Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Three baby themed picture books

Itsy-bitsy-babies by Margaret Wild

Itsy-bitsy-babies is a short little book told in rhyming couplets that portray little babies doing little baby things. The illustrations are simple but life-like. I loved this one because Sera seems interested in watching other babies right now, and she seemed interested in the pictures of the babies as I read to her.  It helped that the book is short and repetitive. I think that was key in keeping her attention. 

Baby Knows Best by Kathy Henderson
A humorous picture book about all the funny quirks that babies have; I am sure that anyone that has any experience with small ones will get a laugh out of this cute book.
Everyone in the family notices that baby has tons of toys but only wants to play with the house keys, or that then baby has tons of specialized food in jars and baggies but only wants to eat what the family eats. I also related to how the baby was surrounded by fun little books but only wanted to eat the newspaper. I only get the Sunday edition of the paper and it is a celebratory event for little Sera when she gets her little paws on all that chewy paper goodness.

Baby Talk: a book of first words and phrases by Judy Hindley

This picture book take baby through the daily routine—getting the hair brushed, getting the coat on, going to the park—and then emphasizes common phrases that go along with these activities. I thought this was fun to read with Sera because we use these same words and do these same things every day, every week. I hope she has started to recognize these things, but I think she knows more than I suspect. Just this evening I was playing with her until bath time. I turned to her and asked, “Sera are you ready for bath time?” and she made a happy little squee and threw her little baby arms above her head to show her excitement. Hilarious!  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wolves Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

Wolves, Boys, and Other Thing That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
KJ Carson has never attracted much attention in her small town of West End, Montana. Then she takes a Journalism class and is assigned to write a newspaper column on wolves with her new classmate and crush, Virgil. Virgil’s mom is a biologist studying the wolves in Yellowstone park, and that means she gets to spend early mornings with Virgil and his mom learning about the wolf packs that roam the park.  Her fascination with wolves puts in in a precarious position with people in town. The ranchers are violently opposed to the wolves reintroduction into the park because their livestock is being killed. Then someone shoots at Virgil’s pro-wolf float in the holiday parade and suddenly the argument about wolves as becomes dangerous as acts of violence and vandalism multiply.

In general I really enjoyed KJ’s character in this book. She doesn’t back down from what she thinks and is always quick with a clever comeback. She really knows how to fight with words. I found her kind of annoying in the fact that she doesn’t make much effort to see the rancher’s point of view when they live all around her. I thought that since she was the editor of the school newspaper she would make a bit more effort into getting an interview besides just ignoring the one rancher dude that hates her. There had to be other rancher kids that were less hostile toward her that she could have interviewed.

Overall, this was a pretty interesting book that explored the conflict surrounding the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park and I thought that was unique angle for a book. Occasionally, the small town setting felt a little plain to me, but the author managed to keep the story interesting by escalating the conflict between the rancher and the pro-wolf groups. In the end KJ has to confront the villain and survive both him and a harsh Montana hail storm, as her effort to make peace turn into a wilderness survival situation.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Three classics in one book! Absolutely Positively Alexander by Judith Viorst

Absolutely Positively Alexander by Judith Viorst

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a classic children’s book from my childhood. I use to read this funny tale as a child. I did not know that there were more books about the stubborn and pessimistic Alexander, and his family. This book includes Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday. A story about Alexander’s deplorable spending habits. Full of funny moments, sibling rivalry, and money mismanagement.  The third story Alexander, Who’s Not (Do you hear me? I mean it!) Going to Move, tell about how he finally comes to terms with his family having to move away from his old home and friends.

These classic picture books are full of a humorous and unique voice. I loved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as I child and enjoyed rereading it to my child. Though, the text was a bit long to hold her attention. She usually would go off and play on her own in the middle of the stories. I think perhaps the black and white illustrations did not hold her attention very long. Oh, well. We will have to read these ones together again when she is older.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hey you can get a free copy too!

There is a blogger called Money Saving Mom and she is offering a free book about freezer cooking if you help her promote her new book, The Money Saving Mom's Budget. I am intrigued by this new blog and thought this would be a nice chance to investigate and participate. (Thanks for the facebook post Reigheena!)

I shall now go hop around her blog and investigate what pearls of wisdom she dispenses.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
In this latest installment Alek tries to make himself useful by aligning himself with the inventor Tesler, who claims that he has invented a machine that can waste an entire city with the push of a button. Tesler proves to be unstable and more interested in his own glory than the lives of others. Alek is the only person who can stop the destruction of the entire country of Germany, but will he decide to preserve his enemy?

Deryn continues to prove her airman skills time and time again. It was only a matter of time before someone discovered she was a girl. What will happen now that her true identity is revealed not only to her closest friends but to a nosy reporter looking to break the next big headline?

The last and final installment of the Scott Westerfeld’s steampunk trilogy is full of adventure, new sights and fun. So, this last book took interesting turns that I did not expect, namely that our main characters ended up meeting Pancho Villa, and spending a lot of time in America. My favorite chapter of the entire book is when you are trying to figure out if Alexander has guessed that Deryn is a girl or not. Westerfeld teases the reader throughout the entire thing, and it is hilarious! The entire book is worth a reread just for that chapter alone. I got to say that my favorite book of the entire series is Leviathan. This book didn’t have the dramatic character arcs of the first book, and that wild serendipitous feel of first adventure and accidental meetings. Goliath does have a dramatic, satisfying, and romantic ending that will have your insides mushy with happiness. I will recommend this series for a long time to come. It is beautiful, original, and just plain good writing. Please, go enjoy this wonderful trilogy.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Picture Books for Halloween

Wild Witches’ Ball by Jack Prelutsky

This short Halloween poem is perfect for wee ones with short attention spans. Lately, it has been difficult to get the small one to sit still long enough to read to her. So this short little Halloween book was a perfect length.

The wild witch ball is in full swing during this festive Halloween night. From the ten groaning crones to the last lumpy witch this counting rhymes describes the attendees of the witches ball with clever and delightful poetry that rolls off the tongue.

The Wizard by Jack Prelutsky

I didn’t read this one for Halloween precisely, but I did during the month of October and so I include it here.  Author Jack Prelutsky characterizes a creepy wizard and his mastery of his magical art. His words dance off the page, and the illustrations by Brandon Dorman are masterful, bringing the text to life in beautiful ways. I don’t think I have seen text and illustration work so well together to create such a wonderful feeling of awe. I’ll probably add this one to my library one day. It is simply gorgeous.

Halloween Night by Majorie Dennis Murray

A traditional Halloween inspired poem about ghosts, goblins, and other haloween worthy creatures preparing the house for Halloween celebrations. Ten unsuspecting children prance down their lane prepared to trick or treat, but they are in for a fright. This was a fun Halloween book to read the little one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Costume

So, for halloween Sera was a book fairy. I made her little fairy wings out of a book that I bought at the library book sale. I figure if I was going to ruin a book to make a costume I should at least make sure the money for the book went to supporting more literacy, right? So the book was a parody of the "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff"series. I also made her a tutu by rolling up the pages into tube and then attaching them to a little fabric tie. I got the idea for this costume here.

Anyway, here is our beautiful little creature, all sneaky and trying to get some candy!