An ABC Book for Picture Book Month

Posted November 14, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Book Month

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How many ABC books can you purchase for your child? If it’s well done, there’s always room for one more. All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep is one to add to your collection. In this alphabetical book, author, Crescent Dragonwagon, and illustrator, David McPhail, create a serene setting for lulling a child to sleep. Who knew wild animals could be so calming?

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Crescent Dragonwagon uses a combination of rhyme and alliteration to create a world of well-known and some not so well-known animals that are ready to settle down to sleep. David McPhail’s watercolor and ink illustrations are soft and soothing to the eye and compliment the lyrical text that sets the stage for sleepy time.

This is a perfect book to share with your child who may not be quite ready to settle down for the night.


Picture Book Month!

Posted November 7, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Book Month

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As soon as my daughter was old enough to hold a book and turn the pages, I took her to the library. It was love at first sight. She surrounded herself with picture books and was in book heaven. If it hadn’t been for all those wonderful books made available to us in the library, I don’t think my daughter would be the avid reader she is today.

Revisiting Special Places


Children’s Room-Boston Public Library

There’s nothing like a good picture book to keep children entertained, and there’s nothing like the Children’s Room in the library to offer up books, cozy reading places, story hours, and activities.


The picture book biography, Miss Moore Thought Otherwise, written by Jan Pinborough and illustrated by Debby Atwell, is a perfect way to honor a woman who was instrumental in organizing one of the first Children’s Rooms in a library and fill it with exciting books for youngsters to read.

Annie, as she was known when she was young, was not your typical girl living in the 1870s. She loved the outdoors and listening to poems and stories her father read. She wanted to be a lawyer like her father, but his death changed things. Annie ended up going the library school at Pratt Institute in New York. After she graduated, she got a job at the Pratt Free Library where she set up a Children’s Room, but her pièce de résistance was the Children’s Room she designed for the newly built New York Public Library. It became a model for libraries, nationally and internationally, all because Miss Moore Thought Otherwise.

Give a shout out to Anne Carroll Moore and all the others who played a role in creating a special space in libraries for our children to learn to love books and reading!

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Posted October 31, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

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Baseball has never been one of my favorite sports. I once said I’d rather listen to golf being broadcast on the radio than watch a baseball game. Shame on me! It’s time to eat my words.


Fenway Park

Starting with the first game of the World Series, I was glued to the television. My husband was in shock. As he put it, “You haven’t watched this much baseball in your entire life!” This is true, but when it comes to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, The Green Monster, and “Sweet Caroline”, you have to be a fan — especially if you happened to have lived in Massachusetts during your lifetime.

Boston supports their teams — good, bad, or other. One fan has been coming to Sox games since 1953. That’s sixty years!  Loyal fans are everywhere you look, but you may have to look twice because beards, scruffy-looking or not, are the in-thing in Boston these days!


May Way for the Red Sox by Day and by Night



George Washington Fighting a Red Sox Victory by Day and by Night


As a current resident of Wisconsin, I committed a mortal sin last Sunday by choosing to watch the Red Sox game over the Green Bay Packer game! (A Sam Adams and some squeaky cheese curds can do wonders to ease the guilt.) Who knew baseball could make me jump out of my chair, shout at the television, mumble swear words, and make me a crazed woman.

At the end of last night’s game, I was convinced God was a Red Sox fan. I saw Him hovering above Fenway Park, sporting a beard and cheering as only a Boston fan can cheer. It took ninety-five years to win a series at Fenway, and now they’re back!

Boston is Boston Strong, and I am Boston Proud for the city, its people, and its team! Congratulations!

Massachusetts State House


Boston Strong Always

A Red Sox Read for the Young Fans:

No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .004 Season written by Fred Bowen and illustrated by Chuck Pyle (Dutton, 2010)

A Red Sox Read for the Older Fans:

The Kid:  The Immortal Life of Ted Williams written by Ben Bradlee (Little, Brown and Company, Coming in December 2013)

Fall Fun

Posted October 24, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Seasonal Books

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Pick A Circle, Gather Squares:  A Fall Harvest of Shapes written by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky and illustrated by Susan Swan is a wonderful seasonal book to introduce shapes.

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It’s October, and what’s more fun than a family trip to a farm for a harvest hayride and pumpkin picking? While there, the family is on the spy to see how many different shapes they can find. Round pumpkins and apples, a square bale of hay, oval eggs, a rectangular box, hexagons in the chicken-wire fence, and triangle slices of pie. What other shapes can be found?

This concept book is perfect to share with preschoolers. Susan Swan’s illustrations include cut paper and bright autumn colors that will keep youngsters entertained as they search for the various  shapes.

New Books At My Door!

Posted October 17, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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My cup bubble-ith over! The mail carrier delivered books I ordered for our school library. A very generous family made this all possible. Oh, joy!

The book I immediately connected with on an emotional level was The Matchbox Diary written by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

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Fleishman weaves a story of a little girl and her great-grandfather and how she learns about his past in a unique way. Unable to read and write as a young boy, her great-grandfather kept an unwritten diary by putting meaningful objects into matchboxes to chronicle his life. The girl learns about her great-grandfather’s home in Italy, his ship ride to America, and his fear of doctors at Ellis Island. The matchboxes tell the of difficult times he and his family had as transient workers in America, seeing his first baseball game, and his mother convincing his father to let him attend school to learn to read and write. Each matchbox is a peek into the happy and sad moments of her great-grandfather’s past.  Ibatoulline’s detailed illustrations done in acrylic gouache bring past and present together.

Paul Fleischman’s story touches the heart. It reminds me of my grandmother who came to America as a young woman from Czechoslovakia.

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As in The Matchbox Diary, my grandmother traveled  by ship and went through Ellis Island. She married and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My grandparents worked hard – sometimes two and three jobs at a time – in order to provide for themselves and my dad. They were able to buy a house, but my grandmother wanted more for her family. She insisted my dad attend a good school to learn to read and write properly. She saved money and sent him to Marquette High School and then to Marquette University where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. For her, it was a dream come true.

When I first read The Matchbox Diary I saw many parallels between the great-grandfather and my grandmother. Life was not always easy, but there was an unspoken work ethic to do your job and do it well to attain your goals. This book works on many levels and is well-worth taking time to enjoy a look into the past.

Stay tuned for more treasures the mail carrier delivered.


Posted October 10, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Avatar Thursday



I’ve got my nose in a book. Please come back next week!

It’s Apple Month!

Posted October 3, 2013 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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It’s apple month. Celebrate by sinking your teeth into a juicy apple. I like mine not too sweet and not too tart, but with lots of crunch! Johnny Appleseed had the right idea when he decided to plant apple trees.

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Apples have health benefits. They’re fat-free, sodium-free, cholesterol-free, and full of fiber. They promote bone health and weight loss. They lower cholesterol and help prevent certain cancers and heart disease. They’re also good for your teeth. So munch and crunch away!

Are you hungry? Try some of these delicious treats – apple crisp, apple cake, apple pie, applesauce, apple muffins, apple dumplings, apple butter, apple turnovers, apple fritters … Yum! Now I’m hungry!

Apples also lend themselves to art activities. You can make carved apple faces, apple prints, dried apple swags, wreaths, ornaments, and great smelling dried apple potpourri with spices.

Did I say apple? There’s a lot to say about apples.

You’re the apple of my eye.

Don’t upset the apple cart.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

When the apple is ripe it will fall.

As American as apple pie.

You’re an apple polisher.

One rotten apple spoils the whole bunch.

And don’t forget …

Adam’s apple

The Big Apple

Besides munching a juicy apple, the next best treat is to read books about apples. Share these with your apple-lovin’ friends.

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Applesauce Season written by Eden Ross Lipson and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein

This charming story is about a family who goes to the farmer’s market in the city to buy a variety of apples to make applesauce — a yearly family tradition. When they’re finished, Dad prepares an array of different foods to compliment their homemade applesauce. Try the recipe included in the book and enjoy!

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 The Apple Pie Tree written by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern

A brother and sister watch an apple tree change through the seasons. In fall when the apples are ready to be picked, the children fill a basket in order to make a delicious apple pie. Information about how bees help apples grow and a yummy pie recipe make this book a favorite.


Apple Harvest written by Calvin Harris

Written in simple text, this book tells how ripe apples are picked, sorted, and bagged to sell. Suggestions for tasty apple treats and a glossary of words are included. It’s a perfect book for young readers.

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Johnny Appleseed A Tall Tale retold and illustrated by Steven Kellogg

Steven Kellogg’s exaggerated illustrations and story make for a fun-filled book about the life of John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, and the history behind planting and growing apple trees.

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Apple Fractions written by Jerry Pallotta and illustrated by Rob Bolster

This book provides a mouth-watering way to learn about fractions. Different varieties of apples are used to show how they can be divided into fractional sections. It’s crunchy math fun!

How do you like them apples?


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