Monthly Archives: March 2014

Happy Spring!

EarlyplantDear Readers, Happy Spring! I’m taking a couple weeks off to focus on special events at work and to play with my family during Spring Break. See you next month! -itty bitty


Friday Favorite: “S is for Salmon: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet” by Hannah Viano

S is for Salmon
S is for Salmon

(Disclosure: I received a promotional copy of this book but the opinion is my own.)

There are plenty of alphabet books out there- so many that you can afford to be pretty picky when choosing which titles to check out from the library or purchase and add to your child’s personal home collection. I’ve previously written about some of my favorite titles, but recently I came across a stunning and unique new alphabet book, Hannah Viano’s S is for Salmon: A Pacific Northwest Alphabet from Sasquatch Books; this is one I can’t stop looking at, and it’s become a new favorite of mine.

Hannah Viano is a paper-cut artist (like one of my favorite authors/artists Nikki McClure) and this book beautifully captures the wonder and beauty of the natural world in the Pacific Northwest:


A is for Anemone: Tucked away when exposed at low tide, the tentacles of a sea ANEMONE reach out when the water returns.


G is for Gull: GULLS carry snacks of crabs and clams high into the air, then drop them onto rocks to open the hard shells.

Hannah Viano spend her childhood exploring the rocky Maine coast, and has worked as an outdoor educator. Viano entered the art world after her son’s birth: “In my life, art has always been fit in around the edges,” she says, “a tiny sketchbook and a stolen moment in the rigging of a sailing ship, or a thick roll of paper held open by my bare feet in the sand” She now lives in Seattle, Washington and “strives to mix natural history and art together in accessible ways through public art projects, education, and site-specific installations”.

S is for Salmon is a wonderful book to share with preschoolers, elementary students and up- really anyone who loves the Pacific Northwest, who appreciates and enjoys the coast and its natural beauty. This would make an amazing gift for the special beach lover in your life. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this talented author/illustrator.

Friday Favorite: Crocodile Tales

Kindhearted_CrocodileSolomon Crocodile

Two crocodile books came home from the library with us this week and I thought it’d be fun to feature them together. I must admit I favor the character of the Kindhearted Croc who wants to belong to a family so badly he does their dishes, folds their laundry, spreads jam on their toast, and tidies the toys. OH, and makes coffee for the parents. My kind of crocodile!

Solomon Crocodile, on the other hand, is a trouble-maker who has difficulty making a friend who will appreciate his, uh, charm. Both titles are clever, creative, funny stories with fantastic illustrations sure to capture the attention of your favorite preschooler.

The Kindhearted Crocodile by Lucia Panzieri, illustrated by Anton Gionata Ferrari

Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner

Learning to Love Nonfiction


I have always been more fascinated by stories than by facts. Traditional fiction is what I choose to read in my free time, as limited as my time is. It’s taken getting through graduate school and now having a curious preschooler at home to really prompt me to check out nonfiction to read. I think some of the best nonfiction for children can be just as captivating as a story.

According to Reading Rockets, “Nonfiction books present many opportunities to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden a child’s view of the world. Nonfiction books are written differently than picture books in that there are often more pictures, graphics, charts and photographs included within the pages.”

My son was recently fascinated by the ants he saw crawling across our kitchen floor. The next library trip included a search for a good ant book so we could learn together what they eat, where they live, etc. We’ve also enjoyed getting books that coincide with experiences he’s having- whether it’s a trip to the dentist, or a new sibling; a question about how his eyes work, or what a groundhog is. A recent favorite is Building Our House by Jonathan Bean which details a family with young kids who build their own home.

Whatever makes your child curious, what prompts them to ask why or frequently grabs their attention is a good place to start. Here are more tips from Reading Rockets, as well as some wonderful age appropriate book suggestions along with related activities and mobile apps organized by theme. Do you enjoy nonfiction? Do your kids? I’d love to hear what your experience is.