Archive for May 2013

Lima Beans Make Me Gag

May 30, 2013

I love vegetables, but DO NOT serve me lima beans. They make me gag. Maybe it was the way my mom cooked them – dry as a bone and hard to swallow. Despite that, she must have done something right because I’m all in for fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a good thing because June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Arugula. Okra. Romanesco. Kumquats. Quince. Salmonberries. YUM!

Okay, maybe you’re not into exotic fruits and vegetables, but carrots, broccoli, green beans, apples, bananas and pears are perfectly safe choices. Take a trip to your local grocery store. Peruse the fruit and veggie aisle. Don’t pass by these delicious treasures. Grab a handful and step into a healthy new world. Remember your mother’s wise words:  “Fruits and vegetables are good for you!”

Munch and crunch! Chomp and chew!

Fruits and veggies good for you!

Take a bite out of these delicious books.

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Green Beans, Potatoes, and Even Tomatoes written by Brian P. Cleary and illustrated by Martin Goneau

The rhyming text in this book moves at a quick pace and keeps interest at a high level. The illustrations are colorful and fun while providing excellent information on the nutritional value of vegetables. Whether they’re sliced, diced, peeled, or steamed, vegetables are a perfect choice to keep you healthy.

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The Vegetables We Eat written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons

This nonfiction book presents a wide variety of vegetables that grow in different shapes, sizes, and colors. The author explains how vegetables are categorized by the way we eat them. Accompanying illustrations help the reader learn the different categories of vegetables such as tuber, stem, and root. Gibbons explains the different ways to grow and harvest vegetables and how they get to the grocery store for consumers to buy. This book is chock-full of information for the mind and body.

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Go, Go, Grapes! A Fruit Chant written by April Pulley Sayre

Do you want to be a cheerleader? If you do, this book is for you! April Pulley Sayre offers a fast-paced cheer for fruit. Vivid photographs and text with rhyme and rhythm make this book a real winner.

Also check out Rah, Rah, Radishes!

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Gregory, the Terrible Eater written by Mitchell Sharmat and illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey

Gregory, a young goat, is a fussy eater. He only wants to eat “fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, bread, and butter.” His parents are horrified! Goats eat cans, boxes, shoes, paper, and the like. With much patience, Gregory’s parents slowly introduce hearty goat food into his diet with a bit of his healthy food included. The mix is just right.

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Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Mr. McGreely plants a garden he has always wanted. Lettuce, peas, carrots, and tomatoes are his choice. Alas, hungry bunnies attack his garden. Muncha! McGreely is determined to stop them. He builds a fence, walls, and trenches to deter the hungry bunnies. Mr. McGreely thinks he has won the battle, but, unbeknownst to him, the bunnies have outsmarted him. The text provides interactive participation with its repetitive “Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” Make sure to scope out the bunnies hiding in the illustrations.

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month and Dairy Month. Eat, drink, and be healthy!

Venting

May 23, 2013

My daughter is getting married. The good news is I’m thrilled she has found someone wonderful. The bad news is I have to purchase a mother of the bride dress. This may seem like a trivial thing to some, but for me it’s colossal!

I hate to shop. Having a personal shopper who knows exactly how to find the perfect clothes for my body type would be ideal. As I get older, I have found my body does weird things. It revolts against everything I do to try to keep it in check. No matter how much I exercise or how well I eat, things keep happening to my body – ugly things – wrinkles, sun damage, sagging parts, and added weight. This is one time I’d like to be a man and just get measured for a groom-chosen tux. In and out. No hassle.

With my body baggage in mind, I began to look for a mother of the bride dress. I planned my strategy. I started by looking online. The first thing I noticed was the mother of bride dresses were being modeled by what looked like twentysomethings with perfect figures. In my mind, I’m still twenty-six, but in my body I AM NOT A TWENTYSOMETHING! Show me real everyday moms in these dresses.

I found a few dresses I thought would work for me. I went to the bridal salons that had them and tried them on. The dresses DID NOT look the same on me. I don’t need a bridal salon. I need a saloon!!! My mind was running wild. I was hysterical. Can I lose twenty pounds in two months? I took a deep breath and calmed myself. It’s taken me years to put on these pounds. My body is certainly not going to let that extra weight go without an all-out fight! I chose a new strategy. I picked out the ugliest of ugly dresses I could find and tried them on. They provided a good laugh, which helped with my overall mental and physical health.

The good news is I finally did find a dress. The bad news is someone politely said, “It’s slimming.” A better comment would have been, “You look gorgeous!”

Thank you very much!

Here are some great picture books where, unlike my experience, dressing up can be a fun experience.

The Very Fairy Princess Here Comes the Flower Girl   written by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton and illustrated by Christine Davenier

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Pinkalicious Flower Girl written and illustrated by Victoria Kann

Love A Tree

May 16, 2013

Today is LOVE A TREE DAY!  Every tree offers something magical – fragrant blossoms, cool shade, perfect climbing branches, colorful autumn leaves, oxygen, fruits, nuts, homes for animals, hiding places. I can’t imagine a landscape without a tree. Trees are a gift to us.

When I was in grade school, we had to memorize Joyce Kilmer’s poem, “Trees.” There were giggles and shades of embarrassment as the words, breast and bosom, stumbled out of our mouths. But the poem has stuck with me. I can still recite it, and I no longer get embarrassed when I do. Kilmer’s poem reads like a thank you prayer. The words in the last line —“But only God can make a tree”— are  powerful words and food for thought.

Here are some tree books that offer some food for thought.

A Tree Is Nice written by Janice May Udry and illustrated by Marc Simont

This book is a Caldecott Award Winner. In simple text, Udry tells how a tree can bring enjoyment to all.

Someday a Tree written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ronald Himler

Careless dumping of toxic materials destroys a beloved tree, but a little girl discovers something she can do to make others hope for a new beginning.

The Giving Tree written and illustrated by Shel Silvertein

A relationship between a boy and tree demonstrates unconditional love.

The Grandad Tree written by Trish Cooke and illustrated by Sharon Wilson

An apple tree grows and changes through the seasons just like the children’s grandad changes through the season of his life. Watching nature, the children realize special memories will never die.

Give a tree a hug today!

Planting Seeds of Knowledge

May 9, 2013

It’s seventy degrees. The sun is out. I have a smile on my face.

It was a wicked winter to say the least. With these warms days upon us, I think it’s safe to say spring has finally arrived. Good-bye you extra boots, mittens, scarf, hat, and coat. You’ve overstayed your welcome. You’ve taken up  space in the back seat of my car for the last seven months! It’s time to get out.

Spring means new life. Crocuses, daffodils, and tulips brighten drab landscapes. Surprise seeds planted by animals and wind begin to burst forth. It’s a time to get outside and discover those new treasures.

Here are some fabulous nonfiction picture books that are sure to make you smile. Go ahead. Plant a seed in your brain and let your knowledge grow.

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Planting the Wild Garden written by Kathryn O. Galbraith and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin is a beautiful book with soft colors filled with pictures of animals and seeds. Galbraith’s lyrical language and clever use of onomatopoeic words add to the enjoyment of the book while educating readers on how seeds are planted in nature.

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The Reason for a Flower written and illustrated by Ruth Heller is a perfect book to pair with the one above. Heller’s illustrations are bright and inviting. The simple rhyming text explains how flowers are pollinated, how seeds are spread, and how seeds grow. Scientific terms are easily understood through Heller’s text and illustrations.

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Another educational book that explains the journey of a seed is A Seed Is Sleepy written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long. Each page has lyrical text and detailed illustrations along with an explanation of what happens to a seed. It’s an ideal pick for learning about seeds and nature.

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Seeds travel everywhere. Take a peek at Flip, Float, Fly  Seeds on the Move written by JoAnn Early Macken and illustrated by Pam Paparone. A puff of wind sends seeds soaring. Page after page reveals new information about seeds and where they go. Like a giant microscope, Paparone’s illustrations zero in on the details of certain seeds and how they go from seed to flower to fruit. This book is fun and educational.

Now smile and go plant some seeds.

 

The Princess in Us

May 2, 2013

At a recent writing conference I attended, I won a simply charming picture book in a raffle. The Very Fairy Princess was written by the mother/daughter combo of Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton and was illustrated by Christine Davenier.  

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Princess books are in high demand in our school library with the kindergarten and first grade girls. If one girl wants to check one out, they all do. Sometimes, out of curiosity, the boys get involved, too! I guess we secretly all want to be a princess or a prince. If we can’t be one, the next best thing is to read about one.

I highly recommend The Very Fairy Princess. It’s funny and heart-warming. Geraldine, the little fairy princess, is a spunky gal. She has a crown, wings, and shades of pink, purple and red are her favorite colors to wear. This fairy princess is also very practical and dispenses some first-rate advice that is perfect for young children. “You can be whatever you want to be. You just have to let your sparkle out!” If you like this book, you’re sure to enjoy the rest in this series.

Whether it’s a crown, a certain dress, fairy wings, a favorite T-shirt, blue jeans, or a smile, sometimes that one special item makes you feel good inside which makes you shine on the outside. That’s a wonderful thing!

Let your sparkle out today!


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