Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everything I learned about being Jewish I learned from All of a Kind Family

The All of a Kind Family series has been one of my favorites since I first read it as a child.  This large loving family of five girls, ranging in age from four to twelve, lives in the lower East side of New York during the early 1900's. The first book in the series follows the family through the year and gives detailed descriptions of all the Jewish holidays celebrated. The stories are happy and fun-loving. Topics range from what to do about a lost library book, to what to buy Papa for his birthday, to the birth of a new baby (a BOY!).  The family oriented stories easily relate to a reader of today while providing insight into growing up at the turn of the century in New York. The five books in the series follow the family through many adventures and changes in their lives.

Right now we are reading this aloud to S, age 8, and C, age 6.  Both look forward to a new chapter each night.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick -- Kid Review

Reviewed by S age 8.

I'd seen this book on the shelf for the past few years and couldn't wait for S to be old enough enjoy it with me.  It was worth the wait!  A mesmerizing book told through text and intricate detailed charcoal drawings. The subject is obscure, but that only makes the book more fascinating.

What did you like best about the book Hugo Cabret?
I liked how the pictures were telling the story and they looked really real.

How did the art change your experience of the book?
It increased my like for the book, because the pictures told part of the story.

Why was Hugo's notebook so important to him?
His father drew a picture of the automata and he was using as a guide to fix the automata. Also, because his father had died.

Why has his friendship with Isabelle so important?
She had the key to the automata and she was the granddaughter of George Melies. And he needed a friend.

Favorite character?
Etienne. Because he had an eyepatch. He was nice to let Isabelle into the movies. And he works at a movie theater.

What question would you ask the author?
Was the whole story real? All the characters?

Why do you think the pictures were just black and white and not color?
Black and white are a little more questioning, it makes you imagine the kind of colors that were in the pictures. Black and white pictures look more mysterious than color pictures.

Are there any similarities between the Invention of Hugo Cabret and the Harry Potter books?
They both have chases in them. They both end excitingly. Harry and Hugo are both determined and smart. They are both orphans.

Notes: The Invention of Hugo Cabret takes place in Paris in the 1930's. The action moves from a train station to the streets of Paris and ends in a spectacular suspenseful chase scene.  The characters-- a young orphaned boy, a young orphaned girl, a bitter old man, and a helpful young man -- come together in a surprising and unexpected way.  George Melies is a real person who was an innovator in French cinema.  This book is currently being made into a movie directed by Martin Scorsese to be released at the end of 2011.

My favorites for 0-2

My favorites for 0-2

Jamberry by Bruce Degan.  A rollicking rhyming tale of a boy and his friend the bear. Lots of fun detail to be pointed out in the illustrations-- waffle flowers and hidden marshmallows.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman.  A mischievous gorilla lets each zoo animal out of their cage after the Zoo Keeper wishes them goodnight.  The animals follow the beloved Zoo Keeper back to his house. My kids love the part when all you can see are the wide open eyes in the dark when the Zoo Keeper discovers the animals in his bedroom!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The pages of food are as entertaining as ever. A wonderful classic.

We're Going on Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Full of effective repetitive rhyme, this is wonderful read aloud. The best part is when the scary bear arrives and then, reading as fast as you can, getting the family safely back home again.  We always end the story feeling sorry for the bear who just wanted to be friends.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
It took me a little while to figure out why my kids love this book so much.  It tells the story of three owl babies waiting for their mother to come home, they are sure she is coming back, but are not absolutely sure until they see her come swooping home.  All kids can relate to waiting anxiously for their parents to arrive and the wonderful safe feeling that follows.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
A book of repetitive sing song rhyme that kids will quickly learn to read along with you.

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
It is easy to see why Sandra Boynton sets her books to music. The text lends itself to be read in a sing song way that will have kids be-bopping along.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox Illustrated by Jane Dyer
The lulling rhyme and muted illustrations of various animals being tucked into bed sets a quiet tone for this perfect bedtime book.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
An "I spy" book with wonderfully bright detailed illustrations.  Help your child find the familiar nursery rhyme characters hiding on each page.

Is your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino Illustrated by Stephen Kellogg
A baby llama asks each of his animal friends if their mama is a llama.  Told with rhythmic verse that children love and a fill in the blank to guess the animals real mother will keep readers engrossed and entertained.

What are your favorites?