Tungsten Carbide Wedding Band Sterling Silver Locket Ideal Cut Diamonds
Reading My Library

Friday, March 18, 2011

Progress Report - March 2011

My last progress report was in October so I'm thinkin' it's time for an update!

Goal set for reading all of the children's picture books in our library:

Monday, September 28, 2009. I'm over a year in now, and have realized that real life (three kids age 4 and under) does not set you up well for completing challenges quickly. We're just plodding along and this project will take me much longer than I originally anticipated. But I think that's ok! Having kids is a greater blessing than having a completed project!

Progress as of today's date:

I've read (according to the last name of the author) through the "A" section and am into the "Bu" section.

Total number of picture books read:

By my count, 948.

Average number of times I go to the library during the week:

Zero! I go once every two weeks. When I started this challenge, I was going to the library twice a week. Time and additional children have obviously changed things!

Average number of books checked out per visit:

I started reading more books IN the library and bringing home the books that I think we will really enjoy and that I will want to spend the time writing about. On average I would say I'm probably bringing home about 20 books a trip.

Favorite New-to-Me author I've discovered so far:

I think I shall leave it with Paulette Bourgeois, who was mentioned as my favorite on the last report. She penned the Franklin the Turtle books which we really have enjoyed to the point of adding some of her books to our home library.

Total amount of fines due so far:

I've lost count because I lost my library card and so we've been using my husband's card! (How incredibly bad is that?!) I'm going to guess we're somewhere in the range of $7 in fines, mostly because we've checked out videos that weren't returned in time and not due to books being forgotten. We can check out books for 4 weeks at our library, but videos for 2. This consistently throws me off and gets me in trouble!

And that, folks, is where I'm at!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday - Eve Bunting

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word

To wrap up our perusal of Eve Bunting books, here are some additional titles we've been reading through.

I think I'd be a little remiss if I didn't mention Our Library, don'tcha think?

In this particular story, Raccoon and his friends are shocked to discover from their favorite library, Miss Goose, that their library is going to close. The library is sadly in need of repairs but there is no money to take care of these things and so they are going to have to shut their doors. This saddens the animals friends and spurs them onto action to raise money to take care of things like the roof and new paint. Several times over the friends rally around their library to support it and keep it open and functioning.

If you love your library, you will love this book.

Hurry! Hurry! is a good (and simple) spring-time tale, especially for toddlers. Chicken is running through the barnyard yelling for all of the animals to "HURRY! HURRY!" With only two words of exclamations per page (her pleas for the animals to hurry and their individual responses) this is a great book for kids age 1-3. What are the animals all hurrying to see?

Well, you don't expect me to spoil the book for you now, do you!?

I thought My Backpack would be a bigger hit with the boys than it turned out to be. In this story, Grandma sends a little boy a backpack so that he can "fill it with important stuff." The little boy goes around the house collecting things his family deems to be important (like brother's catcher's mitt and father's glasses) and heads outside to play. The family, of course, goes hunting for their missing items and discover them in the possession of the boy. All is forgiven and the more important thing is placed inside the backpack -- the boy! (His father ends up giving him a fun piggy back ride.)

Again, I thought this one would be more of a hit but I think the concept just went right over their heads. At any rate, no one responded to this book.

All in all, we had some hits and misses with the stack I brought home. Regardless, it's always fun to read through new titles and get a feel for what's out there!

Are you reading aloud with your kids this week? Hop on over to Hope is in the Word and share what you are reading, as well as find out what others are diving into these days. Thanks, as always, to Amy for hosting!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Sampling of Bunting Books

I told you all that Eve Bunting was a rather prolific writer! She's offering plenty of blog fodder this week. Here are some additional titles to be aware of:

I put this book on my Amazon wishlist in hopes of someday adding it to our home holiday book collection. (Love the library but it's hard to wrangle holiday titles away in time to be read in season sometimes! I've started building our own home holiday collection so that we're never out of reading sources when special events and occasions roll around!)

In A Turkey for Thanksgiving Mrs. Moose is moaning because "everyone has a turkey" for Thanksgiving but the Moose family. Mr. Moose promises to bring home a turkey for dinner and he goes off in search of one, taking all of their fellow animal friends and Thanksgiving guests along. They do find a very fat turkey who, not surprisingly, does not want to join the group for dinner! Of course, as it turns out, Mr. and Mrs. Moose have no intention of putting the turkey ON the table. They just wanted a turkey as a guest to sit AT the table. A cute book to be sure.

Pop's Bridge is a fun and fascinating introduction to the history of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This story follows two fictional families whose fathers play a part in building the bridge. It's dangerous and exciting job, filled with care, excitement and imagination. Bunting includes factual information in telling her tale. Definitely a title to remember for history purposes.

Jumping back to another holiday title, we picked up Who Was Born This Special Day? in which each of the animals in the barn/stable are asked if they were born "this special day." Not I, they each in turn give answer. So who WAS born this special day?

Was it the child?
The child who lies in the manger bed,
the shine of the star high overhead?
Clouds filled with angels shimmering bright,
singing of joy this dear, holy night.
Who was born this special day?
It was the child.

We're randomly jumping about here, aren't we? On to the Sunflower House which is a really fun book for the summertime. A boy plants some tall-growing sunflowers and gets to play in the "house" that they create as they grow. He spends a wonderful summer underneath the blossoms and then, after sunflower season has passed, he collects the seeds which will be replanted so that there will be "sunflowers everywhere" the following year. Very fun story!


Monday, March 14, 2011

My Red Balloon, by Eve Bunting

My Red Balloon is the perfect companion book to The Father's Are Coming Home, by Margaret Wise Brown. (Linked to my review.) I had to mention this one as well.

In this story a little boy is waiting for his father to return from his Naval cruise. He promises his father that he will be able to spot him by the red balloon that he'll be carrying. This red balloon is very precious to the boy because it is the object which will connect him with his father, who he has not seen in some time.

A very touching story, obviously, and heart-felt. I know a friend who will love this and I post this for her - as well as a reminder to the rest of us that freedom isn't cheap and it doesn't come for free. Freedom involves sacrifice, like it or not. Any book that gives a nod to the armed forces of America gets a nod from me as well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

List of Picture Books by Eve Bunting

(This list discovered on the Fantastic Fiction website.)

The Two Giants (1971)
A Gift for Lonny (1973)
Box, Fox, Ox, and the Peacock (1974)
We Need a Bigger Zoo! (1974)
Lady's Girl (1974)
The Once-a-year Day (1974)
Say It Fast (1974)
Barney the Beard (1975)
The Day of the Dinosaurs (1975)
Death of a Dinosaur (1975)
The Dinosaur Trap (1975)
Escape from Tyrannosaurus (1975)
The Demon (1976)
The Ghost (1976)
The Tongue of the Ocean (1976)
The Creature of Cranberry Cove (1976)
Winter's Coming (1977)
The Big Cheese (1977)
Magic and the Night River (1978)
The Robot People (1978)
The Big Red Barn (1979)
Demetrius and the Golden Goblet (1980)
The Empty Window (1980)
St. Patrick's Day in the Morning (1980)
Terrible Things: An Allegory of the Holocaust (1980)
The Skate Patrol (1980)
The Spook Birds (1981)
Goose Dinner (1981)
The Skate Patrol Rides Again (1982)
The Happy Funeral (1982)
The Skate Patrol and the Mystery Writer (1982)
The Valentine Bears (1983)
Clancy's Coat (1984)
Maggie the Freak (1984)
Jane Martin, Dog Detective (1984)
Monkey in the Middle (1984)
The Mother's Day Mice (1986)
Scary, Scary Halloween (1986)
Ghost's Hour, Spook's Hour (1987)
Happy Birthday, Dear Duck (1988)
How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story (1988)
No Nap (1989)
The Wednesday Surprise (1989)
The Wall (1990)
In the Haunted House (1990)
Fly away Home (1991)
A Perfect Father's Day (1991)
A Turkey for Thanksgiving (1991)
Night Tree (1991)
Ride When You're Ready (1992)
The Wild Horses (1992)
Summer Wheels (1992)
Our Teacher's Having a Baby (1992)
The Day Before Christmas (1992)
Someday a Tree (1993)
Red fox Running (1993)
A Day's Work (1994)
Smoky Night (1994)
Sunshine Home (1994)
The Man Who Could Call Down Owls (1994)
Flower Garden (1994)
Night of the Gargoyles (1994)
Once Upon a Time (1995)
Dandelions (1995)
Cheyenne Again (1995)
Going Home (1996)
Train to Somewhere (1996)
Market Day (1996)
Sunflower House (1996)
I Don't Want to Go to Camp (1996)
Secret Place (1996)
The Blue and the Gray (1996)
Ducky (1997)
Your Move (1997)
I am the Mummy Heb-Nefert (1997)
Trouble on the T-ball Team (1997)
My Backpack (1997)
The Pumpkin Fair (1997)
Some Frog! (1997)
Twinnies (1997)
Moonstick: The Seasons of the Sioux (1997)
December (1997)
So Far from the Sea (1998)
I Have an Olive Tree (1999)
Butterfly House (1999)
Rudi's Pond (1999)
A Picnic in October (1999)
Can You Do This, Old Badger? (2000)
I Like the Way You Are (2000)
Swan in Love (2000)
Doll Baby (2000)
The Memory String (2000)
Dreaming of America: An Ellis Island Story (2000)
Who Was Born This Special Day? (2000) (with Leonid Gore)
Riding the Tiger (2001)
The Days of Summer (2001)
Jin Woo (2001)
Little Badger, Terror of the Seven Seas (2001)
Gleam and Glow (2001)
Peepers (2001)
Too Many Monsters (2001)
One Candle (2002)
Little Badger's Just-About Birthday (2002)
The Bones of Fred McFee (2002)
Girls: A to Z (2002)
Anna's Table (2003)
Little Bear's Little Boat (2003)
Whales Passing (2003)
I Love You, Too! (2004)
My Special Day at Third Street School (2004)
My Red Balloon (2005)
My Robot (2006)
Pop's Bridge (2006)
One Green Apple (2006)
Our Library (2006)
My Mom's Wedding (2006)
That's What Leprechauns Do (2006)
Baby Can (2007)
Hurry! Hurry! (2007)
The Baby Shower (2007)
Emma's Turtle (2007)
You Were Loved Before You Were Born (2008) (with Karen Barbour)
Mouse Island (2008)
Walking To School (2008)
Will It Be a Baby Brother? (2010)
Christmas Cricket (2010)
We Were There: A Nativity Story (2010)
Finn McCool and the Great Fish (2010)
Green Shamrocks (2011)
Hey Diddle Diddle (2011)
My Dog Jack Is Fat (2011)
Tweak Tweak (2011)

She has also written many novels, a play, a few chapter books as well as some non-fiction works. To see a complete list of Eve Bunting Books, click on the link!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bookworm1's Favorite Bunting Books

There were so many Bunting books upon our library bookshelves that I didn't even bother bringing all of them home. I filled up my back chalk full of her books and then read a ton of them while I was at the library itself. I confess I'm kind of on Bunting overload. The ones I did bring home, I brought home because I thought they'd be particular hits with my boys. Bookworm1 (age 4) enjoyed the following:

Mouse Island tells of Mouse who lives alone on an island. He's not necessarily lonely - at first. But then he starts thinking that it might be nice to have someone to do something with. One day a storm blows through and there is a shipwreck off the coast. Mouse spies something in the water that needs some rescuing and he bravely brings it shore. It turns out it is a cat! Due to the fact that Mouse rescued Cat, Cat agrees not to eat Mouse. As you might guess, they end up becoming friends and enjoy one another's company.

Little Badger's Just-About Birthday is very cutely illustrated by LeUyen Pham which made this book particularly fun for mommy to read as well. (I do love cute and cuddly looking animals - I confess it!) In this book Old Badger wakes up Little Badger with a just-about birthday gift of a "big, bristly, dry-as-dirt pinecone" for them to play with together. Little Badger is excited to celebrate his "just-about" birthday with his friends, celebrating the fact that he was born just about this particular (and unnamed) time of year.

As it turns out, all of his friends are celebrating their "just-about" birthdays as well! Why, it's even Old Badger's just-about birthday. Why? Because it's spring, of course! This is never mentioned and so Bookworm1 didn't quite catch on. But it's a cute story and definitely one to add to the line up if you are reading/studying seasons of the year.

There is a series of Badger Books including Can You Do This, Old Badger? and Little Badger, Terror of the Seven Seas. If you like one title - check out the others!

If you know of Bookworm1's love of sea creatures, you can feign shock and surprise over the fact that he enjoyed Whales Passing. The illustrations in this book are beautifully done by Lambert Davis who lends a certain majestic feel to these Orca whales.

In this story a boy and his dad are whale watching on the coast. This book generally explains how whales migrate. The father and son speculate on how the whales communicate with one another and they watch them surface and spout. Not much I can say about this book, really, except that if your child is a lover of ocean animals - check this book out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Perfect Father's Day, by Eve Bunting

Mothers and fathers will get a kick out of A Perfect Father's Day. The idea behind the book will fly right over the children's heads, which is exactly as it should be.

For Father's Day Susie is going to take her father out for the day on the town. He offers to drive. She chooses the restaurant. He offers to pay. She decides they'll go celebrate his day and play at the park. He tags along with her, pushing her on the swing and climbing on the playground equipment. On their way home, she tells him about the "surprise Father's Day cake" which Mommy is making at home. He acts surprised.

NOT surprisingly, my kids didn't get the humor which Bunting pokes at Susie's attempts to celebrate her father. However, any one who has either been a kid or a parent will understand that the message of this book is not about the special gifts we might give to fathers and mothers on their special holidays, but it's about spending time and sacrificing for the ones that you love.

A simple message, told in tongue-and-cheek fashion that is sure to be a hit.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Baby Can, by Eve Bunting

This was one of those books that just hits close to home about now! Baby Can, by Eve Bunting, was a perfect fit for us.

A new baby enters the home in this story, with an older brother watching on. The parents are excited by all of baby's developments. "Look! Baby can smile! Baby can roll over!" etc., etc. The older brother proves that he can do everything too!

The parents in this story are very affirming to both boys and it's a cute, lovable story in which family ties are emphasized and children's accomplishments heralded from the rooftops. Bookworm1 laughed when baby learned to burp. (Ahem.) Bookworm2 was fascinated by everything baby.

Six thumbs up in this case!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Annnd we've reached a shelf full of books by Eve Bunting. Prolific writer, she is! More to come next week. We've been enjoying more than one read, courtesy of our local library.

See you soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday

Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope Is the Word

Back to a bit of randomness in our Read-Aloud Thursday posts. Here are some titles from the library book shelves that we enjoyed thoroughly these past few weeks:

Both the bookworms (ages 2 and 4) connected with Things I Like, by Anthony Browne. It's a perfect book for toddlers as it opens up discussions about what it is that each individual likes. In the case of our little monkey in the story here, he likes playing with toys, dressing up, building sandcastles, having a bath, hearing a bedtime story and the list goes on from there. The things he likes are some of the same things both my boys like so we had fun reading it and making up our own lists as we went along. Cute book. Easy, simple, straight forward.

The Big Sneeze, by Ruth Brown was another favorite of ours. Again, it's a very simple story with very few words on the page.

"One hot afternoon, the farmer and his animals were dozing in the barn. The only sound was the buzz-buzz of a lazy fly."

The lazy fly ends up landing on the farmer's nose which sets of a chain reaction which creates a bit of chaos in the barn. So much for a lazy afternoon nap! Cute book, funny ending. Highly recommended.

Lastly, for this week we enjoyed the following Christmas title (that I now seriously want to add to our home library and, in fact, threw it onto my Amazon wishlist so that I'll remember it):

Small Camel Follows the Star, by Rachel W.N. Brown is kind of like Small One (linked to my review) except for that it is about a camel instead of a donkey.

Small camel is the newest little camel in Balthazar's corral. His feet were too big for his skinny legs. He had a very small hump. But he had big beautiful eyes and long eyelashes.
"I love you," whispered his mama. "You will grow up to be strong. You will carry heavy loads to faraway places. Balthazar will be proud of you."
If you know the story of the wisemen following the star to Jesus, then you can guess at the role Small Camel eventually plays. Illustrated by Giuliano Ferri, this book is a feast. Ferri receives extra bonus points for illustrating Jesus as more of toddler than a baby.

Absolutely adorable story in every way and definitely one that I would like to remember to pull out again during the Christmas season.

That's what we have to share this week. What have you? Be sure to check out Hope is in the Word to see what others are reading aloud with their children these days!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Babar the Elephant

A few weeks ago we made a trip to the library and drove ourselves into the Bru section of books which takes us straight to Babar the Elephant, created by Jean de Brunhoff.

I had read these books when I was little but had no memory or recollection of the stories themselves. I wasn't really thinking much of them other than a "trip down memory lane" when I started reading them to Bookworm1 and discovered that an evil hunter killed Babar's mother. Bookworm1 has been reacting to sad scenarios lately so I was a bit sorry I hadn't skimmed it first. Instead we talked it through on the fly and seem to have come through unscathed. (We will not be watching Bambi anytime soon though!)

In all honesty, I think Babar is kinda weird. The stories are just...different both from the perspective of time and place. Times have changed and Babar's original stories are far more blunt in their talk of cannibals and savages than I think we would naturally gravitate towards today. But, I can accept that because the first book was published in 1931 and the world was a different place. (It should be noted though that the mermaids in Babar and Zephir do not have sea shells to help cover themselves. Thankfully I caught that one before we started reading the story together!)

There are a LOT of Babar books. The first seven books were penned by Jean de Brunhoff and then after his death in 1937, his son took up the pen and produced additional Babar stories. You can definitely tell a difference in the stories, but they are all still interesting and more unique than anything we've read to date. Definitely interesting. Turns out Bookworm1 really enjoys reading about this King of the Elephants and so we made the most of our time with him, sifting through certain of the titles together.

Because I think Babar is quite the familiar character, I won't launch into a description of him. Instead I'll just provide the list of Babar books and titles as can be discovered on Wikipedia. But first I thought this was an interesting criticism that was listed on Wikipedia concerning the books:

Some writers, notably Herbert R. Kohl and Vivian Paley, have argued that, although superficially delightful, the stories are politically and morally offensive and can be seen as a justification for colonialism. Others argue that the French civilisation described in the early books had already been destroyed by the Great War and the books were originally an exercise in nostalgia for pre-1914 France. Ariel Dorfman’s The Empire’s Old Clothes is another highly critical view, in which he concludes, "In imagining the independence of the land of the elephants, Jean de Brunhoff anticipates, more than a decade before history forced Europe to put it into practice, the theory of neocolonialism." Adam Gopnik has a different point of view. In Freeing the Elephants he writes that it "is not an unconscious expression of the French colonial imagination; it is a self-conscious comedy about the French colonial imagination and its close relation to the French domestic imagination. The gist ... is explicit and intelligent: the lure of the city, of civilization, of style and order and bourgeois living is real, for elephants as for humans." He concludes that the satisfaction derived from Babar is based on the knowledge that "while it is a very good thing to be an elephant, still, the life of an elephant is dangerous, wild, and painful. It is therefore a safer thing to be an elephant in a house near a park.

So it would seem that Babar does not come without a bit of controversy. Although I speculate the youngest readers among us would not catch on.

Without further ado, here is the list:

Jean de Brunhoff's Babar books, and the titles of the English translations, were:

  • Histoire de Babar (1931) — The Story of Babar
  • Le Voyage de Babar (1932) — The Travels of Babar, or Babar's Travels
  • Le Roi Babar (1933) — Babar the King
  • L'ABC de Babar (1934) — A.B.C. of Babar
  • Les vacances de Zéphir (1936) — Zephir's Holidays, Zephir's Vacation, or Babar and Zephir
  • Babar en famille (1938) — Babar and His Children, or Babar at Home
  • Babar et le père Noël (1941) — Babar and Father Christmas

Laurent de Brunhoff's books (selected list):

  • Babar et ce coquin d'Arthur (1948) — Babar's Cousin: That Rascal Arthur
  • Pique-nique chez Babar (1949) — Babar's Picnic
  • Babar dans l'Île aux oiseaux (1952) — Babar's Visit to Bird Island
  • Babar au cirque (1952) — Babar and the Circus
  • La fête à Celesteville (1954) — Babar's Fair
  • Babar et le professeur Girafon (1956) — Babar and the Professor
  • Le château de Babar (1961) — Babar's Castle
  • Je parle anglais avec Babar (1963) — Babar's English Lessons (published as French Lessons in English)
  • Babar Comes to America (1965)
  • Je parle allemand avec Babar (1966) — Babar's German Lessons
  • Je parle espagnol avec Babar (1966) — Babar's Spanish Lessons
  • Babar Loses His Crown (1967)
  • Babar Vists another Planet (1972)
  • Babar and the Wully-Wully (1975)
  • Babar Learns to Cook (1978)
  • Babar and the Ghost (1981)
  • Babar's ABC (1983)
  • Babar's Counting Book (1986)
  • Babar's Little Girl (1987)
  • Babar's Little Circus Star (1988)
  • Babar's Rescue (1993)
  • Le Musée de Babar (2002) — Babar's Museum
  • Babar Goes to School (2003)
  • Babar's Museum of Art (2003)
  • Babar's Book of Color (2004)
  • Babar's Busy Year (2005)
  • Babar's World Tour (2005)
  • Babar's Yoga for Elephants (2006)
  • Babar's USA (2008)

Our library had the large majority of these titles so we have become quite familiar with this famous elephant. I don't think he'll rank as one of our favorite characters of all time. (Certainly not mine. Again with the death of his mother, the listing of cannibals, and general oddities.) But it's interesting to read through the books and see how Babar has evolved and changed over the years.

There is a cartoon series based on the books as well which we have not seen. If anyone has any insight on those, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Picture Books

Usually I don't think to pick up V-Day books (or any holiday books, really) at the library until we're right on the holiday, at which point most are checked out. This year I managed to snag a few V-Day books which are listed below.

Silly Tilly's Valentine is an awfully cute story about a mole named Tilly. She has a dreadful time remembering things and is easily sidetracked by ideas and activities. At the beginning of the book we find her baking cupcakes when she receives a call from her friend Mr. Bunny who is asking if she remembers what this particular day is. "Oh dear," she sighs, "I forgot to remember." That seems to be her running refrain. Of course, it's Valentine's Day and, of course, she is baking Valentine's Day cupcakes. But she is sidetracked by the idea of snow falling, along with "colorful snowflakes" (i.e, Valentine hearts which have flown out of her mailbox.) This is a funny and agreeable story. It is innocent fun and we really enjoyed it.

Bookworm1 (age 4) particularly enjoyed Little Mouse's Big Valentinewhich is apparently no longer in print. (So I hope our library holds on to their copy!) This book tells the story of Little Mouse who makes a gigantic Valentine that is so big that no one is interested in receiving it. Little Mouse goes on a hunt trying to find someone who might be interested in this creation and finally comes across another little girl mouse. He decides to give it to her but she suggests that they cut it down to size. So they do and suddenly there are a lot of Valentines for all of Little Mouse's friends.

We've been reading some of our own Valentine's Day books from our home library, but these are two we managed to snag in time to enjoy this season. I'd be inclined to add Silly Tilly to our collection for future reading purposes and will definitely keep an eye out for it. This year, I'm glad to have discovered it.

I know there are quite a few of you sharing your Valentine's Day book finds this season. If you have links you'd like to share, leave 'um in the comment section!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Western Themed Childrens Books, Part III

If you missed it earlier, you can view our list of Western Themed Picture Books that we have been pulling forth from the library book shelves. I've been pulling the best from our stacks and highlighting them here for anyone else who is looking for fun cowboy/cowgirl reads! You can check out Part I or Part II by following the links.

It should be noted that I am not including this titles in my reading count towards the Reading My Library Challenge. This is a side project that we're working on.

This week we'll add some books to our list that talk about two important animals on the western frontier. Can you guess what they are?

Why, cows and horses, of course!

Now, this first title, admittedly, does not really go along with our "wild west" theme but I HAD to pick it up and read it because it talks about the ponies on Assateague Island (East Coast horses!)

Having just recently read Misty of Chicoteague, by Marguerite Henry (linked to my review over at Reading to Know) I was curious to see what this picture book was about. Add to the fact that Jim Arnosky is both the author and illustrator, I figured it would be hard to go wrong with this title.

As the title suggests, the ponies in this book are wild and free and so we see them running in the water, eating grass under the shade of trees and lying on the sand. It's a beautiful book and certainly one to pick up in conjunction with Misty if you take the time to read that one.

Traveling back out west, we picked up a copy of From Foal to Horse, by Robin Nelson, which is a "Start to Finish" book.

Simple text with simple terms makes this book a great introduction to the world of horses for toddlers especially. We learn basic things about how a horse grows and what it is called in various stages of life. You learn things such as when the horse starts to try standing up, how it drinks its mother's milk, and then gradually begins to eat grass. As I said - very simple and very basic. Perfect for where we are at.

As far as an informational book about horses, this is the best we found in our (admittedly rather hurried) search on our last visit.

With cows we were a bit more successful, finding three titles that we really enjoyed.

In the Cattle Yard, by Patricia M. Stockland is rather the cousin to From Foal to Horse. The difference is that In the Cattle Yard is illustrated by Todd Ouren making it feel more like a picture book story. This worked well in our favor. You get the same basic information about calves and cows in this book which was great for us.

Next up we read Cows, by Rachael Bell which is part of a series of books on farm animals. This book has more information in it about cows, and talks about the different types of cows you might see, a little about Longhorn cattle, cattle farms and how cows are transported around. There is an average of 5 sentences per page spread and full-color photographs.

Highly recommended if you are looking for a good way to teach a toddler about cows.

Sixteen Cows, by Lisa Wheeler was one we picked up for the fun of it - and I am so glad we did! This is a picture book with rhyming text. It tells the story of Cowboy Gene "who was long and lean" and Cowgirl Sue who "was smart and true." Each of these individuals own 8 cows which are located on ranches right next to each other. Separated by a fence, Cowboy Gene and Cowgirl Sue maintain their own heads of cattle.

One day a tornado rips through the area removing the fence that separates their two ranches and suddenly the cows co-mingling. Cowboy Gene and Cowboy Sue are having a terrible time managing their cattle but this ends up working in their favor. They realize that cooperation will be essential if they are to herd these animals around.

Come that fall, those two cowpokes exchanged their wedding vows.
Who served as honored bridesmaids? No less than sixteen cows!

Super duper cute. Highly recommended!

Are there any books on cows and horses that you would recommend? (Particularly horses?) Please let me know and we'll check them out!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Play Rhymes, by Marc Brown

No doubt you recognize the name Marc Brown if you are any kind of reader of children's books. Even if you do not recognize the author's name, surely you have heard of his most famous character - Arthur.

What I didn't know is that Brown also collected and illustrated a series of action rhymes for children as well. If you are a parent of an infant or toddler, these books will be of special interest to you as they are a great way to interact with your young reader and play with songs and rhymes. Brown writes of these books:

"I was reintroduced to hand rhymes through my son Tucker when he was in nursery school, and they stirred up memories of hand rhymes I had known when I was young. I thought that doing a book of hand rhymes would be a good way to introduce children to the feeling of poetry. Initially I collected about three hundred fifty rhymes. After whittling down the selection, I devised the accompanying hand movements."

Each book in this series involves a collection of rhymes and illustrated accompanying actions for you to do alongside your child/young reader.

The following three titles are available in this special series:

Play Rhymes
includes: John Brown's Baby, Do Your Ears Hang Low, The Crocodile, My Bicycle, Animals, Wheels on the Bus and others.

In the acknowledgment section of Finger Rhymes, Brown writes:

"I am indebted to the Flint Public Library, in Flint, Michigan, for sharing its extensive collection of finger rhymes, from which my son Tucker and I selected our favorites."

He sounds like a faithful and loyal library user!

Rhymes include: There Was a Little Turtle, Where Is Thumbkin?, The Baby Mice, Clap Your Hands, Ten Little Candles, The Eensy, Weensy Spider and others.

Hand Rhymes include: My Book, Two Little Monkeys, Here is the Beehive, Little Bunny, Quack! Quack! Quack!, The Caterpillar, The Church and others.

ALL of the above books include Marc Brown's recognizable illustrations and are a joy to look through. Both of my little bookworms got a kick out of these books and we were glad to have found them hiding amidst the Arthur books.

If you get a chance - check them out! They are sure to entertain.