Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Children at the Playground

Summer camp finished for my six-year old grandson – but school doesn’t start until the day after Labor Day. So you know what that means, right? GRAMMY CAMP!

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We’ve been having so much fun. Every day we continue our epic Monopoly game. He helps me water our plot of veggies (and himself) with the garden hose. (Mist and Stream are his favorite settings) We go to the library almost every day and enjoy a special ice cream treat from the local village shop. And one of his favorite activities is sliding down the slide and swinging on the swings.

Most kids love going to the playground – so when I saw a new book called, “The Children at the Playground”, I knew I had to grab a copy and review it for you.

cover CATPG

THE CHILDREN AT THE PLAYGROUND

Written by Tracey M. Cox

Illustrated by Dolores Costello

Publisher: Xist Publishing

Ages: 2-7

Themes: Friendship, diversity, playground activities

 

Opening Lines:

The children at the playground
Run, run, run.
Run, run, run.
Run, run, run.
The children at the playground
run, run, run while they play.

 

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

The Children at the Playground is a fun picture book set to the rhythm of “The Wheels on the Bus.” Perfect for active story times or to read before, after, or during a playground visit.

 

Why I like this book:

  • The Wheels on the Bus is an iconic finger play/song for young kids and they will love joining in to sing about the activities at the playground.
  • Sweet illustrations depict a diverse group of young children.
  • Repetition and rhythm are great for literacy building.

 

How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud
  • Great book to encourage listening and literacy skills

RELATED ACTIVITIES

Nature collage suncatcher

nature-suncatcher-450x650

Photo courtesy: http://handsonaswegrow.com

You will need: Paper plate, small flowers and leaves, clear contact paper, ribbon, scissors, hole puncher.

  1. Cut out center of paper plate.
  2. Cut sheet of contact paper to fit plate.
  3. Choose small flowers and leaves and press onto contact paper.
  4. When finished, cover with another piece of clear contact paper and cut to fit.
  5. Punch hole at top and thread ribbon through and hang in a sunny window.

For detailed instructions and many more wonderful craft ideas for young kids: http://handsonaswegrow.com/craft-for-toddlers-nature-collage-suncatcher/

 

A trip to the playground can be an adventure into the world of science.

Girls playing on monkey bars

Girls playing on monkey bars – Photo courtesy: pbs.org

“Swings, slides and climbing structures are loads of fun. And they offer first hand experiences with pendulums, ramps, and levers, not to mention forces such as gravity and friction. Just paying some attention to how things move provides children with important early experiences in physics.” For more ideas of how to use playground time creatively: http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/science/activities/preschooler-kindergarten/playground/

What other picture books encourage kids to enjoy being outdoors? I can think of two right off the bat: The Tree Lady and Me..Jane. Can you recommend any others? If you can, please share.

And I think it’s time for a School Starts Soon giveaway! Sign up for my email list and you will be entered to win a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

book pic from wordpress blog

Click on this link: http://eepurl.com/8pglH

This is a great book for any parent, grandparent, day care provider or early childhood education teacher – chock full of hundreds of fun-filled quick and easy activities for young kids. If you are already subscribed, you can get an entry by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. Just leave a comment, telling me where you shared…and for every share, you get another entry! We’ll announce the winner in 2 weeks.

Have a beautiful weekend, dear friends!

Rebecca Gomez – Will Write for Cookies

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

headshot

REBECCA GOMEZ

 

When I dove into the kid lit community a couple of years ago, one of first my role models, especially since I loved to write in rhyme, was Corey Rosen Schwartz. And she still is! Recently, I found out Corey and her co-author, Becky Gomez, have a new book that just came out in June. So when Becky agreed to participate in Will Write for Cookies, I did a happy dance.

 

Rebecca J. Gomez is the coauthor of WHAT ABOUT MOOSE? , a picture book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers. She lives in Nebraska with her hubby, three kids, two poodles, and one parrotlet.

Parrotlet? I had to look that one up. It is a mini-parrot with a lot of personality. Sounds like a picture book mc to me.

I’m excited to welcome Becky. She’s got a lot to share with us so let’s get started.

 

ME: Who were your favorite authors/illustrators when you were a child?

 

Becky:


Oh gosh. This is hard to answer. We had a lot of Little Golden Books when I was a kid, probably because they were so affordable. I adored The Poky Little Puppy and The Monster at the End of this Book. But the name that jumped out at me when I saw this question was Shel Silverstein. His poems and drawings have been a part of my life since before I can remember. I’m sure he had something to do with my desire to write my own rhymes when as young as five! Dr. Seuss was a big one too, of course.

 

 

ME: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started writing for children?

 

Becky:

You know, I almost answered this question, “How long and hard this journey was going to be!” But then I realized that not knowing how long and hard something is going to be is part of the adventure. I tell my kids often that if something is worth accomplishing, then it is worth the struggle it takes to get it done. And that is definitely true of this process, at least for me. Looking back, I don’t know if there is anything I would change to make it easier.

what-about-moose-9781481404969_lg

 

But, something that I didn’t know right away, and that probably would have been a big encouragement to me when I first set out, is that so many of my favorite authors were rejected dozens of times before selling their first book. Rejections are just bumps in the road, but when you have enough of them together, they can make for pretty rough travel! That is part of every author’s journey though. And that thought is very encouraging!

ME: Where do you like to write/draw – inside, outside, a special area in your home, on the computer, in a notebook?

 

Becky:

All of the above! Well, actually, I don’t own a laptop. But I do have a tablet and I use it in a pinch, like when I want to access a document on Google drive when I’m sitting in bed. 

 

I do love to draft by hand, though. With a mechanical pencil. In a composition notebook. Writing by hand in the early stages of a manuscript seems to help the words flow better for me than when I’m staring at a glowing screen. Plus, when I get stuck, I doodle in the margins. It’s very freeing! I can take a pencil and notebook anywhere–out on the deck, in the car on a road trip, to church (just in case!)–and it never has to be charged up. 

 

That said, I do have an official space in the corner of my family room where most of the “work” is done. I’d like to have a real office in the attic of an old house someday. I can dream, right?

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ME: When during the day (or night) are you most productive? Do you set a schedule for working or do you write/draw when the muse speaks?

Becky:

I am most productive in the morning, though that is primarily out of necessity. Because I work from home, I do most of my writing during the day. The kids are off to school most days by 7:30, which gives me time for my morning routine–prayer time, breakfast, tending the pets, a walk on the treadmill–and by 9:30 I am usually writing (between loads of laundry some days). Sometimes I stop around lunchtime. Other times I write until I have to leave to pick my son up from school. I think I do my best writing in my pajamas, which sometimes leads to me frantically pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt before I run out of the door! When summer vacation comes along, I try keeping a similar schedule, but it is much more “fluid.”

Of course there are exceptions. The muse is notorious for not sticking to a schedule. But that is what my handy dandy notebook is for!

.

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ME: Why do you write for children?

 

Becky:

Because I have to. Honestly. I’ve been a writer all my life. When I was a kid I wrote about childish things, and that hasn’t changed. Though I’ve written a few little things for adults, my writer brain doesn’t seem to want to grow up. As a reader, I prefer reading stories that are written for kids–picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, even poetry collections–so I guess it makes sense that those are the things I want to write.

 

I love words, and ever since I was very young I’ve loved stringing those words together to create poems and stories. And stories that are written for children just seem to be the purest and truest stories (and poems!) in the world. 

 

Plus, I love kids. I love the way they react to stories. The giggles and gasps, the oohs and ahs, the exclamations of “read it again!” That is pure magic.

ME: Becky, do you have any other tips or thoughts you’d like to share with everyone?

Becky:

An important thing to remember as a writer is that it is okay to write crap. When I get a new story or poem idea, the most important thing for me is to get the story down on paper. I do my best work and have the most fun (usually) during the revision process. Even when I’m writing with my coauthor, Corey Rosen Schwartz, we try to get the bones of a story down before really giving it any meat or worrying about word choice and meter. It’s better to have something a little wonky to polish up than to try to make a story perfect from line one.

 

For writers of rhyme, my advice is to read lots and lots of rhyming picture books by lots of different authors. Read them aloud, to yourself and to kids. Note what works and what doesn’t. Read your own rhyming manuscripts aloud to yourself and to kids and to other adults, and ask some other adults to do the same. One of the things that helps Corey and me write fabulous rhyme together is that we live in different parts of the country, so we talk differently. Rhyme doesn’t always work the same for me as it does for her. So we are forced to make it work for both of us, which helps ensure that it will work for a wider range of readers. The truth is, there will almost always be some reader who stumbles on some part of a rhyming story no matter how perfect it is. But if you are willing to do the hard work, that will be less of an issue for you.

 

The most important thing is to have fun!

 

That is so important, Becky! I’m glad you mentioned that because, without the aspect of fun, we might as well do something else.

I know all of you want to join me in thanking Becky for sharing all of this writer-love!

If you’d like to connect with Becky or find out more about her book and her writing: www.rebeccajgomez.com

If you’d like to read the Perfect Picture Book Friday review I did yesterday: viviankirkfield.com/2015/08/14/perfect-picture-book-friday-what-about-moose

 

And there’s MORE! Becky is also sharing a yummy Gingersnap Cookie recipe.

Becky:

Here’s a recipe I like to bake when I want something different than the usual homemade chocolate chip.

Photo courtesy: http://www.jamesbeard.org/recipes/gingersnaps

beard-ginger-snaps-istock

Gingersnaps (from the Better Homes and Gardens (old) New Cookbook

These spicy-sweet treats are quick and easy.

 

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup shortening or cooking oil

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 cup sugar

 

In a mixing bowl combine about half of the flour, the brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda and spices. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed till thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour.

 

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until set and tops are crackled. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen.

A million thanks, Becky! I’m a gingersnap fan—I will definitely try these.

I hope you all have a great weekend. Summer is winding down and school is starting in many places. Please be safe if you are traveling, have fun whether you are at home or away, and read lots of books!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: What About Moose?

Can you believe it? It’s already the middle of August. A couple of trees have taken on a tinge of the autumn that is yet to come. I’ll be sad to see summer disappear—I love long sunny days. So I might be asking,“What about making summer longer?”

But instead, because it’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m asking, “What About Moose?”

what-about-moose-9781481404969_lg

WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?

Written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez

Illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2015)

Ages: 3-8

Themes: Teamwork, social skills, friendship

 

Opening Lines:

Fox met her friends, with her toolbox in hand.

“Time to start building! Now here’s what I’ve planned.”

She divvied up jobs, and then Moose trotted in.

“I’m here,” he announced. “Let construction begin.”

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

“It takes a team to build a tree house—but what if that team includes one very bossy moose?

When Fox, Toad, Bear, Porcupine, and Skunk set out to build a tree house, they know just what to do: they’ll follow a plan and they’ll work as a team. But when bossy Moose barges in and upends their plans with some of his own, his friends become more and more frustrated…until things go hilariously awry!

This lively rhyming picture book is pure, bouncy fun even as it imparts a subtle lesson about teamwork. Young readers will love to chant along: “But what about you, Moose!”

Why I like this book:

  • The incredible rhyme and humor of Corey Rosen Schwartz and her co-author, Rebecca Gomez
  • Bold colorful illustrations of Keika Yamaguchi
  • Addresses teamwork and sharing
  • Encourages friendship building

 

How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud
  • Great book for kids who are having a problem with sharing the load and teamwork
  • Talk about how to be a good friend – what are the qualities we want in a friend…those are the same qualities a friend wants in us

 

 

Related Activity

MAKE A PAPER BAG MOOSE PUPPET

moose paper bag craft

Photo courtesy: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-crafts-activities

I’m a big fan of using inexpensive materials for craft projects with young kids…with a paper bag or a paper plate, you can have a barrel of fun!

You will need: One paper lunch bag, one piece of construction paper, markers or crayons, scissors, glue.

  1. Help your child trace his handprints on a piece of construction paper.
  2. Glue at the top of the lunch bag – these are the antlers.
  3. Draw moose features with markers or crayons.
  4. Role play with your child and retell the story – you can take turns being moose. Acting out the story is a great way to develop literacy skills like comprehension and vocabulary.

There are several other simple moose crafts here: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-crafts-activities/61650-four-moose-crafts-for-preschool

 

And guess what? I’ve got a special treat in store for you TOMORROW.

WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

WELCOMES

REBECCA J. GOMEZ

CO-AUTHOR OF TODAY’S PPBF, WHAT ABOUT MOOSE?

Please don’t miss it—she’s got lots to share, including a stellar recipe for gingersnaps!

Thank you all for visiting – I look forward to your comments – please share this wonderful book and activity with parents, teachers and librarians  – they are always looking for great books and quick & easy activities that educate and entertain.

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