Friday, September 14, 2007

The Man Who Couldn't Tell a Lie

This book Juan Verdades: The Man Who Couldn't Tell A Lie by Joe Hayes is an excellent stylus for encrypting the code of "thou shalt not lie" onto your child's character.


"Don Ignacio trusts Juan, his ranch foreman, to care for his herd and his prized apple tree. When don Ignacio's friend don Arturo boasts that he can make Juan Verdades tell a lie, don Ignacio wagers his ranch against his friend's on his overseer's honesty. Don Arthur and his daughter Araceli plot to use her beauty to captivate the foreman into deceit. When Juan's love for Araceli causes him to strip the apple tree and deliver the fruit to her, it appears that don Arturo has won the bet. But Juan's clever admission to his master and Araceli's own plans for the future provide a surprise twist in this retelling of a traditional folktale."

My young daughters were enthralled with the story. They were rooting for Juan Verdades to tell the truth and save his master's ranch. The 9 year old grasped the storyline and the moral completely. Though a bit deep for the 5 year old, she easily sat through the whole telling and got the message that those who tell the truth will be rewarded.

This book spans the ages well. I'll be handing it over to my 14 year old to read today. Juan admits his guilt to his employer in a cleaver way by using a rhyme which my 9 year old studied for minutes after the reading in an attempt to tackle each clue:

"Some fool picked your apples and gave them away."

What fool?

"The father of the fool is my father's father's son. The fool has no sister and no brother. His child would call my father 'grandfather.' He's ashamed that he did what was done."

Excellent storyline. Excellent example. Excellent training in character and virtue.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More to Life

They were in the living room-room eating their suppers on their knees in front of the telly. The suppers were TV dinners in floppy aluminium containers with separate compartments for the stewed meat, the boiled potatoes and the peas. Mrs. Wormwood sat munching her meal with her eyes glued to the American soap-opera on the screen.

"Mummy," Matilda said, "would you mind if I ate my supper in the dining-room so I could read my book?"

The father glanced up sharply. "I would mind!" he snapped. "Supper is a family gathering and no one leaves the table till it's over!"

"But we're not at the table," Matilda said. "We never are. We're always eating off our knees and watching the telly."

"What's wrong with watching the telly, may I ask?" the father said. His voice had suddenly become soft and dangerous.

Matilda didn't trust herself to answer him, so she kept quiet. She could feel the anger boiling up inside her. She knew it was wrong to hate her parents like this, but she was finding it very hard not to do so. All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen. If only they would read a little Dickens or Kipling they would soon discover there was more to life than cheating people and watching television.

~ Matilda by Roald Dahl

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reading to Your Toddler

Great post at Mommy Speech Therapy for "Reading with Your Toddler", complete with a video to watch.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Dolls in a Row

My fascination with the little Russian dolls, known as Matryoshka or "Little Mother", began a few years back when the pastor of our church returned from a trip to Russia and gave my mother a blue Matryoshka doll and a gold one for me.

I remember how delighted I was at the second grade Easter party when I found a nesting egg inside my treat bag with a little yellow chick in the very center. That egg is now and forever lost but I remember it fondly to this day.

And so I began reading these books to my little girls:
The Littlest Matryoshka by Corrine Bliss and Kathryn Brown

The Magic Nesting Doll by Jacqueline K. Ogburn/ Laurel Long

Sasha's Matrioshka Dolls by Jana Dillon/ Deborah Nourse Lattimore
...and buying more Matryoshka dolls for them to play with.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Plum & Berry Pleasures

Plum & Berry Pleasures
(Berry books that tempt the palate during berry picking season)

£ Making Plum Jam by John Warren Stewig/ Kevin O’Malley (Plum Jam Recipe included on book jacket)
£ Purple Delicious Blackberry Jam by Lisa Westberg Peters/ McGregor
£ Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
£ Jamberry by Bruce Degen
£ When the Rain Stops by Sheila Cole/ Henri Sorensen
£ Blueberries for the Queen by Katherine Paterson/ Susan Jeffers
£ Mother Raspberry by Maurice Careme/ Marie Wabbes
* * * * *
Living vivaciously through other berry-pickin' blogs:
The Virtual Kitchen ~ Blueberry Recipes

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Start-Up Book Club Kit

I am entranced with Marjorie's Nuts and Bolts of a Book Club blog posts:

Nuts, Bolts, and joys of Book Club

Nitty-Gritty Book Club ~ The Fun Stuff

Leading the Discussion

Excellent stuff here. Thanks for giving us the start-up tools, Marjorie.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fourth of July Picnic Basket

McDuff Saves the Day written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Susan Jeffers is about a little dog (there's a series) who travels with his family to a Fourth of July picnic and firework show.

My 5-yr-old loved this book.

McDuff is a little pup who always gets his way with sitting in the front seat of the car, and who, after ants steal the family's picnic goodies, befriends a fellow picnicer who shares his spread with the family.

A combination of a baby, a puppy, fireworks display, a picnic basket of delicious goodies, and Susan Jeffers artwork makes this book a favorite for little people celebrating the Fourth of July.

For older children, Jean Van Leeuwen has a book out A Fourth of July on the Plains .

Jesse fondly remembers the celebrations and parades back home in Indiana. Way out on the prairie there are no cannons to fire off, no fireworks to light, and no streets for a parade.

What was Independence Day like as families ventured westward across the dusty flour-bowl of waving wheat towards Oregon?

This book illustrated by Henri Sorensen takes you to a Fourth of July on the plains. There's a homemade flag to fly, wild game to roast over an open fire, a dozen men to fire off rifles, the Declaration of Independence to recite, a doctor to give a speech, a pot-luck sharing to provide a picnic feast, and Jesse and his friends to provide a whistle, tin pan, cowbell, washtub, and wooden spoon parade.

And don't forget to share the beautiful Wendell Minor illustrated version of America the Beautiful with your family this July. It'll remind you of what there is to love about America.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Discovering a Treasure

Antique shops! They evoke in us a sense of curiosity and exploration. It's like climbing into a time machine, spinning through a time warp, and being transported into part of the past.

Shopping for antiques is like hunting for gold or going on a treasure hunt. We all hope to find a treasure that will serve as a conversation piece within our own talking walls or a nugget of nostalgia from our past.

So my younger girls and I went on a trip back-in-time and lifted layers of dust to unveil:

Trust me, if you are over forty, a trip to the antique shop will date you. I promise.

And so I knew there was a treasure just waiting for me at the bookstore when children's author Dotti Enderle announced the release of her new book Grandpa for Sale.

I really wanted to plan a trip to the Houston area for one of her book signing gigs but I finally couldn't help myself and bought the book as is. And I was is a treasure.

What's a grandpa worth to a child? What is he worth to your child. What was he worth to you as a child? Is he, in fact, priceless?
Lizzie has to find this out for herself when Mrs. Larchmont and her fluffy pink poodle Gizelle come breezing into Grandpa's antique shop and offers a small fortune to buy---not the Louie settee which Grandpa sleeps upon but---no other than Grandpa himself. Is sacrificing Grandpa worth the treehouse of her dreams? What about having the greatest ice cream shop in the neighborhood! What about ... Lizzie's imagination flies as Grandpa snores on the Louie settee and Mrs. Larchmont keeps upping her price for the priceless treasure she has stumbled upon. Will Lizzie realize how priceless Grandpa is and that she already has the greatest treasure of all in the palm of her hand?
The illustrations by T. Kyle Gentry are a huge bonus in this book; they are as rich as Lizzie's imagination and as priceless as Grandpa. On each page Gentry took special care to use full-color on the objects Lizzie cherishes the most in her discernment process.
This book is a rich find for less than the price of two movie tickets. And you get to bring it home with you and view it everyday. Your children will have front row seats.
My girls have asked for me to read it everyday this past week and I do so gladly. The text isn’t exhausting at all. The children laugh…and I smile. I find them looking at the pictures for long minutes on end. It's like looking through an antique shop...can't touch anything but it sure is a feast for the eyes and one can always dream, dream, dream.
Their imaginations have soared along with Lizzie's: a new bedroom set, owning your own amusement park! The dreams are as endless as Grandma's armoire. Then they remember PawPaw sitting in his wheelchair in a nursing home and they think of Opa's morning coffee visits, and they know that you simply can't put a pricetag on the arms that give hugs, the hands that give love pats, the toothless grins that give puckered air kisses, and the Grandpas who love you more than life itself.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Jim Trelease Would Be Proud

I know I am. My friend Lissa gives an insightful, well-educated, very readable opinion concerning the palaver between Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and Jon Stewart. Here is a quote:

"Secretary Spellings is working from within a framework that says good reading skills are the first step to becoming educated. I'm coming from the opposite direction: what comes first is not reading, but being read to. I really wanted to jump up and call out to her: Couldn't you just try it? Try reading the children excellent literature? Lots and lots of it? Put the tests away for a year and just see what happens when you read to them a great deal of fine prose and poetry?"

Read the rest and see the video here: "Can We Educate Every American Child?"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Let's Get Cooking with Literature

Food! We all love it. Our kids love it.

Combine it with books and you've got a sure fire grill of tempting morsels inviting your child to the library table.

And summer is the perfect time to have a picnic complete with baskets of food and books.

At Literature Alive! eloop there is a new file called Let's Get Cooking with Literature. The members there contributed a full 12-month shopping list of books for you to take to your library and load into your shopping cart.

It's a delicious treat the whole family can enjoy. So print it, put it in your child's library folder or in your housekeeping/cooking binder, but, most of all, enjoy it.

Happy Reading and Eating!