Children's Books, Reviews

Picture Book Round Up, October 2016

It’s picture book review day! I’ve caught up on reviewing the nonfiction I’ve read lately and the books I hope to read this season. Now, it’s time to talk about the picture books my children have loved lately! Reading books together is one of our favorites things to do. Our library card is almost always maxed out on items checked out. Isn’t that the way it should be? =) Here are our recent discoveries and current favorites.

Violet’s Picks (Age 2)

Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Teckentrup

An interactive book about an elephant with too many bath buddies, this one is silly and fun, especially right before bath time. Violet loves the part when the narrator tells the reader to say, “Get out, crocodile!” She uses her deepest voice. This book also might aid a little bit in teaching children the idea of right and left. Just a tiny bit, though. We have several of Britta Teckentrup’s books in our library basket this week, thanks to a good recommendation from a friend. Tree is my favorite so far.

Corduroy

231850I don’t really have to say much about this one do I? It’s well-loved. Violet wants to read it pretty much every day at nap time.

Curious George Goes to an Ice Cream Shop

291367The beach house we stayed in during the last week of September had several Curious George books that Violet loved, but this one was her favorite. We are now picking one out each time we go to the library. It’s funny how each of my children seem to really latch on different book characters at this age. Her siblings never loved Curious George, but Violet seems to relate to his mischief and mayhem. I just hope the books help her live that out vicariously instead of practically. Ha.

Isaac’s Picks (Age 5)

Captain Pajamas, Defender of the Universe, by Bruce Whatley and Rosie Smith

I wouldn’t have picked this one, but what boy can resist it on display at the library? Turns out, it is pretty fun to read aloud, though I leave out a few words based on family preference (nothing terrible, just a couple of “dumbs” that I think we can do without).  Captain Pajamas/Brian is a little boy who longs to do big things and keep people safe. The hidden message I gathered from all the silliness is that reminder for grown ups: little boys need to be encouraged to do big things and take on challenges. But mostly, it’s a funny book with a comic feel that little boys who want to be big boys will enjoy.

The Caboose Who Got Loose

Isaac loves the drawings of Bill Peet. We’re just getting into his children’s books because they are a on the long side for little people. This one reminds me of Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House. I suspect it will make both you and your train-loving children very happy.

 

 

 

Dinotrux, Dinotrux Dig the Beach, and Revenge of the Dinotrux, by Chris Gall

The Dinotrux series was Isaac’s library discovery last month, and I have never seen him more excited about finding his own books. He plopped right down in the aisle and looked through all of them, and then you better believe my husband and I had to read the three he brought home over and over again in the following two weeks. (Also, many thanks to the aunts and uncles took some turns during our big family beach trip). I’d still vote the Jim and Kate McMullan truck books way over these, but if you’re looking for more truck books for your children, these are probably going to be a hit. Just please don’t send me nasty messages about how many times you have to say things like “grrr” and “boink.” That’s just life with truck books/boys. The bonus for this book? There are Dinotrux toys to go with the books. You may or may not want to keep that detail to yourself….

Ella’s Pick (Age 7)

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover

A new Fancy Nancy release always makes Ella’s day. She has been a fan for several years now. This newish (2015) book is about Nancy and her youngest sister sleeping over at their neighbor’s house while their parents go on an overnight trip. Nancy has to use her best big sister skills to help ease little JoJo’s fears about being without her parents. Nancy does a great job, and also discovers that she gains comfort from having a little sister close by. It’s a cute sibling story. On the Fancy Nancy subject, Ella is thrilled to find that Nancy is in her own set of chapter books now. The Nancy Clancy series is perfect for developing readers who have grown up with Fancy Nancy. Ella is on book 3 and I’m loving how she is gaining confidence in reading her own chapter books.

This is the only picture book I can remember Ella picking out herself lately, because she’s so into chapter books now! I’m glad she loves to read and is progressing rapidly, but I could just weep over how grown up she is becoming. Moms are so weird like that.  She still loves to read picture books with the rest of us, though, so I’m treasuring these days while they last.

That sums up our favorite picture books for now. Happy reading!

 

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Summer Reading – Favorite Books for Beginning Readers

girlreadingjwsmithWelcome to Three Book Thursday! This blog feature is all about our favorite children’s books of the week, and celebrating those moments when we can say, ‘Yes, just one more book.’ See all the posts in the category here. And check out our other series about children’s book’s, Friday Favorites, here

It’s mid-June and we have plunged into summer reading at our local library. Ah, the smell of books and air conditioning mixed together…let’s pause for a moment of summer reading nostalgia. Okay, moving on. Our summer reading program is entirely online this year, which I call a major bummer. I printed out my own lists for my kids to fill out by hand from this website.  They fill out their paper and I transfer it to the online junk. (Are you sensing some dissatisfaction with this system? Because I’m laying it on pretty thick). Anyway, my oldest has moved on from getting prizes for listening to books and now has to read the books to herself. This has started us on a search for some great easy readers. Because some of them? They are not so great. Here are some gems we’ve found so far.

Our new favorite this Summer is the Nate the Great series. My husband told me Nate the GreatI should get Nate the Great for my seven-year-old to read, and I said, “Who is Nate the Great?” Horrified look from my husband. And it was totally justified. How can I have not read these books before? I got the first one in the series that day, and he read the opening to Ella the next morning to get her hooked. We all laughed out loud. She took the book after breakfast and went straight to her favorite reading chair. Her younger brother followed her and they finished the book in fifteen minutes, laughing all the way. We’ve now read three Nate the Greats and I just checked a book about Olivia Sharp, Nate the Great’s cousin.

My son loves for my daughter to read the Elephant and Piggy books to him by Mo Willems. They are all pretty funny, but the We Are in a Book is hilarious. Willems’s illustrations of each character’s expressions really make the book great. In this case, simple really is wonderful.  There are only a few words on each page, so I would highly recommend these for easily discouraged readers.

Penny and Her MarblePenny and Her Marble and Penny and Her Doll are lovely easy readers. It’s amazing how Kevin Henkes can present situations in which his characters are experiencing some new emotion without overwhelming young readers. These books deal with stealing, guilt, love, waiting for inspiration, and probably some other issues I’m forgetting. The colors and illustrations are so soothing, too, which is nice for a change of pace sometimes. I like books that soothe my eyes.

Those are just a few of the easy reader favorites we’re enjoying this summer. If you’re looking for more in this category, check out these posts.

Friday Favorites, Frog and Toad Edition

The Good Knight Series (series includes some easy readers)

 

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Picture Books and Summer Desserts

Welcome to Three Book Thursday, a series all about the joy of sharing books with girlreadingjwsmithchildren. We’re kicking off our summer today and that means we’re all signed up for summer reading at our local library! So this week, I’m featuring picture books that highlight learning and include recipes for a summer dessert, because there’s no better way to kick off summer reading excitement than with a hands on opportunity!  (And as a homeschooled kid turned homeschooling mom, I can tell you that finding a good book with a recipe to go with is finding solid gold).

14823980A Fine Dessert is a fun history lesson about the centuries old dessert, Blackberry Fool. Starting with a mother and daughter in England in the 1700s, we see how the process of cooking changes a little bit but the basic concept of delicious food bringing families together stays the same. This book will make your kids appreciate grocery stores and electric mixers! We had opportunities to talk about all sorts of concepts, from colors of dishes to slavery in the 1800s to different kinds of grocery stores.  And if you make the very simple recipe at the end, you’ll also give your children an opportunity to get their hands really dirty and be proud of a new accomplishment. Our children gobbled up the Blackberry Fool. As a side note, no one really knows why it’s called “fool.” Of course, the kids sure do love an excuse to use an off limits word in a different context. (insert eye roll + amused smile).  Even if you don’t get to make the recipe, the illustrations are delicious in themselves and the book as a whole is one of our new favorites.

How to Make a Cherry Pie and See the U.S.A. has our mouths watering and our wanderlust screaming at us to take a road trip! (oh, maybe that’s just my wanderlust…. 3003976moving on). It’s such a great book to start your summer reading with. We loved following along with a map as the children in it start in New York City, travel down the Mississippi on a river boat, and hit up a few lesser talked of states for the necessary supplies to create a delicious cherry pie. I would even suggest starting with this book instead of its predecessor, How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. We’re finding that it’s easier for young children to understand the geography of their own country than the starting off with the whole, unfamiliar world. Children are as curious as can be about geography, though, so whichever book you start with, I can almost guarantee the wonder of a map will draw them in and the promise of some pie making fun will seal the memory as one of the best geography lessons ever.

Thunder Cake is THE book to read in the late afternoon on a stormy summer’s day.  Patricia Polacco makes you feel like you’re right in the midst of the glowering clouds Thunder Cakeand yellow light of an approaching storm on the prairie. The narrative of the grandmother and her young granddaughter hurrying to beat the storm gives readers an exciting story to follow even as they’re learning how much work it was to cook before electricity was in our homes. The recipe at the end is a bit more complicated than the Blackberry Fool and Cherry Pie recipes, so we have yet to try it. Also, we’re all a bit wary of a cake recipe that includes tomatoes….but I’m planning to have an update on its outcome by the middle of the summer for you! Even if you never make the recipe, it’s a wonderful book.

 

 

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Three Book Thursday, Take Me to Sea Edition

girlreadingjwsmithWelcome to Three Book Thursday! This blog feature is all about our favorite children’s books of the week, and celebrating those moments when we can say, ‘Yes, just one more book.’ See all the posts in the category here. And check out our other series about children’s book’s, Friday Favorites, here

I am so excited about today’s books. I am completely enamored by them. Without further ado, here are the children’s books we are loving right now.

682747Where has The Maggie B. book been all my life? Published in 1975, it is a beautiful classic about a little girl named Margaret Barnstable who makes a whimsical wish to sail on a boat for a day. The wish comes true and the result is the coziest book ever.  The illustrations are soul drenching. Am I gushing too much? I love this book because Maggie’s day on The Maggie B. is exactly the kind of imaginary play I loved when I was a little girl, right down to the baby on board. Seriously, this is my favorite book I’ve come across in years. I have just discovered author/illustrator Irene Haas and I can totally see myself cleaning the library shelf of all her books the next time I’m there. When it comes to The Maggie B., though, forget the library. I don’t buy books very often, but I will be buying this one.

It Was a Dark and Stormy NightFollowing the sea theme, we also discovered It Was A Dark and Stormy Night. This one’s about a band of brigands and a boy they capture whose job is to tell them a satisfactory story. Lighthearted enough for young children, we all enjoyed the adventures the boy makes up for the brigands in the dark cave they are camping out in. My only complaint with this book is that it really is a bit wordy. It’s much too long to be a bedtime story, but for the sick days at home we’ve been having lately, it’s perfect. Also, the book is set in Italy so it’s a lot of fun to say all the names. My 4-year-old boy has sat around looking at the pictures quite a bit lately, too.

The Children of Noisy VillageOur chapter book of the month doesn’t have to do with the sea, but it is about Sweden, which is across an ocean from us…it’s a stretch, but it’s an awesome book. We’ve been reading The Children of Noisy Village, by Astrid Lindgren (famous for writing Pippi Longstocking). Called The Little House on the Prairie of Sweden, it is a short memoir-style book, and gives glimpses of what life was like for a little farm girl named Lisa in Sweden at the turn of the 20th century. She and her brothers and neighbors are brimming with personality but sweet to the core–a hard balance to find in children’s books. Their adventures make me long to own an old farmhouse and make ginger bread cookies. What’s great about this book is there is at least one illustration in every chapter, and the chapters are only four or five pages long. It’s a great read-aloud for 4-7 year olds. There is a sequel but my library doesn’t have it, so it looks like I might be buying two books this week.

Also, an honorable mention to the board book of the week, Spot Goes to the Park. Violet loves it to pieces.

I’m currently trying to settle on our next chapter book read-aloud. Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Children’s Books To Soothe Your Eyes: Three Book Thursday

Welcome to another edition of Three Book Thursday! To see more posts of our favorite children’s books of the week, go here or here

Do you ever go into the kids section of a bookstore or library and feel like your eyes are being assaulted? Too many garish colors, too many puffy letters, and why so many drawings of children with huge heads?  Yes, I’ll let my children pick out all so

David Goes To School
Ouch.

rts of books to bring home from the library, but not without an occasional wince on my part. Nowadays when we go into the library, while the kids gather a few books and play with some puzzles, I’m scouring the shelves for books to read to my them that won’t make me to go to a secret place in my mind (Moo Ba La La La does this to me every time). I want the books that will sooth our eyes and bring us into beautiful places.

IMG_5202A few weeks ago, we stumbled on a few that were perfect. The first was My Red Balloon by Kazuaki Yamada. I loved the bright yet mellow colors and the soft sketches. Our littlest one enjoyed following the balloon on each page, and our older ones enjoyed the story in its own right. Plus, if you do all the voices for each animal, no kid can resist this book.

Little Boat

The second was The Little Boat by Thomas Doherty. My 4-year old boy wanted to read it over and over, and I actually didn’t mind.  The illustrations are epic and painted from different perspectives. We felt drawn right onto the ocean as we turned the pages. And all the blues and whites in this book are wonderfully soothing on a harried day.

 

 

IMG_5203
Isaac couldn’t get enough of this book.

For our book board needs, I found the delightful Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff. Baby Bear is introduced to all the different colors by his mama as he goes through his day in the Baby Bear Sees Bluewoods. The colors are rich and the words are beautiful, too. Very young babies might not tolerate all the text, but my eighteen-month-old is enjoying it more and more. I’m finding that once a child gets used to a book, they know what to expect from the words on each page and aren’t so antsy. If you can get through a book a few times reading all the words, it’s quite likely your little ones won’t want to turn the pages as rapidly as they did at first. That’s my theory, anyway. =)

There are so many beautiful children’s books, it would take all day to write about them. Visit my Gorgeous Books Pinterest board to find some more!

What are some children’s books with illustrations that make you want to read them again and again?

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

All The Deep Legends: Three Book Thursday, Legends Edition

girlreadingjwsmithWelcome to Three Book Thursday. This blog feature is all about our favorite children’s books of the week, and celebrating those moments when we can say, ‘Yes, just one more book.’ See all the posts in the category here. And check out our other series about children’s book’s, Friday Favorites, here

I’m not entirely sure how this came about, but on our last trip to the library my kids picked some pretty serious books. Think Arthurian legend and Greek mythology picture books. I was kind of squeamish about them – how would they handle some of the themes? –  but then I remembered how important it is to inspire children with hero stories and acquaint them with the larger picture of humanity. I definitely want to inspire my children to greatness while at the same time making them aware of their smallness in the grand scheme of things. So! We read these books they picked out.

PersephonePersephone, by Sally Pomme Clayton – The tragic princess tale is a dark one, with Hades taking the daughter of Demeter, Earth Goddess, to his kingdom in the Underworld, but this particular version doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail about the Underworld. Instead it focuses on the legend of the seasons that came from this story. Greek mythology is not something I’m extremely familiar with, but it’s pretty fascinating and has infiltrated so many cultures. I’d love for my children to be familiar with it to some extent, and this is a start.

Lancelot (Tales of King Arthur)Lancelot – What a long story! But man does Isaac (4) love stories about knighthood. He’ll sit there the whole time, staring at the pictures and taking in the heroism of this Aurthurian legend. Hudson Talbott has written many picture books about these legends and I’m hoping to get lots more from the library. I’m also toying with the idea of showing The Sword and the Stone to my kids, but I can’t remember much about it. Maybe I’ll have to preview it (right, who has time for that?).

Lady LollipopThose are the major picture books we’re reading this week. In the chapter book genre, we’ve been reading Lady Lollipop, which is such a perfect preschool chapter book, although I have to admit that I’m enjoying it as well. Ella has been reading the Frozen chapter book series. I read the first one with her, and they’re better than I was expecting, similar to the Disney fairy books we love around here.  Winter is absolutely the best time for reading, and we are taking full advantage of it.

 

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving! {Three Book Thursday on Tuesday}

girlreadingjwsmithThree Book Thursday is on Tuesday this Thanksgiving week. This blog feature is all about our favorite children’s books of the week, and celebrating those moments when we can say, ‘Yes, just one more book.’ See all the posts in the category here. And check out the now discontinued series about children’s book’s, Friday Favorites, here

This morning we woke up to frost on the cars and a deep blue sky that makes the few leaves holding onto the trees stand out all the brighter. It seems official now that the holidays are upon us.

I got a brief reprieve from all that last weekend, however, when a hope to visit my sister in L.A. suddenly became a reality. I’m a mom of three, not a woman who jumps on a plane on a whim very often/EVER. But my very loving husband made it all possible and I spent four days in Los Angeles. The first full day was amazing–sere mountains and hot sunshine and Malibu beaches. The second day was wonderful, too, with a hike to Griffin Observatory up a secret staircase in the morning. The afternoon became overcast and chilly, but with a huge bookstore in the heart of your city, gloomy afternoons are not  a problem! The Lost Bookstore yielded some jewels I have been longing for that, yes, I put in my carry on and lugged all the way home with me.  Here’s what I got:

Baby Dear is my favorite find of the week. This is how bookstore shopping goes for me:

~Step One: See vintage book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin.

~Step Two: Buy the book. Baby Dear (Little Golden Book)

I’m like Mel Gibson’s character in Conspiracy Theory, impulsively buying Eloise Wilkin books in every bookstore I go to (which is a big improvement on  Catcher in The Rye, I have to say). So far I haven’t experienced a sudden, undeniable urge to find a bookstore immediately at random moments in my day and buy one of her books, but I have some fears. Baby Dear is a book any little girl with a younger sibling will love to get as a Big Sister gift. My littlest one, 16-month-old Violet, simply loves it because it has babies in it and she loves babies. Really, you don’t need a reason to buy a book illustrated by Eloise Wilkin. Buy it. You will not be disappointed. If I would just remember when I’m having a bad day to go bury my face in The Boy With A DrumMy Goodnight BookWe Help Daddy, etc., there is not a chance the day wouldn’t get at least a little bit better.

Okay. Moving on.

Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever is an elusive book that somehow ends up on all Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever!kinds of highly respected reading lists but never in my local library or book sales. For a few years now, I’ve wanted to get my hands on it, but it was just too expensive to buy. I was so excited to find a vintage copy for just $5 in L.A.! And I will now proceed to read myself hoarse for the remainder of my mothering life. Richard Scarry is awesome…and wordy. These big, thick treasuries are so great for rest time, though. If you’re lucky, one such book can offer maybe half an hour of quiet entertainment.

 

Winter HolidayMike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Curious George rounded out my picture book finds. I was also excited to find one of the books in Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons seriesWinter Holiday introduces some neighbors visiting a nearby farm who become friends with the children from the original Swallows and Amazons. These books are great for adventurous kids, especially boys. I didn’t discover them until my husband bought the book after we got married, and I still enjoy this series as an adult. Caution: these books will make you want to take up sailing. And packing giant picnics to eat on deserted islands. There’s your fair warning.

Sadly, I didn’t stumble upon any jewels in the grown up books. Luckily, I’m in the middle of the long overlooked Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. It’s roughly 1168 pages, so that should see me through at least the end of the week/year.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Related Posts:

Little Books, Lasting Memories

Pilgrims and Indians

My Favorite Children’s Books

Jam and Bread and Peanut Butter: Friday Favorites

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books, Parenting, Three Book Thursday

Cookies and Books: Nurturing Yourself and Your Children At The Same Time

girlreadingjwsmithAfternoons are hard. Everyone is tired, and trying their best to transition from morning to evening, from resting to ramping up their energy again, or in my case, from folding clothes quietly to cooking dinner with three kids underfoot. I’ll be honest: some (many) days when the kids get up from their afternoon quiet time, they get to watch TV. I try to keep it to every other day, but it’s kind of a seasonal thing. In the summer it’s less, in the winter, it’s more. But some days, the attitudes are especially shoddy, making me more aware of my children’s need for time with me. And I feel that tug: how do I give these children anything when at this point in the day, I’m running on empty?

The answer? Cookies and books.

One of my favorite book mom mentors, Sally Clarkson, often says it’s important to bring your children into the activities that you enjoy and that feed your soul. I love that concept – we as moms can be nurtured and nurturing at the same time.  Sometimes I remember that, and sometimes I have the wisdom and energy to do things a little differently in the transition hours, more commonly (and accurately) called “the witching hours.” I lay out some real plates and glasses on the table, get some cookies from the freezer and stick them in the microwave (or graham crackers if the baking hasn’t happened in a while!), and pour milk in fancy glasses. Then I go to the kids’ room a few minutes before their quiet time timer dings, and whisper, “Come to the kitchen!” Sometimes we have a IMG_4547little bit of hot herbal tea with honey instead of milk and cookies. Sometimes we’re finishing up some lemonade or cake from a family birthday party. Whatever the food is, along with it is always a book. This time is for a book I choose that I know will feed their minds. Their small hands are busy with their cookies, but their minds are taking it all in. When we come together at the table, all of the bickering, busyness, and mess of the day is suspended for a few minutes. I love these times at the table. They bring the things I like doing – reading books, eating cookies, and spending happy time with my children – all together. We all get what we need, and it’s always worth the few extra dishes or the lost productivity because the children feel loved and cared for and able to cope with the rest of the day, and so do I. I wish I did this cookies and books time every day! That’s not a reality right now. But I cherish the times when we’re able to set everything else aside and pick up a book, a cup, a story, an idea, a love of learning, and a love for each other.

Not everyone likes books and cookies (okay, everyone probably likes cookies). Maybe you love to run. Maybe you like scrapbooking, cooking, walking, or maybe what you love above all else is window shopping. My kids and I sometimes make up silly stories together. Whatever it is you like to do, maybe try doing it with your children? It gets really hard to do the things you love as your children take more of your time, but it helps you all to speak the same language later in life if you share what you love now. Your favorite activity won’t be the same when you bring your children into it with you, but it will be better than nothing! Choose your Cookies and Books – whatever you like to do together- and make it happen once in a while! You’ll be glad you did.

Here are the books I’ve chosen for our Cookies and Books Time this week:

Rachel and Obadiah – We loved Obadiah the Bold, so we had to track down other books by Brinton Turkle about Obadiah. However, this one was more about Rachel. Where Obadiah was great for a little brother, Rachel and Obadiah is great for a little sister who feels the need for some appreciation. The illustrations are so lovely, and it’s fun to read the Quaker wording. Isaac was not as big a fan of it because the girl is the winner in the end, but Ella liked it a lot.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald PartridgeWilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – Mem Fox is an famous children’s author with whom I am sadly unfamiliar. I enjoyed my first experience of her books this week! This book made me want to cry a little, because my kids have a great, great aunt who is exactly the age of the woman in the book. Wilfrid, the little boy, thoughtfully gathers all the things he thinks will help her find her memories again, and the result is very touching. That was my take on it, anyway! When I got done reading it to Isaac and Ella, Ella’s response was, “Well. That was a weird book.” So maybe don’t expect your kids to love it. But it’s a sweet book that could aid in discussion about elderly family members whose memories aren’t what they used to be. The illustrations by Julie Vivas keep things lighthearted and fun.

What books are you reading with kiddos this week?

Children's Books, Friday Favorites - Children's Books, Reading, Reviews, Three Book Thursday

Three Book Thursday: Frontiersman Edition

Welcome to Three Book Thursday! Three Book Thursday is a feature that’s all about sharing the joy of books with children. To read more posts like this one, go here!

My children and I are in the middle of the best unit study for young kids ever. We’re studying frontiersmen (and frontierswomen? frontierspeople?). Seriously, what kids do not want to pretend they’re churning butter in the mud pit under the swing set? Or tying meat onto their horse after hunting (but the horse is actually a mop and the meat is actually your sister’s pink cupcake purse…)? It has been an amusing for me to watch them play after doing this study, at any rate!

(Side note on our history theory: A lot of people say “It’s important to study history chronologically,” in a more classical method like Susan Wise Bauer‘s books follow. Another group says “read what your kids are interested in” or “start with U.S. history because it has the best literature for young children to go with it!” Rea Berg is a big proponent for this theory. Since I’m crazy about reading, I’m a big fan of the route with lots of stories and literature. And we also pick up The Story of the World and read that, too. In other words, we like it all! But mostly we stick with a literature based approach to history, so sometimes our just-for-fun books will also be our school books, but please know that these books stand alone as great books to read with your kids and it’s important to pick the educational method that fits you and your children best.)

Without further ado, here are our favorite books this week!

Daniel Boone's Great EscapeDaniel Boone’s Great Escape by Michael P. Spradlin is currently Isaac’s very favorite book. It’s just a snippet of what Daniel Boone did in his life, but it works well for young children because it’s an exciting adventure through and through. In the later part of Daniel Boone’s life, after he’s founded Boonsborough and even become a grandfather, he was captured by Shawnee warriors. His escape is pretty amazing! This book definitely falls in the Heroes For Boys category that I’m always seeking out on our library trips.

We’ve also enjoyed Who Was Here: Discovering Wild Animal Tracks as we talk about tracking animals.  One page has a clue about the animal and a picture of its print, and the next page has the answer. It’s a good combination of learning about 18769496the animals’ tracks, their habitats, and some interesting facts about them. We read Tracks in the Snow as another track-themed book, but it was definitely more for the 2-3-year-old age group than for a 4-year-old or 6-year-old. It was very cute and Violet loved it, though the concept of snow was totally lost on her.

I’m thankful we get to investigate tracks for fun instead of for food, but I also think it’s good for our modern-day children to know how much hard work frontiersmen went through. So of course, I chose Little House in the Big Woods as our read aloud for this month. Last time we read it, Ella was only four. She doesn’t remember much of it, and it’s all new to Isaac this time around. Does homeschooling mean I get to read the Little House books to my children every two years? Sold! =) I feel like I need to reread these books for my own perspective on how much easier my life is than Caroline Wilder’s was. And if you want to put Christmas gifts into perspective for your kids, read them just the Christmas chapters from Little House in the Big Woods or Little House on the Prairie.  Wow. Besides the perspective, these are simply some of the best books ever. And the great part is I hardly remember On The Shores of Silver Lake! Can’t wait ’til we get to that one.

So that’s what’s in our reading basket this week. What have you and your kids been reading?

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Fall And Poems: Three Book Thursday, The Poem Edition

Welcome to Three Book Thursday! Three Book Thursday is a feature that’s all about sharing the joy of books with children. To read more posts like this one, go here!

Autumn is so lovely.  I always find myself saying this with surprise, because I am decidedly not an “I love all things fall!” type of person. I despise pumpkin spice lattes. I could not care less for sweaters and boots. Layering clothes for myself and three little one is just frustrating, and coats make me straight up angry. I am a throw on a tank top and shorts and call it done type of girl. But when Fall actually comes, I taste its delights. An October sky is the deepest blue imaginable. A chill in the air makes eyes twinkle with the sheer delight of change and the whisper of holidays ahead. The warm blankets and the early darkness draw us into a more restful time.

And then there is the poetry. Fall always calls me to read poetry. (It also screams “Fantasy” at me, but that’s another post). This year, I followed the lead of so many wise Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poemsmothers and educators, and sought out some poetry to share with my children. The book I’m using to do this right now is Wings from the Wind: An Anthology of Poems Selected and Illustrated by Tasha Tudor.  I have always loved Tasha Tudor’s illustrations. We just read Pumpkin Moonshine for school this week, too. I usually find that her illustrations are what I love about her books the most. The actual text isn’t usually as enthralling or entertaining as I hope it will be.  This anthology is the perfect marriage! She includes poems from Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickinson, and Rachel Field, among many others, with illustrations on every page to make the poems come alive to little ones. For whatever reason, I get a deep level of comfort from reading this book, by myself or with my littles.

I haven’t had a chance to dive further into poetry books yet this week, but I plan to in the coming months of Fall. What are your favorite children’s poetry books, or grown up poetry that the whole family can enjoy? I’d love to hear from you!