Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Hoots and Howls Poems by Joan Horton

A poem for the day of Halloween:

Igor's Mummy

Igor's mummy drives the bus
That takes the kids to school.
Boys and ghouls who ride with her
Must always mind this rule:
No throwing things or hitting.
Or making any fuss.
And screaming hyenas had better behave
or else get off the bus.

Some tombstone verses:

this slab lies
Lennie Lixer.
He Fell Into 
A Concrete Mixer.
Poor Stiff

Here Lies the Body of
Jeremy Victor
He Shouldn't Have Hugged
His Boa Constrictor.
Sleep Tight.

Danny Dimm
Was not too Bright.
He Ate a Stick of Dynamite.
Rest in Pieces.

From: Halloween Hoots and Howls. Joan Horton, illustrated by Joann Adinolfi, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1999.

Beverly Cleary Audio Collections

I'm a huge fan of Beverly Cleary. Her wonderful stories about the joys and trials of everyday childhood life are as relevant today as they were during the 1950's and 60's when they were originally published.  Cleary describes the emotions of her characters in so familiar a way we can remember exactly how it felt to be in that place, at that age.  I'm also obsessed with audio books which is why this post focuses on the audio collections of Ms. Cleary's books.  The whole family will be mesmerized listening to the extremely well performed audio editions of this classic series.


Stockard Channing truly does an amazing job of bringing the timeless story of Ramona Quimby to life. Her performance of the varied characters from teachers to parents are spot on.  I love the way she changes Ramona's voice in each book from Ramona the Pest to Ramona Forever --you can hear Ramona getting older.  My kids have listened to this entire series of books twice.

We just started listening to the Henry Huggins series on audio book and I must now sing its praises!  The Ramona series was so wonderfully read by Stockard Channing that I that wasn't sure what to expect for the Henry Huggins series.  Imagine my delight when I found out  it's performed by none other than Neil Patrick Harris.  Two delightful timeless series read by two amazing actors!

To read about why I love audio books!

Friday, October 26, 2012

"You Wouldn't Want to......." A wonderful Non-Fiction Series

I love this series of non-fiction books focusing on historical events and people.  My son, age 6, in particular loves this series. While the text is advanced he loves the illustrations and the fun (and sometimes disgusting) facts he learns!  What makes these book so wonderful is the vibrant comic illustrations, that will draw even the most reluctant reader, and the depth of information found in each book. The subject matter covered in this series ranges from the middle ages, to American colonist, to World War II, to being a skyscraper builder. The most recent historical topic I found was You Wouldn't want to be on Apollo 13! Here are a few of our favorites from the series:

You Wouldn't Want to be A Roman Gladiator!: Gory Things You'd Rather Not Know by John Maham, Illustrated by David Antram

You Wouldn't Want to Live in Pompeii!: A Volcanic Eruption You'd Rather Avoid by John Maham, Illustrated by David Antram

You Wouldn't Want to be Polar Explorer!: An Expedition You'd Rather Not Go On by Jon Green, Illustrated by David Antram

You Wouldn't Want to be a Samuari!: A Deadly Career You'd Rather Not Pursue by Fiona MacDonald, illustrated by David Antram

Monday, October 15, 2012

Five Fantastic Books About Pigs

Pigs are funny animals and kids love them.  Unlike foxes that are sly and owls that are wise, pigs are most often silly, which makes them wonderful characters for children's books. The pigs in these stories are silly, but also occasionally clever.  You can't judge a pig by his sterotype! Here are five wonderfully silly and fantastical tales about pigs.

Me First by Helen Lester, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger -- Popppington always has to be first.  First in line, first for lunch, first on the bus.  One day, on a pig scout outing he meets his match in the Sandwich who shows him that first is not always best.  A fun book by one of my favorite author/illustrator teams.

Pigs by Robert Munsch -- Told in Munsch's usual frantic style this story of pigs in the pigpen will delight children. A daughter doesn't believe her father when he tells her that pigs are smart, but soon learns her lesson.

Pigsty by Mark Teague -- A young boy with a very messy room welcomes his first few pig visitors, but soon he realizes pigs in his room are not all fun and games.

Piggie Pie! by Margi Palatini, Illustrated by Howard Fine --A hungry witch decides that piggie pie would be the perfect thing for dinner.  Can the creative and cunning pigs in the barnyard outsmart the witch and save their skins?

Piggies by Audrey and Don Wood -- A wonderful creative twist on "This Little Piggie."  With detailed and vibrant illustrations by Don Wood the classic fingerplay takes on a whole new life.  Each finger is given its own personality and as the setting changes on each page these personalities come alive. Audrey and Don Wood have collaborated on several other wonderful books including The Napping House and Hackedy Peg.