Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Posted on December 2nd, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

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Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is the first in our series of posts looking at the 2013 Caldecott Medal and Honor Books

Extra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon KlassenExtra Yarn written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen
2013 Caldecott Honor Book published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers





When young Annabelle finds a box of yarn and knitting needles, she begins by knitting herself a colorful sweater. Once the sweater is finished, she looks for friends and neighbors to outfit in warm wool creations. It is not long before she transforms her dreary, wintry grey town into a cheery, cozy world using the apparently endless supply of yarn. When an archduke arrives and offers to buy the magical box and its contents, Annabelle refuses him. He decides that he must have it and sends robbers to get the box from her. Extra Yarn spread

A fascinating fairy tale that explores generosity and community, Extra Yarn is best suited to children aged four years and up. Fans of Jon Klassen will enjoy spotting some of his trademark characters wearing Annabelle’s cozy gifts.

2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Extra Yarn at Amazon.com

Extra Yarn at Amazon.ca

Score a Winning Hockey Picture Book!

Posted on November 15th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Hockey Picture book

My youngest son has played hockey since he was five years old. For years, bedtime stories included books about playing hockey. Many of these stories include great messages about friendship, teamwork, bullying and working together toward a common goal.


hockey picture book Clancy with the Puck
Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a traditional story) 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

hockey picture book The Hockey CardThe Hockey Card Written by Jack Siemiatycki & Avi Slodovnick and illustrated by Doris Barrette
Hockey picture book published by Lobster Press

When Uncle Jack shares the story of the best hockey card he ever had, we take pleasure in a glimpse of the great Maurice Richard and a schoolyard duel against a tough hockey card shark. This is a book that made a lasting impression in our household – my youngest son is now a 13 year old bantam hockey player and just noticed me working on this post. He remarked, “Now that was a good book.”

The Hockey Card at Amazon.com

The Hockey Card at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Hockey TreeThe Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines
Hockey picture book published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and disappears into an ice fishing hole.

The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Moccasin GoalieThe Moccasin Goalie written and illustrated by William Roy Brownridge
Hockey picture book published by Orca Book Publishers

Danny, Petou, Anita and Marcel live in a small, prairie town and they love to play hockey. They play road hockey when the weather is warm and ice hockey when the temperature cools and their outdoor rink is flooded. Everything changes when a new team is organized for their town. The four friends can’t wait to be part of the fun. They are devastated when only Marcel is selected to play for the Wolves. Anita is refused a spot because she is a girl, Petou is considered too small for the team and Danny is refused a place on the team because his disability means that he cannot wear skates.

All three children are terribly disappointed to be left out but, as the end of the hockey season approaches, the Wolves’ goalie is injured and the coach asks Danny to play.

The Moccasin Goalie is the first of a three book series. The Final Game is the second book. Victory at Paradise Hill is the third. Gorgeous illustrations – many using a pointillist technique – beautifully depict the joy of outdoor wintertime play. The story itself invites discussion of fairness, friendship and overcoming challenges.

Highly recommended for children five years and older.

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.com

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book  Over at the RinkOver at the Rink – A Hockey Counting Book written by Stella Parthenhiou Grasso and illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a familiar song) published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Exuberant fun awaits in this hockey-theme adaption of Over in the Meadow. Young hockey fans will enjoy discovering all the elements of a great game – anthem singing, on ice- officials, a close score, players defending and scoring, earnest coaching, an enthusiastic mascot and excited fans. The wintry outdoor rink setting adds to the festive atmosphere.

Good fun for children four years and older.

Over at the Rink: A Hockey Counting Book at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book SplintersSplinters – written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Hockey Picture Book published by Tundra Books

Cindy loves to play hockey but it is an expensive sport to play and her family is poor.   Showing great determination and resourcefulness, Cindy is excited to finally earn enough money to join a neighbourhood team.  Unfortunately, at the rink, Cindy encounters three nasty Blister Sisters who make playing hockey very unpleasant. 

At her very first practice, she met the Blister Sisters. They could tell she was one good hockey player, and they were jealous.

They insulted her old equipment… Then they made her look bad on the ice… They could do this because their mom was the coach

Thank goodness Cindy has a fairy goaltender watching out for her. The fairy’s magic provides Cindy with a dazzling new uniform, gleaming skates and a Zamboni – to transport her to the all-star team tryouts. Cindy rushes to the rink and does not disappoint – she is a star.

Knowing that the magic spell will end once the final buzzer has sounded, Cindy rushes away from the rink, leaving a shiny skate behind.

Coach Prince is determined to match the shiny skate to the player who wore it during the tryouts.

Coach Prince went from locker room to locker room, trying the skate on every girl she could find. Finally she arrived at Cindy’s rink ensuring a happy ending for Cindy and her new team.

Splinters will have greatest appeal for children who are familiar with Cinderella. We love the idea of taking a familiar story, like Cinderella and retelling it with new characters and a contemporary setting. In a primary classroom, we suggest using Splinters as a jumping off point, inspiring young writers to imagine other situations for Cinderella to encounter.

Splinters at Amazon.com

Splinters at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book Z is For ZamboniZ is for Zamboni – A Hockey Alphabet Written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose
Hockey theme alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press

If hockey plays a part in your household, this enticing hockey alphabet book will appeal to the entire family. Young children will enjoy the simple rhymes while older children and adults will appreciate the more detailed information bordering the charming illustrations.

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.com

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.ca

Free Hockey Theme Printables for Kids

Hockey Theme Writing Paper

image of PDF icon  Hockey Theme Writing Paper for Kids

image of PDF icon  Ice Hockey Picture Dictionary


A New Year’s Reunion, An Award Winning Chinese New Year Picture Book

Posted on January 18th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for A New Year's ReunionA New Year’s Reunion written by Yu Li-Qion and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
Chinese New Year picture book published by Candlewick Press

Link to Chinese New Year writing paper for kids

Maoman’s papa is a housebuilder. He works far from home and only returns to his family once each year. On the day he arrives home, Maoman is hesitant at first. He looks different to her. Once Papa gets his hair cut, the family makes sticky rice balls and it is time for Maoman to snuggle into bed with her parents.

As firecrackers explode nearby, Maoman drifts off to sleep, The following day, the family enjoys eating their rice balls together. They leave their home and go to visit friends. Maoman discovers that her friends are also outside and visiting.image from A New Year's Reunion

As Chinese New Year unfolds, Maoman sees a dragon dance and she plays outside in the snow with her friends. When she discovers her fortune coin is missing, she is devastated. Fortunately, the coin is not lost in the snow. Maoman finds it in her jacket and uses it to establish a lovely, heartwarming family tradition.

Beautiful illustrations lovingly depict Maoman’s family, her home and community. References to sticky rice balls, hair cuts, new clothes, firecrackers, a fortune coin, house repairs, a red envelope and a dragon dance provide all sorts of information about traditions associated with Chinese New Year.

A New Year’s Reunion was awarded a Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award by The New York Times Book Review in 2011 and it won the Feng ZiKai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award.

A New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.com

New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.ca

This year (2013) New Year’s Day falls on Sunday, February 10

Christmas Picture Books – Carolyn’s List of Favourites

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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I can’t imagine the Christmas holidays without our special collection of Christmas picture books. Earlier this month, Jody shared her favourites. I have finally put together my own post. Jody and I both love The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham and read it on Christmas Eve. I decided to write about a different version of the poem and mention that reading the same text with different illustrations is great for youngsters. It encourages taking a thoughtful look at the illustrations and making comparisons.

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.

cover art for Jan Brett's The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
Christmas picture book published by Putnam Juvenile

This version of the classic Christmas poem is filled to the brim with wonderful extras. Each beautiful two-page spread is framed with details that might otherwise never be seen. As reindeer are prancing and pawing on the roof, we get a glimpse of some special tree ornaments, Santa Claus appears in the fireplace and anxious Pa quickly descends the stairs.

Fans of Jan Brett’s work will want to visit her website and discover an abundance of printables including coloring sheets and cards.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.ca


cover art for The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Christmas picture book published by Houghton Mifflin

Long before The Polar Express was made into a movie, it was a Caldecott Award winning Christmas picture book. When a friend says, “There is no Santa,” a young boy hopes desperately that his friend is incorrect. On Christmas Eve, he goes to bed and listens intently for the sound of sleigh bells. He does not hear sleigh bells but rather hissing and clanging. He looks out his bedroom window and is amazed to see an enormous train, waiting outside his house.

A magical story, The Polar Express will encourage children and adults to believe in the magic of Christmas.

The Polar Express at Amazon.com

The Polar Express at Amazon.ca

A Special Gem – Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time

Posted on October 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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A Special Gem for Newly Independent Readers Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet TimeHoundsley and Catina and the Quiet Time written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Chapter book series for kindergarten – grade three published by Candlewick Press





When Houndsley and Catina are unexpectedly snowed in, Houndsley is quite happy to relax and enjoy The Quiet Time. Catina is not nearly as content. She has things to do and places to go. Eventually the two settle in and spend an enjoyable day playing board games, baking cookies and writing poetry. In the evening, they join their friends for a snowy outdoor concert. The musicians

began to play so softly that the notes fell on the listening ears like snowflakes on waiting tongues, gently, softly, there for a flicker before melting away.

Beautiful language and equally special illustrations are terrific for newly independent readers, the Houndsley and Catina books are also a very good choice for younger children who are ready to enjoy a longer read-aloud book.

Highly recommended.

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time at Amazon.com

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time on Amazon.ca


Four Eye Popping Picture Books for Children

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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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
Written 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
Originally 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

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
Written 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

Three “Can’t Miss” Picture Books

Posted on October 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Highlighting three special picture books for young children…

Little 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
What 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

To 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

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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


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


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

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



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 compliment 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


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


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


Rebus Chants

Posted on August 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Have you tried rebus chants in your early literacy programs? I present programs for 4,5 and 6 year old children. I use a variety of materials and have had considerable success with rebus chants. The chants are usually poems where several words are replaced with pictures. They are great for emergent readers because there is frequently repeated, predictable text. The young child does not have to decode all the words – the rebus pictures fill-in-the-blanks.

There are many sources of rebus chants. This is one that I created

image of PDF icon  Counting Snowmen Rebus

My favourites are created by Vera Trembach and published by Rainbow Horizons Publishing. Ms. Trembach offers seasonal and theme-related chants – there is truly something for everyone.

Whether you checkout the Canadian Rainbow Horizons Publishing website or the American website , you’ll find free teaching units and detailed information including previews of the chant books.

Providing Leadership on the Global Warming Front: Winston of Churchill

Posted on May 12th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Winston of Churchill – One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming written by Jean Davies Okimoto and illustrated by Jeremiah Trammell
Picture book about global warming published by Sasquatch Books

You will also be interested in our page highlighting picture books about caring for our environment, the water cycle, reducing our environmental footprint and more. Terrific resources for Earth Day and Arbor Day.



The town of Churchill, Manitoba describes itself as the “Polar Bear Capital of the World. Tours to see polar bears are offered from early October until the middle of November and use special vehicles to cross the tundra.

In Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming we meet a rather unique polar bear. Winston is fearless and powerful. When he calls his compatriots together, they listen intently to his warning, “The ice is melting. We are losing our home. The time has come for action. This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.” Winston urges the bears to fight for ice. “We shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight on the hills. We shall never surrender.”

Delivering a positive message that many individuals, making small changes can have an impact on global warming. Winston of Churchill is a very enjoyable read aloud. Clever wordplay and illustrations will be thoroughly enjoyed by adults as well as children.

Winston of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming at Amazon.com

Winston Of Churchill: One Bear’s Battle Against Global Warming at Amazon.ca

Danger and Suspense in Out On the Ice in the Middle of the Bay

Posted on February 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay
written by Peter Cumming and illustrated by Alice Priestly
Despite warnings that she must not to go outside alone, young Leah leaves the safety of her far North home and sets out to explore an enormous iceberg. “Leah walked away from her house, past the church, down to the beach, and out on the ice towards the iceberg that looked like a magical island of snow.” Just as Leah begins her adventure, a small polar bear cub is drawn to the same intriguing iceberg. As the moon rises, girl and bear cub meet in middle of the frozen bay. Meanwhile, Leah’s father and the bear cub’s mother race desperately to locate their offspring.

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay is filled with suspense as Leah explores the cold and dangerous world outside. It prompts the reader to consider not only the ways that Leah and the cub are alike but also how Leah’s father and the polar bear mother are similar.

32 pages, this is special read aloud for children aged 4 to 8

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay at Amazon.com

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay at Amazon.ca


Snow and Snowmen for Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade School

Posted on January 19th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Snow and Snowmen for Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade School - #Free #printables from StorytimeStandouts.com #prek #kindergarten

Our free “Building a Snowman” printable for kids has been enormously popular this month so I thought I would pull together some more snow-related materials that would be great for a preschool or kindergarten snow theme. I have added more Snow and Snowmen materials today. I would love to hear about your favourite resources and suggestions.







Board Books

cover art for Welcome Winter picture bookWelcome Winter written by Jill Ackerman, illustrated by Nancy Davis
Winter theme board book published by Scholastic

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

Winter and Snowman theme Picture Books


All You Need for a Snowman book cover imageAll You Need for a Snowman written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
Snow theme picture book published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

All You Need for a Snowman is a book that I have used with 4, 5 and 6 year olds many times. Bright, energetic illustrations and lyrical rhyming text tells the story of a group of children who build two enormous snowmen. This is a book that preschoolers gravitate towards – they enjoy watching the process of building a snowman and celebrate the end product, a giant, happy snowman.

All You Need for a Snowman at Amazon.com

All You Need For a Snowman at Amazon.ca


In the Snow book cover imageIn the Snow written and illustrated by Peggy Collins
Snow theme picture book published by Applesauce Press

In the Snow tells the story of a young boy who is excited when he awakens to snow. Eager to have fun, he dresses in warm clothes goes outside with his father. They fill the bird feeder and notice some animal tracks in the fresh snow. The father and son have a happy, playful relationship and soon get to work and build a huge snowman. Also vividly illustrated, In the Snow will be enjoyed best by preschoolers.

Note: the brief mention of animal prints in the snow as well as the action of filling a birdfeeder, provide opportunities for a discussion about urban wildlife and further extension activities.
In the Snow at Amazon.com

In the Snow at Amazon.ca

Owl Moon – written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr
Winter theme picture book published by Philomel Books a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

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

cover art for Perfect SnowPerfect Snow written and illustrated by Barbara Reid
Snow theme picture book published by North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada

Great for school-aged children, Perfect Snow features a combination of Plasticine artwork complimented by ink and watercolour illustrations. It tells the story of the excitement of a snowy day at school and the students’ decision to work together and build “The World’s Greatest Totally Massive Snowman Fort”

Perfect Snow at Amazon.com

Perfect Snow at Amazon.ca

cover art for SnowSnow written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Lauren Stringer
Snow theme picture book published by Harcourt, Inc.

What 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 in Snow. 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


image of The Snow Day book cover artThe Snow Day written and illustrated by Komako Sakai
Snow theme picture book published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic

When an overnight snowfall grounds flights and forces the cancellation of kindergarten, a young rabbit spends a quiet day at home in The Snow Day. Mommy and her child play cards together and enjoy a day together at home. Late in the evening, when the snowfall stops, the two go outside for some quiet play in the cold, snowy darkness. Gentle, evocative illustrations beautifully depict the peace of a snowy day. A great choice for kindergarten.

The Snow Day at Amazon.com

The Snow Day at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for The Three Snow Bears
The Three Snow Bears written and illustrated by Jan Brett
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

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

For New Readers

image of cover art for Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time, an early reader set on a snowy dayHoundsley and Catina and the Quiet Time – Written by James Howe, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

When Houndsley and Catina are unexpectedly snowed in, Houndsley is quite happy to relax and enjoy The Quiet Time. Catina is not nearly as content. She has things to do and places to go. Eventually the two settle in and spend an enjoyable day playing board games, baking cookies and writing poetry. In the evening, they join their friends for a snowy outdoor concert. The musicians “began to play so softly that the notes fell on the listening ears like snowflakes on waiting tongues, gently, softly, there for a flicker before melting away.”

Terrific for newly independent readers, the Houndsley and Catina books are also a very good choice for children who are ready to enjoy a longer read-aloud book.

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time at Amazon.com

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time on Amazon.ca

Snow and Snowmen Theme Printables for Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade School

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Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free Snow and Snowman theme printables.



Storytime Standouts #free #printable sequencing activity 'Making a Snowman' for #prek #kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Building a Snowman Sequencing Activity

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Snowman

Snow theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Winter Picture Dictionary

Free printable Winter picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.


Storytime Standouts #free #printable Snowman writing paper for kids #kindergarten #prekWinter and Snow Theme Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Counting Snowmen Rebus

image of PDF icon  A Winter Alphabet

Free printable wintertime theme letters for preschool or kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Winter Fun Word Search

A free printable Winter theme word search for children

Winter Preschool or Kindergarten Circle Time

image of PDF icon  Winter Snow Fingerplays

Winter snow fingerplays for preschool and kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Five Little Snowmen

Use as a fingerplay or felt board story

image of PDF icon  Frosty the Snowman


We invite you to check out Storytime Standouts’Snow and Snowmen Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Snow, Snowmen and Ice for Preschool and Kindergarten on Pinterest.

Squirrel Theme Circle Time For Preschool and Kindergarten

Posted on January 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Squirrel Theme Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Use these squirrel theme circle time materials to celebrate Squirrel Appreciation Day January 21st!




A number of years ago, my father-in-law was frustrated by some pesky critters in his beautiful garden. Stellar jays were not the only visitors who liked the peanuts he offered, not surprisingly the neighbourhood squirrels were also attracted by the treats. Unfortunately, the squirrels were much less appreciated as guests than the jays – the squirrels dared to dig up his daffodil bulbs! We were sympathetic about the destruction of his flower beds, but we couldn’t resist celebrating Squirrel Appreciation Day with him once we heard about it.

Since January 21st is fast-approaching, I put together some squirrel theme preschool materials for anyone who’d like to join in the fun. These resources will be useful when planning a squirrel theme circle time for preschool or kindergarten.

Let’s begin with some squirrel theme picture books for preschool and kindergarten:

image of cover art for Will and SquillWill and Squill written and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Will and Squillis the story of two very unlikely friends. Will and Squill meet as infants and, although discouraged by their parents, they persist in playing, swimming and swinging together. All is well until Will’s family aquires a kitten and Squill reacts badly to the intrusion into their friendship. Thankfully, it is not long before, Will discovers that a kitten is not nearly as good a companion as Squill and the two mismatched friends are reunited. Well-suited for read aloud, will be enjoyed by children aged four and up.


Will And Squill at Amazon.com

Will And Squill at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for Matthew and the Midnight HospitalMatthew and the Midnight Hospital written by Allen Morgan and illustrated by Michael Martchenko

The Flying Flingallees are the stars of the show in Matthew and the Midnight Hospital. When Matthew decides to put together a circus act, he hopes to enlist the help of some neighbourhood creatures. At the end of a performance for his mom, he scrapes his knee and needs some first aid. Just as the bandaid is applied to his knee, a young squirrel in a tree above misses his branch and falls to the ground. Matthew and his mom are both concerned for the animal. They make the injured squirrel comfortable for the night. Matthew worries about the squirrel’s well-being and is thinking about him as he drifts off to sleep. Shortly after midnight, he discovers that the injured squirrel is to be taken to hospital in an ambulance. Unlike any hospital I’ve ever visited, the midnight hospital offers the perfect antidote and soon Danny and Matthew are flying high. Also well-suited for read aloud, this is part of Matthew’s Midnight Adventure Series and will be enjoyed by boys and girls aged five and up.

Matthew and the Midnight Hospital at Amazon.com

Matthew and the Midnight Hospital at Amazon.ca

image of cover art for Scaredy Squirrel at the BeachScaredy Squirrel at the Beach written and illustrated by Melanie Watt

Scaredy Orville Squirrel whose initials are S.O.S. is an immensely popular character in an equally popular series of picture books. In Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach Scaredy the worrywart is very careful to avoid any sort of real or imagined danger. Rather than encounter pirates, jellyfish, seagulls and sea monsters, he decides to create his very own private backyard beach paradise. After carefully constructing his safe haven, Scaredy realizes that, although his beach “look” is great – his backyard just doesn’t sound like the real thing. The only solution is “Operation Seashell” – a carefully planned and executed mission in search of a seashell that will provide crystal clear ocean sound. Featuring detailed descriptions of Scaredy’s beachware and plans for his mission, Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach will be enjoyed best independently or in a small group or one-on-one read-aloud setting. Best-suited to children five and up.

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.com

Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach at Amazon.ca

image of squirrel writing paper for kids

To enhance a squirrel theme circle time for preschool or kindergarten, we hope you will enjoy our free early learning printables

All of our early learning printables, including these Squirrel theme printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the files.

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Brown Squirrel Chant for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Brown Squirrel

An action rhyme celebrating squirrels

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Squirrel with nuts

Squirrel theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Five Little Squirrels Flannel Board Activity for Preschool and Kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Five Little Squirrels

Use as a fingerplay or a felt board story (or both)

image of PDF icon  I'm A Little Acorn Brown

A fun addition to a squirrel circle time


If you appreciate our free early childhood printables, including these Squirrel theme circle time materials for preschool and kindergarten, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


A Favourite Wintertime Picture Book – The Hockey Tree

Posted on December 14th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

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These days we are racing to meet all of my youngest son’s sports commitments. He is playing on the high school basketball team and he also plays “rep” hockey. This year the regular season and his hockey team’s Christmas tournament “collide.” He has ten different hockey commitments between now and next Tuesday – and has turned down the opportunity to ref this week (thank goodness).

Storytime Standouts looks at a favourite wintertime picture book about ice hockey, The Hockey Tree by David Ward and Brian DeinesHockey is definitely his first love and, over the years, we have enjoyed several picture books about hockey together. He’s well past picture books now but I’m not.

The Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines



In light of the busy week ahead, I thought I would take a moment to write about David Ward’s The Hockey Tree. This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and into an ice fishing hole.

The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

How About a Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas?

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks at picture book Fletcher and the Snowflake ChristmasFletcher and the Snowflake Christmas written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Christmas picture book published by Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of Harper Collins





It is Christmas Eve and Fletcher Fox’s rabbit friends have moved into a new burrow. Fletcher suddenly realizes that Santa won’t know about the rabbits’ new home. Together with his forest friends, Fletcher uses sticks to leave a trail of arrows for Santa to follow through the woodland. Unfortunately, a snowfall on December 24th conceals the signs the animals left for Santa. What happens next is truly magical…

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas uses rich description and evocative, pastel illustrations to tell a heartwarming story of friendship. A great addition to your holiday bookshelf. A highly recommended Christmas picture book for children aged four and up.

Fans of Fletcher will also enjoy Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas at Amazon.com

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.



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