Thursday, December 31, 2009
Goal set for reading all of the children's picture books in our library:
Monday, September 28th
Progress as of today's date:
I've read (according to the last name of the author) through the "A" section.
Total number of picture books read:
A little unsure. As I mentioned before, I was using a website to keep track of titles but the website went down and I lost some of my count. I can absolutely count 369 but I know I lost the count from a few visits. I'm going to guesstimate that I've read around 400 books and I think that's fair. But if you want to be technical (which I kind of do) then I can only admit to 369.
Average number of times I go to the library during the week:
1 (Down from the last progress report!)
Average number of books checked out per visit:
I'm going to say that I've made roughly 10 trips to the library, which makes my average about 36 books per trip. According to the library receipts, that is just about right!
Favorite New-to-Me author I've discovered so far:
Total amount of fines due so far:
$3.35. But that was tallied up as a result of videos which I didn't get back in time. (I should probably stop checking out videos!) Our library has a generous 4 week lend-out program for books. However, videos are due back in 2 weeks and apparently I'm not very good with a two week deadline. Give me a month and I'm safe!
Overall, I'm happy with the progress. I would have been much less satisfied had I not completed the first letter of the alphabet. No, I didn't read every single title available by authors whose last names started with "A." Sometimes when I'd go to pick up a new stash, I'd notice titles that I had missed before and I have to admit to being tempted to pick up those previously missing titles. However, if I did that I would probably constantly being taking two steps forward and one step back and life just doesn't allow for me to be THAT meticulous about this challenge. I am personally satisfied just picking up what is available for me at the time of my visit and getting a general overall feel for what my library has to offer and what authors are out roaming our streets.
I have enjoyed this so far and so long as I keep it at an enjoyable pace for myself, I'll just keep right on going.
Thanks for tuning in, for leaving comments, dropping e-mails and for generally making this a more fun and entertaining way to read through my library.
Hope to see you around in 2010!
So what did we find in our library book bag this time around?
The Cat Who Loved Music, by Patricia Austin was one of the first books we pulled out of our library bag this time. In this sweet little story, young Jennifer finds a cat which she decides to bring home with her. She names the cat Amadeus because she herself is a budding pianist who is currently working on one of Mozart's sonatas to perform in a contest. In between her practicing, Jennifer is also focused on trying to make friends with Amadeus, who is, as cats typically are, very hard to please. Nothing she tries to do for or with him makes him happy to be around her. That is, nothing makes him happy EXCEPT for when Jennifer sits down at the piano and plays. It turns out that Amadeus just happens to love Mozart sonatas! All ends well, of course, with girl and cat spending frequent time around the piano.
A Friend for Growl Bear, by Margot Austin is a story with a moral attached to it. OR, it's a story about a little bear named Growl Bear who can only make a "G-r-r-r" sound instead of talking. He has no teeth and no ability to bite or be mean. He's just a little baby of a bear who hasn't yet learned how to talk. The problem is that none of the animals understand his deficiencies. When he walks up to them and says "G-r-r-r" they think he is trying to scare them or bite them. It takes a wise old owl a couple of tries before he realizes that Growl bear isn't trying to be mean - he is trying to make friends! Once all of the animals grasp this truth, Growl Bear finds himself with plenty of Woodland friends. Illustrated by David McPhail, this is a cute and cuddly book. Since we are fan of woodland animals around here, this one is fun for us to look through and enjoy.
Hmm. I almost could have made this Read Aloud Thursday post a cat edition and it would have included the name Jennifer or Jenny. I found within my library bag a copy of Jenny's Birthday Book, by Esther Averill, which is the story of a black cat named Jenny Linsky. It is her birthday and her brothers are coming to take her to a birthday party in New York. I was surprised to discover a familiar Fire Cat make an appearance and so I had to hop around and find out a little about Esther Averill. Apparently Jenny the cat was based on a pet cat of Averill's and launched her into a cat career which resulted in the following books being published:
The Cat Club, Harper, 1944
The School For Cats, Harper, 1947
Jenny's First Party, Harper, 1948
Jenny's Moonlight Adventure, Harper, 1949
When Jenny Lost Her Scarf, Harper, 1951
Jenny's Adopted Brothers, Harper, 1952
How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club, Harper, 1953
Jenny's Birthday Book, Harper, 1954
Jenny Goes to Sea, Harper, 1957
Jenny's Bedside Book, Harper, 1959
The Fire Cat, Harper, 1960
The Hotel Cat, Harper, 1969
It would appear that I came in mid series and, unfortunately, there were no other cat books by Averill in my bag so I won't be able to talk very much about it. (Then again, if you are not a cat fan, perhaps you are grateful!) Cute little book though and I liked it.
Lastly, for this particular post, we have Things That Sometimes Happen, by Avi. Very silly things indeed. Particularly silly to little boys who like to guffaw. Things like dragons coming around and eating up the cat's food and elephants who try to drink from straws that end up accidentally going up their trunks. Or what about a hippopotamus who tries to drive a car but cannot fit into the seat? Or maybe you'd prefer a story about crayons that are alive, but sad because they are colors that are not used very much by little children (i.e., the color black)? They find their purpose in drawing nighttime scenes that people dream about and all turns out well in the end. This is a very silly little book and yet fully captivating and entertaining. There is stuff here for adults as well as kids and we enjoyed reading this one aloud together. I have to give this particular title two thumbs up.
So did you play Read Aloud Thursday this week? Can't wait to see what you have to share about! In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
But if you really want to try (to understand, that is), then you can visit Auch Books. I think their name says it all, quite frankly.
Yes, I did read them all. Every last one. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Eggs Mark the Spot. But you just try getting me to admit that.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Thanksgiving Door, by Debby Atwell is the story of a family of immigrants who came to America and opened up a restaurant, the New World Cafe. It is also the story about an elderly couple named Ed and Ann who were planning to spend the Thanksgiving holiday all alone. However, unfortunately, Ann accidentally burnt their dinner! Ed suggested that they try out the New World Cafe which had recently opened so off they go to try out the fares at the new restaurant, feeling rather glum because they were all alone and couldn't even have dinner together as they had originally planned it.
The immigrant family originally found the two to be un-welcomed company. Their restaurant was actually closed for Thanksgiving, but Ed and Ann didn't realize it. The grandmother of the immigrant family speaks out on behalf of Ed and Ann, encouraging her relations to make Ed and Ann feel welcomed, without informing them of their mistake. The book concludes with Ann and Ed being the most grateful for having burnt their meal at home because it introduced them to a wonderful family that they grew to know and love. Instead of being alone on Thanksgiving day, they found themselves part of a big and happy family. A totally win-win situation! A total win-win book!
Silent Movie, by Avi is just too cool. (Can I leave my "review" at that?) When you open up the title page you discover the author/illustrator information laid out like on a silent film. The cast of characters are also listed, as well as a brief description of them. All of the pages in this book are black and glossy and are illustrated with white lined drawings, pen & ink style. Totally classy in every single way.
The story is set in 1909 and Papa Hans is sailing for America. His family eventually joins him and his son is noticed by some film producers who end up starring him in a silent film. Naturally, he will be paid very well and the immigrant family is grateful for the opportunities they are afforded in America - and at such speed! The story is rather unusual, and certainly not many families could identify with it. However, this book is a fantastic introduction both to the world of silent films (with information given in more detail at the end of the book) and methods of travel for people immigrating to America. I just think this book is stellar and unique and worth a look if you get a chance! Very nicely done.
I'm labeling these two books as "Mommy Favorites" because, well, they are.
And I still remember the request for pictures of our local library. I'm not ignoring the request. I'm just avoiding the question at the moment. (It's all part of the plan, folks. It's all part of the plan.)
I was also using a delightful website all this time to keep track of all the titles that I read. However, the website is no more and now I do not have the list of titles to share, only my personal notes about how many books I've read and how much I've paid in library fines as a result of not getting videos (not books, mind you!) back to the library before their appointed time.
Soo....no use crying over spilled milk. You'll be updated with the quantity vs. the quality, ok? And we'll just have to live with it!
I have one more stack of books sitting here at home that take me through the "A" section at the library. The year 2010 starts fresh into the "B's" but for the moment, we have a couple days of highlights coming up.
Friday, December 18, 2009
The funniest face
looked out at me
From a silver ball
On the Christmas Tree!
At first I thought
It was Santa's elf,
But I looked again and
It was just myself!
We'll be making some variety of this particular Christmas tree ornament/craft. Actually, I thought this was a pretty spiffy idea. Bookworm1, being three, thinks decorating the tree is fun stuff and is disappointed that the tree is off limits to little fingers. Creating a little paper tree, handing over some colors and stickers and letting him have at decorating it sounds like a fine idea to me! We'll try this one out.
If you missed it, this past week a fun event was hosted online for bloggers everywhere. If you would like to visit our home, visit us in the Christmas Tour of Homes.
We'll leave you in song...
I hope you get it stuck in your head. Because then you'll know what I "suffer" on a daily basis.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
We're still visiting our own bookshelves around here, talking about what Christmas books we've been reading. Goodwill has to be one of my favorite places to go book shopping around here, mostly because the employees haven't yet figured out how much certain titles and editions should go for. (They've figured out the price of toys, etc., but not books!). Because I'm all hyped up about the idea of wrapping at least 24 Christmas books next year, I'm adding to our collection by the dollar this year.
One book I snatched up was The Nutcracker (Golden Books edition). Yes, we are a household of males but it's a Christmas story worth being familiar with. Can't say we'll spend a lot of time with it, but one day we will go and see the ballet and having some concept of the story line won't hurt us. Bookworm1 liked the pictures of the nutcracker itself as he has been seeing them all around town and likes the idea of nutcrackers in theory.
Getting back to our manly selves, I also found a copy of Thomas' Christmas Delivery which was a nice story in and of itself but not wildly exciting. The book does sparkle though which was it's main selling point for the boy. In this book, Thomas is being a really useful engine so that Santa will be impressed. Thomas is out making some tough, snowy deliveries to little children and is worried that he won't get back to the shed to hang his stocking and fall asleep in time for Santa. Never fear though, little ones! Thomas does indeed make it back and is delighted to discover exactly what he wants in his stocking on Christmas morning -- lumps of coal! Har, har, har, har.....
On a more "religious" note, we have been reading One Shining Star (which I just think is super cute) and I reviewed over at 5 Minutes for Books.This is a fun way to count your way through Christmas (from 1 to 10) and is illustrated in such a charming fashion that it draws in both young and old alike (obviously). My only fear is that my literal child will hold me to the count of donkeys in the stable and angels in the sky some day. I'm mildly fearful that he'll acquaint "a heavenly host" with the number 8 at which point we'll have to have a little talk. In the meantime though, we're all enjoying this book around here. If you see it, snatch it up. It really is a cute little book and is, as I said originally, a great Baby's First Christmas gift!
Otherwise, we've also pulled out our Little People Nativity set and have been taking turns telling each other the Christmas story.
Last year our story was pretty basic in nature. This year we're adding information and making the angel appear first to Mary with the news and then to Joseph (who always replies, "Oh my!"). It's fun watching the wheels turn inside little heads as they piece together the fact that God sent His son to earth in the form of a little baby. And then people on earth made a really big deal about it and angels appeared in the sky and everything! It IS a wondrous miracle and I am happy to make a big deal out of it all over again.
I think probably next week, it being Christmas Eve and all, we'll be taking a break from Read Aloud Thursday so on this note and on this topic I wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
For more information about Read Aloud Thursdays and to participate yourself, click over to Hope is in the Word.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Babies on the Go, by Linda Ashman kind of reminds me of John Butler books but I have no complaints. In this book we see how various babies travel and it is told completely in rhyme:
"Some babies stand up right away. They take a step, then run and play. But many need more time to grow, so they have other ways to go . . . "
There is a nice variety of animals in this book making it enjoyable for all. Of course, human babies are also compared to give your young reader some way of connecting to the concept presented in this book. Bats, lions, giraffes, hippos and kangaroos. Very cute and very nicely done. A great way to introduce children to the idea that animal mothers also care for their animal babies!
Sailing Off to Sleep is another by Linda Ashman and also has a soft, quiet feel to it, much like Babies on the Go. This one I really enjoyed. It opens with a daughter telling her mother how much she doesn't want to go to sleep but she'd rather sail off to the North Pole. Her mother spends the book presenting various obstacles she might encounter on such a journey, such as "Your ship has no sail." The daughter has an answer to every problem though. ("I'm tying my boat to the tail of a whale.") In the end, the mother encourages her daughter to go ahead and go on her great big journey and the daughter decides that maybe another night would be better. This is a very cute and very endearing sort of book. If I had a daughter, I would be putting this book on Amazon. I don't, so I'm mentioning it here at Reading My Library so that I'll remember it exists. Loved it!
I read Can You Make a Piggy Giggle? to Bookworm1 when he was in a mood. Nothing was cracking a smile out of him, but that's ok. That's exactly the case for piggy. No matter how hard the boy in this book tries, he cannot make this pig grin. He can dance, he can make silly faces but none of it! Not a bit! By the end though, if you say enough silly words in a row like, "If you polka, flap, and fiddle, waddle, yodel, stomp and riddle...." then eventually the
And now that I've written this up, I realize that all of the books we enjoyed were by Linda Ashman so I forgive her for yesterday. I can be magnanimous that way. Sometimes.
Monday, December 14, 2009
But now maybe I'm being a bit harsh.
Maybe you LIKE your children to frequently succumb to naughty bugs. Maybe you like them to think that being disobedient, so long as they are being silly at the same time, is exactly the way to be. If so, then by all means RUSH out and buy your own copy of Desmond and the Naughty Bugs for your home library.
In this book, we meet Desmond, who has been attacked by some rather naughty bugs. They make him do things like pull apples out of the apple display at the grocery store, fling food in restaurants, whine and complain and just generally drive his parents crazy. Now, I suppose this opens up some discussion for good behavior vs. bad behavior. If you are feeling so inclined to turn this book into a lesson, you'll be delighted that there's a Teaching Guide online for this book (that I refuse to link to). It offers helpful suggestions like:
* Make up your own Naughtybug. What sorts of trouble does it cause? Draw a picture for a classroom mural or Field Guide.
* Imagine that you are this Naughtybug. Write a description of yourself to go along with the picture. When would you be most likely to show up? Where? What do you cause people to do? What’s the best way for them to get rid of you?
Thanks for the suggestions! (I think I'll take a pass.) Definitely a book I think our library could do without. If there is anything that kids these days don't seem to need, it is more excuses to blame their naughtiness on something other than themselves.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Consider this particular title on your next visit to your local library:
Monsieur Saguette and his Baguette is quite charming (esp. as I just finished reading My Life in France and I have food on the brain and my stomach is growling as I type this). We open the book to find Monsieur Saguette making himself a pot of hot carrot soup (which we moms just know all of our three year olds are going to smack their lips and drool over, right?). He decides he needs some bread so he goes off and buys a baguette. On his way back home he runs into all kinds of people in need and discovers that a baguette is an extremely useful thing to have on hand. The book ends with him being able to enjoy his soup and bread and with the adult reader of the book not wanting to think about how many people touched the bread before he got around to eating it. Still, all in all, it is a really cute book. Very enjoyable.
And with that I will leave you to your weekend! Have a good one!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
We're still focused on a Christmas theme this year and so I'm listing books that are on our own home bookshelves.
Small One is a movie that I've mentioned once or twice over at Reading to Know. (I wrote a long post about Small One over here.) This was a favorite story of mine growing up and this year Bookworm1 is old enough to both understand it and follow along. Last year was too soon. I've enjoyed reading Small One with him and then I did pick up a copy of the movie which we have watched once this month. I'd like to watch it 1-2 more times before the month is over!
A month or so back I found a used copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Movie-Tie in edition. It's a hardbound picture book which is something on the order of 30 pages long. It's a movie-tie in edition meaning it is illustrated with pictures from the movie. We have tons of Narnia books and it's not like I needed another one in my home, but this one deftly avoids all pictures of any creatures which might prove scary to little eyes. Again, I can't find a picture or information on the book online but it's an awesome book. Why am I relating it to Christmas? Because when Aslan comes, so does Christmas. It is he who breaks the spell of the dark magic, allowing for seasons to come and go, and allows us to know the joy of each. Bookworm has asked to read this book at least 17 million times over the course of the last week. Ok, maybe more like 3 but it's a long book for a three year old and I can't believe he actually sits through it!
And still, we are reading all of the same books (and singing our way through them) from last week. It's a fun season with so MANY books to read!
What are you reading with your kids this Christmas season? Won't you consider writing up a post to share and linking it up to Read Aloud Thursday? For more posts, check out what Amy has to offer (and her giveaway!) this week.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It's kind of like Pete & Repeat around here but it's no secret that Bookworm1 really likes the ocean and all of the animals in it. Now, if he actually had to set toe in the ocean, he might have second thoughts (and a wild screaming attack which he would deny immediately afterward) but the idea of it is compelling at any rate! So when we found Rub-a-Dub Sub, by Linda Ashman in the library bag, well, we were all over it with octopus tentacles (i.e., two enthusiastic arms).
This book is Bookworm1. It's about a boy who travels down into the ocean in a submarine and swims past all kinds of sea creatures. However, eventually he runs into a shark which sends him scurrying in his submarine back up to the surface of the water....in his bathtub.
Extremely cute and very much enjoyed!
The runner up in the Sea Life themed books this week was Water, by Frank Asch. Water is illustrated with water colors and it talks about the various forms, uh, water comes in. "Water is dew. Water is ice and snow." But the coup de grâce is the very last page spread. "Water is . . . flowing to the sea." And behold there is a whale. As my son said, "And it has a SQUARE HEAD which means it's a PINOCCHIO whale!!!"
There you have it. You may now rush off to your nearest library...
While you are there, you might also want to check out the Roger Priddy Big & Busy Ocean book. (Click on the title and you can read my review over at 5 Minutes for Books.) You'll also see a picture of our favorite sea animal toys and find out what is lurking beneath our Christmas tree this year. (I know you so want to know!)
Monday, December 7, 2009
So, in this latest stack there's a bunch of books about a character called Moonbear, by Frank Asch. I've seen Moonbear around before - here and there, there and here. I've been curious but never curious enough.
Now, when I grab books at the library for this challenge, I do not look at the titles or anything about the books as I'm throwing (ah hem, gently placing them...) in the bag. It is only after I get home and am unloading with Bookworm1 that I discover what actually came home with me. This time, Moonbear tumbled out of the bag and into our lives.
I thought about writing up a whole post about Moonbear but I just can't bring myself to do it. Not that Moonbear is bad, because he isn't. He is a very good little bear. He hibernates in winter, is friendly with little bird, takes care of his pets, tends his garden well and has an ongoing fascination with the moon.
I was going to research online to learn more about Frank Asch but I just can't do it and it's not because he is unworthy. Anyone who can write an entire series about a bear who loves the moon is clearly worthy of being Googled. There are a lot of Moonbear books.
* Moonbear's Dream
* Moonbear's Friend
* Moonbear's Pet
All about Moonbear and the moon (and Little Bird).
Bookworm1 was interested and he sat through a few of the stories and we thought they were pretty cute and all. But they didn't "grab me" and make me wild with excitement and glee. Creative? Yes. Cute? Yes.
There is absolutely nothing objectionable about Moonbear.
** Also, is it Moonbear or Moon Bear? I cannot find agreement online! **
If you just want some calm stories to read, go find this guy. He won't do anything to you that will startle or alarm. He just is and he'll let you be also. He's like Mitford for kids - cozy.
A quick perusal online would indicate that these books are perfect for 19 months on up. Apparently the theme of the books are about making friends and, well, being happy. That pretty much chalks up what most children are after so I suppose they fit the bill!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I picked up a copy of Frosty the Snowman last year in after Christmas sales and we have sung it through at least a dozen times a day within this last week alone. It is mighty popular. One morning I made us a special pudding treat and we watched Frosty (via Youtube) while eating our pudding which was a big hit. In the meantime, Bookworm1 is attempting to memorize the song which turns out to be a very difficult thing because each verse is different. Hey, even MOMMY can't do it (for the same reason). This is our first year to really focus on Christmas characters of fiction because it's easier for Bookworm1 to discern who is real and who isn't. (I have no objections to delighting ourselves with fictional characters but I want to make sure we clearly distinguish that Jesus, the "reason for the season" is not confused with Santa, etc. So we're having fun talking and singing about Frosty, Rudolph & Santa this year but we're also talking a lot. And singing. A great deal.)
Don't hate me for this one, but I found a small copy (i.e., "pocket sized) of Jan Brett's Twelve Days of Christmas at Goodwill for $0.99. We have a local Christmas display that plays this classic song as you drive through a lit scene of it and so it's fun to prepare Bookworm1 to see it by singing it. We count, we sing, we memorize. Per usual, Brett's artistry makes the whole experience all the more enjoyable, and offsets my lack of singing ability. (This is a very high-pitched song, you know!!!) But it's tolerated. I ask him if he'd rather I sing it or read it and he always chooses the singing. Poor kid. Has no taste in good music, apparently.
I picked up a copy of Deck the Hall, illustrated by Sylvia Long at Goodwill as well. (We have a rather awesome Goodwill around here.) This is the traditional Deck the Halls carol, with illustrations of a rabbit family celebrating the Christmas holiday together. This book is tons of fun! I love it, Bookworm1 loves it and we're quite certain you would too!
This particular book is out of print but you can still find used copies on Amazon at fairly reasonable prices. However, if you are wandering around a used book store (or YOUR Goodwill) and you find a copy, I'd say snatch it up!
Bookworm1 has really been all about memorizing Christmas songs and stories this season so I'm glad that Hope is in the Word is focusing on Christmas right now. Gives me good ideas of books to pick up. I think I will focus on Christmas books from our own home library throughout the rest of December around here. In the meantime, I leave you with one last offering, courtesy of Hallmark:
This one is no so ridiculous to find that I can't even locate an image online. Stories of Santa was added to our collection via a local used bookstore and it includes two "beloved Santa songs": Up on the Housetop and Jolly Old St. Nicholas. We used this book as our introduction to Santa. Well illustrated, artful and fun to sing through, I'm glad I picked this one up when I did. It's just fun!
What about you? Do you have any Christmas books/titles that you are praticular enjoy reading with your kids? Also, do you have any good arts/crafts suggestions to go along with any of them (that are relatively easy)? I'd be curious to hear of them but make up your own post and link up to Read Aloud Thursday!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
In the meantime, Zoe from Playing By the Book has started a Fantastic Fiction for Kids event in which she highlights several books in a themed set and offers ideas for crafts and activities to go along with the books.
Zoe asked if I would be interested in suggesting three titles focused on a particular theme of my choosing to highlight in a Fantastic Fiction set. Here are her thoughts on hosting this particular event:
“Fantastic Fiction for Kids” happens here on Playing by the book
every Wednesday – readers of Playing by the book and guest posters from other blogs I love suggest a short selection of children’s fiction books on a particular topic and I include music and activity suggestions to accompany the books.
I set up this project for 2 main reasons (1) I want to hear from you about books you love and (2) I’m always on the look-out for ways of finding new books on particular topics.
The rule is: all of the books must be fiction. We picked sharks, because that's a favorite in our home. This is one of our suggested titles:
Zoe then pieced together some activities for shark play. Go check out her suggestions!
I was on my self-imposed Thanksgiving vacation last week, so I didn't get this link up right away. That turned out to be ok though because I could recommend more than just the shark post featuring Reading My Library.
Check out the following, from Playing By the Book:
* AMAZING post centered around a Barn Dance.
* Creating toy hospitals with your little ones.
* Fantastic Fiction: Trucks
And you'll go and see what she does with her kids and you'll feel equally inspired and like you are a very bad and unimaginative parent. So go! Read her suggestions! Be inspired!
Not that I'm a Picasso fan (by any stretch of the imagination) but this quote is rather thought-provoking and applicable. heh.
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. ~ Pablo Picasso
(And if I even start to talk about Picasso, children and creativity I'll never stop...)