Posts Tagged ‘words and wordplay’

Hit the Slopes with Bunny – an exceptional winter theme picture book

Posted on January 29th, 2019 by Carolyn Hart

If you are still dealing with cold temperatures, wintry days and shovelling snow, now is a good time to freshen up your home or classroom library. Also a great gift idea, I highly recommend Bunny Slopes. This is a special picture book that will have tremendous appeal for preschool-age children and their weary parents or caregivers.

Winter-theme picture book written and illustrated by Claudia RuedaBunny Slopes written and illustrated by Claudia Rueda
Winter theme picture book published by Chronicle Kids

An exceptionally good picture book that asks young readers to “shake,” “tap,” “tilt,” and “turn” as a playful rabbit goes for a fun day of skiing. Few stories for preschoolers are as engaging and interactive as this. Children will love to be part of the action as they “create” snow, hillsides and a way for our hero to escape from a tight spot. Oozing personality, Bunny is a delight. A great pick for boys and girls aged 3 years and up.

For older children, the extension opportunities could include devising their own instructions for readers to follow together with “before” and “after” artwork. The possibilities are endless and will be lots of fun for children!

Bunny Slopes at

Bunny Slopes at

Exclamation Mark is an outstanding 2013 picture book for kids

Posted on December 31st, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts shares Exclamation Mark, an outstanding 2013 picture bookExclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Outstanding 2013 Picture Book published by Scholastic Press

Exclamation Mark is just not like anyone else. As much as he’d like to look the same, he’s always a standout in a crowd.

He was confused, flummoxed, and deflated.
He even thought about running away.

Clever wordplay and fun, expressive illustrations will captivate children old enough to understand punctuation and the important role it plays in our language. Older readers will enjoy the double entendre and will celebrate Exclamation Mark’s voyage of self discovery.Storytime Standouts looks at Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse and illustrated by Ton Lichtenheld

Why oh why is he different? He wants nothing more than to look just like the periods around him. It is only when Question Mark arrives on the scene that Exclamation Mark discovers something deep within – he discovers why and how he has an important role to play – despite his rather unique upright appearance.

An outstanding 2013 picture book, Exclamation Mark is highly recommended for readers aged five years and up.

Exclamation Mark at

Exclamation Mark at

Link to Make Your [Book]mark on Tom Lichtenheld’s website

Parent’s Choice Silver Honor Spring 2013
Kirkus Starred Review
Booklist Starred Review

Exclamation Mark has been nominated for a 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Award.

Bullying Stopped by Tiny Katie Sue – Alexis O’Neill’s The Recess Queen

Posted on November 20th, 2012 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts reviews picture book Alexis O'Neill's The Recess QueenThe Recess Queen written by Alexis O’Neill and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith
Anti bullying picture book published by Scholastic Canada

Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti-bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti-bullying board

MEAN JEAN was Recess Queen and nobody said any different.
Nobody swung until Mean Jean swung.
Nobody kicked until Mean Jean kicked.
Nobody bounced until Mean Jean bounced.

Mean Jean is a playground bully. At recess, she commands all those around her. She controls the swings, the soccer ball and the basketball.

One day, a new girl arrives at school. Tiny Katie Sue is completely unaware of Mean Jean’s position of authority at the playground. Katie Sue does not wait to be told what to do. She swings and she kicks and she bounces. When challenged by Mean Jean, Katie Sue asks, “How DID you get so bossy?”

Before long, there is a showdown between Mean Jean and Katie Sue. When Katie Sue pulls a jump rope from her pocket, she invites Mean Jean to skip with her.

Repetitious text, delicious wordplay and bright, energetic illustrations highlight a terrific anti-bullying book that begs to be read aloud. Recommended for children aged four and up.

Add this anti-bullying picture book to your bookshelf –

The Recess Queen at

The Recess Queen at

Recommended Chapter Books – What to Read After E.B. White and Roald Dahl

Posted on September 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

What to Read After E.B. White and Roald Dahl Chapter Book Suggestions for Preteens

When you’ve read all the best-known novels for preteens, here are some lesser-known recommended chapter books

I work with a grade three girl who is a very good reader. She has read almost all of Roald Dahl’s books (James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The B.F.G., etc.) and also E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan. The question posed Wednesday was, “What shall I read next? What are your recommended chapter books for kids like me?”

Let’s take a look at some possibilities…

Tuck Everlasting
by Natalie Babbitt
A great pick for summertime reading, this adventure is set in the 1880s and tells the story of a family who has found a source of eternal life. Very difficult decisions lie ahead as one of the boys falls in love with Winnie. She must decide between eternal life with him and a life that will come to an end.

Tuck Everlasting at

Tuck Everlasting at

Frindle (plus The Landry News, The Report Card)
by Andrew Clements
Nick has loads of ideas – he’s always trying to liven things up. His grade five teacher, known as The Lone Granger, is all business and unlikely to appreciate Nick’s antics. However, an early assignment to look up word definitions may just have potential: why not call a pen something else? How about using frindle instead?

Frindle at

Frindle at

Owls in the Family
by Farley Mowat
I love this depiction of Mr. Mowat’s boyhood. He lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and had all manner of pets. His parents must have been amazing – imagine managing a household with a dog, gophers, snakes, owls and more. The chapter that describes the new minister’s tumultuous visit is one I will never forget.

Owl in the Family at

Owls in the Family at

The Nose from Jupiter (plus A Nose for Adventure & Noses Are Red)
by Richard Scrimger
Leave your scepticism at the door and enjoy the fun. Poor Alan is a mess, there is something not quite right. His nose is stuffy, considerably stuffier than usual. Norbert, an alien from Jupiter, is an unexpected, uninvited guest in Alan’s nose.

The Nose from Jupiter at

The Nose from Jupiter at

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

Sparkle and Spin at

Spring-Theme Writing and Wordplay for Kindergarten & Early Primary

Posted on March 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Celebrate warmer days with our spring-theme writing and language arts activities for kindergarten and early primary grades.

Spring Theme teaching ideas for kindergarten, early primary and homeschool including story starters, wordplay


Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the first warm days of spring with children…

Spring-Theme Wordplay

Choose a “spring” word and see how many words you can spell with the letters –

daffodils – ad, Dad, did, do, fad, fads, foil, lid, lids, off, oil, slid, soil

rainbow – an, bin, bow, brain, brow, in, now, rain, ran, rib, row, win

flowers – few, flow, foe, lose, low, lower, lowers, owl, owls, rose, row, rows  

See how many Spring-theme compound words you can discover

Here are some examples to get you started – buttercup, butterfly, ladybug, rainbow, raindrop, raincoat, sunshine

Make a list of words you can substitute for rain

Cloudburst, downpour, drizzle, shower, sprinkle

Make a list of words that rhyme 
with kite

bright, bite, delight, fight, flight, height, knight, light, might, night, quite, right, sight, site, sprite, tight, white, write

with rain

brain, cane, drain, gain, grain, Jane, lane, main, pain, plane, sane, Spain, strain, train, weathervane

with Spring

bring, cling, ding, fling, ping, ring, sing, sting, string, swing, thing, wing, wring

Try one of these Spring-theme writing prompts

The first sign of spring….
I planted a magic seed….
My friend’s amazing umbrella…
Five new baby chicks…
When I looked up at the clouds…
Jumping in puddles on my way home…
Yesterday we saw a rainbow…

Make a colorful poster to advertise Spring. Use words and pictures to explain what is special about spring.

Storytime Standouts offers a free printable Spring Picture Dictionary for homeschool and classroom

Don’t forget to download some of our free Spring-theme printables

image of PDF icon  Spring Picture Dictionary

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

image of PDF icon  Springtime Fingerplay and Song

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids- Spring

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Our free printables, including our kindergarten springtime-theme printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

Only a true princess can feel a pea under twenty mattresses! Pun-Fun!

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

The Penguin and the Pea is a fun version of the classic storyThe Penguin and the Pea – written and illustrated by Janet Perlman

Here is a delightful twist on a familiar tale. Poor Prince Penguin is lonely and filled with despair – will he ever find a penguin princess suitable for marriage? It seems unlikely until a stormy evening when a drenched young penguin arrives at the castle. She claims to be a princess seeking shelter. Prince Penguin is enchanted – the Queen is unconvinced. Will the ‘princess’ pass the test and ensure a happy ending?

The Penguin and the Pea is a fun take on a familiar story. Children will enjoy comparing this with other versions of The Princess and the Pea. Also fun for penguin theme.

32 pages, Ages 3 to 7

Mathwire’s Penguin Math page

The Penguin and the Pea at

The Penguin and the Pea at

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