Category Archives: Rhymes

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss: A look at Seussville.com

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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!

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Friday Favorite: Five Favorite Love Themed Books for Children

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There are many Valentine-themed picture books for children, but I tend to favor those loved-themed books that aren’t specific to Valentine’s Day- maybe because I can read and enjoy them with my kids any day of the year. After all, we express love for our children every day in big and small ways, not just on February 14. Here are 5 of my favorites that have the love theme, but only the first one is specific to the holiday. Great choices for the 2 and up crowd. Enjoy!

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

When hearts start pouring down instead of raindrops, Cornelia Augusta is inspired to make special Valentines for her friends.

Hello Baby by Mem Fox

A stunningly illustrated, animal-themed rhyming book with a narrative that ends with the message “You are my treasure”

The I Love You Book by Todd Parr

Fun and bright, this book expresses unconditional love for a child in any situation.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

Sappy, but I love it! Will totally inspire a snuggle-fest with your child. With a poetic narrative and magical illustrations, this book reminds us that we can feel love no matter where we are.

A Kiss Means I Love You by Kathryn Madeline Allen

Introduces various expressions and emotions with beautiful photos of children of all ethnicities. A great read-aloud too!

Scholastic has some other suggestions if these titles don’t appeal. What are your favorite love-themed children’s books? I’d love to know. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Friday Favorite: Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale
Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale

I found Stripes of All Types by author/illustrator Susan Stockdale on the new nonfiction shelf at the library recently.  Its rhyming title and black and white patterned cover with a skunk made me curious. And now I have discovered a new favorite author!

Featuring animals with stripes, from zebras to tabby cats, from skunks to snakes, Stripes of All Types (2014) is a wonderful first scientific look at patterns among animals. The images are quite gorgeous. The rhyming text flows beautifully as it walks readers through various nature scenes with animals in their home environments:

“Crawling on a cactus, and camped by a creek./Propped on a log, poised on a leaf”

I recommend this one for a wide variety of ages, especially for 2 to 6 years. It would be a fun story time choice too.

Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale
Bring on the Birds by Susan Stockdale

For more info about this amazing author and artist, watch a video featuring her book “Bring on the Birds“, an award-winning title  published in 2011. And look for her next book, “Spectacular Spots” to be published in 2015.

Friday Favorite: “I Spy” books by Edward Gibbs

I Spy books by Edward Gibbs
I Spy books by Edward Gibbs

British author and former graphic designer Edward Gibbs takes the “I Spy” concept to a new level in his books, “I Spy on the Farm“, “I Spy with My Little Eye“, “I Spy Under the Sea” and his latest, “I Spy Pets“. Beyond stories, they engage the reader in an “I spy” game in one colorful, clever package. Brightly illustrated and interactive, these picture books feature an actual hole that the reader can peer through, but it is the text cues that help most with this guessing game.

From I Spy on the Farm:

“I spy with my little eye…something yellow that begins with a D. Quack, quack! I’m a duckling”.

“I spy with my little eye…something black that beings with an H. Neigh, neigh!  I’m a horse”.

The game doesn’t end on the last page- readers get a final hole and the words, “What can you spy with your little eye?” Recommended for ages 2 and up. You can read more reviews here.

Friday Favorite: Lori Henriques “The World Is A Curious Place to Live” album

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If I could choose any “dream job” with the natural talent to pursue it, it would involve singing and playing jazz. Fortunately, dreams don’t always demand pursuit, and I can just enjoy an occasional fantasy while working my other dream job of being a children’s librarian.

But local mom and musician Lori Henriques is living the fantasy. If you don’t know about her, you need to. This singer/songwriter/pianist was recently given an ASCAP Foundation award for her song, “Something You Learn” (Learn more about that here).

Her new album- “The World Is a Curious Place to Live” released this summer- gives breath and melody to hefty subjects such as science, math, nutrition, and language. Reminding me of the familiar “Why?” stage all young children experience, it’s fueled by the concepts of curiosity and wonder. Aptly, her first song, “Curiosity” pays tribute to a joy of learning and discovery:

 
“Curiosity- I love to be under your spell
Curiosity- yes I can see you work so well
Question pops into my curious mind, I start to research ‘cause I’ve just got to find
Another pattern, another answer…the rings of Saturn, a cure for cancer…”

These seventeen tracks make for a fun listening session with your favorite school-age kid. Henriques sounds like a jazzy Julie Andrews and her classical and jazz influenced vocals and piano technique are a delight to listen to.

The best songs on the album are those that don’t force a specific lesson but allow Henriques to express deep feeling and heart along with the subject matter. As a casual listener, I favor her ballads more than the counting songs like “Let’s Count By Two’s” although I see how useful those are from a teaching perspective.
Here are some of my favorites:
Dinosaur (#2) is a soulful ode to dinos, describing both admiration and wonder:

“Gotta say- you were so cool/a little creepy/and so old-school…hard to imagine you walked on this same land/and quite possibly you touched this rock with your 3-fingered hand”
Everlovin’ Water (track #4) A song praising the benefits of water, describing the physiological process water has on the body, while using clever rhyme and rhythm. Impressive!

When I Look into the Night Sky (track #6) This haunting tune describes the night-time wonder of atoms, stars, planets, and a large universe:
“Every atom that’s inside us, used to live inside a star/We sparkle and we marvel, what is near has come from afar/Whatever may be out there, whatever may be true, the beauty and the wonder, how it moves me through and through”
The World Is A Curious Place to Live (#17): A beautiful, sweet ballad describing things we learn about (music, science, language, math) as well as human relationships ( “we’ve got family, we’ve got friends, we’ll find more along the path”) I just wish there were more verses to this one.

I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Lori in the future!