Tag Archive for picture books

Catching Up…

Well, I am obviously behind on my posts. We have been keeping up with our ‘studies’ of the world by reading picture books, making ethnic food, and making art projects. I will try to bring out the highlights here.

We finished North America a while back. We made a sequoia tree out of cardboard :

Here she is attaching green paper to the branches to serve as leaves. This turned out pretty neat!

The ‘ethnic food’ we chose to make for North America included homemade lemonade and Canadian pancakes.  I’m not entirely sure what made the pancakes Canadian, as they were just like the pancakes we make here in the states, but they were delicious nonetheless.

Here are some books we read!

Desert Song by Tony Johnston to read about animals in the Southwest:

The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London to read about making maple syrup (this story is set in a French Canadian family):

The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews is a story about how Inuits in Canada chop holes in the sea ice and walk underneath it at low tide to harvest mussels. I was fascinated by this book:

We read many more about life in various areas of the North American continent. I think picture books are probably my favorite way to tap into another culture for a small child.

We finished reading about monarch caterpillars and watched a documentary from the library called The Butterfly King. It’s about a college student who collects monarch butterfly eggs from milkweed to raise them. It highlighted how many caterpillars are killed by pesticides and herbicides, and then provided close up video of them growing up.  Here’s a picture of Curly looking for more caterpillars.

Speaking of caterpillars, my husband found an incredible looking caterpillar in our garage and we brought it in. After consulting the internet and an entomologist friend, we concluded that it was a species of Sphinx moth caterpillar. It is currently in a pupa in our fridge, waiting for spring. Here is a not very good picture of it:

I didn’t know if it was poisonous or not at first, so I didn’t want to let it out of the bug case we had it in. It was the largest caterpillar I had ever seen. When it turns into a moth in the spring it should be enormous!

Coming back to North America activities, Curly did this coloring page:

She also did a lot of art not related to North America. Here is one painting in progress.

We continued Kinderbach, which is going well, and did lots and lots of coloring, pasting, and counting. Our K4 year is going well!

I noticed that the look of our backyard had changed dramatically since my last post. Here are a couple of pictures.

Our yard in autumn.

Our yard in autumn. My favorite time of the year!

Our yard right now. A frosty,  beautiful morning!

Our yard right now. A frosty, beautiful morning!

Next up is a post about our studies of South America!

Lately We’ve Been Reading…

I realize I haven’t posted since January…epic fail on my part! However, I have the time and inclination today to update you all on some of our favorite picture books from the past months. This is just a few of them – we have read dozens and dozens from the library. It really is the main part of my preschool program – read, read, read!


Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert is my new favorite retelling of the classic Aesop fable. The illustrations are what really make me love this book!

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea is a fun nonfiction title. The rhyming text compares nonliving and living things to determine which ones will grow. A fun way to teach a little science!


We greatly enjoyed the onomatopoeia in this story! Here’s an example of the text:

Crush the stone. Crush the stone.
Chip and grind and munch.
Make new concrete from the old.
Whirr! Churr! Crunch!

If you have a child interested in machines this will be a great choice. Plus, it’s just really fun to read. Whirr! Churr! Crunch! Dad had a great time reading this one aloud.

This Caldecott winning title will probably be familiar to many of you, but we finally read it. It’s a wordless book about Daisy the dog and her favorite ball. She does everything with her ball – plays with it, sleeps with it, goes on walks with it. One day her ball gets ruined at the dog park, and Daisy is very sad. Of course this book has a good ending  – go check it out from your library and see what happens! This was one we read over and over.


Steve Jenkins’ nonfiction titles are usually a hit in our house, and this one was no exception. This is an interactive book, where the child is supposed to match pictures of animals. My 3 year old found this book really funny for some reason – and quoted from it for several days after we returned it to the library!


This book by James Rumford has really unique illustrations. It’s done in the calabash engraving style from West Africa – Chad, I believe. This book tells the story of Calabash Cat and his journey to find the end of the world. He keeps meeting animals who tell him they know where the world ends  – usually where the desert turns into grasslands, and the grasslands turn into the jungle, etc. It’s an interesting story for a child, but I personally found the underlying principle of the story very nice – sometimes even seemingly insurmountable boundaries can simply be walked across.


Do I even need to introduce this book? No, David! by David Shannon is a pretty famous book about a naughty little boy that does many naughty things; but at the end of the day, his mother still loves him. This book is useful for preschoolers to help them identify feelings they may be feeling, and etc…but I would not have included this book normally. I really dislike the illustrations. However, Curly liked it, so it goes here on the list.


Mo Willems strikes with awesomeness again! I feel like this book is even more enjoyable for the parents or for an older child very familiar with the classic story of Goldilocks than for a really young child. This book parodies the original story at every turn, leading to lots of laughs on my part!


I love Olivia, the ridiculously girly and imaginative pig. Curly loves her too – this is one of those that couldn’t get read enough! Ian Falconer has written several Olivia books now, but this one and the original are our favorites.

Happy reading!

Lately We’ve Been Reading…

Despite the frigid temperatures here, we have still been venturing outside to the library and to story time at the local book store. Here are some of our favorites!


Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes is a fun story about a little kitten who thinks the moon is a dish of milk. Try as the kitten might, she just can’t reach it! This one had Curly giggling at the silly kitten.


Adele & Simon by Barbara McClintock was a favorite for me. Adele is tasked with making sure her brother Simon doesn’t lose all his stuff on the way home. Poor Simon is terribly absentminded and drops all his stuff along the way, never remembering where he left it. This book has greatly detailed illustrations, which lent very well to this book actually being a search and find book! Throughout the story, you are ( of course) looking for all of Simon’s lost items.  My daughter loves search and find books, and this one is so unique I had to share.


LMNO Peas by Keith Baker is an absolutely adorable alphabet book! The story is told by peas, and for each letter they demonstrate what each letter can stand for. For example, for the letter A they say ” We are peas – alphabet peas! We work and play in the ABCs. We’re acrobats, artists, and astronauts in space.”  Spread across the page you see little peas jumping through hoops, painting pictures, and taking off in a rocket ship. We loved this one!


Teeth, Tails, & Tentacles: An Animal Counting Book by Christopher Wormell was a surprise favorite for me. It’s very simple, with pages like “1 – Rhinoceros Horn” followed by a picture of a rhino’s head; “2 – Camel Humps” followed by a picture of a camel, etc. There were two things for me that made it a favorite; the gorgeous illustrations, and the fact that this book counts up to 20. Curly is still confused by the -teen numbers so it was nice to have a book that went all the way up there.


Actual Size by Steve Jenkins was another surprise favorite. You can guess what it is – pictures of animals or parts of animals drawn to size. We both had a lot of interest in this one – it’s one thing to hear about a frog that weighs 7 pounds, and quite another to see a foldout picture of one! It’s quite large. It even eats small mammals! Let’s just say if I was swimming and ran into one of those I might just have post traumatic stress… In the back of the book it has information about each animal that was pictured. This is a book that will be nice to look at way into elementary school.


Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale From the Andes Mountains by Barbara Knutson is really fun, mainly because the protagonist is a guinea pig who keeps outsmarting a (not so wily) fox. The guinea pig and the fox seem to switch the normal personas in the book. The guinea pig is witty and inventive, whereas the fox is, you know, a bit slow. The fox keeps trying to eat the guinea pig, and the guinea pig manages use his ingenuity to escape every time, and always at the expense of the fox.


Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann is an extremely beautifully illustrated book about friendship. As you may guess, Asha the giant koi is an imaginary friend, so their adventures are imaginary as well. As you probably may know by now, I’m a sucker for awesome illustrations!

Happy reading! Leave a comment if there’s anything you’d like to recommend to us to read!

New Picture Book Favorites

Here are some great picture books we discovered in the past few weeks. A couple of these we had to buy. That’s really saying something for me – I’m a true believer in the money saving value of libraries! I am very picky when it comes to buying books. Click on the pictures for more information about each book. The link will bring you to Amazon.

One by Kathryn Otoshi is a great book for many reasons. It gives a gentle introduction to both colors and numbers, while telling a story about bullying and standing up for yourself. The color red is a hothead who likes to pick on quiet color blue. The other colors feel sorry for blue, but no one has the courage to stand up for him. No one, that is, until the number 1 shows up. This is a great story to show how just one individual standing up to a bully can inspire others to stand up for themselves. Really tastefully done!

The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson is a Caldecott winner. Once again, I am late to the party on an awesome book. I looked this up on Amazon and it describes it as a classic – about time I finally read it! This book is illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Beth Krommes. This is a bedtime story that delves into the power of the imagination. It first starts at a house, then you enter a bedroom, and on the bed is a book. Then you enter the book and soar through the skies with a bird, which then gently deposits you back in the bedroom. It really is a perfect bedtime story – the whimsical illustrations and sweet text perfectly meld to whisk away stress and leave you feeling safe and warm inside.


We really got a kick out of Bubble Trouble by Margaret Mahy. It’s super fun to read with its use of alliteration and rhymes. The town gets involved when Mabel blows a bubble that wafts away her younger brother! Curly had me read this one over and over again.


I Love You Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt was a surprise favorite. This was one Curly pulled willy nilly off the library shelf and put in the take home bag. A child is being put to bed by his mother and asks a series of questions that all start with “Would you still love me if?” He goes through swamp monster, green alien, and stinky skunk variations, among others.  We’ve seen a few versions of this kind of story but for some reason Curly really loved this one.



The Adventures of Polo and its sequel Polo: The Runaway Book by Regis Faller turned out to be really fun finds. These are wordless books. I am getting more and more attached to wordless books, especially if they tell stories that include things like climbing ladders up to the moon and becoming friends with a princess that lives in the clouds. Flights of fancy like these are a delight to ‘read’ with a child.

Every once in a while I find a children’s book that stuns me with its illustrations. Journey by Aaron Becker is one, but it also has the added benefit of telling a greatly imaginative story. This is another wordless book. I can’t express enough how much I like this book, and what’s more, Curly loves it too. I love this story so much I wish an author would write a novel based on the illustrations – it has a castle, a flying ship (steampunk? I am SO there!) and a dark forest lit by gorgeous lanterns. If this guy doesn’t win a Caldecott for this book, I will be very surprised. If you can’t tell…this is one we had to buy.


Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller is one that I have seen highlighted on a few blogs and I thought we would probably like it. Well, I didn’t realize how much we would! This is another one we had to buy. It’s just so sweet! It has just the right dash of humor and even a little bit of science to even things out. I really enjoyed the ending, too. Some books feel like an author has a great idea but isn’t sure how to end it, making the book start out great and have a rushed ending. I thought it was paced exactly right. Sophie and her parents go to the farmer’s market to buy food for dinner. They buy a squash that Sophie is instantly taken with; she declares the squash’s name is Berneice and will certainly not be eaten for supper. Sophie takes Berneice with her everywhere. Eventually her parents try to drop hints that if they don’t eat Berneice soon she will rot. Sophie cannot accept that, and approaches a farmer to ask how to keep her squash healthy.


Happy reading! Please share if you’ve found a picture book lately that must be on your shelf!

Books About Leaves

I have been absent for several weeks now from this blog. We have simply been very busy around here, and something had to give! We have been taking a break from themed art projects, but we have still been reading, reading, reading!

The leaves have been dropping like crazy here up north, and I am loving it. Autumn is my favorite season. It’s a shame it doesn’t last longer.
Here are some books I picked up at the library about leaves! Click on the covers to learn more about each book; the link will bring you to Amazon.


Our favorites were The Little Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man. Honestly, I loved them all! I had a hard time finding any autumn books at the library, actually; I think many parents had my same idea! Here are some more I looked for but couldn’t find:

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Autumn is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray
It’s Fall! by Linda Glaser
We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson
Happy reading!