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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Hidden Treasures - Information in Picture Books

Reviews from The Bookwoman and The Kid Reader

Hidden Treasures - Information slipped cleverly into the best of the best books.
  • What Do They Do With All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz. Illustrated by Allison Black. 2018. PreS-3. 40 pages. Beach Lane Books. ISBN: 978-1481479868.
  • No Frogs in School. by A. LaFaye.  Illustrated by Églantine Ceulemans , 2018.  PreS-3. 40 pages.   Sterling Children's Books. ISBN 978-1454926986.
Photo Credit: a selfie (twofie) by Jane Kurtz and Alexandria LaFaye (2018)
These two authors are awesomely clever at giving young readers a lot of information while also giving them a very readable fun text to enjoy.
Jane (Kurtz) writes about the droppings (otherwise known as poop, dung, scat, and so forth), the animals that leave this poo for the zoo to do something with.  Some poo is green, some droppings are in the shape of cubes, and others are like marbles.  And what do zoos do with all that poo?  Well there are all sorts of recycling that goes on.  And along the way young readers will learn that poo from herbivores and carnivores is treated differently -- and one young reader is sure he will never eat zucchini again.  This book will provide a lot of hidden information that an attentive parent or educator will enjoy helping the young reader to discover and discuss.
You might enjoy the kid reader's (Pryor Optimus) YouTube video featuring this book. The Mystery Box -
and as Pryor Optimus gives book readers a preview of the What Do They Do With All That Poo?.

Alexandria (A. LaFaye) gives us a rollicking fun book about Bartholomew Botts who loves pets, all kinds of pets, and has a difficult time leaving them while he goes off to school so he decides to tuck Ferdinand the Frog into his cool pink lunchbox (yes, pink - Information #1: "GG is Bartholomew a girl or a boy?"  "What do you think?"  "Well the author said, 'he' but the lunch pail is pink and Bartholomew has a pink sweater in his bedroom." "Well he means male.  Do you think a boy could have a pink sweater and a pink lunchbox?"  "Well, yes."  "Then what do you think?"  "He's a boy who likes pets... and likes pink."  "Okay so there you have it.").
Bartholomew causes a ruckus with is frog - -so frogs are banned from school.  But Sigfried the salamander wasn't a frog, but the ensuing chaos brings about a ban on amphibians (Information #2 : Critical characteristics of amphibians are enumerated when Mr. Patamoose declares  all reptiles are banned.)  Additional pets, and episodes, result in the banning of reptiles, ... and eventually anyone's pet.  But in the end Bartholomew Botts figures out a way to take a pet to school.  Readers will learn many things by reading (or listening) to this tale of Bartholomew Botts, including that boys can like pink and are clever enough to figure out which animals are forbidden and which are allowed in the classroom.

Ah the fun these two books give to young readers.  

An enthusiastic 5 stars for both of the books from the Bookwoman

and from the  Kid Reader - another five stars
Make these two books a part of the Book Calendar <>

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Book Calendar: 24 Days of Christmas or 8 Days of Hanukkah

Book Calendar: 24 Days of Christmas or 8 Days of Hanukkah

Give the gift of reading to a special child or children in your life.  When the December holidays come near, ready your book calendar.  Choose 24 (or 8) books for the calendar.  The books may be new titles or old favorites enjoyed with Grandma or Grandpa, or other friends or family.  Wrap and label each book package with a numeral (we put the corresponding numeral inside the book as well).Whatever the origin of the books once the books are opened it is intended that they become part of the child or children's library.  Put the book packages in a basket or special box and gift the basket/box to the child/family prior to the first day of December of the first day of Hanukkah.

In this book basket the final book (#24) was a favorite collection of Christmas stories - this copy was given to the child's grandmother by a special friend almost 30 years ago.  The Family Read Aloud Christmas Treasury, compiled by Alice Low, and illustrated by Marc Tolon Brown (Little Brown & Company, 1989) includes  "A Merry Literary Christmas" a poem by Alice Low, a version of Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, and other favorite stories and poems.  The book package was accompanied by a package containing new pajamas and slippers for the child (but could include a pair for each child in a family)

This book calendar is ready for special readers - each evening/day open a package and share the book as a read-aloud.  The greatest gift one can give to a child is the gift of reading.  And one of the greatest activities a parent can share with their child is time during which he/she reads aloud to the child - well past the days when the child can read for themselves.  Reading aloud provides children with listening skills, vocabulary new to their world, and modeling of fluency which helps guide their reading development.

Book Calendar - Days 1 - 24

Package #24 is accompanied by a package (also
marked with the #24 that contains a new pair
of pajamas and perhaps a new
pair of slippers and a robe for the evening.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Creating a Visual Parody

Creating a Visual Parody

An exercise in thinking

In the printing world to sublimate something indicates that a heat process of some sort is used to transfer an image to something like cloth, or ceramic mug, and so forth.  By definition sublimate is to change the form, but not the essence. Physically speaking, it means to transform solid to vapor; psychologically, it means changing the outlet, or means, of expression from something base and inappropriate to something more positive or acceptable.  Sublimation is used to print custom sports ribbons for making hair bows, for example.  There are many youtube videos that share various processes and machines intended for retailers showing how to use their machines for this printing process.Share an example from YouTube - <>

Now comes the fun part - after students understand what "to sublimate" means in the printing world you might share this message:

"Love the colored 1 inch elastic from They also have patterns - including the sugar skull elastic ready for projects for the Day of the Dead which begins on October 31 and ends on November 2nd. See how the elastic is made. Take a look at  'How to Sublimate Polyester Webbing.' You've got to love this."

The challenge for your students is to take a relatively unknown concept and make a parody explanation of the word's/concept's meaning.  I think the results will be hilarious.
I'd love to see any results of what students might create.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Random Reads (for a 5 year old) - 6-7-2018

Random Reads from the Bookshelf - 6-7-2018

Today's FIVE book reads- with a "favorite ranking" by a five-year-old.  Additional comments by the five-year-old's GG.
In "favorite order" with #1 being the top favorite among today's reads:

1. Keller, Laura.  We Are Growing.  Hyperion, 2016.

  • A book capitalizing on the popularity of Mo Willems's Elephant and Piggie popularity.  Elephant and Piggie bookend the story which is the "cleverist" of stories.
2. Stevens, Janet and Susan Stevens Crummel.  Cook-A-Doodle-Doo. Harcourt Brace, 1999.
  • A long-time favorite featuring Big Brown Rooster who is the grandson of The Little Red Hen.  He and his friends recreate one of his grandmother's favorite recipes - Strawberry Shortcake.  Makes one want to have access to The Joy of Cooking Alone by Little Red Hen.
3. Reynolds, Peter H.  The Word Collector.  Orchard/Scholastic, 2018
  • Destined to become a favorite title as the unfamiliar words collected become more familiar.  The youngest reader is already collecting "rhyming words."
4. Reynolds, Peter H.  Happy Dreamer.  Orchard/Scholastic, 2018
  • The beginning pages nail most active 4-5 year olds.  "Sometimes the world tells me... Sit Still, Be Quiet, Pay Attention, FOCUS.  But my dreams have a mind of their own.  Sometimes my mind just takes flight! I hear a BEAT and I gotta move...
5. Van Allsburg, Chris.  The Polar Express.  Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
  • A classic holiday story enjoyable to read all year around.  Make sure to have a silver bell to use at the holiday time.

Random Reads (for a 5 year old) - 6-6-2018

Random Reads from the Bookshelf - 6-6-2018

Today's FIVE book reads- with a "favorite ranking" by a five-year-old.  Additional comments by the five-year-old's GG.
In "favorite order" with #1 being the top favorite among today's reads:

1. Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves: Aerospace Engineering.  Illustrated by Irene Chan.
2.  Spiro, Ruth. Baby Loves: Quarks.  Illustrated by Irene Chan.
  • These two books by Ruth Spiro are among our very favorites.  The 5 year old can repeat the text word for word and loves saying: "molecule," "protron," "neutron" and especially loves the smashing of the atom.  Another favorite part is when, in the Aerospace title, birdie takes off to outer space.  "Bye bye Birdie"
3. Watt, Fiona. That's Not My Duck.... Illustrated by Rachel Wells.  Usborne, 2013.
  • Repetitive phrases make this book a great participatory read.
4.  Kane Miller.  123 Counting.  Illustrated by Maxine Davenport and Cindy Roberts.  Usborne, 2015 (First American edition).
  • Pictures and the counting format create an book even the very youngest can "read."
5.  Wood, Don and Audrey.  The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. Illustrated by Don Wood. Child's Play, Ltd, 1984 English/Spanish edition.
  • Clever ending that brings giggles to listeners when they catch on to the trick.

A Snack Time read

Cookies and Milk ~ Milk and Cookies

Take a cookie and milk break.  Read The Cow Loves Cookies and then share some freshly baked cookies and a cool glass of dairy fresh milk.

Hear the story read aloud at

Wilson, Karma.  The Cow Loves Cookies. Illustrated by Marcellus Hall.  Margaret K. Elderry Book, 2010.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Random Reads (for a 5 year old) - 6-5-2018

Random Reads from the Bookshelf - 6-5-2018

Today's FIVE book reads - with a "favorite" ranking by a five-year-old bibliophile.  
Additioinal comments by the five-year-old's GG.
In "favorite order" with #1 being the top favorite among today's reads:

1.  Asch, Frank.  Moonbear's Bargain.  Simon and Schuster, 1985.
  • A classic title from Asch who has written several books about Moon Bear.  In  this book his friend bird wants to learn how to grow bigger, and bear wants to learn how to fly.  Each helps the other achieve his/her goal in a unique way.
2.  Slobodkina, Esphyr.  Caps for Sales: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business.HarperTrophy, 1940; 1947.

  • A traditional tale that Preschool learners and primary aged readers have enjoyed since it was first published.  Great for drama and participatory reading.
3.  Charara, Hayan.  The Three Lucys.  Illustrated by Sara Kahn. Lee & Low, 2016.
  • This story takes place in Lebanon during a war where the family's home and school were destroyed   while they took refuge with an aunt and uncle in Beirut, which eventually came under seige as well. The focus is on the child's three kittens: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy.  A serious topic dealt with care and age appropriate information.  The five-year-old has asked for this book to be read over and over again.
4. Lowery, Janette Sebring.  The Poky Little Puppy.  Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren.  A Golden Book.  Random House, 1942; 1970.

  • If you don't know this book, you must read it.  Natural consequences for being poky.  Simple, a little didactic but charming.
5. Carle, Eric.  The Tiny Seed.  Ready to Read: Level Two.  Simon & Schuster, 1987; this format 2015.

  • Originally published in standard large sized picture book format, this classic tale has been reformatted and republished as a ready to read title with simple chapters, longer sentences, and high interest vocabulary.  Since it is the same text / illustrations as the picture book it can also serve as an excellent read-aloud to those not yet to tackle read alone titles.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Random Reads (for a 5 year old) - 6-4-2018

Random Reads from the Bookshelf - 6-4-2018
Today's FIVE book reads - with a "favorite" ranking by a five-year-old bibliophile.  Comments by the five-year-old's GG.

In "favorite order" with #1 being the top favorite among today's reads:

1: Andreae, Giles.  Be Brave Little Penguin. Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees. Orchard, 2017.
  • Loves little Pip-pip who is scared of water but discovers all he has to do is JUMP.

2. Marsh, Laura.  Cheetahs. National Geographic Kids, 2011.
  • Great information about Cheetahs and how they are distinguishable from leopards. Clear language and fun facts.

3. Black, Michael Ian.  Naked.  Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Simon & Schuster, 2014.
  • A long time favorite - actually I can't believe that any other books on this list topped it.  Perhaps the novelty is wearing off.

4. Slate, Joseph.  Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten. Illustrated by Ashley Wolff. Dutton's Children's Books, 1996.
  • Read this book often. Since kindergarten is coming this fall, this topic is a favorite read.  Enjoys the ABC organization and the rhyming couplets.  Got this title online from an op dealer.  The character doll was created by MerryMakers, Inc. (  The book itself was part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

5. Miller, Sara.  Shapes All Around. Illustrated by Jerrod Maruyama.  Disney Enterprises, 2017.
  • Shapes are not inspiring but fun to name off the items that are the designated shape -- and acknowledge what the word begins with (wish that print was larger and not so insignificant on the page.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Math in Books for Young Learners

Every teacher should be reading aloud a minimum of five times during a day's studies.  Concerned about being able to carve out time to read aloud - try infusing the read aloud into content area curriculum.  This post's focus is on books with mathematical concepts.
Great books to read aloud can be infused into every corner of the curriculum.  Here's a few of my favorites and links to some additional resources.

Math Books for Young Readers (K-6)

This bibliography features a selected list of books that feature a mathematical concept. Some of the titles are appropriate for use as an introductory text, while others are better suited to reinforce or review mathematical concepts. Some titles are best used when learners have prior experiences upon which the reader can attach the new learning.  For example:  Before reading Calvert’s title learners would benefit from having heard and being quite familiar with several versions of the traditional Rumpelstiltskin folk story.   Some of the books on this list are available on YouTube in recorded versions. Some are uploaded there by the publisher or authorized producers – however, many are uploaded without formal permission and thus are not entirely legal for use and sharing.

  •      Adler, David A. (2017) Place Value.  Illustrated by Edward Miller. New York: Holiday House. (Place Value)
  •      Axelrod, Amy. (1997) Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money. Illustrated by Sharon McGinley-Nally. New York: Aladdin. (Money)
  •      Baker, Keith. (2004) Quack and Count.  Illustrated by Keith Baker. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (Counting)
  •      Burns, Marilyn. (1997, 2008) Spaghetti and Meatballs For All! Illustrated by Debbie Tilley.  New York: Scholastic. (Equations for 32)
  •      Calvert, Pam. (2006) Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin (A Math Adventure). Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Multiplication)
  •     Crews, Donald. (1995) Ten Black Dots. Illustrated by Donald Crews. Illustrated by Donald Crews. New York: Greenwillow. (Counting 1-10)
  •      Demi. (1997) One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale. New York: Scholastic. (Multiplication)
  •     Einhorn, Edward. (2014) Fractions in Disguise: A Math Adventures. Math adventures series) Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Fractions: Simplifying)
  •      Gehl, Laura. (2014) One Big Pair of Underwear. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  New York: Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books. (Counting; by 1’s; by 2’s)
  •     Giganti, Paul, Jr. (1999) Each Orange Had 8 Slices.  Illustrated by Donald Crews. New York: Greenwillow. (Counting)
  •     Hong, Lily Toy.  (1993; 2017 pb )  Two of Everything: A Chinese Folktale. Illustrated by Lily Toy Hong. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Co. (multiplication)
  •     Hutchins, Pat (1986) The Doorbell Rang.  Illustrated by Pat Hutchins. New York: Greenwillow Books. (Division)
  •     Kroll, Virginia. (2005) Equal Shmequal. Illustrated by Philomena O’Neill. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Equal: Math, art, the law, and team sports)
  •      Long, Lynette. (1996) Domino Addition. Illustrated by Lynette Long. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Addition)
  •      McKellar, Danica. (2017) Goodnight, Numbers. Illustrated Alicia Padron. New York: Crown Books. (Counting)
  •     Merriam, Eve. (1996) 12 Ways to Get to 11. Illustrated by Eve Merriam. New York: Aladdin. (Counting)
  •     Murphy, Stuart J. (2005) More or Less.  Illustrated by David T. Wenzel. (MathStart Series). New York: HarperCollins. (Estimation – more and less)
  •      Murphy, Stuart. (1996) Give Me Half. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas. New York: HarperCollins. (Division; fractions)
  •     Myller, Rolf (1962; 1990) How Big Is a Foot.  Illustrated by Rolf Miller. New York: Scholastic. (Measurement)
  •     Neuschwander, Cindy. (1997) Sir Cumference and the First Round Table.  Illustrated by Wayne Geehan. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Geometry)
  •     Pinczes, Elinor J. (1999) One Hundred Hungry Ants.  Illustrated by Bonnie MacKain. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (Counting by 2’s, 4’s, and 10’s)
  •     Schwartz, David M. (1994) If You Made a Million. Illustrated by Steven Kellogg. New York: HarperCollins.
  •      Scieszka, Jon. (1995) Math Curse. Illustrated by Lane Smith. New York: Viking. (General Math)
  •      Sparagna, Angeline. (2003) A Place for Zero.  Illustrated by Phyllis Hornung. (Math adventures series) Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge Publishing. (Zero)
  •      Sturges, Philemon. (1997) Ten Flashing Fireflies.  NorthSouth Books. (Counting 1-10; 10-1)
  •      Tang, Greg. (2004) The Grapes of Math. Illustrated by Harry Briggs. New York: Scholastic.  (Math Riddles)
  •     Walsh, Ellen Stoll. (1995) Mouse Count. Illustrated by Ellen Stoll Walsh. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers. (Counting 1-10; 10-1)

For more titles that feature mathematical concepts:

EEG Publishing/  (2007) Picture Books for Math.  Retrieved from

Three Sisters: Betsy, Cindy, & Virginia. (2018) The Best Children’s Books.  Retrieved from

© 2018 McBookwords.  Permission to reproduce for private/professional use or in conjunction with workshops, seminars at professional /non-profit conferences, or for use as part of classroom activities for graduate or undergraduate students.

If you wish to download a pdf of this bibliography you may do so here