Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Non-Fiction Monday -- Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book

Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book by Ed Emberley

Ever have one of those books that you see and it brings you back to your childhood? This is one of those books for me.  Ed Emberly has written several drawing books along this same vein -- The Big Orange Drawing Book, The Big Red Drawing Book, The Big Book of Faces--but this will always be my favorite.

Inside the book he takes an object, such as a cat, and breaks in down, shape by shape. Underneath each new step he draws the shapes that were added during that step.  He starts off with drawing easy animals and ends with a complicated dragon. If you can draw a circle, square, triangle, squiggly line and the letters W, V, and U you can draw the images in this book! This book is a great introduction to drawing for kids-- making it fun and easy.  We recently checked this out from the library and S (8) and C (6) spent the entire afternoon drawing together!

Find in the 700's -- The Arts-- Non-Fiction section of your library.

Ed Emberley also has a great website http://www.edemberley.com/ where you can check out his other books and see some easy example of things to draw.

Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book. Ed Emberley. Little Brown, 1979.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichenheld

"Look, the duck is so hot, he's getting a drink. No, the rabbit is so hot, he's cooling off his ears."

This delightfully clever book uses visual illusion to show two different points of view. One viewer sees a duck the other is sure it is a rabbit. As each viewer describes what they see your kids will have fun realizing they can see it too.  The story includes a subtle lesson about how two people can be both be right and when it's okay to end an argument. At the end you can decide -- is it really a duck or a rabbit?  A fun book to enjoy with your kids.

Duck! Rabbit! Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichenheld, Chronicle Books, 2009.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Robert Munsch

Robert Munsch is one of my favorite authors.  The best way to describe his stories is -- silly.  Many times silly and absurd things happen that don't make sense which, of course,  kids love! His stories are quick, funny and make great read alouds. He uses different characters in each book, which makes each one its own special story.  In fact each story is based on a child that Munsch has met.  Munsch has written prolifically since his first book, Mud Puddle, was published in 1996.

Munsch is famous for his unique storytelling style.  He says he performs each new story about 200 times before he gets them just right and writes them down. He has a fantastic website where you can listen to him read aloud each of his books. Munsch has 54 books published and says he writes about two a year!

Here are some of my favorites:

The Paper Bag Princess -- Her kingdom destroyed, her fiance captured, and wearing only a paper bag, Princess Elizabeth must use her brain and imagination to save Prince Ronald--who does not turn out to be such a "prince" in the end and Princess Elizabeth happily leaves him behind.

Stephanie's Ponytail -- Wanting to look different from the other kids, Stephanie asks for a different type of ponytail each day.  Unfortunately, each day the other kids, and some of the teachers, all copy her look. Finally Stephanie tricks everyone and finds a look no one can copy.

Thomas' Snowsuit -- Hilarity ensues when adults go to extreme measures to get Thomas into the snowsuit he hates.

I'm So Embarrassed! -- This story hits home for anyone who as ever been embarrassed by their mom, dad, or kids.

Ribbon Rescue -- Jillian's beautiful ribbon dress comes in handy to help those in trouble.

Love you Forever -- this is Munsch's best selling book and many people love it.  However, I must write here that I have a very hard time with this book.  I think it is awkward and creepy.  I recently read the reviews of this book on Amazon, where it received 692 five star reviews and 217 one star reviews.  I read some of the one star reviews and was pleasantly surprised there were others who felt the same way as I did. I'd love to hear others thoughts on this book.

Check out Robert Munsch's fabulous website: http://robertmunsch.com/

Do you have a favorite Robert Munsch book?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae Illustrated by David Wojowycz

"There's a curious commotion
 At the bottom of the ocean.
 I think we ought to go and take a look."

This bright comical picture book tells the story of a variety of sea creature. In simple whimsical verse, poems are written about squeaking dolphins, the huge whale, strong walruses, the strange creatures of the deep and the mama octopus who loves to tickle her children. The verse is fun and engaging while the vibrant illustrations have lots of detail. (Look for the tiny yellow starfish hidden on every page!)  Not a book that will teach anyone about sea creatures, but a fun simple book to enjoy with your child!  This is a favorite of J's (age 4).

Check out these other titles by this author/illustrator duo.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Easy Readers I Love

Easy readers are designed with the mission to help children learn to read.  Following that purpose certain restrictions are placed on easy readers for length and vocabulary.  Other ways easy readers differ from picture books; each page has lots of white space surrounding the pictures and text, easy readers are usually 6 x 9 inches for reader comfort, and a large picture dominates the page with only a few sentences of large print text.

Easy readers are usually broken into three levels, these levels vary between publishers which makes finding the right level difficult. Some libraries use an A, B and C system to code reading levels.  In this list I have included what I consider level one and level two books -- few words, big bright pictures that provide clues to the words, and repeated vocabulary.

Some of my favorite easy readers:

The Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems -- hands down one of the best series out there.  My eight year old loves them as much as my 4 year old.  They are funny, witty, and surprising. My kids will read these over and over again-- to themselves, to each other, to me.  And for those Pigeon fans, he's always hidden somewhere in the book.

Cat the Cat by Mo Willems --another very cute and funny series with simple vocabulary.

Big Pig and Little Pig by David McPhail -- a silly tale of two pigs.

Dr. Suess -- any of his early readers: Hop on Pop, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Go Dog Go, Fox in Socks, Mr. Brown Can Moo Can You?

Big Egg by Molly Coxe -- A chicken tries to figure out where a big egg came from in her nest.  Read an interesting negative review on this book from Amazon, the critic complained that there were so few words for her $3.99.  Easy Readers are best checked out from the library!

Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin -- tells the humorous stories of identical twins who have very different personalities.  My kids loved this one.

Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo - I must admit I haven't read this one yet, it hasn't come into my library, but since it won the Theordore Suess Giesel Award I thought I should include it!

Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel -- Frog and Toad are best friends who have many wonderful adventures together.  There are several other books in this series. These books were turned into a fabulous Broadway musical with delightful, funny, captivating music.  A wonderful activity: read the books then listen to the musical!

Morris has a Cold by Bernard Wiseman --funny stories about a Morris, a moose and Bori, a bear. Boris attempts to explain life to Morris who takes things too literally. My kids love catching the mistakes that Morris makes and how mad Borris gets. There are several more books in the series, but this is my favorite one.

Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold -- My kids love this series about Fly Guy and his good friend Buzz.  Many more books in the series.

Do you have a favorite easy reader?