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!
I am not a morning person. I take time to wake up. And lots of coffee. So when my preschooler, an early riser, comes in before 6 a.m. most mornings, it’s a rude awakening. We tried to train him to wait until the green light on his alarm clock turns on, signaling it’s okay to get up. It works on and off. But lately, I’ve been mumbling “give me few minutes to wake up” and wishing I could catch a few more zzzz’s as he climbs on the bed and declares it’s time to get up.
Anyone with young kids will identify with my featured book. Snippet the Early Riser by Bethanie Deeney Murguia stars an adorable little snail who doesn’t sleep in. His family likes to sleep in, but that’s no fun for a little snail who’s ready to start his day and play! With the help of his friends (grasshopper, cricket, ant, firefly, etc.), he tries different ways to wake his papa, mama, and sister. My favorite is stinkbug, who offers to “stink” them out of bed. The watercolor illustrations are colorful and cute (each snail has its own unique patterned shell). Do Snippet’s attempts work? You’ll have to read it to get to the sweet conclusion.
I recommend this book for the preschool crowd (especially if you have an early riser like I do!). They will identify with the family dynamics and delight in the ways that Snippet tries to wake his family members. You can find the book trailer and some extension activities here. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this author in the future.
I recently wanted to find a movie for our family’s first “movie night” at home and was a bit overwhelmed by all the options. As a parent, it’s impossible to preview every single book, movie or tv show your child wants to consume (especially if you have more than one kid!). Finding age-appropriate books and movies can be daunting.
Common Sense Media is a great resource for helping determine what materials are right for your family. This rich resource offers reviews of books, music, movies, apps, games, and more. They are a nonprofit, independent organization “dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology”.
There is an easy-to-use search box in the upper right corner- just enter the title of the book, movie, etc and choose from the list. For each entry, there is a brief summary and review as well as “what parents need to know”, an age appropriateness rating and discussion of content (things like violence, positive role models, consumerism, language, substance use). There’s a place to read both parent and kid reviews and a list of questions to discuss with your kids.
Check out the “Best Movies” for Kids page, categorized by age group and genre. They also offer other “Best of” lists, such as music, books, apps, games, etc. I love that you can narrow down searches by age. Finally, here are some recommendations for the preschoolers in your life.
One of my favorite stories for sharing in story time is Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein. This delightful book stars a little gorilla whose family loves him when he’s little and even as they watch him grow and grow and grow into a great big gorilla, they still love him. This is a story about unconditional love, the importance of friends and family and community. The narrative describes various jungle animals (giraffe, elephant, lion and even a big boa constrictor!) helping care for Little Gorilla. It ends with a birthday song, and the reassurance that although he’s now almost too big to fit on the page, everyone still loves “little” gorilla.
I’ve read this story for both birthday and monkey-themed storytimes, and used flannel props or stuffed animals to help tell the story, but the illustrations are vibrant and engaging on their own. I prefer the “lap size” board book version.
Check out this adorable video of a parent and child enjoying this book together- you’ll notice that the adult lingers on the page that the child is most interested in- the lion roaring- and follows her interest instead of insisting on getting through the rest of the story…a great example of print motivation (one of the six early literacy skills, this simply means an interest in and enjoyment of books)!
There’s no denying it. October is here. The rain is here. I’m starting to drink more hot tea. Re-discover scarves and hats. Plan Halloween costumes with the kids. And dig out homemade soup recipes.
Some of the best books inspire you to go beyond an occasional reading. They offer images that linger; they create endearing stories that get embedded in your mind and heart. Rainbow Stew by Cathyrn Falwell is such a book. She beautifully portrays a grandfather who, on a rainy day, helps his three grandchildren tend his garden. They use the produce they pick to make a colorful vegetable soup (a “rainbow”)-“Peel, slice, chop, and dice, colors fill the pot. Stir in herbs and water and then wait till it gets hot” The rhyming text makes this a great read-aloud. When the cooking is done, grandfather and kids curl up with books while waiting to taste the meal they’ve created “Yum!”
Falwell writes that she made the book to share her love of gardening and cooking with children and their families. She recalls, “My dad didn’t teach me about gardening in a formal sense. He just let me do some of the fun stuff–plant seeds, help tie up the tomatoes, pull up the carrots. And I loved seeing things grow. Everything tasted better fresh, too”. Her book concludes with a recipe for making your own “rainbow stew”. Just pull up a chair and add your favorite little helper!
In fact, this book is packed with themes- colors, gardening, healthy eating, positive family relationships/grandparents, cooking, etc. There’s lots of possibilities for extension activities. Falwell has a bunch of fresh ideas for art projects, cooking and more on her Rainbow Stew website. Here is a cute flannelboard idea for sharing a related rainbow/vegetable themed story with your little ones.
Stay warm and savor this delicious book today.