Read to Your Child Day On Friday

Posted February 13, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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February is a short month full of exciting days. It’s Library Lovers Month. So love your library! It has books galore and offers a variety of activities for the family. While you’re loving your library, celebrate Valentine’s Day and Read to Your Child Day on the fourteenth! February is a perfect combination of love and books.

There’s a marvelous quote by Emilie Buchwald that says, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

If you want your child to be a reader, be a role model. Let your child see and hear you reading.

Start as early as possible. A perfect time to introduce reading to your precious baby is when you’re pregnant. Check out picture books from the library and read them out loud. This is a great way to find children’s books you enjoy and to begin to build a home library.

Choose books that have great illustrations and not a lot of words. Rhyme, repetition, sound words (onomatopoeia-love this word!), and silly words make for great first books. Visit the library often. Make it your favorite go-to place. Soon, instead of you reading to your child, your child will be reading to you.

Garrison Keillor said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” On Valentine’s Day, give a book to someone special. It’s a perfect way to say I love you.

There are myriads of absolutely wonderful picture books available, but here are a few of my favorite classic picture books. Many of these also come as board books which are just the right size for toddlers to hold.

Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle

Pat the Bunny written by Dorothy Kunhardt

The Tale of Peter Rabbit written by Beatrix Potter

The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd

The Snowy Day written by Ezra Jack Keats

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Guess How Much I Love You written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

The Little Engine That Could written by Watty Piper

The Napping House written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood


The Olympics of Sports and Reading

Posted February 6, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Life, Literature

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The journey is the reward. ─Chinese Proverb

The opening ceremonies of the XXII Olympic Winter Games begin tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Familiar winter sports such as alpine skiing, bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, figuring skating, ice hockey, luge, snowboarding, and more will be watched by millions of sports enthusiasts.

Athletes from all over the world spend years and long hours training in hopes of securing a place on an Olympic team. From opening ceremonies to closing ceremonies, the air is charged with excitement. The Winter Olympics provide us with the opportunity to see talented athletes who have the passion and work ethic to succeed in a competitive sport.

A phrase written by Stanley Ralph Ross and made popular by ABC’s Wide World of Sports will ring true for athletes as the games progress.

The thrill of victory… and the agony defeat…

Good luck to all!

Do you like the Olympics? Try the Olympics of Reading with these titles.

The Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games by Olympic Museum; International Olympic Committee (Carlton Books, February 4, 2014)

The Winter Olympics written by Nick Hunter (Heinemann, 2013)

Olympic Poems written by Brian Moses and illustrated by Roger Stevens (Pan Macmillan, 2012)

Yes, I Can!: The Story of the Jamaican Bobsled Team written by Devon Harris and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes (Waterhouse Publishing LLC, 2008)

Winter Olympics Sports Series for Kids

Man Vs. Bunny

Posted January 30, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Life, Picture Books

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My husband has bunny radar. The other evening at eleven o’clock in the far-below freezing temperatures, my husband asked, “Do you want to see a rabbit?”

My thought:  I want to go to bed!

On our back patio, in the dark and bitter cold, sat a rabbit. It wasn’t just any rabbit. My husband’s body language told me that rabbit was his nemesis. Before I could say goodnight, my husband was out the door chasing that furry critter away.

Rabbits have become an obsession with my husband. An obsession is never a good thing especially when it has to do with ridding the world – or at least our yard – of those hoppy little creatures. This fixation of his began several summers ago when a traveling band of bunnies moved into our neighborhood. Since that time, they do what bunnies do – multiply.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! In the past, those rabbits have decimated our flower gardens. They’ve gnawed at our shrubs. And even though there’s a fence around our vegetable garden, the rabbits have discovered a way to secretly enter into a veggie paradise.

I reminded my husband of the Tale of Peter Rabbit and suggested he refer to how Mr. McGregor handled a similar situation. I even suggested he plant Creepy Carrots! to scare those bunnies away.

Then one day last summer, my husband discovered a nest of bunny babies in our yard. His decision to carefully move those bunnies to a place outside our yard transformed Mama Bunny into Battle Bunny!

It was all-out war between man and bunny. That bunny gnawed every bush she could find. She dug burrows around the yard, feasted on fresh vegetables, and left behind rabbit poop.

No fur ball was going to outwit my husband. He was out for rabbit stew! He swept away rabbit poop, put chicken wire around every bush, and bought rabbit repellent. We are now in the deep of winter and the bunny tale continues. My husband’s rabbit radar is up and running. Who will win?

Maybe my husband should plant a garden of books to quell his appetite for rabbit stew.

Rabbit Reading:

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2002)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter (Warne, 110 anniversary edition, 2012)

Creepy Carrots! written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012)

Battle Bunny written by Jon Scieszka: Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matthew Myers (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013)


Quirky and Unique

Posted January 23, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Authors

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Kate DiCamillo is an immensely talented author. The Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor Book are among many of the awards she has received. DiCamillo seems to have the innate ability to know exactly how to create a work that will suck readers into her story and keep them there until the very last page. No wonder she was chosen to be the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature!

I just finished reading Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, a chapter book, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by K.G. Campbell. This book has received a lot of buzz. Could there be another award on the horizon for Kate?

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The characters in Flora & Ulysses jump off the pages with their quirky uniqueness. There’s Flora, a cynic, Ulysses, a superhero squirrel, Flora’s mom who’s immersed in writing romance novels, Flora’s dad who is a bit odd, Mrs. Tickham, the next door neighbor, and her great-nephew, William Spiver, who says he’s suffering from temporary blindness. As the story unfolds, DiCamillo cleverly weaves plot and characters together to keep readers emotionally involved and longing for more. Comic book elements add to enjoyment of this skillfully written book that garnered starred reviews and became a New York Times best-seller!

The ALA Youth Media Awards will be announced on Monday, January 27. Will Kate DiCamillo do it again?


This Is About Nothing

Posted January 16, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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Today is January 16. It’s Nothing Day. This is good because I have nothing to write.


When it comes to nothing, teenagers have cornered the market. They are nothing experts. Try asking a teenager a few questions.

“What did you do today?”


“What did you say?”


“What do you have there?”


As you can see, what a teenager says adds up to nothing. There’s nothing like a teen/parent relationship.

People do a lot of nothing. I admit. I’m guilty of doing nothing. If we’re not careful, nothing could become a national epidemic. If that happens, nothing would ever get done!

It would behoove us to talk about nothing. There are naysayers who would debate the fact you can’t talk about nothing. They’re wrong. Talking about nothing indicates you’re talking about something  which is nothing!

What have you learned from this post? Probably nothing, and that’s the way it should be. Everybody should know about nothing.

If you’ve got nothing to do, check this book out. Two friends, Mooch and Earl, find the best gift of all is nothing.


The Gift of Nothing written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2005)



Don’t Let the Crayons Quit!

Posted January 9, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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When crayons are new, they fit into a neat little box like soldiers in a row. Each crayon boasts its special color. Over time, some crayons get broken. Some get lost. Some lose their paper jackets. Some get used more than others. And some are hastily stuffed back into their boxes. Those bright new crayons can become a sad lot.

Crayons have feelings. If you don’t believe me, take a look at The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. When Duncan opens his box of crayons, he finds letters instead of crayons. In the appropriate color, each crayon writes a letter to Duncan. Some are complaints, some are suggestions, and some are asking for his help. Duncan takes the letters to heart and comes up with a delightful solution that pleases all – even his teacher who gives him an A+ for creativity. The combination of Jeffers illustrations and Daywalt’s imaginative text makes for a truly fun reading experience.


This book brings to mind another thought. In our efforts as parents and teachers to make sure every child fits in, we sometimes forget to think outside the box. Every child has unique qualities. It’s our job to encourage our children to develop their talents to the best of their abilities so they can add their special color to the world.

Don’t let the crayons quit!


Happy New Year!

Posted January 2, 2014 by cathyso3
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Welcome to 2014




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