Category Archives: Early Literacy

Friday Favorite: Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas

Lullaby_ThomasI read Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy in a silly-themed story time this week and the kids looooved it- I have some very squirrely, outspoken boys in my preschool groups and even they were mesmerized. I read it in my best “country western” accent, and I wish I had remembered to wear a fake mustache and cowboy hat (next time…). I sang the opening lullaby, using a tune similar to the one in the book trailer. I invited the kids to sing along with me, once they’d heard it a couple times. This is one you could get props for, or act out with a storytelling partner. And if you played banjo or guitar (a skill I long to have), it would be fantastic to incorporate.

Other Jan Thomas titles include: What Will Fat Cat Sit On?, Rhyming Dust Bunnies, The Doghouse, A Birthday for Cow, Can You Make a Scary Face? and more. To learn more about Jan Thomas, here’s an author interview from “Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast” a wonderful book blog worth your time.

Jan Thomas books are hilarious, and I love their innate invitation to play and interact, whether it’s with an individual child or an entire audience. They are great titles with large appeal; quite likely to help your child develop print motivation (an interest in and enjoyment in books), one of the six early literacy skills children need to have before learning to read.


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: A look at

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I’ve always loved Dr. Seuss, for his rhymes and imaginative worlds, his silly vocabulary and his wonderfully creative characters. His books are a delight for people of all ages. In honor of his 110th birthday on March 2 and NEA’s Read Across America day, schools, libraries and bookstores all over the country are having events to celebrate (the library I work at, CMCL, is having a “Seven Days of Seuss Celebration!” all week- if you’re local, come check it out).

If you haven’t seen the Seussville website, it’s worth your time. This is the top resource for everything Seuss. The American Library Association has listed it as one of their “Great Websites for Kids” Packed with games and activities, it will get kids excited about books and reading. It’s also full of helpful resources for parents and educators. I love their list of “Tips for Reading with your Children“,  all the activities and craft ideas they have, and fun printables for kids! There are book and character guides, videos, author info, and more. If you’re an educator or librarian, don’t miss the great lesson plans to expand on your favorite Seuss titles. Here’s a description:

“Not only do Dr. Seuss’s imaginative stories make reading and learning fun, they also spark lively discussions about subjects as varied as conservation, racism, greed, perseverance, and self-discovery. These guides will help you think of fun and interesting ways for your students to learn about Dr. Seuss’s world and their own.”

One of our family’s favorite Seuss books lately is And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street but it’s really impossible to choose just one. I have fond memories of many Seuss stories from my own childhood and am thankful for all those weekly trips to the library and zillions of hours being read to. My top suggestion for raising a reader? Read! Have books everywhere (not only on bookshelves, but in the bathroom, car, playroom, office, etc.) and read to your kids every day. If you need more reading tips and suggestions, I highly recommend Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook.

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss book, character, or resource? I’d love to hear from you!

Friday Favorite: Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee


Jingle-Jingle is one of my favorite holiday books, with a similar storyline as Clip-Clop, another favorite by the same author. Mr. Horse is back–this time he’s giving rides in his sleigh and our friends Cat, Dog, Pig and Duck are excited to go along for the ride.

“Jingle-jingle, crunch-crunch. Jingle-jingle, crunch-crunch.”

They decide to slide down a steep, snowy hill and- you guessed it- fly through the air and land in a snow drift. “Wheeeeeee!” This is a simple story, with some fun vocabulary (swoosh, plop, crunchy) Two’s and older will appreciate the sound effects and humor in this one.

Favorite Favorite: The Thankful Book by Todd Parr


The air is cold as I go to and from work now, and the scarves, coats and mittens are in full swing at our house. I can’t believe next week is Thanksgiving. And then? Bring on the crazy!

I was excited to do a preschool storytime this week featuring the concept of “being thankful” and appreciating friends and family. I read Todd Parr’s The Thankful Book, an adorable, heartwarming, colorful narrative about all the things kids can be thankful for- from bubble baths to hair, from family pets to underwear.

Here is his bio and go here to see the over 30 books he’s written/illustrated and published.

They all have a common message of love, acceptance, family, and celebrating differences.

Do you have a favorite book about being thankful? Or maybe a favorite Todd Parr book? I’d love to hear from you!

“Dinosaur Roar!” Books for your dinosaur-loving child


Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland is one of my favorite dino books for toddlers and preschoolers.  This author, illustrator and pop up artist presents us with colorful and entertaining dinosaurs that introduce concepts like above/below, weak/strong, fast/slow, fierce/meek (etc.) in a rhyming text. It’s also full of fun vocabulary and an entertaining book to read aloud to young dinosaur enthusiasts.

And if your little one can’t get enough, there are dinosaur books (and even a song by local musician Lori Henriques) for every child:

For the child who loves dinosaurs and construction equipment: Dinosaur Dig! by Penny Dale

For the child who wants it all- construction, humor, ABC’s, hidden letters, and rhyming text: Bang! Boom! Roar! A Busy Crew of Dinosaurs by Nate Evans

For the child who is potty training: Dinosaurs Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

For the child who wants just the facts: Dinosaurs! by Gail Gibbons

For the child who wants pictures and names: My Big Dinosaur Book by Roger Priddy

For the child who likes silly, musical dinos: Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields

For the child who wants a bedtime story with dinosaurs: How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen (also a series)