#PPBF – John, Paul, George and Ben


Is it Friday already? I can’t believe it! Time is truly moving at warp-factor (any Star Trek fans out there?) speed.


star trek

Photo courtesy: http://www.courrierinternational.com


Well, since today is Friday, I’ve picked out a special picture book to review. I know how overwhelming it can be to walk into the library and have to choose from the thousands that are available. So after you are finished here, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog where you will find a bunch more hand-picked picture book reviews with activities for you and your child. If you are a mom, teacher or librarian, please check out Susanna’s amazing Perfect Picture Book page with over 1000 categorized picture book reviews and activities.


It’s definitely hard to find time to spend with your kids. Especially if you work outside the home. I watch my daughter’s struggle with this. She leaves early in the morning, as soon as her son’s school bus picks him up. And then her day is filled with work-related responsibilities. By 5:30pm, she is zooming to pick Jeremy up at his after school daycare. There is barely enough time to grab dinner, take a bath and brush teeth before it is time for him to go to sleep.

But, whether you work outside the home or at home or even if your ‘only’ job is being a homemaker and parent (please notice the quotes around the word only – being a homemaker and a parent is a full-time job…those who have other jobs must become masters of juggling), I’d like to offer a great parenting tip – if you only have 5 minutes, that is enough time to read a picture book. You will be building a bond with your child and helping increase his/her literacy skills, especially if you take a few minutes to talk with your child about the story after you read it. And here’s a great one to start with!



Written and illustrated by Lane Smith

Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children (2006)

Ages: 3-7

Themes: American history, being true to yourself


Opening Lines:

John was a bold lad. At the start of every school year the students were asked to write their names on the chalkboard and every year it was the same story. “John,” his teacher would say, “you have lovely penmanship. Hoh, your confidence is refreshing. But, Joh, c’mon…we don’t need to read it from space!”



A funny, punny look at five of our Founding Fathers: John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
Why I like this book:

  • This book is hilarious! Especially for parents! But kids will enjoy the humor as well
  • The text and illustrations remind me of an old newspaper or almanac – with a stencil/woodblock feel
  • The content will get kids thinking about history in a whole new way

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • The text is very sparse and large – kids who are just learning to read will enjoy picking out the words they recognize
  • Talk about the traits of each of the boys – bold, independent, honest, clever, noisy – how did those traits help the boys when they grew older? How would you like to be remembered?


Related Activity:



Stenciling is lots of fun. You can buy stencil sets in your local department stores (they have shape stencils and letter and alphabet stencils or you can make them yourself from construction paper or by finding household items of the shapes you want. Cookie cutters make awesome stencils! And so do leaves – why not grab some of those beautiful autumn ones that are starting to cover the ground?

You will need: Stencils, construction paper, markers or crayons.

  1. Pick the stencils you want to use and place them on the paper.
  2. Use markers or crayons to draw the outlines and then fill in.
  3. Makes great wrapping paper for gifts.

Here’s a link for more stencil crafts: http://www.all-about-stencils.com/crafts-for-kids.html

Thank you so much for stopping by – your time is very valuable and I appreciate that you are spending some of it with me.

Parenting Tip – How To Teach Problem Solving

What do you get when you give two seven-year olds some construction paper, markers, scissors and tape?

Parenting Tip - How To Teach Problme Solving

You get the most amazing creations! And you get happy kids!

I encourage parents to keep simple arts and crafts supplies on hand. Paper, scissors, markers and glue are imagination enablers. Kids can spend hours, happily engaged in expressing their creativity, exercising their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Last week, my son and his family stopped by.

Knowing that my grandchildren LOVE making things, I had put a few arts and crafts supplies on the dining room table. After we visited for a while, I asked the kids if they wanted to sit down and use the materials.

Before I had even finished the sentence Continue reading

Project 365 Challenge: Clearing up Some Confusion

Woman and Child looking at a Picture Book
Image via Wikipedia

Project 365 Challenge

The 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Comment Challenge

I’ve had a few questions about the challenge I issued to parents and other child caregivers the other day.  It’s no wonder some people are confused.  Perhaps I just have too many challenges going on at the same time!  So here is the background of each “challenge” and what it means to me and how it affects you.

Project 365 Challenge: This is a challenge by Word Press and individual bloggers to encourage blogging every day.  Some bloggers are doing photography challenges and are posting a new photo each day.  Other bloggers might be offering a different recipe every day.  Some follow the prompts given by Word Press and others will have posts about random subjects. 

What Project 365 Challenge means to me: I hope to offer a helpful positive parenting tip, tool or tactic each day that will make the difficult job of parenting a little easier…a picture book review, a simple child-friendly recipe, an easy craft project, a new resource for parents such as another blog that gives great parenting advice, information about a library or school program I’ve done or just a little humor to lighten your day.

How Project 365 Challenge affects you: All you have to do is read my posts.  If there is something you find valuable…I’ll be thrilled.  If you have the time and want to comment, I love to hear your thoughts and will always comment back.

Click to enter and comment: 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

 The 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge:  This is my challenge to parents and anyone involved in the care and education of young children to read with their children every day and also to spend time positively doing crafts or cooking or playing puzzles or taking a walk with their children.  There will be a prize of a picture book at the end of each month and anyone who participates is entitled to a special $5 discount off the price of my book on my website.

What the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge means to me:  I’m excited about this challenge and hope to encourage everyone to read to their children on a daily basis.  The impact on a young child of being read to every day is enormous and life-changing.  When adults spend quality positive time participating with children, it builds self-esteem, develops literacy skills and strengthens the parent-child connection.  We all want that, don’t we?  I’ll try to make it simple, giving you quick and easy activities and book suggestions during the week.

How the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge affects you: All you have to do is read a picture book to your children every day…and do some other positive activities like drawing a picture or letting your children help in the kitchen.  Even having your little ones help sort the wash and fold the towels will count.  Every day…or as often as you can, just post a comment on the official comment page (click this link or click the top button on my right sidebar), sharing with us the book that you read and/or the activity that you and your child participated in.  If you write your comment on a different page, no worries…all comments count.  One of the most helpful things about blogging is how we can become a community…a village.  Let’s become a Positive Parental Participation Community and share our stories with each other and help each other.  At the end of each month, we will randomly pick one comment and that person will receive a picture book.  If you take part in the challenge and post even one comment in the month, you are entered to win the picture book AND you are eligible to get a $5 discount off the price of my book, Show Me How!  This great resource will give you hundreds of picture book summaries, quick crafts and easy cooking activities.  I met a preschool teacher yesterday who recognized me and told me how much she is enjoying my book that was given to her as a Christmas present by one of her students.  “I don’t have to make lesson plans anymore.  I just open up your book and I have the story recommendation, craft project and cooking activity all right in front of me…with a tip on how to use that particular story to build self-esteem and also some room on the page to write notes.”

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Picture book author, Susannah Hill, has a special page on her blog where she recommends picture books and provides summaries and other important information about them.  She also invites other bloggers to contribute their favorite picture book stories for her list.

What Perfect Picture Book Friday means to me:  I will be participating in Susannah’s list.  Every Friday I post a review and summary of a picture book that I feel every young child should hear.

How Perfect Picture Book Friday affects you: Read my post every Friday and you will have a great book recommendation for your child.  Visit Susannah’s blog (her button is on my right sidebar…you can just click it and it will take you there) and you will have lots of picture book suggestions for the other days of the week.  Your local library is a super resource for picture books and the children’s librarian will be thrilled to help you pick out great stories for your child.

Comment Challenge:  The Comment Challenge has been issued to encourage bloggers to comment on each other’s blogs.  The goal is to comment on five blogs each day.  Writing frequent posts is a lot of work…and takes a lot of effort.  It is nice to have someone comment and this can motivate people to keep on, even when it is difficult or they don’t have much time.

What Comment Challenge means to me: I love reading other blogs…I learn so much!  And I love to respond to what others are saying…so I enjoy commenting on their posts.  I will try to do at least five comments each day.

How Comment Challenge affects you: It doesn’t…unless you are also blogging and taking part in it.  But I hope you will comment on my posts as part of the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge, as you share with us the books you are reading with your children and the activities you are doing

Jennifer, a super mom blogger at The Toy Box Years, is taking part in the Positive Parental Participation Challenge and she just posted a great review of my book.  Take a look…she tells why she loves using it.

I hope this explanation of all of the challenges was helpful…and I look forward to reading your comments and sharing great parenting tips with you in the coming year.

Come back tomorrow for Perfect Picture Book Friday and a review of must-read book for your child.