Monday, September 29, 2008

I Received An Award!

Wow! I've only been blogging here for a little over a week. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that Kristie, the sweetheart from Lily's Licorice, gave me my very first "I Love Your Blog" award. If you imagined me jumping up from my chair and doing a serious happy dance, you wouldn't be very far off. *laugh* As I told Kristie, it's such a joy for me to be able to read books both on my own and with my children. To be able to turn around and share that love with others by writing reviews for the books I read is like adding a cherry to the top of an already delicious sundae. I enjoy it that much. And to be recognized for it is like, wow, at least fifty cherries on top of the sundae. *laugh* So, THANK YOU, Lily's Licorice for the incredibly sweet gesture.

Now, in true blogosphere fashion, since I received an award, I'd like to pass it along to seven others who I feel are truly deserving.

So, without further ado, here are my seven nominations in no particular order...

Amanda from - I absolutely love her product and book reviews. Not to mention the girl runs awesome giveaways like crazy.

Reading Coach Online - These people have not only a great blog but an entire site that's just full of helpful articles, wonderful tips, and great info regarding helping your children learn to read.

Super Coupon Girl - This girl is just plain nuts! And oh do I mean that in a good way. I'm serious. Never, I repeat NEVER, have I met or seen anyone that could work the coupon magic like this girl. She's a real inspiration!

Sarcastic Mom - I only recently discovered this one, but she's so funny I can't help but keep going back time and time again. It's a great mommy blog that you can read and say, "Whew, I'm not alone." ;P

Blessings Abound - Jacqueline is everybody's favorite Alaskan mom. And when she's not busy with all that being a SAHM entails (and therein I can relate), she shares great reviews for items I'd never in a million years discover on my own.

My Friend Amy - Amy is one of the most dedicated book bloggers I've run across. Not only is she religious about posting book reviews, interviews, previews, and contests but she's also the one who spearheaded this year's first ever BBAW. Which, if I do say so myself, was immense fun!

Skye's Ramblings - The thing I love best about this blog is that Skye, author of the adult Time Guardian series, writes and shares exactly what's on her mind in a very down to earth manner. You never know if what she'll post about will be books, science, jokes, or more. You just know that whatever she chooses to write about, it will be geniune and fun.

The above bloggers may put the "I Love Your Blog" graphic up on their page. Link the person you received the award from. (Me) Then you get to nominate seven more blogs for the award. Put links of the nominated blogs on yours, and then leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Happy Blogging! =)

And the Cow Said Moo! by Mildred Phillips

And the Cow Said Moo! by Mildred Phillips
Geared Towards: Baby-Preschool
Published By: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: May 2000
ISBN-13: 978-0688168025

Here we have a book that has actually been out for several years (8+ to be exact) that I had never heard of before. That's not to say that I'm aware of every book ever published. However, seeing as I discovered it at the library and we've spent so much time there since my oldest daughter was born 5+ years ago, I found it amazing that I'd never happened across it before. I'm glad though that after all this time it finally found me and me it. What a cute book!

In And the Cow Said Moo! a young calf receives an early morning visit from each of his farm friends. As each animal stops by to say 'hello', cow cries out "Good morning, _________. Say Moo! Say Moo! If I say Moo, why don't you?" Because cow is so young, he doesn't understand that not everyone speaks 'moo'. So each animal visitor explains to cow that it doesn't moo, and then proceeds to show cow what noise it does make. No matter how many animals parade by to greet the calf (there are six in all), he still asks each why they don't moo back to him.

Finally, his last visitor, an owl, explains to the little cow that everybody is different and we all can't be the same. "Now if I said MOO, and you said Whoooo, you'd be me and I'd be you!" The calf is then able to grasp the concept of being different. And as he imagines all of his animal friends mixed up with each other (the wrong heads on the wrong bodies) he realizes the importance of each animal being just as they are.

This book was so much fun to read. From the lilting text to the cheerful and funny illustrations, this is one I want to read over and over again. Not only was it just a cute story in general, but I really felt the author conveyed a great message to her readers. Individual identity is important, and while it's wonderful to be the same as others, you don't always have to be exactly alike. Each of us has our own unique characteristics and tastes which makes life all the more interesting.

Due to the way Phillips wrote each animal's dialog, And the Cow Said Moo! can easily be converted from a normal "one reads while others listen" style book to one that allows audience participation. Both my 2 year old and my 5 year old loved this story, but I think they enjoyed it all the more simply because they got to help call out the animals sounds. For this particular point alone, I would definitely recommend this book for teachers or librarians who want a story to read in a group storytime setting. I personally am hoping to get my hands on my very own copy of this book, and then I'd love to go in and read it to my daughter's kindergarten class. I can hear the excited shouts of participation ringing in my ears already.

OUR RATING: 5 hearts

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Baby Animals by Jim Pipe

Baby Animals by Jim Pipe
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Stargazer Books
Publication Date: January 2007 (reprint- library binding)
ISBN- 13: 978-1596041110

Part of the "Read and Play" book line from Stargazer, Baby Animals is one I'd certainly recommend for parents/educators with children as young as 1 or 2, not just the 4-8 yrs age group as suggested in the publisher information. While the younger of the group would not be able to read the book themselves, obviously, they would most definitely be drawn to the clear, close up animal pictures (such as puppies, kittens, lambs, piggies, and more) featured throughout. Likewise, this would be an excellent training tool to help teach these younger, not quite there yet, readers the names of the baby animals.

With a simple text and featured word blocks, older children who are new or learning readers will easily be able to navigate through the book on their own or with minimal help. Phrases on each page concisely refer to the animal pictured, and help the young child learn the baby animal names and occasionally a very basic fact about the animal.

Upon coming to the end, readers will find the "play" portion of this book which entails three quick games. The first inspires the child to recall visual details about four of the featured animals as he/she is asked to match the animal name to its pictured part. The second shows a picture of an animal included in the story, and asks the young reader to count the number of babies. Next there are four of the featured animals pictured, and the reader is asked to make the sound each animal would make. Lastly, on the index page, there are several images pictured from in the book, and the child is asked to find the pages each picture was on.

I loved how this book prompts the reader to use his/her mind, even if he/she is not of reading age. A child as young as 1 or 2 won't grasp the counting aspect on that particular quiz, but he/she will most definitely be able to begin recognizing the animals by sight and with help learning the noises each makes. The older kids can practice their memorization skills and counting skills as well. And don't let the learning and play stop there. Flip to the Parent/Teacher guide located on the last page of the book. Listed there are several themed tie in questions and activities that one can use to continue teaching, quizing, and playing with their kids even after you've finished reading the book.

Final thoughts...

I read this today with my 2 year old, and she absolutely loved it. As suspected, she was drawn to the animal pictures, quickly began displaying her knowledge by rattling off the names of the adult animals, and the animal's sound. She needed help with several of the names in their baby form, but that's exactly the point of this book- to teach the baby names to the child. At the end of the story, we were able to do all three activities included in the "play" section. We worked together on the counting one, but the rest she did on her own. So, yes, while referenced as being for children 4+, I stick to my guns about believing there's no reason a younger child couldn't enjoy and benefit from this book.

OUR RATING: 5 Hearts

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett

Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: February 2008
ISBN- 13: 978-0763636609

I'm all about books that not only have a good story, but that actually teach a child something too. Be it a lesson about sharing, not fighting, eating your veggies, or life in general. If there's a good message in the story, it makes it all the more appealing to me.

So it was Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar. This is the story of how a young girl, Arabella, discovers a fuzzy caterpillar while she's out climbing trees one day. First Arabella talks to the caterpillar, then she plays with the caterpillar, then she takes it home with her. At home, she makes it a bed of grass and flowers, and then she feeds it lots of tasty foods just perfect for a caterpillar. After the caterpillar eats and eats, Arabella watches as it begins to grow. She then proceeds to watch the caterpillar as it makes its cocoon, and eventually blossoms forth as a beautiful butterfly.

What I really loved about this book, aside from the simple yet colorful illustrations and lovely sing song rhyme, was how it taught its young readers several lessons. It was only a handful of pages, but Jarrett incorporated key lessons that I spotted right off. Obviously, the biggest being the life cycle of the title insect, and how it starts as a caterpillar but after a time transforms in to a butterfly. There was also the lesson of being compassionate and careful with life around you, as well as the lesson of patience. Arabella took the caterpillar home, but she protected and freed it when necessary. And when her little friend made his home in his cocoon she had to exibit patience while she waited to see what would happen.

Here we have another perfect example of a well written book, that is sure to become a favorite of children, parents, and educators.

OUR RATING: 5 Hearts (I promise, as unfortunate as it is, there are books that don't get this rating from us. I just haven't gotten to them here yet. LOL)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

1001 Things to Spot in Fairyland by Gillian Doherty and Anna Milbourne

1001 Things to Spot in Fairyland by Gillian Doherty and Anna Milbourne, illustrated by Teri Gower
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Usborne Books
Publication Date: January 2006
ISBN: 978-0794512200

My five year old absolutely loves to play games like ISpy (both the board game and the original, no board included, version). So when she was about on the 3-4 yrs old cusp I began introducing her to the fun world of hidden picture puzzles. She became hooked almost right away, and has a surprising eye for detail when looking. Shoot, some of the times I don't even see the object and she's done found it and moved along to the next.

As soon as I saw the cover, (Yes, another cover attaction.) I knew that even if my daughter wasn't interested in the book, which I was certain she would be, I wanted to do the puzzles myself. The bright and whimsical illustrations, inspire you to want to pick up the book and seek out the hidden objects.

In a dual page spread with such intricate pictures, it can be quite difficult for a smaller child to navigate their way through the puzzle if they don't know exactly what they are looking for. Unfortunately, many of the hidden picture style books out there require the reader to be able to read the name of what it is they are looking for and then search for the item without any real direction. This is great if the child is on the older end of the spectrum (6-7), but for younger kids it can pose too difficult a challenge and become a discouragement. With this Usborne version, however, the authors/publishers have taken all the guess work out of it by placing easy to read numbers, words, AND pictures of the items around the border of the picture. Children can easily determine how many of each object they are searching to locate, as well as exactly what that item will look like.

My daughter is able to do the regular hidden picture style books quite well with practice, but this was a nice change for her because she really didn't need to have me standing over her to help. That's not to say we didn't do any of the puzzles together, quite the contrary. It is to say though that this book was able to sufficiently provide entertainment and brain stimulation for my five year old, and she was able to do it all on her own when she wanted. Lots of fun!

This book would definitely be at the top of my list as far as favorites in the genre/style go. It certainly is one I would love to add to our collection.

OUR RATING: 5 Hearts

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis

Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0803731950

This was a book that grabbed my attention the minute I first set eyes on it sitting on the library shelf. The colors are bold and the cover art inviting. I didn't even know what the book was about, but I knew I just had to get it for my five year old daughter.

I'm so glad I did.

Ladybug Girl is a little girl, probably 4-6 years old, with nothing but time on her hands. Mommy and daddy have work to be done, her big brother is playing baseball with friends, and Ladybug Girl has to find something to do to occupy herself. Dressed in her favorite red and black ladybug costume, hence the nickname, Ladybug Girl and her dog, Bingo, set out to find adventure in their own back yard. They save ants, puddle jump, make a fort, and more. Through it all Ladybug Girl shows that just because you're little it doesn't mean you can't have just as much fun as the bigger kids do.

This book was truly a delight to read. The story was cute, and carried with it an inspirational message. Size doesn't count for everything, and you're only as small as you feel. I think this message will be one many kids will be able to benefit from and enjoy.

Additionally, the illustrations were beautiful, eye catching, and detailed. You could really get a sense of what Ladybug Girl was feeling/thinking just by looking at the expressions portrayed on her face.

Then, lastly, there's the matter of the text. The font itself was quirky and fun. And to top it off, the authors chose to emphasis the name "Ladybug Girl" in the text with a bright red color. Not only does this make the text pop, but it engages the reader on a whole new level.

In short, my five year old totally loved it. My two year old really liked the illustrations. And I thought it to be a very clever and enjoyable read to be sure.



Hi! My name is Rebekah, and I am a bookworm. I'm not just any bookworm, however; I am a bookworm mommy. That's right. I've taken my immense love for books, and I have begun cultivating it in my two little girls (ages 2 & 5). Before either of them was born I read to them in utero hoping that by sharing my literary love with them at such a conceptual time they too would come in to the world with an ear, eye, mind, and heart for books. Guess what? It worked!

From time my older daughter was born she was both fixated with and surrounded by books. Infact, we have pictures of her lying on her back at 6mos old totally engrossed in a board book. She participated in her very first library reading program when she was 10mos old (Yes, that's right. She's even got the medal and certificate to prove it. LOL As long as the parent was able to read to the child and documents the books, there was no restriction on start age.), and again every year since. She began teaching herself to read when she was two, though it was just small words here and there. By three she was making more progress, and by four she was reading like a pro and devouring the Pre-K, Level 1, and some Level 2 readers. She didn't go to daycare or to preschool, so I had the great opportunity to work with her on a daily basis to continue to encourage and inspire her love of books. Now at age five, Joey is in the top percent of her kindergarten class (though she's one of the youngest) because her ability to read and comprehend so vastly exceeds that of the other kids in her class. Currently her teacher is actually having her tested to be moved in to an accellerated reading program. Yay! So, yes, in short, my daughter Joey loves to read.

My younger daughter, Jocelyn, will be celebrating her 3rd birthday at the end of next month, and I'm proud to say that she is quickly following in her sister's footsteps. She didn't end up really attaching herself to books at quite as early an age as her sister did, but once she got there she hasn't been able to get enough either. She, like her sister did at this age, has already been pointing out and reading some words here and there, but she still has a long way to go ahead of her. That's okay though because there's no law that says she has to have it all down pat yet. She's still little, and it's just a joy to see her developing in to her own little person and to watch her own personal interests and talents grow. I have no doubts that she too will be reading well before the majority of her peers, but even if that doesn't happen I'm not going to worry about it. She's already showing such a great love for books. (This year she completed her third Summer reading program at the library- with mommy's and daddy's help reading and documenting, of course.)

Since books seem to be such a big part of our lives, I decided that it might be fun to start a review blog just for kid's books. I'd also love to start my own blog/site for reviews and discussions on the books filling my own nightstand. For now though, I'll start with this, and see where it takes me.

To anyone who should happen by, I hope you'll like what you see. You will have to forgive me though if everything isn't 100% up to par. I'm a novice at blogging. Some of you may recognize me from Simply Romance Reviews where I'm a reviewer and where I currently help admin the blog. That though doesn't consist of coming up with the posts myself. Rather I simply post the blogs of the guest authors who join us. That's pretty easy cause the authors have already done all the hard work by the time the post gets to me. I just proof the post, add in any links and/or visual stimulation, and that's it. LOL

So, yah, it might take me just a bit to get everything together and looking pretty here, but it will happen. I figure with all the books my daughters and I read together daily (We check out 30-50 weekly from the library.) I should be able to come up with some good recommendations, suggestions, reviews, previews, etc. I hope so anyways! =)