Category Archives: Christmas

Perfect Picture Book Friday: PICK A PINE TREE Plus Giveaway

Here we are again! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I hope everyone had a Thanksgiving where good food, friends, and family took center stage. I have so much to be thankful for…starting with all of you, dear readers. And also all of these wonderful picture books of 2017 and their talented authors and illustrators!

Our book review today is perfect for the season…but first, we have some winners to announce. A lot of winners thanks to our generous authors!

A copy of MOTOR GOOSE: RHYMES THAT GO! by Rebecca Colby. And the winner is…

MIDGE BALLOU SMITH

A copy of CAPTAIN BLING’S CHRISTMAS PLUNDER by Rebecca Colby. And the winner is…

VICKY HAMMOND

A copy of FINN FINDS A FRIEND by Jenna Grodzicki . And the winner is…

LYNN ROGALSKI

A copy of ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES, TOO! by Katy Duffield . And the winner is…

JULIE ROWEN-ZOCH!

A copy of NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A FAKE NEWS STORY by Darcy Pattison. And the winner is….

JEANINE POTTER

Oh my gosh…is it the season of giving gifts or what?

And here is my gift to you today…a review of Patricia Toht’s fabulous new picture book!

Pick a Pine Tree Cover

PICK A PINE TREE

Written by Patricia Toht

Illustrated by Jarvis

Published by Candlewick Press (2017)

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Christmas, decorating a tree, family time

Synopsis:

From Amazon: A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime — beginning, of course, with picking out a tree!

 magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.

Why I like this book:

  • Wonderful rhyming text that parents will enjoy reading and kids will enjoy listening to over and over again.
  • Great illustrations…I especially love the double-spread fully decorated Christmas tree that you turn the book on it’s side to see.
  • A perfect addition to any home bookshelf – it’s nice to have a new holiday book to add to your collection!

RELATED ACTIVITIES

CHRISTMAS TREE CRAFTS

 

Christmas-crafts-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: https://handsonaswegrow.com/easy-christmas-crafts-kids/

Here are a bunch of awesome crafts for the season. You will find details on each one here: https://handsonaswegrow.com/easy-christmas-crafts-kids/

Please don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a copy of PICK A PINE TREE. If you’ve already read this wonderful book, why not hop over to Amazon to leave a review. And definitely be here tomorrow when author Patricia Toht stops by to chat about her writing journey.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Seven Candles for Kwanzaa and Toy Safety for the Holidays

It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas…and Hanukkah…and Kwanzaa. And since today is Friday, I knew I had to find an appropriate picture book to spotlight and review. But first I have a little gift for you.

A few weeks ago I connected with Kay Duguay from Consumer Safety. She provided me with an infographic that gives great tips on how to save money during this holiday shopping season while making sure you buy items that are safe for your family.

safety-infographic

 

It’s really interesting that all three major winter holidays are about celebrating family and community, but everywhere you turn, vendors are selling their wares…electronic gadgets, kitchen implements, and of course, TOYS.

jeremy-with-teddy-bear

Here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your children unwrap their presents. Many of these tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.eyenet.org

  1. Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level.  Check the packaging for age recommendations.
  2. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  3. Check labels for the American Society for Testing and Materials(ASTM) approval to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
  4. BB, paint or pellet guns and airpower rifles are classified as firearms and make dangerous gifts in homes where there are children.  Similarly, darts and bows and arrows are also dangerous when they fall into the hands of kids.
  5. Younger children are now participating in sports such as baseball, football, hockey and soccer.  If you are giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets and facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
  6. A picture book, whether an older classic or one of the newer additions to bookstore shelves, is always a safe and welcome gift.  Reading the story to the child will add so much value to the gift…it costs you nothing, but means the world to the listener.

A picture book you say? Now, aren’t you impressed? Isn’t this a great lead-in to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection?

kwanzaa

SEVEN CANDLES FOR KWANZAA

Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (1993)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Family life, community, Kwanzaa

Synopsis:

From Amazon reviewer Gail Hudson:

Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday. Ideas for daily Kwanzaa rituals abound. For example, on the fourth day, in honor of ujamaa (cooperative family economics), families can use the coins that they’ve saved over the year to buy a gift for the family “like a clock that chimes or a hallway mirror.” Illustrator Brian Pinkney takes on the role of storyteller with his scratchboard drawings of a family in the midst of daily Kwanzaa activities and celebrations. Each domestic scene is framed in an earth-toned border of traditional African patterns–bridging the two continents page by page. The thoughtful details and human interactions in each drawing speak to the core meaning of the holiday, that of honoring one’s family, community, and heritage.

Opening Lines:

“Kwanzaa is like a family day in the park and Thanksgiving and a birthday, all rolled into one.”

Why I like this book:

  • It’s important for young children to see themselves in the books they read…and equally important for young children to see people and cultures different from their own.
  • The author presents a clear and simple explanation of what each day of Kwanzaa represents.
  • Wonderful activities that every family can adapt to their own situation.
  • Powerful illustrations show how this holiday is all about family and community.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

The book is chock full of hands on activities for parents and children.

For more Kwanzaa activities: http://www.preschoolexpress.com/holiday-station08/kwanzaa-dec08.shtml

 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.

I’m sending you all my very best wishes for the happiest of holidays.

And next week I’ll reveal some BIG plans I have for my blog in 2017…I can hardly wait to tell you!

Holiday Writing Contest – The Christmas Seed

Guess what? It’s December! Do you know how I know?

It’s time for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Annual Holiday Writing Contest! YAY!

holiday contest

And this is the fifth year I have participated! Sorry for all the exclamation marks…but it’s one of my favorite writing challenges.

Here are some of the basic rules from Susanna website: the contest is open to everyone and there is still time to enter—deadline is Friday, December 11.  Write a children’s story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) beginning with any version of “Rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop.”  You may use that actual opening, or you may change it to any similar version “[Verb of your choice]ing [any preposition you choose] the [any item you choose] [any preposition you choose] the [venue of your choice].”  For example, “Surfing along the wind-whipped waves at the Yuletide barbeque,” or “Wandering through the pine-sweet woods at the cut-your-own tree farm,” or “Quarreling in the checkout line at the local Toys R Us,” or “Waltzing among the candy canes at the Holiday Bazaar”….   You get the idea, I’m sure 🙂 And the maximum word count is 350. There are PRIZES galore! For more information: http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2015/11/monday-munchdayan-exciting-announcement.html

Those of you who know me know I love to write in rhyme. Here’s my entry—I hope you like it!

 

The Christmas Seed (341 words)

 

Circling round the planet Mars on their space craft RV-3,

the children begged and pleaded for a real live Christmas tree.

“There is no way,” cried Maw and Paw, “for that to come about.”

So Sue and Lou and Baby Boo would have to do without.

No Christmas tree? That cannot be…they vowed to find a way.

Sue climbed up high and searched the sky, but only saw a sleigh.

And Lou got tangled in the lights while looking in a drawer.

And Baby Boo picked up a seed as he crawled on the floor.

“Take that away,” cried Maw and Paw, “that’s not for Boo to eat”

But Boo skedaddled like a flash to the ejection seat.

Maw screamed! Lou tripped! Sue scrambled down! Paw reached to

save his kid.

They heard a BOOM! It shook the room! The spaceship blew its lid!

They watched as Boo flew through the air; it was a fearful sight.

This wasn’t quite the way they’d planned to spend this Christmas

night.

And Maw, she moaned, and Paw, he groaned, and Sue and Lou,

they cried.

But then they heard a HO! HO! HO! and Santa slid inside.

He opened up his big red sack – plucked out a doll for Sue,

a watch for Paw, a book for Maw, a bat and ball for Lou.

But Maw and Paw, their faces drooped, and Sue and Lou, they

frowned,

until they heard, deep in the sack, a most familiar sound.

Then Santa reached way down inside and pulled out Baby Boo.

“I saved the best for last,” he said. “This one’s for all of you!”

And scrambling up onto his sleigh, he pointed straight at Mars

The seed Boo found had grown into a Christmas tree with stars.

And Santa’s booming voice rang out as he rode out of sight,

“May peace and love and joy be yours on this and every night.”

So if you get a telescope, please aim the lens towards Mars,

and you might see Boo’s Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling

stars.

 

I hope you get a chance to visit the other contest submissions…they are sure to be fantastic!

And before I forget, a couple of weeks ago, I was part of a book blog tour for Margret Peot’s new picture book,  Crow Made a Friend. I promised there would be a GIVEAWAY of a copy of this precious story. And the winner is….

LESLIE GOODMAN

Congrats, Leslie!

I will get in touch with you for your address so they can ship the book to you.

Have a wonderful week—pass along a smile, give someone a hug, and be kind to yourself.

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