Archive for the ‘Outstanding Picture Books to Enjoy at Home or at School’ Category

4 Eye-Popping Picture Books for Children – add them to your TBR list!

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I want to let you know about four picture books for children that are sure to appeal to both boys and girls. I sincerely hope you will make time to share special books with the children in your life each and every day.



Welcome Winter
Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children including Welcome WInterWritten by Jill Ackerman, illustrated by Nancy Davis

This sturdy, fun board book caught my eye and will have great appeal for toddlers. The illustrations and text are simple and yet very engaging. I especially liked the description of “snow crunching under boots” and a matching slippery, noisy surface that begs to be touched. Very young children will thoroughly enjoy checking out a variety of textures as they learn about the season of swirling snowflakes, cold temperatures and wind.

Welcome Winter at Amazon.com

Welcome Winter at Amazon.ca

The Little Word Catcher Written by Danielle Simard, illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children including The Little Word CatcherOriginally published in French, The Little Word Catcher won a Governor General’s Award for Illustration. It was written with Alzheimer patients and their families in mind but also illustrates the impact of aphasia (an acquired communication disorder that is often due to stroke). Elise’s grandmother is losing her words. When in conversation, she has difficulty coming up with the right word to use. The affliction is terribly difficult for her young granddaughter to understand. Eventually, Elise takes comfort in the thought that perhaps Grandma has given her the words to use. A lovely story about the special relationship between a grandparent and a child, The Little Word Catcher will have special poignancy for families dealing with aging and loss.

The Little Word Catcher at Amazon.com

The Little Word Catcher at Amazon.ca

Smart-Opedia Junior
Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children including Smart Opedia Junior
The Amazing Book About Everything from Maple Tree Press

It is all too easy to get locked into the idea that bedtime stories or even picture books ought to be fictional. For many children, a good nonfiction book will have terrific appeal not to mention loads of valuable information. Smart-Opedia Junior is intended for children aged 5 through 8 and provides all manner of interesting facts. Generously illustrated, youngsters will learn about body science, inventions, plant and animal life, our universe and more.

Smart-opedia Junior: The Amazing Book About Everything at Amazon.com

Smart-Opedia Junior Smart-Opedia Junior: The Amazing Book about Everything at Amazon.ca

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks
Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children including The 3 Bears and GoldilocksWritten by Margaret Willey, illustrated by Heather M. Solomon

I wonder how many different books tell the recognizable tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I expect there are dozens and dozens of interpretations but perhaps none quite as original or fascinating as this one. Here, a bold and daring Goldilocks discovers a small, cave-like cabin that is home to three extremely untidy creatures. Should we really be surprised that bear porridge is not at all like the oatmeal humans enjoy or that a bear’s bed is similarly unfamiliar? Children who know the traditional story well will thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to consider an alternate account of Goldilocks’ adventure.

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks at Amazon.com

The 3 Bears and Goldilocks at Amazon.ca

3 Special Picture Books – The Jewel Box Ballerinas, Snow, Little by Little

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Highlighting three special picture books for young children…

Three special picture books for young children including Little By LittleLittle By Little written by Amber Stewart, illustrated by Layn Marlow

For young children who are attempting to learn a new skill, learning ‘little by little’ is a great approach to take. Here we follow Scramble, a young otter, as he learns to swim in spite of his own reluctance and unwelcome criticism from Bear and Beaver. Lovely, warm illustrations accompany a gentle story that will give confidence to toddlers and preschoolers as they take on new challenges.

Little by Little at Amazon.com

Little by Little at Amazon.ca

Snow written by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Three special picture books for young children including SnowWhat could be more wonderful for a young child than waking up to freshly fallen snow? Ms Rylant’s evocative writing and Ms Stringer’s lovely paintings beautifully capture the wonder and delight of a snowy day. An exuberant young girl shares the special day with a friend and her grandmother. This beautiful book will surely leave you wishing for a magical snowy day to share with your youngster.

Snow at Amazon.com

Snow at Amazon.ca

The Jewel Box Ballerinas by Monique de Varennes, pictures by Ana Juan

Three special picture books for young children including Jewel Box BallerinasTo an outside observer, Bibi Branchflower appears wealthy. She has many, many prize possessions but is terribly lonely; she does not have a single friend. One day she visits a small shop and purchases an exquisite jewel box. Upon opening the box, she is captivated by the two beautiful but sad ballerinas inside. Little does Bibi know that her purchase of the jewel box and the care she shows the ballerinas will result in an amazing transformation for herself and the dancers. This thought-provoking story is best-suited to children aged 4 and up.

The Jewel Box Ballerinas at Amazon.com

The Jewel Box Ballerinas at Amazon.ca

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart



Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including Owl Moon
Owl Moon – written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr

In 1988 the Caldecott Medal was awarded to Owl Moon. A special 20th anniversary edition is now available and provides an opportunity to discover the picture book’s wonderful, timeless magic.

It is very late at night when a father and his young daughter venture into the cold. They are seeking a glimpse of a great horned owl. The companions walk together silently and eagerly under an Owl Moon.

Beautifully illustrated, this is a remarkable book that will be enjoyed by the entire family. The depiction of the young girl’s excitement will no doubt inspire parents to bend their bedtime rules and enjoy a moonlit, late night walk.

Owl Moon at Amazon.com

Owl Moon at Amazon.ca

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including The Blue Hippo
The Blue Hippopotamus – written by Phoebe Gilman, illustrated by Joanne Fitgerald

A finalist for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards, The Blue Hippopotamus is the story of a little hippo who falls in love with the Pharoah’s daughter. When he comes to the sad realization that the young girl will not love a hippo, he seeks the help of a magician and is changed into a clay toy. His love for the girl endures for many years and, when he observes her loneliness as a young woman, he unselfishly wishes for her happiness. His generosity is magically rewarded and he is once again transformed.

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.com

Blue Hippopotamus at Amazon.ca

Three Remarkable Picture Books, Each One Magical including The Magic Rabbit
The Magic Rabbit – written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate

Ray and Bunny have a very special relationship: they live together, work together and are best friends. One day, while performing their magic show, Ray and Bunny are accidentally separated. The magician doesn’t see a yappy dog chase Bunny down the street and away from him. Both Ray and his friend are devastated. Tired and hungry, the lonely bunny wanders in the dark until the distinctive aroma of popcorn catches his attention.

Truly enchanting, I hope Ms. Cate will continue to conjure charming picture books for youngsters.

The Magic Rabbit at Amazon.com

The Magic Rabbit at Amazon.ca


Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books

Posted on October 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Three familiar tales are given ingenious ‘make overs.’ Readers are sure to enjoy comparing these terrific picture books with the traditional stories that inspired them.


Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes Three Little Fish
The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark written by Ken Geist and illustrated by Julia Gorton
Picture book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic

When Mama Fish sends Jim, Tim and Kim off to make their homes in the deep blue sea, a Big, Bad Shark is watching. It is not long before he knocks at a door and roars, “Little Fish, Little Fish, let me come in.” A really delightful addition to a picture book collection, youngsters will enjoy chiming in when the Little Fish replies, “Not by the skin of my finny, fin, fin!” Bold, bright illustrations complement this clever adaptation and ensure a very happy ending.

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.com

The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark at Amazon.ca

Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes Clancy with the Puck
Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
Picture book published by Raincoast Books

Just as Casey could hit a baseball, Clancy is a star when it comes to hockey. When Clancy Cooke joins the Hogtown Maple Buds, hopes are raised for a Stanley Cup win. Alas, in the final moments of a playoff game, when Clancy takes a penalty shot, “The puck deflected off the post, like a comet to the sky. The Buds had lost the Stanley Cup – and the fans went home to cry.” A sure winner, especially for hockey fans and those familiar with the classic story of Casey at the Bat.

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.com

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.ca

Favourite Stories Transformed Into Terrific Picture Books by Storytime Standouts includes The Three Snow Bears
The Three Snow Bears written and illustrated by Jan Brett
Picture book published by Putnam Juvenile, an imprint of Penguin Books

When Baby Bear’s soup is too hot and burns his mouth, he and his snow bear family leave their igloo and go for a stroll. Meanwhile, Aloo-ki is searching for her sled dogs. She happens upon the bear family’s igloo and is soon inside, tasting soup, trying on boots and sleeping in Baby Bear’s “just right” bed. Beautifully illustrated, this is a truly inspired adaption of Goldilocks’ story.

The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.com

The Three Snow Bears at Amazon.ca


A Look at How Paul Gauguin Discovered His Magic

Posted on October 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


A Look at How Paul Gauguin Discovered His Magic, picture book recommendation by Storytime StandoutsMr. Gauguin’s Heart written by Marie-Danielle Croteau, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault and translated by Susan Ouriou

This thought-provoking picture book introduces a young Paul Gauguin. As a child, he sails with his family from Denmark to Peru. While onboard ship, his father dies and Paul feels lost. He does not mourn like his mother and sister do. He watches as the giant sun sinks below the horizon and imagines his father’s heart. When his ship arrives in Peru, Paul, with the help of an elderly man, discovers that one can bring things to life with a paintbrush.

Best suited to children aged 6 to 9, Mr. Gauguin’s Heart in an insightful and reflective look at grief and passion.

Mr. Gauguin’s Heart at Amazon.com

Mr Gauguin’s Heart at Amazon.ca


The Painted Chest – Share this picture book for older children and let it speak to your heart

Posted on September 21st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Adults and young readers will enjoy this thought-provoking fable, The Painted Chest, a picture book for older children

The Painted Chest - Share this picture book for older children and let it speak to your heart
The Painted Chest written and illustrated by Judith Christine Mills
Picture book about the value of music and art published by Key Porter Books



The Painted Chest is a lovely fable that has an important message for both children and adults… In this picture book for older children, stars twinkle above and wildflowers bloom in the fields but life in Maddie’s village is barren and grey. A distant memory of famine casts a worrying shadow. The villagers toil day after day, focussed only on growing food.

One day, while clearing rocks from the fields, the villagers unearth a large object caked in mud.

The long-lost painted wooden chest has an important message for the townsfolk:

Days will all be long and cold, If you nourish body but not soul.

Once opened, the musical instruments and dancing shoes from the painted chest bring renewed joy to the small community.

Share this lovely, thought provoking story with a child and let it speak to your heart.

The Painted Chest at Amazon.com

The Painted Chest at Amazon.ca

A special concept book for preschool: Imagine by Ruth Brown

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Britain’s author-illustrator Ruth Brown has created many wonderful children’s books. I especially delight in One Stormy Night, wherein we follow the mystifying after-dark travels of a white dog.

Delight In Concept Book for Preschool: Imagine by Ruth BrownImagine written and illustrated by Ruth Brown
Concept book (opposites) published by Andersen Press





In Imagine Ms. Brown explores opposites and the power of imagination. Simple text and luminescent, painterly illustrations make for an exceptional concept book for preschool.

Imagine,
when you’re half asleep,
those big white clouds
look just like sheep…

A young boy gazes out his bedroom window, sleepily watching puffy white clouds drift by. Soon he is transported to a spring meadow where he sees a slow tortoise and a fast hare, finishing their race “first” and “last.”

Simple text and lovely illustrations contribute to a concept book for preschool that wholeheartedly celebrates the power of imagination.

Imagine at Amazon.com

Imagine at Amazon.ca


Mousse and Nut usually love to spend time together, a picture book about friendship

Posted on September 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Encouraging children to learn about getting along, a story about friendship

Mousse and Nut usually love to spend time together, a picture book about friendshipJane Simmons is a favourite author/illustrator for many youngsters. You may be familiar with ‘Daisy’ a charming young duck that appears in many of her books.

Together by Jane Simmons
Picture book about friendship published by Knopf Books for Young Readers






Together is the story of two very good friends; Mousse and Nut. Usually they love to spend time together but one day they can’t agree on anything. As dark clouds gather, they decide they are no longer best friends. In this story about friendship,it takes some time apart to remind each that differences are okay and friendship can endure even when pals are apart.

Together at Amazon.com

Together at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts looks at Concept Book, Tools by Taro Miura

Posted on September 12th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Looking at a concept book about tools and the people who use them by Taro Miura

Storytime Standouts looks at Tools by Taro MiuraTools by Taro Miura
Concept picture book published by Chronicle Books



At first peek this appears to be a book for very young children. It features bold illustrations and large text. I have shared it with a number of grade one and two children and found it very engaging. Showing us all sorts of equipment used by carpenters, tailors, mechanics, doctors, chef, gardener, etc. We first examine the implements and then are shown who might use them. This guess who format together with the extensive array of fascinating items makes the book entirely appropriate for early primary and a great resource for vocabulary building.

Tools at Amazon.com

Tools at Amazon.ca


Jeffrey and Sloth – Why not try doodling your way to a fun tale?

Posted on September 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Jeffrey and Sloth - Why not try doodling your way to a fun tale? Jeffrey and Sloth written by Kari-Lynn Winters and illustrated by Ben Hodson
Picture book about writing and drawing published by Orca Book Publishers



Staring at a blank sheet of paper (or computer screen) can be awfully daunting when you can’t find anything to write about (or blog about). For Jeffrey, the solution is to draw a shining sun, snow-capped mountains, space aliens and a round-bellied, long-armed sloth. Jeffrey’s sloth suggests that Jeffrey should make himself useful and sketch a chair. Before long, Jeffrey discovers that his drawing and words are magical – with them, he sends his creation digging, swimming, climbing and trekking.

A fun picture book – especially for a young writer seeking inspiration. Why not try doodling your way to your next tale?

Kari-Lynn Winters’ Website

Lesson plan for Jeffrey and Sloth (in PDF format) based on six traits of writing.

Jeffrey and Sloth at Amazon.com

Jeffrey and Sloth at Amazon.ca


Establishing a Sense of Community in My Split Grade Classroom

Posted on September 4th, 2011 by Jody


One of my favourite parts of the school year is the first few weeks. I love mapping things out and getting to know my students. I love choosing my first read aloud and getting them hooked. In the past I have done Tuck Everlasting (I just love this story), Zebra Wall, and Sixth Grade Secrets (one of the funniest books). This year I have decided, thanks to a great workshop I attended, to try something different.

I generally start with a novel as a way of introducing reading strategies, such as predicting, questioning, and summarizing. However, instead of a novel, I am going to start with a book called,  Shi-shi-etko by Nicola I. Campbell and  illustrated by Kim LaFave. It is actually a picture book recommended for ages 4-7. I am teaching grade 4/5 this year but I think that in addition to being able to introduce reading strategies, this story will allow me to establish a stronger sense of community right from the start.

Shi-shi-etko tells about a child’s experience with residential schools. It’s heartbreaking and beautiful. It will give me the opportunity to introduce themes of community, diversity, anxiety, family, and inclusion. These are all topics that need to be present in any classroom, but more so in a split grade classroom I think. In general, split classes are viewed negatively. Parents don’t want their child working below or beyond their capabilities and kids who have waited to experience certain things offered to their grade (like field trips) resent having to share these adventures. These thoughts seem at odds with the growing awareness of the need for differentiation in the classroom. Split grade or straight, more than one level of need is being met in all classrooms. It is important for teachers to find a way to motivate all learners and to do this, a community of acceptance needs to be established as quickly as possible. A classroom that students feel accepted, trusted, and safe in will promote positive learning experiences.

When my students come to my class this year, I want them to worry less about whether or not the work is really grade four work or grade five work. I want them to focus on contributing to a positive community atmosphere. I want them to feel safe to explore what kind of learning best suits them. I want them to accept the ideas, feelings, and beliefs of others and have this reciprocated. While I have grade level curriculum to teach, my hope is that we will go beyond that. I want them to be able to achieve academic success, but more importantly, I want them to acquire the tools that will help them become lifelong learners that accept and appreciate the unique backgrounds of others. I hope that in addition to powerful reading strategies, Shi-shi-etko will pave the way to a safe, strong sense of community in our class, built on trust, tolerance, and acceptance.

Shi-shi-etko at Amazon.com

Shi-shi-etko at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts recommends picture books that celebrate diversity

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain – a wild west picture book for y’all

Posted on September 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at wild west picture book, She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain

Storytime Standouts recommends She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain by Jonathan Emmett and Deborah AllwrightShe’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain created by Jonathan Emmett and Deborah Allwright
Wild West picture book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing Division



Every now and then a picture book crosses my desk that is impossible to resist. The cover art and/or the title draw my attention and I quickly make time to peak inside.

Earlier this week, She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain did just that. Bonnie Bandit, perched atop one of her six white horses, enthusiastically galloped to the fore. Playfully written by Jonathan Emmett and exuberantly illustrated by Deborah Allwright, this delightful rendition of the classic song is all one could hope for. With suggested actions for each verse, loads of extra details (Her pajamas are ‘flowery and frilly, and they make her look quite silly‘) and eye-popping illustrations, this gem will appeal to adults who fondly remember belting out the song while in the backseat of a car and youngsters who will love to ‘Slurp-slurp, Bish- Bosh, Toot-Toot‘ and ‘Yee-Ha

Perfect for bedtime or circle time, this is one bandit y’all should all go out to meet!

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain at Amazon.com

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain at Amazon.ca

She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain songsheet

image of PDF icon  She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain

Lyrics for the traditional song



Lois Ehlert’s Inspiring Illustrations – Wag a Tail is Doggone Great!

Posted on September 2nd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Lois Ehlert’s Inspiring Illustrations - Wag a Tail is Doggone GreatWag A Tail written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Picture book published by Harcourt, Inc.





A first glance, one might assume that Lois Ehlert’s picture book, Wag A Tail is best suited for preschool-aged children. The brief rhyming text tells a tale of sixteen mostly well-behaved dogs. The graduates of the Bow Wow School meet at a farmers’ market and subsequently move on to a dog park for playtime.

Ms Ehlert’s bold, inspiring illustrations are constructed from handmade paper, scraps of fabric and buttons. They are truly fascinating for children (and adults) who are interested in creating art from odds and ends. This book would be a great jumping off point for teachers who are interested in inspiring primary-aged children to create art from paper, scissors and found objects.

At our house, we had a laugh when we read the descriptions of the Bow Wow School graduates. My nine-year old decided he is much like “Bebe… an Affenpinscher, Loyal, but difficult to train. Determined and fearless, sometimes snappy. This dog was born to run.”

I think I’m more like “Queenie” – especially since she’s “smart, loves children… and doesn’t need much exercise.” If only it were true!

Wag a Tail at Amazon.com

Wag a Tail at Amazon.ca

Fabulous Funny Picture Books – You’ll Love Reading These Aloud!

Posted on August 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart



Yesterday was tough around here and by bedtime my youngest son was very ready to enjoy some snuggle time and some new picture books. Because it had been a rough day, we wanted something fun. I reached for Duck’s Tale by Harmen van Straaten, Smelly Bill by Daniel Postgate and Grill Pan Eddy by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. All three picture books had very appealing cover art and looked as though they would fit the bill.

Funny Picture Book You'll Love to Read including Duck's Tale
Duck’s Tale is a lovely story about the friendship between Toad and Duck. Duck finds a pen and takes it to Toad’s house. Toad is busy when Duck arrives. He is reading the newspaper while wearing his reading glasses. Duck concludes that Toad reads because he has glasses. Duck subsequently decides that possessing a pen should enable him to write.

He writes for an entire day and then invites Toad to ‘read’ his ‘story.’ Not one to disappoint his good friend, Toad ‘reads’ Duck’s Tale beautifully.

Recommended for children 3 and up. Older boys and girls will appreciate the subtleties and perhaps wonder whether Duck actually writes a story and if Toad is able read.

Duck’s Tale at Amazon.com

Duck’s Tale at Amazon.ca

Funny Picture Book You'll Love to Read including Smelly Bill
Oh yuk, Smelly Bill is one mucky dog. He loves to roll in mud and rubbish. He steadfastly resists his family’s attempts to de-reek him! When Great Aunt Bleach arrives, she brings her disinfectant and scrub brush. Before long the house is sparkling from top to uh-oh – what is that smell? After a merry chase, Bill endures his bathie-wathie, and makes a mess of poor Great Aunt Bleach. With wonderful rhyming text and fun illustrations, Smelly Bill will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Smelly Bill at Amazon.com

Smelly Bill at Amazon.ca

Funny Picture Book You'll Love to Read including Grill Pan Eddy
Grill Pan Eddy is one smart and daring mouse. Apparently fearless, he taunts his host family and their cat:

“No matter what we tried to do
No matter what we saidy.
There was no way of getting rid
Of that darn Grill Pan Eddy

Eddy has a field day with the exterminator and makes regular appearances throughout the house. Finally beaten, the family grudgingly decides to let him stay.

Tony Ross’ great illustrations are perfect for this irreverent romp. Enjoy it with children 5 and up.

Grill Pan Eddy at Amazon.com

Grill Pan Eddy at Amazon.ca


I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! A practically perfect book for preschoolers

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


When it comes to rhyming picture books, I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! is a masterpiece

Storytime Standouts looks at an all-time favorite rhyming picture book for preschool: I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!



I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I remember, with great fondness, listening to my dad play the piano. It was one of his favourite leisure activities and we’d often sing along. One of the tunes he played was It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.

I suppose my nostalgia is part of my joy in discovering I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow. Without hesitation, it makes my Top Ten list for preschool-aged children. It might even make my Top Five list.

With delightful, exuberant illustrations and equally fun text, you and your child will thoroughly enjoy this irresistible romp. Watch and sing along as a young child paints himself (and much of his home) from top to bottom.

If you’re not familiar with the tune, follow the link (above).

So I take some red
and I paint my…
Head!
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.

Aw, what the heck!
Gonna paint my…
Neck!
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.

The bonus with this terrific rhyming picture book is the wordplay; your youngster will be thinking of rhymes and anticipating the next word with no effort at all – just do yourself a favor and hide the paints and brushes in case your child is “inspired” to do a little painting herself!

Helping your child to gain phonemic awareness and preparing for formal reading instruction has never been more fun!

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More at Amazon.com

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! at Amazon.ca



Small Format Picture Books Make WONDERFUL Gifts for Kids!

Posted on August 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Whether heading off on a camping trip, a ski weekend or a family vacation, we recommend putting small format picture books at the top of the packing list. Wherever we’re going or whatever we’ll be doing while we’re away, we should be able to find reading material to share with children

.

Storytime Standouts recommends small format picture books to take on holidays or include in cardsKeep in mind that when you choose to read daytime or bedtime stories while on holiday, you are giving your child very positive messages about reading. You are saying, “Books are so special, we always make a place for them in our suitcase. We get to have extra stories when we’re on holiday because holidays are a time to enjoy treats like stories!”

If, on the other hand, we skip reading when we go on a holiday, our children might decide,‘reading is work’ and to be avoided when we are relaxing on a holiday.

My guess is, once you discover small format picture books, you will be as excited as I am about them. Most cost less than $5.00 and can be tucked into a birthday card, Christmas stocking or your own handbag or suitcase with ease.

We recommend Red Fox Mini Treasure Series, Annikins Series, Little Miss Books, Mr Men Books and Mole Sisters.

Storytime Standouts recommends small format Mr books including Mr HappyNow, back to thinking about vacations. My experience has been that the stories we share while on holiday become intertwined with the happy memories and part of a family history. I hope that this happens with you too.



Emergent Readers Captivated by Drama and Mystery

Posted on August 24th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


A fun book series for beginning readers: Read at Home

Check out this series for emergent readers

I spent a fair amount of time in a dentist’s chair today and was reflecting on my recent experience with a grade one student. I’ve been working with him for a while. His older brothers have had some difficulty with reading so I spend half an hour, once a week with this youngster. Yesterday he read from the Oxford University Press Read at Home series. He is familiar with these books and knows the characters; Floppy, Chip, Kipper and Biff.

During our session, I suggested he try one of the Level 4 stories. He eagerly selected, Trapped! text by Cynthia Rider, illustrations by Alex Brychta. It was delightful to hear him read confidently but what was even more special was his reaction to the book. Clearly, he saw this story as different from others he has read independently. There was more text – about three sentences per page. There were letters and hidden keys to locate within the illustrations. But, most surprising, there was drama – when Grandma was briefly trapped in a castle – and mystery – why was there face at the castle window?

My emergent reader was thrilled to read Trapped – he likened it to the kind of books his older brothers read. He felt competent, confident and intrigued. If only all books for young readers could replicate this winning combination.

The Oxford University Press Read at Home series is excellent from beginning to end and includes dozens of great titles for emergent readers.

Read at Home: More Level 4c: Trapped! at Amazon.com

Read at Home: More Level 4c Trapped! at Amazon.ca

Read at Home: Level 4, Pack of 6 at Amazon.ca

What is your favorite series for readers at this level? Please share your ideas and suggestions.


Overscheduled? Make Time For So Few of Me By Peter Reynolds

Posted on August 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

It is rare to find a parent or child who does not feel overscheduled. Balancing (school)work, chores, sports activities and lessons seems to be a national pasttime. In our household we are enjoying a bit of a ‘breather’ from sports this week. Usually we are racing from school to gym to hockey rink to home. I always joke that my boys never ate in the car when they were toddlers or preschool age but these days I frequently load up a tray and wait to refuel one or both of them. If only I could clone myself… or my husband. Life would be so much better – or would it?

Overscheduled?  Make Time For So Few of Me By Peter ReynoldsSo Few of Me
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Picture book published by Candlewick Press





Orverscheduled Leo’s ‘To Do’ list is growing by the minute. One day it occurs to him that if there were two of him, all those jobs might be manageable. It is not long before one Leo becomes two and two becomes three. Soon there are nine extra Leos busily working, rushing, delivering, organizing, carrying and making To Do lists…

Leo awoke to nine other Leos ataring at him. “What were you doing?” they demanded.
I was dreaming.” Leo said softly.
“Dreaming was NOT on the list!” they roared.

Leo discovers that adding more Leos to his world doesn’t solve his problem. He learns that, even when one feels over scheduled, making time to dream can make all the difference. Leo decides to do less but do his best.

Peter H. Reynolds illustrations and message are a joy. Be sure to make time to enjoy this contemporary fable with your family and friends.

Peter H. Reynolds suggestions for sparking creativity

I would love to hear about your favorite Peter H Reynolds book. I am thinking The Dot but Ish is also an inspiration… oh my, I’m not sure I can pick just one.

So Few of Me at Amazon.com

So Few of Me at Amazon.ca




This Picture Book is Full of Light: Sparkle and Spin

Posted on August 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


A retro picture book celebration of words and design

Storytime Standouts looks at Ann and Paul Rand's shimmering picture book about words: Sparkle and SpinSparkle and Spin
Written by Ann and Paul Rand
Picture book published by Chronicle Books





A picture book that was originally published in 1957, this new edition of Sparkle and Spin: A Book About Words is a great introduction to what words are. Combining bold, bright graphic illustrations with a text that begs to be read aloud:

Some words are gay and bright and full of light like tinsel and silver and sparkle.

Sparkle and Spin highlights rhyming, onomatopoeia and homonyms. Although the striking illustrations and wordplay will be enjoyed by very young children, there is much here for older children and adults to appreciate.

About Paul Rand, graphic designer

Sparkle and Spin at Amazon.com

Sparkle and Spin at Amazon.ca


Special Picture Books to Watch For

Posted on August 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Today we’ll look at three special picture books to enjoy with young children


Storytime Standouts recommends A Sack Full of FeathersA Sack Full of Feathers
Written by Debby Waldman and illustrated by Cindy Revell
Picture book that explores social responsibility published by Orca Book Publishers

Young Yankel is a storyteller. He overhears bits of news at his father’s store and excitedly shares the gossip throughout the village.

One day a wise rabbi gives Yankel a job; he is to put one feather on each doorstep in the village. Puzzled, Yankel willingly distributes the feathers even as gusts of wind send some flying.

When the rabbi subsequently asks Yankel to collect all the feathers and return them to the sack, Yankel comes to understand the danger of gossip.

A delightful folktale is retold in A Sack Full of Feathers with engaging illustrations and warmth.

A Sack Full of Feathers at Amazon.com

Sack Full of Feathers at Amazon.ca

Heave Ho!
Written by Heinz Janisch and illustrated by Carola Holland
Storytime Standouts recommends Heave HoImagine, a refreshing and surprising story told in just twelve sentences! Engaging illustrations introduce a cat, a dog and a trio of mice. Together, they take on a tricky job and discover they are ‘up’ to the challenge. Good fun.

Heave Ho! at Amazon.com

Heave Ho! at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts recommends Dooby Dooby Moo

Dooby Dooby Moo
Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

I hope you have discovered the not-to-be missed Caldecott Honor book, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type. In Dooby Dooby Moo we once again encounter Farmer Brown and his irrepressible animals. With good cause, Farmer Brown is suspicious that something is going on behind the barn door. In fact, Duck is determined to win a trampoline in the upcoming Talent Show. He is busy organizing rehearsals of “Home on the Range” and “Born to be Wild.” This book’s a sure ‘winner.’

Dooby Dooby Moo at Amazon.com

Dooby Dooby Moo at Amazon.ca


More News

Learn to Read Printables, Games and Activities for Parents and Teachers

Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Fireflies A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore

Fireflies A Writer's Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore Journal for writers ...

Loving books can be contagious – Reading Power by Adrienne Gear

It's no secret that we are impacted by the thoughts ...

Jody Discovers Story People by Brian Andreas

On a trip through an airport, Jody discovers the work ...

Phonemic Awareness

Bolstering Phonemic Awareness, Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Bolstering Phonemic Awareness, Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Some of the keys to learning to read are noticing ...

Developing Phonemic Awareness: How’s Your Nose, Rose?

You won't regret using wordplay to support your child's phonemic ...

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic ...

Terrific Chapter Books for Middle Grades and Teens

Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades

Wrapping up the year… 2014 best books for middle grades

I always say this but I can't believe it's the ...

Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy

This isn't a scientific fact but it is a completely ...

Ways to Help Children Learn the Alphabet

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia ...

Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and ...

Make-Your-Own Alphabet Recognition Learning Game for Preschool

Help Kids learn letters of the alphabet with this fun ...

Translate »