Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Silver Dolphin loves hands-on learning

Silver Dolphin Books has some great novelty books for kids. I’ve loved their First Stories board books and their adorable Noisy Books. They were kind enough to send me two more sets of their developing novelty lines, the Busy Builders and Woodworks Nursery Rhyme series, and after a lot of playtime with  my 5 year old, I can safely say these are way too much fun!

The Woodworks Nursery Rhymes series has got to be my favorite. The cute little box has a magnetic flap, allowing kids to easily get to the small board book, play mat, and little wooden vehicle inside. The nursery rhymes: The Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald Had a Farm – are adorably illustrated, and caregivers and kids can sing along while they drive their little tractors or school buses around the vinyl playmat.

This is what happens when you let a 5 year-old fold the playmat.

 

Talk about the path the school bus is taking, lead into a conversation about your child’s school bus, or, for pedestrians, the walk to school, as you play, introducing your little ones to the neighborhood around them. Farm play is great for the Old MacDonald playset! Point to the animals on the mat, make animal sounds, and add any animals to your playset as you go along. We introduced dinosaurs to our Old MacDonald playset, which may have upset the chickens a bit.

I want to pick up a few of these sets to add to my Story Hour reference. It will make for a great toddler storytime! The sets are sturdy, the wooden vehicles are well made, and the board books are small enough for little hands.

Next up are the Busy Builders series. I received the Construction Site, Airport, and Fire Station sets. Each box folds out into a playset and includes a 32-page book and model pieces to build roads, vehicles, equipment, and people to add to your playset.

The model pieces come together like puzzle pieces, allowing you to create 3-dimensional fire trucks, construction equipment, ground crew at the airport, and a radio tower, most with moving pieces. The dump truck will tip, for instance, and the fire truck ladder will lift. The book includes instructions in addition to facts about fire stations, construction sites, and the airport. The illustrations are very cute and there’s a lot of information available, in a readable and easily digestible format.

Some of the vehicles are a little fiddly to put together, and the stands for the people take a little time to get just right, but it’s worth it. My kiddo goes berserk for these playsets, and goes right to the book box where I stash them on a regular basis. He can’t put these together solo, so it makes for a nice playtime for us. Breakdown is easy, and I put all the pieces in gallon-size Ziploc bags before putting them back in the boxes, so we can avoid losing pieces and tears for the next time.

These aren’t for toddler hands – they’ll break these apart in no time – but are perfect fun for preschoolers to 2nd graders; they have more manual dexterity and, once they start reading, will enjoy reading the books over and over again. If you have a small library, you may consider these for a playtime collection, but they’d be eaten alive in my library; these are a good gift idea for me!

Old McDonald Had a Farm, Illustratrated by Elliot Kreloff, (Silver Dolphin), $13.99
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-955-4
Format: Kit
Pages: 16 pp.
Trim: 6.25 x 8.25
Art: Full Color
Category: Nursery Rhymes
Age Range: 0 to 3

The Wheels on the Bus, Illustrated by Elliot Kreloff, (Silver Dolphin), $13.99
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-956-1
Format: Kit
Pages: 16 pp.
Trim: 6.25 x 8.25
Art: Full Color
Category: Nursery Rhymes
Age Range: 0 to 3

Busy Builders: Construction Site, by Katherine Sully/Illustrated by: Carles Ballesteros (Silver Dolphin), $19.99
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-564-8
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 7.10 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Machines & Vehicles – Activity & Sticker Books
Age Range: 5 and up

Busy Builders: Airport, by Timothy Knapman/Illustrated by Carles Ballesteros, (Silver Dolphin), $19.99
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-563-1
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 7.10 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Machines & Vehicles – Activity & Sticker Books
Age Range: 5 and up

Busy Builders: Fire Station, by Chris Oxlade/Illustrated by Carles Ballesteros, (Silver Dolphin), $19.99
ISBN 13: 978-1-62686-565-5
Format: Kit
Pages: 32 pp.
Trim: 7.10 x 9.84
Art: Full Color
Category: Machines & Vehicles – Activity & Sticker Books
Age Range: 5 and up

Posted in Preschool Reads, Toddler Reads

Gareth Lucas Noisy Books are too much fun!

Gareth Lucas Noisy Books are fun board books that feature different sounds on each spread. No more worrying about the sounds being off from the spread when your little ones press the page 10 times on the first spread! (I can’t be the only one who sweated that, can I?)

Dinos on Deck!, by Gareth Lucas, (June 2017, Silver Dolphin Books),
$14.99, ISBN: 978-1-62686-938-7

All aboard the Jurassic Jewel for a dino-riffic adventure! Each spread boasts roars, squawks, splish-splashes, digging, creaks, and a hoo-ray as the dinos set sail in search of a tasty treasure. The dinos are cartoony and fun, the sounds have a good volume and are clear, and toddlers and preschoolers alike will love reading this one again and again. My own kindergartener-to-be won’t let this one out of his room: I’m writing this while he’s at camp. Shhh.

 

Dig, Dig, Digger!, by Gareth Lucas, (June 2017, Silver Dolphin Books),
$14.99, ISBN: 978-1-62686-936-3

A construction crew of friendly animals build a playground! They’ve got diggers and cranes, bulldozers and cement, and there are plenty of beeps, crashes, and bangs for kids to enjoy as they follow the builders to the playground. The art is cartoony and fun, and each sound – as with the Dino book – is easy to spot, set off with a bold, fun font and blue design on each spread.

Both books are sturdy and should hold up to multiple readings. There’s battery information on the back of each book, so parents (and librarians) can stock up and extend the life of the books. Each adds its own fun to storytime, whether you read them together for a fun, noisy storytime or separately, to enhance a construction storytime (a nice fit with Summer Reading’s Build a Better World theme), a pirate storytime, or dino storytime.

The Noisy Books are adorable and fun, and little ones will get a kick out of them. I love introducing books with unexpected moments, like lift the flap, pop-ups, and sounds, in toddler storytimes; it adds a sense of excitement for the kids, and their expressions make storytime even more rewarding. Try one in your next circle time!

Posted in Preschool Reads

Blog Tour: The Queen is Coming to Tea!

The Queen is coming for tea! Ellie has to make sure everything is perfect, and travels the world, with her faithful friend, Langley, at her side, to orchestrate the best tea party ever. A fun look at tea parties, with a bit of global flavor. Fun for storytime – have the kids bring in their own stuffed animals for a post-storytime tea party! – and have tea recipes ready for the parents to take home and enjoy with their kiddos. Display with How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea by Kate Hosford, Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy and Fancy Nancy Tea Parties, and Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf! by Judy Sierra for a fun tea time display.

The Queen is Coming to Tea

Author: Linda Ravin Lodding
Illustrator: Constranze von Kitzing
Published: February 7, 2017, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN: 9781492607571; $16.99; Hardcover

Can Ellie and her furry friends get everything ready in time for tea with the Queen?

One day there was a knock at Ellie’s door. There stood the Queen’s Footman.

“A message from Her Royal Highness.” He offered Ellie a note on a silver tray.

May I please come for tea?

Sincerely yours,

The Queen Herself

When Ellie finds out the Queen is coming to tea, she snaps to attention! With her best friend, Langley the Elephant, Ellie travels to Paris, China, Italy, and New York to make sure they have everything they need for tea with the Queen. But will the Queen patiently wait? And what exactly will be waiting for the Queen?

About the Author and Illustrator:

LINDA LODDING is originally from New York, but has spent the past fifteen years in Austria, the Netherlands, and now lives in Sigtuna, Sweden. Visit her at http://www.lindalodding.com.

After finishing her studies, CONSTANZE VON KITZING worked in the cover department at Der Spiegel. She now works as a freelance illustrator, teaches, and runs an art shop in Cologne, Germany, where she lives with her family.

Peach Mango White Iced Tea Recipe

Ingredients:

4 Cups Water

3 White Tea Bags

1 Peach

½ Cup Chopped Frozen Mango

1 tbsp sugar plus Sugar to Taste

 

Instructions:

Boil the 6 cups of water; remove from heat.

Steep the tea bags about 5 minutes; remove bags and allow tea to cool to room temperature.

Add chopped peaches and mango to a mixing bowl and mix with sugar; let fruit soften.

Place fruit in pitcher and pour cooled tea on top; add sugar to taste and stir.

Chill and serve.

 

GIVEAWAY: Enter this Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of The Queen is Coming to Tea! AND a ceramic tea set!

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Introducing Peace Dragon Tales!

Peace Dragon Tales is a little imprint with a big mission: to spread peace and to channel our energies into “peaceful and productive outlet[s]”. Author Linda Ragsdale has two Peace Dragon books: How I Did It, and a fun twist on a beginner’s dictionary: Alpha Better.

How I Did It, by Linda Ragsdale/Illustrated by Anoosha Syed, (Apr. 2017, Flowerpot Press), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1486712113
Recommended for readers 3-6

In How I Did It, the letter I breaks out of its spot in the alphabet and sees things from different points of view. The other letters don’t always support I‘s being different, but I won’t be stopped – and ends up inspiring a friend: U. Told from I‘s point of view, it’s an inspiring read-aloud to young audiences. The cartoony, primary colored artwork is fun and lively, and kids will have fun guessing the words the letters act out on the endpapers.  (Psst… the front and back endpapers have different words.) It’s a fun story of embracing differences and trying new things. Pair this one with Kathryn Otoshi’s books, like One and Zero.

 

Alpha Better, by Linda Ragsdale/Illustrated by Martina Hogan, (Apr. 2017, Flowerpot Press), $16.99, ISBN: 978-1486712106
Recommended for readers 4-7

Alpha Better is a fun spin on a dictionary – it’s a Fabularictionary! (Fabulous + Hilarious + Dictionary) Loaded with words that go above and beyond our usual exclamations – awesome, fantastic, excellent – Alpha Better is loaded with positive word mashups for kids to introduce to their vocabularies. Words like absomemendous (absolutely + tremendous), lovuggable (loving + huggable), phenomenational (phenomenal + inspirational) will have kids laughing and coming up with their own words. I can see bebud ( best + buddy) being a popular one in elementary school. This is a great book to inspire a writing exercise where kids can make up their own Alpha Better words. Think of it as a fun companion to Eats Shoots and Leaves.

 

Peace Dragon Tales is an imprint of Flowerpot Press; initially a project drawn from tragedy, the project now seeks to inspire people to focus “on the universal desire for peace presented in its many dragon forms… where truth and the celebration of diversity will build bridges” and encompasses dance, music, visual arts, food, and more. Learn more about The Peace Dragon Project at their website, where you can find printables that provide great starting points for discussion.

 

 

 

Posted in Preschool Reads, programs

Guest post from Education.com: Pre-K Shapes Activity!

I was so excited when Shannon from Education.com contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in featuring a guest blog post with an activity! I’m always looking for something fun to do at home with my (graduating) preschooler and my library kids, and this fun shapes/geometry activity is simple, requires few materials, and is fun. Pair it with a fun shape story like Suse MacDonald’s Shape by Shape, or one of my more recent favorites, Mac Barnett’s Triangle, and you’re set. Enjoy the activity, and check out Education.com’s Geometry Resources for tracing, coloring, and game-creating activities!

Create Spectacular Shape Stick Puppets!


Puppets are great resources to help kids act out their own stories or re-enact stories from a favorite book. This activity lets your kid in on the fun by introducing her to a simple puppet-making activity. Large craft sticks can easily be formed into shape puppets of the characters in The Three Little Pigs so that she can act out her own version after watching the Speakaboos video. This is a great opportunity to bring out the performer in your child!

What You Need:
Thick paper, like cardstock
Construction paper
Scissors
Glue
Pencil
Crayons
Large craft sticks
Tape
What You Do:
Help your child trace a large circle onto the cardstock with a pencil. An easy way to create a circle template is to turn a bowl upside down on top of the paper and trace around the rim. Cut the circle out. Cardstock or other sturdy paper may be too thick for your child to cut by herself, so be ready to assist if needed. Cut out a variety of shapes in different sizes from the construction paper with your child. Triangles, rectangles, circles, squares, or even free-form shapes are perfect for the puppets’ features. Have your child decide on a character (animal or person) for the puppet. Ask your child to choose shapes that will make up the various facial features of the chosen subject. Discuss what the different parts of the face are, and how many of each shape she will need. Glue the shapes onto the circle. Allow the glue to dry. Once dry, your child can add small details with crayons. These details may include eyelashes, whiskers, a beard, spots, or stripes. Attach a large craft stick to the back of the circle with tape.

 

What’s Going On:
Your child is now ready to have her own fanciful puppet show! Encourage your preschooler to put on plays and create simple stories with her stick puppets. And to make it more of an event, you can even build a puppet theater for an expressive dramatic play experience.

What’s Going On? Puppet shows and puppet-making inspire artistic creativity, movement, and dramatic play while also enhancing your child’s fine motor skills and her understanding of the visual and dramatic arts. Working with puppets also has the benefit of letting her make creative play with literacy and sequencing skills, both of which are important for reading comprehension later on. The shape stick puppet activity is also a great way to encourage early math skills such as shape recognition and the part-to-whole relationship.

Visit Education.com for more learning resources, searchable by subject and grade! Thanks to Shannon and Education.com for the guest post.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Ozzy the Ostrich teaches kids to stand up to bullies

Ozzy the Ostrich, by José Carlos Andrés/Illustrated by Bea Enríquez, (June 2017, NubeOCHO), $15.95, ISBN: 978-8494541599

Recommended for readers 3-6

Ozzy Ostrich and two friends trot across the plain, munching on flowers, until three lions threaten to eat them! Ozzy – who also has an egg to defend – stands up to the bullies, scaring the so badly that one loses his teeth, one loses all of his fur, and one turns completely white. The former bullies befriend the ostriches, but what happens when another pride of lions shows up to menace the group?

Ozzy the Ostrich is a good introduction to the concepts of bullying and standing up for oneself and others. When the first group of lions bullies Ozzy, she stands up for herself and the bullies back down. When the next group comes along, Ozzy sees that her actions resonate. The art is bright, vibrant, and bold; both lions and ostriches have exaggerated facial expressions that readers will enjoy and laugh at (especially when the chastised lions react).

Originally published in Spanish under the title Un avestruz con much luz (2016), Ozzy the Ostrich makes a good social issues read-aloud for storytime. Pair with Kathryn Otoshi’s One for an anti-bullying storytime message.

Posted in Early Reader, Fantasy, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Preschool Reads

Surreal graphic novel fun for little ones: Adele in Sandland

Adele in Sandland, by Claude Ponti, (June 2017, TOON Books), $12.95, ISBN: 978-1-943145-16-4

Recommended for readers 3-7

Little Adele’s mother takes her to the park. While Mama chats with a friend, Adele begins to dig and sets off on an adventure with her doll, Stuffy, and Sandy – a creature from her sand pail – where they’re eaten by a sand dragon, she meets a tree of hot dogs, a king who likes to walk, barefoot, on his subjects’ heads, and ventures forth to a tasty dessert island.

Adele in Sand Land is surreal fun for readers who’ve become more comfortable with slightly longer sentences than those introduced in early readers. The book is TOON Level 1, which is about a Kindergarten reading level and corresponds to Guided Reading Levels E-J. TOON includes all of this information in the back of each book, and on their website, which is a great resources for parents and educators alike. The story is a fun storytime selection for younger audiences, too: kids will easily envision themselves on a magical adventure while playing at the park.

The surreal art makes this a great choice when introducing young readers to graphic novels, too. While the overall story is sequential, the dreamlike quality of the art allows kids to let their imaginations run wild. Let your kids draw their own surreal adventure for a fun accompanying activity, or introduce stories like Alice in Wonderland or Harold and the Purple Crayon for more adventures with a touch of the surrealistic. Teacher’s Resources are forthcoming for this title.

Adele in Sand Land received a starred review from Kirkus. An early Adele story, Adele’s Album (1988), is out of print but can be found for varying prices through third party sellers online.