Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick

The Mother-Daughter Book Club #6 (Last book of the series)

A foreign exchange student and trips abroad add excitement to the lives of the members of the Mother-Daughter Book Club. This time around they're reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

What I thought: As sad as I am to see this series end, Wish You Were Eyre was a solid book. It was definitely Meg and Becca's book though the others get their usual time. My favorite part is the Wyoming penpals' visit.

This series lends itself easily to a reading challenge. Here is the Mother-Daughter Book Club Reading Challenge:
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The only one I haven't read is the Betsy-Tacy series. I guess I'll have to give it a try.

The Mother-Daughter Book Club Series: (links are to my reviews)
The Mother-Daughter Book Club
Much Ado About Anne
Dear Pen Pal
Pies and Prejudice
Home for the Holidays
Wish You Were Eyre

(Simon & Schuster, 2012)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bear Has a Story To Tell by Philip C. Stead

Bear wants to tell his friends a story, but they're all busy getting ready for winter. He helps them but still hasn't had a chance to tell his story. Will he find a friend to listen before the urge to sleep is too strong?

What I thought: I really like this book. I can't wait to use it for my hibernation story time in the fall. I think I'll pair it with The Busy Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri. I love the soft colors of the illustrations and the good use of white space.

Story Time Themes: Fall, Hibernation, Stories, Forest Animals

(Illus. Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook Press, 2012)

Friday, February 22, 2013

#FlannelFriday: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday, I'm planning and hosting a special story time on his actual birthday. I knew I needed a flannel board set to use. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish seemed the one that lends itself easiest to adaptation. Mel of Mel's Desk showcased a version that used copies from the book in her Dr. Seuss Baby Storytime, but I knew I wanted my pieces to be flannel. I searched the web and found a simple fish coloring sheet to use as a pattern. I only used the first 3 pages of the book...up to the fish in the car. I used the book as a reference for colors, but changed things up a bit too.

One fish: yellow outlined in red puff paint
Two fish: green outlined in green puff paint
Red fish: red outlined in yellow puff pant
Blue fish: blue outlined in light blue puff paint

Black fish: black outlined in silver puff paint with a yellow eye
Blue fish: blue outlined in light blue puff paint
Old fish: gray outlined in white puff paint
New fish: smaller pink outlined in darker pink puff paint

Star fish: white out lined in dark purple puff paint with light purple puff paint spots and a star in dark purple (The spots happened because I discovered that I cannot freehand a star shape.)
Car fish: orange outlined in orange puff paint
The car: I used a convertible clipart image from Microsoft Office and cropped the driver out. I re-sized a fish to fit in the car. The car is blue outlined in dark blue puff paint with gray wheels outlined in black puff paint.

At the end of the rhyme, I plan on asking the kids how many fish they see. It could be a tricky question as I expect some to count the two fish as one.  The correct answer is 11. So I made an "11" to add to the board.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Cup & The Crown by Diane Stanley

Sequel to The Silver Bowl

Molly is now a lady...a reward for saving the young prince from an evil plot. Her elevated status doesn't stop her visions. In her dreams, Molly sees a cup. When the king (the former prince) asks her to find him a loving cup made by her grandfather, Molly isn't surprised. With her friends Winifred and Tobias, she journeys first to Austlind and then to the hidden city of Harrowsgode where she finds much more than a loving cup.

What I thought: The Cup & The Crown was a riveting read. It's fast-paced and filled with both action and peril. This book can be enjoyed without reading the previous book. Molly remains a wonderful heroine. I loved seeing her grow and mature in her second book. The descriptions of Harrowsgode were gorgeous. Who would expect such beauty to hide such treachery? (Wait! Didn't the same thing happen in The Silver Bowl?) The new characters introduced in this book were great. I especially like Molly's cousin. Medieval fantasy fans will love The Cup & The Crown. I would also give this title to historical faction fans.

(Harper, 2012)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh, No! by Candace Fleming

Animals fall into a deep hole. Will anyone rescue them before the hungry tiger arrives?

What I thought: I like this book. The story is fun and the illustrations are great. I love the bold black lines. I think I'll use Oh, No! for my World Animals Story Time this spring. My favorite illustration is the sun bear teetering.

Story Time Themes: World Animals, Predators

(Illus. Eric Rohmann. Schwartz & Wade, 2012)

Friday, February 15, 2013

#FlannelFriday: Five Little Birds

First, I want to say a big thank you to Mel of Mel's Desk for sharing her patterns for the Five Little Birds. They were fantastic. I had such fun making them and the kids really liked them, too.

I used Elizabeth Mitchell's version of "Little Bird, Little Bird, Fly Through My Window" with the birds, but I also asked the kids some questions: which bird only has 2 colors on its body? What three colors do the other four birds have on their bodies. The week I did my birds story time I also had outreach story times at a local elementary school where I read to 4 grade levels. The older kids liked trying to identify the birds. The cardinal was called a red robin a lot. Several children identified the chickadee correctly which I thought was wonderful as I'd had to make a substitution for the gray felt as I didn't have any.

I'd like to make a few more birds, ones that are common/native to North Carolina like the Robin, Bluebird, and Indigo Bunting. One day!

Thanks again, Mel, for sharing your great patterns!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

Emmeline Thistle shouldn't be alive. Born with a twisted foot, the midwife left her at the edge of the forest to die. But kindly cows kept her warm through the night. Years later, Emmeline is still a survivor. Being a dirt scratcher's daughter with a twisted foot isn't easy. Emmeline escapes death again when the river floods her village. She is swept downriver and found by a dairy man's son. The Oak family nursed Emmeline back to health, but not without danger. Harboring a Flatlander is illegal. It is at the Oaks' dairy farm that Emmeline discovers her gift. She can churn cream into chocolate, a delicacy that is only legend in the kingdom. Such a gift places Emmeline in great peril. First she is kidnapped and then a treacherous queen enslaves her. Will Emmeline ever find her true love Owen Oak again?

What I thought: A magical tale! Suzanne is to be applauded for her world building, the legends and peoples especially. I couldn't put The Sweetest Spell down. Emmeline goes from one catastrophe to another. Owen Oak is a grand true love. I like that Suzanne created an original fairy tale. I love, love Emmeline's voice. I'm glad we also get Owen's point-of-view. It adds depth to the story.  

(Walker and Company, 2012)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

If You're Hoppy by April Pulley Sayre

Summary from Dust Jacket: Are you feeling hoppy? Hop   hop    hop. Like a rabbit? Or a kangaroo? Or a frog? If the answer is yes, this book will make you happy.
If the answer is no, this book will make you hoppy and happy!

What I thought: A fun book! I can't wait to use If You're Hoppy in story time. I only hope I can do it justice. The illustrations are great--so fun. This would be a great book for spring or I could have used it for my Animal Antics Pajama Party.

Story Time Themes: Music, Animals

(Illus. Jackie Urbanovic. Greenwillow Books, 2012)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

When she was just ten, Jenny and her older brother Tom were walking home from music lessons through the woods. Something tragic and unexplainable happened that night. Tom disappeared...never to be seen again. It was like the trees swallowed him. Seven years later, Jenny is determined to bid her brother a proper goodbye. She returns to the place he disappeared only to find herself transported into the faery realm. There she discovers her brother Tom is the faery queen's piper and he's forgotten his former life including Jenny. Resolved to rescue Tom, Jenny relies on the dubious help of Jack, guardian of the edge of the forest. Where does Jack's allegiance lie? With Jenny? With the faery queen? With the faery king? Only time will tell.

What I Thought: A strangely wonderful book. Jenny is a strong character. I suppose she has to be as Jack is so duplicitous. Jenny quickly realizes everything is mixed up in the faery realm. Her determination to save her brother is admirable. She risks everything for Tom. The ending was great. I won't spoil it for you here. Fans of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream will like The Treachery of Beautiful Things.

(Dial, 2012)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Underground by Denise Fleming

Summary from the Dust Jacket: Do you ever wonder what creatures live under the dirt beneath your feet? Come down, way down, and explore....

What I thought: Underground will be a great book to use during the 2013 Summer Reading Program (CSLP theme "Dig Into Reading"). The illustrations are bright and cheerful. The text flows beautifully. I love the creature identification section at the end of the book.

Story Time Themes: Underground, Burrowing Animals

(Beach Lane Books, 2012)

Friday, February 1, 2013

#FlannelFriday: "I Made My Dog a Valentine" by Jack Prelutsky

Sorry this Valentine felt set is a week late. We had bad weather last week and I didn't make it to the office on Friday to finish the set and prepare the post.

I needed a flannel for my Valentine Family Fun Night and knew I wanted to use a poem. I read through all the Valentine collections my libraries had and settled on "I Made My Dog a Valentine" by Jack Prelutsky from his collection It's Valentine's Day.

The poem mentions 3 pets: a dog, parakeets, and a turtle. I borrowed the dog from my Hey Diddle Diddle set and made a parakeet, turtle, and three hearts. The patterns for the animals are from Microsoft Office Clipart. I used the heart auto shape in Microsoft Word for the hearts. All the pieces are felt and the animals have puff paint details.