Children's Book Specials

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Martina the Beautiful Cockroach" Review

A Cuban Folktale
Retold by Carmen Agra Deedy
Illustrated by Michael Austin
Illustrations created in acrylic.
Publisher: Scholastic
Copyright: 2007
Accelerated Reader Book, reading level 3.1
Pura Belpre' Honor Book
2010-2011 Virginia Reader's Choice Nominee

How would you pick a husband?

Has anyone in your family ever given you advice you didn't understand?  

What does coffee have to do with anything??

This story will reveal to you a wise method to use while choosing a mate.  But, watch out you may upset some people along the way!

Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha was a beautiful cockroach in search of a mate.  After being courted by a rooster, a pig and a lizard; Martina finds that love had been close by all the while.  And that Cuban grandmothers are very wise!

This book is a little bit of a higher level for my children, and I'm not sure they exactly understood the story. But, they both seemed to enjoy the rhythm of the book and the illustrations.  (As well as finding the coffee test to be funny!)

A story about a cockroach?  The detailed and charming illustrations in this book truly beautify this repulsive-type insect.  

The only drawback for me about this book is there are 10-15 Spanish words...which is neat, but there isn't a glossary to tell you the meaning of these words. Or the correct pronunciation.

Review by Christy F. @ PrincessPinkk's Ponderings.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Last Birthday?

So They Say It's Your Birthday!!
Happy Birthday to Me!!
 Well, I am 39 now. maybe I will be 39 forever?  
Isn't that what a lot of women do?  
I'm not really sure if I will be like that.  
So far, I feel pretty good about 39.  
I don't really feel too old....yet!  
Maybe next year will be different!  
The big 4-0 might affect me differently. 
Right now I'm enjoying life!
I'm alive & healthy.
(with a few extra pounds I need to work on!)
I have an awesome husband who loves me!
 Beautiful, fun children.
I have a trendy haircut. 
Some fun piercings.  
A new tattoo soon!!  yippee!
A fulfilling social life.
Pink things.
And most of all, lots of LOVE in my life!
I think I can handle more days in this life.
And lots more birthdays!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Elbert's Bad Word" Review

Author: Audrey Woods
Illustrator: Audrey & Don Woods
The illustrations in this book were first drawn in pencil 
by Audrey Wood and then rendered in color by Don wood in 
watercolor, gouache and colored pencils on coquille board.
 Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Copyright: 1988
Summary: After shocking the elegant garden party by 
using a bad word, Elbert learns some acceptable substitutes 
from a helpful wizard. 
Accelerated Reader Book, reading level 3.6

Elbert was at a fancy dinner party with his parents when he heard an adult say a bad word.  In this book you can actually "see" the naughty word.   

"With a swift flick of his wrist, Elbert snatched the word from the air and stuffed it in his pocket ."  Later, the word became so small it "flew" into Elbert's mouth.  After a series of crazy events a croquet mallet lands with a "thud" on Elbert's toe!  When Elbert opened his mouth to scream a bad word came out instead!  The bad word continued to g r o w, it even perched upon Elbert's shoulder. 
Elbert goes to visit a wizard gardener who bakes him a special cake.  Elbert learns about "strong" words and the need to sometimes use them. Later through another series of mishaps, Elbert is again in a position of pain.  Everyone stops to observe him to see what he will say.  Will he say the bad word again???

My children enjoyed this book, it was easy for them to understand how Elbert learned the bad word and they were a little surprised when he used it.  After reading the book we were able to discuss other things to say instead of bad words.   I love books that you can use to teach something. 

The book is fun to read, and has interesting illustrations.  The expressions on Elbert's face are great.  And I love that you can "see" the bad word.  You can't go wrong with an Audrey or Don Woods book.  I don't think I've read one yet that I don't like.

Review by Christy F. @ PrincessPinkk's Ponderings.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Was it Wrong?

Last night, we went to visit friends after 8pm.  They have a boy and a girl that are older than our they had a lot of fun playing together.  We let the kids play mostly unsupervised, and let them stay up very, very late.  They eventually fell asleep.  Many hours later we carried them to the car and brought them home.

Are we horrible for doing this?  we feel pretty bad.  Normally we closely supervise our kids.  Never let them fall asleep at someone else's house...unless it was a planned overnight and we aren't there.  (Like at grandparents or aunts).  Never take the kids out that late at night or have to put them in the car in the middle of the night to go home.

Have you ever done this?  do you think it's okay? 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Misadventures and Fits

My crazy little angels!

Okay, so if you are a parent, you will totally understand how frustrating some of these types of scenarios can be.  If you aren't a parent and you read may rethink if you want children, lol!

I am told, at least once a week, sometimes more often how w.o.n.d.e.r.f.u.l my children behave at daycare.  They are said to be polite, well mannered, sweet, etc.

Sometimes when I am home with my children, I wonder....are these really the same children that the daycare raves about??  And don't get me wrong...I would prefer it to be this way....behave in public/misbehave at home.  As much as it sucks sometimes at home dealing with them, it gives me great pleasure to hear others rave about how well behaved my children are.  :)

But, I just want to share some of the fits and misadventures that I recently had with the kids.  Saturday morning, while Lee was at work and I was alone with the kids, I had stepped into the bathroom.  Jake (4 1/2) comes to tell me that he spilled a little water.  Well, it turned out that he had knocked over a huge cup of water on the end table...which had lots of magazines and newspapers that were now sopping wet.  Our tables are glass top with wood around the edges.  So the glass sits down into the wood.  Well, anytime a drink is runs under the glass and gets everywhere down below.  So I had to move the lamp, candles, picture frames, Scentsy burner, etc. to clean up all the water. Ugh.

A little later, while I was ironing clothes Julz had gone into the bathroom....I thought to brush her teeth.  Jake comes in and says, "Julz has nail polish".  Oh! Yes! She! Did!!  It was on her face, on her hands, on her shirt, on the sink and in the bathtub.  Mind you this happened in just a matter of three minutes tops that she was out of my eyesight!  So, I did get it off of her, but not so much the shirt.  And I did manage to save the sink and tub as well.

Then Jake had a small fit after that because he didn't want to put on clean underwear!  (boys!)  When I picked a gift bag for his friend's birthday present (I have to climb up in the attic to get this, since that is where I store all my gift wrapping items) he cried for I know 20 minutes because the bag was "too pretty" and he didn't want to give it away! (me=rolling my eyes)

Later in the day after being at a birthday party and visiting Mimi & Gramps we were almost ready to head out.  I needed to go to the grocery store to pick up some items for Julz's birthday party.  After the behavior they exhibited at Mimi's house (running, being loud, not listening), I told them they wouldn't be allowed to go to the grocery store with me.  So, they were both upset, crying and pouting.  On the way out of the house walking through the garage, Jake stopped beside my mom's (very nice, shiny, well taken care of, immaculately clean) Dodge Nitro and proceeded to kick it t.h.r.e.e times!!!!  aaaarrrrgghhhh!!!!  So then, Gramps spanked Jake (very unusual) and Jake was crying and mad and then Julz hopped in between Jake and Gramps and says loudly and sternly, "don't you be mean to my Jakey!!!  (gotta love the sibling love!) so, then Gramps told her that she needed to be quiet that he wasn't talking to her.  Crying, more crying.  Both crying.  Crying all the way home!!

So I hope you just enjoyed a day in my life with children, lol!!  I still love them even though they drive me crazy!!

How many of you can relate to this craziness???

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Flap Your Wings" Review

Author: P.D. Eastman
Publisher: Beginner Books a Division of Random House
Copyright: 1969, 1977, 2000
ISBN: 0-375-80243-6
Accelerated Reader Book, reading level 2.0

With simple, bright illustrations, this colorful book is easy for a young child to follow.  Not too busy or overstimulating. I love the expressions on the little birds faces throughout the book and especially love Mrs. Bird's red scarf.   

The story starts out with a boy walking down a path near several different types of animals.  He finds an egg.  He sees an empty nest.  He decides the egg must have come from that nest and places the egg there.  When Mr. and Mrs. Bird come home she notices the egg. "That's not our egg," says Mrs. Bird. "Look how big it is!" I love what Mr. Bird has to say about that....."But it is an egg.  It's in our nest, " said Mr. Bird.  "If an egg is in your nest, you sit on it and keep it warm.  It doesn't matter whose egg it is."  As the story goes on, Mr. and Mrs. Bird keep this egg warm until it hatches and then raise "Junior" as their own.  They feed and feed and feed and feed "Junior".  Until finally "Junior" has grown so large he must be taught to "fly" and "flap his wings" for he is too large to stay in the nest.  

My son, 4 1/2 yrs, enjoyed this book.  He understood the humor and the mistake of the wrong egg being in their nest.  He really thought it was funny when we found out what was inside of the egg.  My 3 yr old daughter seems to understand how sweet it is that Mr. and Mrs. Bird take care of the creature that hatches from the egg.  The message of acceptance and love in this story, along with the humor has kept me reading it over and over to my children.  

This is also a good companion book to be read along with Guji, Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.  Guji, Guji is a very similar story.  At home we read the two together and then compared them.  

On a scale of 1-10, I will give this one an 8.  This sweet little story is sure to become a favorite.  If you notice the copyright (1969), this book has been around for a long time, so it must have been a favorite to many over the years.  I wonder if I heard this story as a child?  

Do you have any favorites from your childhood?  

Review by Christy F. @ PrincessPinkk's Ponderings. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Author: Jerry Pallotta

November 2009

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Pallotta a year ago when he visited Roanoke, VA for the VEMA (Virginia Educational Media Association) Conference and a visit to the elementary school where I work.  He is such a nice man!  That is such a simple way to say it, but it simply is true. He did several presentations with different age groups (with student involvement, the children were very engaged), sold books and even autographed them. He was kind, funny, attentive and is full of neat ideas....his books are really fun! 

He tends to write more nonfiction, but has done several fiction books, as well.  He is well known for his alphabet books.  His alphabet books include many interesting details.  He spends a lot of time researching for these books.  He even collaborated with many other popular childrens book authors and illustrators in the book Guys Write for Guys Read

The children and teachers at my school really enjoy his math books, such as Hershey's Milk Chocolate Weights and Measures, Twizzler's Shapes & Patterns and The Crayon Counting Book (and there are many more!) Some of the books that we have at my house that my own children enjoy are The Construction Alphabet Book, The Butterfly Alphabet Book and Who Will Help Santa This Year?

 I would recommend reading his books....all of them!  And I would also recommend him as a visitor to your conference, school or library.

Do you have a favorite Jerry Pallotta book?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Brown Eyed Girl

(about a week before she was born)

My Brown Eyed Girl

Three years ago today, it was a beautiful, sunny Saturday.  I woke up, felt a bit strange, but not too bad.  Went on over to my Mom's house for my normal Saturday routine.....eating breakfast with them and then cleaning their house.  I had my boys with me, Joey and Jake.  I kept having contractions, but thought they might have been Braxton Hicks.  As the morning progressed, they became stronger.  But, I was in no rush to get to the hospital, so I just kept cleaning and every so often would have to stop, bend over and breathe....then I just cleaned some more.  Finally, I decided I should be heading home.  I left my little Jake (age 21 months) with Mimi and Gramps.  And I asked Joey (age 15) to drive me home.  I had never let him drive me anywhere up until that point....he had his learners permit.  He was pretty excited that I let him drive.  I called my doula, Autumn, before leaving Mom's and asked her to meet me at the house.  (A doula is a birth assistant.) She seemed to think I was still doing pretty good.  I remember having to stop and get gas for the car....seemed like it took forever.  Got home, rushed around to pack my bag and gather baby things.  Autumn arrived, Lee was ready to go!  He was afraid I'd have the baby at home!! (I would have loved a home birth.)  I wanted to go upstairs and take pictures....I have beautiful pictures of me from the day I gave birth to my son.  Unfortunately, I couldn't handle the contractions too well at this point, so no pictures.  Autumn tried to check and see how dilated I was, but she couldn't tell....I thought she just didn't want to tell me that I was like a 3 or 4.  When we arrived at the hospital and they had me in triage, the nurse yelled for the doctor to come check me.....she said I "sounded like a 7".  I was actually at 8 cms!!  woohoo!  I was sooooo excited.  But, when I had Jake I was a 7 when I arrived and didn't have him for 5 hours.  So I was thinking I still had awhile.  Well, things began to move pretty quickly, they got me to a room and before you knew it....we became proud parents of our beautiful Julz Alaina.  Total time at the hospital until she arrived: 20 mins!!  Awesome delivery!  2/23/08 @ 3:36pm, 7lbs12oz. Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet girl.  

February 23, 2008

With big bro, Joey.  February 23, 2008

Giving sis her first present. February 23, 2008

I love this pic!!  February 25, 2008

Julz is a beautiful little girl with big brown eyes and light brown hair.  She loves all things dolls, Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, etc.....but, she also enjoys playing cars, trucks, trains, monsters, etc.....she does have brothers!  She makes me smile every day.  She loves to color.  She can fold laundry almost as good as me.  She is potty trained!!  She loves us all, and has the best giggle in the world when we tickle her.  She likes zebras and pigs.  She is a people pleaser.....except when she is being Miss Independent and trying to get her way!  She does have a bit of a stubborn streak at times! 

~{{She makes our family complete.}}~

December 2010

My big 3 yr old!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

"How to Make a Night" Review

Author: Linda Ashman
Illustrator: Tricia Tusa
Publisher: South China Printing Co. Ltd.
Copyright: 2004
ISBN: 0-06-029032-3
Summary: "After a hectic day, it is time to bring on the night so that a child and her family can finally rest."
Accelerated Reader Book, reading level 1.5

I chose to review this book since it has such an interesting cover and title.  How to Make a Night.....hmmmm how do you make a night?  use your imagination.  

This story is written in rhyme, which I really like.  Rhyming books are fun to read out loud and keep the attention of little ones.  In this story you get a detailed account of this family's day....everything seems to be going wrong.  So it comes to a point where the little girl makes the night and puts away the day.  Where would you put the sun if you had to put it away for the night?  my little boy loves seeing the illustration of the hiding place.  

"Time to settle down!
 Time to clean the mess!
 Time to bring the night around
 So everyone can rest."

The art in this book is has a bold, messy look.  Lots of color, very busy.  Collage style using paint, fabric, markers and cut outs of real items.  One page showing the planets uses a globe, golf ball, lemon, artichoke, etc.

My son, 4 1/2 yrs,  likes this book, as I stated above he thinks it's funny what happens to the sun at night.  The children at my school seem to enjoy this book as well, it circulates a lot.

On a scale of 1-10, I will give this one an 8.  It is a visually interesting book, with a nice rhyming text and a quirky little story.

Review by Christy F. @ PrincessPinkk's Ponderings. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

"The Girl in the Castle Inside the Museum" Review

Author: Kate Bernheimer
Illustrator: Nicoletta Ceccoli
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, New York
Copyright: 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-83606-0
Summary: "Children come to visit a little girl who lives alone inside a castle, 
which is housed inside of a museum."
Illustrations are rendered in acrylic paint, clay models, photography and digital media.
Accelerated Reader Book, reading level 2.8

You know the saying, "don't judge a book by it's cover"?  Well, I do try to heed this most of the time, but there are just times where I am drawn to a book just by what I see on the cover.  This happens to be one of those books.  The cover just drew me in with the solemn looking faces on the front, the girl in the tower, the colors, the font used for the title.  

I truly delighted in the illustrations of this book  Just very unusual, soft, whimsical and full of movement. The girl in the castle, her hair appears to be blowing in the wind.  There are funny little creatures hanging from the ceiling and flying about the castle.  Buttons, balls, dice speckled here and there throughout the book.

The story is magical, imaginative and reads well. "There is even a tower, the girl's favorite place.  Inside that tower she sits.  And inside that tower, at night she dreams.  What does she dream of, the girl in the castle inside the museum?" How would you like to live in a castle? {forever} how would you feel,  maybe lonely sometimes?  the little girl in the castle feels lonely, but at the end of the book she has figured out a way to not be so lonely anymore. 

I have checked this book out from the library a couple of times to read to my kids.  My son, 4 1/2 yrs, really likes this book.  I asked him why he likes it, and he said, "because it's really pretty", I think there are other reasons that he just didn't voice so well. My 3 yr old daughter enjoys the book as well.

On a scale of 1-10, I will give this one a 10.  I enjoyed the easy to read story and I think it would be a good jumping off point for an imaginative conversation with a child.  

Review by Christy F. @ PrincessPinkk's Ponderings.