Posts Tagged ‘celebrating diversity’

Lots of Prek Learning Opportunities with the Cows Can’t Series

Posted on July 1st, 2020 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts takes a look at the Cows Can't series of books for preschool-age children

It is not often that we write about an entire series of picture books. This week, we had an opportunity to look at all of the books in the “Cows Can’t” series. We looked at the board book and paperback editions. The books are also available as ebooks and hardcovers.

The “stubby and stout” board books are a good size for small hands. The paperback editions are large enough to share in a group setting but not-too-large for young children to manage comfortably.

The series’ illustrations are a highlight, they appear to be drawn and painted on a canvas backdrop. We especially appreciated the intensity of the colors in the two later books.

Cows Can't Jump written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Cows Can’t Jump written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Picture book about animal behaviors published by Jumping Cow Press

While sharing a message that is respectful of individuality and tolerant of differences, author Dave Reisman introduces a menagerie of four-legged, winged and scaly creatures. Cows Can’t Jump features rich vocabulary very young children are unlikely to encounter in everyday conversation – “Bulls can’t slither … but they can stampede.” and “Cats can’t wallow… but they can pounce.” Sharing these books and others like them offers a terrific opportunity for vocabulary development, especially when adults “extend the learning” by talking about and even demonstrating word meanings.

The series is best-suited to preschoolers although it is worth mentioning that some children may find the random mix of farm animals, jungle animals and domestic animals surprising or confusing. For children who are concerned about animal habitats, this can be presented as adding an element of silliness to the story.

Cows Can’t Jump is also available in a bilingual edition that includes both Spanish and English: Las vacas no pueden saltar (Bilingual Spanish/English Edition of Cows Can’t Jump (Cows Can’t Series)) (Spanish Edition)

Cows Can’t Jump: Animal Actions at Amazon.com

Cows Can’t Jump: Animal Actions at Amazon.ca

Cows Can't Quack written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Cows Can’t Quack written by Dave Reisman and illustrated by Jason A. Maas

Picture book about animal sounds published by Jumping Cow Press

Whereas Cows Can’t Jump focussed on animal actions and verbs, Cows Can’t Quack playfully introduces animal sounds and the words we use to name them, Monkeys can’t bleat … but they can chatter.” and “Wolves can’t snort… but they can howl.”

Cows Can’t Quack: Animal Sounds at Amazon.com

Cows Can’t Quack: Animal Sounds at Amazon.ca

Cows Can’t Spin Silk (originally published in 2016) shares what woodpeckers, alligators, spiders, skunks, wasps and beavers can do.

Cows Can’t Blow Bubbles (published in 2019) introduces the engaging action words associated with peacocks, swans, pufferfish, Beluga whales, pelicans, gnats and more.

Embracing Differences: Little Jimmy Says, “Same Is Lame”

Posted on September 15th, 2014 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts looks at antibullying picture book Little Jimmy Says,  Same is LameLittle Jimmy Says, “Same Is Lame” written by Jimmy Vee and illustrated by Mike Motz
Antibullying picture book about embracing differences published by Atlas Press





“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.”
― J. Sidlow Baxter

in this semi-autobiographical new picture book, marketing expert, magician, author and ventriloquist Jimmy Vee explains why being different is much more interesting than living an ordinary existence.

Because I am different, it makes me feel proud. I’d rather stand out than blend in with the crowd.

Citing many examples of physical features, Vee encourages young readers to celebrate their appearance and abilities while acknowledging the fact that they are not like everybody else.

Upbeat, rhyming text and bright, colorful cartoonish illustrations depict wearing glasses, baldness, wearing braces, having a large nose, freckles, an unusual voice, being a different height than your peers and having a facial scar. Young readers, especially with encouragement from adults, are invited to think about ways differences can be exploited and can ultimately be perceived as assets.

Little Jimmy Says, “Same Is Lame” at Amazon.com

Grade Three Reading – What if You’ve Made it to Grade 3 and Can’t Read?

Posted on September 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Whether your child struggles with grade three reading or not, this is an enjoyable, generously illustrated chapter book

I Hate Books a great chapter book for grade threeI Hate Books! written by Kate Walker
Generously illustrated chapter book published by Cricket Books





Hamish is blessed with a Grandpa who reads aloud “with lots of expression”. When Hamish was little, he loved books but the love affair ends when he begins grade three reading and his teacher asks him to read aloud. Before long, Hamish is referred to a reading specialist and it is confirmed that he has been making up stories rather than reading the words on the page.

After struggling with flash cards and remedial reading, Hamish decides that life will be fine – whether he learns to read or not. It takes a disastrous family road trip, an embarrassing birthday party and a persuasive older brother to change Hamish’s mind.

Happily, Hamish overcomes his struggles and eventially earns a prize for “most improved reader.”

Shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book of the Year and the Young Australian’s Best Book Awards, I Hate Books! features relatively short chapters and very appealing illustrations. At about a grade three reading level, it is recommended for children aged seven to nine.

I Hate Books! at Amazon.com

I Hate Books! at Amazon.ca

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