#PPBF: Tiny Creatures – The World of Microbes

The snow is falling…again! Here in Amherst, New Hampshire, we were clobbered by a huge blizzard just a few days ago and, as I look out my window, it seems Mother Nature is giving us an encore.

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So it’s nice to be inside, cozy and warm, sharing my Perfect Picture Book Friday review with you.

tiny creatures

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes

Written by Nicola Davies

Illustrated by Emily Sutton

Publisher: Candlewick Press (2014)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Science, health, the world around us

 

Opening Lines:

“You know about big animals, and you know about small animals…but do you know that there are creatures so tiny that millions could fit on this ant’s antenna?”

Synopsis:

From Amazon: “All around the world — in the sea, in the soil, in the air, and in your body — there are living things so tiny that millions could fit on an ant’s antenna. They’re busy doing all sorts of things, from giving you a cold and making yogurt to eroding mountains and helping to make the air we breathe. If you could see them with your eye, you’d find that they all look different, and that they’re really good at changing things into something else and at making many more microbes like themselves!.” Continue reading

#PPBF – Skit-Skat Raggedy Cat – Ella Fitzgerald

Yay! Double Yay! I’m continuing my non-fiction picture book review journey with an awesome book that came out in 2010.

But first I wanted to share a really fun blog series that a friend of mine, Penny Parker Klostermann, is doing. Every week, on her blog, a penny and her jots, she and her great-nephew collaborate – she writes a little poem and he draws a picture to go with it. AND GUESS WHAT???? Penny invited me and my six-year old grandson to participate – TODAY! So if you have a minute, please click on the link and enjoy A Sweet Dessert.

It was lots of fun working together with Jeremy – kids totally enjoy the time they spend with you…especially if you are enjoying the time as well. Do you love to cook or bake? Your child would love to help. Is walking through the woods more your style? Take your kids with you and see the world with fresh young eyes again. Crazy about music? Turn up the rock, pop, jazz, classical or whatever gets you moving…your children will dance their socks off.

And speaking of music, here’s our Perfect Picture Book for today.

skit skat

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald

Written by Roxane Orgill

Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Publisher: Candlewick Press (2010)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Pursuing your dream, overcoming adversity, music

 

Opening Lines:

“Ella cranked the handle on the phonograph, and the three Boswell Sisters crooned, with honey in their voices: Continue reading

Marty Mokler Banks: Will Write for Cookies

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WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES

INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION

FOR WRITERS

TODAY’S GUEST

MARTY MOKLER BANKS

 Marty.Banks.photo

My initial connection with the writing community back in 2010 was with today’s featured author. As one of the Colorado Springs SCBWI leaders, Marty welcomed me warmly and made me feel at home. More than that, she made me feel I had a right to call myself a writer.

Marty Mokler Banks is a children’s author and freelance travel writer. She has published five books and writes a blog on children’s chapter books,

I’m so happy to have her here to share her thoughts with us.

Welcome, Marty!

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

 

Marty:

I went to Catholic schools where the Arts weren’t promoted too heavily. “Art class” was an hour on Fridays when the math teacher let us use colored markers to make graphs, all with straight lines from our rulers! My dad loved to read Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey books, but I don’t remember anyone else in the house reading. They do now, but since I have five older brothers, my mom was probably too tired and my brothers were busy getting in trouble. I remember I owned and loved a copy of Clifford the Big Red Dog. I had a set of Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library, with four tiny books in a box. That was special and I read each one a zillion times. Even then I recognized the excellent illustrations. And in about fourth grade I discovered the transporting qualities of a good book through the middle grade novel The Raft. Continue reading

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Is it Friday already? The days seem to fly by! The good thing is that it’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity. Susanna Hill’s blog is the place to go to find a whole bunch of other Perfect Picture Book Friday entries.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book is a perfect book to read as we celebrate Martin Luther King Day on January 19th.

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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom

Written by Angela Johnson

Illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (2014)

Ages: 5-9

Themes: First day of freedom, slavery, family togetherness

 

Opening Lines:

“A June morning breeze off the port blew the smell of honeysuckle past the fields, across the yard, and into our room to wake us. And nobody knew as we ate a little, talked a little, and headed to the fields as the sun was rising, that soon it would be all different.” Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity. Susanna Hill’s blog is the place to go to find a whole bunch of other picture book reviews.

Last week I promised you that I would be reviewing lots of non-fiction picture books this year…this one is just lovely.

elizabeth queen of the seas

Elizabeth, The Queen of the Seas

Written by Lynne Cox

Illustrated by Brian Floca

Publisher: Schwartz-Wade Books (2014)

Ages: 4-8

Themes:

Pursuing your dream, friendship, elephant seals

 

Opening Lines:

“There was once a lovely elephant seal who lived in the city. Most elephant seals live in the ocean, in salt water. They sleep on rocky coasts and lie along sandy beaches. But this seal was different. She swam in the sweet, shallow waters of the Avon River where it flowed through the heart of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

The incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again—each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away—but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.” Continue reading

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Running with the Horses

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for the first Perfect Picture Book review and craft activity of 2015.

I’m going to be participating in Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, so I can guarantee that quite a few of the reviews this year will be non-fiction ones. I discovered the ‘new’ non-fiction picture books when I enrolled in Kristen’s Non-Fiction Archaeology course last June…for those of you who have ever thought about writing in that genre, I urge you to check out her stellar class.

Before I took the class, my idea of a non-fiction book was based on what I had read as a kid. Back in the day, most non-fiction books, even those for kids, were BORING. But not anymore! And there are many different types of non-fiction…kids might not care, but parents, teachers and librarians might want to make the distinction.

For more detailed information, you can go here:
http://nonfictionandthecommoncore.blogspot.com/

running with horses

RUNNING WITH THE HORSES

Written and illustrated by Alison Lester

Publisher: NorthSouth (2011)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes: Conquering fears, Lipizzaner horses, war

 

Opening Lines:

“A long time ago, a young girl named Nina lived in a palace that stood in the heart of a graceful old city. The palace was home to the Roayl Academy of Dancing Horss, where Nina’s father, Viktor, was the stable master.”

Synopsis:

From Amazon: “Nina and her father live in a beautiful riding school famous for their Lippizaners–precious, rare performing horses.  Nina loves the horses that her father looks after, but she also loves Zelda, one of the old carriage horses who she sneaks out to see.  It’s a perfect world for a little girl, although she has to compete with her father’s work for his attention.  But a war is coming, one that will threaten their lives and the very existence of the school. 

When the city is under attack, Nina and Father are in charge of fleeing with the horses to a safe place across the border, but can they pass enemy soldiers, bombed out bridges and the fearsome cold of the Alps to get there?  And can Nina save her beloved Zelda, too?” Continue reading

Happy New Year: Looking Back and Moving Forward

me Stu and Jeremy

I’m a sucker for challenges – and Julie Hedlund put a new one together that I just could not resist.

The12 Days of Christmas – There is still a week left – and the previous days are archived so you can catch up easily!

Julie asked that we celebrate what we HAVE accomplished rather than dwell on what we haven’t.

She encouraged us to make a list of our successes and surprises, before thinking of any failures or disappointments.

And this makes sense…it’s the mindset I encouraged in my kindergarteners when I was teaching. It’s the parenting approach I followed with my own kids. Positive thinking does generate positive results!

So here is a rundown of how I spent the past year.

2014 might have been the Chinese Year of the Horse…but for me, it was the Year of Continue reading