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

More Books About Bunnies

Spring conjures up many images for me and while chocolate bunnies are my favorite type of rabbit these books about bunnies are a close second! These aren’t Easter books, I will do a post devoted to those in the coming weeks and check out our previous Bunny book reviews.

White Rabbit’s Color Book by Alan Baker is a classic in my mind and if you have never read it you must. It’s not a complicated story, instead it’s a brilliant book and lesson about color mixing . The cover illustration of the bunny in the paint always makes me think of dying Easter eggs which is another great opportunity to teach about color mixing. Kids love this book and adults reading it will enjoy the fun and dynamic language used to describe the vibrant colors that the bunny plunges into.

Thunder Bunny by Barbara Helen Berger was a big hit with my son although I think I over analyzed it or maybe just didn’t get it.  I kept trying to turn it into a metaphor and really the only way to look at it and it’s magical illustrations is how my son did with wide eyes and acceptance.  Thunder Bunny is different but magnificent kinda like this book. The text is melodic and the illustrations will keep the interest of a wide range of ages.

Little Bunny’s Sleepless Night by Carol Roth is a sweet story of an only child bunny who wants to share a room and go to sleep with someone else. He ventures out to a series of friend’s houses before eventually realizing that maybe sleeping alone in his own bed is what he really wants. My son loved it , he thought the skunk who sprayed by accident promoting the bunny to leave was hilarious and suggested that bunny should just climb into his mom’s bed. I like it because the bunny learns that he isn’t missing out on anything by not having someone to share a bedroom with , that he has the perfect spot for him after all.

Moon Rabbit by Natalie Russel is a calm, beautiful book about two rabbits who find each other and become great friends even thought they are from different places.  White Rabbit is a city rabbit and loves her urban home but is called away by the longing for company. She finds it in a park with Brown Rabbit who is wonderful and plays beautiful music. There is just one glitch White Rabbit misses the city.  I loved this book, my son liked it too but it almost made me cry. My husband and I are from different countries and long distance relationships are so hard , I wanted to jump in the book and tell White Rabbit that . I had to restrain myself  from saying ” The pressure will be too much , the limited time will make them argue and fight.” when my son pointed out that I shouldn’t be sad that White Rabbit leaves the park and goes home because he comes for a visit in the end. But if ever I projected my on experience onto a book it was this , wow. It  really is a sweet tale about friends who can be friends despite physical distance. Oh and the illustrations , they are the very definition of springtime. Lovely.

A Very Big Bunny by Marisabina Russo is a nice book about two bunnies that don’t fit in at school.  This book opened a good dialogue between my son and I as we were reading about how both the tallest and the shortest bunny in the class got picked on.  The students in their class were mean but not purposefully bullying, they excluded these bunnies because they simply didn’t fit. The part that hit me the most was when the teacher lined the kids up by height, and Amelia the tall bunny was always last. It just made me think of how adults so often single kids out without trying to be terrible, but really hurting them. All that aside, the book itself comes to a nice conclusion and I think it’s worth grabbing for any child tall or short or in between.

Teaching Your Child to Read, Part 1

Guest Post by Jenae from I Can Teach My Child!

This series has been on my mind for a while now. As a former first grade teacher, teaching children to read is one of my greatest passions! But because most children don’t start actually “reading” until around 6 years old (which is upwards of the targeted age range for my blog), I didn’t want parents to feel pressured that their 3-year old needs to start reading (which, by the way, they don’t!). However, the information shared in this series is general information that is beneficial for children of all ages, whether your child is ready to read or not. Don’t implement all of these strategies at once, nor should you expect your child to be able to do everything right away.  It is a process and this information is simply for you to implement when you feel your child is ready.

Read to your child
Teaching your child to read is truly a process that begins at infancy. (No, I am most certainly NOT advocating programs that claim to teach your baby to read using flashcards!) What I AM encouraging you to do is to begin reading with your newborn within days of welcoming her home! Not only is this a special bonding time for the two of you, it instills in her a love for books. Enjoyment while reading is one of the single greatest predictors of reading success in school-age children. If children don’t learn from an early age to enjoy reading, it will most likely hinder their ability sometime down the road.

How much you read to your child is completely up to you and your family, but aim to read at least 3-4 books a day, even while your child is very young. As she gets a little older and can sit for longer stretches of time, make it a family goal to read together for at least 20-minutes each day.

Here are a few suggestions for the types of books to read to your child. But by all means, read whatever your child responds to and enjoys!

  • Birth-1 Year: Lullabies, Board Books (with real pictures), Cloth Books (with various textures), Song Books
  • 1 Year-3 Years: Rhyming Books, Song Books, Short-Story Board Books
  • 3 Years-5 Years: Alphabet Books, Song Books, Picture Books, Rhyming Books

Ask questions
Asking questions while reading to your child is not only great for encouraging your child to interact with the book, but it is also extremely effective in developing his ability to comprehend what he is reading. You see, if our main objective in “reading” is getting our child to “sound out” words, we have missed the boat entirely. Even children who can decode words and “read” with great fluency still might not be able to comprehend what they are reading. If a child can’t comprehend what he is reading, there really is no point to reading at all!

While your child is a baby, ask him questions such as, “Do you see the cat?” while pointing at the picture of the cat. This will not only develop his vocabulary, it will also encourage him to interact with the book that he is reading. As he gets older, ask him to point to things in the book himself and make the noises of the animals he sees.

Once your child is about 2 or 3-years of age, begin asking questions before, during, and after reading the book. Show your child the cover of the book and ask him what he thinks it is going to be about (predicting). While reading, ask him what he thinks is going to happen or why he thinks a character made a particular choice (inferring). If a character is depicting a strong emotion, identify that emotion and ask your child if he has ever felt that way (connecting). At the end of the book, ask if his prediction(s) came true. Afterwards, ask him to tell you what he remembered happening in the book (summarizing).
Modifying each of these techniques during read-alouds to meet the developmental stage of your child is a great way to promote and increase reading comprehension!

Be a good (reading) example
Even if your child is fascinated with books from an early age, her fascination will quickly dwindle if she does not see reading modeled in her home. If you are not an avid reader yourself, make a conscious effort to let your children see you reading for at least a few minutes each day! Read a magazine, a cookbook, a novel, your Bible…it’s up to you! But show your child that reading is something that even adults need to do. If you have a son, share this article with your husband. Sons need to see their fathers read, especially since it is not something that they are naturally prone to doing.

As parents, we can sometimes get wrapped up with what exactly our children should be doing to be successful. But we often forget that children often learn by example. Grab a book and take a load off…for your child’s sake, of course!

The last two parts of this series will be posted over at I Can Teach My Child! in the coming weeks.  Feel free to keep an eye out on Facebook as well!

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!

Board Book Reviews – New Releases


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.

The Hug(above)

written Lesley Simpson, illustrated by Yayo
Annick Press
Age 2-4 (board book)

First published in 1985, this new board book edition of THE HUG revisits the story of one lonely hug. Feeling unneeded, the hug sets out to become something different. It uses its large round shape to turn itself into different things but maybe all the hug really needs is a little practice to remember how good it feels to give—and receive—hugs! I found this to be a wonderful book about hugs, something you and your kids like to give and receive. Why not end the story by hugging some of your favourite people and things.


Baby: Beep! Beep!

DK Books
Age 0-5 (board book)
This chunky board book combines kids’ love of vehicles with lift the flap books. Each page contains a question pertaining to the picture ‘Who’s behind the brick wall?’, inviting kids to lift the flap and see. The images are all based on kids toys. Each page has a nubby tab that sticks out for little fingers to flip open. The pages are thick and sturdy for little hands. A great book for little ones to explore on their own or enjoy together sitting on mom or dad’s lap.

DK Books
Age 0-5 (board book)
Kids will enjoy discovering common play items found in the park while flipping through this little chunky board book. Each page consists of one image with the word written below, great for building vocabulary. There are also a few descriptive words for each image: tricycle, pedal, pedal, pedel; kite, high in the sky. This board book also offers kids a sensory experience for the sight and touch, with sparkly details, fuzzy images, and other ways to connect kids with each item. Extend the experience by visiting your local park and seeing which of the items in the book you see in person.

My First Colors: Let’s Learn Them All!

DK Books
Age 0-5 (board book)
Whether your child is just learning about colours or you’re looking for a way to reinforce them, My First Colours will make it fun. Each colour has it’s own tab that is illustrated not only by the colour but also by an item representing that colour: yellow is a rubber duck, green is a leaf. Kids can choose the colour they want to explore by flipping to corresponding tab. Each double page spread will fill a child’s eyes with a variety of things in that select colour. Some items are common, some not. The colour word is is written large in the top left-hand side of each page. Each item on the page has it’s name written below, adding to your child’s vocabulary.
The last page includes an I Spy page with a variety of different coloured images. Some spy questions are included: Can you see a spotted triangle? Or you can make up your own questions. Kids will enjoy searching and finding things on the page and throughout the book.
I want to thank Chris from DK Canada and Joanne from Annick Press for my review copies.
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Carrie Anne is a contributing writer for 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