Monthly Archives: August 2013

Last Days of Summer

Girl_DandelionJust wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking the rest of the month off to enjoy the last days of summer with my family and gearing up for more blog posts. See you in September! Happy Reading!


Friday Favorite: Goldilocks and Just One Bear

Goldilocks_BearToday I’m featuring a new favorite- a picture book by writer/illustrator Leigh Hodgkinson whose blog, wonky button highlights her talents as an artist. Her 2012 book Goldilocks and Just One Bear presents us with a new twist on a familiar story, packed with humor: “Once upon a time, there was this bear. One minute, he was strolling in the woods, all happy-go-lucky…The next minute, he didn’t have a crumb-of-a-clue where he was.”

Here is a great summary from publisher Nosy Crow:
“Many years have passed since Goldilocks caused chaos at the Bears’ house in the woods, but what happens when Little Bear wanders out of his fairytale and into the big city where Goldilocks now lives?

Awarding-winning artist and animator Leigh Hodgkinson is the creator of this funny and clever fractured fairytale based on the familiar story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks is now grown up with a family and a rather smart apartment, so how will she react to coming home and finding that a very lost bear has been scoffing porridge, breaking chairs and sleeping in beds? Will she be cross, or is finally time to make amends?”

This story works well for preschool and beyond. It’s great fun, and one I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I have. For a list of other “fractured fairy tales” with titles for BOTH young kids and middle schoolers, check this out!

Mouse Paint

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a great book about colors- one I’ve used in toddler and preschool story times over and over. While the cat is asleep, three curious white mice find three jars of red, yellow and blue paint and discover that mixing colors together make new colors (red + blue =purple, yellow + blue = green, etc).

Here’s an idea for extending the story: take 6 clear plastic cups (I use disposable cups from the Dollar store), red, yellow and blue food coloring, and water. Prepare two cups of red colored water, two cups of yellow colored water, and two cups of blue colored water. Mix the colors together along with the story, or after you read the story once, have your child help re-tell it and mix the colors together. Here’s a flannel story using this book. For related books, check out Mouse Count and Mouse Shapes.

Other favorite books that introduce colors are: Dog’s Colorful Day by Dodd, Monsters Love Colors by Austin, A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, Color Zoo and Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, and Duckie’s Rainbow by Frances Barry.

Friday Favorite: Emily Gravett

Monkey_MeI was planning to do a follow up post today about more great kid’s albums (because, let’s face it, there are WAY more than ten…) but life happens. Your partner goes out of town on business. Your kids go crazy and act up, sensing your weakness. You have an interview for the job of your dreams. You have dealt with so many time-outs, temper-tantrums, spilled milk, and normally well-rested kids refusing to take naps or sleep well during the night that, well…Enough said.

So while I’m listening to albums, drinking wine, and (let’s face it, watching Arrested Development when I should be blogging) thinking about it, I’d like to feature another outstanding British author/illustrator Emily Gravett. I think it was her “Monkey and Me” book that initially drew me in. If you read my last post, you know I have a weakness for adorable monkey books.

Monkey and Me stars an active little girl and her beloved monkey introducing readers to a variety of animals by first acting like the animal, then showing the animal in action:

“Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, We went to see, We went to see some…Elephants!”
“Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, We went to see, We went to see some…Kangaroos!”

This book features a repeating narrative with large, eye-catching illustrations which makes it a great read-aloud for story time. I always make it interactive, having the audience say “Monkey and me”, clapping or tapping in rhythm, then guess what animal is coming next. Finally, on the last page the miniature narrator and her monkey are so tired they can only finish their line with ZZZZZZZ’s. (I can relate).

Another lovely book is Blue Chameleon, a story about a sad, lonely chameleon trying to make friends with various things (ball, sock, fish, snail, etc.) until he finally meets another colorful chameleon companion, resulting in a happy ending. Colored pencil illustrations are simple but lively; there is a quiet humor in the narrative as the chameleon physically imitates each object or animal and tries (but fails) to befriend it using common language such as “Howdy” (to a cowboy boot) or “Can I hang with you?” (to a striped sock hanging on a clothesline).

One of Gravett’s first picture books, Orange Pear Apple Bear is a fun story about a bear and his antics with some fruit–exploring concepts of color and shapes using only five words (very impressive!). Its simple illustrations and great rhyming is perfect for age two and up. For ideas about using this book in a variety of ways, look here.

Do you have a favorite Emily Gravett book? If so, I’d love to hear about it!