Posts Tagged ‘read this’

Read This: Zoo Borns!

Monday, December 20th, 2010

ZooBorns! Zoo Babies from Around the World by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland

Well, this is just about the cutest book you’ll ever pick up.  Each two-page spread features a beautiful photograph of a baby animal born in a zoo, along with a brief introduction.  My favorites are Radar Ears, the fennec fox (who looks a lot like SkippyJon Jones!); Hoover, the tawny frogmouth; Monifa the pygmy hippo; and of course Beco, the Asian Elephant from our very own Columbus Zoo and Aquarium!

The limited text and short sentences make this a great book for sharing, or for kids starting to read on their own.

If you still can’t get enough mini paws, claws, scales and tails, check out these other baby animal books!

Read This: Higher! Higher!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Higher!  Higher! by Leslie Patricelli

A little girl being pushed on a swing has just one request:  Higher!  Higher! 

Her grown up pal happily complies, pushing the girl so high that she makes friends with a giraffe, some kids playing board games on the roof of an apartment building, a mountain climber, travelers on a plane, and many others.

Kids will delight in this fantastical story.  And with only a handful of words in the entire book, many will be able to read it on their own!  Or you can sharpen your child’s vocabulary and narrative skills by having her tell you the story or describe what’s happening in the pictures.

If Higher!  Higher! isn’t in and you can’t stand the wait, check out some of Leslie Patricelli’s other books.  She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite authors!

Read This! The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick

Homer P. Figg and his big brother Harold are alone in this world.  Homer’s father died before he was born.  His mother passed away when he was just a young sapling of a boy leaving Homer and Harold at the mercy of their uncle Squinton Leach, the meanest man in Maine.  (Ooooh, Squinton Leach.  Just writing down his name gives me the shivers. )

Squint’s meanness reaches a new level when he sells Harold to the Union Army in place of a rich man’s son.  When Homer finds that the enlistment isn’t legally binding because Harold is underage, he knows he has to rescue his brother.  His journey includes (but is not limited to) getting swindled, being kidnapped once or twice, starring in a traveling show as a vicious pig boy, a balloon ride, and a final stop at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Don’t let the goofy cover of this Newbery Honor Book fool you — this humorous book doesn’t gloss over the ugliness of war.  Homer sees the front lines, and he doesn’t like it one bit.  Still, Homer’s ability to spin a yarn will entertain just about every reader.

Read This! NurtureShock:New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

Monday, May 10th, 2010

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

I’m a little late to the praise party for this book, but I can’t help myself from jumping on the bandwagon.  Disclaimer:  I don’t like to read non-fiction, and I have never successfully completed a “parenting book.”  But I devoured this book.  Why?  Because it’s written in a completely accessible style and it’s not a “parenting book.”  It’s a book about how kids (of all ages) work, and ways that we’ve been completely misinterpreting them for years.

For example, most of us praise our kids, for all kinds of mundane things, all the time.  It’s the best way to instill confidence and self-esteem, right?  Wrong!  Read chapter 1, “The Inverse Power of Praise” to find out more.

And what’s up with teens, anyway?  They’re so angsty and moody.  But, I guess that’s just the way things are, they’ll grow out of it.  Or maybe it’s that chronic sleep deprivation increases moodiness, adversely affects problem solving skills, and actually causes our brains to process unhappy experiences more effectively than happy ones.  Chapter 2, “The Lost Hour” explains it way better than I ever could.

And I wish I could copy chapter 10, “Why Hannah Talks and Alyssa Doesn’t” and hand it out to every mother I see with an infant or toddler in tow.  See, we’ve always been told that the most important thing you can do to develop your child’s language skills is talk to them.  A lot.  About anything.  But that’s not it at all — it turns out how we respond to our child’s babbling has a lot more to do with language aquisition than what we say to them.

But wait, there’s more!  Chapters about race identification, why kids lie, “gifted” children, sibling relationships, teen rebellion, self-control and social skills literally offer something for every parent, regardless of the age of your child.

So here you go — a non-fiction book anyone can appreciate.  Don’t be put off by the science and the scary number on the spine.  You’ll like it, I promise.  I’d never steer you wrong.

And it this doesn’t float your boat, check out some of our other parenting books to find something that works for you.

Read This! The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Miss Penelope Lumley is hired right out of school (Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females) to work as governess for Lord and Lady Ashton.    She is looking forward to starting her job, but nobody will tell her about the children until she discovers them on her own—in the barn, howling like dogs!  It’s then she learns that she has been hired to “civilize” these kids, who have been raised by wolves (really, they howl, bark, and chase squirrels!). 

The book is a cross between Jane Eyre and Lemony Snicket—with emphasis on the Snicket—and is, pardon me, a howl!   Warning: nothing is neatly tied up—the book ends with a cliff-hanger.

More new chapter books!

More of Miss Susan’s favorite books!

Read This! All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

All The World by Liz Garton Scanlon

“Rock, stone, pebble, sand
Body, shoulder, arm, hand
A moat to dig, a shell to keep
All the world is wide and deep.”

This charming story, told in a lilting, singsong rhyme, walks us through a single day of one family’s beach vacation. Each stanza offers a mini vignette: an unexpected rain storm teaches us that sometimes things we don’t want to happen, do; a grumbly tummy wait at a restaurant illustrates that patience is indeed a virtue.

Nearly every page of this seemingly simple story, either the text or the nostalgic illustration, invites further discussion. That makes this a great book for developing narrative skills, and the rhythmic rhyme naturally enhances phonological awareness. Take this with you on vacation for a relaxing and timely bedtime read!

More new picture books!

Read This! Chalk by Bill Thompson

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Chalk by Bill Thompson

A rainy day.  Three kids at the park.  A bag of chalk.  Magic! 

Big and little kids alike will delight in the lifelike illustrations of this wordless picture book.  Have your child “read” this story to you, then have your very own book club.  Talk about how the kids in the story might have felt.  Ask what your child would draw if they had magic chalk.  Would magic chalk be a good or a bad thing?  These are great activities for enhancing your child’s narrative skills!

More new picture books!  More stories without words!

Read This! Stone Voice Rising by C. Lee Tocci

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Stone Voice Rising by C. Lee Tocci

Six year old Lilibit, who lives with her two old aunties, has talked to stones for as long as she can remember. When a mysterious man as tall and strong as a tree comes to take her to Kiva, a safe haven where her abilities will be honed, her only concern is to teach him a lesson. No one treats Lilibit like a foolish child and gets away with it.When she escapes during their cross country trip, she finds she has unwittingly put herself terrible danger.

Five years later she arrives at an orphanage, battered and broken, with no memories of her prior life. After a devastating earthquake, Lilibit and six other orphaned children with mysterious powers decide they must journey to Kiva. But the shape shifting evil being Syxx and his forces are hot on their trail.

This equally touching and suspenseful fantasy will appeal to boys and girls alike.

More new chapter books!