Sometimes it takes a caring friend to deliver a hard-to-digest truth. Sometimes to make things better we just need a warm bath and a friend to scratch that hard-to-reach itch. Big Smelly Bear by German author Britta Teckentrup has quickly become a favorite in our house lately. It stars a big brown bear- a big smelly brown bear- who has no interest in taking care of himself by brushing or bathing until he realizes it is keeping him from having any friends.
“Big Smelly Bear never brushed. Big Smelly Bear never took a bath. Big Smelly Bear was followed by a big smelly stink wherever he went. Flies buzzed all around him. But they were the only ones that ever came close.”
One day, he meets a Big Fluffy Bear who offers to scratch his itch if he takes a bath. They argue back and forth, but when Big Fluffy Bear finally shouts, “you stink!” Big Smelly Bear decides to give bathing a try. On its surface, this picture book is simply a silly story about bathing. But it also features themes about friendship, stubbornness, caring for yourself, and being honest even when it’s hurtful.
Big Smelly Bear makes a fantastic read-aloud because of its large, colorful illustrations; its humor and fun. It would fit well in a preschool story time about bears, bathtime, friendship, or silly stories. The argument between bears invites an opportunity for audience participation. In writing this post, I realized that I’m already familiar with Britta Teckentrup through her stories Animal 123 and Animal Spots and Stripes, as well as Grumpy Cat, Clumsy Duck and more. Hopefully you’ll fall in love with her books as much as I have!
Here’s the thing. I spend a lot of time watching kids shows with my two and four year old. We also spend alot of time reading, but tv is how I get things done- cooking dinner, laundry, getting ready for work, etc. And much of it is okay- but somewhat lacking. However, we recently stumbled upon a unique show to love–The Friendship Show. It is a breath of fresh air in a world full of mediocre animated characters-that-frankly-we-could-care-less-about. It’s reminiscent of Mr. Rogers, but with a refreshingly modern twist (and more crafts). Hostess Ruby is captivating and full of positive messages for the toddler and preschool set.
Here’s a description:
“Emphasizing the “golden rule”: Do to others what you would have them do to you, The Friendship Show explores ways to build empathy and conflict-resolution skills – with the goal of growing and maintaining one of the most valuable things in life: great friendships. Join lovable host, Ruby, as she welcomes kids into her magical art studio for a day of creativity, fun, and friendship.”
We can’t wait to view “The Safety Show” and “The Feelings Show”. Ruby’s Studio also offers books and more. The Mother Company and its blog is worth checking out as well. Have you stumbled upon good videos for kids? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
“And then her flight seemed to slow down. It was as if she was floating weightlessly through space. Cautiously Clementine opened her eys and beheld an amazing sight: THE WORLD!” -Clementine
I recently wrote about an adorable snail book and now I’ve discovered another one. Clementine by Sebastian Loth is a sweet story about a brave little snail and her earthworm best friend, Paul. Clementine loves round shapes- round shells, car tires, and the moon. She longs to go visit the moon. With Paul’s help, she attempts to design something that will get her there. Eventually she succeeds and learns that the earth is round too! The illustrations, particularly the ones of Clementine in outer space, are captivating and fun. This is a lovely story about dreams, determination, curiosity and friendship, perfect for preschoolers and older.
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 wasn’t feeling quite satisfied with the second read-aloud I’d selected for preschool story time when the bold yellow cover with a colorful puffin beckoned to me from the picture book shelves. I grabbed it and immediately knew I had a winner. Brightly colored illustrations in a book about two best friends Peter and Paul (who happen to be puffins) getting separated from each other and- with the help of a friendly whale- get reunited for a happy ending? Yes please!
It’s Puffin Peter, by Petr Horacek. This is a story that gets told quite a bit, but not exactly in this way…It’s not only a fun story about friendship, but a narrative about miscommunication as the whale mistakenly finds other types of birds matching the description of the lost puffin. I’m already a big fan of Horacek’s picture books New House for Mouse, Silly Suzy Goose and Butterfly, Butterfly. And like many of my favorite author/illustrators, I think I’ll be fond of anything he does (and I admit a special bias for collage art). The preschoolers I read it to today seemed to love it just as much.