Reading Together

Archive for September 2009

babyDavid Milgrim’s newest book Best Baby Ever is a fantastic book to share with little ones, give to new parents or to commemorate a child’s first day of school.  A new baby is the best baby ever to every parent.  In Milgrim’s book we watch a new baby grow up and the proud parents look on.  From the baby’s first smile to first steps and as the baby walks out the door to get on the school bus for the first day of school.  I have to say I get choked up at the end when I think of my own kids starting school and I am thankful I am still a few years away from my oldest getting on a school bus! My daughter enjoys reading this together because she enjoys books about babies since we have a new one at home.  She exclaimed to her baby brother, “You’re the BEST BABY EVER!” when we were reading this. 

santaduck

Nicholas Duck is mistaken for Santa Claus by all the other animals when he finds a Santa hat and coat on his door step.  Wearing it, the other animals begin to tell him what they want for Christmas.  Mistakenly, Nicholas becomes Santa Duck and passes on everyone’s Christmas wishes to the real Santa and forgets all about what he wants himself.  Don’t worry, Santa doesn’t leave him out! A wonderful addition to the many holiday books on our library’s shelf.  Santa Duck is an adorable character and the cartoon talking bubbles Milgrim uses make this a fun read aloud.

sparrowSparrow Delaney is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and is supposed to be the best medium Lily Dale has ever seen.  And she is.  Except nobody knows it.  Wanting to just be “normal” she keeps the fact she talks to ghosts a secret from her family and friends.  Then she begins to talk to Luke, a cute boy about her age.  He won’t leave her alone until she helps him. 

Sparrow has also started a new school.  She wants to get out of Lily Dale, a town of mediums which actually exists.  At her new school she meets Jack, another cute boy who is very much alive.  Her and Jack are paired up to do a history project together on the town of Lily Dale, a subject Sparrow nows all to much about.

I would describe The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney as a supernatural comedy.  The descriptions of Sparrow’s family of six sisters (all named after birds) and her grandmother are priceless and made me wish the author included more of them.   Sparrow goes through life trying to ignore the ghosts who come to here and this also makes for some very humorous situations.

Sparrow must learn to use her gifts and help her friend even if it means admitting who she is to the world.  Entertaining and fun but not as creepy as I initially hoped for still worth the read.

I am beginning a new series of blog posts.  One of the things I enjoy doing the most is reading to my children and doing arts and crafts projects with my daughter.  With Monday being my day off I usually try to do some small art project with my daughter.  I will share those here as well as one of the books we read together on Mommy Mondays.

This Monday’s Art Project:

My daughter loves to paint and I recently bought her watercolors.  She has been painting outside all summer but with fall just around the corner I wanted to make sure she had something else to use inside to keep her painting going. 

When I took out the watercolors she was thrilled.  She went through each color and painted with each one, naming them as she went along.  Then it was mommy’s turn to paint.  I painted some flowers and asked her which colors I should paint with. 

Then I gave the brush back to her and she started painting her fingernails blue!

Then it was Mommy’s turn again.  She asked me to paint a bunny and an octopus.  I wished I could share pictures with you of my masterpieces! After this we made her hand prints which she loves to do! I also painted her name.  She named each letter of her name as we went along!

 Color and letter recognition were the lessons of this simple art project.  I’m sure she’ll be asking to paint again soon!

Book we Read Together Today:

Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins

yummy

We are loving the stories in this book. Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs are our favorites! Lucy Cousings illustrations are wonderfully eye catching.  This would make a great gift this holiday season.  Be wary however, the author does not change much from the orginals.  Grandmother is eaten by the wolf and the pigs are all gobbled up as well.  Still, I wonderful read aloud.

I recently read a blog post on Playful Learning on using DVDs to promote literacy development.  She talks about some wonderful books that were made into wonderful DVDs.  One of my favorite is the Chrysanthemum video which is narrated by Meryl Streep.  My daughter found this at our library and I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it more than she did.  But then I found the book and she loved hearing the book read. 

I would take it one step farther as well and recommend reading books that are based on television shows children enjoy.  My daughter recently went through a Dora phase and the Dora books are still popular for her.  I usually try to make a book connection with anything she watches on television.   The following books you can also find a DVD or television show associated with them.  Some were books first and then a television show and some (like Dora) were shows first and the books came later.

Curious George

Clifford

Backyardigans

Arthur

Diego

Charlie & Lola

Martha Speaks

Bob the Builder

Thomas the Tank Engine

Blue’s Clues

Maisy

Sesame Street

My daughter often enjoys reading the books associated with her favorite television shows more than actually watching the shows.

The other day my family and I went to our local library to pick out books.  I try to make this a weekly occurence.  Of course, I bring home a stack of books every day (I just can’t help myself) but I also want my daughter to have the experience of choosing books to take home. 

A two year old’s method of choosing books to take home is basically pulling books from the shelf and throwing them in our book bag.  I often don’t “preview” the books until I get them home.  Or I am in a rush and see books I would like to read to my daughter and they end up in the bag as well.

So this method of choosing books have resulted in some not so great choices and I asked myself “should I be reading these before I read them to my daughter.” This is something I am in the practice of doing at work.  I have had some embarassing experiences being in a rush at work and going in front of a group of students and being surprised.  I really don’t have the time to read all the books my daughter and I choose at the library. 

Here are the ones we chose that didn’t turn out exactly as I expected:

Firefighter’s Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts

My daughter really like “fighterfighters” which is why my husband pulled it off the shelf.  Seemed harmless enough until the firefighters went out to fight a fire and one of them ended up in the hospital.  Not the upbeat story I was hoping to share with my two year old.

The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos

Rotten Ralph has used up eight of his nine lives and only has one more life to live.  On one page the little girl is looking for Ralph and sees a shape in the sky that could be Ralph’s ghost or something. Not really sure what they were going for here.  You don’t know whether Ralph managed to stop being rotten or did he get himself killed one last time.  Then you turn the page and there is Ralph happy as can be.  I found it a little twisted!

We only read this ones once before they were returned to our book bag and back to the library.  Not really what I was hoping for with either of them.  So, since I can’t preview every book before I read it.  What do I do? We managed to get through these mostly because of my daughter’s age and the upbeat voice my husband continued to read them in.  I think we also skipped a few parts here and there.  These books were definitely intended for older children who could perphaps appreciate the humor of Rotten Ralph. 

Oh well, atleast we enjoyed our reading together time.

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I am excited to be a part of a reading challenge that is being hosted here. The challege is to read 4 books in the following categories by October 31st!

Mystery.

Suspense.

Thriller.

Dark Fantasy.

Gothic.

Horror.

Supernatural.

I love reading scary books this time of year and apparently I am not alone. Here is a reading list related to these themes that have been published for children and teens.  I can’t wait to get started. I will be trying to read atleast 4 on this list.  I’m cheating a little because I’ve been reading two of them on the list already.  I know that if I want my children to be readers they have to see me read! This is a wonderful way to get yourself motivated to read if y0u aren’t already a reader!

Children’s Books

Revenge of the Witch Series

The Seer of Shadows by Avi

Ghosthunters Series by Cornelia Funke

Teen Books

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney by Suzanne Harper

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

Ruined: a Ghost Story by Paula Morris

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater



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  • Amber: Thanks for sharing my blog with your readers! You summed up the reason for the name better than I've been able to :) Good luck in the giveaway!
  • Musing: I wasn't able to finish Twilight myself, but I'm always glad to hear of young people being turned on to reading. :)
  • juliannahelt: I forgot about Twelve Hats for Lena. It is a great book! Thanks for mentioning it.