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Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Books We Read This Week

Summer is not the easiest time to make children stay home and do math or read books. There is always so much to do outside which is good too, of course. They need to stay active(and more important, tire themselves up so their mommies could get on the computer when they are knocked out after running in the wild all day). It is proven that people who are fit and healthy have "fit" brains. It makes perfect sense to me: when you exercise your body gets rid of toxins and fills the blood with oxygen which stimulates the development and well-being of all the cells, brain cells including. So if you want to improve your children's grades just give them a bike and let them loose. Just kidding. About the "loose" part.
Physical activity is awesome, but we don't want our children to forget all they learned in school during the long summer vacation. What do we do? Read! It's the answer to most of our troubles. This is the perfect time for children who haven't become avid readers to become ones. There is no homework, deadlines and reading lists. Sounds good so far, right? They pick and read books they are interested in. Does your child like knights and dragons or adventures and explorers? Is he/she captivated by princesses and fairies or gnomes and goblins? Crazy about nature or music? They got it all! How cool is that? Make a big hoopla out of going to a book store and treat your child to a book he/she chooses. If your budget is tight, go to a thrift/used book store. They might have a good selection of classics. You can also visit your local library and ask around about the topic you selected. After reading the chosen book you can create a scrapbook highlighting your child's favorite character together, draw pictures to recapture the outline of the story. Together you can create a homemade puppet theater and make a play based on the story you read. Possibilities are unlimited. Use your imagination and try to make a connection to our everyday life.

You got the idea.

Pumpkin and I are trying to combine outdoor activities with the indoor ones. It is not as easy as it seems. Sometimes we get carried away having a good time in the park and after that we are too tired to lift a limb. Other times we stay home and do a lot of "homework". I call it "homework" because it sounds important to Pumpkin, something she is in charge of even though she doesn't go to preschool or kindergarten.

These are the books we read this week. Some of them I read to Pumpkin, some of them she read to me, and some of them we read together taking turns.

1. Lyle Finds His Mother by Bernard Waber.

I was reading this book to Pumpkin. I would say this book is for older preschoolers. Here I have a couple of pictures from the book. Pumpkin likes the books about Lyle. He is so kind and gentle, considerate and warm-hearted. He is a friend to everybody he meets. Lyle is a crocodile who acts more human than most of the humans. He becomes your child's best friend from the very first pages.

I like the rich vocabulary the author of this book is using. We read numerous books by him. I am a total fan. The illustrations are also made by Bernard Waber. They remind me of children's pictures - simple and slightly imperfect in a cute way which is very appealing to kids.I highly recommend it.

2. We Belong Together. A Book About Adoption and Families by Todd Parr. This book is appropriate for toddlers. I let Pumpkin read this one to me. Todd Parr has a talent of describing complicated things in a very simple almost primitive way which is perfect for little tots. I wouldn't describe what adoption is any better to my daughter. Each sentence starts with a catchy "We belong together because..." which follows by a sweet explanation on the next page. We both enjoyed the bright whimsical illustrations.

3.How to Hide an Octopus and Other Sea Creatures by Ruth Heller.

I read this book to Pumpkin but it is easy enough for beginning readers. I liked this book for several reasons:

1) rhymes promote phonic awareness;

2)we covered some science aspects learning about camouflage and what it serves for in nature from the examples of sea creatures;

3)this book is like a mini game, it's engaging.

You read a passage about a sea creature then you turn a page and...

try to find the same creature only camouflaged against it's environment. Artwork is great!

4. Curious George by H.A.Ray.

We've read this one before but this time we took turns reading it: one page per turn. This one is full of kiddie humor. The mischievous monkey Curious George reminds us of any curious child who is just exploring the world around. I think kids see themselves in him which cheers them up a lot since they are not the only ones who get in trouble out of curiosity.

5.Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

This book is about how little kids happen to have bad days just like adults and how they deal with it. But not everything is so gloom. Quite the opposite, the author explains children that days like this sometimes happen and it's all right because tomorrow will be a new day and everything will be back to normal. Even though this book describes a day from a life of a school-boy it will be suitable for preschoolers.

6.Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel. This one is a reader level 2 so Pumpkin was on her own. This book is from series of stories about Frog and Toad. My daughter absolutely loves them. The book includes a number of short stories about adventures of the two friends. The language is precise, the plot is funny. Illustrations on every page and large font make it easy for young readers to overcome the fear of endless pages.


JosiahsMommy said...

Awww. I used to read Alexander when I was a small child! I love this list. I try to read to Josiah a lot too, even though he's still a baby. We read little board books and when he gets tired of reading he chews on them. Lol.

SmartPumpkin'sMom said...

LOL! Edible books. Reading early is important. Books become part of a child's life since the very beginning of his/her life. after that h'/she cannot imagine the life without them.

Buckeroomama said...

I'm enjoying your blog. I have a 4-year old, too, and we love to read books. These book reviews are really helpful. :)

Jocelyn said...

Wow, great list. I'm in constant lookout for good books for my 4 and 2 year old boys. This is great! Thanks! :D

John Deere Mom said...

You picked some of my favorite books! I love Todd Parr!! I think my favorite line of his is, "Brushing your hair with a lion feels good." :)

Veronica Lee said...

Hi, I'm visiting from Follow Me Club1. Great blog.

Heather said...

Hi. I hopped over on the bloghop. I like your blog. You have some great books you read that week. I love reading to my children. Thanks for stopping by and following my blog. Now I'm a follower of yours.

Cerebral palsy in babies said...

Thank you for those suggestions. Seem like pretty nice books.