Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Picture Books About Colonial America {That Are Really Fun!}

Welcome to Three Book Thursday! This is the day on the blog when we re-cap the children’s books we’ve been into lately. It’s not always three books, but we call it Three Book Thursday in celebration of not stopping at two, but instead saying, “Yes, we will read just one more book.” 

We had a good time studying Colonial America in January, and found two adorable and educational picture books that are great for younger grades.

A Horse’s Tale: A Colonial Williamsburg Adventure – The rhymes, the soft but vibrant animal illustrations, and the simple plot of this book made my children hardly realize they were hearing a story that illustrated all the different jobs people held in Colonial Williamsburg. The story is about a lonely horse and how the townspeople rally to cheer him up. We studied the blacksmith, the tailor, and other professions in our text book, but this is the book that made it all come to life. I would read A Horse’s Tale for fun any day, but if you’re studying colonial times, it’s a must read! (And now I really want to visit Williamsburg!)

Homespun Sarah – This beautiful, poem-book describes the life of a rural colonial girl, and is a great counterbalance to the colonial books set in towns. Sarah is the oldest girl in a family of four, and her life of picking berries, cooking over the fire, shoo-ing away crows from the corn, and many other tasks looks both challenging and picturesque in the illustrations of this book. Author Verla Kay has written a wealth of great historical picture books! If you are ever at a loss for what to read for a certain time period, start with her books.

I chose both these books for their colonial setting, but we ended up loving them for their own sake. Pick them up if you get a chance, and don’t forget to tell me what you’ve been reading with little ones lately!

Children's Books, Three Book Thursday

Children’s Books We Love – January 2017

Hello, readers ! It has been too long! As so many people say, I didn’t mean to take such a long holiday break…but I did. The good news is I have lots of books to share about in the upcoming months and a new look to reveal on the blog soon (as in, the blog is getting a new look…not the blogger, unfortunately). Today, let’s talk about some fun books my kids are into.

Picture Books

Noodle

Um, how has this book escaped my attention my whole life? It’s written by none other than Munro Leaf, the author of Ferdinand, and illustrated by…drumroll please…Ludwig Bemelmans (yes, the creator of Madeline). Talk about a dynamic duo. It’s a warm and fun, somewhat offbeat, story about a Daschund named Noodle who is given the opportunity to change his shape into whatever he’d like. He looks long and hard for a new shape, but no one seems to understand what he wants a new shape for: to dig better holes. Obviously, this hasn’t made the classics list of children’s books despite its author/illustrator combo, so lower your expectations a bit from the greatness of The Story of Ferdinand, but it is still well worth reading and enjoying.

Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon

Molly Lou Melon is a tiny girl with a cheerful determination to have fun her grandmother’s way. When her grandmother says classic grandmotherly things like, “When we were your age, we didn’t have TV; we watched the clouds,” Molly Lou Melon does, too. She takes all her grandma’s recommendations to the furthest degree and brings a friend along on the old-fashioned fun way. The illustrations are really what make the book. A bit outlandish and Dr. Seuss-ly, they are the kind that strike you as simple until your five-year-old-son says, “Look at how this cloud looks like…” and then you realize this book is so perfect for children. We were introduced to it on Christmas by an aunt with great book taste, and promptly found its companion, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon at the library the next week. We highly recommend both!

Motor Dog

Product DetailsFive-year-old Isaac picked this library find out and I have since read about a million times. A little boy orders a robot dog off the internet (by himself! what in the world), and finds it too be way too fancy after a near death experience involving a helicopter back pack. Yes, it’s pretty obvious why a little boy would think this book is the best. It’s one of those books I include on my lists because of the vast love my children have for it, not due to any fondness I have for it. Sometimes, whatever books get your children glued to reading is whatever you’ll read (within reason).

Chapter Books

The Kingdom of Wrenly Series

Seven-year-old Ella is currently devouring this early reader series. She can make it through one book in a day or two. Featuring a prince named Lucas and his best friend Clare, and set in a medieval make-believe world, the books are full of adventures with dragons, giants, and other page-turning fun. I read through the first one, but can’t keep up with Ella’s pace! These books remind me of the TV series Sofia The First in their content and setting, but are definitely geared more evenly to both boys and girls. Thanks to www.maybematilda.com for the recommendation!

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg (Fairy Dust Trilogy Book, A) by [Levine, Gail Carson]Yes, we’re still reading lots of fairy books here. Our latest favorite is one of the earliest in the Disney Fairy expansion. I continue to be impressed with the quality of these fairy books, and shake off any book snobishness when it comes to Tink and her pals. Gail Carson Levine is the author of this particular book (famed for Ella Enchanted), but it’s written for a younger audience than her other books and features many adorable illustrations of little-girlish fairies.

That’s about it from us this week! What great books for kids have you found?

Thanks for joining us for 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, we’ll read 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

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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!

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