Picture Book Review and Giveaway: Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Best

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday…and we are reviewing another BRAND NEW 2017 release.

fuzzbuster-cover

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite

Written by Stacy McAnulty

Illustrated by Edward Hemingway

Publisher: Two Lions Press (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 2

Themes:

Friendship, self-esteem, pets

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Mr. Fuzzbuster knew he was Lily’s favorite. They did everything together. Naps. Story time. Walks. And more naps. But now four more animals lived in the house.… Continue reading

PPBF: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

No..it can’t be! Friday already? They say time flies when you are having fun…I must be having a ball!

Well, actually, I am. Still participating in ReFoReMo which means I am reading picture books EVERY DAY! And soon to be starting another month of challenge, RhyPiBoMo. Don’t you love these acronyms? The new challenge is Angie Karcher’s Rhyming Picture Book Month.

Last year was an unbelievable success – an intensive month-long workshop of lessons, writing prompts and camaraderie. Oh, and PRIZES! There’s still time to register…just click on the link above to find out all about it.

And now it’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and activity. And if you’d like some more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s blog.

I had no problem choosing today’s Perfect Picture Book. I just asked my six-year old grandson. Ever since we got this book from the library last week, he’s requested it as a bedtime story.

unicorn

Title: Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Written and illustrated by Bob Shea Continue reading

#PPBF: Little Toot – Valentine’s Day – International Book Giving Day Giveaway

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. On her blog you will find a page called Perfect Picture Books – parents and teachers can use that to locate books that address specific topics.

Today is also International Book Giving Day and Valentine’s Day ! I’m sharing one of the most beloved classic picture books and a craft activity that appeared on my blog three years ago.  Plus, there will be a giveaway of a picture book (I’m not telling which one…don’t you love surprises?)…all you need to do is comment on this post and you will be entered. littletoot_smLittle Toot

Written and illustrated by Hardie Gramatky

Publishers: G. P. Putnam (original: 1939, but many different editions over the years)

Ages: 3 – 7

Themes:  I’m taking Susanna Leonard Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class…and learning so much about story themes…here are a few Susanna shared with us that apply to Little Toot: Believe in yourself and you can achieve your dreams; there is a time for play and a time for work; courage is doing something even though you are afraid of what might happen

Opening: “At the foot of an old, old wharf lives the cutest, silliest little tugboat you ever saw.  A very handsome tugboat with a brand new candy-stick smoke-stack.  His name is Little Toot.”

Synopsis: Little Toot spends his days “playing” in New York City harbor, getting in the way of the other tugboats that are working hard.  The little tugboat enjoys sailing in a figure-eight and blowing big smoke-balls.  While his father and grandfather, famous for their strength and bravery, work diligently, Little Toot fools around.  The entire fleet of tugboats wonders if Little Toot will ever learn to do the job he was born to do.  However, when a big ocean liner gets into trouble during a storm Continue reading

Sunday Post: Reflections…Do You Love Yours?

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

Look in the mirror.  Do you see your reflection?

The picture that you have in your mind’s eye may be quite different.

This reflection or self-image…who we are and how we look…forms in early childhood and is influenced in large part by how our parents act and react with us.

I’ve been taking part in a creative writing exercise for the past eight weeks.  Children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill organized “Summer Short & Sweets” and each week she provided writing prompts.  Last week she posted this beautiful illustration by gifted artist and picture book illustrator, Heather Newman, and asked us to think about a children’s story based on that picture.

Illustration copyright Heather Newman 2012 – Used by Permission

AND NOW THERE IS A CONTEST!

THE INSTRUCTIONS: WRITE A STORY OF 250 WORDS OR LESS BASED ON THIS PICTURE.  SOMEWHERE IN THE STORY, SOMEONE HAS TO SAY, “DID YOU SEE THAT?”  AND SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE STORY, SOMEONE HAS TO SAY, “GOODBYE OR FAREWELL”.

I’m going to share the story I wrote for the contest…and it ties in with the Sunday Post theme of Reflections…how we see ourselves and what happens when a person doesn’t have a positive self-image.

I hope you all enjoy it…I’d love to have your feedback and comments.

Working Title: Boot Camp at Old Dragons-Lair

Genre: Picture Book

Word Count: 240

BOOT CAMP AT OLD DRAGONS-LAIR by Vivian Kirkfield

The first day of boot camp at Old Dragons-Lair

The white witch decided to darken her hair.

So tired was she of her colorless locks

She lifted the red from the tail of the fox.

 

“Did you see that?” all the campers cried out.

“I’ll do as I please!” the witch said with a shout.

“I don’t like how I look…I’ll take what I wish

The tail of the dragon…the eyes of a fish.

 

“You can’t take from others”, the raven explained.

Your magical powers should be more restrained.

You’re leader of boot camp at Old Dragons-lair

You can’t create havoc and cause such a scare.

 

The black bird continued, “It’s what people do

That shows their real beauty…believe me, it’s true!”

And nodding her head, the witch waved her thin wand

Her hair began changing from red back to blonde.

 

The campers all gathered around the white witch

And loudly applauded the spell-binding switch.

She’d learned to treat others with love and with care

You don’t bully people at Old Dragons-lair!

 

The last day of boot camp at Old Dragons-lair

The campers took part in a Renaissance Fair

The white witch placed first in the costume parade

And raven won gold in the gaming arcade.

 

The campers were packed and excited to go

The sky was alight with a fiery glow

Each clambered to mount his own flying gazelle,

And said to the raven and witch,”Fond farewell!”

That’s it…what do you think?

We have one more month to get nominations to give 12 free copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingto schools or other childcare facilities.  Nominate your child’s school in the Show Me How School Initiative by leaving a comment and telling us why you’d like them to have this book.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, please tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!  Please tweet this or spread the word across any of your social media networks.  At the beginning of October we will use Random.org to choose 12 lucky schools.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Sunday Post: Stairway to Self-Esteem

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

I always try to tie in the theme with something related to parenting.  Since the dictionary defines “stairway” as a passageway from one level to another by a series of steps, I’ve decided to outline the basic components or “steps” in the stairway to building a strong self-esteem that are found in the introduction to Show Me How!

How can we help our kids navigate the passageway of childhood and achieve a positive self-image?

What steps does a child have to climb to reach a level of high self-esteem?

  1. MASTER TASKS AND SKILLS…Let your child help around the house.

2.  VALUE ONE’S OWN STRENGTHS AND QUALITIES…Encourage your child in different pursuits.

 

3.      FEEL APPRECIATED, LOVED AND ACCEPTED…Spend loving and positive time with your child.

 

4.      LEARN TO EXPRESS FEELINGS…Allow your child to talk about his joy, anger and sadness.

 

5.      ACKNOWLEDGING AND COPING WITH FEARS…Share things you were afraid of as a child.

 

6.      FEELING GOOD ABOUT ONE’S BODY AND ONESELF…Celebrate the gift of life and dance.

 

I just got back from spending a glorious week in New Hampshire, taking care of my three-year old grandson.  His favorite book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  His favorite game: Soccer/kick ball.  His favorite TV show: Peppa Pig.  His favorite foods: Fresh strawberries and bananas. 

It was hard to leave to come home…I’m already looking forward to my next trip.

Here are a few websites with other resources and info on helping children build healthy self-esteem:

http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/self_esteem.html

http://life.familyeducation.com/self-esteem/parenting/34401.html

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/child-rearing-and-development/12-ways-help-your-child-build-self-confidence

http://www.livestrong.com/article/246770-self-esteem-building-exercises-for-children/

The SMH Library Project:

 

We are in the final two weeks of the Show-Me-How Library Project, so if you haven’t done it already, please nominate your favorite library in the comment section!  Twenty-five libraries will receive a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  NOMINATIONS CLOSE April 30!  Don’t let your library lose out on the chance of getting this award-winning resource for parents and teachers and your entire community.  A big thank you to all of those who have already spread the word about out this great opportunity via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterist, Google+ or by mentioning it in your posts!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://p0nky.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/sunday-post-stairway/

http://motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/weekly-sunday-post-stairway/

http://nprimopiano.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/stairs-2/

http://davidrwetzelphotography.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/sunday-post-stairs/

http://catbirdinoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/the-sunday-post-stairway/

http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/sunday-post-stairway/

http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/sunday-photo-challenge-stairs/

I also wanted to mention that today is Earth Day 2012…how will you help observe this special day?  Children can get involved in local park and playground cleanups.  Perhaps you can take a walk around your community…bring a big plastic garbage bag so that everyone can help pick up litter.  Maybe there are special events going on in your neighborhood…why not check them out.

http://act.earthday.org/

http://www.earthday.org/2012

A Christmas Memory

 

 

Deutsch: Apfelkuchen English: Apple pie

Image via Wikipedia

 

One of the best things about blogging is reading the posts of others.

There are some really super cool writers out in the blogosphere.

I meet new friends and learn new things all the time.

The other day, I discovered Things I Want to Tell My Mother, heartfelt posts written by a woman whose mother has Alzheimer’s.  Please take the time to visit her blog, especially if you are a mother or a daughter…you will be glad you did.

Marylin, the author of that wonderful blog, is having a contest and is asking for posts of one hundred words on Christmas memories with your mother or grandmother.  Since I lived with my grandmother for many years, my Christmas memory will be about this special lady who was a role model for positive parental participation long before spending quality time with young children was considered crucial to building self-esteem.

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Baking for Christmas

            As soon as I opened my eyes that morning, I knew it was going to be a special day.  The delicious aroma of apples and cinnamon filled the little bedroom I shared with my older sister.  This was the day before Christmas, and although my parents and sister were still sleeping, I knew that someone was already awake.  I tiptoed down the stairs and entered the old-fashioned kitchen. My grandmother’s words were welcoming and her flour-dusted arms enfolded me in a loving hug. “There you are, Vivian.  I’ve been waiting for you.  Come and help me make these apple pies.”

****************************************************************************************************** 

Memories like this one encouraged me to use cooking activities with my own children, the children in my daycare and as part of the self-esteem building activities in Show Me How!  Allowing kids to help prepare food builds true self-esteem as they master tasks and skills in the kitchen.  It also encourages fussy eaters to try new foods…if a child has helped prepare a meal; he or she is more likely to eat it.  Or, at least try it.  Here’s a cool tip: my niece who is a clinical psychologist, encourages her children to take a “no thank you” bite of every food that is being served.  They know that if they really don’t like it, they can try it and say, “no thank you” and they won’t have to finish the portion.  Experts say that it takes at least seven tries before we develop a taste for certain foods…so just because a child doesn’t like something the first time he tries it, doesn’t mean you should never serve it. 

I’ve got several school and library programs coming up this week and next and I am really excited about sharing the picture book stories and craft projects from Show Me How!  This is a back-to-basics program that builds self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and strengthens the parent-child connection.

 

Please pass the word and help others get on the back-to-basics bandwagon.  This will definitely be the gift that keeps on giving, long after many of the toys you buy have been discarded.

NO BATTERIES REQUIRED…POWERED BY YOUR CHILD’S IMAGINATION

SHOW ME HOW!  NOW ONLY $19.95

Year-Round School: Has Its Time Come?

 

I was thinking about what my next blog would be when I received a comment from Kat at education.com which sparked today’s post.

In my post on Is it Too Early to Begin Planning for the New School Year?, I referenced an article from Education.com.  Kat was kind enough to respond to that and she mentioned a great and FREE program that will help kids have fun learning this summer.  Here is her comment:

“Hi Vivian:  Thanks for sharing our computers in preschools article!  I also thought I’d let you know about our Summer Activities Challenge.  For parents who want to help their kids have fun learning this summer (in part to help get ready for the next school year) it’s a great (and free!) program.  Parents can sign up here: http://www.education.com/activities-challenge/.   Then they just need to complete at least 5 Education.com activities before the end of July and they’ll receive a personalized Certificate of Achievement and be entered to win some great prizes including a $500 Back to School Splurge.  Hope you and some of your readers will join us!”

As parents, we are always on the lookout for stuff to do with our kids…so check it out…this should be fun!

It made me think about the Summer Reading Programs at our local library back in Connecticut when our children were young…they really looked forward to participating and reading as many books as they could…how proud they each were with the certificate they received at the end of the summer!  I know that the Pikes Peak Library here in Colorado Springs also has summer reading programs Library Summer Reading Program: One World, Many Stories…what a great (and FREE) on-going activity for this summer!

Two months of summer vacation is an old remnant from the days when most people were farmers and their children were needed to help during the late spring and summer…planting, harvesting and weeding.  But these days, most people do NOT need their children home for two months during the summer…in fact, there are many reasons why this is an out-dated mode of planning a school year. 

  • School-readiness is often lost during the summer vacation…children get out of the habit of the school routine and all that implies…proper bedtime, early rising, good breakfast, getting things needed in the morning laid out the night before.
  • Studies show that children (and adults) forget much of what they learn if it is not used on a regular basis.
  • Everyone needs time off and a break in the routine…but two months is much too much.

I know that the idea of year-round school is one that has been talked about for decades…and there are some private schools that may adhere to it.  But most public schools still operate on the old schedule we all remember from our school days. 

What are your thoughts on year-round school?  Please share!

I also wanted to share some GOOD NEWS!  I’m partnering with the Family Christian Bookstore in Colorado Springs and will be doing a FREE Back-to-School program for parents and their preschoolers (ages 2-5+…kindergarteners and first graders are more than welcome) on Saturday, August 6th from 11am to 2pm.  We’ll be reading a story that addresses the topic of school anxiety and then doing a simple craft project that the children will be able to take home.  Parents will be able to pick up a couple of free flyers with additional activity ideas and simple tips to help insure a smooth transition from home to school.  In addition, any parent who fills out the entry form will be entered to win a gift package of preschool craft supplies. 

Please, please spread the word about this FREE and FUN-FILLED event for parents and children.  The manager of the bookstore told me that “author” events are not usually well-attended, but I know this is a topic of great importance and relevance to parents of preschoolers…also for parents whose children are starting a NEW school or starting daycare or nursery school for the first time.  If you are local to Colorado Springs, please stop in to say hello!  If parents show an interest, I plan to do a monthly program with different topics and stories and crafts each month…the manager of the Family Christian Bookstore has already given me the go-ahead.

Finding activities to do with our kids, especially during the long summer when they are home, can be a challenge.  I’ve continued my Jump-Into-Summer Sale on my website where you can pick up a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking for 50% off the cover price.  Buy online securely with PayPal or send a check or money order to me and you will have a treasure-trove of picture book story suggestions and summaries, parenting tips, easy eco-friendly craft projects and simple child-friendly healthful recipes all geared towards LEARNING, BUILDING A POSITIVE SELF-IMAGE and HAVING FUN!