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Miss Ann's Staff Picks
Monday, November 11, 2013
As days in the outside world become shorter and colder, the inside world undergoes a transformation as well. It is amazing how the sounds, colors and textures in our world can change during the winter. Have you just finished a delicious box of chocolates? Pull out those crinkly papers and keep that shiny gold box. Just finished wrapping some presents? Don’t throw away the scraps. Keeping away the cold with some hot chocolate? Don’t throw away the marshmallows that fall on the floor. Encourage your preschoolers to explore these materials. Put out some scissors and glue and see what they can create. Learning how to manipulate different kinds of materials will help them enormously as they later tackle school projects and, right now, these scraps can provide hours of inside fun!
Are your children too young for scissors and glue? Would they simply put all those tiny scraps right into their mouths? No worries. For toddlers and babies, try out some ideas found in 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Toddlers and 50 Fantastic Things to Do With Babies.
For example, pull out some mittens/gloves in different sizes and with different textures. Help your child explore how the different mittens/gloves feel. Do they have a favorite? Clap out a rhyme with the gloves and without them. Listen together to how the sound changes. Not only are they learning an enormous amount by interacting with the different sounds and textures, but this game might make bundling up to go outside a little easier.
Find these ideas and more in Sally and Phill Featherstone’s series. Each book is filled with easy one page activities suitable for children at various developmental levels. You might be surprised by how many of these games you can play using everyday items you have at home. By the time you are ready to return these books to the library, you will have enough ideas to last you all the way to next winter!
Monday, October 21, 2013
Milk is good for me. I know this and I try to drink it once in awhile, but I can’t say that I really enjoy it. The only time I find milk indispensable is when I am eating breakfast cereal. Once, being out of milk, I tried water. In case you were wondering, water is not a good substitute for milk on cereal.
If anything similar has ever happened to you, then you will understand the dilemma at the beginning of this story. Mom is gone for the weekend and the children find themselves threatened with a milk-less breakfast. Fortunately, dad understands the problem immediately and heads off to buy some more milk. After a long, long time he returns. He has the milk, and he also has…a story.
This delightful adventure is a fun, quick read with something for everyone. There are aliens, pirates and ponies (one with a sparkly mane!). There is a time traveling dinosaur, a volcano and, most important of all...MILK!
Monday, September 30, 2013
A frog peacefully resting on a rock exhales, “AAHH!” His rest is interrupted by a boy with a jar who captures him gleefully exclaiming, “Ah Ha!” An excited puppy paws the jar, and the frog flies out yelling, “AAHH!” Creating expressive dialogue by rearranging only two letters, this story cleverly conveys the emotions of a frog and the creatures he encounters as he hops out of the frying pan and into the fire time and time again.
With friendly illustrations, a hilarious, captivating story and a dialogue that just begs to be read aloud, this is not a picture book to miss!
Monday, September 9, 2013
This interactive picture book is nothing but fun from beginning to end.
Presented with a bare tree, the reader is invited to tap the page. A quick page turn reveals that one green leaf has appeared. The reader is invited to tap the tree some more. You can imagine what happens. Next, the reader is asked to rub the tree to make it warm. In the warmth of spring, the tree blossoms.
This picture book encourages children to notice the world around them by allowing them to become active participants in the magic of the changing seasons. In a subtle way, it can also be used to discuss the effect we can have on the world around us. I know I have already learned a very important lesson. Don’t be surprised if in the dead of winter, you see me standing outside the library hopefully tapping on trees.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Home alone during a fierce thunderstorm; Emily hears a loud thud on the roof of her top-floor Manhattan apartment. Bravely investigating, she finds a badly wounded Pegasus and learns not only that Olympus is real, but that something terrible has been happening there. Enlisting the help of surly schoolmate Joel, Emily tries desperately to keep Pegasus a secret and still get him the help he needs to heal.
Unknown to both of them, Pegasus isn’t the only Olympian to have fallen to earth. Found unconscious and brought into a hospital, Paelen’s bizarre test scores soon land him in the hands of a mysterious, unpleasant government agency determined to stop at nothing to ascertain exactly who (or what) he is.
Meanwhile, Olympus has fallen to the vicious, seemingly indestructible Nirads. Now they are heading for earth determined to stamp out the remaining Olympians and the earth as well. It is up to Emily, Joel and Paelen to somehow pull together against incredible odds and save both earth and Olympus.
Monday, July 29, 2013
When Unicorn moves to town, Goat finds himself feeling less and less awesome by comparison. After all, it’s hard to compete with someone who has an amazing horn, knows how to fly and can turn things into gold. Frustrated, Goat turns a plunger into a pretend horn and prances around scoffing, “Look at me! I’m Unicorn! I think I’m so-o-o cool!” Flopping down to enjoy a slice of goat cheese pizza, Goat is shocked when, drawn by the amazing smell, Unicorn dances over. Suddenly, the tables are turned as Goat realizes Unicorn is just as frustrated. How can Unicorn compete with creamy delicious goat cheese pizza, fantastic cloven hooves and two curvy horns? Before long an understanding is reached and an unstoppable duo is born.
A delightful look at friendship from both sides of the fence and a gentle reminder that everyone has something to celebrate, this hilarious picture book is both great fun and could also serve as an introduction to discussions on friendship and differences.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Part of the BabyLit® series, these adorable board books are fun for Austen fans of all ages.
Beginning with 1 English village, continuing with 5 sisters and ending with 10,000 lbs a year, this counting primer highlights some of the important numbers in Pride and Prejudice. Filled with allusions and tongue in cheek humor, this is a board book Austen lovers won’t mind reading to their little ones again and again.
Touching upon the difference between Eleanor and Marianne at the heart of Sense and Sensibility, this book of opposites provides examples such as “Big (Norland Park)” vs. “Little (Barton College),” “Happy (Willoughby)” vs. “Sad (Colonel Brandon)” and “Noisy (Marianne playing the piano)” vs. “Quiet (the piano without Marianne).” You can expand your discussion of opposites and show your child the differences between your well worn copy of Sense and Sensibility and this adorable board book. Before long, you and your little one will be debating the relative merits of Edward, Willoughby and Colonel Brandon!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Father’s Day may be over, but dads are still awesome. Check out these fun picture books about (and for) fathers.
My Dad Thinks He’s Funny by Katrina Germein
Have you ever had a special day with dad? A wonderful time that just the two of you shared? In this story, every Saturday Mimi and her father have amazing adventures. They make special silly pancakes, ride bikes and play checkers. But then Mimi’s father has to start working on Saturdays and suddenly Dadurday becomes BADurday! What will Mimi do to make it Dadurday again?
In this book, a young girl learns to ride a bicycle under the watchful eye of her father. She learns about training wheels, about falling down and getting up and, finally, about the thrill of success.
The dad in this book is really, “really good at playing horsey.” He is so good, in fact, that horse rustlers decide they want to steal him. It is up to two enterprising youngsters to track down their horsey, help him elude the thieves and still be home in time for sunset….also known as dinner.
This is the story of a little lion cub named Kito who wants to be just like his father when he grows up. When his papa roars, the savannah is silent, but when Kito roars, the hyena still chuckles. When papa waves his tail, the flies are swept away, but when Kito waves his tail the flies buzz closer and closer. Kito isn’t worried, though, because he knows that, “Someday [he] will be King, just like [his] papa.”
The perfect read for busy new dads, this book shows how babies are the perfect weights and playtime for baby can become workout time for daddy.
This board book shows pictures of dads and their little ones. Sweet enough to warm the heart, sturdy enough to survive little hands, this is a perfect book for baby’s and father’s to read together.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Just in time for summer, Cheesie Mack and his best friend Georgie are back. If you haven’t read Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything, you should, but it doesn’t have to stop you from reading this book because Cheesie fills you in on all the important details right at the beginning.
Cheesie’s real name is Ronald and he is eleven years old. He lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts with one older sister. Her name is June, but Cheesie prefers to call her Goon.
In this book, Cheesie and Georgie are heading off to summer camp. This will be their best summer EVER because this year they will be the oldest of the Little Guy campers. That means that they get to build the campfires and choose the teams.
Unfortunately, due to circumstances discussed in Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything, Georgie registered late for camp. When they arrive they find that they have been put in with the Big Guys. Now, instead of being the biggest of the Little Guys, they are the littlest of the Big Guys. As if that isn’t bad enough, Goon’s boyfriend Kevin is in the cabin with them and he is determined to make Cheesie’s life as miserable as possible. Finally, fed up with Kevin’s tricks, Cheesie challenges him to a cool duel. Each day, Cheesie and Kevin try to outdo each other in coolness. Each night, the boys in their cabin vote on who is the coolest. After a week, the loser will have to bow to the winner in front of the whole camp. Doesn't that sound embarrasing? How can Cheesie possibly convince a whole cabin of Big Guy’s that he is cooler than Kevin?
Filled with adventure, mischief and even a scary story, this book is the perfect way to begin summer break. Keep an eye out for a new Cheesie adventure, Cheesie Mack is Running Like Crazy, coming out soon as well.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Skye lives in Virginia with her mother and father. She loves to play soccer and has finally made the All-Star team for the coming summer. Hiroshi lives in Japan with his mother, his father and his grandfather. His grandfather makes kites and his family has a tradition of participating in rokkaku kite battles. This year Hiroshi is finally old enough to enter on his own and his first kite battle is only a month away. Although they have never met, Skye and Hiroshi are cousins and, although they don’t know it, their Grandfather is very sick.
Suddenly, Hiroshi finds himself leaving Japan and moving with his family to the United States seeking treatment for Grandfather. He brings his kite with him, but then Grandfather insists they teach his cousin Skye how to fly it as well. Meanwhile, Skye’s parents tell her she must spend the summer going to Japanese school instead of playing soccer. As if that isn’t enough, suddenly the kids at school are teasing her and Hiroshi. Now she has to decide if she’s going to stand up for her cousin or side with her friends to avoid being teased herself.
Will Skye and Hiroshi be able to get to know each other and put aside their differences in time to enjoy Grandfather’s company? Will Skye find a way to learn Japanese and still play soccer? Will Hiroshi be able to teach Skye enough about kite flying so that she can be his assistant in the rokkaku kite battle at the National Cherry Blossom Festival? As Skye and Hiroshi learn to navigate the changes in their world, they learn that sometimes the same rules that apply to kite flying can be applied to real life.
A Counting Book (2013)
Monday, April 15, 2013
Emphasizing the human connection, this beautifully illustrated picture book takes readers through a counting journey to meet some of the world’s most amazing primates. With minimal text and almost exclusively white backgrounds, each animal is shown from the shoulders up as if posing for a portrait.
From happy to sad and mischievous to dignified, each animal’s expression reveals a little bit of its personality. A final page shows the diversity of the human family, and the observant reader will soon be flipping back and forth through the pages trying to match the humans’ expressions with those of the primates’.
The boldness of the illustrations and the simplicity of the text make this suitable for anyone learning to count, while the science connection and the detail of each portrait make this a book older readers will also enjoy.
Monday, March 25, 2013
As the Crow Flies, invites children into the fascinating and little known world of a remarkably intelligent bird. While not particularly popular, crows have shown an incredible ability to adapt and survive in even the most urban environments. Whether “finag[ling] a big piece of the pigeons’ bagel,” playing with the “garbage that you leave behind” or disappearing into the blackness of night, Keenan and Duggan reveal crows to be both observant and creative.
This is an excellent story for encouraging children to notice and learn about the world around them. It provides just enough information to spark the imagination and stir up questions. After reading it, I was inspired to do a little crow research myself and was quite surprised by what I found. I hope that you are too.
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