PPBF: Dinosaur vs. The Library

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children. 

Before I get to the picture book review, please bear with me because I have three very important things to share.

Important thing #1:

I am donating twenty-five copies of my book to libraries across the country and around the world.


National Library Week starts on April 8th.  For me, the library has always been a place of wonder…as a child, I took out so many books that I looked like some alien being made of books as I walked along with my two little feet sticking out beneath the stack of books that rose higher than my head.  During my years of teaching kindergarten and then while parenting my own young children, the library was a treasure-trove of early childhood resources and programs.  These days, I keep busy doing the Show Me How Story-time program in local kindergartens, Pre-K’s and libraries, reading the classic picture books and doing the simple craft projects that are recommended in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking (MoneyPenny Press, Ltd. 2010).


Would you like your local library to receive a free copy of Show Me How?

Budget cuts drastically reduce the number of books our libraries can purchase and all you need to do is leave a comment on this post, naming the library and telling why the people in your community would benefit from having the book available to them.  At the end of the month, twenty-five libraries will be chosen through Random.org and the people who did the nominating will get to present the book to their libraries.

Important thing #2:

If the library you nominate is chosen, would you also like to do a review Show Me How! on your website/blog site/newspaper/magazine?  I will be happy to include a second copy in the package, just for you!  So if you are interested in doing a review, please indicate that in your comment.

Did you know that the first public library in the United States was started in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1833?

Did you know that Andrew Carnegie helped build more than 1700 public libraries between 1881 and 1919?

Do you know any other interesting facts about libraries?

I’m really excited about this…how many nominations will there be…and what states (or countries) will they come from?  Does anyone know how to put up a graphic of a map and pin the locations of the libraries that are nominated?

Important thing #3:

Donna Martin over at On the Write Track also has some exciting news!  She will be manning (or should I say womaning) a booth at the Children’s Festival of Reading in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, May 19th…and she is inviting authors and illustrators to donate signed copies of their books for her booth.  I’m mailing out two copies of Show Me How to her today.  This is an amazing opportunity to spread the word about your books…and, more importantly, encourage young people to become readers and lovers of books!

You can find out more about the event…and the giveaway she is hosting…when you visit her website.

Important thing #4:

Oh, that’s right!  I said there were only three!  But actually, Perfect Picture Book Friday is VERY important, so now, without further ado, my picture book selection!  And with nominations for your favorite library now open, this was definitely the Perfect Picture Book!


Dinosaur vs. The Library

Written and illustrated by Bob Shea

Publisher: Hyperion Books (2011)

Ages: 2 and up

Themes: Behavior, friendship, dinosaurs, libraries


Dinosaur is going to the library…one of his favorite places.  As he walks along, he meets his friends…cow, chicks, turtle and owl, and he challenges them to a roaring contest (can you guess who is the winner?) and then invites them to come along with him.

At the library, he finds out that he must be quiet, especially during Story-time.  Can Dinosaur hold in his roar?

Why I like this book:

It’s definitely hard to hold in the roar…and young children will identify with dinosaur immediately.  What child has not been told, “Hush, be quiet!” in church or when an adult is on the phone or…at the library?  All of the books in author Bob Shea’s Dinosaur series are wonderful…this book is funny, the illustrations are charming and any book that celebrates reading must be a winner!

Related Activities

Every child should have his or her own library card as soon as your local library will allow it.  Make weekly trips to the library and check out the children’s programs that most libraries have going on…story-times for all ages, reading challenges with prizes, free movies and other special events.


Encouraging young children to love books and reading is one of the most important things a parent can do.  Does your child have his or her own bookshelf?  As parents, we know that we have to feed our children’s bodies.  Next time your child has a birthday, choose a book and start a collection that will feed the mind and spirit as well!

Bookplates add a special touch…they let your child know that “THIS BOOK BELONGS TO ME”. 

There are many instructions and printable bookmarks at the websites below.  Here is a simple one you can help your child make.


You will need: White or light-colored cardstock paper (or you can use construction paper or copy paper), markers and/or crayons, scissors, tape or glue stick.

1.      Cut the paper to the size you would like the bookplates to be (2 or 3 inches by 3 or 4 inches is a good size).

2.      Write the words: This book belongs to…and then your child’s name.

3.      Let your child decorate the edges and add his own design or pictures.

4.      You can also cut pictures out of magazines and paste them on the bookplate or use stencils.

5.      Roll a piece of scotch tape and use it to secure the bookplate in the book or use a glue stick.

6.      Tip: you might not want to tape or glue a bookplate in a vintage collector book.

Here is a picture of a bookplate that my oldest son and I made together over 30 years ago.  If the book looks familiar…it is!  Gift-Bear for the King is the book I reviewed last Friday.


Some great instructions for bookplate making at these websites…also free printable bookplates:

Also at the Reading is Fundamental website: http://www.rif.org/kids/readingplanet/activitylab/color.htm

As well as at Dads Can Do

Other bookplate instructions are here.

And more are here.

And great info here

Did you know that someone has a blog devoted to bookplate collecting here?

I apologize for the length of this post…I hope you were all able to get through it! 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.  And please don’t forget to leave a comment, nominating your local library to be the recipient of a copy of Show Me How!

Oops!!! Correction of Cock-A-Leekie Soup Recipe

This is a very quick post…just a correction on the recipe for Cock-a-Leekie Soup!

In looking over the recipe ingredients, I realized I had typed in 14 oz of vegetable broth…the correct amount is 32 oz.  If you make the recipe with 14 oz, the soup might be a little less tasty…but should still be ok. 🙂

I apologize for the typo and hope if anyone made the recipe already, the results were satisfactory…if they weren’t, now you know why. 🙂

Guess I need a proof-reader for my blog. 🙂

Sunday Post: Light…Do You See It?


The dictionary has many definitions of the word “light”…usually we think of a lamp that illuminates a room…or the moon and sun that shine outdoors.

 But when we say someone sees the light, we imply a mental understanding or spiritual insight. 

As a student, I had many instances where I “saw the light” after a particularly helpful professor explained a difficult concept to me. 

As a teacher, I observed many pupils “see the light” when something I had been teaching them finally made sense. 

And, as a parent and now as a grandparent, I’ve been privileged to watch hundreds of “see the light” moments.

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is LIGHT.


Last summer we went fly-fishing with our twin grandchildren.  Are you looking for a great intergenerational activity?  Try fishing!  Children love it…our grandchildren listened attentively while we showed them what to do…their faces were alight with joy as they cast their flies into the water.

And, have you ever watched the faces of children as they listen to a picture book story?  Intent…attentive…joyful…alight with curiosity!


Or, put some arts and crafts supplies into the hands of young children and watch their faces light up with joy as the spark of creativity ignites!



There are so many things we can do with young children that will help them to “see the light”…reading, crafting, fishing, doing puzzles, taking a nature hike, going for a walk…just engaging them in a conversation.  What are some things you enjoy doing with your children?

We only have one more week for the March Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge!  Please leave your comments and share with us the books you are reading with your children.  Also, please spread the word about the Reading Challenge…a promise to read every day to a child…someone will be winning a new picture book at the end of every month!

Just a reminder…are you looking for picture book recommendations and other activities that will build self-esteem and reading readiness skills?  Please check out my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…endorsed by parents, teachers and national organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  There is also only one more week for the March special: free shipping on my website Continental US only (an additional $5 off the price of the book for participants in the PPP Reading Challenge) or you can purchase the book on Amazon.


 If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:


1.     Christine: http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

2.     Judy: http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

3.     Isadora: http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-photo-challenge-by-jake-light/

4.     Marcy: http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-photo-challenge-light/

5.     Rois: http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

6.  Marilou: http://imexcited.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-light/

7.  Natalie:  http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/

8. http://truthaboveallreligions.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/sunday-post-light/ 

9. http://blueberriejournal.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/light/

10. http://diggingher.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-weekly-challenge/

11. http://africatoalgarve.blogspot.pt/2012/03/light.html.

12. http://athoughtfor2012.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/sunday-post-light/

13. Kate: http://believeanyway.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/light/

14. Jo: http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/sunday-post-light/ 

I’ll add more links when more are posted.

Perfect Picture Book Fridays: Gift-Bear for the King


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources. 

Self-esteem has six basic components.  Today’s picture book selection addresses all of them: Mastering tasks and skills, valuing one’s own strengths and qualities, feeling loved and appreciated, learning to express one’s feelings, acknowledging and coping with fears and accepting and loving oneself.    I know that parents and teachers will enjoy the simple eco-friendly craft project at the end of my review. 

The main character of the story loves singing and Wednesday’s guest post was from Daria, a talented musician who travels around the globe, sharing her passion for music with young children.  I hope everyone will check out her post and visit her amazing websites!  She provided us with several great musical instrument-making crafts and is giving away a wonderful poster that celebrates music around the world.



A Gift-Bear for the King

Written by Carl Memling

Illustrated by Lillian Hoban

Publishers: E.P. Dutton & Co (1966)

Ages: 2 – 8


Mastering tasks and skills, dealing with disappointment, overcoming adversity, helping others, friendship


“There was once an old man and an old woman who lived in a hut in the forest.  They were very poor, but they had a little bear cub for a friend.”


A very talented bear-cub is sent as a birthday gift for the king by a loving old couple.  As the bear-cub travels to reach the king, he meets and helps many people.  When he finally arrives at the palace, the king’s birthday is long over and the guards lock him up in the dungeon because he is so late.  While in his prison cell, the bear-cub sings a sad and beautiful song about his travels.  Will the bear-cub spend the rest of his days in the dungeon?  Does the king ever find out about his special present?  What will happen to the old couple?

Why do I like this book

The foundations of our self-esteem are laid in the first five years of life…I love picture books that celebrate any of the six components that help a child develop a positive self-image…and this book addresses all six!  Gift-Bear for the King was my oldest son’s favorite story…we both knew it by heart by the time he was four.  Gift-Bear could sing, stand on his front paws and wash the dishes…he was always ready to help those in need.  Young children will be singing along with the refrain before you turn the last page. 

The illustrations, in Lillian Hoban’s inimitable style, are charming.

Related Activities:

There is a lovely crown craft activity here

There are quite a few crowns and other hat-making craft activities here.

There are excellent step-by-step crown-making instructions with photos here.


The crown you help your child make can be as simple or as fancy as you like.  The picture is from a kit you can buy from Oriental Trading Company.  I included it to show you how ornate you can make the crown…but your child will enjoy wearing a simple one also.

 You will need: Construction paper, buttons or sequins (optional) crayons or markers, glue, scissors.

1.      Cut strips of construction paper and measure to fit your child’s head.  Piece together with glue if necessary.

2.      Cut a zig-zag along the top edge.  You can make it fancy like the one above or just simple.

3.      Let your child decorate with crayons and/or markers.

4.      If you wish, add “jewels” cut from different colored construction paper…or buttons…or sequins.  Glue into place and let dry.

5.      Fit the decorated crown strip to your child’s head and glue the two ends together.

6.      Important tip: Most of you are too young to remember one of the first “reality” shows, Queen for a Day, where an ordinary woman was featured and given prizes and made to feel very special.  Perhaps your child can be Queen or King for a Day in your home…helping choose the dinner menu, picking the family game that will be played.  Feeling loved, valued and appreciated is such an important element in building self-esteem…children who are confident are less likely to be victims of bullying.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

Celebrate Music in our Schools Month with Daria


What a special treat I have for you today!


Daria, a gifted musician who believes that music is food for the body, mind and soul, shares her talents with children around the globe.  Several weeks ago, she offered to do a guest post on my blog.  As you can imagine, it took me less than a second to accept her offer!


Children love music…they enjoy singing and playing instruments and, if you’ve ever watched young children dance; you’ll have seen how their entire bodies are involved in the activity.  Music is another tool we can use to help children develop a positive self-image.  Thank you so much, Daria, for all that you do in your mission to spread music to children around the globe!


So, without further ado, Daria is sharing several awesome ideas to help us celebrate Music In Our Schools Month.  Make sure you read through to the end…because she is also giving away several amazing posters.




Making music is one of those wonderful “can do” activities to share with your children.  Even the youngest toddlers can shake a rattle, clap to a beat or craft a simple instrument with you.  Together you can do the simple actions of Itsy Bitsy Spider or the motions to Kumbayah.  Or they can offer you the names of their friends to be used in a slightly different version of “Oh Susannah”.  With very little work and a whole lot of fun, you can incorporate some great musical play into your home, school or home-school day.  Check out some of the ideas below as well as DARIA’s fun KIDS MAKE MUSIC poster give-away! 



Ask any pre-k or kindergarten teacher – mixing arts and crafts and music generally makes for a big hit in the classroom.  One fun activity perfect for this age group is creating really quiet rattles. 


The project is simple.  Have each child bring in any recycled container, preferably a see-through one and have a few extra so no one is left out.  You can decorate the outside with stickers or wrap a handle with pipe-cleaners or yarn before you are ready to fill them.  Here’s the tricky part.  You want to find lots of things to put in the rattles that are really quiet.  The teacher can have some examples of rattles that are not so quiet for comparison (see our suggestions below) and then challenge the children to fill theirs with something that will make noise but still be very quiet.  Q-tips, salt, tiny pasta, cotton puffs, confetti?  Each makes a different quiet sound that helps kids practice the art of listening.  When you’re done, make sure you seal each rattle with a strong tape (such as electrical tape) which ensures the contents will not get out.  Then your class can use their new instruments to play along to quieter music.  The kids can pay attention to how the rhythms of their rattles fit into the music they are hearing.


You can even have a contest in the classroom and reward all entries or ask the kids for their suggestions about which of the teachers rattles would win a “Quiet Contest”.   Stack up a variety of rattles and the class can guess which might make the softest sound. 


Here are some favorite choices for rattle-making:


Quiet rattles: sand, salt, sugar, confetti, cotton balls, craft puff balls, paper bits, Q-tips, tiny pasta (such as pastina or acine de pepe). 


Medium Rattles:  paper clips, small pebbles, birdseed, small beads, small dried beans, rice, smaller buttons.


Loud Rattles:  dried macaroni/pasta, large pebbles, large beads, coins, large dried beans, and larger buttons.





Creating a simple guiro can be a fun way to share Latin-American culture, a bit of Spanish language and music-making skills at the same time.  A guiro is any small percussion instrument that has ridges which are scraped or rubbed creating rhythmic patterns.  The craft below shows you how to make one from an unsharpened pencil, a recycled water bottle (with ridges) and some string or other decorating material.  It’s easy, fun and sounds great! You can see, hear and color a guiro as well at the link below.


When you’ve completed your instruments, you can play them along with any simple songs in Spanish such as the counting song: uno, dos tres amigos (one and two and three good friends) or try the Spanish version of the Itsy Bitsy Spider (La Araña Pequeñita).  Or what about La Cucaracha?  Below you’ll find a link of a video of my version of La Cucaracha with Spanish and English lyrics, complete with dancing cockroaches (cucarachas) that actually play their guiros!








La Cucaracha Video (with Spanish and English Lyrics)





What can be used to make music?  Practically anything!  The musical washboard is proof that people have found creative ways to make music from all kinds of interesting objects. You can see, hear, color or find complete directions on making a kid’s size washboard from easy classroom materials at the links below.


Once you’ve made your own washboards, you can play along to any music but they sound particularly good with old-time music and classic songs like Grand Old Flag, You Are My Sunshine or This Little Light of Mine.  And you can make some best-loved songs new.  You can sing “Oh Susannah” with the names of your students instead (singing a different version each day or each time with a new student’s name so no one is left out).


Do you have a folksong or popular kid’s song that you want to teach your class? This is a great way that the kids can sing and play along with a favorite song at the same time.












Although March is Music In Our Schools Month, there are no limits to how this powerful and powerfully fun tool can be shared at any time of year.  Feel free to inspire your children through song…chances are good that you will have a happy and harmonious day!






Check out DARIA’s World Music For Kids website:



Check out DARIA’s Tiny Tapping Toes BLOG

(Music For The Very Young)



Check out DARIA’s Making Multicultural Music BLOG

(Sharing Diversity Through The Arts)






To celebrate Music in Our Schools Month, DARIA has created a “WORLD OF MUSIC FOR KIDS” poster and poster give-away. 


If you’d like to win, please leave two comments…one on Daria’s Making Multicultural Music Blog at www.makingmuslticulturalmusic.wordpress.com and one on this post about why you love music or the impact music has made in your life and/or your child’s life.  Five lucky winners will receive a World of Music for Kids poster.


We also encourage you to sign up for Daria’s monthly e-newsletter (http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php ) so you can get free mp3’s each month, news of other contests, crafts, activities, and other musical fun.

Sunday Post: Recipe for Self-Esteem


A recipe, according to the dictionary, is a list of ingredients and instructions for making something, especially a food dish.

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is RECIPE.

I love soup!  Do you?  Soup can be hearty or light, warming or cooling…soups are so easy to make and, when you make them yourself, you can use healthy nutritious ingredients and leave out the preservatives, high sodium levels and artificial colors that are rampant in most canned or packaged soups you buy at the store.

Here is a recipe for Cock-a-Leekie Soup…absolutely delicious…and very easy to make, even your kids can help!


You will need: 1 large pot, 1 lb boneless chicken breasts cubed, 2 slices bacon, 1 large leek sliced (about 2 cups), 1 cup sliced fresh carrots, 2 cups cubed potatoes, 1 container low sodium vegetable broth (32 oz), 1 cup basmati rice, 2 Tbs single malt scotch (optional), ½ cup diced prunes, 1 Tb dried basil, 8 cups water.

1.      Saute bacon in pot…add chicken pieces and sauté a few minutes.

2.      Add sliced leeks, carrots and potatoes and stir well.

3.      Add vegetable broth, prunes, water and basil and stir well.

4.      Bring to a boil, add rice and scotch…lower heat, cover and simmer for 1½ hours.

5.      Serve with crusty bread and a simple tossed salad.

6.      Store in covered container in fridge.

7.      Makes about 12 cups of soup…you can easily make less by cutting the ingredients in half.


So what is the recipe for helping a child develop a high self-esteem?

1.      Help your child master tasks and skills.

2.      Encourage your child to value his own strengths and qualities.

3.      Help your child to feel appreciated and loved.

4.      Encourage your child to express his feelings.

5.      Help your child to acknowledge and cope with his fears.

6.      Encourage your child to accept himself and his body.

Kids love to help in the kitchen…not only does that time with you build self-esteem, but it also helps children develop reading readiness skills (or better literacy skills if they are older).  They also learn about good nutrition, and many picky eaters will try new foods that they have helped make.

If you would like more information about helping children develop a positive self-image or need some quick and easy ideas and self-esteem building activities, please pick up a copy of my book.  During the month of March, we are offering free shipping on my website (an additional $5 off the price of the book for participants in the PPP Reading Challenge) or you can purchase the book on Amazon.


 If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:


Connie: http://connieemeraldeyes.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/weekly-sunday-post-recipe/

Colline: http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/sunday-post-recipe/

Susan: http://tostir.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/sunday-post-recipe/

Franny: http://oregonsmiles.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/recipe-for-success/

Mara: http://africatoalgarve.blogspot.pt/2012/03/recipe.html

Cassie: http://worldofcassie.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/sunday-post-recipe/

I’ll add more folks who are participating in Jake’s Sunday Post as soon as their posts are up.

Soup image thanks to www.cookstr.com

Building Self-Esteem: The Chocolate Rabbit


Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of writers who contribute a picture book review and related resources. 

I’m always looking for books with characters who are engaged in self-esteem building.  Not only is this the case with my selection today, but the book is also a perfect choice for the upcoming holiday of Easter.  I know that parents and teachers will enjoy the simple eco-friendly craft project at the end of my review.

Do you know where the first chocolate Easter bunnies were made?  Here is the scoop, according to picture book author and illustrator, Maria Claret.



The Chocolate Rabbit

Written and illustrated by Maria Claret

Translated by Jane O’Sullivan

Publishers: Barons Juvenile (originally published in Spain)

Ages: 2 – 8

Themes: Mastering tasks and skills, Easter, crafting, dealing with disappointment, family togetherness

Opening: “Not so very long ago, the Rabbit family lived in a little town not far from here.”

Synopsis:  Bertie Rabbit and his sisters want to help their artistic father who paints beautiful Easter eggs, but they are too young.   Bertie decides he is old enough to help his father and buys eggs with his own money, intending to decorate them and surprise his father.  The little bunny is sadly disappointed when he trips and the basket tips over, breaking all of the eggs.  Bertie’s mother makes a pot of chocolate to lift her son’s spirits…but when Bertie climbs up for a taste, disaster strikes and Bertie is covered in lukewarm chocolate.  Bertie’s father looks at his son and has an ingenious idea…chocolate bunnies! 

Why do I like this book

Success often comes on the heels of failure!  I love books that encourage children to keep on trying as they learn to master tasks and skills.  Self-esteem is not built with empty praise…it is developed and strengthened as young children learn to do things for themselves.  A child’s sense of self-worth increases as he takes these important steps…and learning to deal with disappointment is one of those steps.  This is a sweet story about working together as a family…relevant with the busy hectic pace many families experience today…each family will find their own unique ways of spending quality time together.

The illustrations are charming…they remind me of Beatrix Potter’s work.

Related Activities:

Child Care Lounge has quite a few lovely Easter crafts as well as bunny poems here

Angel Fire has an Easter/Spring Unit with many book and craft and cooking ideas here.

Mama-Knows (colored egg picture below) has lots of recipes for coloring Easter eggs here.

Children love arts and crafts!  Here is an activity that will please every eco-minded parent.



You will need: Hard-boiled white eggs (cooled), Q-tips, one or more of the following depending on how many colors you want: ¼ cup blueberries (blue), ¼ cup cranberries (red), 1 tsp tumeric (yellow), markers, a small bowl for each color, cover-ups, two small pots and water to boil.

1.      Cover the work surface and workers to protect from staining (wear disposable plastic gloves if desired).

2.      Boil ½ cup water, add crushed blueberries, simmer for 5 minutes and then pour into small bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Do the same for the cranberries.

3.      Pour 1 tsp tumeric and ½ cup hot water in a small bowl, stir and let cool.

4.      Put an egg into each bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes, turning several times with a spoon.  Then lift each egg out and let dry.

5.      Use markers to add designs.

6.      Tip: while waiting for the eggs to absorb the color, go on a color-naming hunt throughout your house…how many red, blue and yellow items can your child find? 


This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susanna Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.