book!  Like most alphabet books it devotes a page to each letter with vibrant illustrations . Not everything in this book is by any means unique to the United States but most are. I specifically appreciated the I for Immigrants page, both from a historical and personal perspective. There are a lot of learning opportunities presented as well for kids of all ages like U for Underground Railroad  and V for Valley Forge so don’t dismiss this as a book only for young kids learning their ABCs.

Celebrate the 50 States

Celebrate the 50 States! by Loreen Leedy is not a story book about the 50 states but really an illustrated short form non fiction book about each and every state.  Each page features two states with a  few historical facts, a basic map of the state and fun facts even parents probably don’t know! I love books like this and wasn’t surprised when my husband picked it up , leafed through it and said ” Hey this is a pretty cool book.”  It is. It is far too detailed to hold a young preschooler’s attention but it a great reference book even for kids as young as 3, just don’t try to read the whole thing in one sitting . Older kids will like the trivia question posed for each state and checking their answers at the back of the book.

wow_america

Wow! America! by Robert Neubecker was an instant hit with my son. Every time I read it I found something new and interesting . Readers follow along as a baby and his older sister who is running after him travel all around the country seeing wonderful things that make us all go “Wow!” Each page has a short title like “Wow Statue” for The Statue of Liberty , then a little more text to explain what the reader is looking at. The illustrations are detailed and we’ve played eye spy with this book more than a few times. This is a wonderful book and the map on the inside cover has been fun to play with as well, we like to find where various far off friends and family live. Go check this book out for sure.

America My land, Your land, our land

America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land by W.Nikola-Lisa is a really interesting concept for a book. The book showcases how The United States is made up of drastic opposites. Each page is devoted to two opposing features such as bright and dark, yours and mine, old and young. Then the illustrations reflect these opposites. What makes it so interesting is that there isn’t one illustrator , their are 14!  Each showcasing their view of one of these opposites.  My son enjoyed this book because he is all about separating and classifying things right now and the text was short and illustrations beautiful. Parents will probably enjoy it on a different level because many of the illustrations hold deeper meanings if you have some more mature knowledge about historical facts.

 

 

 

What Presidents Are Made Of by Hanoch Piven is a simple book that brings together a collection of presidential anecdotes that will probably make you laugh more than your kids but trust me they’ll still enjoy it. It humanizes iconic figures we know and makes readers curious to learn even more about these great men. The collage style illustrations are beautiful and quite funny as well.

usa

How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A by Marjorie Priceman didn’t disappoint one bit. I was worried after falling in love with How To Bake An Apple Pie and See The World  that this couldn’t live up to my expectations. It did! This time she wasn’t looking for ingredients for the pie, but rather materials for her tools. She gathered wood in Washington for her rolling pin, cotton in Louisiana for pot holders granite in New Hampshire for her pastry slab and more. What I wasn’t expecting of this book and loved was how she gathered natural resources and then processed them to make what she needed. I think this is a wonderful lesson about manufacturing and could be used for a launchpad for learning about so much more. Another gem I will be adding to my must buy list.

books about the usa

The National Anthem (True Books, American Symbols) by Patrica Ryin Quiri is a great book for school age children ( 5-10) to learn about how the American flag and anthem came about. I learned a lot from this book and I have a minor in American History! It talks about the evolution from a poem to an anthem, with easy text, great photos and illustrations. I particularly liked seeing the author’s original handwritten poem. It creates a more personal connection to the song for readers and makes it even more special.

Presidents’ Day by Anne Rockwell is a perfect introduction to presidents, some of their major accomplishments and some major points in American history. The story follows a class putting on a play and we learn about some of the most significant presidents as the children do. Even if President’s Day is months away you can use this book while learning about money , linking the various presidents on coins and bills, or for Independence day too! Very cute and age appropriate for older preschoolers.

A is for america

A is for America by Devin Scillian is a perfect mix of national pride and real facts. As a Canadian I always feel strange critiquing works like this, I don’t want to sound too critical and that won’t be the case with this wonderful book. There are plenty of fantastic reasons to celebrate America and this book lays them on the table from A to Z !

Madam President by Lane Smith is a sweet story about a little girl who equates her life and daily routine with that of the President. My favorite part of the book was when it’s explained that a president must choose a cabinet and her’s is comprised of some real positions like Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense and some not like Secretary of Fantasy and Secretary of Pizza. While reading it with my son I had him guess real or not. The book also introduced my 5 year old to the word veto which was fun for about 2 minutes. He’s since learned in our family I am the one with veto power. I really like this book because it breaks down what the President does into the daily life of a child and the best way to get kids interested in something is to make them relate to it.

Mr. President Goes to School by Rick Walton is such a cute book that we really enjoyed. The book is not so much about school as it is about how complicated adult problems can get and you can imagine how big they get for the President of The United States. First of all I have to say I loved that when we started reading it my son said ” The President should be African American .” I love that my son has no idea that there was a time when people didn’t think that could or should happen. Ok proud moment aside the story follows Mr. President as he escapes his duties trying to make peace between to Eastern European leaders and heads back to his old kindergarten class to remember what it’s all about. Of course he ends up going back and using all the things he learned in kindergarten to make peace between the two leaders , I mean who can start a war with someone they’ve done the hokey pokey with? I like the message and the book can be a great tool to show kids how lucky they are they get to go to kindergarten , even the President wishes he could go back!

how to bake an american pie

How to Bake an American Pie by Karma Wilson is sentimental, sweet and probably should be reviewed by an American. The reason I say that is that it’s written to pull at your heart strings, make you feel pride in your country and I am sure it succeeds when the reader is American. But the same way I wouldn’t expect an American to get choked up singing “O Canada” the way I do , I just don’t get the full effect. Strictly as a book this was a little too figurative for my son although he loved the illustrations of the dog and cat baking the pie and kept turning back to the page with rainbows. Older kids will recognize some of the text that is taken from America the Beautiful and will understand the figurative language, although may be put off by the illustrations that seem more geared towards little ones. I would love to hear from any Americans who have read this book to get your take!

apple pie fourth of july

Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong is an awesome book. I am always awed by authors who can tackle complicated “adult” issues in the pages of a children’s book successfully. In this case the issue is 1st generation identity and immigration, at least that’s my take. The little girl in this book is sulking around her parent’s store on the 4th of July. They are busy making Chinese food for customers she is sure won’t come, who would want Chinese food on such an American holiday is her rational. Of course there are layers about her connection to her ancestral culture and her own national pride. As a proud owner of a green card and a Canadian passport I relate to this story, sure the differences are as deep or as obvious to an outsider but unlike the previous book when this book ended with fireworks I got tingles of pride for my adopted country. Fantastic book- and my son liked it too.

hats off for the 4th of july

Hats off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert is a wonderful book for children who are just starting to understand what this holiday is all about. The book follows a parade with hints of what is next to come along, making the reader feel the same feelings real parade goer does as they stand on their tipy toes to see what is on it’s way. My son really enjoyed the book because it was packed with marching bands, motorcycles and more.

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18 Books About Sea Animals

books about ocean animalsThis week was aquarium week for us. My son’s kindergarten class visited the Seattle Aquarium on Wednesday and yesterday my parents and I took my daughter to our little local one.  It is only fitting for us to showcase some of the many great picture books about sea animals today.  Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list ? Share in comments!

comotion in the ocean

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae is a happy book full of rhymes about all sorts of sea creatures, including jelly fish. Each page has rhyming text that goes along with the animal. The book is cute and the illustrations are bright and bold. My son enjoyed it pointing out the animals. That said it’s not a must buy, more like a great to have on hand when you are specifically learning about the subject.

secret Seahorse

Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone is a fascinating and beautiful board book. The story follows a little seahorse that hides on each page as it makes it’s way along the ocean back to it’s family. The illustrations are felt, fabric, sequins and other fun and very beautiful hand stitched creations. I am never ready for the next page because the present one has so much to look and marvel at. Kids like finding the seahorse on each page too!  My son and I re read this tonight to my daughter and she liked it but he was still loving it, which is pretty impressive for a board book. It’s just so pretty!

house-for-a-hermit-crab-

A House for Hermit Crab  by Eric Carle is a book I have owned for many years. It offers so many learning opportunities for young readers and doesn’t lose any of the entertainment in trying too hard to teach. The hermit crab feels drab and each month he asks different sea creatures to help decorate his shell . As the shell is getting more and more beautiful it’s also getting more and more snug. The book teaches about sea creatures, months of the year and moving. More than moving it teaches about change . Change is  difficult for all of us but a little trickier for most preschoolers which makes this book so valuable.

seahorse

Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle is a story about the most involved fathers in the sea. Mister seahorse isn’t the only fish that takes care of his eggs until they hatch , in the book we meet other dads that do too. I didn’t realize how many people don’t like this book until I read some reviews on amazon when ordering the book a few months ago. Many parents are off put by the father fish who announces he is “babysitting” his own baby fish. It never really bugged me even though when a parent says that in real life it irks me. All the positive daddy fish outweigh that one comment for me.

Hooray For Fish

Hooray for Fish!  by Lucy Cousins gets are huge “Hooray” from our house. I thought my son would think this book was a little young for him. He’s started saying board books are for babies, and he’s a big boy and even though this isn’t a board book it’s simple, big and bright like one. Nope, he loved it. Little Fish takes the readers on a tour of all the different kinds of fish , the bright fun illustrations are so interesting to look at , and choose your favorite fish on each page. The rhymes are fun and when we finished reading my son immediately asked to read it again! Edited for 2011 – now that he is almost 5 he flatly refused to read this with me but his sister who is 14 months liked it!

fish eyes

Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On 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 is fascinating for babies and kids alike. I have used this book for various themes like under the sea, shapes and of course counting.

Ordinary Amos and the amazing fish

Ordinary Amos and the Amazing Fish by Eugenie and Henry Fernandes is a funny book that forces readers to look at pet fish in a whole new light. Amos gets caught by a family of fish and they keep them as a pet. This book was a favorite of all my classrooms, children love to imagine other worlds and one where they are the pet is both a little scary and really silly too! I love the message of empathy, and kids grasp it. They see that Amos once caught is sad and depressed in his bowl and that it’s no fun being caged up.

O is for Orca

O Is for Orca: An Alphabet Book by Andrea Helman is a book about the nature of the North West packaged in an alphabet book.  Each page is dedicated to one large photo and a animal, plant or other part of North West nature.  My son was reluctant at first wanting to read a Star Wars chapter book but only a page or two in he was engaged. Many of the letters represent sea animals like sea stars, urchins and of course orcas. There are a lot of facts in this book and if I were reading it to my toddler I’d skip the paragraphs and go through the alphabet and each photo only. That is what I love about books like this you can adapt them so easily to your audience.

Barry the fish with fingers

Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra is a goofy fun book that had me wrapped around it’s fingers with the title, I mean a fish named Barry? And he has fingers?! I love it. Thankfully my judgment was smack dab on because the inside of the book was as funny as the cover. Barry isn’t just a fish with fingers he is a hero when his fingers save the day. The illustrations are so fun, the text is zippy and both my kids ( 4 and 10 months) loved it from start to finish.

fish

Fish Is Fish  by Leo Lionni is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way . I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines people as fish with legs. The story of friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way true friendships can withstand change.

Swimmy

Swimmy by Leo Lionni has been a favorite of mine for many years. I love Lionni and how he can weave multiple layers of meaning into a simple story for children. Swimmy is a story about a little fish who lost his family to a giant tuna fish and after grieving he is reminded of all the wonderful things there are to see and experience in the ocean. When he comes across a school of fish just like his former one hiding afraid of the big fish he knows he can’t let them miss out on all the wonders of the ocean. He rallies them to work as a team and face the big fish head on.  This is a great book for teaching children about the power of working as a group to combat challenges as well as conquering fears.

Way Down Deep In the deep blue sea

 

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck is about a little boy swimming in the “deep” looking for treasure. Along the way he encounters different sea animals. The cute kicker is that all along the little boy is really in his bath tub and the animals are just toys. I liked the twist and so did my son who then requested a laundry basket to play bath, funny how he didn’t actually want a bath… a mom can dream! Edited for 2011 – my son re discovered this book as we were setting up the playroom in our new house. It’s still a hit with him after 2 years.

Fish School

Fish School by Nancy Poydar is a really funny book that also manages to teach the reader a lot about fish.The story is about Charlie who gets Wishy a goldfish for his birthday and then sets off to teach him all sorts of things. When his class takes a field trip to the aquarium guess who Charlie pops into a ziploc and into his backpack. My son loved the silliness of this book as well as the information that is shared as the class progresses through the aquarium. Lots of giggles and learning with this cute story.

baby

Baby Beluga by Raffi is a classic children’s song cleverly illustrated into a beautiful book. I grew up on Raffi in Canada and am still shocked when moms don’t know who he is, if he is new to you go to your library and check out one of his cds. When my son was a toddler he loved this book and all the sea creatures inside. I must say that I am unable to read this without singing the song. It might be a good thing to read it before listening to the song .

Little Shark

Little Shark by Anne Rockwell is a great non fiction book from one of our favorite authors. Readers 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.

Trout Trout Trout

Trout, Trout, Trout!: A Fish Chant by April Pulley Sayre is not a story but a chanting book. It lists a number of fish found in the United States in a rhyming text. Along with Trip Park’s funny illustrations the book works although my son didn’t ask to read it again after  our initial reading. I like the facts at the back of the book about each type of fish inside and think that any child into fishing would probably be more interested in this book than my son was.

Amos & Boris

Amos & Boris by William Steig is a touching story about the power of an unlikely friendship and helping others. Amos is a mouse and sailor who is rescued by Boris a whale when he goes overboard in the middle of the ocean. After the rescue they develop a tender friendship despite their obvious differences and go their separate ways with full hearts. Many years later though it is Amos’ turn to rescue Boris and we are all reminded that size does not equal ability to help a friend.

sea animal books

Ten Little Fish by Audrey and Bruce Wood . The book is a rhyming countdown story about 10 little fish and what happens to them one by one. The illustrations look like an animated movie, and the rhymes are well thought out. My one wish is that the numbers were shown as digits not simply words, so that younger children who can recognize the numbers in digit form but not yet by reading the word could more easily follow along. The ending made me giggle, and you’ll have to grab the book to find out why !

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25 Funny Books For Kids

humorous children's books Make them laugh and they will come back for more. These 25 books have all made us laugh a lot. I am not talking about a little chuckle, I am talking serious laughter , some even made me snort. Some are silly, some witty and some are plain gross but they are all great ways to get your kids reading and more importantly loving books. This week is Children’s Book Week and what better way to celebrate than with funny picture books.

parts

Parts by Tedd Arnold is so funny. Readers follow along as a 5 year old boy begins noticing things about his body he’d never noticed before like belly button lint, snot, peeling skin and more. His anxious assumptions about his body falling apart will have you in stitches. My 2 year old laughed and got most of the humor but slightly older children will be laughing hysterically at how silly the little boy’s worries are.

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More!by Karen Beaumont is guaranteed to entertain your child, even my toddler was laughing and anticipating the rhyming text which tickled me to no end!  I have had some parents in the past not be happy about the use of “ain’t ” and the little boy in the story painting everywhere. I would counter that by saying people do use “ain’t” and kids do paint on things they aren’t supposed to . Use these as examples of what you aren’t supposed to do, and ask your child what they think should happen if they painted all over the house? As far as using “ain’t” I would play the traditional “It ain’t gonna rain no more” and explain that the author used that song as inspiration for the book.

moo baa lalala

Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton always makes me laugh. There is something about the facial expressions her animals always have that crack me up, and lets be honest if the book is good for the adult reading it, it’s always a plus. Super bright colors on each page is a huge bonus for my baby girl as I flip the pages, and even though she doesn’t get the humor yet she will soon enough and it’s a book that will grow with her.  Edited for 2013 : Now at 2 my daughter absolutely understands the absurd humor and loves it all the more for it.

Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin is a hilarious look at working conditions on a farm.  I have yet to read this book without giggling and in the 2003-2004 school year I think I read it 500 times! The story has a wonderful message of fairness and negotiation . During a transit strike we read this to a Kindergarten class to help explain what was going on  why the bus drivers didn’t want to work- it was a great tool!

ate a hare

My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman is a funny 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.

Barry the fish with fingers

Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra is a goofy fun book that had me wrapped around it’s fingers with the title, I mean a fish named Barry? And he has fingers?! I love it. Thankfully my judgment was smack dab on because the inside of the book was as funny as the cover. Barry isn’t just a fish with fingers he is a hero when his fingers save the day. The illustrations are so fun, the text is zippy and both my kids ( 4 and 10 months) loved it from start to finish.

jul

Julius, the Baby of the World  by Kevin Henkes 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!

SharkvsTrain

Shark vs. Train by Tom Lichtenheld is a story about imagination and competition and it’s hilarious. Two little boys are comparing a toy train and a toy shark but soon readers are sucked into their imaginations where the toys are put against each other in increasingly funny match ups.  Not only are the match ups brilliant in their absurdity but what the shark and train are saying during each are just plain funny. My son and I spend a lot of time playing imaginary match ups like this so this book is nothing short of a hit.

Alphabet from A to Y by steve martin

The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin was introduced to me by Rebecca when she sent it in for this post . When I saw it at the library I grabbed it and so glad I did. It’s a fun book with silly rhymes for each letter and I was surprised that my son sat all the way through it. It’s a pretty long alphabet book for a toddler. I liked the details in the illustrations even if the sometimes gross humor was not my favorite, but kids will love it .

mort

Mortimer  by Robert Munsch is a fun bedtime book, it’s not the calmest and is pretty funny so you may want to read this one before some more chill books. I can’t remember the first time I read this book, but whether reading it to a group of preschoolers or to my kids I have never had a child not sing along with Mortimer who is driving everyone bonkers by not going to sleep! Instead he is singing and making noise and not even the police can stop him.

zoom

Zoom! is another of my son’s favorite Munsch books. The little girl in the book is looking for a new wheelchair and isn’t satisfied until she has the fastest wheelchair she can get her hands on. What I love about this book isn’t the absurd humor ( which there is plenty of) it’s the fact that the main character being in a wheelchair is the norm. There is no long explanation about why she has a wheelchair , nothing preachy about children with disabilities. I think it’s important to have books that explain disabilities, and to learn more about them but also equally important to have books like this one that are seamlessly assimilated.

bookeatspeople

The Book That Eats People  by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically , so hard it was difficult at times to read the words but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre read this because it may be hilarious to me and my macabre little man but it may seriously frighten your child.

goodnightgoon

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. We loved this book, as big Goodnight Moon fans we were all laughing reading this before bed. My almost 3 year old thought that this was the funniest book ever made and would correct the book often with the original text .

Cowboy Camp

Cowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer is funny and touching all at the same time. Avery is off to Cowboy Camp to learn how to be a real cowboy, only one problem, every lesson turns into a disaster. He can’t stomach cowboy food, he is allergic to his horse and ends up on a cow instead, and he gets rope burn when he is learning to lasso. After the other campers head to bed Avery encounters the nefarious Bad Bart a bad cowboy who wants to stop cowboy camp, Avery outwits him and saves the day. I loved that there was no teasing from the other campers and each time Avery came to an obstacle he was offered an alternative ( cheese and crackers to eat, a cow to ride and yarn to lasso with) instead of simply sitting out. Great book to read before summer camp!

No David

No, David! by David Shannon is probably the author’s best known book, in it we follow the misadventures of little David and his eventual disciplining and hug from his mom. This book is a wonderful icebreaker for talking about rules with a class.  I have successfully used it with many groups of kids and my own as a reminder about rules and why we have them. Kids love watching other kids do naughty things ( and are quick to remind each other of the right way to do things) so this book is always a hit with toddlers on up.

dinosaur vs the potty

Dinosaur vs. the Potty by Bob Shea was the reason my voice was hoarse for days. My kids love, no ADORE this book.  My son who is 5 is in stitches every time we read it and my daughter who is 2  reaches for it time and time again. The thing about this book is you must read it with gusto for it to reach it’s full potential because it’s story isn’t deep it’s really just about a destructive dinosaur who doesn’t go pee when he should. Sound familiar? Kinda like little kids who dump toys, bang and stomp and deny that they have to use the potty until the very last minute. It struck a chord at our house and I have a hunch it may at yours too.

chi

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein will crack you up. The story is a bout a little chicken and how impossible it is to stop her from interrupting her bedtime stories, saving the characters and declaring the end of the story. It’s frustrating to her dad and a great learning tool for readers. Above all else it’s really funny. After she interrupts all the books he has to read to her she suggests she read him a story and he ends up unintentionally interrupting her.

teacher from the black lagoon

The Teacher from the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler is the original book in the very popular Black Lagoon series. The imaginative story is all about a boy’s worries that his teacher is going to be a terrible child eating monster. My son giggled through the whole book and loved the gore and dark humor. I do not suggest reading this to very sensitive kids or ones that really are very nervous about school. It’s humor may not be reassuring, but kids comfortable with school will find it hilarious.

take care, good knight

Take Care, Good Knight by Shelley Moore Thomas such a sweet book about three little dragons who agree to cat sit a wizard’s pets and the Good Knight who helps them get it right. The story is filled with mishaps when the dragons who can’t read yet try to figure out the wizard’s written instructions. The outcome is hilarious and will have your children giggling. I also love the message about using pictures to give clues for reading, but to remember to ask “Does this make sense?”

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach is so funny. I love books like this that have absurd humor thrown in. Before you even read the story on the inside flap you will notice a blurb that ends with “This story is not suitable for pirates” it just makes me giggle! The story follows the most anxious squirrel you’ll ever encounter as he tries to make his own beach, only to end up at a busy one! What I love about this book are the details, the small asides will have you laughing and the main story will keep even young ones totally entertained. My son loved it especially the part about the pool being the ocean and the flashlight being the sun, even at two he was trying to tell the squirrel how wrong that was. Super fun and a great message about overcoming fears as well.

Scaredy Squirrel at Night I love Scaredy Squirrel. His crazy anxiety, tendency to play dead and hilarious facial expressions never fail to make me laugh out loud while reading. I love this book in the series because it talks about something very topical in many preschooler’s life – nighttime anxiety. I was expecting a funny book but it was also really touching and useful in regards to conquering fears. I must say for any new parent the bits about sleep deprivation will hit home.

ffr

Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox is snort worthy. Yes this book is so funny the kids will be laughing hysterically and learning all about rhyming at the same time. Rapunzel is having a hard time hearing exactly what Prince Charming is asking her to throw down from her tower and hilarity ensues. Kids will love anticipating what she will throw down next. I won’t ruin the ending but trust me it’s hilarious and kids familiar with the traditional version will love telling you how this one is different. The illustrations by Lydia Monks add to the humor perfectly!

dont-let-the-pigeon-drive-the-bus

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!by Mo Willems might not need much of a review as I don’t know many parents who haven’t laughed along with their kids reading this book. But if you have never read this book let me tell you about it and why so many of us think it’s hilarious. The book opens with a bus driver asking readers to do him a favor and not let the pigeon drive the bus, easy right? Well just like my 5 year old son who is practicing for the negotiator of the year award this pigeon is relentless.  When I asked my son what his favorite part of the book was he giggled loudly while telling me that he loves the tantrum the pigeon has. Kids love seeing characters in books display the behavior that they want to do but only let slip through the cracks every now and then. I love when great underlying connections to kids come in such a goofy package. Love this book.  For early readers do not miss any of the Elephant and Piggie books, I haven’t managed to read a single one without laughing.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale 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.

book

Jake Stays Awake by Michael Wright made both my husband and I laugh hysterically my son liked it too, but we loved it. It’s about a little boy who can’t sleep without his parents and they don’t like sleeping with feet in their faces. Can you relate, we can which is why we found this book so funny. What I liked was that Jake wasn’t disciplined for wanting to sleep with his parents, and they tried and tired all different places to sleep, they were just being honest that it wasn’t working anymore! My son loved the page that they were all sleeping in garbage cans and I loved that Jake looked to be about 12 , it gives me hope that my son may sleep alone by puberty.

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